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How To Stop Using Marijuana
Addiction to marijuana can be harmful both to your life and health. It can, additionally, lead other problems that may interfere with your personal relationships, social life, and work. The first step in quitting, however, lies in learning how to stop using marijuana.
There are many signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction. However, if you find yourself smoking alone or start feeling anxious whenever your supply of weed is running low, then it is highly likely that you are addicted. Another sign might be when you start choosing to spend most of your money and time looking for, acquiring, and using this drug.
With time, this sort of addiction may completely take your life over. At this point, you will find yourself replacing your social activities, hobbies, and friends in favor of marijuana. This could, however, be the best opportunity for you to be honest with yourself, confront the problem, and start looking for information on how to stop using marijuana.
This guide will help you once you come to the realization that marijuana has no benefits for you - personally or professionally - but is starting to wreak havoc in your life. Read on to find out more:
The first step to quitting marijuana is honestly admitting to yourself that the drug has started taking over your life and affecting you in unhealthy ways. At this point, you will realize that the time has come for you to take back your power and control over the drug.
There are several methods available to help you quit using marijuana. Although most of them are not easy, you can still go through them by putting in the work and getting as much assistance and support as you can possibly get.
Apart from the above, you probably know that there are many health benefits in store for you once you quit marijuana. THC, in particular, has several health benefits but when taken in excess will start ruining your life, health, and wellness.
When you abuse marijuana and take it recreationally every once in a while - or daily, as some people tend to do - you risk negative effects to your body. Some of the effects of long term marijuana use, for instance, include:
a) Mood Changes
For starters, using marijuana can cause drastic mood alterations and mood swings. Most of these swings and alterations also come with other long term effects on your brain, especially if you do not get them treated.
b) Developmental Challenges
In the same way, the drug has negative effects on normal development. This is especially true for teens and developing individuals. Marijuana, to this end, may damage your brain cells permanently, meaning that they will stop growing and never reach their full potential.
c) Elevated Heart Rate
After you ingest marijuana, it can elevate your heart rate for a really long time. This may eventually cause other problems, especially if you suffer from other coronary issues or you already have high blood pressure.
d) Impaired Short Term Memory
Abusing marijuana - whether in the short term or in the long term - can severely impair your memory in the short term. With time, this condition may become dangerous.
e) Respiratory Problems
Most people who take marijuana recreationally smoke it. What they might not know, however, is that the act of smoking it can come with the same effects on your lungs and health as cigarette smoking. It can also lead to similar deadly outcomes, including cancer.
At the end of the day, when you take marijuana and do not control your use - as per a doctor's recommendation or prescription, which could be the case - might lead to many problems with your health. Over the long haul, you may experience a decrease in the quality of your life as well as in your mental health.
In case you start realizing that marijuana is not right for you, you might want to start looking for ways to help you quit. As with any other drug, the earlier you stop abusing weed, the easier it will be for you to start recovering and eventually wean yourself off of it completely.
Although most people say that marijuana isn't addictive, this is far from the truth. New research studies have actually shown that close to 30% of everyone who uses this drug regularly ends up becoming dependent on it - which is quite similar to addiction.
Different studies have also reported that there might be more than 2.5 million Americans who are actively dependent on the drug. This means that the addictiveness of marijuana, as well as its role as a potential gateway drug are no longer the myths people thought they were.
Detoxification is the way through which your body will get rid of most - if not all - of the toxins that have been accumulating in it from years of substance abuse. If you are addicted to marijuana, detox could happen within the first few days/weeks after you start getting clean and sober. During this time period, you may also start getting your body and brain used to dealing with real feelings and the realities of life without using weed to numb your senses.
Consider the following before or as you undergo detoxification:
First, you need to find out if there are physical effects that you might suffer as a result of stopping your marijuana abuse habit. Although some people assume that they are no physiological effects arising from marijuana addiction, it is highly likely that you will display definite withdrawal symptoms when you decide to quit.
Whether the cause of these symptoms is psychological or physical, the end results are almost always physical. However, you may also experience some adverse and severe mental and emotional changes when you stop using weed.
You never know how your body and brain will respond when you quit marijuana before you start undergoing detox. Luckily, most recovering addicts only experience some minor physical discomfort.
Duration of Effects
Still, some of the effects might last longer than you had anticipated. THC, which is the active chemical in weed, is unlike most of the other drugs and intoxicating substances you might be addicted to.
This chemical is normally stored in your fatty cells. As a direct result, it might take your body longer to fully clear them - at least much longer than it would take to clear another common drug.
