Why I Stopped Smoking Weed - All The Side Effects

Why quitting weed was the best decision for me.

I tried to quit smoking marijuana many times. Normally I would just tell myself that I this was my last bag, and not put any more effort into it than that. Clearly this wasn’t working.

“If you want to get the the same results, keep doing what you are doing”

I had to change what I was doing. It has been 10 years since I first smoked pot, and 7 of those years have been an excessive, chronic marijuana addiction. Because I was stoned so often, it was easy to ignore all of the growing problems associated with my addiction to weed. I took the time to step back and really evaluate what my marijuana addiction was doing to my life.

Most people can’t quit because they don’t know what to expect, or don’t have a plan. If you want to be fully prepared and successful when you stop smoking weed, check out the Quit Marijuana Action Plan.

Smoking 4 or 5 times a day, every day, chews up A LOT of time. I wrote 4 separate pieces about how Marijuana has negative effects on my life. This is the first stage of the recovery process. It is necessary to identify why I want to quit so that I can quit more driven to quit more easily.

I believe that it is a great idea to create an inventory of all of the reasons that I want to quit smoking weed. This servers 2 purposes: To clarify the negative effects of marijuana addiction in my life, and to use as a reference guide when I crave smoking pot, and think about relapsing.

Why I Quit Weed #1 - Physical Side Effects

Respiratory System: My respiratory system takes the largest toll when I smoke pot. I do not breathe as well as I would if I did not smoke at all. From attempts at quitting in the past, it takes about 2 weeks to a month to notice a change in my lung capacity. I currently have a wheeze if I breathe out quickly. My lungs have also been burnt from inhaling smoke that is way to hot, it usually hurts for about a day, then goes away. I also find myself holding my breath and creating tension in my body for no reason, like I am trying to hold in an imaginary hit of weed. I need to take slower, deeper, breaths.

My mucus production is through the roof. I don’t have the weed smokers cough right now, it seems to come and go. I DO awake everyone morning with a stuffed nose. If I get a cold, it takes me a long time to beat it. I had nasal congestion from late July to early October this year.

Skin: My skin doesn’t look good. I think this may be a blood circulation and oxygen thing from smoking pot. You know how you can look at a 60 year old and tell if they are smokers or not….I think that to a lesser extent smoking weed does the same thing. I quit smoking for about 3 months a couple years ago and noticed that my skin, particularly my face was way smoother and healthier looking. I also noticed when I quit that the bags under my eyes, and surrounding pores looked way smaller and better.

My thumb and forefinger are also discolored from holding onto joints and blunts. It is pretty common to burn the skin slightly when I am going for the last hit on a roach.

Eyes: My eyes get bloodshot and itchy when I smoke weed. When I smoke heavily, my eyes get kind of dazed, 1/2 open, and I don’t focus well. However, I will admit that smoking pot does improve night vision.

Teeth: One of my teeth is getting stained from tar and resin in the joints I smoke. I was smoking between 1-5 joints a day. So it does add up and it is visible to me.

Eating Habits: You are what you eat, and when I get stoned, I eat shitty fast food – and lots of it. Taco Bell, McDonalds, Jack in the Box etc. When I am too stoned to drive and too lazy to walk there is always pizza or Chinese food that can be delivered. Not only is this terrible for me, it also costs a lot of money. I don’t go to the grocery store that often because I don’t want to go stoned, so I would just smoke more pot instead and eat junk food. 7-11 is 24 hours, but the hot dogs are only good until about 2:30 am. I have put on about 15lbs in the last 2 years.

Lack of Exercise: I don’t do physical activity nearly enough. I used to be in excellent shape and need to get back to where I was before. Swapping the smoking habit and high for the exercise habit and high is a priority for me. My cardiovascular system has been beat up from all of the pot smoking. Once I have quit smoking weed, I should see that rebound pretty well – especially if I push myself with bike rides and hikes.

The Negative Effects of Marijuana on my Relationships:

As seen in Part 1, and Part 2   I believe that it is a great idea to create an inventory of all of the reasons why I want to quit smoking weed. This servers 2 purposes: To clarify the negative effects of marijuana addiction in my life, and to use as a reference guide when I crave smoking pot, and think about relapsing.

