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A product extracted from hemp, cannabis has psychotropic effects. It contains many chemical compounds called cannabinoids. THC is one of them and the higher its concentration, the greater the risk of addiction. 5 to 10% of regular users would face a cannabis addiction.
Do you smoke firecrackers constantly, or only a joint once in a while, and you have decided to start your cannabis withdrawal? Cheer! This article will help you find the resources within you to quit smoking in the best possible circumstances.
How to quit smoking cannabis?
Ending your consumption is an exercise that requires time, patience, and perseverance. To achieve this, a multi-step plan is essential. It will help you structure your detoxification process.
Avoid setting unachievable goals, but stay realistic and maintain a positive mindset. Also, in the event of physical dependence on THC, cannabis withdrawal induces symptoms that it is necessary to know and anticipate in order to successfully quit and limit relapses.
I encourage you to keep a notebook, in which, at each stage, you can write down the various information as well as your results and your feelings, to come back to it freely whenever you wish. It will also allow you to realize how far you have come.
Step 1: take stock of your consumption
A successful cannabis withdrawal begins with an assessment of your consumption. The higher it is, the more it puts you in danger, whether directly (consequences on the body, mind, and cognitive abilities) or indirectly (social, school, or professional consequences, etc.).
This first assessment will allow you to engage your motivation to quit smoking cannabis by making it a reality. The results obtained will allow you, at the same time, to take a step back from your consumption, but also to adapt your weaning efforts to your level of addiction.
If your score is high, then you are probably having problems on a daily basis because of your use. You may even be suffering from cannabis addiction.
Step 2: Ask yourself the right questions to strengthen your motivation
To successfully quit cannabis, you need to think about the reasons for your use.
Is it to relax? To help you integrate socially? To fill a gap or escape negative emotions? Several reasons can lead to consumption.
Analyzing them will allow you, later, to find alternatives to cannabis consumption more easily, to find substitutes to replace your habits. Think about your notebook and don't hesitate to write down the three main reasons that lead you to consume.
Now you know why you smoke. But have you thought about why you want to quit?
Long considered a soft drug, cannabis is highly psychoactive and induces multiple health consequences that increase the risk of developing cancers, heart problems, psychiatric disorders, and reduce your cognitive abilities.
Beyond these risks, smoking joints also harm the quality of your life: your social relations have deteriorated, you only associate with smokers, you feel withdrawn and have reduced your former activities, you fear for your professional career, you no longer feel involved enough in your missions at work, you encounter financial problems because your money is going through your replenishment or you are afraid of having a car accident, of being controlled by the forces of the order ….
It's up to you to list, for each aspect of your life, the main reasons that lead you to quit: they will be a driving force in your progress and the achievement of your withdrawal goals. Being aware of this will help you visualize the months ahead.
Step 3: Visualize the future benefits of quitting cannabis
You now know your motivations. Now, try to visualize all the benefits that await you thanks to the coming detox: better physical shape, alertness, reestablishing healthy social relationships, sleeping better, saving money...
Regarding money, you can even calculate the cost of your consumption, weekly or monthly, to motivate you by putting this money aside.
Thereafter you will then have the possibility of investing this amount either in a reward, to make you happy, or why not in a personal project that is close to your heart. Either way, it will symbolize the end of your detox.
Take the time to write down how you imagine yourself in several months, who will be the new “you”: you will be surprised to see how much more serenely you will be able to hold on during cannabis withdrawal, visualizing your future success.
Step 4: Prepare for withdrawal symptoms
Although cannabis addiction is primarily psychological, physiological addiction is quite possible. This dependence on the product, especially if you have been using it for a long time, will cause a THC withdrawal syndrome when you stop and lead to cravings.
The main symptoms of cannabis withdrawal are:
- Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness;
- Anxiety or nervousness;
- sleep disturbances (e.g. insomnia or nightmares);
- Loss of appetite and weight;
- Feverish state (fatigue, weakness, slowdowns, etc.);
- Depressed mood;
- Belly pain, sweating, tremors, chills, fever, headache.
Knowing about it beforehand will help you fight the consequences of this detoxification. Indeed, you will probably feel “weird”. It's completely normal, your body frees itself from drugs and flushes, which causes temporary disturbances.
These symptoms appear within 24 to 72 hours after stopping, the peak occurring the first week and rarely persisting for more than two weeks.
However, the duration of cannabis withdrawal varies according to each person: it is much longer in the event of excessive consumption.
You can ask your attending physician to discuss with him if you have any fears, he will be able to reassure you and accompany you.
Step 5: set your own pace
Moving at your own pace is essential for successful cannabis withdrawal
In this sixth step, it's time to choose how you are going to quit: gradually or suddenly? You are free to decide.
