A lot of Americans don't understand how difficult it can be to stop smoking weed, either because they don't think it's addictive or because they consider it to be a "minor drug." These two reasons are actually part of the problem that makes it so difficult - but not impossible - to stop.
Step One: Make the Decision
If your social circle is trying to talk you out of giving up marijuana, even taking the first step can be tough. Just remember that you want to stop smoking weed for you and you have the right to make your own decisions regarding the drug.
What is your reasoning behind your decision? Do you simply want to think clearer? Are you worried about your health? Do you want to be able to concentrate better in school? Is your significant other concerned about your smoking? Do you want to train for a marathon? Whatever your reasons, write them down so you don't forget in a moment of weakness.
Step Two: Learn About Withdrawal
You may have heard that marijuana doesn't have withdrawal symptoms, meaning you can't be physically dependent on it, but this is a fallacy on both counts. The reason many people think this is because the chemicals in weed take a long time to leave the body. For example, some metabolites can be detected in heavy smokers for three months after they stop using. That means the onset of withdrawal can be significantly delayed - taking days or even weeks - depending on how much and how often you smoked.
Symptoms will not begin until the body faces the true absence of the drug. When withdrawal does occur, you can expect the following symptoms:
- Irritability and moodiness
- Cravings for marijuana
Step Three: Make Lifestyle Changes
For a lot of marijuana smokers, their lives revolve around weed. They keep their homes stocked with pipes, bongs and vaporizers and have a steady stash on hand. They go to parties where people smoke and they hang out with marijuana-using friends. To stop smoking weed for any period of time, it's time to make some changes.
- Remove the drug and related paraphernalia from the home, the car, or anywhere else that it is stashed.
- Find non-smoking people to hang out with and new social activities that do not involve smoking. Stick with healthy alternatives, like exercise or chewing on vegetables.
- Don't replace marijuana with tobacco cigarettes, alcohol or another drug.
Step Four: Seek Support
The people most likely to take your marijuana dependence seriously are other marijuana dependents who are also working to rid themselves of the drug as well. Look to them for support and to make more non-using friends.
Start by contacting Marijuana Anonymous or a similar group. Friends and family can also help, if they encourage you to kick your habit.
Step Five: Set Your Quit Date
There is no set period of time that all of these preparation steps will take. It depends entirely on you. Once you have all the supports in place, pick a date to quit smoking, tell a friend, write it down, and commit to it. Most marijuana smokers are able to simply stop smoking, without tapering back their use first. Use your support system, such as your list of reasons in step one and your new social activities from step three to help avoid relapse.
If you do relapse, this just means you're normal. Determine what thought, feeling, or environment triggered you. Consider it a minor setback, and then try again. Success is within your reach.