Want to Quit Smoking Weed? Here are the benefits
But in the interest of giving all of our readers the full picture, we thought we would share the other side of the coin and support anyone who is reading this, wondering what their life might be like if they kicked cannabis to the curb.
Although there is a rapid increase in the number of states legalizing marijuana for medical use and recreational use, research shows that marijuana consumption is not completely without risks.
In this article, we will discuss the major benefits of quitting weed.
The Negative Effects Of Marijuana On The Mind And Body
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that the potency of marijuana (THC amount) has increased considerably from 4% THC in the 1990s to more than 15% THC by 2018.
Numerous studies have found that highly potent marijuana has an increased risk of negative effects like psychosis.
Other factors that determine marijuana risk factors include the age of consumption, frequency of use, and whether other drugs are being used.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the prevalence of marijuana use disorder is increasing among young adults and adolescents in the United States, and it goes largely untreated.
Some adverse marijuana effects include:
- Cognitive issues among chronic marijuana users. These issues may be reversible for those who started using cannabis as adults and then quit. However, cognitive deficits can be permanent among adolescents developing brain, even if they stop consumption as adults.
- There is an increased risk of anxiety disorders, insomnia, depression, and substance abuse, including illicit drug use.
- Marijuana use by pregnant women may lead to low birth weight and elevate the risks of cognitive deficits to the developing fetus.
- Frequent use of marijuana results in increased tolerance, requiring you to consume greater doses to achieve the same results. Increased cannabis consumption causes a greater risk of adverse effects, including the development of substance use disorder.
What Is Marijuana Use Disorder?
Long-term marijuana consumption can result in cannabis use disorder. This diagnosis can lead to marijuana addiction.
It has also been linked to cannabis dependence, where a user may experience symptoms of marijuana withdrawal when not consuming the drug.
5 signs of marijuana use disorder
- Craving cannabis
- Increased tolerance
- Neglecting important activities in favor of marijuana
- Continued consumption despite psychological or physical health issues
- Wanting to stop or control cannabis consumption but aren’t able to
Can Marijuana Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?
There is a popular notion that cannabis is a harmless pleasure drug that shouldn’t be considered illegal.
However, the regular use of cannabis is of particular concern as cannabis can be an addictive substance.
When regular users suddenly stop consumption, they are highly likely to experience withdrawal syndrome.
Though not life-threatening, marijuana withdrawal symptoms often range from mild to severe and vary from one consumer to another.
4 Symptoms of cannabis withdrawal syndrome
- Mood swings and headaches
- Cannabis cravings and reduced appetite
- Irritability and sleep disturbances
- Reduced focus and concentration
Is It Safe To Go Cold Turkey?
There are numerous benefits of quitting cannabis usage.
However, please note that quitting marijuana cold turkey, which is when heavy users, who consume the drug every day, suddenly cease consumption, is not recommended.
That’s because this method is often associated with negative consequences and severe withdrawal symptoms that make it especially hard to quit cannabis altogether.
Chronic users who go cold turkey are highly likely to experience overwhelming withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, social anxiety, depression, and anorexia.
While these symptoms often result in a relapse, they have also been linked to serious health issues and even fatal consequences like worsened suicidal thoughts in some people.
Although this method may work for some, the best way for most users to increase their success in quitting marijuana is to stop using gradually.
11 Health Benefits Of Quitting Weed
There are many physical and mental benefits of quitting weed.
Some will be noticed right away, while others may take a few weeks, sometimes even months, to be experienced.
1. Enhanced Respiratory Health
The American Lung Association states that marijuana smoke possesses a significant amount of the same toxins, tar, and carcinogens contained in tobacco smoke.
These irritants are associated with side effects like lung cancer and breathing problems.
Inhaling marijuana leads to the development of air sacs in the lungs, making users more prone to infections and increased exposure to bacteria and fungus.
One of the major benefits of quitting weed is that you give your immune system a chance to heal the air sacs and enhance your respiratory and cardiovascular health.
2. Improves Cognitive Functioning
Regular marijuana consumption not only affects your physical health but also directly interferes with the parts of your brain responsible for vital functions like learning, decision making, memory, and more.
Heavy cannabis consumption has also been linked to adverse effects like memory loss and difficulty learning.
Eliminating cannabis from your system can improve cognitive functioning and provide mental clarity.
