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How To Stop Smoking Weed:
A Guide to Quitting Marijuana
& Conquering Withdrawal

Looking for help with ending your marijuana addiction and withdrawal symptoms?

I’m about to share with you the best strategies to help you quit weed

Use this guide to learn how to stop smoking weed daily, for a tolerance break, for 30 days, or forever.

There's a whole lot here.   So you can click here to download this free guide as a PDF.

Are you thinking about quitting weed? 

You are not alone.   Marijuana Addiction is a real condition affecting millions of people.  

In fact, close to 1 in 9 people who smoke weed regularly become addicted...(footnote).   

Just because marijuana doesn't seem as harmful or addictive as other drugs, doesn't mean it can't cause serious negative effects in your life.  

If you are thinking about quitting weed, you are in the 'contemplation' stage of quitting.     We'll cover all the steps to learn how to cope with quitting weed, deal with cravings and recover successfully.

First, We recommend you read this page completely, then go back and explore the details and links provided within each section.

Am I addicted to Marijuana?

The first step on the journey to recovery is realizing that you have a problem with your marijuana use.  But, it can be difficult to judge for yourself whether you are addicted

To find out if you are abusing marijuana or addicted to it, take the test below:

Can you stop smoking weed?

Your damn right you can!

It's up to you to take the action with the discipline and courage so you can make a change in your life. 

We've got some tricks called "motivational enhancement therapy" to help with that further down the page.

Try a tolerance break?

A tolerance break or t-break is break from cannabis that typically lasts from 1 week to 1 month.   

If you haven't had a t-break in a while, see if you can go a week.    Then you'll have a better sense of whether or not you can stop smoking marijuana.

Have you tried to quit before and failed?

Guess What?  Your previous failures are there to show you what doesn't work.   You learn valuable lessons from your attempts to quit.    And truth is, you have to get a number of things right to stop smoking weed, and stay quit for 30 days, 90 days, a year, or forever.  

The journey is different for everyone.  But you can stop your weed addiction in its tracks...even if you have tried many times before.

Even if you are the daily heaviest smoker or dab constantly,  with a guided plan, and strong support structure, you can quit weed.

You can only fail when you give up trying.

How Addictive is Marijuana

People say marijuana isn't addictive, but that just isn't true.  

Marijuana is certainly addictive., but milder than many other drugs.  While it doesn't show the same outward signs of addiction of heroin, crack or alcohol, weed addiction causes the same pain and regret as other drug addictions.

Unfortunately, the lack of 'signs of addiction' compared other drugs can lead to a long, slow decline in daily functioning.  

Days become weeks, weeks become months, and months become years...

And suddenly you realize your life has gone way off track.   Increasingly isolated, with lost opportunities and fading relationships.

Is Marijuana Physically Addictive

Marijuana is slightly physically addictive when used heavily.  Marijuana withdrawal syndrome has a physical component when you quit cold turkey.   You may be familiar with the lack of appetite, sweating (hyperhydrosis), headaches, chills and stomach problems.

Compared to Other Drugs

So the question is, how does marijuana compare to these classically addictive drugs? Estimates vary, but compared with tobacco, which hooks about 20% to 30% of smokers, marijuana is much less addictive, coming in at 9% to 10%. In contrast, 23% to 25% of heroin users get addicted, along with 15% of alcohol users and 15% to 20% of those who use cocaine.

Four Reasons It's Hard to Stop Smoking Marijuana

Weed addiction can be tricky to deal with.  It can steal your motivation, and smoking lets you temporarily escape from the problems it causes. 

1 - Old Habits Die Hard

First off, there's the habit of smoking.    And with your habit, there are certain triggers or cues that cause you to smoke.  

Do you smoke to relieve stress or self-soothe?

It could be when you first come home from work or after you get into an argument with your partner. 

The longer you smoke, the more ingrained your habits and the more you rely on weed rather other coping skills.

2 - Higher Potency Marijuana

Next up, THC, one active ingredient in marijuana in the weed you smoke is rising all the time.

Some weed grown in 2020 has twice as much THC as marijuana grown just 10 years ago.

Check out this graph of weed potency.

Stronger weed equals stronger addiction.  More people are addicted today than ever before.

3 - It Lets you be "comfortably numb"

Cannabis is a trickster.  

What other drug can trap you in your head with fanciful thoughts and ideas, while taking away your motivational drive to do anything with them?  

It's a real problem when you increase your marijuana consumption to numb away the problems caused by your marijuana consumption.  

