People Talk About the Experience That Made Them Stop Smoking Weed
(Top photo: Flickr user daddyboskeasy, via)
Smoking weed is a lot of fun, until it’s not. You might have grown up getting high and watched as all your friends slowly put down the papers, or you may well be the person out of your social group who first decided that weed wasn’t for you – whether that was because it started to make you feel weird every time you smoked it, or just because you were done with the rigmarole of waiting three hours to pick up some sub-par skunk.
Everyone has their own reasons when it comes to leaving weed behind, so for Weed Week we asked a load of people about the experience that made them want to stop getting high.
Will Smoking Weed Affect My Anxiety?
I first started smoking weed when I was around 12, and by age 15 I was getting stoned pretty much all day, every day, until one night in my room when I started to develop what I now understand to be psychosis. I could hear people calling for me in my house and would run downstairs to see what was going on, only to see there was no one home. I would hear heavy rainfall on my window, only to look outside and find a still, dry night. It started happening like clockwork: every time I started smoking I would have the same hallucinations. I knew pretty much instantly it was from the weed, but it took a long time to wean myself off it, both because I loved it so much and because it was all my social circle were interested in doing.
I stopped smoking fully until my mid-twenties, when I realised I could get stoned now and again without any of those hallucinations coming back, but now I’ve pretty much cut it out again because once I start I can’t control myself with it. I’m a stoner at heart, so getting “a bit” stoned “now and again” just doesn’t do it for me.
I started smoking weed when I was 12, cobbling together £5 in change between four of us and changing it up at the shop for a note to buy a jax with. I gradually got more and more into it as I went through my teens, which was loads of fun at the time. Then, when I was about 22, 23, I started feeling like weed was making me really anxious for about the first hour or so after smoking. I realised after a while that I was spending crazy money on smoking spliffs for a high that I hoped would wear off as quickly as possible.
Still, I carried on smoking for about another two years because it was a central part of my routine, and the addled love a routine. I eventually quit in January of 2015 after a particularly anxious episode where I was convinced I was gonna have a heart attack. I don’t want to sound high and mighty: I’d still smoke weed daily if I enjoyed it as much as I used to, but something changed in my brain, I guess, and now I’m better off without.
WATCH: High Society – The UK’s Drone-Operating Weed Thieves, Granny Growers and Pot-Friendly Politicians
I started smoking weed because of a stoner ex-boyfriend: I would only really smoke it when we were together, but then he dumped me and I just started smoking on my own all the time. After about three or four months I started to get really paranoid: I was super vigilant about everything and would get delusions. I’m still not sure if it was just the fallout of being dumped and the anxiety and depression that came with that which caused the paranoia, or the weed, but I stopped. I miss getting high, and I’ve been thinking about trying it out again because I read a lot about how much it helps anxiety. But then in turn I’m anxious about the paranoia coming back, and having to accept that maybe it just isn’t for me.
I never used to smoke weed as much as most people my age; for me it was more of a “once a fortnight” thing to take the edge off of hangovers and comedowns. In 2012 I visited Amsterdam with some seasoned stoners, and on the first day we all went to a cafe and decided to go in on some “vaporised isolate”, which you inhale from a bag. Sadly, I completely lost it. Like full on lost the plot: lost track of where I was, what was happening, didn’t recognise anything around me. To this day, the only way I can describe what happened to me in words is that I got locked inside my own mind. It was like I was thrown all of the world’s most challenging philosophical conundrums to deal with all at once, and I couldn’t even word to my friend what was happening as he walked me around the area to calm me down.
I still look back on that holiday and get little flashbacks once every six months or so, which leave me feeling very confused and anxious for about an hour. It’s really odd, because I never suffered from anxiety, but for about an hour every six months I relive the experience – although it’s becoming less frequent now. I properly decided to build on life after that, though, and I can honestly say it’s helped turn my life into an amazing experience. In a way, I appreciate that it happened.
LINK TO REALITY
I smoked weed every day for a few years from the age of 18 onwards. Blazing opened up to me a whole new social stratum of mates – people who chose to live life on their terms a bit more. Its mind-expanding, introspective properties undeniably contributed to some vitally important existential realisations and helped me to figure out my frantic brain and learn about myself a fair bit.
