Benefits of Quitting WeedTop 10 Reasons to Quit Smoking Weed
When I was a weed smoker, I was among the 70% of Americans who believe weed is harmless and not addictive. But then I learned all the scientific evidence that proves weed is more harmful than most people are willing to believe. With all the advancements being made for the medicinal purposes of weed, it is evident the majority of people don’t know all there is to know about the effects of weed.
Here’s a list of the harsh truths that blew my hair back and made me take an honest look at what I was doing to myself and why I absolutely needed to quit weed to get my life back.
Weed is Killing You Softly
It may be true that weed is not as harmful as tobacco or alcohol, but we are naive to think this means weed is harmless. The American College of Cardiologists reports that smoking marijuana increases your risk of heart failure, stroke, and respiratory problems including lung infections. Smoking weed has also been linked to heart and liver disease and testicular cancer.
Generally speaking, cannabis with higher amounts of Cannabidiol (CBD) and lower amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is better used for medicinal purposes. Strains with higher CBD won’t get you stoned, so it is safe to assume the weed you are smoking from your dealer DOES NOT have strong medicinal properties and is doing more harm to your heart than you know. It raises your blood pressure and increases your heart rate by 20 to 50 beats per minute, diminishing your heart’s ability to carry oxygen to the rest of your body.
Subjecting your body to this kind of strain over time can cause long term damage to your health. Wanna really ruin your high? Smoke a bowl, sit quietly by yourself and focus only on your heart beating. Nothing will bug you out more than that, I promise you.
This is Your Brain on Drugs
That old commercial with the egg in the frying pan was just a scare tactic…right? Actually, that old simmering embryo represented the way THC permanently alters cognitive functioning. Neuroimaging studies have revealed irreparable damage can be caused to the hippocampus, the part of the limbic system that controls memory, emotion, and learning.
According to a recent study, scientists have discovered that chronic smokers exhibit a disruption in the reward system of the brain. Participants in the study who had smoked weed for several years demonstrated increased activity in the brain’s reward system of the brain when they were shown images of joints, pipes, and other objects associated with smoking weed. These participants also exhibited less activity in the brain’s reward system when they were shown images of healthy food and natural rewards.
According to study author, Dr. Francesca Filbey, associate professor of behavioral and brain science at the University of Texas at Dallas, this study shows that “marijuana disrupts the natural reward circuitry of the brain, making marijuana highly important to those who use it heavily.” So, the more you smoke, the more you put your mental and emotional well-being at risk.
Marijuana and Adolescents: Concerns for the Future
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the amount of marijuana related treatment admissions for smokers under age 18 increased by 188% between 1992 to 2006, while other drug admissions remained steady.
Our brains do not develop fully until around the age of 25, so for those of us who started smoking weed as teenagers, studies suggest that we will lose an average of 8 IQ points by the time we are 38. Marijuana use is generally linked to poor academic performance and may increase the likelihood of dropping out of school.
There is also an alarming amount of research beginning to surface linking smoking weed to schizophrenia. Particularly in teenage boys who carry genes linked to increased risks of schizophrenia, smoking weed as a teenager can cause thinning in the brain’s cortex, leaving the brain vulnerable to psychotic disorders. This is not your father’s Reefer Madness.
Less Money, Mo’ Problems
In the pipeline of lower educational achievement, several studies have revealed significant links between marijuana use and lower income, higher unemployment, greater chance of welfare dependency, and overall decreased satisfaction with life.
If you have a heavy smoking habit and you do have a job, a recent study suggests you are highly likely to be ineffective and even dangerous on the job. Employees who tested positive for marijuana were 55% more likely to cause industrial accidents, 85% more likely to suffer personal injury, and 75% more likely to be regularly late or absent.
Smoking Weed is Just Depressing
Depression is the most common mental illness among young adults, particularly in women. Most current research reveals that smoking weed does NOT cause depression or other mood disorders.
However, a significant relationship has been discovered between reduced marijuana use and a reduction in depressive symptoms. That’s because there are complicated issues involved with why people smoke in the first place.
While smoking marijuana may not cause depression, many people become dependent because they are depressed and looking for ways to alleviate deep feelings of sadness and hopelessness. But after a while, you begin to realize that smoking weed is only a diversion tactic. When people decide to quit, they often seek out healthier ways to cope with stress and sadness, leading to reduced symptoms of depression and increased satisfaction with life.
