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How to Quit Smoking Weed Cold Turkey for Good

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 7/1/2021

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Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

Marijuana use is widespread throughout the United States, with NIDA reports showing weed is the second most commonly used of all mind-altering substances after alcohol.

Data from the 2018 NSDUH shows over 12 million young adults using marijuana over the previous month. People from all walks of life use weed in many different forms, but is it safe to do so?

Possibly not. Despite ongoing research into the potential benefits of marijuana, and the drug is increasingly decriminalized across the US, marijuana can lead to compulsive and problematic use among many people.

For those developing any significant dependence on this drug, trying to quit can bring about uncomfortable and challenging withdrawal symptoms, from mood swings and anxiety to a numbing depression.

NIDA classifies marijuana among other addictive drugs, stating that marijuana use disorder “takes the form of addiction in severe cases”. This is believed to occur in up to 30% of all those who smoke weed at some period of time. Luckily there are treatment programs, like our Orange County drug rehab to help you overcome these problems.

In severe cases, there are plenty of treatments to help streamline the marijuana withdrawal process – more on these below.

By no means everyone needs to engage with professional treatment for marijuana addiction, though, and we’ll kick off today by addressing how you can stop smoking weed at home.

How to Stop Smoking Weed: Tips, Treatments, Benefits

Now, some people find quitting pot doesn’t turn out to be quite as easy as they imagined.

If you feel you are dependent on marijuana, and if you experience withdrawal symptoms without the substance in your system, you may find the support, structure, and accountability of a professional treatment program offers you a superior route to recovery.

For anyone looking to quit smoking weed cold turkey at home, there are some simple steps you can take to make this as comfortable as possible, while at the same time maximizing your chances of successfully moving away from a  life dominated by weed.

1. Set a clear plan and stick to it

2. Create a robust support network

3. Ditch all your weed-related paraphernalia

4. Pinpoint the people, places, and things that trigger you to smoke weed

5. Get at least thirty minutes of daily exercise

6. Eat well and stay hydrated

7. Focus on improving your sleep health

8. Look for a healthy replacement for weed

1) Set a clear plan and stick to it

Starting with a fixed plan and a clear goal in mind can help you stay on track as you attempt to quit using marijuana.

Start with the basics: will you quit cold turkey at home, taper off, or engage with addiction treatment?

Draw a timeline you feel confident of sticking with.

Next, regardless of how you intend to stop smoking weed, you should not attempt to do this in complete isolation.

2) Create a robust support network

Creating a solid support network around allows you to draw on support when you need it. It’s highly unlikely a group of friends who use marijuana frequently will encourage you to quit, so surround yourself – at least for now – with sober friends and family who would like to see you emerge from inside a weed cloud.

If you find your personal network is lacking in this regard, consider engaging with local meetings of 12-step support groups, or with secular alternatives like SMART Recovery.

Remember: you don’t need to do this completely alone.

3) Ditch all your weed-related paraphernalia

Once you are committed to recovery, throw away all your weed-related paraphernalia. From bongs and pipes to cigarette papers and vapes, get rid of anything that would otherwise tempt you to quickly indulge.

4) Pinpoint the people, places, and things that trigger you to smoke weed

By identifying the things that trigger you to use marijuana, you’ll be better placed to avoid them.

There is no fixed list of triggers, so all that counts is finding out what prompts you to use marijuana, and then finding healthier coping strategies that don’t involve smoking a joint or vaping THC oil.

5) Get at least thirty minutes of daily exercise

With a firm foundation in place, you can make improvements to your overall health and fitness, starting with making sure you exercise for at least half an hour daily.

Physical activity can improve your mood, as well as your fitness levels. Exercising releases feel-good brain chemicals to give you a high without needing to rely on weed.

6) Eat well and stay hydrated

Eat as many healthy whole foods as possible, and as few processed foods as possible.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help you feel energized while remaining hydrated. Water will also help to flush any residual toxins from your system as you move toward a marijuana-free life.

7) Focus on improving your sleep health

If you are accustomed to using marijuana as a sleep aid, be honest. Is it really working?

