How To Stop Smoking Weed

Many states have already legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. Because of that, it's easy to assume that taking marijuana isn't a big deal.  However, all marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. Under the Controlled Substances Act, it's classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no FDA-approved medical use and has a high potential for abuse. 

You can brew, eat, smoke, vaporize or inhale marijuana, though smoking it is the most common drug use. Although it may be less habit-forming than other substances, weed use can result in dependence and addiction. 

If smoking pot is starting to impair your quality of life or you feel that you can't function without it, it may be time for you to stop. But, once hooked on this drug, quitting it can prove to be tricky, even if you want to. 

Hope is not all lost, fortunately. With the right mindset and assistance, you’ll likely end your marijuana use. For starters, we'll walk you through the reasons, methods, and tips to quit weed smoking below. 

What Happens When You Smoke Weed?

How you use this addictive substance can play a role in how it affects your body. For example, smoking it is among the quickest routes of administration, causing rapid changes in the brain and body. Nonetheless, learning about the potential effects of marijuana use may help you decide to quit smoking weed. 

Short-term Effects

Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis plants. It affects the user's brain in areas that control memory, mood, concentration, thinking, and coordination. In low doses, people may experience pleasurable effects for a short period, which is why they often use the drug. These can include: 

  • Euphoria or feeling high
  • Pain relief
  • Feeling sedated or relaxed
  • Increased appetite
  • Heightened sense of taste, smell, or touch

These effects vary depending on several factors, such as the type and amount of product used. Different methods of consuming marijuana also have different timing and lengths of effects. 

When inhaled, you'll feel its effects within 5 to 15 minutes, generally lasting for another one to four hours. But when ingested, it can take about one to two hours to kick in, with the effects lasting up to 24 hours. 

Side Effects 

Unfortunately, the effects of THC in marijuana are not always pleasant. Like any mind-altering substance, cannabis use also has unwanted side effects, especially if consumed in large doses. Below we've put together some of the undesirable effects associated with taking marijuana: 

  • Dry mouth and dry eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Faster heart rate
  • Increased anxiety or paranoia
  • Impaired ability to focus and make judgment
  • Low or depressed mood 
  • Decreased coordination 
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Poor memory

Long-term Effects

Chronic or prolonged use of weed, marijuana, or cannabis on a regular basis can lead to adverse health outcomes. 

Interestingly, the severity of long-term marijuana use largely depends on the user's age—people who have smoked pot since they were teenagers may experience much more long-term effects. Furthermore, the teenage brain isn't fully mature and is significantly susceptible to substance abuse or addiction. 

Whichever the case, long-term use of marijuana can lead to: 

  • Cardiovascular Health Risks: Chronic marijuana use can lead to higher heart rates and blood pressure, making the drug even more harmful for users with cardiovascular disease. According to research, the risk of heart attack is considerably higher in the hours after smoking weed than in normal conditions. 
  • Respiratory Problems: Like cigarettes, smoking weed can have similar effects on the lungs and pulmonary function. Coughing and wheezing are among the respiratory problems pot smokers may experience, and it can also increase their risks of bronchitis, chest colds, and lung infections. 
  • Mental Health Problems: Smoking high-potency marijuana regularly for longer periods can cause changes in mood, hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. It's associated with certain mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and substance abuse
  • Reward System Dysfunctions: Heavy, long-term use of marijuana can lead to lower orbitofrontal cortex gray matter volumes, according to a study. This, in turn, could make you prone to addictive behaviors, and may affect your decision-making and motivation.

Moreover, consuming marijuana produces immediate relief, reinforcing you to use the substance. As with any other drug addiction, you might have only begun using weed to experiment.

Once the brain adapts to large amounts of the drug, you may find that it's increasingly more challenging to go without taking marijuana. This may cause you to continue using it despite the harm it produces. When the downsides of weed use start to outnumber its benefits, you might consider quitting marijuana. 

However, if you try to stop smoking weed after chronic use, you may experience intense cravings and a range of unpleasant physical changes. Be mindful of these addiction withdrawal symptoms once you decide to leave off smoking marijuana. 

Keep in mind that your reasons for wanting to stop using marijuana can help increase your chances of success. To strengthen your determination, here are some significant benefits of quitting marijuana. 

