Quitting ALL smoking
December 2, 2004 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Giving up smoking. I've been moderately successful in quitting tobacco. But I have a real problem with cannabis. Several times, I've quit the cigarettes for 6 months only to be scuppered when someone offers me a joint, and soon I'm back smoking cigarettes again. I've tried pipes of pure dope (not satisfying and too quick), I've tried eating it (great fun but needs to be done ~2hrs in advance), I've tried "herbal smoking mixtures" (taste like bonfires, don't burn well). But nothing comes close to that nicotine fuelled joint experience. So am I really going to have to turn down every joint for the rest of my life?
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (19 answers total)
So, do you want to quit cigarettes, but not dope? That's what it sounds like. Either that, or you don't REALLY want to quit. If you REALLY want to quit smoking (cigarettes and dope) you need to avoid it completely. Hang out with non-smokers. Tell your smoking friends that you are quitting so they don't offer you things to smoke. Don't go to smokey bars for a while. Just stay away from situations where you know there will be smoke. Once you've been off it for a month or so, maybe you can start hanging out in smokey environments again and feel better about "turning down every joint." And maybe you'll even find that situations in which you would need to "turn down a joint" lose their appeal altogether. Maybe you'll even find other things to do with your time.
posted by evoo at 9:41 AM on December 2, 2004

Not too much information to go on here, but my guess is that your addiction is related to an oral fixation as much as anything else- tobacco and pot give very different highs, and you don't seem enthralled by other means of ingesting THC. People I've known in your situation are drawn to the act of smoking, which a joint provides nicely.

Have you tried chewing gum?
posted by mkultra at 9:58 AM on December 2, 2004

When I was in Ireland a fellow invited a friend and me to smoke some pot with him. We were a little repulsed to see him roll a half pot, half tobacco joint! This is not done in the U.S. - or the Netherlands, for that matter. In Ireland (I hadn't smoked in Scotland or England), however, it's the norm. Have you ever tried a "stoner speedball"? Two straight shots of espresso and a couple hits off the pipe - great for endurance sports. I've also had friends use nicotine patches. If you are going to continue smoking pot, only get stuff of the highest quality or don't do it at all. Good luck.
posted by rotifer at 10:44 AM on December 2, 2004

Have we discovered any kind of smoke that really plays well with the lungs?
posted by spock at 11:43 AM on December 2, 2004

WTF are you doing mixing tobacco with your pot? That's depraved and disgusting.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:44 AM on December 2, 2004

This is not done in the U.S. - or the Netherlands, for that matter.

I have a friend who does this here in the U.S. I do agree that it's not the norm. He learned to do it in France. He also has a problem trying to quit cigarettes.
posted by Juicylicious at 11:45 AM on December 2, 2004

I tend to agree with evoo's thinking: you have an oral fixation and transposes itself between tobacco and cigarettes.

Well, I have bad news for you: this is going to be hard unless you quit both products completely.

I'm going through a similar problem: I'm trying to quit cannabis. I've just started last week, although I have had two bowls in the last two days, for celebratory reasons. Luckily, I was actually repulsed by it this time: I just didn't want to smoke by the end of the day. I'm doing something similar to what I'm about to tell you- I'm reprogramming my mind so I can rid myself of the habit. Hear me out:

Your situation is going to require you to reprogram your brain. Right now, you have an oral association or oral habit with both drugs. That's why it's easy to go from one to another- it doesn't sound like your addicted to the substance of tobacco or cannabis per se, but instead your addicted to the act of doing it.

My roommate, who's almost finished with a psychology master, let me in on a very powerful piece of knowledge: When the brain creates a neural pathway, it then always tends to use that neural pathway because it's established.
This means that when you create a habit (something you do repeatedly, reusing the same neural path each time), it's easier to succumb to the habit than it is to change it. Plus, it takes much longer for the pathway to fade- sometimes they never do!

