Making the Decision and Managing Cravings

Making the decision to stop using can be a challenge. People smoke cannabis for different reasons: habit, social pressures, and/or psychological or physical dependence. Quitting is a very personal experience and the same methods don’t work for everyone. Maybe you have quit before and have slipped back. This program is designed to support your choice to quit. The following are some issues to consider as you make your decision. From here, the program will continue with support and suggestions to assist you through the next 30 days. As you begin you will click on the day to the Left.

  • Evaluate the risks and benefits of continued cannabis use. Are you ready to sacrifice immediate gratification for more long-term benefits and goals?
  • Overcome stubbornness. You need to be willing to admit that cannabis use is causing problems for you or you will keep yourself stuck.
  • Get rid of any paraphernalia for smoking cannabis that you currently possess.
  • Make a commitment to quitting. Make your decision public with people who will support and respect you and your confidentiality.
  • Drop any identity that you maintained for yourself as a cannabis user. The more you value yourself, the less likely you are to make excuses for using cannabis.
  • Avoid the people, places, and playthings; that might trigger your use. If you find yourself in a risky environment, be prepared to respond assertively, don’t make excuses and be willing to leave immediately if necessary.
  • Have confidence that you can deal effectively with the situations you face and that you can accomplish the goals that you pursue.

Weighing Choices

Make a list of the reasons you might want to continue use and why you want to quit. – Weigh both sides.

Why I Might Want to Continue Why I Want to Quit
Continue: Quit:
Continue: Quit:
Continue: Quit:
Continue: Quit:

Hopefully your list has helped you to make your decision and stick to it. Your “Why I Want to Quit” list can act as a motivator through some of the withdrawal symptoms and cravings you could experience. Keep in mind it does get easier.

It is important to be aware of situations, including certain people that might trigger use. Take the time to consider those activities or situations and make a plan for yourself to stay on track should you find yourself in those situations.

Situations or Activities When I am Likely to get High

Situation Plan
Situation 1: Plan:
Situation 2: Plan:
Situation 3: Plan:
Situation 4: Plan:

You may experience withdrawal and cravings. This is your body’s sign of recovering. Take it one day at a time and it will pass.

The symptoms will be gone when the THC is out of your system. Depending on number of years and frequency of use, this will be different for different people. Remember THC attaches to fatty tissues in your body and breaks off slowly. You may not feel all the benefits of quitting for at least 30 days.

Withdrawal/Physical Symptoms of Quitting

Physiological Behavioral Sleep
Nausea Restlessness/agitation Insomnia
Perspiration (sweating) Irritability Disrupted sleep cycle
Tremors Depressed mood
Weight loss (decreased appetite) Aggression (in different degrees)
Increased body temperature Loss of motivation

Dealing with Cravings

To prevent cravings:

  • Throw away your paraphernalia. Hide, give away or throw away lighters, matches, roach clips, bongs and containers. Don’t forget places you might have roaches or seeds, such as in purses, pockets or drawers.

Avoid Temptation:

• Spend more time in places and activities where it is impossible to get high.
• Try to avoid people you got high with. 
• Do more things in your home and after class that are not connected with getting high.

Change Your Daily Patterns:

  • Change morning patterns. (Get up at a different time. Change the order of events like showering, brushing your teeth, walking the dog, eating breakfast, and reading the newspaper. Turn on a different radio station.)
  • Change school and work patterns. (Change where you sit in class, where you hang your coat, organizing your desk, opening mail, making calls, watering plants.)
  • Change driving patterns. (Take a new route to work or class, try a different radio station, and change the radio volume, open or close windows.)
  • Change study patterns. (Study in the library)

Avoid Getting Hungry or Tired:

  • Get at least your normal amount of sleep.
  • Eat three meals a day. (Don’t cut down to one or two meals.) Have a few nutritional snacks throughout the day.

Stay Busy. Fill time to help change thinking patterns.

• Visit a friend who doesn’t use.
• Fix something around your dorm, house, or apartment.
• Clean your room.
• Start a hobby.
• Take a course that is fun, like Latin dance or an art class. 
• Go to a movie.
• Wrap yourself in a good book.
• Knit or sew.
• Work on a crossword or jigsaw puzzle.
• Play a video game.
• Exercise.
• Study more!

Seven Practical Tips for Managing Urges:

  1. Leave the scene of an urge. When possible, get away from a situation that triggers an urge. A short walk or change of scenery can do wonders. Remember to reduce your temptation before you become overwhelmed.
  2. Use deep breathing. Take a deep breath through your mouth. Hold the air in your lungs for five to seven seconds. Breathe out slowly through puckered lips. Repeat until the urge passes.
  3. Put something in your mouth. Try sugarless gum, sugarless candy, diet beverage, toothpicks, pen or pencil, coffee stirrers or straw.
  4. Water out urges. Shower or bathe twice daily. Drink a glass of water. Drown the urge and flush toxins out.
  5. Get active. Try brisk walking or sports that speed up your breathing and heart rates.
  6. Relax. When you’re feeling frustrated, worried or anxious, think calming thoughts, or use a relaxation CD.
  7. Avoid Boredom. You may be used to getting high to pass the time. Plan your day or activities to cut down on idle time. Stay active through different physical activities and keep your hands busy.

Social Situations

Social events can be very risky. Try to leave parties early or avoid them for the first few weeks while you are trying to quit. Avoid drinking alcohol and seek out other non users. Mentally prepare yourself for social situations and review your reasons for quitting and the benefits you will reap.

Managing your Triggers

There are three basic ways to manage your triggers:

  • Avoid the situation
  • Change the situation
  • Substitution (It is not suggested that alcohol be used to substitute.) Find other activities, water, gum, Gatorade.

Identify situations that will be difficult for you (triggers) and solutions for dealing with them.*

Trigger: Strategy for Coping
Trigger: Strategy:
Trigger: Strategy:
Trigger: Strategy:
Trigger: Strategy:

*My Commitment to Stop Using

I hereby commit to, and accept responsibility for achieving the goals that I have initialed below. These goals are designed to prepare me to stop getting high. In addition, they show my motivation, confidence, and commitment to the quitting process. I understand that a slip can occur and I must not use it as an excuse to return to use.

  1. I will follow the helpful hints and keep in mind what I am experiencing is normal.
  2. I will begin to increase my physical activities.
    I commit to: ____________________________________________________________________
  3. I will throw away all of my paraphernalia. (No holding on to anything for old time sake).
  4. I will avoid places where there are temptations to get high, such as bars and time with friends who get high.
  5. I will drink an extra two glasses of water each day.
  6. I will reward myself for accomplishing these goals by:

MY QUIT DATE IS: _________________________________

Signature ______________________________

Today’s date ___________________________