Most of us know marijuana can be habit-forming. We also know the benefits of quitting weed are real. We can see the struggle in friends or family members engaged in heavy marijuana use. It is true that it may not have the addictive potential of many other substances of abuse. Alcohol, opiates and benzos are all more physically addictive. This gives many marijuana users a false sense of security. The truth is heavy users experience symptoms of marijuana addiction. Any moderately heavy marijuana users who question this should try quitting cold turkey for month or more. They’ll soon find that marijuana withdrawal is more than a myth.
Abruptly halting heavy marijuana use will not result in the physical agony a chronic opiate user would experience. That’s a fact. But, the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal are real. They range from irritability to insomnia and can last for weeks on end. They are often accompanied by very real cravings. Marijuana is a drug and it’s not harmless. The benefits of quitting weed are many, especially for daily marijuana users.
For every artist or musician who seems to be productive despite heavy marijuana use, there are tens of thousands of people who fall short of their potential. Anecdotally, marijuana is said to have some positive effects. These include reducing depression or anxiety or pain relief. More often than not though, marijuana users are using the drug recreationally. This self-medicating almost always causes more problems than it solves. Consider taking an objective look at the effects of marijuana use on your life.
How Marijuana Use Can Impact a Person’s Life
The National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) has studied the effects of marijuana. Compared to non-users, they found that heavy marijuana users report the following:
- Lower life satisfaction
- Poorer mental and physical health
- More problems with relationships
Marijuana users also report less school and work success. Marijuana use makes you more likely to drop out of school, lose a job or have an accident at work. Though occasional use is unlikely to cause serious harm, heavy marijuana use often leads to negative results. Are negative effects of marijuana are starting to outweigh the positives? It may be time to consider quitting. Are your family members or friends appear caught up in marijuana addiction? Do they refuse to see the consequences? Intervention may be worth looking into.
The Benefits of Quitting Weed
The benefits of giving up weed are many. They range from cognitive to emotional, physical, functional, and social.
- Clearer thinking
- Improved memory
- Improved patience
- Improved alertness and focus
- Reduced depression or anxiety
- Improved self-respect, self-esteem, and confidence
- Increased ability to experience pleasure
- Feelings of more intense emotions
- More natural “highs” related to normal life events
- Less apathy and anhedonia
- Increased energy
- Improved quality of sleep
- No more “munchies” and possible weight loss
- No lung issues due to smoking
- Increase in physical stamina
- Enhanced sense of smell and taste
- No fatigue and lethargy
- Improved overall health
- No red eyes or “cottonmouth”
- Having more free time for healthy activities
- Having more money, less financial worry
- Higher likelihood of self-improvement
- Better memory
- Increased creativity
- No legal consequences due to drug use
- Becoming more articulate and communicative
- No need to conceal habit from family members
- Less isolation from others due to drug use
- No more need to socialize with people who deal or use
- Spending with friends and family without using
- Improved relationships with a spouse or lover
- No need to worry about smelling like marijuana at school or work
- Becoming more reliable and accountable
- Ability to inspire others to quit drug or alcohol use
Getting Help for Drug Abuse
Because marijuana isn’t as physically addictive as many other intoxicants, some are able to quit on their own. However, heavy marijuana users may not be so lucky. Anyone who uses weed daily for years on end is likely to experience withdrawal if they quit abruptly. Even reducing your use to once a month or less can be surprisingly hard. Ask anyone who has tried. Fortunately, help is available, and treatment for marijuana addiction can be very effective. Many marijuana users have been successful in recovery. This is especially true when professional treatment and a support group are part of the plan.
Most substance use disorders, including marijuana addiction, have psychological components. Simply put, people often use drugs or alcohol to suppress adverse thoughts and feelings. These underlying issues are treated along with substance abuse to best prevent relapse. Dual-diagnosis treatment which addresses both the substance use and any co-occurring psychological diagnoses does exactly that. If you are considering treatment for yourself or someone you love, seeking dual-diagnosis care is wise.
Harmony Recovery Center is a specialized addiction treatment facility that offers customized, comprehensive programs. Treatment at HRC is designed to treat all aspects of a person’s mental and physical health and emotional well-being. Our programs feature therapeutic services clinically-proven to promote recovery, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and much more. If you are trying to kick a marijuana habit or dependence on other drugs or alcohol, contact us as soon as possible! Each day we help individuals who are struggling with substance abuse break free. We can also help you begin to experience the full and healthy life you deserve.