Friendships: Most of the people I associate are stoners, or smoke pot sometimes. Because so much of my life is lived whilst stoned, it is easiest to associate with people that enable me to get high. I also turn down or spoil friendships because I don’t call people back or check my messages on a regular basis. Being stoned is a comfort bubble, as long as you exist within that bubble, the rest of the world can wait. Marijuana is the common theme of most of my friendships, very few get deeper than that.

Commitments: Because weed effects my short term memory so much, I am often late or forget about commitments that I should honor. I also do not like to commit to any regular or scheduled activity, because it may interfere with my ability to smoke pot and get high.

Girlfriends: I went through a period of hiding the fact that I smoked weed from my girlfriends. It always backfired. Every relationship I have had or attempted has been negatively affected by my smoking. For example, multiple times I have left a date early to go smoke pot alone, or have my mind on getting high rather than paying attention to the person I am with. I can also be very quiet and introverted while high on marijuana, so it makes it difficult to maintain conversations, sometimes even eye contact. Basically, I resent that a girlfriend interferes with my unrestricted access to smoking marijuana, and the mental and emotional state of being high.

Family: I am lucky to have a family that does not demonize marijuana. They are unaware of the extent of my addiction and I feel ashamed of it. I always thought that there were great expectations for me (from both family and myself) that haven’t been met because of my chronic marijuana addiction.

Conversation: I consider myself to be a well-spoken articulate person – when sober. Sometimes my memory gets so bad I forget what I was saying, the word I wanted to say, or I mispronounce a word. If I am itching for weed, my mind is elsewhere and I may space out and not pay attention to the other half of the conversation. I am not as sharp, while high, as I am when sober.

Social Anxiety and Paranoia: When I am in public and stoned, I think I hear people talking about me and laughing at me sometimes. Even though I know this not to be the case, I get quite anxious and embarrassed. I struggle to make eye contact with people when I am baked, and am more likely to introvert myself and my thoughts, body language, and actions. I would never go and chat up a group of girls while stoned – I could do it sober far more easily. I also get anxious about driving, about smelling like pot around coworkers and the general public. I also worry about coworkers, friends, and family knowing about how bad I crave pot, and how much of a stoner I am. No 6 year old says “I want to grow up to be pothead”.

 

Why I Quit #3: Mental Health Side Effects

man with marijuana mental problemsMotivation: Smoking pot heavily makes me super lazy. I struggle to get the most basic tasks, like housework done on time. I was always a procrastinator, but smoking pot and being a procrastinator is a horrible combination. This has been called A-motivational syndrome. I need to focus some research on a motivational syndrome.

Concentration: I can’t get in, and stay in ‘the zone’ very well when I am high on marijuana. I am become easily distracted and struggle to get tasks finished. I used to be able to work for hours without noticing the time go by. I now glance at the clock every few minutes and work feels like more a chore than way I have been sober for a few days or more. Sometimes I fade out when people are talking to me and I begin to daydream, or just shut down altogether. This had never been an issue in the past.

Memory Lapses: I forget things. Wallet, Keys, clothing, important dates, birth dates, names of people I was just introduced to, or the fact that I was just introduced to them. Smoking marijuana seems to affect my ability to transfer thoughts or ideas from short term – to long term memory.

Stress: Forgetting things, being late, falling behind, and being anxious and paranoid all of the time is stressful. I am sure you know what I do to relieve the stress. This really is a vicious cycle. I also have to hide this part of my life from coworkers and family which can cause a of stress as well. There is also the fear of being busted by the police, going to jail, or having to deal with sketchy dealers. I don’t like people to know I am stoned in public, so I stress out if I think they do know.

Mood Swings: There is the joy of scoring, and rolling up a fresh spliff, the anxiety of almost being out of weed, the anger and frustration of not being able to find a hookup and many other rollercoaster rides. There is an emotional high knowing you are going to get high, and a low after you are high, knowing you don’t want to do it anymore. I sometimes feel empty when I can’t find anything and am completely out of pot.

