New year, new you, as they say. For me personally, that means checking my extremely high cannabis tolerance with a break, and there’s no better time to try than when everyone else is also making and breaking promises to themselves… right? Okay, so, making resolutions isn’t THAT productive for most, so I try not to make harsh rules that I know I’ll let myself down by breaking sooner than later. Instead, I treat goals with flexibility so I don’t feel like once I have to give up if I make a mistake. That said, tolerance breaks are hard. As someone who has been using cannabis for over a decade, I definitely have developed a dependence. My tolerance breaks are usually financially-imposed, due to a lack of weed money, when times are tight and I can’t prioritize buying cannabis. This confirms that while dependent, I am not addicted, since other areas of my life are not impacted (except for the occasional laziness which probably can’t just be blamed on marijuana). I find that because I am a regular smoker, it takes so much more quality product to actually take effect on me. Even with my love of cannabis, I have successfully taken breaks for multi-month stretches with my own willpower, so it is possible. Certain methods can be powerful in bottoming out your system so that you don’t have to continuously burn through an exorbitant amount of product.
The first I recommend is the tried and true classic, “out of sight, out of mind.” It is important when breaking a habit, even for a temporary time window, to remove access and temptation. I don’t like waste, and I definitely don’t want to smoke dry flower, so I try to use or give away all cannabis and related items. I usually have a friend who is willing to smoke down my supply in a few blunts, or at least take my stash off me. I clean out all of my pieces and put them away in drawers and cabinets. This is usually the hardest/most fun step, but once it’s gone, you can’t mindlessly reach for your pipe.
I also like to set a timeline. Knowing that the end of a challenging task WILL eventually come makes it seem doable. After one week goes by discovering you didn’t need weed as much as you thought, the remaining weeks go faster. There are definitely hard days where I want to give up, but the goal of a hard reset is more important. That’s when you call in the team.
By team, I only mean as much as one good “accountabilibuddy,” preferably a fellow cannabis enthusiast also looking to decrease their tolerance. You can both check up on each other, send encouraging words when you’re craving the relief of THC, and remind each other how much stronger the benefits will be after completing a cleanse.
During the cleanse, make sure to find suitable replacements in your routine. If you’re a daytime user, see if you can replace the oral fixation with gum. If cannabis is your de-stressor, try laying off caffeine and reading at night to reach peak sleepiness. Obviously, chamomile tea and chewing gum are weak substitutes for cannabis, but in a temporary window for the sake of a fresh system, taking these little steps can take the edge off. I like to try and stay totally busy during my day so that not only do I feel like I don’t need a bowl, but I just don’t have the time.
If you’re experiencing heavy withdrawal symptoms, know that it is possible to be psychologically and physiologically addicted to cannabis, and you may need to reach out for professional help with breaking an addiction that interferes with your life.
The new year is a great time for self reflection, and just taking a step back from cannabis for whatever reason, be it to re-optimize cannabis consumption, or just to regain some focus, or attempt to deal with anxiety sober… you got this. Good luck. May your next high be as good as your first!