Cannabis Cessation: Tips for Cutting back on Cannabis
The beginning of a new year can make us assess our habits and how we can better ourselves for the upcoming year. While consuming cannabis can be a therapeutic and enjoyable experience, overuse of recreational cannabis could lead to long term respiratory (if smoking) and cognitive problems in some people.
If you’re finding yourself unable to function without a hit and/or dependent on having access to weed at all times, it may be time to consider taking back control of your usage. Cutting back, taking a tolerance break and/or even quitting THC could help clear mind fog & provide you with more control over your life.
Starting the journey to quitting cannabis, even for a day, can initially be very hard for some, as it does have addictive mental & chemical qualities which can result in withdrawal symptoms.
Many weed users argue that cannabis isn’t addictive because it doesn’t have withdrawal symptoms, however that is not entirely true. Cannabis withdrawal symptoms can occur due to a user’s regular use of THC desensitizing and down-regulating the human brain’s cannabinoid one receptors (CB1).
While not all daily users experience withdrawals, it’s estimated around half will exhibit symptoms of Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome (CWS). CWS appears within 7 days of reduced cannabis use with symptoms including irritability, anger, or aggression; nervousness or anxiety; sleep disturbance; appetite or weight disturbance; restlessness; depressed mood; and somatic symptoms, such as headaches, sweating, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.
Continued daily usage of cannabis can manifest into more serious short-term symptoms of impaired memory and motor coordination, altered judgment, paranoia and psychosis.
How to manage cannabis withdrawal syndrome
When we regularly supply psychoactive delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to our brain, we develop not just a tolerance but a dependence. Superficial symptoms such as irritability, sleep disruption & mood swings will typically dissipate 72 hours after your last use.
While much milder in comparison to other drugs, those several days (sometimes long based on history of using) of withdrawal can be unpleasant for those whose brains’ have become too reliant on THC. It’s important during this time to take care of your physical body by keeping hydrated and avoiding sugary, caffeine beverages; eating healthy food such as fruits, proteins and vegetables; exercise everyday to sweat out toxins; and most importantly find support from friends and family.
Find & invest in new enjoyable activities to exert negative energy into rather than sitting around wanting to smoke. It’s important to fill time spent smoking with a replacement activity for when you have an urge to use cannabis, so you are better able to cope with the craving by keeping your mind & body busy with something you like. Take this time to find a new hobby/skill or revisit an old one!
CBD easing THC withdrawal symptoms
THC is the main psychoactive ingredient triggering this psychological and physiological dependence in the brain. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in high concentrations in hemp and low concentrations in cannabis.
There have been two studies conducted in 2012 & 2015 on psychiatric patients who were heavy marijuana users and experiencing cannabis withdrawal symptoms — both supported cannabidiol oil’s effectiveness to curb CWS by decreasing anxiety, dissociation and sleep disruption.
CBD has demonstrated possessing antagonist and neuro-protective properties in scientific studies, which could be blocking THC’s psychoactivity resulting in the balanced effect. Be sure you know what spectrum of CBD will be best for you, full spectrum contains trace amounts of THC so it may not be suitable if you’re attempting to stop THC completely – read more about the CBD spectrum here.
With recreational cannabis more acceptable and accessible than ever before in the United States, it’s important to know your substance, as well as identify and address how overuse can affect us. As with any substance or habit in life, it’s important to maintain balance and control so it doesn’t control you. We believe in practicing safe consumption and having a healthy relationship with cannabis.
If you believe you or a loved one needs more information & help with Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome, please visit the Americans Addiction Centers site or call (888) 994-3543.