Photo by Sasha Freemind

Learn | 03.25.2024

How To Stop Smoking Weed & Embrace A Healthier Lifestyle

Lost in THC’s fog? Navigate with our roadmap for leaving the leaf behind.

Considering stepping back from cannabis?

This decision carries its unique blend of challenges and rewards. For many, it’s driven by a quest for clearer mental focus, better health, or to mend the impact on relationships, work, and personal goals.

The temporary solace cannabis provides can often mask the very parts of life you aim to enhance or simply enjoy. Embarking on this journey is about embracing rediscovery and realigning with your core values and aspirations.

Our guide is here to shepherd you through this shift, offering practical tips, shedding light on withdrawal’s subtleties, and underscoring the broad spectrum of benefits waiting on the side of cannabis independence.

How Does Cannabis Serve You?

For many, using cannabis is more than just a habit; it meets a particular need, be it managing stress, enhancing social bonds, or self-medication.

Grasping the deeper role cannabis plays can be tough, but it is crucial for pinpointing which parts of your life might need extra support in its absence. 

Quitting cannabis isn’t just about kicking a ‘bad habit’; it’s a journey into understanding the support these behaviors provide, despite their toll on well-being or health.

Practical Tips For Quitting Weed

THC and CBD, two main cannabinoids found in cannabis, act on your endocannabinoid system and influence the release of feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine.

Engaging in activities stimulating this system and providing different ways to fulfill cravings is key to easing this transition.

Let’s take a look into some alternatives that can help fill the void left by cannabis.

Move Your Body

There’s an undeniable link between physical activity and mood improvement. Physical activity kick-starts a natural dopamine release, helping to manage withdrawal symptoms. Studies demonstrate that moderate physical activity is sufficient to reduce cannabis cravings in adults dependent on its use.

Using this information to your advantage, encourage yourself to engage in any type of physical activity that feels right for you, like park walks, a gym session, or at-home workouts. 

Cold Exposure

Voluntarily introducing your body to the cold triggers a release of neurochemicals like adrenaline and dopamine, enhancing your mood, alertness, and focus.

Cold exposure therapy is believed to help reduce depressive symptoms and temporarily increase energy levels. Some users suggest that this method helps them manage withdrawal symptoms of cannabis.

Techniques range from ice baths to cold showers, and evidence suggests that just a single 20-minute exposure to cold can significantly lift one’s spirits. 

To safely achieve that dopamine boost, aim for a 45-60 degrees Fahrenheit temperature range. It’s important to proceed cautiously to avoid potential health risks.

Supportive Surroundings

Create a circle of support with individuals who respect and champion your goals. Steer clear of environments that tempt or glorify substance use, fostering a space where your commitment to quitting is understood and encouraged.

Nature Exposure

There’s a ton of evidence to support immersing yourself in nature to enhance your mood, vitality, and sense of overall connectedness.

There’s even research from Plymouth University revealing a connection between spending time in green spaces and a decrease in cravings for other substances like sweets, cigarettes, and alcohol.

The calm and beauty of natural surroundings can offer a soothing distraction from daily stressors, helping to potentially reduce cravings and ease the transition away from cannabis.

Creative Activities

Diving into creative pursuits provides a constructive outlet for expression and can significantly improve your mood. Activities like painting, writing, or composing music not only stimulate the brain’s reward centers but also promote a fulfilling sense of achievement.

Benefits Of Quitting Weed

Photo by Giorgio Trovato

Taking the step to quit weed can be a significant turning point in your life.

Here are some of the key benefits you may experience after parting ways with cannabis use:

Enhanced Mental Clarity

Cannabis use, specifically THC’s effect on the brain, is associated with short-term memory lapses and long-term cognitive impairments. THC disrupts hippocampal neurons, essential for memory and information processing.

Without the haze of THC clouding your thoughts, you may find it easier to concentrate, remember details, and process information efficiently.

Better Sleep

While some turn to cannabis for its sedative effects, its impact on sleep quality, particularly REM sleep patterns, can be detrimental in the long run. Quitting cannabis can lead you back to more natural sleep cycles, leaving you waking up feeling more refreshed and alert.

