Anything can be an addiction. Shopping and exercising, through to plastic surgery and eating paint chips have all become impulsive habits seemingly impossible to break for some people. Experts have often debated the physical addictiveness of cannabis; one recent research suggests it is physically addictive, but less so than cigarettes.
But addiction is more than physical in most cases – shopping and plastic surgery are clearly not addictive physically compared to heroin, so even if you believe cannabis is not a physical addiction, its addictive hold comes from the sensations and feelings we associate with when using. So when you come to ask yourself, “am I addicted to weed?”, it really comes down to your attachment to how it makes you feel combined with an element of biological reaction.
Understanding addiction may help you to place your marijuana use into context, along with other things we do which can cross into the addiction zone. How To Quit Without Feeling S**t is one resource which not only helps to explain the psychology behind marijuana addiction, but offers a plan for beating it. But before that, you need to be clear where you stand towards your own self-appraisal of your weed habit.
Do you wonder if you smoke too much? Does it affect your mood? Is it diminishing your ability to get along with people? Despite the “expert” claims about marijuana and its effects, the only person who can really answer these questions is you. Take the test below and answer the questions honestly. Work out if you really have a weed habit or not.
1. Do you smoke nearly everyday?
If you’re likely to smoke 5 days or more of the last 10, then your weed use is more than just a recreational habit.
2. Do you end up smoking more than you intended?
Where’s your willpower at – do you ever tell yourself you’re only going to have a couple of tokes and end up getting much more stoned than you intended?
3. Do you find it hard to imagine having a good time without pot?
If you go to the cinema or watch a movie at home, how often do you light up? And if you don’t on that occasion, do you regret it?
4. Do you choose friends, associates, partners who are cannabis users?
Are your closest circle of friends pot smokers? And do more than 50% of your wider circle of friends use cannabis? Are you seeing less of the friends who don’t smoke pot?
5. Do you feel less active?
Think of the time before you started using pot, then when you just started, to now. Are you more or less active during any of these phases? Have you stopped doing a particular sport or hobby? Did you have a long-term goal which you stopped taking action towards?
6. Do you continue to take marijuana even though you know it’s not good for you?
We all do things which we know are not good for us. Every time I walk past a bakery, it’s like I can hear the cream buns calling out, “Eat me!”. But cream buns don’t make me paranoid and distort my perception. Have you smoked marijuana when you didn’t really feel like it? Have you smoked when you’ve been ill with a cough?
7. Do you smoke weed at inappropriate times?
Have you smoked marijuana before a pre-arranged meeting with someone? Have you smoked before or during work?
These are most of the bad practices and choices for a marijuana addict. If you answered “yes” to many of these questions, time to admit you’re addicted to weed. Even answering “yes” to a few of these can indicate marijuana addiction, or the gradual transition from being a recreational user. Admitting addiction is a big first step. It’s how you choose to act upon this admission which will determine how you overcome it. It’s important not to be become complacent and just accept it. Accept it, then do something to rectify it. You gradually shuffled into marijuana addiction, and you can gradually shuffle out too.
How do you make that transition back? Well first, take a look at all the questions you answered “yes” to, and turn them around. Don’t smoke before work, don’t smoke when you’re ill, rekindle that sport or hobby, re-evaluate your circle of friends, invest more time with non-smoking friends, learn to love movies again for their entertainment value, take a stand and set a limit on how much you will smoke and don’t compromise, and cut back on the number of days you smoke.
There’s also a program you can try developed by Tristan Wetherburn, a former pot smoker and drug dealer who has worked through some major demons to take control of his life. His Quit Marijuana course is intensive – don’t start it unless you’re totally committed quitting. But if you are ready, the course might be exactly what you need.
Addiction has a lot of negative connotations, and it’s not flattering to admit it. But this cream bun addict keeps those buns at bay by keeping himself accountable to similar questions, and reinforcing the same actions every day. It is persistence and keeping yourself accountable to the promise you make to yourself which will help you reclaim the hold cannabis has over you. If I can do it, I know you can.