There is no good solution. Quitting is possible, but is very difficult if you are a heavy smoker. Don't put pressure on yourself. You can set quantity goals for yourself to gradually decrease before giving up altogether.
But you can also set yourself qualitative objectives. To do this, identify the tricky times during which you usually smoke (for example in case of boredom or to fall asleep) and try to stop using cannabis in these moments. This is an excellent first step, in addition to becoming aware of “at-risk” circumstances.
Only you can decide how to do it. Don't blame yourself if everything doesn't work out right away: review your approach and try to figure out what went wrong. Sometimes intermediate steps are necessary to make better progress. Keep goals realistic and achievable.
The first days are the hardest. You may question your project, but above all hold on, you will succeed! Write down what you feel in your notebook to free yourself from it.
Not giving up also strengthens your self-confidence: the more the days pass, the more you will be able to measure the extent of your business. Remember that you are gradually rebuilding your self-esteem.
Step 6: Set a date
Like any addiction to fight, setting a start date for withdrawal is important, it's the famous D-Day.
If you stop abruptly, without decreasing, then still leave yourself a week before starting, in order to prepare yourself. Ideally, if you have the opportunity, prefer a calm and low-stress period.
If you are reducing gradually, note the start date of your reduction and then determine the day of your final stop. You are free to set the duration that seems most relevant to you between the two.
You can also quit smoking tobacco at the same time.
As well as being beneficial to your health, it can help you minimize your risk of relapse, as cannabis use is frequently associated with it. In this case, it is good to ask your doctor to set up a treatment based on nicotine substitutes.
Step 7: Change your routines to avoid cravings
It is necessary to assess the risk situations, that is to say, the times when you used to consume cannabis. Once again, take your notebook to write them down and specify: If you were alone or with someone; The place where it was happening; Your mood, and how you felt while smoking.
In this way, you will anticipate the times, places, and states that now represent a risk of temptation.
And if the latter becomes too intense, you will not give in to cannabis, but you will call on your emergency kit! It's a kind of behavioral first aid kit that you will personalize to support you in tricky moments.
To create it, draw up a set of activities that will replace your old routines. It's about planning enough to know what to draw and what to use at the right time:
If you had a tendency to smoke cannabis out of boredom, why not resume this personal project that you had put on hold for a while in order to occupy yourself? If you were using it to soothe yourself because of a difficult emotion, why not call a friend instead?
It's up to you to discover the best resources to implement on a daily basis: a sports practice will release endorphins to relax you, and artistic activity will develop your concentration skills and your creativity, meditation will reconnect you to your states of consciousness, volunteering will create a social bond...
The choices are many and it is important to listen to you to find the right balance. Little by little this kit will no longer be used only when needed but will become your new routine.
Step 8: Surround yourself with people who will support you
Sort it out: don't stay surrounded by people who don't respect your choice and encourage you to start smoking again or continue to smoke in your presence.
Ideally, it is also relevant, at least for a while, to avoid risky social situations as much as possible: stop hanging out with smokers who used to consume with you, and do not go to parties where drugs circulate easily.
With the implementation of your new activities, you will inevitably be led to broadening your relational horizons.
Do not hesitate to talk about your weaning around you.
Discuss with the people you trust around you, those who will listen to you kindly, without judgment, simply to encourage and support you. Knowing who you can rely on is also part of your journey to end your addiction.
If, despite everything, it is difficult for you to confide or create relationships, get closer to mutual aid associations or discussion groups.
Also, health professionals are there to support you: general practitioners, psychologists specializing in addictions, and other addictologists; contact them if you feel the need.
Step 9: take care of yourself
First of all, it is essential to avoid other addictions that would replace cannabis: alcohol, gambling, or even certain drugs.
However, do not hesitate to resort to non-toxic solutions such as soothing herbal teas or anti-stress essential oils.
Sport is an excellent tool to relax you.
If you have difficulty regulating your nervousness during the duration of your withdrawal from cannabis, you can try sophrology, acupuncture, or even hypnosis.
Also remember to reward yourself in the way that suits you, for example, by giving yourself a gift for each new level reached.
Thereafter, if a malaise wants to be persistent, continue this work on yourself by going in search of the root causes within the framework of therapy.
An accompaniment will help you to understand the place of cannabis in your life: its origin, its departure, and why the consumption has taken on such an extent.
Cannabis is a drug with significant risks, but stopping it quickly reduces all the symptoms it causes.
The earlier the use starts, the more difficult the detox can be. However, quitting smoking joints is possible! It is obviously a complete change that induces new habits, frequentations, and activities.
Weaning oneself is also confronting oneself with one's desire, it is a form of battle, which allows access to a better daily life, to find other sources of pleasure.
If you are suffering from your consumption and you think psychological support is necessary, contact Professionals, who will be able to support you in your cannabis withdrawal.
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