I Took a Month Off of THC (So You Didn’t Have To)

After years of regular cannabis use, one writer decided to quit cold turkey for 30 days. You know, for science.
I Took a Month Off of THC (So You Didn’t Have To)

The day I took 120mg of edibles and all I felt was a slight buzz was a wakeup call. The last time I took that amount in edibles, it was by accident. I was at a fancy work party and the night ended with me laughing so hard at the realization that I don’t know how to play chess that I collapsed on the floor and almost peed in my floor-length dress. My friend quietly put me in a cab at 6:30pm. (The party had started at 5:30pm.) To be able to ingest that amount now, many months into quarantine, and merely shrug it off? I knew it was time to consider a tolerance break. 

I had some big concerns, however. Sure, the expected “Am I ‘strong enough’ to abstain from something I use every day?” thoughts came up. But considering I use weed to manage my chronic pain, anxiety, and stress, I had other valid concerns about this break, too. Smoking had become a huge part of my way of coping with the pandemic. 

“Am I dependent on this?” was the first question I asked myself, which was quickly followed by my most prominent fear, which is: “Will I lose my mind?” After all, the pandemic was hard enough with weed. Did I really want to deny one of the few good things in this world during a very tumultuous time? Thankfully, my partner Evan (who’s also an everyday smoker) became my accountability partner. 

Together, we were going to raw dog reality for 30 days and, well, see what happened.

Week One

The first few days were much easier than I anticipated considering we were both quitting cold turkey. After hearing about our break (and offering condolences), my friends were dying to know: Did I think more clearly? Run faster? Jump higher? Was I having withdrawals? I hated to disappoint them, but the truth was the first week was fairly anticlimactic. I guess I was expecting a big change, but nothing groundbreaking happened; I just felt like how I normally did during the day before I lit up at night. I was Sober Dana for 8 hours a day before this break. Now I was just her for 24 hours a day, every day.

We hit our first hurdle while trying to replace THC with CBD. I’d heard good things about how CBD can help with all the things I’d used THC for—anxiety, pain, stress—so I figured I’d give it a shot. Unfortunately, we found replacing THC with CBD isn’t as simple of a cut + paste job as we’d thought. Sure, we both enjoy the ritual of reaching for our vape (now filled with a CBD-only cartridge), but the after-effects were too uncomfortable to ignore. When my partner and I noticed both of us grinding our teeth more than an entire bachelor party in Vegas after using the fifth CBD product (all different brands and formulations) we’d tried, we decided to jump ship on the whole CBD thing altogether. 

“Is CBD bullshit?” Evan asked me. I don’t know, but what I do know is: it does not work for us. 

What also became apparent in Week 1 was how much I relied on cannabis to provide any sort of appetite for myself. Mine and Evan’s eating became erratic: we either couldn’t eat all day due to [gestures around broadly at the state of the world] or binging because we’ve realized we haven’t eaten sufficiently in multiple consecutive days. I had no idea how much THC helped regulate my appetite.

Week Two

In Week 2, the first benefit finally became apparent. In an unexpected turn of events I, a lifelong insomniac, started sleeping better than I have in years. And I’ve tried everything. Over-the-counter meds? Aleve PM has been on my nightstand since I was eighteen. Herbal remedies? I’ve tried them all. Prescription meds? I undoubtedly have a giant, Ambien-induced hole in my brain from all the times I’ve gone on and off it. (Pro: I slept great. Con: I can’t remember anyone’s birthdays.) It came as a huge surprise when after getting everything out of my system—including THC—my body was able to go back to its natural circadian rhythm.

Week Three

Unfortunately, Week 3 was when we both started getting antsy. What really helped was Evan and me sticking to our routine. We cooked a little bit more and always allowed ourselves to relax with a silly movie or tv show at night. Sure, I bet “Kroll Show” or “Class Action Park” would be slightly funnier with weed, I thought to myself, but we have a knack for picking out good things to watch. I still enjoyed the entertainment Evan and I consumed, so it wasn’t any sort of big loss, but I did find myself wishing I had the thing that typically bumps my enjoyment factor from a 9 to a 10.

I started missing it at other times, too, like times of crisis with my chronic back pain, anxiety, or well, whenever a (what seems like daily) “big” news story about 2020 broke, and I turned to a combination of things to cope. I downloaded a meditation app and started working through a mindfulness course specifically for people who experience chronic pain. It was sometimes helpful, but the real game-changer was a Theragun—the product constantly advertised to me on Instagram. It costs only slightly more than the amount I spend on weed per month and even though it looks like a jackhammer, it was the only thing that could break up my—and Evan’s—very tense muscles. When things were really bad, I took a Valium or texted my therapist. (Yes, she did encourage me to break my cannabis streak when RBG died because she’s a good doctor.)

