Resources for quitting weed without demonizing it?
May 22, 2018 1:46 AM   Subscribe

I think marijuana is a safe and beneficial thing for many if not most users, and I think it has been beneficial for me in the past. But it currently isn’t, and I am having trouble letting go of it. Can you recommend resources that can help me quit without dissing marijuana itself?

**Yes I will talk to my shrink about this** and it’s possible I need a new antidepressant and/or some kind of anti-anxiety medication. I know that quitting without addressing the underlying stuff won’t work.

Right now I am a near-daily smoker (evenings only, at least on work days!). This has been the case on and off for a couple of years, though I will frequently go weeks between running out of it and buying more. I can tell I am currently using it as a form of avoidance, so that I don’t have to deal with the shit I need to get done in my life, and also as a form of self-medication for depression and anxiety. It used to work better for that purpose than it does now. (I am also on an SSRI antidepressant.)

Thing is, weed used to be good for me – creatively, socially, sexually, I can point to many specific times and ways it has made my life better in the past. So there is no way I will be able to take any strident anti-weed propaganda seriously. But for the last couple of years, I feel like it’s just made me lazier and more boring. I don’t know if it’s even totally accurate to say “I want to quit smoking,” but it’s certainly accurate to say “I want to quit being lazy and boring” and maybe this is what it will take.

Previous times I’ve tried to quit, I wound up replacing this after-work habit with a couple of drinks - or with a cigarette, which I otherwise do not smoke at all. Each time, I’ve figured the cure was worse than the disease and gone back eventually.

Please point me to any resources or personal experiences you may have for me.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
At one point in my life I found myself smoking enough weed that it had started messing with my ability to do my job, and I had also noticed that it had become the only thing I was doing for fun. I wanted to find out whether I'd developed some kind of dependence on or addiction to it, so I resolved to just not smoke any weed at all for a year and see what happened.

After two weeks I'd completely sharpened up at work again.

After a month I'd started rediscovering all my pre-weed-related recreational activities, and was no longer seriously missing smoking.

After the year was up I started smoking again, but this time around not anywhere near as frequently, secure in the knowledge that I never had been addicted, merely habituated. And I got much more selective about when I chose to smoke. I no longer did it as a matter of course; I used it as a sometimes but not always adjunct to other activities that were fun in and of themselves, like stretching or cycling or sex or playing the drums.

Quite a lot of years after that I had to give it away altogether in order to become a respectable foster parent and general all-round pillar of the community. But once the kids have all attained adulthood and moved out, I plan to get my degenerate drug-addled freak back on again from time to time - unless Australia spoils my evil scheme by legalizing the stuff, in which case I'll be forced to turn into a respectable dope-cookie-baking all-round pillar of the community instead.

Thing is, weed used to be good for me – creatively, socially, sexually, I can point to many specific times and ways it has made my life better in the past. So there is no way I will be able to take any strident anti-weed propaganda seriously.

Nor should you. Strident anti-weed propaganda is pretty much 100% bullshit and weed, used appropriately, can make lots of fun things even more fun.

But for the last couple of years, I feel like it’s just made me lazier and more boring.

It's completely possible for that to have become true without any of the strident anti-weed propaganda having any validity whatsoever. Your positive relationship with weed has just run its course for the present, probably because you've been overdoing it to some extent, and it's time to do something else for a while.

Quitting weed will leave a bit of a psychological gap in your life for a while, but unless you've been smoking it mixed with tobacco, then if my own year off it is anything to go by you're really really unlikely to suffer actual physical cravings.

I can tell I am currently using it as a form of avoidance, so that I don’t have to deal with the shit I need to get done in my life, and also as a form of self-medication for depression and anxiety. It used to work better for that purpose than it does now.

Recreational drugs are usually a pretty poor substitute for properly calibrated medication, especially if used long term. Long term cannabis use, in particular, can make anxiety considerably worse as well as being a depressant, as it tends to promote unhealthy levels of rumination. So you might even find that your present mood lifts somewhat after a couple of weeks off the weed, especially if you replace the evening weed sessions with something health-promoting like going for a half hour walk along a nice river somewhere, listening to the water birds and the chuckle and splash of little waves.

Main thing is not to try bullshitting yourself into giving up the weed due to weed being in some way inherently Bad, because it's not; give it up because you know you've just been overdoing it. Too much of a good thing can make it much less good, and having a longish break might be all you need to do in order to restore judicious use back into the fun thing you know from personal experience it can be.
posted by flabdablet at 2:30 AM on May 22, 2018 [14 favorites]




Have you considered looking at public health takes on marijuana? Public health (as a field/discipline) is considered absurdly pro-weed by anti-weed people, because there has been a lot of research on it that shows it helps reduce deaths from opioids, as well as how it is used to harm PoC. But public health is considered absurdly anti-weed by pro-weed people, because public health is not generally thrilled with the unknown health risks of vaping, the known health risks of smoking any substance in general, and concerns about safety concerns of advertising to youth and inadequate storage of edibles (the number of kids taken to ERs because they found a brownie or a piece of candy and ate it has skyrocketed, as have calls to poison control).

So there's this dual viewpoint that frequently boils down to "this should be legal, and it helps a lot of people" along with "people are not taking the risks seriously and just because it helps some people doesn't mean it is a healthy choice for everyone" that drives both sides of the debate crazy. You might find it useful to read perspectives that come from that perspective, since they are more measured and generally less strident?
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:20 AM on May 22, 2018 [1 favorite]




Weed affects different people in different ways and even the same people in different ways at different times. It may be useful at certain points in your life and less so at other times.

It's strong medicine. It can be amazingly creative and transformative or it can be inhibiting and obstructive. Listen to your self and decide whether you can make good use of it at this time. You may just be stuck in a routine with it.

Once you get over that daily craving habitual pattern, you'll be clearer and can return to it later.. if you want to.


Hope that helps a little.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:05 AM on May 22, 2018


Reddit's r/leaves seems nice.

All the subreddits for marijuana are mostly okay. /r/trees is okay, but it skews bro heavy, as it is in fact Reddit. If you click around the related subreddits for medical and recreational marijuana and so on you'll find a bunch of demographic specific groups and I bet you can find a ton of really good resources there whether you participate or not. Sidebars often yield lots of good information on any topic with good traffic in Reddit I think. 'Taking breaks' and 'tapering down' come up a lot. You might also find useful ideas in sobriety-focused subreddits.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:50 AM on May 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


I say try CBD oil. I only take it for nausea but it seems useful for a lot of things...
posted by rubberduh at 12:30 PM on May 22, 2018


Book recommendation: "The truth about addiction and recovery."
posted by DoreenMichele at 11:13 PM on May 23, 2018


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