Trying to Give up Smoking Weed? Start Here
Many assume cannabis is pretty much harmless. Maybe you occasionally get some weird side effects, like paranoia or cotton mouth, but for the most part it calms you down and improves your mood.
Nothing wrong with that, right?
While past research does suggest that cannabis may be both less addictive and less harmful than other substances, addiction and dependency can still happen.
Some people also experience unwanted effects, from physical symptoms to hallucinations to strained relationships.
If you’re looking to cut out cannabis — for whatever reason — we’ve got you covered.
Deciding you want to change your patterns of cannabis use is a good first step. Increasing self-awareness around the reasons why you want to stop smoking can help increase your chances of success.
“Our ‘why’ is an important piece because it provides information that anchors us,” says Kim Egel, a therapist in Cardiff, California. “Clarity on why we want to change can validate our decision to break habits and motivate us to seek out new coping methods.”
In short, your reasons for quitting can help strengthen your resolve to stop smoking and outline goals for success.
Maybe you started using it to relax or manage anxiety. Perhaps it helps you deal with chronic pain or sleeplessness. But over time, the downsides may have started to outnumber the benefits.
People often consider cutting back when they notice cannabis affects their quality of life, often by:
- becoming a go-to method for managing emotional distress
- causing relationship problems
- affecting mood, memory, or concentration
- reducing interest in hobbies
- becoming something to do instead of a solution to a specific symptom
- decreasing energy for self-care
There’s no perfect way to quit smoking cannabis. What works for someone else may not help you much, so it’s often necessary to go through some trial and error before you land on the best approach.
Considering pros and cons of different methods can help.
Maybe you want to do it quick, like ripping off a bandage. In that case, you might decide to try packing up your cannabis and going “cold turkey.”
If you’re concerned about withdrawal symptoms or think you’ll need some support to quit, you might decide to talk to a substance use counselor or call an addiction helpline for a few pointers.
If cannabis helps you manage physical or mental health symptoms, you’ll want to try smoking less without quitting entirely or cut back gradually. Professional support can help here, too.
Feel like you’re ready to stop using cannabis immediately? Here are some general steps to consider:
Get rid of your gear
Holding onto a stash of weed and smoking paraphernalia can make it tougher to succeed with quitting. By throwing it out or passing it on, you prevent ready access, which can help you avoid slip ups during the withdrawal period.
Make a plan to deal with triggers
Triggers can have a powerful impact. Even after you decide to stop smoking, specific cues you associate with using it may lead to cravings.
These triggers could include:
- trouble sleeping
- work stress
- seeing friends you used to smoke with
- watching the TV shows you used to watch while high
Try coming up with a list of go-to activities you can turn to when these triggers come up, such as:
- taking melatonin or a warm bath to help you sleep
- restarting your favorite comedy TV series to decrease stress
- calling a trusted friend who supports your decision
Vary your routine
If your cannabis use often happened at routine times, changing your behaviors slightly can help you avoid using it.
If you have a habit of smoking first thing in the morning, try:
If you tend to smoke before bed, try:
- enjoying a relaxing beverage, like tea or hot chocolate
Keep in mind that changing up routines can be hard, and it usually doesn’t happen over night.
Try experimenting with a few options, and don’t beat yourself up if you have trouble sticking to your new routine right away.
Pick up a new hobby
If smoking is something you tend to do when you’re bored, some new hobbies may help.
Consider revisiting old favorites, like building models or crafting. If old hobbies don’t interest you any longer, try something new, like rock climbing, paddleboarding, or learning a new language.
What matters most is finding something you truly enjoy, since that makes it more likely you’ll want to keep doing it.
Enlist support from loved ones
Friends and family who know you don’t want to keep smoking can offer support by:
- helping you think of hobbies and distractions
- practicing coping methods, like physical activity or meditation, with you
- encouraging you when withdrawals and cravings get tough
Even knowing that other people support your decision can help you feel more motivated and capable of success.
Get help for withdrawal symptoms if needed
Not everyone experiences cannabis withdrawal symptoms, but for those who do, they can be pretty uncomfortable.
Common symptoms include:
- trouble sleeping
- irritability and other mood changes
- fever, chills, and sweats
- low appetite
Withdrawal symptoms generally begin a day or so after you quit and clear up within about 2 weeks.
