Cannabis is the most common illicit drug in the UK and people use it for a wide variety of reasons. While it is not as addictive as many other drugs, weed can still be habit-forming and some people who decide to quit may struggle. That is why we have put together this blog on how to quit smoking weed.
While this should not be considered medical advice, it is a guide on the steps to take if you are considering quitting weed.
Why do you want to stop using cannabis?
Understanding why you want to quit is the first step in quitting any drug. If you do not have a good reason to quit smoking weed you are not likely to stop.
For this first step, make yourself a list of all the reasons you want to quit smoking weed. This could include the cost, how it affects your work or family life, how it makes you feel or any other reasons you may have.
Be specific about your reasons as well. A good clear reason why you want to quit will help a lot when you are questioning your decision to stop smoking weed.
Make a plan
Step two for how to quit smoking weed is to make a plan. This is a concrete set of actions you will take to stop using and deal with cravings or withdrawal. Like any good plan, it should lay out steps to quitting cannabis and have goals along the way.
If you plan to stop smoking weed all at once, your steps might look something like this
While this is not a complete plan it is a good example. Each step is actionable and all the steps are broken into manageable tasks. That means you can see you are making progress and nothing feels insurmountable.
However as the cannabis that is about now is so strong just stopping could put you into a rapid depressive or agitated state so you may want to think about a 21 day reduction plan by bagging up a daily reducing dose of weed that means by day 20 you are down to just one joint that day. This does not mean going from 4 joints on day 19 & 1 joint on day 20 or that you have to smoke every day if you are not doing so. But to lessen the withdrawals you relly need be super low for the last 3-4 days.
Some of the most important parts of a plan include identifying your triggers, avoiding boredom and building a support network - this is where a professional programme such as that offered at Help Me Stop can be really effective.
Stress management apps such as Calm and Headspace are also very helpful.
Know your triggers
Triggers are thoughts, actions or places that make you want to smoke weed. Common triggers could be hanging out with the people you always smoke with, feeling stressed from your job or struggling to sleep. Your plan should include actions to take when you encounter these triggers. This could be not hanging out with friends who smoke, taking a walk after work to destress or meditating before bed to relax. Figure out what your triggers are and how to avoid them and you will have a good idea of how to quit smoking weed.
Along with avoiding your triggers, it is important to stay busy. If you are bored you are more likely to smoke and quitting will be harder. If you are trying new things and engaging in fun activities you feel better and you are less likely to smoke.
Some easy ways to stay busy are by taking up a new hobby, exercising or joining a club. The goal is to fill your time with activities you enjoy. This helps you feel good, manages anxiety and gives you less time to focus on your desire to use weed.
Build a support network
Once you have a plan for quitting weed and you have your activities and triggers identified, it is time to build a support network. This is a group of friends, family or professionals that can help you when you need. When you are building your support network, choose people who believe in you and want to help you quit.
These people can help you refine your plan, come up with new activities to keep busy and even be a shoulder to cry on. Often they are just someone to talk to when you are feeling triggered. Their job is to help you in any way they can and make sure you know you are not in this alone.
Outside of the professional help you can get from a Help Me Stop programme then accessing peer support groups like MA is a huge help https://marijuana-anonymous.org.uk/
MA is free and is avaibe online and face to face.
Then there is the added support of apps like Grounded http://grounded420.com/
Talk to a professional for help
Finally, you may want to talk to a professional if you are worried about quitting. This is especially true if you are worried about the mental health withdrawal symptoms.
If you suddenly stop smoking cannabis please expect some withdrawals. The cannabis abut now is virtually 100% THC so the withdrawals are more severe. Mood difficulties, such as irritability, anxiety and depression and physical discomforts of insomnia, nausea, and stomach pains will peak in the first week of quitting and can last up to 2 weeks or more.
Research states that brain receptors called cannabinoid 1 receptors start to return to normal after 2 days without cannabis, and should regain normal functioning within 4 weeks of stopping the drug.
Of course, withdrawals will be governed by how much you smoke, how often and for how long you have been smoking.
If you are concerned about your cannabis use, or someone else’s, and want to know what the options are for quitting and staying stopped with then call us now on 0208 191 9174 or jump onto Live Chat/email us directly at https://helpmestop.org.uk/contact-us
Help Me Stop’s intensive non-residential outpatient Dayhab programme is an effective solution that also offers 12 months of free accessible aftercare and family support options. Treatment is delivered face to face either in the mornings or afternoons over 6 weeks.
For those adults who are working and can’t access services in the day or get to our centre in West London we offer a 6-week evening online outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programme, run by the same therapists that provide the face to face programme.