You can get seriously stuck.  I know I was.

4 - Withdrawal Symptoms can drive you back to smoking

Cannabis is a trickster.  

What other drug can trap you in your head with fanciful thoughts and ideas, while taking away your motivational drive to do anything with them?  

It's a real problem when you increase your marijuana consumption to numb away the problems caused by your marijuana consumption.  

You can get seriously stuck.  I know I was.

How to Stop Smoking Weed

The best way to quit smoking weed is the one that works for you.   

In this section we'll the psychological process of quitting as well as 3 ways to quit.

Ways to Quit Covered in this Guide

You can click on each method to jump to that section.

How to Stop Smoking Weed - Option #1 - Quitting Cold Turkey

Why quit weed cold turkey?

It's the fastest way to quit and it's a clean break. 

If you have to detox by a certain date, like for a drug test or other important deadline, cold Turkey is the only way to go.   By quitting completely all at once, your body, natural endocannabinoid system, and mind will recover more quickly. 

Cold turkey is a great option if you are very motivated to quit or have attempted to taper, but were never able to get to the tapering part! 🙂

Strategies for Success

Set a Quit Date and begin to plan around it.

Write down your quit date and display it somewhere visible.   You must write it down   You must also dedicate time to get yourself mentally prepared for your quit date and the days to follow. 

The more you plan outside of your head and commit your plans to paper, the deeper you commit to quitting and understanding what it's going to take for you to quit.   There's a lot of proven psychology around this. 

Practice Your Coping Skills

Everyone has cravings.    What you need to do is to have a plan for those cravings or situations where you will be exposed to weed.    Visualise situations where you will be tempted, and visualize yourself not smoking and making appropriate decisions.  

When I quit, I knew I'd be offered weed at a pub.  For the first week, I just didn't go, but I did practice saying 'No'.   When I was offered, I knew how to say 'No' because I practiced.

Know when to H.A.L.T. before you smoke

  • Hungry - Try to keep you blood sugar steady and avoid the ups and downs.   Hunger prevents good decisions.
  • Angry - Don't smoke to avoid your anger.
  • Lonely - If you smoke to escape, be aware of how lonely you are feeling.   Reach to friends or QuitMarijuana.org members to help you when you are feeling lonely.
  • Tired - Get rest.  It can be hard when sleep disturbance is a common withdrawal symptom.  

Take it easy on yourself and find positive ways to release the stress you used to release from weed.

When you want to smoke, HALT. Figure out if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, and deal with that rather than blunting that stress by smoking again.

Throw Away All of Your Gear

The easiest way to quit weed is to not have access to it.   If you reach you quit date and still have ANY weed, you need to throw it away, or give it to someone else.  

You're also going to want to get rid of your gear like bongs, roach clips, vape pens, rollies, and other things that remind you of weed.   You are quitting - you don't need any of it. 

Pro Tip: Flush you last bit of weed down the toilet or break your glass bong.   Actions like these are symbolic of your personal power over weed and your resolve to quit.

Don't allow a craving to cause a slip-up.  Make it hard for yourself to quit, particularly in the first week by living in a weed free environment.   Don't put youself if situations where you have to choose.

Build Your Support Network with Friends, Family and Professionals

Talk to at least one real friend that loves and cares about you. Tell them about your struggle and tell them about your desire to quit. Make sure they understand the situation and tell them what they can do and not do to support you.

True friends will be able to help you when you're weak and help you be accountable.

Also, you may have underlying issues which you have been medicating with marijuana. If you are getting depressed or having a rough time with anxiety when you are quitting, see your doctor.

Make it Your Highest Priority but Have Reasonable Expectations

Focusing on quitting may cause you to re-prioritize other areas of your life.  

For example, you may choose not to go out and be social for the first week and see friends that smoke.

If it's your first time quit attempt, you may slip-up.  Don't be too hard on yourself.  The best thing for you to do, is learn from the slip-up, determine what you would have done differently, then try again.  

Everyone makes mistakes.  Don't dwell on them.  Learn and move on.


Path #2 - Tapering Down Gradually, Then Quitting

Why Should You Taper?

Tapering is a good idea if you are a heavy cannabis user and have experienced significant withdrawal symptoms before.

For example, if you are dabbing several times a day, or are stoned most of the time, tapering can help you avoid withdrawals that are preventing your from quitting.