A healthcare provider can help you manage severe symptoms, but most people can handle symptoms on their own by:
- drinking less caffeine to improve sleep
- using deep breathing and other relaxation methods to address anxiety
- drinking plenty of water
If you use a lot of cannabis and smoke regularly, quitting abruptly might be difficult. Slowly reducing use over time may help you have more success and can also help decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
Here are some pointers to get you started:
Choose a quit date
Giving yourself a deadline of a few weeks or a month can help you design a realistic plan for quitting.
Just keep in mind that picking a date too far in the future can make it seem far enough away that you lose motivation early on.
Plan how you’ll taper off
Do you want to decrease weed use by a specific amount each week? Use less each day? Use as little as possible until you go through your current supply?
Some dispensaries now offer lower-potency strains or products that contain lower THC content. Switching to a weaker product that produces fewer psychoactive effects may also be helpful to cutting back.
Keep yourself busy
By getting involved with new activities as you cut back, you’ll have an easier time continuing with these established patterns once you’re no longer using cannabis at all.
Staying busy can also help distract you from withdrawal symptoms.
“Therapy can be a great option when you want to develop new habits and ways of coping,” Egel says.
She explains it’s common to turn to substance use to cope with or avoid difficult feelings.
A therapist can help you explore any underlying issues contributing to your cannabis use and offer support as you take the first steps toward confronting dark emotions. They can also help you address any issues in your life or relationships that might be a result of your cannabis use.
Any kind of therapy can have benefit, but the following three approaches might be particularly helpful.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Most therapists have training in CBT. This treatment approach helps you learn to identify unwanted or distressing thoughts and emotions and develop productive skills to address and manage them.
For example, if you use cannabis when stressed, you’ve probably learned (both consciously and subconsciously) that it helps reduce stress and calm you down.
CBT can teach you to recognize signs of stress, challenge your desire to smoke cannabis, and replace the habit with a more helpful one — like seeking support from a friend or working through the problem that’s upsetting you.
This approach reinforces quitting behaviors. In other words, it rewards you for not smoking.
Someone participating in a contingency management treatment plan might, for example, receive vouchers for restaurant gift cards, movie tickets, or an entry for a prize drawing with each negative test result.
Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
MET involves examining your reasons for giving up cannabis. Instead of trying to address any underlying issues that factor into your use of weed, your therapist will help you explore and prioritize goals associated with your use, usually by asking open-ended questions.
This treatment can serve as a first step to any therapy approach for substance use. It can be especially helpful if you know you want to quit smoking but aren’t quite sure why.
If you're ready to stop smoking weed, we've got tips and tricks to help you navigate the process, regardless of your reasons.
How to grind weed without a grinder
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- Why it’s important to grind your weed
- Grinding weed without a grinder
- How to break apart marijuana with your hands
- Protect your trichomes
- Other methods for grinding weed without a grinder
- Bottom line
Grinding your weed is a key preparation before smoking. The best way to grind weed is with a grinder designed specifically for herbal applications. But what if you don’t have a grinder on hand? If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll want to know how to grind your weed without a grinder. This guide will equip you with everything you need to know about how to grind weed without a grinder.
Why it’s important to grind your weed
Before you get started with actually grinding your herb, it’s important to understand why you should focus on getting a good grind prior to smoking.
The specific reasons for grinding your cannabis before smoking differ depending on your smoking method. For starters, if you are trying to roll your herb into a joint, spliff, or blunt, then breaking your cannabis down into smaller chunks is obviously the only way you can fit the herb into your rolling paper. There would simply be no way to roll up an entire nug all on its own. But when you grind the weed into small pieces, you can spread it evenly across your wrap and then roll the whole thing up into a smokable form.
When you grind the weed into small pieces, you can spread it evenly across your wrap and then roll the whole thing up into a smokable form. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Grinding weed is also necessary for other forms of smoking. For example, if you are smoking out of a bowl—whether it’s part of a spoon pipe, a handheld bubbler, a bong, or anything else—you should always grind your herb first if you want to get the most out of your cannabis. Technically speaking, you can get away with dropping a full nug into your bowl and smoking it. But doing so is incredibly inefficient. That’s because there is a very limited amount of surface area that can be exposed to the flame, which will result in an uneven burn and make it hard to tell if there’s unburned green in the center of the nug.
