For many Americans (as much 12% of the population, according to the most recent Gallup poll), smoking weed is considered a harmless way to unwind and reduce stress, treat pain, or party. Unfortunately, many who start using it recreationally end up smoking more and more until it’s an everyday thing. Then, when they want to stop – whether for a job, health concerns, or because it’s costing too much money – they find that quitting is easier said than done.
That’s because even though marijuana isn’t as dangerous as other, harder drugs like heroin or cocaine, it can in fact lead to physical and psychological dependence, especially when it’s used heavily over a long period of time.
This dependence can cause unpleasant physical, psychological, and emotional consequences that make it difficult to quit. So, if you think smoking weed is having a negative impact on your life or on someone close to you, we wanted to offer some things that might make quitting easier.
Don’t keep it around.
Like we’ve mentioned before, the mental aspects of weed addiction often make it more difficult to quit than the physical ones. Stress, pain, and other things can trigger the desire to smoke, and if you have any around, the temptation can easily become too great.
Avoid things you know are triggers.
That means taking a break from hanging out with certain friends or avoiding places and activities if you think they’re going to bring on cravings. You may eventually be able to return to these things, but if you’re serious about trying to quit smoking marijuana, distancing yourself from things that make you want to smoke is a smart choice.
Get regular (daily) exercise.
You’ve probably heard this before, maybe you’re rolling your eyes, but regular exercise really does help boost mood and restore healthy brain function. And since cognitive impairment is a common symptom after quitting weed, it can really provide a lot of needed benefits.
Don’t isolate yourself.
Let your friends and family know about what you’re going through and don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. This can also help you keep yourself accountable, as most of us don’t want to disappoint others or let them down.
Set important goals.
Setting goals for yourself is helpful for two reasons: it gives you something concrete to strive for, and it gives you a helpful metric for success. After all, we all love to check accomplishments off a list, right? You can list lofty goals too, but make sure plenty of them are realistic and achievable to maximize your chances of success.
Seek professional help.
This doesn’t have to be drastic, and it’s definitely not something you should dread. Few people require inpatient rehabilitation to help them stop smoking marijuana, though some may. For most, an outpatient drug program, or even just enlisting the help of a licensed counselor can be enough to give them the support they need.