The 25 Reasons Why I Quit Weed
BY EMIL TIEDEMANN
For years, I lived in doped-up denial. I thought that weed was the solution to all my problems, and then some. It allowed me to talk to people; it sparked creativity; it made music and movies better; it helped me to relax; it made me happy. What more could you ask for?!
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Before pot stores popped up on every corner, I made sure I always had a dealer who was just a phone call away, and a back-up guy to boot. I looked forward to quitting time not just because it meant work was over for the day, but so that I could rush home and light one up; and I would continue to do so throughout the night...each and every night. This was a part of my routine for nearly 20 years straight, give or take.
However, like so many people who smoke weed do, I abused the drug. It became a daily habit; I became a daily user. I became a "pothead." Although I knew it deep down, I refused to admit to myself that I was hooked on hemp, and that eventually it was just holding me back in life to the point where it acted more like a hinderance than a relief, becoming a cycle of false starts, cancelled plans, forgone dreams, and murky memories.
I knew it was time for a change a long time ago, but I kept putting it off, burying it, denying it, ignoring it, settling into the quiet resignation. I couldn't imagine a life without the green goddess, filling my head with justifications and rationalizations as I filled my lungs with the haze.
However, after I made the decision to give up alcohol for (at least) a year, all of a sudden I had this newfound courage and confidence to further explore my own untapped potential to accelerate this 2.0 version of myself that I had dreamed about for so long. Deep down, a part of me always knew that I was capable of disconnecting from pot and manifesting a more authentic, ambitious, and purposeful life for myself, one that has laid dormant just under the surface for too many years. In other words, it was time to give up the ganja!
With that said, let me just say that I am not at all demeaning or shaming anyone who smokes weed or consumes any sort of cannabis product; I am simply sharing my own personal experiences and feelings. Obviously, there are MANY people out there who have had very different experiences with their own cannabis consumption, and who have very productive and fulfilling lives.
In fact, I myself have lived a very productive and fulfilling life as a "pothead." At times. However, I know that there is so much more out there for me beyond the purple haze, and I'm so ready for it!
"The two most important days
in your life are the day you are born
and the day you find out why."
- Mark Twain
So, at 4:20PM on April 20, 2023, I went into my backyard and puffed the very last of my weed stash, before tossing out all of my paraphernalia, and saying a goodbye to my "pothead" days. It was bittersweet, to say the least, giving up something that had been such a big part of my life for such a big portion of my life. But I was ready to write a new chapter, one with a far more fascinating tale to tell!
As of the publication of this blog post, I have now gone more than three weeks without weed, which is the longest I have gone without it since I started smoking it on a regular basis back in my 20s. I am 43 now.
However, after all is said and done, I will always have love for Mary Jane, and I don't want to give her up 100%. My plan was always to stop being a daily user of cannabis, and to enjoy the occasional joint after I take an extended break from weed altogether. I want to be able to enjoy marijuana like I did long, long ago, when I would share a communal joint with some friends every now and again. But for now, this is a full stop, cold turkey!
Photo by Manish Panghal
If I'm gonna be honest, I think I got lucky...because these first few weeks without weed have been relatively and unexpectedly easy, reinforcing the fact that I was more than ready for this next step in my life overhaul (hence the name of this blog).
Every single one of us is capable of epic transformations, and are able to evolve into that seemingly elusive self that we imagine in our own heads. You just need to find your lightning bolt moment, that divine spark to kickstart the process.
If you're in a similar situation as myself and feel that you're ready for a change as well, I recommend doing some research: read books and articles, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, whatever inspires you to get your ass in gear.
Below, I have listed the 25 reasons why I quit weed. I hope they set off a spark in anyone who needs it!
THE ANXIETY: Like so many people, I have anxiety. Although in the beginning, I believe smoking weed helped to alleviate my anxiety, I feel like it is now the cause of much of my anxiety. Sometimes it got so bad that I would feel a sense of panic, especially if there was something more chaotic going on in my life at the time. In those cases particularly, weed simply exacerbated the problem.
THE BRAIN CELLS: According to the Addiction Center, "prolonged marijuana abuse can affect the ability of brain cells to convey messages (also known as brain activity). Using marijuana can cause damage to brain cells that results in a number of concurrent symptoms throughout the body." Unfortunately, there have been a variety of diseases and conditions vaguely linked (albeit not conclusively) to being a heavy, long-term user of cannabis, everything from COPD to various types of cancer.
THE CANCELLATIONS: If I had a dime for every time I cancelled plans due to something related to smoking weed (usually anxiety), I'd have plenty of dimes! Dinners, movies, drinks, trivia nights, sporting events, dates, game nights, even job interviews. To all my friends whom I cancelled on, I AM SORRY! I'll make it up to you, I promise!
THE COUGHING: In addition to coughing while I smoked weed (and afterwards), it would also irritate my throat for (sometimes) hours, even for days at a time. Half the time, I wasn't sure if I was getting sick or if it was simply from the weed.
