It is a fairly well known fact that cannabis is not physically addictive. Unlike say nicotine we will not become dependent on it and in theory that should make it a lot easier to give up. However the stark reality of the situation is quite different as it can be very easy to become psychologically addicted to the substance and to find it hard to quit for all manner of other reasons. Here are some tips to help you stay off of weed.
First of all, identify the times and situations in which you feel a need to smoke weed. For many it is a purely social activity that you might engage in during or before a night out. This can make it very hard to give up weed however when you are in a room with everyone else who is smoking it and enjoying it. In this situation then you have several options. You can request to your friends to try and do it subtly as a way to make you feel better about it, you can find someone in the group who also does not smoke spliffs and try to engage with them more (and this can be a good way to bond) or you can try to hang out more with a different group of friends – at least until you have managed to get over your urges more. Certainly ensure you ask them not to offer you any or to blow it out too near to your face.
At the same time, try to focus on what you are doing and why you are doing it on a night out. One good way to do this is to save up all the money you would have spent on cannabis which can then give you a very real fiscal reward at the end of a month. All this you can then spend on other things that can help you enjoy a night out more.
Also try to look at your stoned friends from an outside perspective. While they are probably laughing a lot you are likely to find that you can still join in in their laughter and enjoy the night. At the same time though you will not suffer from the glazed looking eyes, the nausea, the munchies or the looks that they are likely to get from everyone else. You will be far more in control and at the end of the day that is really more fun.
If you find this is not the case and you do feel a bit like the odd one out, then drinking can be a way to feel more involved. Buy everyone a round of shots or try to create drinking games involving downing pints etc. At the same time though if you tend to do foolish things when drunk (such as throw your quitting out of the window) then you may need to drink less for a while to keep your logical head about you.
At the end of the day though most of us do not want to lose our friends and there are always going to be situations where temptation rears its head. Make sure that you stay focussed on the reasons you are quitting – the health benefits, the amount of extra time you will have, how much more alert and productive you will be, and how much better off. This is unfortunately something you have to do alone (though if you can convince a friend to quit with you then this will likely help a lot, and they can be that one you bond with at the parties).
If you find you are also smoking weed alone at home however then this is likely to be a more full-blown psychological addiction. This can then be even more difficult to quit and is also more damaging for you both psychologically and physically.
There are many reasons people smoke weed alone. One is to relax and many people find that cannabis helps them to loosen up and stop panicking. This makes it a very tempting hobby for those who generally suffer from anxiety or an over-active brain as a way to ‘switch off’. However it is important that you be able to switch off in other ways too or you will find you eventually can not relax without being stoned (needless to say, this is not healthy). Teach yourself to relax then using other techniques – meditation is surprisingly effective and has many health benefits, or alternatively so are many hobbies such as painting or reading. If these aren’t really your style then try just listening to some calming music and closing your eyes.
Another reason many people turn to weed is ‘boredom’. If someone has nothing to do, then marijuana can help them to enjoy this solitude rather than stew in it. As such you need to make sure that you are never bored – take up a new hobby, start reading a book, buy a computer game – anything that will take your mind off of your boredom and keep you from turning to weed. At the same time you will be surprised at how much more productive you can be without weed in your life – so make the most of it.
Smoking marijuana can also be a kind of ‘habit’ eventually, and if you are used to coming in from school or work and having a smoke, then this is what you will automatically want to do. Try to mix up your daily routine completely then so that you change many of your habits. Look at this as a kind of detox for your life and your productivity and you will make some other positive breakthroughs too. At the same time you should remove temptation by throwing away your weed and any pipes, pouches or containers you own related to smoking weed. If it is not convenient then you will likely find yourself something else to do.
One final reason that people smoke weed on their own is that they are self medicating for depression or anxiety. If this is the case then you might find that weed is the only way you can feel happy and normal, which is a serious condition. Here you should attempt to get to the routes of your problems and if necessary seek help from a therapist.
Whatever the reason you are quitting it is also important to find something to replace your old destructive behaviour with. There are some ways you can get a good ‘natural’ and healthy high from neurotransmitters and endorphins such as dopamine. Exercise is one important way to do this (this leaves you with what’s known as the ‘runners’ high’) and green tea can create a similar effect. Even just petting an animal such as a dog can cause a rush of hormones that is similar to a ‘high’ and can be quite relaxing.
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