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Putting Down the Joint: What Happens After You Quit Smoking Weed

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    Done With Weed  

    No matter the reason why you decide to stop smoking weed, there are a few things you should know about what happens to your body when you stop smoking weed. You shouldn’t be surprised that there are withdrawal symptoms that occur with marijuana detoxification.

    Marijuana and more specifically, its main psychoactive chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC is a known mind-altering substance and despite popular myths, your body does eventually become dependent on THC especially after long and substantive use. So, naturally, it follows that quitting weed smoking would lead to certain withdrawal symptoms.

    Even though what happens after you stop smoking weed might be viewed by some as minor or mild compared to the visceral and life-threatening effects of coming off of opiates or other “harder” drugs, the effects are still real. Just ask anyone who has stopped smoking weed after being a user for a long time.


    According to a quit smoking weed guide produced by the University of Notre Dame, it takes about a week for the THC content of one weed cigarette (or joint) to leave your body and for heavy users, you can begin to expect feeling withdrawal symptoms 3 weeks after your last dose.

    The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists as withdrawal symptom of quitting weed the following:

    • Irritability
    • Mood swings
    • Anxiety
    • Headaches
    • Stomach pain
    • Insomnia
    • Reduced appetite

    A whole cascade of symptoms follows from the ones already mentioned and just like with quitting smoking cold turkey, you will probably have to fight a battle against your cravings for weed. This is what will usually cause you to become irritable and anxious.

    Your body not getting any THC will affect your sleep patterns as well, so you might not be able to get a good night’s rest. This is a common one with weed smokers, since a lot of weed smokers like to light one up right before going to bed, so they can sleep better. But, just like with any sleeping pill, if you take it away then you can be sure that your sleep will be affected.

    Less sleep can reduce performance at work or school and lead to a loss of motivation to do anything. Eventually leading right back to where we started: irritability.

    Starting Over: A Life Without Weed

    It is important to remember however that despite the realness of these symptoms they are not long-lasting or life-threatening. The National Institute on Drug Abuse even states that “some people having marijuana withdrawal might not realize it”.  

    Withdrawal symptoms from quitting weed smoking typically last only for a few days or, at most, weeks and once the initial feelings of anxiety and irritability pass there are some other things that might start to happen. If you were a long-time weed smoker the very act of smoking weed became, over time, ritualized and your body starts to crave not only THC but the environmental factors (such as the touch and feel and smell of marijuana) that accompany it.

    As Dr. Stuart Gitlow a professor at the University of Florida states about quitting weed, “there’s a familiarity with an experience that now will be missed”. This sudden emptiness, which is a more subtle withdrawal symptom, might allow ex-users to begin to explore more fully the reasons why they stopped or even why they started. Dr. Gitlow describes this post-withdrawal phase as when ex-users begin to “feel feelings again”.

    Despite the physical withdrawal symptoms of quitting weed only lasting a few weeks, Dr. Gitlow cautions that getting used to the “new reality” of quitting weed smoking can be a process that lasts up to a year. While the more immediate withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia and irritability dissipate within a few days, the more deep-seeded psychological problems of habitual weed smoking or any abuse of a substance can persist and in that case further therapy should be pursued.


    Again, the reasons to quit smoking weed can vary among different people and the significance of withdrawal symptoms from quitting weed smoking can also vary depending on how long you smoked weed and how often you smoked. Whatever the case may be, the physical, behavioral and mental effects of quitting weed smoking are real and you should be prepared for them. At the same time though, they shouldn’t put you off from doing something as important and meaningful as quitting smoking weed.

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      Quit Smoking Hotlines: Reach Out and Talk to Someone

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        Most health experts agree that nicotine addiction is harder to kick than heroin and cocaine addictions. According to CDC, smoking kills more than 480,000 people every single year in the US alone. The only way to make your smoking cessation venture easier and more effective is to have some kind of social support, where you can share your struggle and experience. The support can come in the form of your partner, friend, family member, or even a support group.


        But what if you don’t have anyone to talk to?

        Here’s the good news:

        The government and non-pofit ogranizations have taken several initiatives to encourage people to quit smoking with the help from different organizations. The most readily available help is offered in the form of quit smoking hotlines aka quitlines that offer instant, invaluable support, guidance, and suggestions.

        Why Quitlines are Effective?