Instead of viewing marijuana as your gateway to sleep, focus on improving the way you spend your evenings and wind down for bed. Avoid all electronic devices before sleeping, and consider some form of relaxation technique like meditation or mindfulness.

Some people find sleep aids like melatonin can help ease insomnia that often strikes during the first week of marijuana detox.

8) Look for a healthy replacement for weed

There is much more to life than the times you spend smoking weed. Look for other activities to fill the void drugs previously occupied.

Re-embrace an old hobby or try something completely different. Start looking for healthier and more productive ways to spend your time than chained to a bong or vaping all day long.

The benefits of quitting weed are manifold and make this challenging task worthwhile.

If you smoke marijuana, stopping will help improve your respiratory health. You’ll also be less at risk of infections and pneumonia.

As you emerge from a perpetual cloud of weed, you’ll find you feel sharper mentally, and you should also notice cognitive functioning improve. Communication becomes easier, and you can form your thoughts more coherently.

Even if you have been using marijuana to cope with mental health issues, once you overcome the knotty phase of withdrawal, you’ll notice a mental and emotional improvement.

As a crowning bonus, you won’t need to spend your time and money obtaining and using marijuana any longer, giving you more time to forge closer relationships with your nearest and dearest.

Why is it Challenging to Quit Smoking Weed?

Marijuana’s psychoactive effects impact your brain, triggering chemical interactions. Your body has naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors. THC, the intoxicating component of marijuana binds to these receptors in your brain, interfering with the normal functioning of your body’s endocannabinoid system. The psychoactive THC also triggers the release of excessive amounts of dopamine.

As your brain cells are the main targets for THC, it makes sense that most weed withdrawal symptoms are mental, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

When any or all of these symptoms suddenly manifest, it can be overwhelming, particularly for those accustomed to self-medicating with marijuana. The knowledge that smoking a joint will rapidly eliminate these withdrawal symptoms means it can be very challenging to resist.

Even if you are not addicted to marijuana, anyone used to taking the drug daily is liable to experience cravings during withdrawal. These can be intense, and play a strong role in relapse.

Most marijuana withdrawal symptoms present within 24 to 72 hours of the last use. Growing in severity over a week, most symptoms should then subside. Insomnia may persist for a month or more.

Are you out of the woods once you put down your bong, then?

What Happens After You Quit Smoking Weed?

Once you stop using marijuana, the substance takes some time to be completely eliminated from your system. You could fail a drug test during the first three months of abstinence. Marijuana stays in the system for longer in the case of chronic smokers, and anyone who is seriously overweight.

If you are thinking of quitting weed, it pays to take a broader view of recovery as an ongoing process rather than focusing purely on detox and withdrawal.

Once you’re past the first week, all withdrawal symptoms should be gone, with the possible exception of insomnia. With more time and money on your hands, as well as more energy and more motivation, it’s time to start pushing forwards again instead of treading water and smoking blunts.

Overcome Marijuana Addiction at Renaissance Recovery

Maybe you have tried to quit marijuana alone at home without any success. Perhaps you appreciate that a recreational smoking habit has turned into marijuana addiction, and you prefer the thought of navigating marijuana withdrawal with a team of addiction treatment professionals guiding you.

Whatever the scope or severity of your marijuana use disorder, we’ll help you fight back and commit to recovery here at Renaissance. Fortunately, marijuana use disorder responds well to outpatient treatment, so there’s no need to pack your bags for residential rehab.

Unlike for the treatment of alcohol use disorder or opioid use disorder, there are no FDA-approved medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms of cravings. Instead, we’ll help you explore the root cause of your issues with marijuana through a combination of counseling – both individual and group – as well as psychotherapy like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).

We don’t just provide you with the care and support you need while you’re engaging with our Los Angeles rehab for marijuana addiction, but we’ll also ensure you have the proper aftercare so you feel confident of sustained recovery rather than scared about relapsing.

If you want to stop smoking weed today, take the first step by reaching out to Renaissance Recovery at 866.330.9449.

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Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country