The consumption of cannabis, whether by smoking, consuming edibles or vaporizing dry herb, has been a popular form of self-medication and recreational indulgence for hundreds — if not thousands — of years. However, it is undeniable that within recent years especially, cannabis has skyrocketed in popularity. With the steadily growing legalization of medical cannabis and limited, but still growing, legalization of recreational cannabis use within the US alone, it is clear that the regular use of varied cannabis substances is only going to continue to rise.
As it happens, weed has recently become so popular; that there has been an increase in the number of studies conducted hoping to show the benefits of cannabis usage, with the results being a surplus of information becoming widely available to the general public. So far, multiple benefits have been found and reported, including but nowhere near limited to: an increases in relaxation, treatment for side effects that come about during chemotherapy, the regulation of seizures, treatment for ADHD and glaucoma and so much more. In fact, this list hardly scratches the surface of what cannabis has been shown to be able to do for many people.
Because of this influx of knowledge surrounding the benefits to cannabis consumption and usage, it is understandable why there has been a drastic increase in popularity and use. Many are excited by the hype, believing medical marijuana to be a sort of miracle drug; a drug with no downsides and incredible number of upsides. In other words, weed has begun to feel like a win-win solution to many. The problem with this however, is that it is not. While there are undeniable medical benefits to weed, there are also a number of downsides that need to be considered and taken seriously. Some people might even be lying to themselves that marijuana is benefiting them when it really isn’t. They either don’t want to put the weed down or don’t want to go through the marijuana withdrawal phase which is shorter than most people think.
Just like with other drugs/medications and even alcohol, continued long-term usage of weed for no reason can have a serious and negative impact on your life. Downsides can include: cognitive and social impairment, health risks, dependency and more. Therefore, the remainder of this article will be devoted to laying out the benefits of quitting weed and reasons you may want to reconsider your cannabis usage habits or quit weed all together.
Benefit One: Quitting Cannabis Can Save You Money
This is number one because it is arguably the most obvious benefit of quitting marijuana. Regardless of how obvious it may seem however, it is still very important to consider. This is because cannabis usage on a regular basis may actually be costing you more than you think, thereby harming your financial security and possibly your financial future.
Take, for example, a person who smokes — on average — one ounce of marijuana a month. This person is spending an average of $250 a month, not including money spent on additional items, (such as bowls and/or rolling papers, grinders, lighters, etc.). This breaks down to approximately $8.5 a day (which is twice more than your expensive cup of coffee every morning), or over $3000 a year. What’s more, many habitual cannabis users are smoking more than an ounce a month. Many people even claim to spend upwards of $300 a month on cannabis based products. That’s over $3600 a year!
What could you do with that extra money? The possibilities are nearly endless and in this financially questionable time, that can mean a lot. Perhaps you could finally save up for that dream trip you’ve always wanted to go on. Maybe now you have money to buy organic foods and live a healthier lifestyle. Maybe you finally have enough money to move into your own place with no roommates, go out to a movie and dinner without having to worry about how you’ll pay your phone bill the next day and generally just have the means to realize indulgences you couldn’t have before. Who knows, you could even use that money to open an investing and/or savings account, to begin working on saving for your future.
Lets take investing into a mutual fund where your money compounds every year. lets start with $500 for the initial current principal and add $200 every month to it. If you keep it for 10 years, and its annual interest rate is at 7% on average, by the end of the 10 years, you will have accumulated $34,143. Think about all the money you can be saving by investing and that’s not even all the money you’re saving since you spend money on lighters, papers, clear eyes, etc.
The point is, if you are not spending hundreds of dollars on cannabis each month, opportunities will open themselves up to you. Is this really something you want to miss out on? If your answer is no, then it may be time to consider quitting cannabis all together.
Benefit Two: Quitting Cannabis Can Add to the Number of Hours in Your Day
Pretty much everyone at one point or another has wished for more hours in a day. If we are being honest, sometimes it just doesn’t seem like 24 hours will cut it. Because of this, every minute is precious, and time management is key. So why spend copious amounts of time smoking? Even if you are spending thirty minutes a day smoking weed (whether all at once or broken up into five minutes here, and five minutes there), that time will add up and make a difference in how much you are able to accomplish throughout the week. For instance, thirty minutes a day adds up to almost 4 hours a week of time (or 182 hours a year — that’s over an entire week straight spent smoking weed)! Making small tweaks to your routine will help you get off the path to marijuana addiction.
Granted, it should be noted that it is difficult to measure an average amount of time cannabis users spend smoking each day, due to the extremely large number of variables that must be factored in, (such as an individual’s overall usage and habits, how much is smoked in a single setting, which products are being consumed, etc.). Even still, there are plenty of regular cannabis users who claim to spend a fair amount of time each day engaging in the activity.
