How to Quit Smoking Pot - How to Stop Smoking Marijuana
Often called by a variety of names such as ganja, pot, weed, maryjane, reefer, grass- Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa ) is the most commonly abused drug in the United States. Surveys show that 37% percent of youths ages 12-17 have smoked marijuana at least once a month and this statistic has not changed since 2000. This makes marijuana as some sort of "entry level" drug of choice as more often than not,the marijuana user eventually graduates to using stronger drugs!
Most users smoke the dried mixture of shredded leaves, stems and flowers of the marijuana plant in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints. Some use pipes or water pipes called bongs while other Marijuana users brew tea or mix it into foods like brownies, cakes and even salads..
Studies have shown that marijuana smoke contains 400 chemicals, including most of the harmful ones found in tobacco smoke and it also deposits 4 times more tar in the lungs. Around 7000 published medical and scientific studies document the ill effects of smoking marijuana and these studies show that marijuana users have a 104 percent higher risk of graduating into the use of harder drugs like cocaine and a 5 times higher risk oh having a heart attack.
The major active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as THC enters the brain it causes the user to feel euphoric - or "high" - by stimulating the brain's reward system, making the brain cells release the “Feel Good” chemical dopamine. As a chemical messenger, dopamine can make a person relax and elevate their mood but it also affects brain processes that control movement (heightened sensory awareness), emotional response (Euphoria) and the ability to experience pleasure and pain.
Reasons For Quitting
1.) It is bad for your Health.
Although cigarette and marijuana smokers experience the same respiratory problems and diseases like coughing, symptoms of bronchitis and frequent chest colds are the more common illnesses. Benzyprene, a known human carcinogen, is also present in marijuana smoke and the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide is significantly higher than in cigarette smoke. This is most likely due to inhaling marijuana more deeply, holding the smoke in the lungs for a longer period of time and because marijuana smoke is unfiltered this makes the user more prone to developing mouth, throat and lung cancer. Researchers at the UCLA Pulmonary Research Laboratory studied the effects of marijuana smoking and the study showed that lung damage caused by four marijuana cigarettes were equal to the damage caused by 112 tobacco cigarettes
Marijuana use is definitely worse than tobacco!!!
2.) It causes short term memory loss.
Studies have shown that smoking marijuana causes short-term memory loss since THC targets the nerve cells in the part of the brain where memories are formed, it also impairs the ability to focus, sustain and shift attention and this makes concentration difficult . It is also very hard to learn while high because a working short-term memory is needed for learning and performing tasks that call for more than one or two steps. And with THC affecting the brain, it makes it hard for the user to recall recent events (such as what happened a few minutes ago).
3.) It can affect your reproductive organs
Studies have shown that long term marijuana use can affect your reproductive organs too. For men, this can cause decreased sperm count and very heavy users can experience erectile dysfunction. Women can experience irregular periods from heavy marijuana use as it disrupts the release of hormones that regulate ovulation. These problems would most likely result in a decreased ability to conceive but then it does not lead to complete infertility.
4.) It can harm your children
That means women who smoke marijuana can still get pregnant and even the unborn child is being affected in a major way. Absorption of THC by the fetus increases the risk of birth defects and lukemia after they are born.Learning difficulties and poor educational achievement are also evident in children of heavy marijuana users.
Ready to Kick the Habit?
A common misconception among many people today is that marijuana is much like cigarettes in that they are both PHYSICALLY addictive and it is so very hard to stop smoking them because of cravings within the body.
This is in fact very wrong!
This idea probably came about because to most people, a joint and a cigarrette are the same since they are both smoked and they share the same if not most of the effects. But unlike tobacco smoking, Marijuana doesn't contain any chemicals that can be physically addictive to people. Instead, the feelings that marijuana can induce is psychologically addictive. This means that the urge to continue smoking pot is more about the person wanting to gain a "high" rather than the body needing the drug to stop its pain.Trying to stop smoking pot is hard because the addict ends up craving for it subconsciously.
Because of the reasons mentioned above, quitting marijuana can be a long and difficult process. And, the best way to do this is to breakdown the process into several steps that would make the end result seem easier to reach. No one wants to go through something difficult and instant processes can't help you fix the problems. So, changing your perspective can help you go far. The point is: It's a long road, but you got to start somewhere.
1.) Get yourself a journal. Keeping a journal is the best way to keep track of your use of marijuana. With this, journal you can pinpoint how often you use this drug and why you are driven to use it. Also, jotting down your experiences can be a good way for you to see how much you have improved, giving you a good source of motivation.
2.) How has using marijuana affected your life? Taking stock of the things that has happened to you because of your addiction can give you the reality check that you need. List down all your losses as well as the bad experiences that you've had because of the influence of pot.
3.) What kind of future will marijuana give you? Think about the long-term effects of marijuana in you life. And, ask yourself if you still want it in your life ten years from now.
4.) List down your reasons for quitting. After assessing yourself, you're bound to list down a couple of reasons that will push you into quitting this bad habit. Unfortunately, listing them down may not be enough. Certain events in your everyday life like emotional stress can push you to look for that feeling of euphoria. Even worse, you might be tempted to take that puff because you can't help but miss that feeling. For this reason, you should keep this list of reasons with you wherever you go. By reading through this list when you feel the urge to take a puff, you can remind yourself about you need to quit.
5.) Why do you like smoking marijuana? By now, you must have identified the circumstances that push you to go for a joint. Take note of the feelings that smoking marijuana can induce. After that, list down other things that can give you a similar sensation. There are other feel good activities in the world like shopping, going to the spa, treating yourself to a good meal, going to the gym, trying a new physical activity or catching a really funny movie. Marijuana isn't the only thing in the world that can give you that "high". So, find a more healthy replacement for it by looking for an activity that can give you the same feeling.
6.) Find the people who really care about you. How can you quit when you are surrounded by people who would encourage you to take it when you have a problem? Perhaps you should find people in your life who can help you face your problems and solve them instead of telling you that it's alright to evade them by taking a puff from their joint. It sounds a little harsh but it's the truth. And, in order to junk the habit, this is one truth that you must accept.
7.) Find a support group. Now that you know who your true friends are, you can start creating a support group that would help you in junking the habit. A list of reasons can sometimes fail in keeping you out of smoking pot. Getting a support group can give you a Plan B when this happens. Don't be afraid to depend on people during this time. You need all the help that you can get!
8.) There's nothing wrong about getting more help. If you believe that the first seven steps are not enough to help you quit, then there's nothing wrong with combining it with other methods in order to achieve success. You can try supplementing the above steps with following:
- Hypnosis. This has been shown to be extremely effective with smoking cessation and the breaking of other bad habits. Hypnotherapy can help you confront the psychological and emotional reasons that feed your addiction to marijuana. It can also help you or your loved one plan positive new goals and habits rather than rely on willpower alone.
- Intervention. When people are addicted to drugs or alcohol abuse they often don't realize that they need help. An intervention is when family members or friends confront a loved one about his or her substance abuse in an attempt to help them realize they need help. Interventions provide an opportunity to express concern and offer suggestions about how and where to get help.
- Quit Marijuana Programs. There are a lot of ads online that claim that their method can help you quit smoking pot. There's nothing wrong with checking out these ads. You just might find the answer to your prayers! However, you should make sure you know what you are getting into, before you jump in. Ask about the protocol of the program and see if it works for you.
© 2008 Shanti Rose