I Took A Break From Weed After Smoking For 3 Years — Here’s What Happened

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If you’re a regular weed user, you’ve likely heard the term “tolerance break.” And if you’re anything like me, you haven’t taken one in years. I’m not sure when my marijuana use graduated from recreational to daily (Was it when I invested in a vape pen after a break up? When I was laid off at the top of the pandemic?), but after a few failed attempts at taking a break over the years, I started to get a bit concerned that maybe I just…couldn’t. 
I began smoking weed regularly as a way to increase my appetite and manage my anxiety. However, as seasonal depression got its hands on me this past winter, I wondered (and not for the first time) whether my weed use was hurting more than it was helping. On the last night of February, I made an impulsive decision to start an exercise that I would later call “No Marijuana March.” (Transparently, “No THC March” would have been more accurate). For the next 31 days, I would not consume THC in any form — no flower, no edibles, no vapes — and keep a journal where I could log my progress as frequently as I liked.
Before I share how my “No Marijuana March” went, let me make a couple things clear: I love weed (still do), and I am certainly not condemning anyone who partakes in daily weed use. The taboos around marijuana are heavily racialized, as are the laws. This has made it difficult for many Black people, especially women, to speak openly about marijuana use for fear of being judged more harshly than our white counterparts. There are plenty of benefits to using marijuana in its various forms; if it helps you, don’t let anyone shame you. I’m simply offering my own experience in the hopes that someone can benefit from information I would have wanted to have. 
My preferred method of consumption has been my vape pen. The convenience of a portable, odorless way of smoking made it really easy to form my habit. Based on my past failed break attempts, I know that if I want to stop smoking, I have to replace the habit with something else. I switched out my THC vape pen with a CBD one so that if I’m tempted to smoke, it at least won’t be THC. Armed with this strategy, I’m excited to tackle the next 30 days without weed!
Honestly, smoking CBD is kind of lit! I used weed to manage my anxiety, but if it was flaring up during a work day, for example, I’d be out of luck. CBD has a noticeable calming effect that still allows me to stay clear-headed and focused, so I’m able to smoke it during the day if I need to, which has been fantastic. It’s not all pros, though; my appetite is completely gone. I have been eating my first meal of the day anywhere between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and still not finishing it. I even wasted a (pricey) bowl of my favorite ramen today in an attempt to entice myself to eat something. I’m hoping that this side effect fades soon. I’m also having trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep. I had a terrible habit of waking up around 3 or 4 a.m. and smoking to get back to sleep. As you can imagine, it resulted in some really groggy mornings. Without weed, I’ve just resigned myself to these sleepless nights;  it’s something I need to suffer through in order for my body to recalibrate. If anything, I’m more concerned that my body relies so much on weed to do normal bodily functions like eat and sleep!
Photographed by Naohmi Monroe.
It’s been one week without weed! Listen, y’all — I have WAY more energy. Like…I’m shocked! I’m much more focused and productive, and my general feelings of anxiety and overwhelm have decreased by utilizing CBD. Was my weed usage really making things worse without me realizing?! I’m eating a little more than one meal a day, which is at least close to my usual two meals. I’m sleeping slightly better, but still struggling to sleep through the night. I’m still leaning on CBD to stop myself from using THC, but overall I’m really encouraged by my progress!
DAY 9:
I. STILL. CAN’T. SLEEP. I was up from 2 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. after waking to use the bathroom. I was able to get a couple hours of sleep after meditating, but I’m dead on my feet this morning. I think having a bedtime ritual might help prevent this from happening again. I am VERY ready for my body to reset and operate normally again. I don’t do well with no sleep!
DAY 11: 
I’m really shocked that I’ve made it this long without cheating! Overall, I feel a lot better, and my depression symptoms have almost completely dissipated. I keep telling anyone who will listen how much more energy I have, to literally no one else’s surprise. I’ve been leaning on weed for so long that being high almost felt like my normal state of being…and yes, I do see the red flags in that statement. Now that I’m over ten days without it, I feel more social, less irritable, more focused. I’m also feeling a sense of accomplishment that I don’t want to discount. Kicking any habit is tough! I’m proud of myself! 
DAY 14:
I realized today that I haven’t needed to use my CBD vape pen for the past few days, and I’m no longer craving weed! This happened much quicker than I anticipated. I really had myself convinced that this wasn’t possible! My appetite is back to normal, and I’m no longer struggling to sleep. I wouldn’t say that my marijuana use was preventing me from completing necessary tasks or living my life, but this is definitely a version of myself that I haven’t seen in a while, or at all. My clear-headed mornings are the best part so far. I’ve had the time and energy to wake up early and read a book, clean my room, or make a full breakfast. It sets me up to have a much happier day. 
DAY 21:
The two-week mark was really the hump I had to get over. It’s smooth sailing from here! I’m embarrassed to admit that I used to frantically search my room and purse when I thought I’d misplaced my vape pen. I’m now happy to say that I haven’t looked for it in days. I hadn’t realized how my weed usage had impacted my self-esteem, especially since I was still extremely high-functioning. Now, I’m realizing that I was getting away with a lot of negative self-talk around my “inability” to stop smoking. I’d joke about it, but a part of me was disappointed about my dependence, even if I didn’t want to admit it. I’ve never had much self-discipline; I’ve tried and failed to start many habits, like making my bed regularly or drinking more water,  so making it *almost* three weeks (I went to a weed-themed music festival over the weekend…cut me some slack) is really boosting my confidence in myself. Maybe I CAN be the kind of person to take a walk every morning or remember to journal every day! 
DAY 28:
My “No Marijuana March” is almost coming to a close, and I’m so glad I tried this experiment. I can honestly say my daily habit is officially broken! Will I smoke again after this month is over? Absolutely. Didn’t you hear me say that I love weed? But I’m thrilled to be able to enjoy it again as something fun, and not as something I require to get through a day. For anyone thinking about taking their own break from marijuana, I would highly recommend it. Maybe you’ll realize you’re okay with your current usage, or maybe you’ll be like me and realize you may have been relying too much on the plant. Either way, it’s always worthwhile to reset your body and see how you feel.

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