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The Best Way to Stop Smoking Weed
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The Best Way to Stop Smoking Weed

Written by Seth Fletcher on May 9, 2024
Medical editor Dr. Chintan Shah
Last update: May 9, 2024

In recent years, talking about marijuana use has evolved considerably, with increasing focus on its advantages and potential dangers. Among those dangers, the truth of addiction to cannabis sticks out as a complex assignment affecting an extensive range of individuals. This article reveals the best methods to give up smoking weed, supplying insights into the intricacies of marijuana dependency and the numerous treatment alternatives available. We discover the intersection of cannabis use with mental health problems which include bipolar disease and anxiety, underscoring the significance of tailored remedy approaches.

Key Takeaways

  • Smoking weed can lead to cannabis use disorder, characterized by dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Regular use is linked to mental health issues like mood swings, anxiety, and psychosis, particularly in those predisposed.
  • Long-term smoking can damage lung function and impair brain development in younger users, similar to tobacco.
  • Recovery involves professional treatment such as detox, counselling, and support groups, customized to the individual.
  • Quitting is complicated by psychological dependence, social pressures, and mental health conditions.
  • Effective recovery addresses both the addiction and underlying mental health issues through comprehensive treatment.

Weed Smoking Effects  

Smoking weed, a popular method of ingesting marijuana entails inhaling the smoke of burned cannabis plants, which incorporate Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), among different compounds. THC is the number one psychoactive element responsible for the "high" related to marijuana use. The results of smoking weed can be divided into quick pleasures and long-term consequences, impacting cognition, emotional balance, and physical well-being in a variety of ways.

Short-term Pleasures

  • Euphoria and Relaxation: Many users document emotions of happiness, laughter, and an average experience of well-being rapidly after smoking weed. A state of relaxation and stress relief frequently accompanies this.
  • Altered Perception: Users may revel in a heightened sensory notion, wherein colours appear brighter, track more profoundly, and taste more extreme.
  • Increased Appetite: Commonly known as "the munchies," smoking weed can significantly increase appetite, making meals extra appealing and pleasant.
  • Pain Relief: THC has been shown to alter pain perception, making it a proper, temporary relief for chronic pain among some users.

Long-term Impact

Mental Clarity Effects:

  • Memory Impairment: Regular use of weed can affect short-term memory and cognitive functions due to THC's interaction with areas of the brain accountable for learning and memory.
  • Decreased Motivation: Prolonged users may additionally suffer from amotivational syndrome, which lowers their motivation and impairs their aim-oriented behaviour.

Emotional Balance:

  • Mood Swings: Prolonged use can also cause irritability and mood swings, as well as other types of mood instability.
  • Elevated Chance of Mental Health Problems: Research suggests a pairing between recreational marijuana use and an increased risk of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and in rare situations, psychosis, specifically in predisposed individuals.

Physical Well-Being:

  • Respiratory Issues: Tar and other dangerous substances located in pot smoke, similar to those located in tobacco smoke, can lead to lung infections, continual bronchitis, and other breathing problems.
  • Altered Brain Development: For young adults, everyday marijuana use can affect brain  development and may lead to a decline in IQ and cognitive abilities if used during the critical development years of the brain (age 25 and under).

The effects of smoking weed vary widely among individuals: they are influenced by the frequency of use, the length of time one has been using, the potency of the marijuana, the age at which one started smoking, as well as one’s genetics. People must weigh the quick pleasures gained from smoking weed against all these factors carefully and take into account the potential effects on their health and well-being.

Is Weed Addictive?

The query of whether weed is addictive is a topic of vast debate and misunderstanding. Contrary to the commonplace misconception that weed isn't addictive, medical studies indicate that cannabis can result in a condition called cannabis use disorder, which encompasses both dependency and addiction. This circumstance illustrates that there's a potential for dependence on weed, although it manifests in another way when compared to substances like opioids or alcohol.

Recognizing Cannabis Use Disorder

Cannabis use disorder is defined by a pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically substantial impairment or distress. It is characterized by a number of signs and symptoms, such as a strong desire to use marijuana, problems in controlling its use, persisting in its use notwithstanding dangerous results, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms while not using it.

Weed Addiction Science

Cannabis Use Disorder, may be understood through the lens in the way THC interacts with the brain. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors inside the brain, in particular in regions related to satisfaction, memory, attention, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. This interaction disrupts the normal functioning of various neurotransmitter structures, leading to changes in brain function and structure through the years.

Physical Dependence vs. Mental Habituation 

Physical Dependence:

While weed is less likely to cause physical dependence in the same manner, such as substances like alcohol or nicotine, some heavy or long-term users can experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation. These symptoms can include irritability, mood and sleep problems, decreased appetite cravings, restlessness, and diverse kinds of physical pain, indicating a form of physical dependence.

However, in comparison to other addictive substances, cannabis addiction physical withdrawal is generally milder.

Psychological Dependence: 

The primary issue with weed addiction lies in its psychological dependence. Users may discover that they depend on hashish to address pressure, anxiety, or depression, leading to a cycle where they are not able to manage these issues without it.