So, you need to either create a competing pathway. This doesn't mean quitting, but this means using your willpower to override the first pathway. A friend of mine quit smoking by brushing his teeth EVERY TIME he needed a cigarette. You just simply replace one fixation with another- this starts programming the mind away from cigarettes. I would really recommend this- addiction to dental care is a GOOD thing. (=

After a few months of this, it should be sufficient that all the pathways now lead you to brushing your teeth when you get that urge.

Now, you can start smoking cannabis again. However, you can NEVER have a joint. Ever. You will need to start smoking from a water pipe, pipe, or chillum. For the closest potency of smoking a joint, I would recommend a pipe or chillum.

The reason you can choose one of these is because they're sufficiently far enough away from the act of smoking a cigarette. Think about it: cigarettes require you to open the pack, choose a filtered end, pull it with your fingertips, hold it in a special hand form (thumb and forefingers), hold it to your mouth, and light it. The same goes with a joint- the actions you take PRIOR to smoking the joint are the same as a cigarette, and your mind will notice this, and start to direct you to the same neural path that your addicted to.

By changing HOW you smoke, you can almost avert the addiction. This all depends on YOU, however- it's different for everyone, because of all the different associations.

It's just sheer willpower. YOU need to watch what you do, when you do it, and what order, and make active changes. This is what makes us human: we can override instinct and programming through rational thought.

I wish you the best of luck! I love cannabis, and I can safely say that I will always be smoking it in small quantities for the rest of my life- it's too incredible, at least for me, to pass up.

I understand you may wish to maintain your anonymity, but if you want to drop me an e-mail, I would be more than obliged to chat with you about this- and I'll swear to your anonymity.

Good luck!

On Preview: If you are mixing tobacco and cannabis when you are smoking a joint, the physically addictive properties of tobacco are going to make this doubly hard- you should never mix drugs, for this reason- you're programming your brain with a very hard to quit combination.
posted by id at 11:50 AM on December 2, 2004

Re: tobacco and cannabis. Yeah, I saw this all the time when I was in Europe. I have absolutely no way to back this up, buy my theory is that this is due to hash, which is more traditionally smoked in a re-rolled ciggy, is much more prevalent than leaf.
posted by mkultra at 12:18 PM on December 2, 2004

Whenever my buddy E gets it into his head to quit cigs, he sits and reads http://whyquit.com/ for half an hour. Helps him get his determination up.
posted by damehex at 12:19 PM on December 2, 2004

I'm no expert mkultra but I think you're probably fairly close to the mark. I'm British and in this country we "traditionally" smoke hash joints either mixed with cigarette or rolling tobacco. In my youth (a fair while ago) hash was far more readily available than leaf. Nowadays you can get pretty much whichever you like, or so I find from my own experience, but I would suggest a lot of Brits are used to smoking hash and thus more comfortable with it. Also, the leaf that tends to be available seems to be hugely potent skunk, which is not something I consider to be a relaxing or social smoke.

Anyway, good luck to you mr/mrs anonymous. I have a close friend who's been trying to quit on and off for ten years and falls every time for the temptation of the joint. I think if you're going to quit smoking you're going to have to quit smoking joints too.
posted by squealy at 12:42 PM on December 2, 2004

mkultra is correct. Indeed, when the word 'pot' is used here in the UK it almost exclusively means hash, and is always rolled with tobacco.
To the question; sorry, but my personal experience is that it's really difficult, and you're just going to have to decide that you're a non-smoker, and all that entails. I do keep a hash-pipe around though, for those once-in-a-while hits. (Which have become prgressively fewer and further apart, as the the Two Long Years have passed).
(OP - pretty much what squealy said).
posted by punilux at 12:51 PM on December 2, 2004

Yeah..."nothing comes close to that nicotine fuelled joint experience" makes it pretty clear. You're not really just looking to get baked, you're insisting that it also be a reason to backslide and get some nicotine. You've really got to admit to yourself that that's just not a tenable point to insist on.