The idea behind tapering is that you gradually remove THC and other cannabinoids slowly so that your bodies natural endocannabinoid system can gradually recover.

By slow decreasing your intake, you can avoid the distinct withdrawal symptoms that going cold turkey may cause.

This can be especially helpful if you've experienced panic attacks or more severe withdrawal symptoms.

The Problem with Tapering

The problem with tapering is that it takes significant control to stick to your plan to gradually reduce your usage.  

Many people who start to taper, don't follow through, and just go back to their old consumption patterns.

Eventually, you are going to have to smoke for the last time.  In some ways, tapering is delaying the inevitable final smoke.  


Set your Baseline

For at least one week, keep track of exactly how much you are smoking, dabbing, eating, etc.  If it's got cannabis in it, you need to know how much there is and when you consume it. 

Example:   Let's say that you smoke 2 grams a day and the weed you smoke is 10% THC.    You are consuming about 2*.10= .2 g or 200mg THC each day.      

You may not be able to be this exact.   Measure in 1/4 joints or whatever makes the most sense for you.   If you use a pipe or one hitter, measure the amount of bowls in a day.

That is your baseline.

Determine Your Taper Schedule from Baseline and Set a Quit Date

Next step is to decrease from the baseline.  

How high your baseline is can determine how long you taper.    We recommend a fairly aggressive taper in the beginning.  

Don't forget that THC is fat soluble, so while you'll be smoking less, your THC levels are going to drop gradually.    

Using the example above.  If we start at 200mg smoked, in our first days we should aim to reduce that by 25%, so 150mg.

Here's a quick example of a 30 day taper:

Baseline: 200mg

  1. Day 1-5: 150 mg
  2. Day 6-10: 110 mg
  3. Day 11-15: 85 mg
  4. Day 16-20: 50 mg
  5. Day 21-25: 25 mg
  6. Day 26-30: Not to exceed 25mg - Nothing after day 30. 

If you need to pass a drug test, you are going to need to wait at least 30 days past your quit date to be clean. 

Adjust your Taper

The goal should always be to reduce your usage relative to last week.  

You don't want to smoke to get high, you want to smoke just enough to feel 'normal' and avoid withdrawal symptoms.   

If early in your taper you start to experience significant withdrawal, you can lengthen you taper by adding a week and adjusting how much you smoke each of the the next weeks.

Make Changes to Toward Living A Weed-Free Life

As you gradually reduce the amount and frequency you smoke, you will have more sober time.    Using this time effectively towards new goals and hobbies is great practice for when you quit completely.    

Way #3 - Behavior Substitution, Taper & Detox

With this method, we take a more granular approach to breaking the habits and psychological addiction then tackling your marijuana dependence.    It's almost like a cold-turkey and taper at the same time

You'll need to know your baseline from the taper method above, but you are going to set a quit date related to the METHODS you use to get high.  

For example, let's say that you dab once ever two hours that you are awake.  

The first thing you'll do is cut back on the number of dabs per day over a week, until you aren't using shatter or wax at all.   Go ahead and smoke, but no dabbing after 1 week.

Next, we'll want to break the smoking/inhaling habit.   In order to avoid the heavy withdrawals, you are going to want to substitute smoke with edibles, tinctures, or capsules.       Break the habits and the psychology first, then taper your usage with doses you can control.

Why and How it Works

This method works because you splitting out the habit (smoking, dabbing, etc) from the effects (THC consumption).  If you can break away from the habit first, then you can gradually decrease your THC intake via non smoking methods.

The big benefit of this is that it's easy to measure.  You'll only use enough edibles, tinctures, or capsules to avoid withdrawal symptoms.   

This plan is unique to QuitMarijuana.Org.    The members area can help you determine if this is the best plan for you and to help you through the steps.

Marijuana Withdrawal

The withdrawal information on this page is a summary.   Get my free book here, or view the marijuana withdrawal page.

Side Effects of Quitting Marijuana

When you smoke heavily, you are training you body to get the cannibinoids it produces naturally from the weed you smoke.   

So, when you quit smoking, your body reacts and has to adjust.    This process of adjustment is called "Marijuana Withdrawal Syndrome" and the side effects you are experiencing are the withdrawal symptoms.

Marijuana Withdrawal Syndrome

A less well-known consequence of daily, repeated marijuana use is a withdrawal syndrome, characterized by a time-dependent constellation of symptoms: irritability, anxiety, marijuana craving, decreased quality and quantity of sleep, and decreased food intake.