After suffering from drug-induced psychosis triggered mostly by a heavy diet of psychedelics at 23, I had to rethink my attitude towards all mind-altering substances, and there were times during my recovery that I would have a toke and feel my brain turning towards overly meta realms divorced from the cushiony comfortable reality weed use to give me before. Four years on, my roots to reality are more solid, but I’m still cautious with how much I smoke, because I’ve felt first-hand in my brain that unsettling link between getting high and losing touch with everything tangible and real.
I’ve been smoking since I was about 13, but mostly in a social capacity and rarely on my own. It would be in between classes at college, before and after parties or the club, and always scraping that last zoot out the grinder kind of flex. About two or three years ago I was at a festival out in the South West – I’d planned to have a fairly chilled one and just drink most of the weekend, but I had a bad stomach for some reason and I could barely drink an alcoholic beverage without being doubled over and burping constantly.
Luckily I had a nice 20 bag, but by the end of the weekend I was sick of it. I was sitting there with a big spliff in my mouth and a metallic taste on my tongue, just thinking, What is this? I don’t even enjoy it any more.’ I finished the spliff and that was it: I just decided I was done. Since then I’ve had the odd toke and it just sends my head spinning. I’m getting old, clearly. I thought I’d be smoking for life, but clearly not. Maybe edibles is the way? British Bake Off, come at me.
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7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Smoke Weed (Hear Us Out)
For years, I had a nightly routine of smoking a joint before I hit the sack. It quelled my anxiety and helped me sleep like the dead, so I enjoyed every second of it. After a while, though, I started to notice that my breathing wasn’t the same anymore. During tough physical exercises, I got winded faster than the average person. Sometimes, I would even cough up yucky phlegm. Clearly, I didn’t know yet that there were better options than smoking for consuming weed that are just as good, if not better.
With all the recent legalization in different states across the country, things have changed, and alternative ways of consuming medical marijuana have become more mainstream. As a result, I’ve learned a lot this past year about the effects of smoking weed, and I’ve been lighting up those joints less and less. I didn’t like being confronted with the latest research about how bad smoking marijuana is for the body. (I don’t want ugly lungs!)
Luckily, there are more than enough methods for you to still enjoy your weed, from cookies to new-age vaporizers to cannabis lip balm. It’s enough to keep you entertained for many years to come вЂ” many years that won’t do damage to your body. Besides, you deserve a little excitement in your weed-smoking life.
Here are seven reasons you shouldn’t smoke marijuana, and should consider other methods instead.
1. Smoking Harms The Lungs
Smoking’s just not great for you, even if it’s friendly Mary Jane. In fact, one puff of a joint has five times more carbon monoxide and three times more tar than one inhalation of a tobacco cigarette. In 2011, a study proved that long-term joint-smoking leads to respiratory problems, like coughing and wheezing, and airway inflammation. While there is no evidence at the moment directly pointing to the connection between lung cancer and marijuana smoking, it’s proven that you put higher rates of carcinogens in your body with a joint than you do with a cigarette per puff, and those toxins are the very things that eventually lead to lung cancer.
Not to mention, when you light up a joint, it can burn as high as 2,012 degrees fahrenheit. The point at which weed starts to combust is 392 degrees, so you’re well over the limit with a blunt in your hand. That means you’ve got combusted smoke going into your system, which contains over 100 nasty chemicals, such as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and carcinogenic toxins.
What To Do Instead: Invest in a vaporizer. Vapes burn weed at a lovely 338 degrees, meaning you’re preventing all those nasty chemicals from landing in your pretty, pink lungs. A recent study showed that vaporized gases contain 95 percent of cannabinoids (the stuff you actually want) and only five percent of unwanted components. Furthermore, vaporizing is said to protect the lungs from irritation by producing anti-inflammatory terpenoids вЂ” just a fancy way of saying it’s better for your respiratory system.
2. Smoking Is Not The Most Efficient Way To Consume Marijuana
Spilled pot really is something worth crying over. If you’re an avid joint smoker, you might be wasting your precious weed without even realizing it. Studies show that lighting up a joint only converts 25 percent of the THC; compare that with a vaporizer, which converts 46 percent of THC. That’s a pretty big difference, which isn’t surprising if you remember the different temperatures at which these both burn. If you’re only converting a quarter of THC, consider how much product you’ll end up wasting in the long run. It’s blasphemy.
