March 17, 2024

Why I stopped smoking weed.

I haven’t smoked weed in about three and a half years. And I’m glad I did.

Coming from someone who used to smoke everyday, could never envision my life without it, and would assume I’d be continuing to do it for the rest of my life; my 18 year old self would be shocked.

Growing up, I was always excited to smoke weed. It was something I actually looked forward to trying as I got older. Years of listening to rap songs talking passing blunts and getting high every day was such a cool image to a teenager growing up, and I just wanted to be like my favorite artists smoking weed and being cool.

Eventually this would happen (obviously).

In college I used to be, what most would consider, a pot head.

Nothing quite like cramming 5-6 guys into a cold garage sitting in lawn chairs while you pass around a bong and tell each other funny stories. Eventually the hang would last until the nightly 3AM Jack In The Box drive through experience where everybody somehow forgets their order when we finally get to the window.

What a time to be alive.

At one point I was smoking every day, finding new ways to smoke weed, buying different kinds of weed, in different forms and substances.

I was all in, it was a part of my identity.

“Yeah I smoke, do you smoke too? We should smoke sometime.”

At the time it seemed like it was the fun thing to do. Hanging out with your buddies just to get blasted and sit on a couch for hours watching a movie was the pinnacle of human connection to a kid fresh out of high school.

Not only that, but listening to music, good conversation, and laughs were to be shared throughout all of those good times.

It seemed like the fun was seemingly never going to end.

Until it did.

My story.

What my friends and I would often find ourselves doing would be to test our limits. Meaning, as a collection of dumb college kids with disposable income, we would just start to try and get as high as possible just to see how far we could go, all in the name of fun.

This would catch up to me, as I would eventually find myself getting random and intense panic attacks that would literally make me fall to the ground and lose control of some of by bodily senses.

I remember I would take my first hit and all of a sudden my inner thoughts would start to get so loud and so fast through my head, and eventually my vision would even start to get fuzzy and my hearing would be muffled.

And in really bad cases sometimes I’d even faint for a few minutes or so.

It’s almost as if my brain was taking authoritative control over my body and trying to tell me something; and the only way to do so ws to force me to sit down, get humbled, and listen to myself.

“Stop doing this, we don’t want this.”

This happened in a multitude of places. Out in public, at my own home, hanging out with friends. At one point it started to become a real issue, as every time I would smoke socially I would have this nagging fear in the back of my mind:

“Don’t have a panic attack.”

It sounds absurd, really.

And I know what you’re thinking.

“If this is happening on a somewhat consistent basis, why don’t you just quit?”

Well that’s a great question and the truth is, I just didn’t want to. I was still very much enjoying the lifestyle and the fun it provided my friends and I. And even though it never really went away completely, I assumed that this unfortunate side effect would eventually fix itself and I could go back to my fun stoner ways.

Eventually it did kind of go away for a bit. I learned how to pull little tricks on myself to make sure it never got too crazy, learned my tendencies to take care of myself, and I was able to smoke again without feeling scared I was going to completely lose it in front of all my friends.

But alas, I was only really delaying the inevitable.

The day I quit.

It all would come around full circle when I moved back home after college had ended.

I remember setting up my bong like I always would, secretly and cautiously took a hit in my room and exhaled out of the window, and then laid in my bed to watch a youtube video.

15 minutes later I snap back into myself and realized the video I had watched was over, and that I actually hadn’t retained a single bit of information because the thoughts in my head were racing so fast that I couldn’t even stop to do anything else but try and focus on not getting overwhelmed.

This was when I realized, “You know what? I think I don’t want to do this anymore.”

And I didn’t. That three and a half years ago.

There were more factors that went into this decision than just not wanting to deal with panic attacks (although that was a big one).

I just graduated college with no job and I moved back home during the middle of the pandemic. I figured I should probably focus on myself and try and get my life a bit more on track considering I’m not in the best of circumstances.

In the back of my mind I also always knew, weed was an escape from dealing with reality a bit. Instead of letting your daily thoughts and self reflections run through you on a daily basis, just get high man, and have a good time.

And this is great of course. Everyone deserves time to relax and have a good time. But for me, at this point I think it was more of an escape  and after four years of escaping, it was finally time for me to take some responsibility and work through some of the things I maybe had been pushing off for the past few years.

Just really take life head on.

I also no longer had my group of friends to smoke with anymore. Moving back to Sacramento from Riverside, I was isolated from most of the friends I had made over the past four years and frankly, smoking alone was something that just didn't interest me anymore.

It wasn’t fun anymore. Nobody to talk to, nobody to crack jokes with, nobody to watch movies and listen to music with.

It was just me, myself, and my unfiltered and unrelenting thoughts coming at me like an NFL linebacker.

Frankly, I figure I had just outgrown it at this point.

I don’t want to be that guy who smokes weed by himself all day long anyway, that’s just not the vision I have for myself.


These days, people are often shocked that I don’t smoke weed. And it comes with a faint air of judgement and assumption that I must be square or I’m scared to do so.

Which is fine, I don’t really mind. It’s funny actually because they aren’t aware of the things that I’ve actually done and been through.

I’m not against weed or am disgusted by it, or even trying to evangelize my story and opinion on weed trying to get everyone to stop.

I don’t really care to be honest.

I think it’s great that people do it. It’s a great time, and I wish I could still enjoy it like I used to back in my freshman dorm room.

But I have to be very honest with myself at this stage in my life and realize, that it’s just not for me anymore.

I’ll never forget all of the great times that I had with it. But just like anything, it’s easy to abuse something like that and get carried away with it. I think people who do smoke should be aware of why exactly they’re doing it and if they are okay with their answer.

Otherwise you may find yourself down the line instead of using it as a way to relax, but a silent addiction.

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