Depression: For me, I feel depressed because I eat terribly, break promises to myself, and am highly stressed when trying to maintain an addiction and normal life. When I fall behind and procrastinate, I feel like shit. Keeping busy is the best way for me to break this mindset. When I eat well, exercise and don’t smoke, I feel great. I am usually a positive person, and make sure that my inner monologue is positive as well.

Anger: I feel angry when I am not in control of when, where, and how I smoke weed. I also feel angry and anxious if I have weed, but am doing an activity other than smoking it. This has been a struggle in relationships when I would rather get out of bed, and get stoned, than cuddle up with someone for the rest of the night. I have resented people for interfering with my addiction.

The Negative Effects of Marijuana on my Finances

Cost of Marijuana: My previous post on How Much my Addiction to Pot Has Cost Me, shows how expensive this habit can become. Add it up for yourself, its amazing what happens when this goes unchecked in the long term.

100 Dollar Bill

I created this calculator that you can use to calculate how much you spent.

Paying Bills: I forget to pay my bills on time, or even open them. I always leave my banking to the last possible moment. My cell phone frequently gets disconnected. In the past, I have had TV and Phone service disconnected. Not because I didn’t have the money, just I was stoned all the time and never thought of it.

Planning Ahead: I haven’t saved anything for a house. I don’t plan well or have a budget from month to month. I tend to live in the current moment, or just far enough ahead in the future when stoned. Being in the stoned bubble really blurs the ability to look into the future.

Incidental Expenses: I eat a lot of low nutrition, high cost foods when I smoke marijuana. After smoking pot, its common to get the munchies and eat fast food. Also, I am less motivated to make my own food, or even go the grocery store to get new food. When not smoking, I eat healthier and am more conscious of my food choices.

 

Inability to plan ahead: (2019 update):  Looking back – I realized I didn’t have the ability to plan ahead or set a budget.  I now budget every month and have more control over my finances.  I was able to get out of debt recently and started to put my money toward more productive and healthy activities like a gym membership and better food!

31 responses to “Why I Stopped Smoking Weed”

  1. Thank you for your blog. I plan on sending it to my daughter for help in marijuana recovery. You were very lucky. She ended up in the psych ward of the emergency room for 4 days after smoking “the good weed” she bought at a dispensary. The ER nurse told me that in the last 2-3 years she’s seen many cases of people in full on Psychosis with Only marijuana in their system. With whatever is going on with weed now…it’s more important than ever to give ppl tools to deal with their habits. While it may or may not be “addictive” and while you may not be able to “overdose” it can absolutely derail your life in Major ways. My daughter is now on anti-psychotic and mood stabilizer medication for the foreseeable future. And in CA where green crosses are on every corner I worry about her long term ability to cope with this drug. Hopefully, this site will help her.

  2. Hello!
    Thanks for your guidance. I am currently on my 4th day of not smoking after heavily consuming weed for three years straight. I loved to smoke, it was great! It helped me relax, unwind, and get thru a rough day filled with reality. I decided to stop smoking after my husband (he’s a smoker also) and i started developing a weird stomach problem. At first it felt like a dry gut rot with some nausea, but then it started developing into strong stomach pains. We couldn’t figure out why we started feeling this way. Anyways, the pain, nausea, and loss of appetite (even when smoking) has alarmed us to quit. We are both healthy, work out, eat healthy, and both in great shape, we can’t understand why we both have this stomach issue. Could it be from the weed? We are just so confused.

    We are both on our journey to a clean life. I know the symptoms will be gone after this week so I am not worried, I am now worried about our stomach issues. Have you heard of anything like this?

    We buy are weed from dispensaries in California.

      • Yo yo yo yo I smoke like a ton. Everyday all day. It’s all I do and I’m a lazy sack of crap. If your reading this and you’ve never smoked don’t do that it’s rough. People say it ain’t addicting but it’s just like cigs to be honest. I wish I could quit but Gahlee bum I like to get blowed off my balls. I currently have no job and am selling weed just to barely get by. Damn!

