If you are contemplating how to stop smoking weed, it may be a sign that your marijuana use’s unpleasant effects are starting to outweigh any pleasurable effects. Perhaps you are concerned about the potential dangers of continuing. You may have even already tried to stop smoking weed a few times before and found your attempts to be unsuccessful. When you become dependent on any substance, quitting is no small task. It is common to experience setbacks, but it is also more than okay to reach out for help when you do.
Quitting weed may not always be simple, but it is possible and much more effective with the proper support. We can help you discover the treatment options that are right for you. Call 706-480-8733 today for more information on addiction treatment in your area.
How to Quit Smoking Weed
On average, adults who seek treatment for marijuana dependence report more than ten years of daily use and at least six attempts to quit. Despite the negative consequences of continuing to smoke marijuana, addiction makes quitting extremely difficult. Every situation is unique; there is no single, guaranteed method for how to stop smoking weed. Fortunately, different types of behavioral treatments have shown promising results in dealing with marijuana addiction.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy
Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) addresses a person’s uncertainty about quitting. For example, someone may understand the harmful effects of continuing marijuana use yet may still see the benefits of continuing and staving off withdrawal. In MET, the therapist works to break down this uncertainty and strengthen motivation to change. Patients will meet with therapists for several individual sessions in which the therapist works to guide the patient toward change. Together they will reflect on the patient’s situation. They will explore the pros and cons of drug use, set goals, and create plans to achieve them. MET also helps promote self-assurance and teaches patients to work through resistance to continue to make changes on their own.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to teach patients skills to help them quit marijuana use and continue sobriety. It also provides strategies to manage or avoid other problems that can interfere with quitting. Similar to MET, patients meet with therapists in individual or group sessions to work on skill-building. They will learn to manage cravings and avoid or cope with triggers that can lead to relapse. In each session, patients examine their behaviors regarding self-management and recent marijuana use or cravings. Then they create plans for adjusting future actions to continue on the desired path. CBT sessions may involve role-playing and other interactive exercises and practice assignments to reinforce their acquired skills.
Support is Key
Often, the most challenging part may not be initially quitting weed, but continuing to stay away after you have stopped. Recovery is dependent on your willingness and ability to change your habits and maintain healthy behavior. For many people, it is difficult to stay motivated when they feel alone. This is why some addiction recovery people feel like their progress greatly benefits from involvement in a 12-step recovery program, such as Narcotics Anonymous.
Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and similar programs provide you with a drug-free community that you can learn from and count on for assistance. This can be especially helpful if your ordinary social groups involve people who also use marijuana. Social pressure can be a significant factor in drug use. Other times, drug use may isolate people. Attending a support group regularly can show you that you are not alone in your struggles. When you interact with others recovering from addiction, you will likely realize that your hardships and worries surrounding recovery are common.
People further along in recovery may share tips about strategies that have worked for them. Many recovering addicts benefit from making additional changes to their daily lives, such as implementing mindfulness practice or physical activity.
The good news is that you do not have to choose a support group over therapy or vice versa. Involving yourself with both can often lead to a more successful recovery. Working with a psychotherapist, counselor, or social worker while you attend a 12-step program can boost your support network. Such professionals can offer additional assistance, especially with co-occurring mental health problems.
Why is it So Hard to Quit?
It is a common misconception that marijuana is not addictive. It is true that not all marijuana use leads to dependence. However, THC, the mind-altering substance in marijuana, is still an addictive substance. When a person cannot stop using marijuana even though it is causing health and social problems, they have an addiction. Researchers estimate that 9-30% of marijuana users develop addictions. Additionally, those who begin their marijuana use before they turn 18 have an even higher chance of developing an addiction than adults.
People who attempt to quit marijuana after long-term use typically have difficulties due to the withdrawal symptoms. These include:
- Decreased appetite
Can a person overdose on marijuana?
While large amounts of marijuana can produce troubling side effects (hallucinations, paranoia, etc.), there have been no reports of someone dying from marijuana alone. Many marijuana-related emergency room visits may associate with the rise of THC levels in marijuana over the past few decades. Exposure to high THC levels could mean a greater chance of a harmful reaction for those who are new to marijuana use and unaccustomed to its effects.