Week Four—The Home Stretch

By the time Week 4 rolled around, I had put a countdown clock on my phone. “5 more days!” Evan and I would text one another until, finally, the last day of sobriety had come. We’d decided to break our fast with a limited edition preroll from Lowell Farms I may or may not have serenaded with “From This Moment” by Shania Twain when I took it out of the pack. Evan, always the gentleman, let me toke first. “How do you feel?” I asked after passing the joint to him. He told me smoking again felt “naughty” and I couldn’t have agreed more. After abstaining for 30 days, it felt weird! It felt wrong! We were like teenagers again. 

The best part about the sobriety break though, however, was realizing I wasn’t a teenager anymore. I now have a helluva lot more coping skills than I did back then and realized I’d worked hard to not feel guilty about allowing myself to have things that make tough times easier. I felt gratitude for learning new things about myself (weed fucks with my sleep!) and more comfortable admitting THC helps with really important aspects of my life, like appetite and stress relief. There is nothing that can replace THC when it comes to my chronic pain or making the dumb Netflix shows I watch funnier— and that’s not a bad thing. I cut myself some major slack and realize I deserve some levity and it’s okay to have weed as part of my coping toolbox. 

To honor this newfound acceptance and respect for weed as a helpful tool to ride out the pandemic, I subscribed to Nugg Club, a cannabis subscription box that arrives monthly. While I’m glad I did 30 days without nugs, I never, ever want to do it again.

  1. No doubt this world sucks without weed. It thats my vice, so be it. Better than the alternatives. Good read

  2. I’m on a tolerance break right now as well. I do one 30-day break a year, however I’m a “functional toker” so I typically smoke 6-8 time a day. I always recommend everyone to take at least a week off every year. As for Nugg club I was extremely underwhelmed by the time my 3rd box came the products were far inferior to my first box and after doing the math my dollars were better spent supporting my local dispensary than a tech platform. Thanks for sharing your story!!

    1. As a fellow functioning toker, I have a question for you. Do you find the first three days of your tolerance break to be an anxiety-riddled mess? I feel like I’m kicking the habit at times, cold sweats, pangs, crap sleep.

  3. I have sleeping issues as well. The days I didnt smoke I didnt sleep better but it wasn’t a long period of time. The world sucks and lifes sucks sometimes. If ganja makes my days happier so be it. Im done with alcohol abuse and dont want anyhing else. It could be worsee. So much worse. Great insight! Love the content!

  4. You forgot some of the most important info…
    How was that first buzz?
    How much were you using prior to the 30 days versus after to catch the same buzz?

    1. By experience it hits like the first times you ever smoked, it’s best to have a break when you notice the weed not hitting like that anymore. Depending on how much you substitute with CBD in the meanwhile, because that “clogs up” some receptors for THC, lowering the effects when you start again.

  5. Hi! the symptoms after stopping are very different for various people. I run a program designed to teach moderation in the use of THC, which includes a tolerance break. I get fascinating feedback. Worth reporting to your readers if that is of interest.

  6. Yeah it generally takes a good bit longer than a month for your dopamine to return, not quite a full detox experience. Kinda giving bad advice

    1. It takes three months for thc to run its course . Thanks for reading .I know using since I was 16 . First bone cancer found as a teen I kept falling down in pain . Second car accident went thru steering wheel . DOA arrival into emergency… woke up after coma – Had a good friend reef me in the stairwells so my brain can start to open up . It worked . I ended up as an actress and singer and have my own sweet fam . Everything is in balance remember that .

  7. I use cannabis for relief from restless leg syndrome (RLS) and arthritis. But I also use kratom. I’ve found that a mixture of CBD and THC, plus some kratom, works the best for pain and RLS relief. Since I’ve been managing RLS for many years, I’m very aware of how I develop tolerance for any good med. So I change the amount and timing of all my meds, and so far that has worked out well. By definition, RLS interferes with sleep. A THC/CBD mixture helps me sleep because it helps with the incredibly uncomfortable symptoms of RLS.

    And, by the way, my experience is that kratom works better as a pain reliever, although pot certainly helps. I don’t get a high from anything.

  8. Apparently a month of sobriety means taking a bunch of pills to knock yourself out, smoking CBD and just saying fuck it and smoking weed. Holy shit you sound like such a mess if you can’t cope with random celebrities dieing without getting fucked up or chewing on some pills. Shit like this is why it has taken weed so long to be legalized. It sounds like the Ambien and Vallium really have burnt a hole in your brain. Enjoy the substance abuse to “cope”.

      1. Yeah man I just missed a few doses of my happy pills. Gotta make sure I stay fogged out and listening to Instagram thots for my news about which drugs I should be using to “cope” and mindless Netflix shows I should be consuming so I never have to wake up and “realize I am an adult”.