    • I’ve had similar side effects so I did some research and came across a condition called Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. It not very common but a lot of cases are undocumented.

      The pain will gradually go away.CHS itself only last 2-3 days and it will continue to return every couple of months until you quit.Going though CHS and withdrawal made the symptoms last 2 1/2 months since withdrawal itself can be up to 90 days. I felt great for about a month but then i resumed using. The symptoms came back in about 2 months so I am quitting for good .Im not letting this substance control my life. I’ve quit before so

      Your story has helped me I was starting to think that part of effects where because of my diet. it’s common to over eat and eat foods high in sugar, fats, and cards when using . I thought that was a part of the problem but I guess cessation should do the trick

  3. Thank you for your old blog.. today is my 1st day weed free.. i need access to a forum for support… any suggestions?? Thanks

  4. Hi.

    Just reading through your website has given me lots of hop to quit as its creating problems with my married life. Thank you so sharing all the details with me.

    Best,
    Bilal

    • Which means your wife doesn’t like it. Grow a pair of balls or tell her to leave. YOU’RE THE MAN! I’ve been looking to quit and after searching for reasons, the only benefit is saving money which you could if you grew it.

  5. Hey.
    I am a 18 year old boy.
    i have been smoking weed pretty much every day for the past 10 months and one thing i noticed is how it can affect ur testosterone and muscle growth if u care about that. (i do a lot) Me and my friends used to get high and go to the gym to workout, but after several months of non stop smoking, i started to notice that i wasnt really gaining anything from it. I looked into it and have read thousands of things about how weed can give u man boobs and kill ur testosterone to the point u talk and look like a female. Weed also has a hormone in it only found in females called estrogen. Estrogen plays the main role in female puberty, it helps their boobs grow, helps their voice stay lady-like, and keeps hair from growing, If you are inhaling this shit, u are basically asking to be more like a women.
    I started to notice more nipple tissue around my chest, more fat on my body, and my biceps seemed like they were shrinking, this was extremely alarming. This was the main reason i started to look into quitting, and god dammit its hard.
    I am shocked that this article didnt say anything about the decrease in testosterone levels… Its a pretty big fact left out…
    Don’t start smoking weed you will regret it!!!

    • The reason testosterone levels aren’t mentioned is probably because it’s one of those things where half of the studies says it lowers testosterone, and the other half says that chronic use has no effect on T levels whatsoever.

      I’m not calling you a liar, just simply saying that other factors could be in play (munchies, being lazier and not going to the gym as often, the plain fact that after a while it gets more demanding to maintain and build muscles, weed or not, etc). Plenty of people are able to smoke without getting manboobs, turning feminine and stuff – even really buff people.

      Of course, if you feel like weed is negatively impairing your ability to exercise, and if exercise is really important to you, by all means continue your efforts to quit. Just know that weed hasn’t conclusively been linked to severe hormonal imbalances (but also, that this missing link isn’t proof that it DOESN’T mess with hormones either).

    • …also, it’s not your place to advice people for or against smoking weed. Some people need it medicinally, and some people just plain ol’ use is recreationally, with no ill effects and the ability to go without smoking for weeks, if necessary, while other people can’t handle it for various reasons. The only advice we can really give is that if you already started smoking regularly, be aware of how it affects you.

  6. Same exact story. I have always been a pretty motivated guy but after smoking (which I loved) for years I found myself slowly becoming In a rut. I would want to finish whatever I had to do that day just so I could go home and smoke. I was only truly not high at work only. Other then that I would be high all day and would turn my lifestyle to support my habit. I still did great at work and no one truly new what was going inside my head and how much smoking was truly effecting me.