Psychological dependence can cause a disregard for obligations, reduced interest in once-fun sports, and persevered use despite the understanding of destructive outcomes.

Regular Use and Addiction

Cannabis use disorder risk is significantly increased by regular marijuana use. Cannabis users who start using the drug in their teens are more likely to become dependent on it, with an estimated 9% of users developing a dependence on the drug. Both the frequency of use and the potency of the cannabis consumed raises the risk of addiction.

It is critical to be aware of the symptoms of cannabis use disorder and to know that, similar to other substance use disorders, it is treatable. In order to minimize the risks of addiction and dependency and to promote a healthier relationship with cannabis use, it is first necessary to acknowledge the addictive potential of this plant.

Factors That Complicate Quitting

Cannabis withdrawal can be difficult, just like quitting any other substance on which one has become dependent. This technique is complex, involving strategies targeting psychological dependence, social pressures, and underlying mental health concerns. For individuals trying to kick their marijuana addiction, knowing these elements is critical to help expand available treatment and support plans.

Psychological Dependence

Cannabis users frequently develop psychological dependence, which is one of the main obstacles to quitting. Cannabis use as a coping mechanism, stress reliever, or way to escape reality is what defines this type of dependence. Over time, cannabis use solidifies into a routine habit for the user, making the idea of quitting seem overwhelming. Due to the dependence on cannabis for normalcy or happiness, quitting frequently results in discomfort, anxiety, and other upsetting psychological symptoms, which increases the likelihood of relapse.

Societal Influences

Social settings have a significant influence on how easy it is for someone to stop using marijuana. Many people use marijuana with friends in their social circles and sports as a shared social exercise so it may be challenging to refrain from using marijuana because of the social normalization of the drug. Furthermore, the choice to prevent using may be made extra challenging because of worries of social rejection or complaints from peers who continue to use it.

Underlying Mental Health Problems

Having underlying mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or other mood disorders makes it very difficult to stop using marijuana. In an effort to lessen the symptoms of these disorders, many people use cannabis as self-medication. Even though cannabis has the potential to worsen mental health problems over time, this can lead to a problematic cycle where the user grows more and more dependent on the drug to manage their mental health. It is frequently ineffective in treating mental health conditions, and marijuana use often worsens the underlying condition.

Addiction to Weed and Anxiety

Given that anxiety can be a contributing factor in both the decision to start using marijuana and a side effect of attempting to stop, it is especially noteworthy when it comes to marijuana addiction. While some people begin using marijuana to reduce their symptoms of anxiety, long-term use of the drug can increase anxiety and even cause panic attacks in certain users. Eliminating marijuana as a coping method when trying to stop can increase anxiety, which can be a barrier to sobriety. This highlights the requirement for all-encompassing care that takes care of the addiction as well as the underlying anxiety.

How to Stop Smoking Weed

Quitting smoking weed is a private journey that requires willpower, aid, and powerful strategies. Whether you are looking to conquer dependence, improve your mental health and physical fitness, or, without a doubt, choose an alternative, the following sensible advice can guide you. Embracing these strategies can empower you to transition towards a more healthy lifestyle, making the course to sobriety more achievable and sustainable.

Set Clear Goals

  • Define Your Reasons: Clearly articulate why you need to quit. Whether it's for fitness, relationships, or for work related reasons, information on your motivation can serve as an effective tool to get you through your challenging moments.
  • Set Specific, Achievable Goals: Break down your principal purpose into smaller, achievable steps. For instance, if your aim is to stop completely, you might begin by steadily reducing your usage.

Find Support

  • Seek Professional Help: Consider weed addiction treatment options such as counseling or therapy, which can offer personalized strategies and help. Medical professionals can also address underlying issues such as anxiety or depression.
  • Join Support Groups: Support groups in your community, such as Marijuana Anonymous, can offer you accountability, encouragement, and guidance from people who are familiar with your struggles.

Form New Routines

  • Determine Triggers: Acknowledge the circumstances, feelings, or pursuits that arouse your desire to smoke.  It is critical to devise methods for dealing with these triggers without marijuana.
  • Replace Weed with Positive Activities: Find hobbies, physical activity, or social interactions that make you happy and fulfilled so you will not need drugs.  By doing so, you can lessen the chance of relapsing and fill the void left by quitting.

Improve Your surroundings

  • Eliminate Weed and Related Items: Get rid of all the marijuana and related items from your living area. This lessens temptation and reaffirms your resolve to stop.
  • Create a Supportive Environment: Avoid circumstances that could expose you to marijuana, and surround yourself with people who agree with your decision to stop using it.

Make a Healthy Lifestyle Your Priority

  • Make Your Physical Health a Priority: Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can all help you feel better emotionally, curb cravings, and feel better overall.
  • Concentrate on Mental Health: To address emotional or psychological issues without turning to marijuana, partake in practices that support mental health, such as mindfulness or counseling.