In the Green Haze, You Can Literally Lose Yourself
Chronic weed smoking alters our state of consciousness. When we are high, we become more passive, unreflective, and emotionally numb. When we experience this mental state more frequently than a sober state of consciousness, this altered state becomes our “New Normal.”
It is at this point that we stop truly enjoying weed, and we come to depend on it just to feel normal. This shift is gradual, and we don’t realize it is happening until someone makes us aware of it. These chronic use patterns can have detrimental effects in social functioning, personality expression, and the ability to nurture close relationships.
There came a time when I realized that all I cared about what getting high and staying high. As long as I was high, I didn’t care what else happened in the course of my day. Now that I am living a life free of weed, I care so much more about how I spend my days and how much I can accomplish. My life now is so full of purpose and meaning.
Can Smoking Weed Make You ‘Cray Cray?’
When adolescents smoke weed, the white matter of their brains can experience changes that are similar to the brains of people who suffer from schizophrenia. Individuals with a history of child abuse, psychosis, or schizophrenia in their families are at a higher risk for developing these psychiatric disorders with chronic weed use.
People who use marijuana daily and who carry a variant of the AKT1 gene, which affects dopamine levels in the striatum, are seven times more likely to develop psychosis. Additionally, adults who began smoking weed in adolescence and also carry a variant of the gene for catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) are also at a greater risk for developing psychosis.
Smoking weed has also been known to worsen the illness for people who already suffer from schizophrenia, and intensifies the symptoms of various mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and suicidal thoughts. In some cases, smoking weed can cause schizophrenic-like episodes in people who do not suffer from the condition. And though it is temporary, it can be quite frightening for the user and those nearby.
Seriously. Don’t Smoke and Drive
Raise your hand if you ever entertained the ridiculous notion that you are somehow a better driver while stoned. (My hand is raised. Is yours?)
With the medicinal uses of weed becoming widely accepted, and with the push for legalization starting to gain traction, more and more people seem to equate these shifts in our cultural context with the idea that “Weed is Safe.”
The British Medical Journal published a study that reveals driving high nearly doubles the risk that their brain to perform simple tasks. While high, your reaction time is slowed, your peripheral vision is diminished, and your ability to multi-task is impaired. And according to a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drivers with THC in their blood are three to seven times more likely to be the one responsible for the accident, and this includes data on fatal crashes.
Stoner Sex is Probably Not as Hot as You Think
One of the harshest moments for me as a man was when a girl I had been dating for a few years told me I wasn’t as good of a lover as I used to be. And as if that wasn’t brutal enough, she told me I was not as good as I thought I was when I was stoned.
Ouch. Like many guys, I used to brag about my long performance while stoned and how mind-blowing the orgasms were. But let’s be real. I now realize my concept of time was altered, and pretty much everything is mind-blowing while high on weed. Like stick bugs. And Refrigerator magnets.
So, of course, most men brag about their sexual performance on weed, but what does science say? Biomedical researchers have begun conducting studies to look at the effects marijuana has on erectile function (or dysfunction). Though certain ethical and legal issues have prevented extensive research on humans as of yet, animal studies reveal that marijuana inhibits receptors inside the erectile tissue of the penis.
Of course there are many factors which affect these results. Dosage and the type of strain you’re smoking are two big factors that will determine the impact on erectile functioning, arousal, and ability to achieve orgasm. Additionally, Erectile Dysfunction is often associated with other emotional issues that may or may not be related to your marijuana use.
But it bears mentioning, according to a study conducted at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA, reported erectile dysfunction cases are three times higher for daily marijuana smokers compared to those who don’t smoke at all.
Dependency, Withdrawal, and Obsession
Marijuana exhibits the same pharmacokinetic properties as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, barbiturates, and prescription pain pills. This means they are all rapidly absorbed by the body and reach the central nervous system, the spinal cord and the brain, very quickly.
The bioavailability is high, meaning that the drug is not wasted once it enters the body. The effects of the drug are short lived, that is, it has a short half-life, because it is metabolized and processed by the body quickly. And like other drugs, weed targets the brain, therefore the negative effects of long term use are very similar.
This means that weed is more addictive than the general population leads on. According to several studies, 9% of people who smoke marijuana become addicted to it, and many develop an obsessive need for it. Those who exhibit physical and psychological withdrawals when quitting may suffer from the condition known as Cannabis Use Disorder according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
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