Why do you smoke weed? 5 key questions to ask yourself

These 5 questions will get you thinking about your weed use

Why smoke weed

The recently released National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013 revealed the majority of people who try cannabis do so for the first time because they want to do something exciting or they’re curious. But for many, their reasons for trying weed and continuing to use it are different. You may use just because you like the way it makes you feel or because you want to relax, but possibly you have other reasons for lighting up that you haven’t really thought about. Ask yourself, why do you really smoke weed?

Do you smoke weed because…

You’re bored?

Some people eat when they’re bored, others bum out in front of the TV, and some smoke weed. Others manage the trifecta and do all three at once – talk about multi-tasking!

Seriously though, do you tend to have a smoke when you’ve got nothing better to do? Has it become a habit – something to take the edge of your boredom or even loneliness? It’s worth having a think about why you do the things you do – especially if they’re not the greatest choice of activity for your health and future wellbeing. Some people who have quit weed find that taking up a new interest, getting active and making an effort to get out of the rut they’ve been in is a sure-fire way to ensure they don’t slip back onto the couch, remote in hand, and puff away another afternoon.

You have mental health problems?

Mental health problems can be a real challenge. It makes getting through your day so much harder – ever felt like you’re walking up Mount Everest with a backpack full of rocks – or that you’re just keeping your head above water? That’s what it can be like for someone dealing with a mental health problem.

Despite smoking weed seeming like a good idea when you’re feeling anxious or depressed, it can actually feed into the cycle of mental health problems, making them worse not better in the long term. Cannabis has been associated with anxiety, psychosis and depression. Perhaps see your doctor or counsellor/psychologist for advice about how to better navigate your way through any mental health issues you’re trying to self-medicate by smoking weed. Chances are they will have some good suggestions ranging from other treatments, to counselling or other support networks. It’s important to remember that if you are also addicted to weed, the withdrawal effects can also make you feel anxious or depressed. Luckily most people get over the worst of the withdrawals after two weeks or so of not smoking.

Your friends do?

Let’s face it – we all want to fit in and have friends. Particularly when you’re young, the desire to be part of the group and accepted is very strong. If all your friends smoke weed, it can be hard not to want to join in too. Problem is that weed is not without negative effects – respiratory illnesses, mental health problems and legal problems if you’re caught with weed. It can also affect your motivation, relationships and outlook on life. Have you ever stopped to think about what you and your friends get up to when you’re together? Have you found that as your collective weed intake has increased, the time you spend doing other things has decreased? Is there a chance you’ll turn into a group of mates who only ever sit around and smoke when you’re together?

Giving up weed doesn’t mean getting rid of your mates – though being around users can make it tricky to quit. It’s worth considering making some new friends who spend their time doing other things you enjoy – or used to enjoy. Try joining a sporting club or take up a new hobby – or even encourage your smoker friends to give weed the flick and join you in your shiny new healthy lifestyle!

You can’t sleep?

Insomnia's a bummer, isn’t it? Lying awake for hours focussing on trying to get to sleep, or listening to mindless podcasts in an effort to bore yourself to sleep. It’s the worst. Some people smoke weed to help them sleep. Unfortunately, research shows it’s not the best way to ensure a good night’s rest and can actually contribute to sleep problems. NCPIC has an in-depth bulletin on cannabis and sleep if you’re interested in further reading. It’s important to note that if you do decide to give up, you may experience some sleeplessness and even nightmares during withdrawal – but don’t let it get the better of you – once withdrawal passes you should have the best rest you’ve had in ages!

You can’t stop?

The key for many cannabis users is whether they can stop at all. Being addicted to weed is a big reason people continue to use the drug. If this is the case for you, there is a whole lot of help out there for those wanting to cut down or quit. Check out our Get Help page or call our free National Cannabis Information & Helpline (1800 30 40 50) for advice, referrals and information.

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