"Reasons How and Why I Quit Weed" on Chain-Breaking Background

7 Reasons Why I Don’t Smoke Weed Anymore (And How I Quit)

I’m Michael Griffin. I’m a 29-year-old British guy currently living in the wonderful country of New Zealand.

Before I got to where I am today, I was the stereotypical stoner. Like someone out of a cartoon – unmotivated, hazy-brained, and ready to light up and watch a “mind-blowing” movie whilst scoffing down pizza with a mate. Of course, I loved weed. Or at least I couldn’t imagine life without it. But now I no longer use it. Ever.

Why? Not some higher spiritual principles, not because of a fancy teetotalism mantra, not because of a sponsor who would ream me out if they found out. Simply because I sat down, considered the drug and what I was doing with my life, came to the obvious conclusion that weed was not doing any good for me – and then set out on a science-based journey to get it out of my life.

In fact, weed was doing a lot of bad for me:

7 Reasons Why I Quit Marijuana

1. My Life Became Unmanageable While I Was Using It

"My life was chaos when I was still using weed" header on broken lego bricks background

In 2016 I was living what, to all outsiders, looked like a pretty good life. I had just finished my law degree (god knows how), I had friends, an apartment, and enough money to get by. But what I didn’t have was happiness or contentedness. I was a mess behind the scenes. I would spend almost every living moment wasted on weed, playing video games, and watching porn – and I couldn’t stop. I was a 24-year-old loser.

I hadn’t always been like that. In fact, throughout the first few years of my degree, I was pretty much in the same place as everyone else around me. I would occasionally smoke up or drink with friends on the weekends, but nothing crazy at all. Going back even further than that, I had a great, middle-class upbringing filled with love.

But as my degree got more difficult and the realities of adult life approached, my dependence on my vices grew. By the middle of 2014, I was fully addicted to weed. I needed it every day, I would use it every day, and despite knowing that I would waste, if not ruin, my life if I continued down that dark path, I couldn’t (and didn’t really want to) stop.

By 2016 I was acting in ways that I would never have imagined. Spending money I didn’t have to feed an addiction I hated. I was hurting people around me. Not intentionally, but the secretive behavior that comes with addiction really messes with our loved ones.

One day around this time, it became unavoidably clear to me: my life is unmanageable while I’m using weed, I need to stop.

2. Weed Snuck Up On Me

I never made a conscious decision to become a daily weed user; it sneaked up on me. I took my first toke from a joint at a party, and a year and a half later, I was dropping $80 a week on it. How in the world did that happen?

Looking back, having access to a plant that gave me an immediate pleasure rush, with no other such easy pleasure available to me, what did I think would happen? 

Nonetheless, I found it concerning (even disturbing) – I always saw myself as a person of logic and self-control. Yet, here I was spending silly amounts of money on something I had at no point planned to spend silly amounts of money on. I could feel my self-image changing drastically – for the worse.

Of course, this would have been clear to me if I had done any research before I decided to quit – all drugs creep up on you over time – addition is progressive (Gardner, 2011).[1]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21508625/

3. I Was Never High Enough

Why are “t-breaks” such a common topic in online cannabis communities such a /r/trees? The clue is in the “t”: Tolerance.[2]https://www.healthline.com/health/drug-tolerance

As your body grows accustomed to cannabis, you need more weed to get as high as you were before or to get that same pleasure you once felt (Colizzi & Bhattacharyya, 2018). [3]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30056176/This means you must smoke increasingly more to get the feeling you crave. Or, as some users do, you need to “reset” your tolerance by quitting temporarily – but the tolerance quickly comes back once you start back up.

When I was still using weed, I would sometimes think back to the first time I got high; wasn’t it blissful? How was it I’d never achieved that same feeling again? How was it that weed had become a boring base-level? There was a point in time where I’d have to hit my bong multiple times in quick succession to get “high”, and even then I was never “high enough”, or was in a panic spiral, there was no in-between.

I think back to the first time I got high, wasn’t it blissful? How was it I’d never achieved that same feeling again?

I realized that I never could achieve that feeling again; it was a myth. Sure, I’d had some great times with friends, or out in nature, with a joint or two in tow – but was it really the weed that made those times great? No, it was the activities and the company – both things I could arrange without weed![4]https://leaveweed.org/make-friends-without-weed/

I tried to cut down – but I soon learned I wasn’t interested in being “a little bit” high, I wanted to be completely out of it. Weed demands more weed – moderation was miserable.