Weed Addiction Rehab

For some, the best way to quit smoking weed involves more structured support, such as weed addiction rehab. These programs offer a comprehensive approach to addiction, including detox, counseling, and aftercare planning, tailored to your individual needs.

Deciding to stop smoking marijuana is a big step toward a happier, healthier life. You can overcome the difficulties of quitting and attain long-lasting sobriety by establishing clear goals, getting support, substituting unhealthy habits with healthy ones, and putting your general wellbeing first.

Weed Addiction Statistics

The prevalence of weed addiction, or cannabis use disorder, has become a notable public health concern. With increasing legalization and changing societal attitudes toward marijuana use, understanding the scope and impact of this issue is crucial. The following statistics shed light on the extent of weed addiction and its effects across various demographics, emphasizing the importance of addressing this challenge.

Prevalence and Demographics

  • Rising Rates: Recent surveys suggest that cannabis use amongst adults in Canada has continued to increase over the past several years. One survey noted that approximately 18% of people surveyed said they used marijuana within the last year, and the highest rates of use in the 18-25 year old population.
  • Youth at Risk: Approximately 17% of youth who start the use of marijuana become dependent on it, as compared to approximately 9% of adult users. This underscores the heightened vulnerability of youthful individuals to the addictive potential of cannabis.
  • Gender Differences: Men are almost two times as likely as women to suffer from Cannabis Use Disorder, though the reasons for this disparity are not absolutely understood and might contain social, organic, and environmental elements.

Health and Social Impact

  • Mental Health: Studies have observed a strong association between regular/recreational marijuana use and mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis, specifically in individuals with a genetic vulnerability.
  • Educational and Occupational Outcomes: Recreational marijuana use, especially beginning in youth, has been related to poorer academic results, lower wages, and reduced lifestyles in adulthood.
  • Treatment Admissions: Marijuana is one of the most common substances reported at drug treatment program admissions, with individuals seeking help primarily for cannabis use disorder. This reflects both the addictive potential of the drug and the challenges users face when trying to quit.

Usage and Dependence

  • Daily Use: Current users, report using marijuana every day or nearly each day, strongly indicative of the development of Cannabis Use Disorder
  • Dependence: An expected 30% of individuals who use marijuana might also have some feature of Marijuana Use Disorde, indicating a considerable quantity of individuals are potentially in need of guidance and treatment.

Societal Costs

  • Economic Burden: The societal costs associated with cannabis use disorder include healthcare expenses, lost productivity, and legal issues. While comprehensive data is still emerging, the economic impact is significant, highlighting the need for effective prevention and treatment strategies.

These figures highlight the pervasiveness of cannabis addiction and its complex effects on people, families, and society at large. In order to lessen the adverse effects connected to cannabis use disorder, they emphasize the necessity of comprehensive approaches to prevention, education, and treatment.

Acknowledging the potential for marijuana to become addictive is an essential first step in treating cannabis addiction and all of its guises, including how it affects people with bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and other mental illnesses. The path to conquering Cannabis Use Disorder is complex, necessitating a thorough comprehension of the obstacles as well as the various marijuana treatment options. Marijuana addiction treatment programs and marijuana addiction treatment therapies offer tailored approaches that cater to the individual's specific needs, incorporating strategies for coping with mental health issues such as bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder associated with marijuana use.

Effective treatment goes beyond mere abstinence; it involves a holistic approach that addresses the psychological aspects of addiction, providing individuals with the tools they need to maintain long-term sobriety. This may include therapy, support groups, lifestyle changes, and in some cases, medication to manage withdrawal symptoms and co-occurring mental health disorders.

The best way to quit smoking marijuana involves a personalized plan that considers all aspects of the individual's life, including their mental health status, social environment, and personal motivation for change. By seeking out comprehensive weed addiction treatment options and committing to the process of recovery, individuals can navigate the challenges of cannabis addiction and move towards a healthier, substance-free life.


What is cannabis use disorder?

Cannabis use disorder is a medical condition characterized by an individual's inability to stop using cannabis despite experiencing significant impairment or distress, including dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

Can smoking weed lead to addiction?

Yes, smoking weed can lead to addiction, scientifically known as cannabis use disorder, which includes symptoms of dependence and withdrawal.

What are the mental health risks associated with regular cannabis use?

Regular cannabis use is linked to various mental health issues, including mood swings, anxiety, and an increased risk of developing disorders like psychosis, especially in those genetically predisposed.

How does long-term weed smoking affect physical health?

Long-term weed smoking can impair lung function and respiratory health, similarly to the effects of smoking tobacco, and can also negatively impact brain development in younger users.

What does treatment for cannabis addiction involve?

Treatment typically includes professional interventions like detoxification, counselling, and participation in support groups, all tailored to meet individual needs.

Certified Addiction Counsellor

Seth brings many years of professional experience working the front lines of addiction in both the government and privatized sectors.

Dr. Chintan is a Board Certified Family Physician with an interest in holistic and preventative care as well as healthcare systems. Credentialed Physician with both American & Canadian Board of Family Medicine. Adjunct Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Telemedicine clinician.

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