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How To Quit Smoking Marijuana

by Landmark Recovery

August 14, 2019
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Marijuana is becoming more prevalent across the country, with many states legalizing the substance, it is important to learn more about what effects marijuana can have on you and how to quit smoking marijuana if needed. While marijuana becomes more accepted as a medication, people should understand that there still is an addictive potential for this substance.

If you or a loved one is using marijuana excessively, it may be a good idea to look at ways and strategies in which you can quit using or at least reduce your marijuana use. Things like treatment programs and personal goals can help you learn to quit marijuana.

How To Quit Smoking Marijuana


Marijuana use disorder is similar to other substance use disorders in the sense that it can be a dependence and lead to withdrawal symptoms if not handled properly. However, it should be noted that the long-term outcomes of marijuana use are generally less severe than other substances, such as alcohol.

With that said, marijuana use can still lead to some harmful side effects and health problems. This is why it may be beneficial to quit smoking marijuana if you are overusing the drug.

There are a number of treatment options for those dealing with marijuana dependence or addiction. One effective form of treatment is behavioral therapy programs.

Cognitive-Behavioral TherapyCognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a form of psychotherapy that is used to help teach people how strategies in which they can identify triggers that cause or urge them to use. During CBT, they will work to address and correct these feelings and behaviors to counter any of these feelings.

Contingency Management — This type of therapy uses reinforcement of desired behaviors and punishment of undesired behaviors to help people overcome whatever substance abuse issues that they may be facing. It has been found to be an effective tool to curb abuse and treatment of substance use disorders.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy — Motivational enhancement therapy, or MET, is a form of counseling that helps individuals think more positively about treatment and stop their drug use. It is meant to cause a rapid and internally motivated change. Subsequent meetings are meant to review cessation and be sure that patients are staying on track.

For some, marijuana use may not fall under the category of addiction per say, but might still be problematic and having harmful effects on mental and physical health. If this is the case, you may not need the help of a behavioral treatment therapy course, but rather make a few lifestyle changes that will be conducive to your success.

One way you can do this is through setting personal goals for yourself. One great way to quit using marijuana, or smoking tobacco, would be to set a specific date and plan ahead of time to stop using at that point. It is easy to tell yourself “Oh, I’ll stop tomorrow” or “I can stop next week”. However, if you set an actual date to stop you will feel more inclined to stick to that. Moreover, you could tell your friends and family about your plan. Not only will they encourage you and hold you accountable it may also lead to feelings of guilt if you go back on your decision.

Quitting marijuana can lead to a number of different physical and mental health benefits, but it can also make a big impact on something else: your pocket.

Marijuana use, and all forms of substance use, cost money. By stopping completely or reducing your use, you will save tons of money. Keeping track of the money that you save can provide good motivation in continuing your efforts to stay off of marijuana.

Is Marijuana Addictive?


Many believe that marijuana is not an addictive substance. This is not true.

Marijuana, like all other substances, holds addiction potential and can cause a physical dependence on the drug. Marijuana use can lead to the development of chronic use of the drug, something is known as marijuana use disorder. This can lead to addiction in severe cases. It should be noted that people who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 4 million people in the United States met the diagnostic criteria for marijuana use disorder. Of those, 138,000 voluntarily sought treatment for marijuana use in 2015.

Marijuana use disorder sometimes referred to as dependence, can cause a person to feel withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug. Some of these withdrawal symptoms include irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, cravings, physical discomfort, and more.

Marijuana dependence, like other forms of dependence, occurs when the brain adapts to large amounts of the drug. It becomes an addiction when a person cannot stop using the drug even though it is interfering with many aspects of his or her life.

Health Effects Of Marijuana


Along with addiction, marijuana can lead to a number of harmful effects on your physical and mental health, both in the short- and long-term. Marijuana use can affect many different parts of the body including brain health, heart health, lung health, and more

The Brain

Heavy marijuana use is linked to a number of short-term effects on the brain including issues with attention, memory, and learning. It can also affect relationships and mood. Marijuana use can also have long-term effects on the brain including brain development. When marijuana use is started as a teenager, it can reduce attention, memory, and learning functions. Marijauana’s effect on these abilities may last a long time and may even be permanent. For younger individuals whose brains are still developing, it can lead to them not doing as well in school and problems with remembering things.

The Heart

Marijuana can lead to some cardiovascular issues. For one, it causes the heart to beat faster which, in turn, can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. Smoking marijuana delivers THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, into the body but it also delivers other substances and irritants that are contained in the smoke. More research is needed to learn about the effects of marijuana on the circulatory system.

The Lungs

How marijuana affects the lungs is dependent upon how it is consumed. It can be smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes, in pipes and bongs, or along with tobacco or using a tobacco wrap. Smoked marijuana of any form can cause lung issues and scarring and damage to the blood vessels in the lungs. Smoking marijuana can lead to a greater risk of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production.

Mental Health

Along with these physical health changes and effects, marijuana use can also lead to a number of different mental health risks. For one, frequent marijuana users are known to deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings of anxiety or paranoia when using marijuana. One study has even found that teens who use marijuana are at a greater risk of schizophrenia and psychosis later in life. It should also be noted that marijuana use has been linked to depression, anxiety, and suicide among teens. However, more research needs to be done on the specific correlation of this relationship.

Along with these issues, it can also lead to motivational problems and even identity issues. Many times, chronic marijuana users will be okay with not doing anything and being bored. Not pushing yourself to learn something new or do something you actively enjoy can make it. If you stop using marijuana you may have trouble coming to terms with who you are and what you like.

Now What?

Marijuana, while becoming more and more used across the nation, is still a drug and the effects and problems surrounding the drug should be taken into consideration when using. There are a number of mental and physical health effects of the drug, not to mention it can cause addiction. Luckily, there are treatment options for those who are looking to get help. Marijuana use can sometimes lead to the use of other substances, like alcohol or opioids. Unfortunately, the use of these substances can spiral out of control as well. If this is the case for you or your loved one, Landmark Recovery is here to help. Please visit our website and reach out to our Carmel drug and alcohol rehab admissions staff today.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.