    I found myself always needed the stuff and would also be looking anywhere for it just to get high. I also would feel guilty of doing this and spending the money but it was ok because I could just smoke myself into a state of whatever. I found myself pushing friends away and spending all my free time just getting high instead of putting the time into my social life / career

    Now for the good part.
    After stopping for a month I have become superman. All that time and effort I had to do to keep myself high now goes into my personal life and career. I no longer want to rush home just to get high and I have my hunger back also not only for food but for life. My brain is becoming sharp again and my
    Motivation is back 150%. At work I am getting another promotion and people are amazed At my level of work (which is normal I feel)

    I will always love smoking but I am done with it. It was a big black hole, a time sink, an excuse to not go out and tackle the world. Sure in small moderation maybe nobody will ever go through this but after reading these posts and feeling the exact same way I know it is an issue. Also hearing my friends say “man I wish I could quit”. I know it’s not just me.

    Good luck out there everyone and I hope this wall of text helps someone gain happiness again if they lost it

      • Thank you so much for those words, i feel like they helped me so much. Ive smoked weed for nearly 3 years straight, pretty much everyday, and its becoming exhausting. I just want to feel fresh and clear headed, and i actually screenshotted that bit about superman that you wrote. I hope it will be encouraging when i feel like i need pot. Thank you again man

    • I am a 26 year girl who has smoked daily for just over 10 years now. My habit started at age 15 and has never stopped. Most all of my friends including the ones who introduced me to pot have stopped smoking without trouble but for me this habit has stuck and persisted to the point where I no longer feel like I can enjoy life without it. At the end of the day, if I don’t have it, I feel I have nothing to look forward to. I am tired of living the “double life”. From the outside looking in I have it all- a great job in a medical profession, 2 college degrees, and a supportive and loving family. I’m sure people who don’t know of my habit assume I am a happy and fulfilled person that most certainly does not smoke. On the inside I am a shell of the person I used to be. I find myself leaving family gatherings early due to the need to smoke as well as outings with friends. I have lost many close friends due to this habit and my constant need to leave wherever I am to go smoke. Everytime I have tried to quit (the longest time I quit was a few months in 2009 to pass a drug test) I give in due to the inability to sleep without it. In fact in the past year I have cut down significantly often going entire days without it without it only to give in at bedtime just for the sake of sleeping before a long work day. This has gone from a very social habit for me to a isolated habit. 99% of the time now, I smoke alone.

      I can now say I am ready for a major life change. I have had chronic cough now for Several years and due to fear of health problems I have slowly taken steps to quitting. The past 6 months or so I switched from smoking from a bowl to using a vaporizer. Recently, about two weeks ago, I stopped with the vaporizer and have been only consuming it in the form of candies in small amounts at nighttime. i am not getting nearly as high as I used to and have begun to feel a lot of the withdrawal effects (particularly sleep issues) and its is really scary, but I feel a change deep in me this time around and know that I will not go back to smoking. I NEED TO DO THIS. I love the idea of setting a date to be done with EVERYTHING and I find myself more and more excited at the possibility of getting my life back and my true self back after so many lost Years. So glad to have found a support group with so many others who can relate to what I am going through!

  7. I quit smoking weed 3 days ago, and man it has been tough. Im not going to lie, weed was who I was for about 5 years. However bad that sounds, I always thought of weed as something that wasn’t like heroin, crack, cocaine, meth, you know all the bad drugs. However, after re-evaluating everything in my life that came crumbling down because of my weed use, I have gained a brand new perspective on life. Since I live in oHIo (funny, right? its called oHio yet weed isn’t legal here, let alone legal medically) I could only get it from shady dealers and not a convenient depository like all you lucky people out West. With that being said, not having to contact those shady dealers, you know, the ones who never return your calls or texts until a time that your busy doing something and have to drop whatever it is your doing to go meet them and get some, is absolutely great.

    I will say this, although I know alcohol is horrible and everything, its the reason why I have been able to quit….abusing it is bad, which I don’t do. But the big thing for me was having puff before bed time. Despite what everyone says, I have found that downing two beers before bed puts my mind at ease as I don’t think about smoking and am able to sleep. I don’t recommend this tactic for everyone (especially those who are prone to addiction), but I will say that it is a legal alternative that puts me to sleep at night.