Margaret Haney, PHD.  Author of Marijuana Withdrawal Syndrome

Margaret Haney, PHD

Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

What Happens when you stop smoking weed

When you stop smoking weed, you might experience withdrawal symptoms.  

Some people experience significant withdrawals, others, very little.     

Our Marijuana Withdrawal page has a complete list of symptoms, timeline, and how to minimize the withdrawal you experience.

Common Symptoms

Here's a quick recap of the most common symptoms.  

Marijuana withdrawal symptoms are the main reason people relapse on weed and go back to smoking.

Here's a free book to help you understand and overcome your withdrawal symptoms


Download Our E-Book:
The Truth About Marijuana Withdrawal

Get Your Free Guide to understanding and overcoming marijuana withdrawal.

Quitting Weed Tips That Actually Work

Here's a collection of tips to stop smoking weed

These tips are applicable whether you want to quit cold turkey, by taper, or with behavior substitution.

Tip #1 - Know Where Are You In The Quitting Process

Here are the Stages of Change and how they relate to quitting.(footnote)

What stage of quitting weed are you in?

Where would you say you are?  Which of these stages have you been in? 

It's very common to have been in all of these stages and to cycle through the stages multiple times, each time bringing you closer to quitting. 

Remember, if you've been trying to quit weed without success, you've learned a whole lot about what doesn't work.

Tip #2 - The Three Why's Of Quitting

1 - Why do you smoke so much weed?

What's keeping you smoking now?   Why did you start in the first place?   Do your best to understand your addiction and when you feel the most cravings and the biggest triggers.

2 - Why do you want to quit?

Maybe you have to quit because of a new job, or you got into some trouble for smoking…Sometimes its just time to move on, and you realize that you are trading some short-term satisfaction for long term pain, stress and aren't progressing as a the person you want to become.

3 -Why are you going to be successful?

It's gut-check time.   Do you have a plan?   Have you thought everything through?  What have you done to set your self up for success.  

We cover the three why's in much more detail in the Quit Marijuana Action Plan

Tip #3 - Create a List of Reasons to Quit Weed

Maybe you have to quit because of a new job, or you got into some trouble for smoking…

Sometimes its just time to move on, and you realize that you are trading some short-term satisfaction for long term pain, stress and other side effects of marijuana.

When I knew I had to stop smoking weed, I took a step back and realized negative effects were pretty major.   I felt like I had lost some of the best years of my life to being stoned all of the time.  I created a huge list of all of the reasons why I wanted to quit:

  1. Physical Reasons – I wanted to feel healthy
  2. Psychological Reasons – I wanted to get my mind back and be happy again
  3. Relationship Problems – I was stuck in a rut
  4. Financial Reasons -My money was funneled to the weed lifestyle

  5. I felt like I had lost some of the best years of my life to being stoned all of the time.  I created a huge list of all of the reasons why I wanted to quit:

    Here's My post:  Why I Quit Smoking Marijuana

Tip #4 - Answer This Question Honestly:  Why do I Smoke So Much Weed?

Take some time to think deeply about why you smoke, and go more than the first layer deep.  Some of use smoke to relieve stress, or to escape our current reality.   You might smoke because it's now a habit; get home from work and first thing you do is light up.

Understanding why you smoke is going to help you quit.   For example, if you smoke to relieve your stress, you are going to need to find new, healthier activities to burn off your stress.   If you smoke because of past trauma in your life, you have to consider other ways to work on that trauma without resorting to weed.

Here's an example from my life:  One of the reasons I smoked was because I had a low self-esteem and smoking made me part of a group of people that was easy to fit in with.   Joining the circle and passing a joint eased my social anxiety and helped me to feel like I was part of the group.

Ultimately, it wasn't until I quit that I was able to confront my social anxiety and manage it.  I'm still a little awkward in large groups, but hey, who isn't?

How to Stop Craving Weed - Tip #5

Cravings, temptations, moments of weakness;  whatever you want to call them, these are the reasons you slip-up or relapse despite knowing that you want to be sober and quit for good.

Over time, you've become conditioned to smoke at certain times, with certain people, or when when you experience a trigger that makes you smoke.  You'll learn to identify your triggers, respond to them without smoking weed, and become more aware of yourself in the process.

In the Quit Weed 30 Day Action plan, there are multiple lessons that help you identify your cravings and triggers then help you develop the techniques you need to stay strong.   Everyone has different triggers, so tracking these and developing strategies for each one is the best path forward.