      2. I appreciate you sharing your experience, Dana. Like you I have found the the benefits of a tolerance break. You made yourself vulnerable and were honest about ambien and the like. That was brave. Thanks for writing this. If if reaches one person, you have done a good thing.

        I am very sorry for the negative comments. There is so much negativity in the world already. I am not sure why someone would use this as a platform for negative thoughts. Clearly, they need to be smoking better weed. Peace and love.

  9. I am also on a break and intend to transition back with a little more mindfulness about how often I use. I firmly believe that less is more, that is, the benefits, on all levels, are greater the less frequently I use. Also, nice to save the dollars. The health benefits of less is more are also amplifies. Consider the analogy of someone who is a border line drunk.

  10. So, after reading this, I realized it was nothing more than a plug for a delivery service.

    High Times, you where so much better when marijuana was underground. Since legalization has swept America, you’ve whored yourself out to advertisers.


  11. I’m sorry but I thought the title said you were doing something for us? it seems like you just talked about you and your boyfriend the whole time LOL.. most of this was little jokes cutesy stuff… You said nothing about the tolerance level… Energy levels…. Changing your daily habits…. Changing your daily life…. Who the hell hired you LOL

    Oh yeah and we get it you’re a liberal LOL everything has been so bad because of Donald Trump and Ruth bader Ginsburg was your hero blah blah blah blah… I thought this was supposed to be about weed

    1. Just another fake morally righteous virtue signaling white girl that would suck a dick in the bar bathroom for a bag of powder. Her “partner” Evan sounds like he holds the camera while they film cuck porn. If you can’t take a T break without fiending like a crackhead and resorting to pills you have a major problem.

      1. Sure thing, incel.
        Creepy pervert.
        I mean seriously creepy.
        The women in your family must be so proud how you turned out.

  12. For some reason I thought this article was written by a guy, until she referenced almost peeing in her floor length dress at that fancy work party. If this writer really is a guy he must have been way to high at the time. I think there is some useful info. in this article, but each person needs to go with experience and research, and do what makes the most sense to them.

  13. After years of taking edibles nightly, I stopped getting any buzz, but did experience the symptoms of extreme overdose. I stopped taking it “cold turkey” and my only symptom was a change in my sleep patterns, and in fact I got by on far less sleep for a few months. Truly the addiction is far milder than trying to kick cigarettes. I started taking Celexa after about six weeks and found it more effective and satisfying than THC for controlling anxiety and depression. I finally took an edible after about five months and it blew me away, totally psychedelic like I had not experienced in decades. But in the end, I find it far less satisfying than I used to and understand that it is no longer effective for me to control serious anxiety and frightening bouts of depression. It can only be a very occasional event – like once a month. It is up to the individual to decide if it is use, abuse or dependence for you.

  14. For anyone bashing this writer… you must not have, or know anyone with chronic pain!
    Shame on you for being so judgemental.

  15. Wow. Such an effort.

    Quitting marijuana is unpleasant, but you have to power through a couple of years before the tolerance goes away…
    Later, you will realize just how FUCKED UP marijuana gets you, when you can’t operate your computer, or sit still for 5 minutes while concentrating on anything at all, while you’re high…

    Escape from weed! It wrecks your life… And all you young people who are constantly whining about your PAIN, just kill me!

    When you actually get old, you will discover pain, and weed, won’t cure it.

    Marijuana ia a smokescreen, it masks reality but it also convinces the user that marijuana is necessary! Nothing could be further from the truth!

    I did smoke weed, and for decades. Now I am clean and sober, and, life is much better! You can give it up for 30 days, hooray, now give it up for 10 years, and I will be impressed…

    It WILL be worth it…

  16. i didn’t have the cash for a month, so i had to stop. as an older person, i too realized i wasn’t dependent on it and i can stop whenever i want. my coping skills are better now than when i was a teenager. but after the second week, the problems of all my chronic illnesses rushed back: painful arthritis, paralyzing anxiety and ibs. when i was a kid, authorities told us ‘you just think you’re more creative when you get high.’ they were wrong about everything. cannabis should be part of the human diet. the federal government has peddled their lies against weed long enough.

  17. The first thing about CBD is that most of what sold is either useless or dangerous. You have to be extremely scrupulous sourcing your CBD. The second thing is that although CBD antagonizes some the effects of THC, it also works more effectively in concert with THC. Now that you’re back on THC, you should experiment with CBD tinctures (e.g. as a tool to quickly “come down” from excessive THC doses). My experience is that CBD can help delay tolerance issues. You’ve discovered how cannabinoids “regulatory” capabilities can impact many quality of life issues. Both CBD and THC begin their lives as CBG. Their similar heritage suggest the possibility that they can be similarly useful.

