This post is part of our Ask a Cannababe series where real women that smoke weed share their stories & experiences. Thanks to Olivia from New York for bravely opening up about her personal experience taking a tolerance break. All opinions are her own.
Counting on Cannabis
I’ve been feeling very dependent on the way weed makes me feel. I rush home to get to my bowl and can sit and have two or three before feeling the slightest bit high. I have to either buy more weed each week or keep going back to my dealer to get my fix. It’s expensive, my lungs are not recovering from being sick, and my overall outlook on life is getting a bit hazy. If I don’t have a busy schedule at work I’ll just smoke throughout the day, on the weekends I’ll smoke all day and won’t be high. Why am I still doing this?
Oh right, it’s because I love weed. 🌿 But why? Only two years ago I dealt with my anxiety, I dealt with my depression and it was all without any substances. So why now am I using it as a crutch to get me through the day to day bullshit?
It’s screwing with my sleep, my relationship with my family, my relationship with food, so why can’t I stop smoking? The only time I seem to ever be able to stop is if I’m on a long vacation where it’s not available and I kept busy. Every time I’ve attempted a tolerance break, I got through day one fine and day two in tears – this continues the cycle and I pick up and feel the self-loathing of having to depend on a substance. And then the self-loathing continues when I get too high and eat a bunch of garbage food.
The Pros and Cons of Pot (for me)
Pros to medicating with cannabis
- The angry monster that claws at my chest instantly goes away
- I get to appreciate nature more
- It’s the business field I want to get into
- I can focus on one task at a time
Cons to medicating with cannabis
- The angry monster instantly comes back after the CBD/THC goes out of my body.
- It makes everything smell like crap
- It’s taking a lot more each week to get high
- I can’t fully focus if I get too high, making it counterproductive
Everyone on the internet says you can’t get addicted to it, all my friends say the same thing, but now I’m starting to feel like it’s controlling me and that shit’s gotta stop. All the different media platforms are telling me it’s 100% better than any pharmaceutical. How can I help my anxiety and ADD symptoms without a substance? I thought about maybe switching it up and asking a psychologist for an amphetamine, like Adderall. However, after a lot of research on those kinds of drugs, it worries me that I’ll have to up the dosage – just like weed and be put in an even harder cycle to get out of. But then how the hell do I find a balance between having ADD and being able to function at my best?
I want to be able to find a healthy relationship with weed – one where I enjoy it and get high with friends at a concert and then I don’t feel like I need it to get through my day. Especially since I want to start my own cannabis business. I met with a man who owns some super successful dispensaries in so-cal and when asked if he smoked, he said ”Don’t shit where you eat”. So if I can’t get high from my own supply, I’m going to need to figure out some replacement strategies. My goal this week is to take you on my journey to figure out a holistic approach to a tolerance break that will (hopefully) aid in successfully breaking my dependence on the plant that I love so dearly.
My Tolerance Break Diary
Monday, March 26th: 1st Attempt
– Woke up craving a toke but instead, I had some Advil for the headache I knew was on its way (part one of the withdrawal). During the day I found I follow so many weed related things on social media so I had to get off it and focus on my work. But then I found I listen to a LOT of weed-related music so starting a new playlist was on the to-do list. I spent most of the day thinking about weed instead of being in the present moment so to fix that I took tasks to keep me busy. But towards the end of the night, I got extremely anxious and stressed out for no reason. My best friend had recently picked up so she shared a joint with me, and I felt like a failure.
My goal this week is to take you on my journey to figure out a holistic approach to a tolerance break that will (hopefully) aid in successfully breaking my dependence on the plant that I love so dearly.
Tuesday, March 27th: 2nd Attempt
– Today was the anniversary of my mom’s surgery. It was a catastrophic time for my family because she had her spine rebuilt and it put a lot of pressure on myself to grow up quick and take on the head of the family tasks while she was down. We had a good day driving into the city for her last doctor’s appointment but it stirred up a lot of those awful emotions I felt during that time. I smoked whatever was left in my keef catcher to dull those feelings. At the end of the night, I wasn’t high off of anything so I didn’t binge eat like I normally do. It felt good to go to bed satisfied instead of super stuffed.
– Because of the tiny amount of weed I had given myself, my body started to withdraw during the night and I had the worst night sweats.
Wednesday March 28th: Day 1
– I feel better and a lot clearer-headed than I have in a while. I woke up early despite the night sweats, got a full 9 hours so I woke up awake and ready for the day. First time in a LONG time. I was also able to meditate to center myself before the day started.
– I was able to meal prep for the day and stay focused in the morning which has not happened in a really long time. I feel like this is the right choice for me. My dependency on weed was taking over my life. I just want to get to a place where I can smoke at festival or on a fun occasion without NEEDING weed to get me through my days. I also took a tincture of CBD oil this morning to hopefully continue the calm – it tasted like ass.
