I started smoking marijuana at 19. Unlike many young weed users, I started smoking because I had spine damage and I needed something to help with the pain.
Weed provided relief that opiates, and other painkillers, couldn’t provide.
Over the next 15 years my weed usage increased dramatically. I tried to quit several times, but I was always unsuccessful. I told myself it was because I was using weed for pain management, but in reality, I had become addicted to how being high made me feel.
I found myself especially stuck this year, vaping huge amounts of 90% and higher THC concentrate. I was running through a 1-gram cartridge every 2-3 days, which was costing me about $600-$700 each month. Sometimes I’d get high without even wanting to, just because I felt I needed it to feel normal.
So, I decided to stop using for good. And weed withdrawal promptly laughed in my face.
Just three days after stopping, I experienced withdrawal symptoms including stomach cramps, nausea, and a general feeling of malaise. I knew I could feel better just by buying another vape cartridge. And so I did.
I experienced relief within a half-hour, but I was very unhappy with how “trapped” I felt with my heavy vape use. I felt like I could not get off weed. That I was just using too much. Quitting seemed impossible.
So, I devised a plan to slowly taper down to reduce my dosage. My goal was to quit weed without making withdrawal so intense that I could not handle it.
I finished my vape cartridge and began preparing.
Getting Ready to Step Down
I spent the next couple days gathering supplies. These included:
- A 1ml eyedropper that measured in .25 ml increments
- A bottle of THC tincture, a liquid that had a dosage of 5 mg of THC per 1 ml of fluid
- A notebook to record the date, time, and amount of marijuana product I used
Before quitting, I dosed myself until I felt no withdrawal symptoms whatsoever.
For me, this came out to 22.5 mg of THC every 6 hours while awake. I dosed myself a total of 3 times that day, so my total use was 67.5 mg of THC.
This became my baseline dose for stepping down from my weed addiction.
Day 1 (First Day of Tapering)
On Day 1, I set my dosage to 60 mg for the day.
I dosed myself 3 times, once at 8 AM, once at 2 PM, and once at 8 PM. Each dose was 20 mg of THC. I wrote all of these doses down in my notebook, so I had a written record for accountability.
Although I was in mild discomfort and wanted more THC, I was able to control myself and stick to that dosage schedule. That night I had trouble falling asleep, but I was able to get some rest.
On day 2, I reduced my dosage to 52.5 mg for the day.
I dosed myself 3 times, also at 8 AM, 2PM and 8 PM. Each dose was now 17.5 mg of THC.
My discomfort was moderate throughout the day and that night. I did not sleep well that night, but I got enough rest to function.
On day 3, I decided I was going a little fast and dropped my reduction to 48.75 mg for the day.
I dosed 3 times, as usual. Each dose was now 16.25 mg of THC.
My discomfort during the day was starting to lessen and disappear at this point. That night, I slept okay for the first time in two days. I had strange dreams and woke up several times. REM rebound was already beginning, even though I was still taking relatively large doses of THC.
On day 4, I felt that 3.75 mg was about the perfect daily reduction amount for me. I decided for all subsequent days that I would reduce by that amount.
For day 4, each of my 3 doses was 15 mg.
At this point it felt like my body was starting to get the idea of what I was doing. I felt less irritable, and my stomach wasn’t as upset. That night, I slept pretty well.
By Day 5 I had settled into a pattern of getting up in the morning, reducing my dose, and going about my day.
I reduced again, bringing my doses down to 13.75 mg each or 41.25 mg for the day.
This was the first day (besides day 0) that I did not feel very affected by withdrawal. This was very exciting to me because it proved to me that my plan to step down was working.
That night I slept very well, although I did wake up several times.
Day 6 was an exciting day for me. In just under a week, I had cut 30 mg off of my usage and I was barely experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
I reduced again, bringing my doses to 12.5 mg each or 37.5 mg for the day.
At this point I started noticing chronic pain issues from my spine damage reappearing. This was unfortunate as it affected my sleep, but I was willing to live with the pain if it meant breaking my dependence on marijuana.
Today is Day 7. I am writing this at 5 PM. In another few hours I will take my third dose for the day.
My two doses already taken today were 8.75 mg each. It is exciting to see this working. While I do have cravings for more THC, it is not difficult to wait for each scheduled dose.
Reflecting on the First Week of Tapering
I have only been doing this tapering plan for one week, but I suspect that I will continue to have success. The real question becomes, how bad the cravings will be once I step down to zero marijuana use?
At that point, it will just be me versus my brain wanting something it has had in abundance for years. I am hopeful that I will be able to stay off marijuana, but I recognize the reality that I will be dealing with cravings for a very long time. For now, I’m grateful that the plan is working and that I am more functional as I go about my day-to-day life.
Weedless.org is a free, web-based resource and community created by a team of healthcare professionals and researchers. We distill the facts about marijuana use and its effects into practical guidance for interested persons or for those who are thinking about or struggling to quit weed. Finding reliable, easy to understand information about marijuana should never be a struggle—that is why our core mission is to provide the most up to date information about marijuana use, abuse, addiction, and withdrawal. While we seek to empower individuals to have control over their use, we are not "anti-weed" and we support efforts to legalize adult marijuana use and study.