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Marijuana Harm Reduction: 20 Easy Strategies for Cutting-Down

Smoking too much but not ready or able to quit entirely?

Well, maybe instead of quitting completely or suffering negative consequences from over-indulgence, you can learn to moderate your marijuana habit. Read on for 20 tips on how to cut-down successfully.

Will Cutting Down Work for You?

Well, you won’t know until you try – some people can moderate and some people just can’t. If you make a serious effort to cut-down and find that you always wind up smoking as much ever, then you’re left with a decision between:

  • Continuing with heavy smoking.
  • Stopping completely.

Though many people find complete abstinence easier than moderation, if you can’t stop on your own you may need to learn new skills that help you overcome cravings and stay marijuana-free while dealing with stress, boredom and relaxation-needs.

Marijuana: 20 Practical Tips for Cutting Down  

  1. Buy in smaller quantities. Though you may pay a bit more, it’s easier to cut down when you don’t have a huge bag to dip into. Try buying just enough for a few days and trying to make what you have last.
  2. Make a plan for how much you want to use and try to stick to your plan. Don’t just ‘try to smoke less…’ If you normally smoke a gram a day, decide you’ll only smoke three quarters and then a half gram a day.
  3. Keep a written record of how much you smoke every day. This helps you monitor your actual progress and keeps you motivated.
  4. If you normally use a bong or pipe, switch to joints instead. The small added effort in rolling-up may keep you from taking that last hit you don’t really need anyway.
  5. Make a decision to start later in the day. For example, if you normally start smoking at 5pm, decide to hold off until 7 pm or 8 pm instead.
  6. Tell your friends (those you smoke with) of your decision to cut down. Ask them to respect your wishes.
  7. Make a decision to take one or more days off per week (start with one and add more days as you get comfortable with reducing.) If you’ve been smoking daily for a while, going marijuana-free for a day takes a little determination, but it gets easier with practice. To get started, try planning other activities to keep you busy and engaged during the times you’d normally be getting high.
  8. Each time you get an urge to smoke, try waiting for 10 or 20 or even 30 minutes before smoking.  Since you know you’re going to have a smoke it’s not hard to manage, but a few 20 minute delays a day can add up to a good sized reduction in daily consumption.
  9. Don’t pre-roll joints – even when you know you’ll need/want them later.
  10. If you usually smoke socially with friends, while starting off with moderating, try reducing your exposure window by meeting-up a little later and heading home a little earlier than normal.
  11. Have someone you trust hold onto your marijuana. Tell them how much you want each day and when, and have that person dole it out to you on schedule.
  12. Avoid situations where you know you’ll smoke really heavily.
  13. Don’t leave everything out on the coffee table. When you’re done smoking, clean up and put everything away somewhere out of sight.
  14. Spend time with people who don’t smoke, or people who you don’t like to smoke around.
  15. It’s easy to get into a habit of smoking whatever gets passed around, so before you smoke, ask yourself if you really even want any/any more. If you’re trying to cut down, save your reduced smoking for the times when you’ll enjoy it most.
  16. Don’t smoke on anyone else’s schedule. You don’t have to keep up.
  17. Don’t carry cash or your ATM card around.
  18. If you smoke marijuana to relax at the end of the work/school day, try finding alternative forms of (active) relaxation for days off or for days when you want to delay your first smoke. After work, instead of light-up right away, go for a walk, hit the gym, do yoga, meditate, etc.
  19. If you smoke marijuana to relieve boredom, take action to find a hobby or alternative activity to try – something to keep you engaged. Try taking up painting or drawing, Muay Thai, cooking…or whatever sounds interesting to you.
  20. Reward yourself for your successes. For example, add up the money you’re saving by reducing your use, and after a couple of weeks or a month, use that money to treat yourself/ buy something fun. Having something to look forward to can help you stay determined during difficult times.1

Hopefully this list of 20 ideas gives you something to work with. If you’ve managed to cut-down your habit using a strategy not listed above, please leave a comment below to share your technique.

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