how to smoke less pot & avoid weed hangovers?
April 6, 2015 10:38 AM   Subscribe

I love smoking pot but it's beginning to make me feel lethargic, and of course less productive. My schedule for the next few months is way too busy to accommodate the laziness brought on by the pot. Help me lessen my pot use to where it is more of a "treat" that I can enjoy on weekends or something. Also, help me find a replacement activity that can help me relax before bedtime.

I'm 24 and I've been smoking on and off since I was 17. I've gone through phases where I abstained for several months, without even really thinking about it. Usually, I just got busy, and it became less easy to buy or whatever, and I'd just let it go.

Now, it is SO easy to get. It literally can be delivered to my door: really great, high-quality stuff, in a non-sketchy transaction. The cost is low. It makes me a happy, laidback person. My therapist and psychiatrist (I have depression/anxiety/ADHD) both know I smoke. I told my psychiatrist the amount (1.5-2 grams a week) and he said it really wasn't much.

These days, it is a huge stress-reliever, something I look forward to at the end of a long day. I love rolling the joint, the smell, the way it makes me feel, etc. I love that it makes me creative. I smoke and then do some stretches or basic yoga poses, or I put on music and paint or do something crafty. Sometimes I smoke and do dishes or clean my apartment. I feel like it makes mundane activities enjoyable, and it puts me in a nice headspace.

However, for all its great qualities, it makes me tired as shit the next day. I feel extremely groggy, with what seems like a "weed hangover." I don't think this is something I've always experienced. I wonder if it has to do with eating too much before bed while I'm stoned-- putting myself into a food coma? Has anyone overcome the dreaded weed hangover?

Also, it saps my motivation. At least, for the things I don't particularly enjoy (studying for my hard pre-dental classes and studying for the DAT). I know that I would have a lot more clarity and willpower if I cut it out at least on weekdays. But now it's become a routine. I'm under an incredible amount of stress, and I'm busier than I think I've ever been in my life, at least for the next 2 months. What should I do?

I think ideally I'd only smoke on weekend nights, but that would require a lot of self-control. Also, I still want/need to be productive on the weekends, so the weed hangover issue remains.

Another option is to cut it out cold-turkey for the next 2 months. This seems a little severe, but something I'd definitely consider if it would bring me closer to my goals.

I am already a yoga-lover, though admittedly, I haven't been going to classes like I used to. Maybe this would help? I also do a short, guided meditation about once a week or so.

Please share any advice or anecdotes you have about recreational pot use and resulting motivation issues, grogginess, etc. Or how you turned it into a less-frequent hobby from a more-frequent one. Or any opinions you have on whether or not pot can be part of a busy person's life.

posted by DayTripper to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
First, try smoking less. A joint of high grade stuff is a lot for one person. If you're really only smoking 2 grams a week, a bowl should get you a nice relaxing buzz if you choose the right strain. Normally I'd say a straight indica is what you want for bedtime, but if it's giving you the grog in the morning after cutting back the amount, an indica-dominant hybrid may be more appropriate for you.

If you're not smoking seedless buds, buy something better. I would always get the grogs from the seedy shit I'd get when I was younger.

Alternatively, you could get a nice sativa strain and smoke a couple of hits of that in the morning. Sativas always got me up and moving.
posted by wierdo at 10:45 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

this article on the extinction burst helped me to quit smoking so much post-college. so did generally spending time in settings that did not allow me to light up any time that I wanted to (ie not at home)
posted by runt at 10:48 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was a daily vaper for about a year (smoked when I could before that), then went cold turkey for about six months - I started taking lithium and didn't want anything else in my system. In the last month I've tried it again twice, and I definitely get the hangover now - maybe it's a getting less young thing? I'm 25.

Right now I'm trying to make it about special occasions - because my sister is in town, because I'm on vacation, etc. I don't want it to become even an every-weekend thing, as it's so easy to go from that to every day again, and I genuinely prefer being sober most of the time. I'm also in a situation where it's insanely easy to get hold of, like ludicrously easy, and the part of me that remembers not having a reliable source for years occasionally has "but there are drugs here and I'm not doing them!" FOMO type tantrums, even though the ease of access isn't going to change any time soon.

For me, what works (I also entirely abstain from alcohol) is spending enough time sober regularly enough to know that it's my preferred default, and to use this to keep myself in line the rest of the time. I still have motivation issues, but at least I know they're about me/bipolar-based rather than being added to by outside sources. I don't have any magic beyond that. Good luck!
posted by terretu at 10:51 AM on April 6, 2015

When I quit it was for similar reasons, and I didn't regret it.

That said, if you're wanting to limit your intake just to weekends could you not just have a small amount delivered on Fridays, just enough for the next couple days? Does your weed delivery person have a minimum order? /old person
posted by something something at 10:52 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

In my 30s and I partake in the same way you do. I've had luck switching it out for exercise (spec: weightlifting). When I'm done, it gets me into a bit of a different headspace and I'm definitely less stressed and more relaxed (as soon as the endorphin or whatever wear off.) Definitely not a 1:1 replacement, but give it a shot by picking a new exercise or going back to yoga.