However, if you grind that same nug into smaller chunks, you will be able to pack it evenly into the bowl. And when you ignite the weed in your bowl, there will be a larger surface area to burn. This technique gives you a more uniform combustion across all of your herb and ensures that you ignite the entire quantity, leaving nothing behind. To put it simply: grinding your marijuana ensures that you thoroughly burn and smoke your entire nug so that nothing goes to waste.
Grinding your marijuana ensures that you thoroughly burn and smoke your entire nug so that nothing goes to waste. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Grinding weed without a grinder
By far the best way to grind your cannabis is with a dedicated herb grinder. This tool gives you a uniform grind so that the small pieces of herb are all more or less the same size, further enhancing the efficiency of your smoking experience and letting you get the most combustion out of your marijuana. Further, grinders can help leave intact a greater portion of trichomes—and all the cannabinoids they contain—since they’re not rubbing off onto your hands. However, with all that said, there are still times when you simply cannot access a grinder. In those cases, you can improvise and break apart your marijuana with your hands.
How to break apart marijuana with your hands
This process is best done using a rolling tray or flat surface that can catch your weed and allow you to use both hands to pull apart the nug and separate stems and seeds. But if you’re in a pinch and don’t have a flat, smooth surface handy, you can use the palm of your hand.
Hold your non-dominant hand flat. This will be where you collect your ground-up marijuana. Hold your nug in your dominant hand.
Gently but firmly roll the herb between your middle finger, index finger, and thumb. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Gently but firmly roll the herb between your middle finger, index finger, and thumb. Be sure you roll the herb directly above your non-dominant hand so that all the little pieces fall into your open palm. Continue this process until you have crumbled the entire nug.
Carefully sort through the crumbled herb in your palm. Break down any especially large chunks with your fingertips until all the pieces of herb are roughly the same size.
Once you’re happy with the consistency of your grind, use your ground-up marijuana to roll up your joint, spliff, or blunt, or to pack your bowl.
Protect your trichomes
When you crumble weed with your fingers, the ultimate goal is to strike a balance between applying enough force to break apart the cannabis without damaging the herb.
Remember, you’re trying to protect the trichomes as much as you can, since this is where all the THC and other cannabinoids are concentrated. No matter how gentle or careful you are, you will still end up with sticky resinous fingers when you’re done, and there will be some degree of trichome loss as a result of the crumbling process. Do your best to be as gentle as possible while still applying adequate force to break apart the bud.
Other methods for grinding weed without a grinder
Crumbing weed with your hands is the classic go-to strategy when you find yourself without a grinder. But there are a few other methods you can try if you have access to some basic household equipment.
Method 1: Scissors and a shot glass
For this method, you’ll need a clean shot glass and a pair of clean, sharp scissors. Place your nug into the shot glass. Then poke the scissors down into the shot glass and slice apart the marijuana. Be careful that you don’t spill the cannabis as you work the scissors. As always, shoot for slicing your cannabis into pieces that are as uniform in size as possible. And remember, the sharper your scissors, the more precise your cuts will be and the more intact your valuable trichomes will remain.
Place your nug into the shot glass. Then poke the scissors down into the shot glass and slice apart the marijuana. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Method 2: Coffee grinder
Did you know that you can also grind your marijuana in a coffee grinder? Doing so will give you a decent grind, but will leave the blades of your coffee grinder sticky with resin. Try this method only if you’re fine with having a resin-covered coffee grinder.
Method 3: Kitchen knife and cutting board
Another method is to chop your cannabis using a very sharp kitchen knife and cutting board. If your knife is too dull, you will end up tearing your bud rather than slicing it cleanly, and this could lead to significant trichome damage. But if you can get a nice clean slice, you’ll leave intact more of the trichomes and get a much more uniform final product. Of course, your knife and cutting board will accumulate residual sticky resin, so you should plan on washing them immediately after slicing apart your marijuana.
You can grind your weed by chopping your cannabis using a very sharp kitchen knife and cutting board. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
While a grinder is the single best piece of equipment you can use to grind marijuana, you can also improvise with household items and your own hands.
How to grind weed without a grinder Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Why it’s important to grind your weed Grinding weed without a grinder