THE FOG: Brain fog is a real thing, and weed is its fuel. You may notice that you struggle with staying focused or recalling important details, or that you have problems like poor memory and concentration. This is very common, and it was certainly something I experienced with my own marijuana intake.
THE FORGETFULNESS: You know when you head to another room only to forget why you went there in the first place? Weed amplifies this to the point of exhaustion.
THE IDIOCY: There's nothing worse than sounding like a complete idiot when you're out with your friends because you just smoked a bowl of weed...not being able to string a sentence together, forgetting names or words, not understanding a question or what your group of friends are talking about.... It sucks!
THE IRRITATION: In addition to irritating my throat, smoking weed irritated the shit out of my eyes, to the point where I would have to keep them closed for minutes at at time, or splash water on my face to get some relief from the stinging. A minor annoyance, yes, but an annoyance nonetheless.
THE LACK OF CONFIDENCE: Sometimes my lack of confidence was directly related to me smoking weed, like being stoned and not knowing what I the hell I'm talking about; other times, it was something more indirectly, like being self conscience because of my weight, which became a problem because of my bad eating habits, which are linked back to smoking weed.
THE LAW: I hate to admit this, but I would have a small bag of weed in my car at ALL times, and I would smoke - just a little (but still wrong, I know) - even when I would drive sometimes, or before I drove. It was never much, but it was stupid and dangerous...and illegal! This is one of my biggest regrets when it comes to my weed addiction, if not the biggest, because I could have hurt somebody, or even worse.
THE LAZINESS: Whether I admit it or not, weed made me lazy a lot of the time. Because I smoked weed, most of my extra-curricular activities included watching YouTube, taking naps, and scrolling social media. I still do those things (because, come on!), just not to the same extent.
THE LUNGS: I want to do a marathon one day. Weed may not be harmful in the same way as cigarettes, but they definitely have an effect on your lungs...there was no way I was going to do a marathon if I kept smoking weed.
THE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: Over the years, I must have missed out on dozens upon dozens of events, outings with friends, meet-ups, and even jobs...all because of weed. I don't even want to think of everything I said 'no' to because of weed.
THE MONEY: There are some people who spend hundreds of dollars every month on their weed habits, but my total was probably closer to about $75, which is around $900 a year...that's close to $20,000 in weed in my time as a smoker, perhaps more!
THE MOUTH ISSUES: Smoking cannabis can cause all sorts of issues with your body, especially concerning your mouth, such as dry mouth, gum disease, teeth staining, and even cavities. Not exactly attractive.
THE MUNCHIES: In movies and TV, getting "the munchies" after smoking pot is always a punchline, something meant to make you laugh. In reality, it's a problem. The foods - or "food"-like products, to be more accurate - that I craved while smoking were always the worst of the worst: burgers, pizza, chips, chocolate, candy, soda, donairs!! All delicious as fuck, sure, but these "munchies" kept me overweight for YEARS!!
THE PARAPHERNALIA: It's not just the expense of pot paraphernalia, but I just didn't like having dirty pipes, black-stained liters, nasty ashtrays, and stinky bags of weed lying around my room at ALL times. I just didn't like my bedroom looking and smelling like a stoner cave.
THE PARANOIA: In the words of Rockwell, "I always feel like somebody's watching me!"
THE PROCRASTINATION: "I'll do it later" turned into "I'll do it tomorrow," and that became "I'll get to it next week," and then "Fuck it, it's not important anyways!"
THE SHAME: See No. 10.
THE STANK: Let's be honest, most people who smoke weed LOVE the smell of weed. However, most people who don't smoke weed HATE the smell, or at least find it unpleasant. I don't want to make my non-smoking friends and family have to sit next to my weed stank anymore!
THE STIGMA: I have never judged people who smoke weed, even on a daily basis...how could I? But I am positive that others have judged me for being a "pothead." I just didn't want to have that title attached to me anymore.
THE TIME: It doesn't seem like a lot, but when you sit down and start adding up how much time I spent smoking weed, cleaning my pipe, going to the weed store, and in some rare instances, rolling joints, you might be surprised how much time I spent on this one habit. And that doesn't even count all the time I sat there stoned, doing fuck all!
THE TOLERANCE: The more and longer you smoke weed, the more of a tolerance you build up to its "desired" effects, and so you eventually have to smoke even more or stronger cannabis in order to get what you're looking for. Before you know it, you're just smoking because it's what you do, without even feeling that high or buzz that you started smoking weed for in the first place.
MY NEPHEW: Every now and then, my young nephew would catch me smoking weed out in the backyard. I would always try to hide it from him, but I wasn't always successful. The last thing I want is to unintentionally encourage or influence my nephew into smoking weed when he is older, especially in the years when his young brain is still developing. I would rather show him that it's a bad habit to pick up in the first place and that, if he does end up trying weed one day, knowing the benefits of giving it up. I don't want him following in my stoner footsteps.