Should I quit weed? Having ‘that' conversation with yourself

If you smoke weed and have a close support network, you've probably had some of your friends and family urge you to give it up.

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With thanks to Mark, who shared his path to deciding to quit.

Caring friends and family members can sometimes be a God-send. They can provide extra support, give you a hand in a tricky situation or just be that shoulder to lean on when you need it. The problem is, taking that support sometimes means they also feel they can comment on your life, pick on your habits and give you advice about things you really don’t want to hear.

If you smoke weed and you have a close support network, it’s not unlikely that you’ve heard their opinion on your drug of choice, what it can do to you and why you should give it up ‘now, before it’s too late’. And while all of this may actually be good advice, do you really want to hear it? Does it really sway your opinion? Or do you block it all out and just focus on what you want to hear and what works best for you?

Choosing to change your behaviour is a big choice, and while it is a good choice, it’s one you have to make yourself, believe in, back and follow through with.

Should I quit weed?

Life is full of choices. We often make decisions by weighing up the pros and cons for a certain course of action. If I stay at home on the couch I won’t miss my favourite TV show, but if I get up and go to my friend’s housewarming party, I might meet the man/woman of my dreams! More seriously though, when we choose whether to engage in a habit like smoking weed, which can be very addictive, our inner voice tends to err on the side of what’s most enjoyable. We make excuses and ignore the reasons to quit weed. We ignore advice from concerned friends or family and tell ourselves that they are uninformed, unevolved and don’t know what they are talking about. Quite frankly, we try to avoid having ‘that’ kind of conversation with them at all.

The most important conversation you need to have is with yourself

While the opinions of those important to you may have some influence or sneak into your mind and settle there only to pop up again later, you will only quit something when you want to, when you know what's driving you to quit and you believe in that reason. So how will you know when you're ready? Listen to your inner voice – it's chatting along all the time...

"Egh, God, I'm sick to death of everyone telling me I have to give up weed. What do they know? It doesn't affect me, it's a plant, it’s natural! I have a job, pay the rent, mostly turn up to things when I need to. They only notice when I forget to be somewhere or do something, the rest of the time they don't even care! Why should I quit weed anyway, weed just helps me chill after work and gets my mind off things...how's that bad?”

You'll often talk yourself into the pros

If you’re not quite ready to quit using weed, or to quit any habit, then it’s likely you’ll focus more on the conversations that support your current way of life.

“If I quit, who would I hang out with? All my mates smoke and it's not like we're going out and getting drunk and violent, we're hanging out not hurting anyone. Weed is natural, it’s been used for thousands of years. Besides, I’m much calmer when I smoke, it helps me relax. I can’t think of any good reasons to quit weed.”

Do you ever get to the cons – the reasons to quit?

But at some point, you may find that those little suggestions and ideas – those reports you’ve read or news stories you’ve seen – may start creeping up and influencing how you think. It may start as something like a little doubt in all those cons, or even just a shift in priorities as you get older or a life changing event approaching, either way, when the cons of smoking sneak in, you may be getting ready to give up.

“So I didn't turn up for Dad's birthday last week, they need to get off my case. I didn't have any money for a prezzy anyway. I never have any money. Even if I gave up weed, it's not that much extra. I mean, ten or so cones a day that's only...well I guess that’s actually quite a bit of money. Anyway, I was sick and I haven’t been able to shake off this cough for months. I wouldn’t want to make Dad sick on his birthday, would I? I just haven’t felt like going out for ages. They just don’t understand…”

Maybe it’s time I think about quitting…

At this point the conversation may shift, from a one sided view point, to more of an internal debate – you’ll start listening to both sides of the story.

“Ok I'm not admitting they're right, but, maybe, should I quit weed? It does help me relax, but I could use the money and get Mum off my back for a while. It has been causing fights with Hayley. She’s always whinging that I never have enough energy to get up on the weekend and go out with her. She’s been pretty unhappy for a while actually…OK so there are some good reasons to quit weed.”

So what's next?

If you're having conversations like this in your head, maybe it's time to think about your next steps, make a bit of a plan to quit. One of the most important things is to make sure you're making the decision and no one is forcing you. If you're thinking like the person above, there's a good chance you're coming to a point where you might give up without any pushing from anyone else. Everyone makes decisions in their own time and unless the pros outweigh the cons in your own mind, you’ll be likely to revert back to the bad habits before the balance swings the other way.

While quitting is a decision you need to make yourself, it’s important to remember the short-term and long-term effects of use, especially if you started smoking at a young age, and what this can mean for your future.

NCPIC has plenty of resources to help you quit. Check out our Get Help page, call our cannabis helpline on 1800 30 40 50 or download our Do-it-yourself guide to quitting.

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