If you are a regular weed smoker, you may find that it’s not so easy to go back to that non-herbal lifestyle you were once so accustomed to. While it’s not easy to stop smoking weed cold turkey, it is certainly not impossible. Be forewarned: it can be a real b**ch. Let’s go into detail about some of the physiological and psychological effects of quitting cannabis for long-time users.
First off, let’s get into cannabis dependency.
According to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, weed dependency means “that the person needs to use cannabis just to feel ‘normal’. Basically, if you can’t properly function in your life without the use of weed, you’re dependent.
According to the institute, you have to experience at least three of the following symptoms to be classified as Cannabis-Dependent:
- Tolerance to the effects of cannabis
- Withdrawal from the effects of cannabis
- Using more cannabis than was intended
- Persistent desire to stop taking cannabis or to cut down and being unsuccessful
- Spending lots of time obtaining, using or recovering from the use of cannabis
- Giving up important activities in favor of using cannabis
- Using cannabis even when it is known that it causes problems
So You Want to Stop Smoking?
We talked about dependency, now let’s get into what happens when you are considered cannabis dependent AND are trying to quit.
This is perhaps the most common side-effect after stopping cannabis consumption. Smoking weed regularly can affect dopamine levels in the brain. When the stimulant is no longer being introduced into the body, it could cause sharp mood swings. One minute you’re feeling euphoria, the next despair. Usually, though, your dopamine levels even themselves out. Although sometimes it can take weeks, or even months to feel like your regular self.
This is definitely the weirdest side-effect of quitting cannabis use. When you smoke weed regularly, you normally fall into a deep comatose when you fall asleep. Such a deep sleep typically results in a lack of dreaming for the user. That, or it’s difficult to remember any dreams you may have had. When you stop smoking marijuana, you begin to remember your dreams again, and boy can they be intense. Like most of the other side-effects, this only tends to last a couple of days.
Increased Brain Activity/Memory
Finally something positive! Although you may feel like you are of superior intelligence when high, chances are you’re going to forget all of your grandiose ideas once you are no longer stoned. While quitting weed won’t make you any smarter than you were when you were high on the reg, it does have a positive impact on memory and overall learning ability. Mainly the memory thing, though.
Lack of Appetite
Getting a case of the munchies is quite normal after smoking weed, so naturally, the complete opposite happens when you stop. When you stop introducing cannabis into your system, your appetite disappears for a little.
But like insomnia, this only happens for a few days after you stop smoking. Exercise is one thing that can help reverse the effects sooner, as it is a natural appetite-booster.
Another common side-effect from quitting smoking is insomnia. After developing a weed dependency, it could prove to be quite difficult to get some shut-eye when you’re not high (that’s a fire line, btw). Normally, this only tends to last a few days after quitting.
One of the more positive side-effects of quitting marijuana is increased energy levels. Although everyone is affected by weed differently, it’s pretty tough to argue that it doesn’t make you a little tired. Sure, different strains can give you different highs, but at the end of the day you’ll have less energy after smoking than not.
The Final Hit
If you want to stop smoking anytime soon, there are definitely some things to think about. Like anything in life, there are positives and negatives associated with stopping regular cannabis use. If you think you have a strong dependency, you may want to consider stopping for a while, even if it’s just for a little tolerance break.
Everything in moderation, right?