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Among some of the many ridiculous reasons that people have against the legalisation of cannabis are that it’s supposedly habit forming and, although there is no physical addiction to speak of, there are claims it is psychologically addictive. So, last month, I decided I would see if this is really the case, and after five years of smoking almost every day with very seldom breaks, I quit smoking cannabis.

It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

Truth be told, I wasn’t actually looking forward to quitting the weed. I’ve been smoking it pretty much every day before bed for a long time and it was a large part of my routine. It was how I found solace at the end of a busy and stressful work day. I knew that the most likely thing it was going to affect was my sleep and my mood.

Cannabis affects your sleep by affecting your ability to get REM sleep - Rapid Eye Movement sleep. You’ll often notice people in a deep sleep have flickering eyelids, especially if they’re dreaming. It’s REM sleep that causes your ability to dream, and as a long time cannabis smoker, you might also notice that you don’t dream all that much, or at least not as much as you used to before you started smoking. This means that for people who quit using cannabis after a long time, they start to experience very vivid dreams which they’re not used to, and this can affect your quality of sleep.

My crazy dreams lasted for about a week before they eased off and I got used to them, and it wasn’t particularly fun, but I was still easily getting 6 to 8 hours a night and that was enough for me. So far, quitting weed has been pretty easy.

The other thing that I was expecting was a change in my mood from my usually relaxed self to a more grumpier person. I was happily surprised to see this didn’t happen. I went from being somewhat aloof to being fairly switched on, generally happy and seemingly having more energy.

I’m not saying all of this because I think cannabis is bad and everyone should quit, but it’s good to know that when you do want to stop smoking, it’s not nearly as bad as you think it will be, and that reports of it being hard to quit cannabis aren’t as bad as people make them out to be, you just have to be in a position where you mentally want to quit. The worst is over in a week and you may well feel better for a short break.

June 13, 2016 by Gareth Arnold

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