To this end, some of your body parts could still remain traces of THC even several months after you went for marijuana detoxification - and not just for a couple of days/weeks, which is often the case with most water-soluble drugs.
Some patients have reported that if you quit weed and need to undertake a drug test, you might not want to diet. Crash dieting or fasting tends to release THC into the bloodstream much faster than normal, meaning that your drug test may come out positive even if you have stopped abusing marijuana.
Insomnia is among the most common symptoms of marijuana withdrawal. It may last for a couple of nights, when you won't get any sleep whatsoever. However, it sometimes continues for several months marked by occasional sleeplessness.
Apart from insomnia, withdrawing from weed can also cause depression, vivid dreams, and nightmares. This is because marijuana may dampen your dreaming mechanism, meaning that when you start quitting your dreams will come with a crash.
These dreams are often described as being full of vivid colors and highly emotional. You may also wake up in the middle of the night and get the same dream when you continue sleeping.
However, these vivid dreams and nightmares may only start about a week after you quit marijuana and last for around a month before starting to taper off. Additionally, you may also get dreams related to marijuana abuse.
Anger is another common withdrawal symptom. It may range from a slow-burning rage and constant irritability to sudden angry outbursts even when you least expect them. You may also direct this anger at yourself, at your addiction, at having to quit marijuana, or even at close loved ones. You may also experience emotional jags where your emotions will bounce back and forth between euphoria, anger, and depression.
Other signs and symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:
- Higher or lower sex drive
- Losing your sense of humor
- Loss of concentration
Most of these withdrawal symptoms may fade and be replaced by normal emotions in about 3 or so months.
When you decide to stop abusing marijuana, you may get headaches. When they happen, you may experience them for an extended duration lasting from a couple of weeks to a few months. The first few days, as you can well imagine, may be characterized by intense headaches.
Marijuana withdrawal may also cause night sweats, which may be so severe that you will sometimes need to get up and change your clothes almost every night. These night sweats may last for a couple of nights to about a month, or thereabouts.
However, you shouldn't worry too much about your night sweats. This is because sweating is just of the ways the body will naturally eliminate the toxins in it. This is why you may also experience hand sweats that might be accompanied by unpleasant odors and smells. The body odor may compel you to take several baths or showers every day.
In the same way, your withdrawal may also be accompanied by intense coughing characterized by phlegm. This is another one of the ways in which your body will be trying to clear itself of the marijuana toxins, and may last for anywhere between several weeks to about 6 months.
Another symptom that is atypical of marijuana detox is eating problems. These will be characterized by loss of appetite, temporary weight loss, digestive problems, cramps after you eat, and nausea. Most of these symptoms, however, may disappear about one month after you stop abusing weed.
You may additionally experience:
- Chronic fatigue
- Hormonal imbalances and changes
- Kidney pains
- Low immunity
- Minor eye problems
In some cases, the detox symptoms listed above can prove to be quite severe - although this is quite rare. However, if you experience intense discomfort, you may want to see a doctor - which is one of the reasons why it is highly recommended that you undergo detox at a certified marijuana rehabilitation and treatment center in the first place.
On the other hand, you can easily reduce most of the mild withdrawal symptoms you will experience as you undergo detox. Consider the following solutions, some of which you can even try at home:
- Drinking some warm milk before going to sleep
- Drinking tons of clear liquids and water, much in the same way you would if you got the flu
- Eliminating fat from your diet until your digestion improves
- Eliminating or greatly reducing caffeine until your sleeping pattern normalizes and your shakes disappear
- Exercising to ward of unpleasant emotions like depression
- In case of excessive sweating, your body might be depleted of potassium; however, you can replace this necessary mineral by eating foods like tomatoes, leafy green veggies, citrus fruits, bananas, and melons
- Taking a hot soaking bath, which may help to improve your body, emotions, and moods
- Taking cranberry juice to cleanse and purify your body
Methods Of Quitting Marijuana
Since everyone is unique, it is not surprising that different people fight their dependence on marijuana differently. Emotional factors, for instance, might play a major role in your ability to quit this drug. However, your ability may also be hindered or enhanced by health and financial issues.
Irrespective of what you find yourself experiencing, the important this is for you to realize that marijuana has become problematic for you. This will be the first step towards making the decision to finally give your drug habit up.
Consider the following ways to quit weed:
a) Cold Turkey Quitting
Cold turkey quitting works best for the most enthusiastic. Here, all you need to do is to simply stop abusing the drug. This may be the best option, especially if you want fast results. However, you will still need a solid game plan if it is succeed.
