For any number of reasons, you might decide to step down your cannabis use. Whether the market has dried up in your area, you want to save money, or your tolerance is too high, changing habits can seem like a daunting process. But in truth, it only takes about 20 days, and the rewards will surprise you. Here’s how to cut back on cannabis, along with what to expect and how to achieve your goal.
Cutting back your cannabis use
Changing habits like chronic cannabis use may seem uncomfortable, but evolving as a person means stepping outside one’s comfort zone. Cannabis isn’t physically addictive, but any regular comfort can be hard to let go of. The first step is to know what you are in for.
As the body adjusts to doing without cannabis, you may notice one or more uncomfortable symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Vivid dreaming
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in the intensity of food flavors
- Muscle cramps (especially abdominal)
The reason for these temporary symptoms is simply the body adjusting to working without an external cannabinoid supply. Don’t fret, they don’t last long, and can be easily managed.
The most difficult aspect of cannabis reduction is the change in schedule. Everyone has their own perfect time of day or setting for regular consumption. The workday is over, or it’s time for bed. That first cup of coffee in the morning. All these times will make you think of lighting a bowl.
The 21-day shift: Week one
In the first week, the goal is to adjust your daily schedule to compensate for the time spent on cannabis activities. The first key is to change the initial energy of the task, to discourage an easy slide back into old habits.
1. Clean out the stash, and the air
Have a supportive friend hold onto your supplies, pipe or vape included. If it isn’t around, it’s easier to dismiss a sudden craving. A deep clean of your house will help remove any lingering odors that will make that sensitive nose recall the herb flavors with longing.
2. Schedule your time
Transform the time normally spent with cannabis into something you can be proud of, and more likely to stick with. Exercise is fantastic, not only for self-improvement but to release feel-good in the body to compensate for mood swings.
Clean the house, fold laundry, mow the yard, read a book, take a study course: as long as it is positive. Don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself because you don’t have weed. It will be back eventually.
3. Take care of yourself
Cravings will happen, as will appetite fluctuations. Eat a good meal early in the day, and handle cravings with healthy snacks. Snack on vinaigrette salads for flavor and fresh strawberries or pineapple for sweetness. Hot showers help relax muscles and the mind. Most importantly, keep yourself looking sharp.
Self-image helps self-esteem and makes you more confident in success.
For heavy consumers, any uncomfortable symptoms will peak in the second week, so think of it like a second lap around the track. Cling to that new schedule, and avoid situations where you might easily get some herb. Reward yourself for your efforts and minimize the discomfort at the same time.
4. Pamper yourself
Already, you have saved a week’s worth of cannabis, so take that money and do something fun. Get a new outfit, have a nice dinner out on the town, or a spa day. A good massage will help break up deposits in the body and make you feel great.
5. Cleanse and hydrate
Avoid sugary drinks, and increase your liquid intake. If cleaning out for a job, hydration helps flush THC out of the system faster. Iced tea is a great way to drink lots of water, and increase the efficiency of the cleansing period.
The body naturally works best when your pH is slightly alkaline (like a battery), so add some lemon juice for an extra zing of power and flavor. Limit yourself to one soda a day, and drink about a gallon of tea.
6. Get active
If you haven’t already, get active! Breath deep, stretch every day, do some yoga or go for a walk. That little time out will help center your mind and strengthen resolve.
By now, most of the discomfort of curbing cannabis use will have subsided. Stick with the schedule, and avoid alcohol or other psychoactive substances as alternatives. They are far worse for you than cannabis, and the last thing you need is to develop a harmful habit avoiding a non-harmful one. Chocolate is forgiven.
By now, food is your friend. Flavors will begin to intensify, so really expand your diet with healthy snacks and salads.
The finish line
For most, the 21st day will mark the finish line, but if you are still struggling with cravings or irritability, hold out until you feel fine without cannabis for a week. Keep a journal to record what worked best for you.
Now that you have cleansed, your first high will feel incredible! But to avoid falling back into heavy consumption, set limits on when and why you will decide to partake.
- Stick to ideal settings instead of sneaking it in whenever possible
- Have a smoke buddy, so you only smoke together
- Make it a Saturday night schedule, or just at parties
- Avoid buying in bulk, or if you do, break it into small amounts to meter it
- Stay with your new schedule, it will keep you productive and busy
- Stick to uplifting social strains. Sedative strains more easily become a nightly ritual before bed. They also make active lifestyles harder to maintain
A lower tolerance makes cannabis more enjoyable, and more economical. Remember that recreational means occasional. It isn’t a party every day. Occasional use will help you be more productive, healthier, happier, and prevent you from living up to the stoner stereotype we all wish to avoid.