Combat Marijuana Cravings with These 8 Sure-fire Strategies
Are you a regular pot smoker who is trying to quit but find your marijuana cravings too all-consuming to overcome? We have put together a list of proven techniques to combat cravings.
You have likely been told that marijuana (aka dope, pot, weed, hash, etc) is not addictive, that it is easy to start and even easier to stop. Yet since your first puff, not a day passes without you not reaching for your stash. Now you want to stop smoking marijuana; you want to live a healthier lifestyle and feel clearheaded and in control of your life. But as time passes, you find it harder to command and keep that control. Every day new triggers pop up that make you want to reach for that joint.
The good news is that you do not have to succumb to these cravings.
Here are 8 guaranteed strategies to rein in cannabis cravings and overcome this addiction for good. Even if you have been smoking pot for years, these steps will provide you with the tools to finally put your marijuana addiction behind you and live a healthier, sharper and guilt-free life.
1. Write down Your Reasons for Quitting Weed
The first step to recovering from any addiction is to recognise why you are quitting. Why did you arrive at the decision to stop smoking marijuana? Was it for health reasons? Were you tired of feeling guilty by keeping this a secret from family or friends? Did you notice it was having adverse impacts on your ability to function and think clearly? Perhaps you do not know why exactly you want to quit, visit this article for a more complete list of marijuana’s negative impacts. Whatever your personal reasons are — take a moment to write them down in a place that is easily accessible. Whether you record these notes on your laptop, mobile phone, a piece of paper in your wallet, a sticky note on your mirror or all of the above — keep the list somewhere you will see it. These reasons will form the foundation upon which you stand against your weed cravings.
2. Trash Your Stash
Once you have decided that you want to end this addiction, get rid of any stash and smoking equipment you possess. If you are still thinking about quitting and that statement made you cringe and your heart starts racing, it is time to assess whether you are ready to quit and review again the first strategy in the article.
It will be almost impossible to curb your cannabis cravings if everything you need to smoke is at your finger tips. It will be significantly easier to get through cravings and past triggers if you do not have immediate access to the drug. Without having the instant option of pacifying the urge to smoke by lighting up, you have given yourself a buffer to make it through the craving. In addition, the paraphernalia that you use to smoke marijuana are triggers in themselves.
3. Know your Triggers for Smoking Pot
On the subject of triggers, the third essential strategy to combating your cravings is to know what your triggers are. What people, places, emotions or situations lead you to reach for a joint? While triggers differ from person to person, there are certain provocations that are quite universal. These include: drinking alcohol, spending time with people who share your addiction, boredom and stress/anxiety.
Some triggers may be revealed to you as time unfolds. In Psychology Today, researchers discuss how triggers are created by anything present at the time the drug is consumed. For example, if you would usually combine smoking cannabis with other activities like eating certain snacks or binge-watching your favourite TV series; these likely have become triggers for smoking.
While they may be difficult to avoid, staying away from those triggers as much as you can puts you in a stronger position to suppress cravings. Other triggers are difficult or impossible to avoid; stress and anxiety can be managed but they are bound to inch their way into your life at some point. These following strategies will be those you can deploy when, inevitably, a trigger appears.
4. Replace Instead of Resist
Too often when we are trying to resist any bad habit or addiction, we end up focusing more on that vice than we did when we were not trying to quit. We go through the day saying repeatedly to ourselves, “I will not drink alcohol today” or “I will not smoke cigarettes today.” Consequently, we end up focusing more on alcohol or cigarettes than ever before.
Instead of telling yourself “I will not smoke today” consider replacing your focus on something else. This can be as simple as substituting an “I will not” statement for an “I will” statement. You can derive these positive assertions from your list of reasons for decided to quit the drug. For example, if one of your reasons for quitting was that this addiction is negatively affecting your health and ability to exercise; your statement could be “I will exercise today.”
Take your focus off not smoking marijuana (and the drug, in general) and change your focus to proactive behaviour. In fact, in this Harvard Study on “natural recoverers,”— those who were most successfully able to kick an addiction were those who replaced their addiction with another hobby, activity or relationship. Changing this thought pattern will help prevent urges and will give you an alternative when cravings hit.
5. Switch Up Your Routine
Routine has a lot to do with any of our habits whether they are good or bad. We truly are creatures of habit, so if you are trying to stop smoking hash, it is important to assess how it has become a part of your daily routine. Notice the times of day you typically smoke and consider ways you could switch around your schedule. For example, if you are someone who typically smokes marijuana in the morning, try waking up at a different time or schedule an activity first thing in the morning, like meeting with a friend for coffee.
Making slight changes to your daily routine will help to “trick” your mind and ward off cravings that are triggered by the time of day. In this article from the National Institute of Health, the authors discuss the importance of routine when trying to quit addiction. When we are the midst of an addiction, our routine works against us making it difficult to break the habit. However, routines can also be used as a tool to combat addiction. The key is to make your routine work for you not against you by re-arranging or changing activities in your day where possible, thereby mitigating your marijuana cravings.
6. Keep Preoccupied, Keep Public
On the same subject of routine, an important tool for preventing and managing cravings is to keep busy. Boredom is often a trigger as it is a common reason that people smoke marijuana, it also gives your mind the chance to return to addiction related thoughts.
Staying busy is a great strategy to control cravings because one avoids both the trigger of boredom and keeps the mind preoccupied. An even more effective strategy is to stay occupied in places that make it difficult to smoke; this will improve your ability to not turn to marijuana. Due to the illegality of marijuana, being in a public place makes it virtually impossible to smoke it. By switching daily routines and keeping busy, especially in places where you are able to smoke marijuana comfortably, your chances of succumbing to cravings will drop considerably.
7. Find a New Relaxation Ritual to Substitute Smoking Dope
For many, smoking marijuana is a gateway to decompress and deal with anxiety or stress. When people are addicted to any substance, they are essentially addicted to a feeling of happiness associated with the drug. However, you know that the happiness one feels from marijuana is not only synthetic but also short lived. One Harvard Study even shows that marijuana usage negatively impacts the pleasure-feeling area of the brain (amygdala).
Finding a new relaxation ritual that will promote true feelings of well-being and emotional and physical health which will last more than a few hours after the ritual, is a great strategy. Our suggestions are to get a massage, mediate or take a long bath. Bangkok is home to thousands of skilled massage therapists, spa treatments and meditation centres. If you are combating a marijuana addiction you now have an opportunity to discover a new relaxation technique and the resources are abundant in Bangkok.
8. Therapy for Marijuana Addiction
If you are unsuccessful with all of the above techniques, you may suffer from a clinically defined addiction to marijuana that will require professional treatment to overcome. While there has been a long-standing myth that people cannot get addicted to marijuana, the research proves just the opposite. In this article by the University of Notre Dame, researchers uncover the reality that for some, marijuana is an addiction.
For many, marijuana becomes a form of self-medication that does not address the problem at its roots. As with any addiction, there are always underlying emotional causes. An addiction therapist can help reveal what led you to use in the first place and why it led to an addiction. Despite the notion that cannabis addiction is considered a fairly novel idea, The Cabin Bangkok’s team has treated many people suffering solely from marijuana addiction, and they can coach you through recovery and provide you with the tools to combat cravings and prevent relapse.
You are unique and so overcoming your addiction has to be addressed at a personal level. Contact us today and let one of our experienced addiction counsellors help you come up with a recovery plan that is right for you.