This is because it can be quite difficult to simply throw away your habit and turn over a new leaf in a single day. Although you might be mentally strong enough to overcome your addiction, your body may not be quite as strong. This is why you should always be prepared for the worst.
In particular, you might want to remember that your body may continue storing the THC you smoked from marijuana anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months, or even more. This means that it will continue secreting the drug right into your system but in smaller doses.
Since your body may already have become tolerant to marijuana, these small doses might not be at the level your body is used to. Therefore, your willpower may be overridden by your intense willingness and need to start using again. Additionally, you may experience some severe and adverse withdrawal symptoms that will eventually force you to start abusing marijuana as you used to in the past.
However, if you have not been taking week for long or too frequently, then cold turkey quitting might work for you. With time, you will eventually learn how to push past your cravings and start moving on from the drug.
Still, in case cold turkey quitting is not the right option for you, then you should not be discouraged. There are many other ways you can give up marijuana and go on to have a wonderfully amazing and accomplished life.
b) Medical Aid
Medical aid might be a step up from cold turkey quitting but it isn't quite as drastic or as effective as drug rehabilitation. At the moment, however, no medications have been approved for use as prescriptions against marijuana tolerance and dependence. However, your doctor may still prescribe other medications - with a different purpose - to help you overcome your marijuana withdrawal.
When all is said and done, you should remember that there may never be miracle drug that will cure your dependence and addiction. However, you can always do something to curb your withdrawal symptoms and supplement your marijuana quitting plan. You should, to this end, talk to your physical or the team at your detox center to find the best solutions to the problems you are experiencing to see if they have medications to counteract them.
c) 12 Step Programs
The 12 steps were initially adopted by alcoholics. However, you can also fight against your marijuana addiction using this program too. The approach, in particular, is effective because you will be able to receive support from a group of fellow current and addicts. You can also find a sponsor within the program so that you have someone to guide you all through the journey you take when you stop abusing marijuana.
The 12 step program works best for people who are emotionally dependent on marijuana and need support to overcome their dependence. It is because of this that the rates of success are still quite low, although the 12 steps have been proved to work.
These steps are listed below:
- Acknowledgment of the marijuana addiction problem, and everything it entails
- Asking the higher power you believe in to help you overcome your dependence
- Offering yourself over to the higher power for direction and guidance
- Taking full responsibilities for all the mistakes your marijuana dependency caused
- Confessing these mistakes both to yourself and to anyone else you feel safe and comfortable around
- Deciding that you are ready to allow the higher power you believe in to remove your marijuana related flaws and faults
- Asking for help in getting rid of these faults
- Keeping track of everyone you harmed while intoxicated on marijuana
- Making amends to people who are on the list above
- Continuing to take an inventory of anyone you wronged in the past due to your marijuana dependency
- Reaching the point of improved health and full awakening after your period of marijuana addiction
Of course, the 12 step program does not necessary work for everyone. However, if you are among those who find it useful, you may be lucky enough to recover fully after undergoing these steps.
Marijuana addiction sometimes requires rehabilitation. In most cases, this might be the last resort once you have given up on all of the options listed above. However, you might want to keep in mind that rehabilitation for drug abuse is a significant time and financial commitment that will require for you to continue putting your life on hold as you seek treatment for your weed dependency.
If you have been really struggling or if the addiction has started taking a serious told on your health and wellness, then you might want to seek treatment at a rehab center. This way, you will receive the intensive medical help, treatment, counseling, and therapy you need to fully overcome your marijuana use disorder.
e) Therapy and Counseling
In case you still on the fence about receiving treatment for your marijuana use disorder, then you might want to get counseling and therapy. If you do not need medical intervention and a change of environment to stop abusing this drug, then talking and therapy might work - which is where counseling for marijuana dependence comes in.
Steps To Quitting Marijuana
According to recent research, there are some key steps that come with quitting this drug. These steps include, but are not limited to:
- Creating desire and motivation by understanding why you take weed and why it is time for you to stop
- Defeating your temptations and triggers
- Developing a plan to deal with marijuana withdrawal
- Building a personal quitting plan and following it
- Changing your lifestyle and substituting your marijuana abuse behaviors
Working through every step above may make it easier for you to quit abusing marijuana. In the long run, you will start benefiting greatly from your decision to get rid of the drug once and for all from your life.