  • Enhances your respiratory and cardiovascular health
  • Gives you a more positive, balanced mood
  • Increases energy and motivation
  • Boosts your focus, memory, and cognitive functions
  • Makes you less vulnerable to mental health illnesses
  • Improves your overall quality of life

Methods on How to Stop Smoking Weed

When you realize you have a problem, giving up marijuana for good is a significant decision you need to make. However, eliminating marijuana from your system can be harder than expected. Still, equipping yourself with the following methods can help you get started. 

Have a Realistic Goal

If you're serious about quitting marijuana use, you must have a realistic goal. Start by deciding on what approach you'll use to stop smoking marijuana. Would you want to end your weed use abruptly or cut back gradually? How are you going to deal with marijuana withdrawal symptoms and cravings? 

Note that there's no perfect way to give up weed. You might have to go through some setbacks before you land on the approach that will work best for you. Regardless, it's essential to have a plan of action to make a healthy transition and stick to it. 

Taper Your Use

Quitting weed all of a sudden is typically hard for heavy users. Tapering might be a good idea if you feel you can't do it immediately. It's a gradual process of reducing the amount and frequency of marijuana use. This may help your body adapt to lower doses and lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms. 

You should set a specific time frame and commit to it. A few weeks to a month since you decide to quit might be a good starting point. You should also try your best to keep yourself busy, as other activities will distract you from withdrawal symptoms. If you think this is unrealistic, you can give yourself a few more months until you break off altogether. 

Quit Cold Turkey

Quitting cold turkey isn't easy and often results in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. However, it's an effective way to get a fresh start, especially for people who doubt their ability to cut back their weed use. This will let you completely cut out weed consumption and see results straight away. 

While quitting cold turkey is generally safe, this approach can be dangerous if you give up severe alcohol dependence or certain substances like heroin. If you want to quit marijuana abruptly, ensure to do it in a safe medical detox setting. 

Prepare for Withdrawal

You may experience withdrawal symptoms as you give up weed, whether you use tapering or cold turkey. And such symptoms are one of the key reasons why weed smokers relapse. That's why you need an alternative plan in place for how you'll deal with any intense withdrawal symptoms. 

This will help you become mentally prepared. Educate yourself about the potential symptoms and that they will eventually pass you to handle cravings and temptations better instead of returning to marijuana use. 

Some of the symptoms you should be aware of are:

  • Mood changes
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping, or insomnia
  • Depression
  • Sweating


Contingency Management

Focusing on your goal requires a lot of effort and discipline. But creating artificial rewards can be an effective way to compensate for the pains of quitting marijuana. This is where contingency management comes into play. 

By rewarding yourself with a non-substance present for not smoking weed, you'd be reinforced to remain sober and keep from using marijuana. 

Tips for Quitting Weed Smoking

Unlike other types of substance use, the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting marijuana are more tolerable. Still, this doesn't mean marijuana addiction is a straightforward process. There will be cravings, temptations, and signs that will make you feel miserable. Below are some tips that will help you stick to your goals and endure the process of quitting weed. 

Know and Avoid Triggers

Deciding to stop smoking weed is only the beginning, as even after you decide to quit marijuana use, specific triggers may prompt you to crave weed. This is why it's vital to know what makes you want to smoke pot in the first place. 

Are there specific times of day you're more inclined to take marijuana? Do you feel an urge to smoke weed in certain settings, situations, or groups of people? Once you determine what action, object, environment, or person causes your substance use, write them down and figure out how to deal with them. Also, do your best to avoid your trigger locations and situations as much as possible. 

Overcome Cravings

You will have cravings or persistent and intrusive thoughts of smoking pot, and overcoming these itches is a process that varies depending on the person. Still, you can begin by challenging and removing any false beliefs about your urges. For example, if you've used marijuana for a long period, you might falsely believe that the only way to eliminate the cravings is to use more weed. 

Knowing how you should react to these cravings and thoughts if you're serious about quitting marijuana is crucial. One technique you can use is the delay and distraction technique. You can do this by completely distracting your mind with something non-marijuana-related, or by setting a timer for an hour to delay your urges. Your cravings will likely not feel as intense after you reassess them. 