        There are three major benefits of these quitlines:

        1. Convenient and readily available help around the clock
        2. Quick progress, especially if it’s your first session
        3. The counselor can ensure follow up by calling the user during the journey

        These stats show how helpful quitlines have been over the years:

        In 2006, 55% of youth pledged to stop smoking which increased to 67.7% in 2006. In the year 2012, the adult smoking rate in Florida was 17.7 which is way less than a national average of 19.6%. The smoking rate among high school students decreased to 8.6% in 2013.

        The teenagers nowadays are more educated and more aware of the risks they are taking with every single puff. Curbing the youth interest in this activity is essential for the betterment of the society, and the hotlines are playing a key role here.

        Free of cost support such as quit plan tailored to your routine, quit smoking helpline number, live help through chat facility and quit coaching are some of the options available to quit smoking.

        Best Quit Smoking Hotlines:

        National Cancer Institute – 877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848)

        Having trouble in smoking cessation or have any ambiguity? You can contact National Cancer Institute at their quit smoking quitline or live help chat portal. The support is available in most spoken languages in U.S. that are English and Spanish. The timings of support centre are from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Call in from Monday to Friday for any question you may have. NCI assists you in designing a viable quit plan as well as providing the motivation required by imparting information pertaining to the damages smoking causes in our body. These damages may not visible but eventually show up in form of diseases later – most of which can be lethal.

        The rate at which smoking is causing premature deaths in United States is startling. In addition to this, to curb the situation the organization is conducting awareness programs to reduce the purchase of cigarettes and habit of smoking, and use of cigarettes in pregnant mothers. Their performance has been remarkable so far.

        800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669)

        Each and every state has its own quitting smoking hotline service. For your convenience, once you call this universal number, you will be automatically directed to your local hotline. However, the timings and services are different for different states. The quit counselor helps in highlighting the obstacles that you might come across while quitting smoking.

        Quitting smoking habit might be difficult so introducing people to those who have gained success in quitting smoking habit is vital to the process. The support team at stop smoking hotline provides help to those who lose hope as they keep on failing in quitting.


        1-800-NO-BUTTS (1-800-662-8887)

        This is a quit smoking hotline number that has dedicated its services for California. They offer support in six languages including English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Vietnamese. The counselling and coaching services are available 24/7. The telephonic, chat & referral service, material and training is offered free of charge.

        1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669)

        This hotline is a state level effort called Tobacco Free Florida, is gaining a lot of recognition due to its success in the region. Overall consumers of cigarette are reducing with time. Different awareness programs are being sponsored by cigarette producing companies and reputable firms as good gesture to the society. The support is offered in 3 different ways. First is the traditional one, calling on hotline (here you get connected to quit counselor), second one is getting involved in a group quitting session, and the last one is by gaining access to information through their web portal.

        Local businesses are invited to be a part of initiative. Media presence is an asset that can be utilized to reach large masses. Tobacco Free Florida is gaining support from many influential people also. In a group session other people like you along with a professionally trained facilitator will be with you. You can contact them anytime as the support team is there to assist you 24/7.

        In a Nutshell

        These hotlines offer some similar services including, providing free printed information, counseling, on request of an individual referral to some other resources, and recorded messages of people who have successfully quit smoking. The objective of these programs and initiatives is to improve the health of the citizens and promote savings. Those people that were used to smoking but now have decided to quit usually have more spare money than a smoker. There are also many state-funded services available for those looking for the drug rehab and recovery. Addiction Resource provides a list of such rehab hotlines here.

        The wide availability of cigarettes has been blamed as the cause of many ailments existing in the country. The youth is experiencing diseases associated with lungs and kidney. This is one the reasons of increase in premature deaths among youth. The awareness programs don’t only target the smoker; nonsmokers once inspired from the information imparted can encourage and motivate a smoker to quit smoking with the support of quit counselor.

        The government of United States of America is taking actions and setting up such quitlines to help smokers quit this habit and restrain the youth from starting smoking. Till now the stop smoking hotlines have received good response. All the quit smoking hotlines mentioned above have received good review from users/ subscribers of the program. Quitting smoking is not difficult anymore.

        What to Expect After You Make the Call

        The staff of every hotline is very friendly and helpful. Each hotline works differently but normally the quit coach will ask a few questions about your addiction as well as quitting history. After that, you’ll get

        • access to a variety info and services on smoking cessation approaches
        • a totally personalized quit plan
        • coping strategies to curb the cravings
        • self-help support material
        • answers to any questions you have

        Here’s an overview of some of the most popular government hotlines that have helped thousands in quitting the obnoxious habit.

        Quit Smoking Hotlines Overview – Quitlines at Fingertips


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