The steps above have been explained in greater detail in the following sections:
a) Desire to Quit Weed
You need a burning desire to be able to achieve any goal. Therefore, when you decide to stop abusing marijuana, it is imperative that you start wanting to so badly that you are not going to let anyone or anything stop you in your tracks.
Developing the motivation will also take you all the way from thinking and musing about quitting marijuana to actually meeting this goal. Desire, on the other hand, with give you the push you need to overcome cravings, hard times, and setbacks.
Since marijuana may rob you of your motivation, you should also learn how to discipline yourself and capitalize on your desire to quit once and for all.
b) Why Quit?
You should also know why you wish to stop abusing marijuana. The reason might be a new job you just got or even the problems you experience when you abuse this drug. On the other hand, you may simply feel that the time has come for you to move on - especially after you start realizing that you have been trading short term satisfaction and happiness for long term stress, pain, and other adverse side effects.
At this point, you will realize that smoking weed - or using it in any other way - comes with majorly negative effects. You will also feel that you have lose some of your best years to the drug.
Here are other reasons to quit:
- Wanting to feel healthy
- The desire to get your mind back and finally experience true happiness and freedom from marijuana
- Trying to get out of the rut you are stuck in, in terms of your personal relationships
- Needing to save the money that you would otherwise funnel to your addiction lifestyle
You should also think about the main reasons that cause you to smoke. Some people use marijuana to escape reality or relieve stress, or simply because it has developed into a habit.
Understanding these reasons may make it easier for you to quit. For instance, if you use marijuana for stress relief, you could start looking for other healthier ways to burn some steam off whenever you feel stressed. On the other hand, if you turn to weed because of some trauma in your past life, you will start looking for other ways to deal with this trauma instead of trying to hide it with marijuana.
Additionally, you must develop a plan to defeat your temptations, cravings, and triggers. These are some of the most common reasons why some people relapse and slip-up even when they know that they desire sobriety and long term recovery.
c) Dealing with Marijuana Withdrawal
When you stop taking marijuana, you may experience intense withdrawals as characterized by depression, loss of appetite, irritability, night sweats, and insomnia - among many other symptoms.
Withdrawal might prove to be so adverse and severe that some people will simply light up another blunt of weed and smoke it up to relieve these intense symptoms. Although there is no medication to deal with marijuana withdrawal, you can check into a drug treatment facility where your condition will be better managed.
Some options here include:
i) Doctors and Psychiatrist
A doctor or psychiatrist might be able to help you treat all underlying conditions that compel you to start abusing marijuana. For instance, they will deal with the anxiety that has been causing you to take this drug.
ii) Inpatient Rehabilitation
This is the most intensive form of treatment for marijuana addiction and withdrawal. Although it is quite expensive, it is one of the best ways to defeat addiction, especially if appears concurrently - where you have also been abusing other drugs and intoxicating substances.
iii) Group Counselling
Going for these sessions might help you quit faster. This is because you will get support as well as new opportunities to talk through your problems. You will also meet others like you, and be able to rely on them to fight your addiction.
Marijuana Anonymous, for instance, provides group counseling for people who are actively addicted to the drug. Another option is the 12 step program, which could also help you overcome your marijuana dependence.
iv) Individual Counseling
On the other hand, you might want to go for intense therapy from an addiction counselor. Talking to them will prove to be quite useful, and it might be the one thing that propels you towards full recovery from regular marijuana use.
The Best Quitting Steps And Tips
Even as you continue fighting your addiction to marijuana, it is imperative that you take some steps to ensure that it is no longer in your life. Over and above the processes described above, you might find respite from your dependency by doing the following:
- Controlling your cravings by doing something else, exercising, having a solid and reliable support system, and avoiding idleness
- Counting on the support and motivation of family and friends
- Doing something different, or new
- Drinking coffee in lieu of taking weed
- Drinking plenty of water
- Drinking teas that have high antioxidant concentrations
- Eating healthier foods, including green leafy veggies and high fiber foods
- Finding healthier replacement activities
- Getting rid of all your weed paraphernalia
- Managing withdrawal symptoms
- Stop getting or buying marijuana
- Talking to a therapist
- Tricking your brain
Over and above everything else, fighting marijuana dependency is hardly ever a walk in the park. However, if you are determined enough and you have the support of a stable team of professionals, friends, and family around you, you should be able to defeat your addiction and get your life right back on track. All that is required of you is to make the conscious decision to give marijuana up and create a solid and dependable quitting plan (as well as back up plans in case of any errors and mishaps along the way). At the end of the day, you should remember that your future, health, and life are all in your hands and only you can do something to change how everything turns out.
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