That being said, this loss in time — apart from simply being inconvenient — may actually be harming you in ways you haven’t considered. For starters, it could be preventing you from keeping up with your day-to-day responsibilities and desires. Think about all of the things you could accomplish around the home in only thirty minutes. Is there a room you’ve wanted to clear out forever but haven’t found the time? Spend thirty minutes a day on clearing it instead of smoking and you’ll be done before you know it. Do you wish you could be one of those people who reads a book a month? Spend thirty minutes a day reading instead of smoking and you’ll make that dream happen. Looking to find some time to exercise? Put the joint away and pull out the yoga mat for half an hour or just simply meditate instead — the small term possibilities are endless.
To that end, spending copious amounts of time using cannabis every day can also be keeping you from fulfilling things which require a much larger time commitment as well. Things such as finishing college, starting your own business, writing your first short story, looking for a new more fulfilling job, etc. The point is, if you quit cannabis you are likely going to have time to do the things you didn’t think you’d ever find the time for before.
Benefit Three: Quitting Cannabis can Increase Your Brain Power
You have probably heard the saying that cannabis kills brain cells and makes you less intelligent, and while science has yet to prove this, there is scientific proof in support of cannabis causing mental impairment. In fact, there are specific studies, which show that consuming cannabis leads to temporary decreases in focus, concentration and memory.
But what exactly does this mean for individuals? Clearly cannabis does not affect all users in the same way, and how long you have been using the substance (regardless of how), can have an effect on how well you are able to function while under the influence. However, it is a proven fact that users across the board score lower on basic memory tests, are less able to problem solve (or solving problems and puzzles takes a significantly longer amount of time), when compared to people with clean systems. Furthermore, studies show that while this impairment varied among individuals, in general it was clear that the number of times a person has consumed cannabis in their lifetime had little effect on how well they preformed on the tests.
This means two things. First, it means that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been consuming cannabis for long; your mental impairment will be affected regardless. Second — and more positively — it shows it doesn’t matter if you’ve been consuming cannabis for the majority of your life; you are still able to stop and return to a totally normal level of cognitive functioning. In fact, in only a few days, you should be back to your natural, baseline level of functioning.
This is not to say there are not many highly functioning individuals out there who consume cannabis — in fact; many of us recognize there are certain people who may require cannabis to function on a daily basis. However, it is to say the overwhelming majority of people who regularly consume cannabis will be better off when it comes to their ability to preform cognitive tasks.
Just imagine what you will be able to do with all that extra brainpower! Apart from being better able to remember things, (such as where you left your keys, who’s birthday it is, what you had for dinner yesterday, who you went out with last weekend, etc. — which will likely greatly increase your overall quality of life); you will also be able to perform various tasks at a higher functioning level. This could mean everything from being more efficient in your day-to-day activities, all the way to improving your work performance. Who know, it may even result in a promotion and a pay raise! So it’s certainly worth considering.
Do note though, that while there are no proven long-term effects of cannabis usage for adults, this is different for children and teenagers. In regards to those still changing and growing, cannabis consumption has proven to alter cognition and mindsets, though the data surrounding the specifics of this is still somewhat unclear.
Marijuana Effecting your Dopamine Levels
Weed is definitely a drug that alters the way you feel and think. The brain releases dopamine to help with that process and dopamine can definitely affect your movements, emotions, and sensations related to pleasure and pain. Too much of one thing cannot be good so that one thing in this case is marijuana. When marijuana’s effects are produced, it releases dopamine which gives you some of the effects you feel when you smoke it, vaporize it or eat it. When done to the extreme, your body can start producing less and less dopamine because the THC is helping producing more. This is a recipe for disaster when you decide to lower or quit your marijuana use. Your body will be craving more marijuana all while you will be feeling depressed because of your lower dopamine levels.
Benefit Four: Quitting Cannabis Can Increase Your Overall Physical Health
Apart from helping your mind to function on a higher level, and despite all the medical claims, which are in their own right valid, quitting cannabis can increase your overall physical health. One of the main arguments for the legalization of marijuana in all its forms is the argument for health. Cannabis has been proven to help cancer patients through chemotherapy, treat epilepsy, calm anxiety and more. However, just like any drug, unless there is a valid reason (and prescription) for taking it, it can be harmful to one’s health to do so; cannabis is no exception.
For example, smoking cannabis has actually been shown to cause “chronic inflammatory and precancerous changes in the airways” in addition to a causing a higher risk of airway’s cancer. Not to mention it is directly related to many cases of respiratory complications (like chronic coughing and emphysema), leads to a possible increase in infections and illnesses (due to lowering the strength of the immune system), and even leads to higher risks of developing head and/or neck cancer. Furthermore, these risks do seem to be directly proportional to the amount and length of time a user has been smoking.