    The way I look at is like this: at least I’m not a crackhead, cocaine attic, meth fanatic, or heroin junkie. At least weed is no where near those drugs. Alcohol is no where near those drugs. And alcohol (ironically enough, I know) is the only reason that I have been able to quit.

    Good luck to all of you who are quitting, as it is NOT easy. Just think what I think, at least you are bettering yourself for the future and at least your not going to turn into Jerry Garcia by the time your 30.

  8. i hv got same symptoms as you.. so from today.. i hv started my journey for fighting against addiction…

    • Congratulations on starting your journey. Starting is often the hardest part about quitting. That initial decision and commitment you have made are going to make your life much, much better.

  9. I quit tonight. My habit is tremendous. I can’t sleep. I’ve been planning this. At the moment I’m not comfortable or happy. I agree with every pt u made. I burned a half oz per wk. Quitting is a must. Have a 4 yr old boy. I’m a horrible husband. Weed controls my life. I’m a great dad but he’s getting older and aware of stuff. Stopping isn’t a question. Question is how miserable is this going to b?

  10. Use and Abuse are totally different. I don’t agree with quitting all together. I Agree with stopping the abuse of it. Too much of anything is no good for you. Too much caffeine gives you bladder problems. Too much alcohol gives you liver problems. Most people who need to stop marijuana are the abusers who use it very irresponsibly. If you spend more than 50$ a month on marijuana I personally would classify you as an abuser. There are more conservative and eco friendly ways to enjoy the positive effects of marijuana. If you would like to stop I wouldn’t blame you or tell you to limit. However I do feel that people should stop abusing marijuana. It gives a bad name to us responsible users. Had it not been for them, there would be no websites dedicated to ending marijuana use all together.

  11. Mike,

    Why would you post in favoritism of smoking pot on a website that say “quitmarijuana.org”… It seems kinda contradictiary as people who have found their way to this website are already looking for solutions in smoking weed. Yes, marijuana has medicinal and social impacts. But the possible further ramifications are far worse, and anyone who has been seeking out this sight is certainly here for a reason.
    Be positive man, your not helping a community thats trying to stay sober.

  12. Hi everyone, my name is Musa from South Africa. I was smoking for about 2 and half years now, today is my 3day weed free and I know I will make it.

    Without secrifice, there’ll be No Victory.

    Thanks for sharing inspiring stories, I pray you all find courage to over come this demonic drug.
    Stay blessed.

  13. Hi everyone- I’m really happy I found this forum. Today is my 2nd day off of weed. I have been a morning-to-night smoker for 20 years. I’m a high-functioning addict. Everybody who knows me intimately though knows that I’m an addict. I’ve pushed all these people away and now I feel maybe I can start a new life.

    I know that I have been running away from dealing with family trauma from childhood all these years. Lately my health has taken a serious turn for the worse, and deep down I know it’s due to the marijuana. Rashes, night sweats, constant fatigue, depression.

    I just got a therapist and she’s great. I think I’m in a good spot to kick this habit. I think it will be hard because I will have to deal with all the things I’ve been running away from. But I think I have to do it, or else I’m going to get physically even more sick.

    Thank you for this website and everyone for writing in. Hearing your voices really helps.

  14. hey ….
    reading your article really helped I feel happy I found these and so interesting and it give me the motivation of quitting it….I was a stoner….morning …. noon…evening….late night, I smoke more than 4 join its like each time I roll 2 join at each part of the day
    the fact is I keep fit…..it could not help my self ….its true about the thing saying it make you get troubles…. problems with friend quite true ….
    and sometime it cause depression which make my girlfriend mad always at me…..but smoking marijuana was fun get high easily meditate in the nature …..relax me after surfing ….. these thing came habits but you still can make the difference and remain same result….like listen to music….relax on beach or in nature reserve also great ….but sometime we are to young to realize its harming my health, lets say teenagers health …. now its my second day without it I can survive with out it ….

    thank you …
    I appreciate your website and your inspiration .

  15. This is a great story. I’ve been needing to quit weed for a few weeks. Thanks for showing me how you quit.

    Do you recommend cold turkey or gradually decreasing how much you smoke??

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