Financial Savings

The cost of regular cannabis use can add up quickly. Redirecting these funds toward savings or investing in experiences and goals can significantly improve your financial well-being.

Improved Relationships

Cannabis use can strain relationships, whether due to changes in behavior, an absent presence, or conflict over its use. By quitting, you open up to being more present and engaged with those around you, fostering stronger connections and enhancing your social and emotional health.

What Happens When You Stop Smoking Weed: 5 Common Symptoms

Photo by Annie Spratt

As your body adjusts to a new normal after bidding farewell to cannabis, you might experience a range of temporary withdrawal symptoms. 

Here are some common ones reported by users, along with strategies for coping:

1. Feeling Low

It’s not uncommon to feel a dip in your mood after quitting. This can range from mild sadness to more intense feelings of depression.

Engage in activities that naturally boost your mood, like the ones we mentioned in our “Practical Tips” section above. Seek support from trusted friends, family, or a mental health professional if feelings persist.

2. Trouble Falling Sleeping

Many people rely on weed to fall asleep. It’s common to experience insomnia or changes in your sleep patterns after you stop using. 

Establish a soothing bedtime routine and create a comfortable sleep environment. Consider drinking herbal teas such as chamomile or valerian root, which are known for their sedative effects.

Other alternatives include natural supplements like melatonin or magnesium in the evening. Melatonin can help regulate your sleep-wake cycle, while magnesium has been shown to improve sleep quality. Avoid caffeine and screens before bed, and try relaxation techniques like deep breathing or mindful meditation.

3. Anger And Irritability

A sense of frustration or a shorter temper than usual is also common to experience when quitting cannabis.

Recognize triggers for your anger and take breaks when needed. Techniques like deep breathing, physical activity, or even expressing feelings through journaling can help manage irritability.

4. Desire To Smoke Weed

Cravings are a natural part of the withdrawal process. Your mind and body are adjusting to the absence of cannabis, and you may find yourself intensely craving its effects. 

Remind yourself of the reasons you chose to quit and consider writing them down as a motivational reminder. Keep yourself busy with activities that bring you fun and fulfillment, and try to steer clear of situations that tempt you to use cannabis.

5. Weird Dreams

Experiencing vivid or unusual dreams is a common symptom as your brain’s REM sleep pattern normalizes.

Most of these dreams will fade over time, but sharing them with someone or keeping a dream journal might help you process these nightly adventures and give you something interesting to reflect on. 

Anticipating and acknowledging these symptoms can help you mentally and physically prepare for the journey of quitting ahead. 

Simple strategies such as staying hydrated, maintaining a balanced diet, cold water exposure, and moving your body by engaging in some type of regular physical activity can help manage withdrawal symptoms.

Choosing Your Quitting Strategy

How you approach your quitting journey can make all the difference.

Typically, users opt for either tapering off or quitting cold turkey, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks.

Tapering Off: Involves gradually reducing your cannabis intake, allowing your body and mind to adjust slowly, which can soften withdrawal symptoms. This method lets you dictate the pace but demands discipline to consistently reduce usage. The downside? It stretches out the timeline for quitting.

Quitting Cold Turkey: Offers an immediate break from cannabis, setting a clear boundary with no room for ambiguity. This approach can lead to more intense withdrawal symptoms and a higher chance of relapse but is favored for its decisiveness.

Both strategies have their merits. Whichever path you choose, remember that the goal is progress, not perfection.

Supporting Someone In Their Journey To Quit

Photo by Zane Bolen

Supporting a loved one on their journey to quit smoking weed can be a delicate balance of providing encouragement while respecting their independence. 

Listening without judgment, educating yourself on quitting substance use, and offering practical assistance are ways to show your support. Often, asking your loved one directly how you can support them may encourage them to vocalize their needs.

Your involvement can make a meaningful difference, whether it’s accompanying them to a support group, engaging in activities that distract from cravings, or simply being there to talk. 

Respecting their autonomy is crucial. This allows them to make decisions and learn from any setbacks at their own pace. Patience is key, as this kind of change can be a gradual process.

Remember, while your support is invaluable, their journey to quit is ultimately that – their journey.

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