However, if you using cannabis altogether, you not only drastically decrease the odds of any of these afflictions happening to you, but you can also help to reverse them. At least in regards to some of the more minor health issues anyway, such as a chronic cough or lowered immune system.
It should also be stated that quitting cannabis can lead to a healthier lifestyle in regards to both diet and exercise. This is because a) you will have increased energy (see next benefit) and b) you won’t be getting “the munchies”. That’s right, the munchies are a scientifically proven side affect for many who consume cannabis. As a matter of fact, recent studies have even shown a positive correlation between the presence of THC fitting into the receptors in a brain’s olfactory bulb (i.e. the part of the brain that controls smell), and the amount of time spent smelling various foods. This then has lead scientists to believe that the munchies occur in people who consume cannabis because of a hypersensitivity to smells, and because smell is so closely related to taste, copious amounts of food are consumed while under the influence of cannabis.
Imagine where you where able to enjoy food without over indulging. A world in which you where able to loose those few pounds that have been bothering you, a world in which you can breathe clearly after a long run, a world in which you are healthy more often than not. In short, imagine a world in which you are allowed to be the most physically healthy you that you can be, without anything holding you back. This world is possible, and quitting cannabis can help you get there.
Benefit Five: Quitting Cannabis Can Increase Your Daily Energy Levels
As briefly stated above, quitting cannabis can help to increase your overall energy levels. If you have ever smoked weed or consumed cannabis in any form, you have likely experience some form of drowsiness shortly thereafter. This is because the ingredients that are active in cannabis (i.e. the cannabinoids THC and CBD) have been shown to actually mimic endocannabinoids (i.e. the chemicals that occur naturally in a person’s body to regulate their sleeping and waking cycles). Or in simpler terms this means when a person uses cannabis, they are automatically triggering the sleep receptors in their brain, making them drowsy.
What’s more, while cannabis clearly makes you more tired when in use, it has also been shown to effect a person’s overall sleep cycle. Studies have actually shown using cannabis before bed will increase the amount of time you spend in slow-wave sleep and decrease the amount of time you spend in REM sleep. And while slow-wave sleep does reboot the body, if woken during this period without experiencing REM sleep, you will likely feel groggy and out of focus for a while after waking.
So what does this mean for your life personally? Well, the downsides are fairly obvious. If you use cannabis throughout the day, you will be triggering those receptors, which make you feel tired. Because of this you will experience drowsiness instead of energy when you need to get things done. It may affect your overall work performance, inhibit your ability to multi-task, increase the amount of time it takes you to complete a task and more. Not to mention it can end up costing you money and additional time throughout your day (see above benefits for more on these), because it takes you longer to accomplish various tasks and you will likely be spending more money on energizing substances such as caffeinated drinks. Furthermore, lets not forget how downright awful it can feel to push through being tired to get things done when all you really want to do is take a nap.
With that said, think about all the positive things that would happen in your life if you had more energy to spare throughout the day. Not only would you be better able to accomplish the tasks you set yourself, you’d also finally have the extra energy left over at the end of the day to focus on more potentially fulfilling activities as well. For instance, if you had extra energy each day, it might not be so hard for you to go and get drinks after work with a close friend. Or maybe you’d be able to take that pottery class you’ve always wanted to take but never had the energy to since the only time it was available was after work each day. Truly the possibilities for the potential to lead a more proactive and fulfilling life will become endless when you have the energy you need to engage in the things it is you want to do.
Benefit Six: Quitting Cannabis Can Increase Your Emotional Awareness and Better Your Health
It is a proven fact that continued and regular cannabis usage can impair your ability to experience emotions to their full effect. In fact, this can be the initial draw to many who are looking to escape their current situations in any way possible. However, this has the potential to be tremendously harmful to any person in the long run for multiple reasons.
First, this it is harmful because emotions occur for a reason; they are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and needs to be changed, or that something is very right and should be continued. When you ignore your emotions and don’t take the time to work through them or understand them, you never gain the experience of learning how to cope and deal with them.
This can be of tremendous consequence as your life goes on, because there will inevitably be situations of great duress that you will be unable to handle if you haven’t had prior experience dealing with similar emotions on a lesser scale. Second, if you are continually unaware of your deeper emotions, you will be unable to listen to what they are telling you to do to change your life. This could mean you stay in a stagnant and potential harmful situation, when you would otherwise have had the emotional range to realize it was time to move on. Because of this, it is important to consider how using cannabis is effecting your overall mental well being.