4. Weed Is Terrible For Your Health

Health Without Weed Text on Healthy Woman Image

For some reason, there exists a myth that weed cures cancer (Shi et al., 2019).[5]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6426557/

Of course, this is a baseless myth, and the reality of the matter is that the effect that marijuana has on your health is the complete opposite – offering a wide range of negative health impacts including:

  1. Lung Damage: Cannabis smoke damages the lungs similarly to tobacco smoke, leading to symptoms like cough, and sputum. Heavy use over long periods can contribute to lung disease, chronic bronchitis, and even lung cancer (Yayan & Rasche, 2016).[6]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27573646/
  2. Cancer: Cannabis smoke is carcinogenic (Melamede, 2005).[7]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1277837/ For context, carcinogens are agents that cause cancer in human cells.
  3. Bone Health: SSome studies have shown that the long-term use of weed negatively impacts the strength and health of your bones (including your teeth)!  (Sophocleous et al., 2017).
  4. Heart Health: While evidence for long-term heart damage from smoking weed is not a shut case, there is strong evidence of various cardiovascular adverse events caused by the drug (Latif & Garg, 2020).[8]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7355963/ These sorts of effects are especially common in otherwise healthy young men.
  5. Brain Health: It goes without saying – long-term weed use is not good for your mental health, often causing anxiety in the short term and depression with continued use.[9]https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/blog/does-cannabis-cause-mental-illness

Use common sense: Did the human body evolve to inhale smoke filled with psychoactive chemicals daily? Get real.

I understand, though – if I had learned all of the above before I stopped smoking weed, I probably wouldn’t have believed you (or I would have just not cared, deep in the brainwashing that I could never have “real” fun without weed.

5. I Feel Better In Every Way

After I quit:

Financially? I feel rich. Okay, not rich, but I am at least $80 a week better off.

Psychologically? I wake up at a normal time of the day; I’m motivated to pursue my dreams; I’m no longer flipping between anxiety and depression day-to-day; and I can focus on my work.

Emotionally? I’m happy and social. Truly happy, and truly social.

Physically? I can breathe more easily without tar clogging my lungs; I’ve lost weight without regular munchies.

Weed takes and takes, and what does it give back?

6. Life Is More Fun Without Weed

It’s true. When I was a smoker, there was only one thing I found fun: Getting high. Or getting high and doing whatever activity sounded fun to do high. I now live a life full of fun experiences, engaging friendships, and tons of hobbies I am passionate about and enjoy.

For every bit of fun that weed gives you, it takes away so much more.

For every bit of fun that weed gives you, it takes away so much more. Remember when you were a kid and could just enjoy playing out with your friends? Remember before you discovered weed and would love to watch a movie without it? Weed steals those little bits of fun from your life and replaces them with itself.

Once you quit – those true joys of life, those bits of fun you thought were long lost, come back. While it can take some time, if you stick it, you will also discover that life genuinely is more fun without marijuana.[10]https://leaveweed.org/marijuana-withdrawal-timeline/

7. Weed Made Me Stupid

Saving the worst for last: Weed made me stupid. I mean this on multiple levels:

  1. Sustained use of marijuana decreases a persons’ IQ over time (Meier et al., 2021),[11]https://www.pnas.org/content/109/40/E2657
  2. Marijuana decreases motivation to get things done and excel in work or at college.

Before discovering weed I was a star student, by the end of my relationship with it I was just scraping by.

When I was actually under the influence of the drug, I was a slurring, rambling mess. I saw a video taken by my girlfriend when I was high, and it was honestly shocking. Sure, it was hilarious – but I was laughing at myself.

Stoner me was not clever, or witty, or charming. He was stupid, boring, and embarrassing.

How I Quit Weed

As I was slowly discovering why I needed to quit the drug that was causing significant problems in my life, I found Reddit’s /r/leaves community immensely helpful. I am forever grateful to the people there, but I needed more structure – I needed a “path”, a “system”, something I could plug numbers into.

So I created a quit weed strategy for myself, and it worked. I am now four years sober from weed – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I delved into the science, I used worksheets I found online, I read the cutting-edge studies on cannabis addiction to get a deep understanding of how it works, and with time, using my own free will, I pulled myself out of the hole weed created for me. It wasn’t easy – but I knew it could be made easier for others – and I wanted to help that happen.

After escaping the cannabis trap, I spent (and still spend) a great amount of time helping hundreds of other people quit weed in /r/leaves and other online forums, along with transitioning away from law practice and into a career as an addiction counselor in private practice.

At around the same, I established LeaveWeed.org (previously “This Lucid Life”) to bring all that knowledge into one place, with the support of additional researchers and healthcare professionals I know.

Ultimately, LeaveWeed.org is here to provide you with the same science-based resources, tools, and ideas that I used to quit weed and escape from where you are now (check out our Toolbox on where to start). These are the same resources I work through with my clients, so I hope you find some things here that are useful to you.

I want you to know that life is honestly great without cannabis, and it’s not all hard to kick if you have the right frame of mind.

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