Also, try to switch to vaporizing if you haven't; it eliminated almost all the 'weed hangover' symptoms for me. The ones it didn't I got rid of by cutting myself off for the night an hour or so before bedtime, which also helps with food cravings.

Finally, I heartily recommend just taking a break from it entirely if you have important shit to do and not the best self-control, but I am the sort of person that has a much easier time with abstinence than trying to limit myself.
posted by a manly man person who is male and masculine at 10:58 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you want something with a little bit of ritual to it, maybe replace your evening smoke with tea? There's a world of amazing caffeine-less teas out there, and lots of brewing gear to fiddle with (I like my IngenuiTEA, but there are many methods to choose from), and many blends intended to be relaxing or a little bit sleepy-making that's certainly not going to be the same but can still be very nice.

I've been a subscriber to Tea Sparrow for a couple of months and have been crazy for the rooibos options I've gotten so far (particularly Gathering Place Trading's organic rooibos chai and Rishi Tea's blueberry rooibos - maybe try their Serene Dream?)
posted by Lyn Never at 11:16 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Try switching to a vaporizer, and giving yourself a smaller dose than you're used to. Keeping it to just a couple hits and seeing what happens is definitely possible - it's not like anything is wasted in a vaporizer, you can just smoke from the same packed device the next time. If you haven't tried straight indica, it could be worth seeking out. It can put you to sleep earlier, and you might wake up for work refreshed. But really, you've said that you've abstained every once in a while and you barely even thought about it. That's not uncommon and one of the better aspects of weed. If you've abstained before, it really doesn't take strong willpower to do it again. Just take a break for a month and see how you feel.
posted by naju at 11:34 AM on April 6, 2015

I've been in your shoes, and the two things that have helped me are:

1) start smoking *later*. Instead of counting the amount you're smoking, look at the hours you're spending high. This helped me focus on how I was spending my time, which was the thing that I was actually trying to change. Now I have a window in which I allow myself to smoke, i.e: "don't smoke until 4:20* or whenever I do all my readings (whichever is later), stop smoking 90 minutes before bedtime."

2) Stretching and yoga is an excellent replacement for a night time winding down routine.

*don't start smoking at 4:20. That's still the productive time of day.
posted by DGStieber at 11:54 AM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've been abstaining for about 2 months expecting to have to be drug-tested during my current job search, and the first week or two were rough but now I barely think about it. I always found the morning hangover was from the excessive eating I would do at night. I would wake up the next morning with what was probably a sugar hangover more than anything else. I've also limited my contact with friends who might tempt me into partaking. Once I land the new job, I plan to resume my activities, but I have found that filling my time with other things (running, reading, yoga, sex, so much great tv on now -- not booze, meth, etc.) has helped me not think so much about it.

Ultimately, what I have experienced is, the less you smoke, the more the occasional puff feels good -- and there were periods where I was all day, every day for years.
posted by archimago at 4:28 PM on April 6, 2015

As for rituals to replace it with, herbal tea, a warm bath, and reading a book (separately or all together!) are great pre-sleep activities. Sounds old and fuddy-duddy, but it works.
posted by aggyface at 6:58 AM on April 7, 2015

Do any of your friends smoke pot with you? Maybe you can decide that you'll only smoke when you're hanging out with them, since you know that will be dedicated "hanging out' time.

Honestly, though, if you can't keep it contained to a once a week or less kind of thing, and if it's interfering with your functioning, I would really encourage going cold turkey, at least for the short term.

In terms of transitioning, I would try to commit to doing the same things you mention in the question, only without pot. At the end of the day, do some yoga, paint, listen to music, etc. Just without the pot.

I also wonder if part of the issue is that you have a hard time giving yourself permission to take a break when smoking isn't involved. Would it help to have a dedicated time period to relax? Like, no work after 8 or 9 pm on weekdays, and no work after 3 pm on weekends?
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:30 AM on April 7, 2015

So this is kind of silly, but my boyfriend and I bought a Kitchen Safe to lock up our weed when we don't want to smoke. It was basically for the same reasons — we enjoy using it to wind down and it does wonders for my anxiety, but I definitely get a weed hangover in the morning sometimes as I age and hate feeling foggy at work, so it's really best that I don't smoke on weeknights. We don't have a delivery dude and we don't buy regularly because we don't really smoke that much, quantity-wise, but if it's just sitting around the house ... well, I have HORRENDOUS impulse control, and it makes a boring evening less boring. But I love having it around for the weekends.

Anyway. I've found that out-of-sight means out-of-mind and it's really helped me be mindful about how much I smoke.

I also wonder if part of the issue is that you have a hard time giving yourself permission to take a break when smoking isn't involved. Would it help to have a dedicated time period to relax? Like, no work after 8 or 9 pm on weekdays, and no work after 3 pm on weekends?

Also: This.
posted by good day merlock at 8:25 AM on April 7, 2015

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