Find a Replacement Activity

Instead of smoking weed, you can also find a replacement activity to overcome your urges. Discover a new hobby you can turn to whenever you feel the cravings to use pot. Make it something you can do easily or immediately, such as learning to cook or playing video games or a musical instrument. You can also try going for short walks or reading an interesting book to replace your smoking habit. 

In addition to acting as distractions from your urges, these activities will replace your bad habits with productive or positive ones. They will be able to help you curb your marijuana dependence over time.

Exercise Regularly

Marijuana use can significantly impact the systems that regulate stress and rewards. However, physical activity can help boost your mood and restore healthy brain function. As a result, it will help decrease your marijuana cravings and withdrawal symptoms. 

You can do aerobic exercise or brisk walking for a start. Even small amounts of exercise per day will dramatically affect your mental health and keep your urges at bay.

Take Care of Yourself

As you stop smoking weed, your brain will start gradually returning to normal neurotransmitter production. This may create heightened sensitivity to stress and anxiety for a few days, weeks, or even months. Add to that the unpleasant symptoms of marijuana withdrawal. 

While going through the process, it's essential to keep yourself physically and emotionally healthy. Below are some self-care strategies that may help you on your journey:

  • Have good sleep hygiene
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Practice deep breathing or mindfulness
  • Avoid other sources of stress, or at least mitigate them
  • Be mindful of your progress

Find a Support System

You might find it impossible to successfully stop your weed use alone, especially when dealing with cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Thus, try to find a support system. Keep in touch with supportive, non-toxic friends and family members and avoid people that may trigger a relapse.

You can also join a support group of users trying to quit marijuana—we particularly recommend subreddits like /r/getdisciplined. Sharing your thoughts and experiences either in-person or online may give you the encouragement you need to succeed on your journey.

Treat Underlying Problems 

Marijuana addiction and mental health disorders usually take place together. If you're smoking weed to self-medicate underlying conditions like anxiety or depression, it might be a lot more challenging to quit marijuana. 

It would be best if you got a proper diagnosis and treatment to quit smoking successfully. You may feel less inclined to use pot if your psychiatric symptoms are effectively managed. 

Get Professional Help

Many people try to stop smoking marijuana several times without success. If you have marijuana use disorder, you may need medical assistance to quit smoking pot and stick to it. Depending on the severity of your case, you might even need to check into inpatient rehab. 

Don't hesitate to get help from a professional when you're struggling to control your weed use and it's starting to interfere with your daily life. You don’t need to go through this alone.

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Quitting marijuana is a complicated process, but it's not impossible at all. Also, the benefits of quitting it completely outweigh the symptoms you’ll experience along the way in the long term. 

By having a realistic plan, employing the right strategies, and seeking help from a professional when needed, you’ll get rid of your addiction and improve your life significantly. 

Oklahoma Smokes has valuable resources for you if you're looking for a tool that will make you calm and relaxed without worrying about the addictiveness of marijuana. Reach out to us today and discover helpful alternatives to overcome marijuana or cigarette cravings. 

Check out Oklahoma Smokes today to know which tool is helpful for weed smokers who want to quit but can't overcome the cravings, habits, and oral fixation. We can help you stop smoking for good!

FAQs on How to Stop Smoking Weed


1. How long is weed in your system?

The duration that weed stays in your body depends on several factors, such as frequency of use, THC level, body weight, and hydration levels. If you're a regular heavy user, the substance can be detected in your system for up to 30 days after last use. Note that the type of test used to detect the drug is also crucial. 

2. What can I replace smoking weed with?

Most people smoke weed to feel good, fit in with a group of friends, or simply out of boredom. Exercising outdoors and engaging in creative or positive social activities may help you satisfy the need for the desirable effects you get from smoking weed without worrying about becoming addicted.

3. How to know if I need to quit smoking weed?

It's often difficult to evaluate your marijuana use. Still, here are some signs to help you determine if it's time to quit smoking weed: 

  • You start feeling like you can’t function normally without it
  • You constantly crave it throughout the day
  • You begin to experience withdrawal signs like loss of appetite, irritability, insomnia, or anxiety if you don't get higher doses of marijuana
  • Your weed consumption starts to interfere with your daily life
  • You consume marijuana to escape from problems at home or work