Furthermore, there are scientific studies, which have documented how regular usage of cannabis leads to a lower resistance to depression and stress, (whereas people who do not smoke on a regular basis are generally more resistant to these things). Not to mention cannabis has been documented as increasing anxiety in those who have a tendency towards the affliction in the first place, bringing about mood swings in people who otherwise are fair tempered and creating a significantly higher risk of psychotic episodes period. And while all these things are not guaranteed to happened to you if you are a regular consumer of cannabis, you can at the very least be sure that no matter who you are, there is some amount of emotional suppressant and/or alteration at work so long as you continue to use.
That having been said, the benefits that can come from deeper emotional understanding and control are numerous. Not only will you be able to experience things more clearly, you will also be able to more easily tell what is right for your life, who you should be surrounding yourself with, what your life dreams and goals are and more. Emotions are a powerful source of personal information, and while they can hurt at times, for the most part they are the greatest indicator you have of who you are; so embrace them with open arms and see just how happy you can become.
Benefit Seven: Quitting Cannabis can Increase the Number of Significant Relationships in Your Life and Deepen Already Existing Relationships
Relationships between people are much like living organisms; they require care, attention, fuel and a strong foundation on which to stand in order to thrive. Therefore, it is no surprise that using cannabis on a regular basis can take away from the most significant relationships in your life.
For example, as discussed above, quitting cannabis can give you more energy — this means you will actually have the energy to go out and see your friends, whereas before you may have opted for a nap instead. It also means you will have that extra thirty minutes a day to get things done, which may free up an entire Saturday afternoon for you to see your family. And it means having a deeper emotional understanding of what others are going through because you yourself have opened up to your emotions; you will be able to sympathize and empathize with people in a way that you may not have been able to before quitting cannabis.
Quitting cannabis can also increase the number of significant relationships in your life however, for an entirely different reason. While “pot culture” has its rightful place, engaging in any one culture too heavily can ensure you miss out on spending time with others who may offer just as many positives in your life, but are not a part of that world. Not to mention, there are a fair few people who have been documented as stating it is difficult to hang out with habitual cannabis users if they do not engage in the substance themselves, because of the pressure to use when they don’t want to, as well as the dislike of the activities typically engaged in by their friends when cannabis is in use.
Take, for example, a person (lets call her Nicole), who misses her friend — a regular cannabis consumer — but rarely reaches out, because every time she does, she knows her friend will use cannabis at some point while they are spending time together, and while she doesn’t have anything against the use of cannabis in general, she knows that as soon as her friend does this, all they will want to do is hang out at home, watch movies and perhaps order a pizza. Again, not that there is anything wrong with this activity in-and-of itself, it’s just that it has simply become uninteresting since it is the only thing the two ever do together. Therefore, Nicole doesn’t reach out to her friend because she would rather be out experiencing the world.
Granted, none of this means you don’t have significant and meaningful relationships in your life if you do regularly consume cannabis. It only means that if you choose to quit, you will likely see in influx in the number of quality relationships you have.
Benefit Eight: Quitting Cannabis can Eliminate Your Dependency on it
Regardless of the fact that cannabis has been proven that it is not a particularly addictive substance (at least not in the manner that other drugs such as Heroin, prescription medications or even alcohol are), it is very possible to become dependent on it, and dependency can cause issues for you. For example, if you become dependent on cannabis, it will limit where and how you can travel (either for work or pleasure), seeing as it is very illegal in many states and areas of the world. Furthermore, dependency can mean having to step away from important matters such as being unable to stay at work for long periods without going into withdrawal, and more.
Not to mention dependency can become an issue of legality due to possession. While there are now a good handful of states within the US where cannabis is legal, becoming dependent on a still fairly prohibited and monitored substance is never a good idea. There are very few good reasons to risk your freedom and financial security, and risking them over the consumption of any substance for recreations purposes isn’t one of them.
It is clear that there is much to consider in regards to using cannabis, and while there are a surplus of studies, articles and blogs out there at the moment which talk about how helpful cannabis can be, it is not as harmless as many claim. In fact, after reading this, it is our hope that you have a deeper understanding for yourself of the possible adverse side affects you may be experiencing in using cannabis yourself. It is however, important to note that there are many valid medical reasons for using cannabis, and as with all situations, it is imperative you as an individual weigh the pros and cons of your specific situation to determine whether quitting cannabis is the right move for you.
Furthermore, cannabis, like alcohol, can be use for recreational purposes in a responsible way — so long as you are in a state or country where it is legal to do so. So, if you are on the fence about whether or not you should quit cannabis for yourself, consider all of the above benefits that will likely occur if you do and decide what is best for you.
With any other drug, medication or most things you use over a long period of time then cut back the usage of, you will feel some sort of withdrawal effects. Marijuana withdrawal can be a bit difficult in the beginning. Some stuff you might feel from the withdrawal of marijuana can be difficulty eating, sleeping or even ache and pains in the joints.
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