How To Help Your Loved One Quit Smoking Marijuana

Home | How To Help Your Loved One Quit Smoking Marijuana

Our St. Gregory Recovery Center teams operate in Des Moines and Bayard, Iowa, and we see clients who struggle with marijuana use disorder (MUD) in our substance use disorder treatment program. Marijuana use disorder is characterized by dependence on the substance marked by withdrawal symptoms that can manifest for up to two weeks in its absence, including: 

  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nagging cravings
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Minor aches and pains

Just as prescription pain medications provide benefits, marijuana and its psychoactive component, THC, can also offer users benefits and pain relief. And, just like prescription pills, marijuana can be abused, and users can become addicted to it. 

Whether or not you support the consumption of marijuana—legally or illegally—there are no purely safe ways to consume the substance when it contains THC. Additionally, some methods of marijuana use are more harmful than others. For example, smoking or inhaling marijuana—the most popular ways to consume the drug negatively impacts the lungs. The smoke that travels into the throat and lungs is an irritant with little understood consequences

Additionally, vaping and ingesting edible THC products are also popular forms of using marijuana that are poorly understood in terms of long-term effects. 

Why Marijuana is So Attractive

The loved one in your life who consumes marijuana may be a teen, a partner, or an adult family member. You yourself could be drawn to marijuana, also commonly referred to as pot, weed, or bud. Different age groups and demographics are drawn to weed and its psychoactive component, THC, for both shared and unique reasons. 

For college-aged people, marijuana can simply be a good time. University students often report that they’re curious about smoking weed and try it out for the experience that’s gained massive popularity since the 60s. Other college students report that it relieves boredom, stress, anxiety symptoms, and low-grade aches and pains. This relief can often reinforce a belief that marijuana helps with emotional regulation and mood management–a belief that many marijuana users report and defend. 

It seems that among adult users, men are more likely to report using marijuana than women. In the United States, it’s also more common to see marijuana consumption in lower-income populations. The reality of marijuana consumption, however, is that it is used across the planet by almost every demographic for these reported benefits:

  • Relief of stomach pain
  • Increased appetite
  • Decreased anxiety and depression
  • Help in avoiding alcohol
  • Reduced pain 
  • Better sleep 

If you can understand your loved one’s motives for relying on marijuana, you can more easily enter into a dialogue about reducing or abstaining from consumption. It’s also easier to suggest alternatives for treating mental or physical health issues if you know what they are.

How To Encourage Your Loved One To Stop Smoking Weed 

Smoking is arguably the most harmful method of consuming marijuana, and there are several ways you can speak to your loved one about reducing how much marijuana they smoke:

  • Explain that smoking a lot of marijuana habitually can trigger psychosis, memory lapses, misinterpretations of reality, paranoia, and intense anxiety.
  • Describe the negative effects of marijuana smoke on the lungs and throat.
  • Mention that smoking weed is often seen as a precursor for the use and abuse of other drugs, and research affirms this.

Remember to remain empathetic and open to your loved one’s point of view. Explain that you’re aware of marijuana’s benefits and display an interest in understanding why your child or partner likes using it. Communicate that you’re open to brainstorming alternatives to its use and that you can make yourself more available to engage with the person if they need support or distraction while quitting marijuana. 

Avoid becoming angry, expressing judgment, or shaming your loved one for their usage. Often, smoking weed is a coping mechanism during times of stress, sadness, and anxiety. These are all states that can be overcome with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or other forms of emotional management. 

You can also suggest our outpatient program for MUD in Des Moines, Iowa. Marijuana doesn’t pose the same type of threat as heroin, cocaine, or meth addictions, but there are still risks involved with abusing it. That’s why we hope everyone struggling with a marijuana use disorder will contact us for support!

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