Here's a quick example:

When you feel an urge to smoke weed, set a timer on your watch for 5 minutes.   Take the next 5 minutes to observe how you are feeling without judgement. 

Pay complete attention to all of those feelings.  

Chances are, even by focusing for 5 minutes, your mind will wander away from craving weed.   Let the craving pass!

Tip #7 Read The Truth About Marijuana Withdrawal

Marijuana withdrawal is real.   The most common symptoms are Insomnia, night sweats, irritability, lost of appetite, and depression.

You need to know what to expect with your withdrawal symptoms.   This is so important that I wrote a free e-book "The Truth About Marijuana Withdrawal". Get it Here.

A recent study out of University of Illinois proves you may already know:  Withdrawal can be so severe that you will smoke to relieve the symptoms.  No surprise there, but it's nice to see that science is catching up to what I've been writing about since 2007.    There's no magic pill to relieve withdrawal, but there are natural remedies you can include in your quitting plan that will significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms.  A detailed list of recommendations is included in the Members Area.

Tip #8 Navigating your Relationships

One of the most difficult things someone who quits marijuana goes through is how friends and friendships change with people who still smoke weed. As someone who has quit marijuana, I know the difficulty of this situation and have some advice. Knowing how to manage your relationships when you first quit marijuana will make the quitting process easier.

We all know that people who smoke tend to hang out with people who smoke. Non-smokers hang out with non smokers. If you want to quit smoking pot, and all of your friend still smoke, it almost feels like you’re not just quitting marijuana, you are also leaving your friendships behind…

Stress Release & Self Soothing

One of the major reasons for relapse is stress. Stress causes physical, mental, and emotional problems.

With relaxation techniques, you can diminish the stress in your life, and make the beginning of recovery far easier.

These techniques can be used when craving, or as part of a daily ritual to assists you during withdrawal from marijuana.

Check-out a sampling of relaxation techniques here:

Setbacks, Slip Ups & Relapse

The difference between a slip and relapse

There are significant differences between a slip and a relapse.  They are two very different situations.

A slip, AKA a 'lapse', is usually when someone you smoke weed but then stop quickly afterwards.  Usually, what happens is you smoke, then immediately regret smoking and it actually strengthens your resolve to quit.   You take the mistake as a learning experience, then move on and work towards your sobriety.  

For some people a simple slip can become a downward spiral into a full-blown relapse with no escape in sight.   Relapse comes from latin "to slip back". We consider a 'relapse' to be falling back to your old substance abuse problem and bad habits.

You can be sober for weeks, months or years, and relapse for weeks, months, or years! 

Slips are usually short-lived and don't take away from your motivation to recover from weed addiction.  In fact, You should use slips as learning tools to motivate you to stay sober.  A slip is something you can quickly recover from and make you stronger.

Common Signs of Potential Slip Up

Some of the most common concerns for a potential slip-up are: 

    Looking For Weed Addiction Treatment Options?

    What weed addiction treatment options are there?

    If you can’t stop or quit weed on your own naturally, your may want to seek professional help:

    • QuitMarijuana.Org and the 30 Day Action Plan was created to give you everything you need to quit at an affordable price.  It combines the social support of 12 step programs, but uses best practices like cognitive behavioral therapy to help you figure out how to stop smoking weed because you will write you own quitting plan based on your unique life.  It costs far less than a single session with a therapist or counselor.  Click Here to join today.

    • A psychiatrist or doctor may be able to work with you to treat underlying conditions that cause you to smoke in the first place.  For example:  let's say you smoke to treat your anxiety, you may be prescribed medications that help with anxiety so you can stop taking marijuana.   Sometimes the meds have side-effects worse than medical marijuana, so do your own research after you consult with a professional.

    • In-patient rehab is an intensive and often expensive option.   I recommend this most when there are multiple addictions, like alcohol and weed, or you've been addicted to harder drugs in the past.  Online resources can help you locate a local rehabilitation clinic, therapy or counseling for drug and/or addiction treatment.

    • Group counseling sessions can help you find support by talking through your issues and meeting like-minded people.  Marijuana Anonymous is one example of this type of group.  The issues with these groups is that when you quit forever, you want to move on, and dragging yourself to meetings all the time can be difficult to do.   12 Steps groups have poor success rates relative to other treatment options.

    • An addiction counselor can be useful to talk to.  I know a few that work specifically with people who are addicted to weed and want to quit.  Contact me if you would like a referral.