Plus, think about all the rolling papers and filters you have to constantly buy just to keep your smoking station well-stocked. Your wallet will suffer from all that spending over time.
What To Do Instead: Either vape it or bake it. There’s plenty of science out there to convince even the most stubborn person that the former will save you time, money, and marijuana. All it takes is a one-time investment (which isn’t all that much if you get a mid-size model). Then there are the edibles: you can even make a batch of perfectly good magical brownies simply by using the remains of your stash.
3. You Might Be More Likely To Get Paranoid & Anxious
When you smoke, your heart could potentially beat two times faster for the next few hours. This is because your blood has been triggered to flow more to your brain, leaving your heart a bit lonely. Cue the anxious thoughts, the clutching of your chest, and the freak-out moments. (That stuffy lung feeling doesn’t help, either.)
That said, there are different findings on this topic. Some research teams have found that smoking medical marijuana can reduce stress, while others claim that it actually induces anxiety in people who already struggle with it. One study even said lighting up a joint often enough can have a similar effect on the brain as schizophrenia. It’s different for everyone, and there’s no one right answer. You’ll know which category you fall into; if it’s the one that causes you to panic more often than not, maybe consider going down an alternative marijuana route.
What To Do Instead: If you tend to get paranoid, allow the magic of medical marijuana topicals and tonics to wash over you. These are non-psychoactive products вЂ” perfect for those who don’t want the cerebral side effects of pot smoking. You may not get stoned like you would off a blunt, but at least you won’t be running around paranoid and bug-eyed. Try out cannabis teas as well; they’re known to curb mental anxiety and calm you down.
4. You Miss Out On A Lot Of The Healing Properties
Sure, you get super blazed when you smoke a few joints, and that’s great and all. But these days there are so many more recognized reasons to get high that you would be a fool to limit yourself to just smoking. If you’re the kind of gal who only utilizes medical marijuana via joints or bongs, you might be missing out more direct health advantages, including less inflammation and chronic physical pain.
What To Do Instead: You’ve got lots of options here. Applying topicals can relieve pain while their antibacterial qualities take care of minor knicks and bruises. Medical tinctures and tonics can reduce muscle spasms and cramping, and they are also known to be very useful for cancer patients going through chemotherapy. Some cannabis-infused lotions even help with physical soreness. Experiment with a few different products and see which one elicits the best results.
5. You Can’t Control The Intake Very Well
Marijuana burns pretty quickly вЂ” sometimes not very evenly вЂ” when you smoke it as a joint, not leaving you without much room to control how much is going into your system.
What To Do Instead: Pretty much every other option will help you manage the intake more effectively. You can take smaller, shorter hits of a vaporizer without it burning through too much product. With the medical topicals and tonics, you’re probably given instructions on how much to use and how often, ensuring you get the most of your marijuana experience.
6. It’s The Least Discreet Way Of Enjoying Medical Marijuana
You can’t smoke a joint anywhere you want quite yet вЂ” well, you could, but you might not be happy with the consequences. Say you’re the kind of person who really benefits from medical marijuana and your prescription allows you to purchase it legally. Lighting up a joint or taking a hit from a bong still might not be best idea because of the potent scent. You and your pot have got to get a bit more creative.
What To Do Instead: Back to the vaporizer! There are so many compact yet chic models out there that can fit into the smallest of handbags, allowing you to vape virtually everywhere with virtually no scent. The tonics, topicals, teas, sodas, and infused snacks are good options too. No smoke or suspicious scents to blow your cover.
7. It’s Fun To Mix It Up
If your favorite ice cream parlor recently upgraded to include a whole section of new flavors, you wouldn’t still exclusively order vanilla, would you? By only sticking on one path to medical marijuana, you’re risking boredom. Explore a little bit more and not only will you find something fresh that tickles your fancy, you’ll ensure you never get sick of one of your favorite pastimes.
What To Do Instead: Ever tried baking? Going down the edible route can be really fun вЂ” and even more delicious. To spice things up, invite some other friends over so you can experiment together with new medical marijuana products. It doesn’t mean you have to give up smoking forever; there’s just no reason to limit yourself when the world of weed is full of possibilities.For years, I had a nightly routine of smoking a joint before I hit the sack. It quelled my anxiety and helped me sleep like the dead, so I enjoyed every second of it. After a while, though, I started to notice that my breathing wasn’t the sameвЂ¦ ]]>