– I was able to hit the gym, eat right, and feel pretty good about the day, but on the drive home from work I was really craving a joint. I just turned the music up louder and shut my phone off so I wasn’t tempted to contact my dealer…
Thursday March 29th: Day 2
– Every attempt I’ve ever made at a tolerance break has typically ended by the second day. The first day is tolerable but it’s because the body still has some leftover THC in it and can manage. But day two is when it starts to get dicey…
– I didn’t sleep at all last night, I took 15 milligrams of melatonin and it didn’t do shit. I tossed and turned all night and woke up extremely restless. In order to keep on track and try and sweat out the THC I hit the gym in the AM before heading to work.
I occasionally work at a tea room to get knowledge for my own business one day and it’s constant 8 hours of running around chopping veggies and making fun desserts. But despite the distraction, even my boss saw how uncomfortable I was. She asked if I was okay and I couldn’t tell her what was really going on, so I blamed it on lack of sleep and kept on moving. By the time I got out I was physically exhausted and felt like I was about to have a break down. I usually give myself a day well worked joint after but I couldn’t today. That sent me into a bit of a spiral. I just felt so overwhelmed, like I couldn’t handle how quick my emotions were coming at me. I thought, “If I had a joint right now, this would go away. I would stop obsessing over weed, my feet wouldn’t hurt so bad and I could just relax.” But then I remembered that sometimes you just have to sit in your feelings and let them pass. I sped home so I didn’t stop at my dealers house (breaking one or two traffic rules, but fuck it I was distraught). I put on some angry Kanye (Facts to be exact) and just road the wave of emotions home. Once I got home I felt like I was having hot flashes (YAY NOW WE’VE GOT THE DAY SWEATS?) so I tried to calmly meditate and popped a Nyquil before heading to bed.
– I feel like I cannot stop my repetitive thoughts about weed. I just cant seem to put it out of my mind, in the shower, driving home, at the gym. It followed me every where I go. I even saw a broken vape cartridge walking back to my car and was like “Are we kidding universe? ENOUGH!!”.
Friday March 30th: Day 3
– It was a lot better today. I spent the whole day moving boxes of my mom’s stuff to her new house. It was great cardio and I could just focus on lifting shit up and putting it down. On the way home, we were on a ferry and some guys were smoking pot. They offered it to me and I happily declined. It was the first time I’d ever said no to free weed! I felt unstoppable, like I really got over my dependence. So what did I do to reward myself? Break down and smoke weed. And it was probably the worst thing I could have done.
ARE WE FREEKING KIDDING OLIVIA?!?!?!?!?!?
I ended up breaking one of my moms priceless family heirlooms and it set me off on a spiral. She wasn’t exactly mad at me but she was clearly devastated. After a hard day on my muscles and then the emotional heartache, I broke down and had a joint with some friends. At first I felt a lot higher than I had before which was cool, but once I left my friends the paranoia set in. I had been doing okay with my anxiety and it seemed like the weed exacerbated it and made the spiraling thoughts get worse. I usually choose sativa as my strain of choice but it just seemed like my body reacted so badly to it. The one amazing thing about having the joint though was that I realized I didn’t NEED weed to get through the day like I thought I did. Yeah it’s nice to have in your down time when nothing’s going on, but using it as a coping skill is just not for me anymore. This week taught me that meditation or even just going outside to look at nature and taking a deep breath can do a world of good for all the emotional turmoil that occurs from day to day. It turns out that the angry monster in my chest will go away if I just don’t allow myself to be consumed.
– I spent a lot of time distracting myself from wanting weed. Delay. Distract. Deep Breathing. De-Catastrophize…
Saturday March 31st: Day 4
– I was able to inspire my best friend to join me in my tolerance break so hopefully it won’t be so hard to hang out with friends because I’m trying to avoid smoking. Our goal is to go from now until 4/20 which would give our bodies a long enough time to get a good chunk of the THC out of our systems so that by the holidaze we’ll get super zooted!
– We planned a sunset guided meditation evening that really focused on being grateful for the life we have and everything in it.
Sunday April 1st: Day 5
– I spent a lot of time with family today and just reflection on my emotions over the week. I think this break has really inspired me to get into a better relationship with my emotions before ever really trying to rely on a substance to dull them in any way. Something that came up a lot was that it’s okay to feel anxious or sad or mad. Those “bad” feelings are only bad because we’re told they are and they don’t feel that great in our bodies. But instead of stressing out about them, examining them or even simply just letting them be and waiting for them to pass is enough. I’ve gotten to know myself better this week than I have in a really long time.
Those “bad” feelings are only bad because we’re told they are and they don’t feel that great in our bodies. I’ve gotten to know myself better this week than I have in a really long time.
This was just my own personal struggle with a tolerance break but I hope it can relate to others that might feel the same way I do! This week has taught me to examine my usage and how I want to respect this beautiful plant going forward.
Thank you SO much to Olivia for sharing her tolerance break diary with us. Her inights are super powerful, and we hope that this post will help anyone that’s looking to try a tolerance break navigate the ups & downs! For more information about how to take a break from cannabis (or quit it all together) check out this practical guide to quitting weed.
Have you taken a tolerance break recently? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below! 👇🏽