    1. Tolerance breaks are great, especially for recreational users. Quitting weed for long periods of time usually brings me increased focus and drive, helping me look toward the future and take decisive action. But I have to replace weed with activity, otherwise I get bored and have difficulty abstaining.

      While I have never experienced physical withdrawals, it takes two months of abstinence for me to fully experience the exciting effects of marijuana once again. A three week break has a noticeable but greatly reduced effect. If I thereafter strictly limit the number of sessions per week to 2 or 3, the experience will retain its special and powerful qualities indefinitely. Making it part of a weekly ritual with friends or in nature also heightens anticipation and enjoyment.

      But the temptation to bliss out daily inevitably becomes too great for me to resist. With daily afternoon smoking, one session per day, tolerance returns in a few weeks. And with all-day smoking, dabbing, or vaping, hell, in five days I’m right back to needing a tolerance break.

    1. I don’t think it’s addictive, but anybody can become dependent on a substance if they are using it to cope. Like if I drank a Gatorade every time I felt sad, and then just stopped, I crave a Gatorade every time I got sad and it’d be hard not to drink one. It’s less the drug and more the user.

  18. Death of RBG sent you over the edge? Seriously? Flakey chick. I think you need to ask your therapist for money back.
    Try not being so liberal, seriously… that sounds like your problem. The govt machine purposely amps up vulnerable liberals like yourself. Get away from politics and be open minded to both sides. The other side is not an evil presence. As long as you falsely believe conservatives are evil you will suffer mentally for their financial benefit. I’m not saying vote republican, I just think you need to open your mind a bit to not be so fearful as it is a false reality.

  19. Death of RBG sent you over the edge? Seriously? Flakey chick. I think you need to ask your therapist for money back.
    Try not being so liberal, seriously… that sounds like your problem. The govt machine purposely amps up vulnerable liberals like yourself. Get away from politics and be open minded to both sides. The other side is not an evil presence. As long as you falsely believe conservatives are evil you will suffer mentally for their financial benefit. I’m not saying vote republican, I just think you need to open your mind a bit to not be so fearful as it is a false reality.

  20. Sheesh, I just stopped drinking recently and was thinking of switching to weed (did this mostly in my college days), but after reading the comments, don’t think I want to go that direction – seems like trading one addiction for another, and while I know weed is less harmful (at least for me), I don’t really want to feel hooked on anything again. I was looking at weed more for enjoyment on weekends, but I can imagine it would evolve into more.

  21. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’ve been taking THC for back pain I’ve had, and I’m honestly not convinced it helps me
    at all. It sure does take my mind off of it however. The main issue I’m having with THC – after 6 years of weekly use, with maybe a day or two off – has been memory and focus issues. I only smoke at night, never during the day, unless on vacation. I recently abstained for 2 months while a family member was nearing the end of their physical life, and found myself more alert with better short term memory recall. I can’t speak for the masses, but I’m convinced that regular cannabis use for me, has certainly caused the little things to disappear from my memory. I’m cutting back in 2021 to weekend use only. Wish me luck! BTW I’m also convinced that CBD is a joke…maybe I need to take the whole bottle? Didn’t work for me, just sayin, don’t waste your money on a placebo with great marketing.

  22. I’m also on a tolerance break and my sleeping is complete garbage lol. Maybe it has to do with you smoking sativa? Indica is my favorite strain and it pits me right to sleep.

  23. This article was not worth reading. You obviously don’t need weed in your life because if you did you would have suffered from day one with anxiety physical body pain shivers temperature and misery like a truly dependant person would .I agree with the dude who said this article sucks

  24. So I’ll start by saying I am a recreational user.
    I’m on a break (day 4) now cause I’m hoping to get a 3month job and the pay is worth peeing in a cup for due to being short term.
    Unlike the last time I took a break (2017) where I only had a few sleepless nights and a reduced appetite and felt dazed and confused (started on the 3rd day) for about a week and a half.
    This time around so far headaches chronic, nausea I’ve vomited around 8;times, I’ve mostly been sleeping (able to) from around 6am till midday wake up having cold sweats multiple times and I can’t eat more than 2-3 mouthfuls per sitting so I eat a little bit every hour or 2.
    I find hot baths help with most of it and mints seem to reduce nausea most of the time.
    I never expected to have these symptoms but hey I did know they were possible withdrawal effects and should only last around a week at most 2.
    Seriously glad I have the down time to do this.
    Would not recommend breaks unless you have down time to deal with the first couple of weeks just incase although all the side effects are mild (yet feel like they are worse than they are) I would not be able to work whilst enduring them. (One advantage of the pandemic)

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