If you're not inclined to give up dope, there's just no way you're going to give up cigarettes until you're willing to separate the two.
posted by LairBob at 12:52 PM on December 2, 2004

I'm in Canada, and while I don't see people do it as much anymore (maybe because all my friends are out of high school, and are much richer) I've seen a fair amount of tobacco mixing.
posted by maledictory at 12:52 PM on December 2, 2004

Yo, blunts is like all inside a cigar, know what I'm sayin? That's all like tobacco, right?
posted by TimeFactor at 1:08 PM on December 2, 2004

Yah, you definitely need to give up any joints with tobacco in them. It's pretty simple - roll a smaller, thinner one with just leaf, and make sure to use a slower-burning paper. They can be very satisfying.

I've also heard that you can replace tobacco with other plant materials with great success. Not really Herbal Smoking Mixtures or anything, just like nettles or cloves or something. I'm not a big expert on this, might be something to ask Dr. Hemp - he mentioned something about tobacco substitutes in a previous article.
posted by muddgirl at 1:15 PM on December 2, 2004

This problem sounds a little more complicated than your average quitting-smoking. But in case it's helpful, I'll share this. I smoked for 15 years, pack a day, and tried every quitting method under the sun. Nothing took until I went through the free, online program by the American Lung Association called Freedom From Smoking. It involves you doing a lot of reading and undertaking some small projects in preparation for quitting, but if you do them, and if you give yourself every chance you can, it DOES WORK. Like a charm. 2 1/2 years after I quit, I still can't believe I don't smoke -- but I have no desire to, and don't miss it.

The program does talk about 'triggers' -- habits that make you want to smoke tobacco because you associate the two. If you do FFS, you have to avoid the triggers for a while. For me this meant not drinking, and not going out to bars. For others it meant not having that cup of coffee after dinner, not hanging out with certain friends who smoke, or driving a different way home from work so as not to pass those intersections where you always light up. If you think of smoking pot as a trigger, and can avoid it for a long enough time to deal with your addiction to tobacco, then this program might work for you. Once you have broken the nicotine addiction, it might be possible to carefully reintegrate trigger behaviors, as I did -- I drink and go to bars with no urge to smoke any more. You'll need to separate the two, if you want to keep doing the one.
posted by Miko at 1:38 PM on December 2, 2004

What you need is a vaporizer.
posted by icey at 1:55 PM on December 2, 2004

I'll second icey's recommendation.
posted by id at 2:58 PM on December 2, 2004

just thought i'd contribute to the 2 strands here (how to quit smoking cigarettes and but still smoke spliff and why anyone would want to do this):
1. i was able to do this. you just have to not smoke cigarettes. i smoke a lot of spliffs and not a single cigarette. You just have to totally divide these 2 in your mind. but it also sounds like if you're going to do this, you should do it regularly and not once every 6 months. stop smoking a cigarettes and smoke spliffs as a reward once a day. keep the supplies around and maintain. then keep them seperate in your mind. cigarettes you never do ever and spliffs you do whenever the fuck you want.
2. spliffs are the best way to smoke, hash or weed. here's why: first, its the best burn. any other way and you're smoking lots of resin. tons of resin. bowls? resin. bongs? resin (though less and i think this is second best). if you don't like resin, this is the way to go. except for pure-weed joints. problem there is that you if you're smoking good stuff, you definitely don't want to do this. its ridiculously expensive to do so and also doesn't burn well. the thing with spliffs (vs joints) is that you can regulate the amt of weed you smoke and aren't tied to rolling enough weed for a full joint. so better burn while controlling the amt.
finally --and this is a benefit--it allows you to smoke a cigarette like thing. a lot of people wish they could smoke cigarettes on an occasional basis or a couple a day. i wasn't able to do this at all. no cigarettes or all cigarettes. so this way i was able to seperate them and now i go through a pack in about 2 months--i use them for spliffs.
posted by alkupe at 8:31 AM on December 3, 2004

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