Nowadays, numerous states have already legalized marijuana for medical and entertainment use. However, smoking weed can still have negative effects on your body and the consequences on chronic users may be severe in some cases. In this article, we look at marijuana’s negative effects, marijuana quitting benefits, what happens to your body when you try to quit smoking, and some good tips to help you reduce the discomfort of quitting weed.
What are Marijuana’s negative effects?
While marijuana is far from being a dangerous drug, it has been proven that it can potentially increase risks of the following:
- lung diseases
- memory problems
- strokes, heart diseases
Of course, other factors could also negatively affect your health, such as what age you start using, at what frequency you’re using, the intensity of the cannabis (level of THC and its potency), or even by mixing drugs and alcohol.
Are there any negative consequences of smoking weed?
As always, moderation is always the best, and it is also true with weed. These are mostly negative consequences that could happen with heavy users in certain specific situations:
- car accidents
- harmful sexual behavior
- drug misusing
- alcohol abuse
- using marijuana while expecting can affect the development of the fetus.
If you’re constantly smoking weed, your brain becomes accustomed to it, which causes you to need higher doses to meet the same desired effect. As marijuana consumption rises, so do the chances of negative consequences like substance use disorder (SUD).
What are the advantages of quitting marijuana?
Quitting marijuana is never easy, especially if you’ve been smoking for a very long time. That said, know that there are many advantages to leaving the green behind, or at least to reduce its consumption. Here are the physical and mental advantages that one can get after quitting marijuana:
- Increased motivation and energy
- Improved ability to concentrate
- Improved memory
- Breathing will improve.
- The heart and cardiac system will be in better condition.
- Steadier mood
Additionally, it is important to mention that quitting weed could help with your work, your relationships, your school life, or even your financial situation. On a more negative note, heavy and moderate users may experience some sleeping disorders, if weed were their go-to solution for sleeping well at night.
What are the weed withdrawal symptoms?
A recent survey has shown that 4.3% of Americans have tried to quit weed at least 6 times in their life and didn’t succeed. In general, when people consume weed for a long time they usually experience withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to serious but know that they are rarely harmful. However, some people who use marijuana, drugs, and alcohol on a daily basis, may face severe withdrawal symptoms and should recover under medical supervision.
In a meta-analysis of over 23,000 participants, 47 subjects had at least three of the following withdrawal symptoms: rage, depression, mood swings, frustration, irritability, uneasiness, sleep issues, reduced appetite, nausea, stomach problems, and more.
However, the lungs of most test subjects started to heal, but note that this healing process can take many years. As you may have guessed already, the risk of withdrawal symptoms depends on the amount of cannabis that a user has been taking. For example, a moderate user consuming drugs three days per week will tend to have fewer withdrawal symptoms than someone who uses cannabis every day.
On day 3 of quitting weed, users can feel very irritated and anxious. But don’t worry, these feelings usually fade away a few days later. Conversely, strange dreams and sleeping problems may arise from that point on. As a matter of fact, chronic marijuana users may have permanent sleep problems.
Around day 4 of quitting cannabis, the physiological change in the brain begins to happen. Actually, the cannabinoid molecules found in marijuana imitate the natural neurotransmitters of your brain.
Normally, a small % of Cannabinoids circulate inside your body. Recurring intakes of marijuana causes an influx of the latter into your system, which at the same time increases the production of a psychoactive component (THC). When you have a lot of THC in your body, your emotions, imagination, and overall perception will be magnified. To conclude, it only takes about 4 days for the cannabinoid receptors to be back to normal.
This is where it gets a bit complicated. Most people who attempt to quit smoking marijuana fail around days 5-7. It is particularly difficult for those who were addicted to marijuana. This kind of addiction can be described as someone who has consumed marijuana on a regular basis for 10+ years. When it comes to weed, days 5 to 7 are crucial to focus on, since statistically, they are the most difficult days to overcome.
The majority of withdrawal symptoms fade away during Day 14, so around 2 weeks after you started the whole process. Many people report feeling more emotionally stable after two weeks without marijuana. They feel more patient, liberated, and self-respected. Furthermore, anxiety, fear, and shame have all decreased dramatically. Anyhow, a lot of times the sleep issue still remains, and will most likely take a few more days in order for everything to go back to normal during bedtime.
Day 28 – 1 year
Brain receptors go back to their natural functioning, memory, mental acuity, and attention span all increase. After 1 year of quitting, some users may be still experiencing some withdrawal symptoms, especially insomnia. Also, they might feel craved sometimes. Cravings are common after quitting marijuana, particularly when around people, places, or circumstances that can make former marijuana users return to old habits. Therefore, it’s important to build a social network of people who don’t use drugs, weed, or alcohol regularly (or not at all).
Tips to help you reduce discomfort while trying to quit smoking weed
A few alternative therapies have proved to be effective against fairly mild detoxing symptoms:
- Hot soaking baths will benefit both the mind and the body.
- Drinking lots of water and other various clear/light drinks.
- Cranberry juice can effectively purify the body.
- Gaining more potassium because it is an important mineral, as well as eating food that is rich in potassium such as bananas, green leafy vegetables, and tomatoes.
- Reducing or cutting off caffeine completely before the sleep pattern returns to normal or the shakes disappear.
- Avoiding fast food until your digestion improves.
- Exercising not only helps reduce stress and other negative feelings but also helps the body to recover faster.
Although people are able to stop using weed without help, it would be better to join support groups and rehabilitation programs for long-term recovery. Working with a behavioral health expert is essential for individuals who have re-occurring mental or drug use problems. Lastly, weed addiction is real and the withdrawal process can be painful, but you can get through it. Good luck!