There are many reasons why people smoke pot. Some smoke it for a creative buzz, some smoke it to relax. More and more people are turning to the drug as a medication. Regardless of why you use it, there are times when you might want to take a break or quit smoking pot. It might not fit your budget, your lifestyle, or be interfering with daily life activities. You might be facing a drug test at work or for a new job.
If you are a regular user of Cannabis, you might simply consider quitting for a few weeks or months to increase your resistance to marijuana. Up to you…
It is always a personal decision.
Remember, that marijuana is a drug, no matter the reason on why you use it. It affects many parts of your body as there are cannabinoid receptors located throughout both the brain and throughout your nervous system. Stopping abruptly, particularly after regular use for an extended period of time, may have some physical and mental side effects.
Can I Get Addicted To Pot?
The short answer is that you can become addicted to marijuana, just like you can get addicted to any drug. Regular use of marijuana leads your body to expect certain chemicals on a regular basis. Not having access to the same, may lead to a reaction that will range in intensity from mild to severe symptoms (depending on the regularity of use, how much you use and individual metabolism).
That said, marijuana is not necessarily “addictive” – even if you use it regularly – i.e. for medical purposes. That said, even when you use the drug to treat a medical condition, your body adapts to regular use, and stopping the same may cause “withdrawal symptoms.”
Here are some red flags you need to look after:
- If you use the drug for ostensibly recreational purposes and believe that it is interfering with your life, it is probably a good idea to stop using the drug for a period of time.
- When your personal productivity drops and you feel sleepy during the day, these might be signs of excessive Cannabis intake. Perhaps a good time to have a break.
- If you classify yourself as a recreational user but find you are using the drug regularly, you might in fact, be self-medicating a medical condition you are either unaware of or might have diagnosed. Most so-called “addicts” are actually trying to treat an undiagnosed underlying condition – ranging from physical ailments to mental ones.
- Even those people who are into smoking pot “just to relax” might in fact, be dealing with levels of stress, that are causing other physical or mental symptoms, that might be dealt with by a change of lifestyle beyond “just” smoking marijuana.
What Should I Expect if I Quit Smoking Pot?
Most people, who stop using the drug report no to minimal symptoms. Those who smoke it regularly (at least several times a week, if not daily) are slightly more likely to experience side effects. This is natural. Any drug, when taken regularly and then stopped, may cause this kind of effect – even relatively mild ones like caffeine.
In other words, even if you go through a little withdrawal experience when quitting Cannabis, it is unlikely to exceed to what you would feel after giving up caffeine.
For this reason, it is probably best, if you really want to stop, to try to create a situation where you do not suddenly stop. If you cannot do this (i.e. you are facing a drug test), try to create situations where you are less bothered by the withdrawal symptoms (i.e. step up your exercise routine if you can).
Potential symptoms of Cannabis withdrawal may include both physical and “mental” reactions such as insomnia, mild depression, vivid dreams, and emotional intensity, including anger. Other symptoms can include headaches, sweating and changes in appetite.
How Can I Reduce Withdrawal Reactions?
There are multiple ways to lessen the effects of withdrawal. These include:
- Drink lots of water and clear fluids (cranberry juice, tea, and good clear filtered water).
- Exercise a lot. Excessive sweating can help clear your body of toxins. However, this also lowers your potassium. Plan to eat lots of green leafy vegetables and tomatoes.
- Eat a low-fat diet. THC is stored in fat.
- Try to eliminate caffeine.
- Drink a glass of warm milk before bedtime.
How Long Do Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
There are no real answers to this question – in part because most studies on the subject have tended to treat marijuana as an “illegal” drug, that one must “stop” using because the user is “addicted” to the same.
Beyond the value, judgment is the science. And again, because there are so few studies on the same, right now the best answer is “it depends”.
Some people experience withdrawal symptoms for just a few days – although most light users report no symptoms at all. Heavy users on the other hand, may experience withdrawal symptoms up to a month, varying in intensity.
It really depends on both use and individual metabolism.
Be Gentle, Go Slow
If marijuana is used to treat a medical condition, the symptoms of the condition itself will also become more pronounced, unless treated with another drug. Medical users frequently turn to the drug because other drugs do not work or do not work as effectively.
If making the decision to quit – either permanently or to flush your system, try to go slow, and above all, be gentle with your body.