Over the last few months we’ve been in regular contact with Mark, a guy in his late-20s who decided to give up weed in 2015 after many years of use. Mark cited increased anxiety, lack of motivation and a couple of other issues as his reason for cutting back and quitting.
One of the toughest parts of quitting is actually staying quit. There are just so many points where giving up and giving in is so tempting when sleep problems drag on, when cravings are beating you down, when boredom is taking over but most surprising is our capacity for forgetting why we quit. When you quit, you do it for a reason and maybe those reasons change so taking it up again seems the right option. But for most people, the reasons don’t change, we just forget how important they were, or the effect weed had, and let ourselves fall back into the trap of using again. It s a bit like an old partner the longer you’re apart, the less you forget the bad bits sometimes, and wonder why you gave up.
At NCPIC, we often talk to people who ride this rollercoaster reaching a point where they want/need to quit, going through the challenging process of quitting forgetting the importance of why they quit using a little again using a lot again and finally, deciding they need to quit again.
Weed is different for everyone, and not everyone experiences these cycles, has trouble quitting, or even decides to quit but if you do make that decision, write down why. Explain to yourself on paper why it is so important to you so you can have a frank chat with yourself if you start backtracking.
After almost half a year, Mark has decided he will not quit entirely, though he is now more in control of his relationship with weed, and can recognise the value of cutting back on what was a daily habit. His story so far serves as a reminder that everyone has a different attitude towards cannabis and their own health, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing your relationship with weed.
When was the last time you smoked weed/how long have you been weed free?
I was weed-free for 5 months until New Year s Eve 2015.
What s the single best thing you found out about quitting?
To be honest, I don’t really think there is anything remarkably positive about quitting. It was just something I needed to do. I am not against smoking weed; I just needed to stop smoking weed every day and I couldn’t break the habit without going cold turkey for a period of time.
What positive changes have you noticed since you quit?
I have been more productive and engaged since quitting. I tend not to dwell or procrastinate as much.
What has been the hardest thing about quitting?
Admitting I needed to quit in the first place was the hardest part.
Have you been tempted to smoke since? How did you go about resisting?
I was tempted quite a few times throughout the five months, but resisted because the satisfaction of saying I was weed-free was greater than the idea of getting high. I finally had a joint on New Year s because the occasion seemed worth it and I had broken the habit of smoking daily.
How do you reward yourself after you reach a certain milestone?
I didn’t really reward myself. I tried not to draw attention to it. I made a decision and that was rewarding enough.
What do you think about quitting now?
To be honest I don t think I will stay weed-free, it is the frequency that I need to manage, and I’m ok with having the occasional joint for now. There are obvious side effects from habitual consumption of weed, but the same can be said about almost any substance. I know it s an overused clich , but everything in moderation including moderation. Discipline is everything.
NCPIC can provide you with support and a range of resources to help, whether you want to cut back your use a bit or quit using cannabis entirely. Check out our Get Help page for more information. Other blogs about Mark’s quitting journey can be found here and here.