Heightened THC exposure is a common risk with edible forms of marijuana. Because edibles take longer to produce a high, some people may consume more to trigger the effects faster. This leads to high amounts of THC consumption. If you are suffering from an addiction, remember that you are not alone. Many people are going through what you are going through, and we have the tools to help. Contact our specialists today, and start getting the support that you deserve.
Marijuana’s Long-Term Risks
At the moment, it may not seem like there is much risk to smoking weed, especially if you do not experience the adverse side effects. Some people feel that they even benefit from marijuana if it eases their withdrawal symptoms. However, other effects can negatively affect you in the long-run.
Marijuana interferes with chemicals that play a role in normal brain function, and prolonged use can affect brain development. This is especially true for people who begin using marijuana as teenagers, while their brains are still developing. Marijuana can affect the brain’s areas necessary for everyday functions, like thinking, memory, and learning. Researchers are still trying to determine how long the effects of marijuana last and whether the changes they make could be permanent. However, previous studies on the matter have suggested a link between marijuana use and lowered cognitive abilities.
One such study found that people with ongoing marijuana use disorder who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost an average of 8 IQ points between ages 13 and 38. Those who quit marijuana as adults did not fully regain the lost mental abilities. Those who started smoking marijuana as adults, however, did not demonstrate significant declines in IQ. Another similar study found that young people who used marijuana showed a notable decrease in general knowledge and verbal ability between preteen years and early adulthood.
Other Health Hazards
Smoking marijuana can lead to many of the same breathing problems that those who smoke tobacco experience. Marijuana smoke similarly irritates the lungs, causing chronic coughing, phlegm, more frequent lung illnesses, and a higher risk of lung infections. Marijuana can also raise a person’s heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking. This may increase the chance of heart attack, especially for older people and those with heart problems. In some cases, prolonged use can cause people to experience regular cycles of intense nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. Some patients may require emergency medical attention.
Prolonged marijuana use also links to varying mental health problems. It can cause temporary hallucinations and paranoia in some users and, in extreme cases, psychosis (loss of connection from reality). Some people who use marijuana may also develop depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Those who frequently use large amounts of marijuana generally report lower life satisfaction than those who do not use marijuana. This may include poorer mental or physical health, more relationship problems, financial difficulties, low energy, low self-esteem, and less academic or career success. So, learning how to quit smoking pot could lead to improved health and a better overall state of being.
The “Gateway Drug”
Besides alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly used mind-altering drug in the United States. In 2018, nearly 12 million young adults reported using marijuana, and teenagers’ use continues to rise steadily. The increasing popularity of vaping among younger crowds has played a significant role in the growing prevalence of marijuana.
Along with alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is a “gateway drug” because people are more likely to try it before using other drugs. Some believe using marijuana leads people to start using “harder” drugs soon after. While this is a possibility, the reality is that most of those who use marijuana do not use harder drugs. Many other factors, such as social environment, can influence a person’s drug use.
However, just because marijuana is not considered a “hard drug” does not mean we should overlook its potentially harmful effects. As its popularity rises, the number of young people who believe regular marijuana use is risky has decreased, causing severe substance abuse implications. If you think you are suffering from an addiction to marijuana, then call us today. Our trained professionals will guide you to the treatment that is right for you and your needs.
Quitting is Possible
If you are trying to understand how to stop smoking weed, it may feel like you have reached a point of hopelessness. However, your desire for information is a good sign. It shows that you are interested in making a change and willing to reach out for help, two significant factors for beginning recovery. Quitting may seem unthinkable, especially if smoking weed is what makes you feel better about coping with daily life. Despite any pleasant-short term effects, the long-term risks may eventually negatively impact your health, mental state, and other aspects of your life.
Fortunately, a variety of different treatments have proven beneficial for recovering from marijuana addiction. Therapy, support groups, or a mixture of the two are often cited by addiction specialists and recovering addicts alike as some of the most helpful resources in recovery. The right treatment for you is out there, and we are here to help you find it. Call us at 706-480-8733 as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. We can help you begin your journey toward a happier, healthier life.