A recent study by Massachusetts General Hospital found that young adults and adolescents who stopped marijuana could process and remember new information better than those who continued consumption.
3. Improves Heart Health
THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can increase heart rate. Inhaling cannabis can also expose smokers to a greater risk of heart attacks and stroke.
The good news is that quitting marijuana reduces heart diseases and swellings, allowing normal heart function with reduced risks of stroke or heart attack.
It’s a good idea to stop smoking weed if you want to improve your cardiovascular health.
4. Reduces Risks Of Mental Health Disorders
A major medical use of marijuana is to reduce anxiety, alleviate depression, reduce chronic pain, and improve psychological symptoms.
Interestingly, a common symptom of heavy weed consumption is depression and anxiety.
Studies also show that a major effect of marijuana use is its potential to worsen mental health disorders.
The benefit of quitting weed is that it can drastically improve mental health disorders.
Many people who stopped smoking marijuana have reported a renewed energy level, improved self-motivation, and a greater sense of purpose.
5. Improve Relationships With Friends and Family
When you quit the marijuana habit, you’ll no longer need to avoid your non-smoking friends or family while trying to hide your drugs.
Instead, you will spend most of your free time working on your relationship and building solid friendships with your loved ones.
6. Improved Mood
People who use marijuana frequently often experience mood swings and irritability.
Former users report benefits of quitting weed, including improving and promoting a positive and balanced mood.
7. Better Chance of Avoiding Traffic Accidents
A 2-year long survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that cannabis users were nearly 25% more likely to cause traffic accidents than sober drivers.
Quitting marijuana will improve your ability to perform numerous tasks, including operating motor vehicles.
8. Improved IQ
According to numerous studies, young people who smoke weed heavily, especially teens, show notable mental decline and reductions in IQ.
A significant benefit of quitting weed is that it allows your system to eliminate marijuana, positively impacting attention skills and improving memory.
In fact, former users report better-functioning memory after quitting marijuana than current users.
9. Better Chance Of Healthier Babies
Human studies show that using marijuana during pregnancy can negatively impact your baby’s health and development.
Stopping marijuana usage tremendously increases your chances of getting healthier and full-sized babies.
Daily use of marijuana can lead to wastage of both time and money.
NIDA states that people with marijuana use disorder may also have drug addiction problems, including cocaine, alcohol abuse, and other drug use.
Quitting marijuana will help you save much money that you would have otherwise spent on marijuana and other drugs.
11. Correct Perception Of Time and Space
One of the adverse effects of marijuana that people report is a distorted perception of time and space.
Quitting marijuana and adopting a drug-free lifestyle can lessen this effect and eventually correct the perception of time and space.
Timeline For Quitting Weed
Heavy marijuana users often experience physical symptoms of withdrawal once they quit.
As noted earlier, these symptoms can vary from mild to severe, but they are not usually life-threatening.
Below is the timeline of what you can expect when quitting marijuana:
1-3 Days After Quitting
During the first week (1 to 3 days), withdrawal symptoms will begin, characterized by irritability and edginess.
At this time, the lungs will start to heal, which will continue for several years.
Note that some lung damage may be permanent.
2-7 Days After Quitting
You are likely to feel depressed while mood swings and physical discomforts increase.
Normal functioning of the brain receptors responsible for regulating neurological processes like pleasure, learning, and motivation will begin.
14 Days After Quitting
Most symptoms of withdrawal will resolve.
Please note that sleep disturbances, including vivid dreams, often last for an extended length of time.
28 Days To Many Months After Quitting
Cannabis withdrawal symptoms come to an end and your brain receptors will return to normal function.
Attention span and memory are enhanced.
Some withdrawal symptoms, especially insomnia, can last up to 12 months after stopping marijuana usage, but don’t let that put you off, as the benefits of quitting weed will eventually be worth it.
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Benefits Of Quitting Weed - The Bottom Line
Although the benefits of quitting weed are endless, marijuana cravings or a strong desire to use the drug after quitting is not uncommon.
This is especially true when you are around the environment, location, or people that triggered past use.
To increase your success in making a lasting lifestyle change, experts advise creating a network of people who do not use drugs, including marijuana and alcohol.
You can also seek professional help treatment programs like Contingency management (CM).
Support groups are another treatment option that helps address physical withdrawal symptoms and mental health issues.