How can I manage my cannabis use?

It is not always easy to keep our use of substances in control. Keep reading for some tips on managing your cannabis use.

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It is not always easy to keep our use of substances in control. But, managing your cannabis use is part of learning to manage yourself.  It is the lifelong process of learning to balance our needs, wants and responsibilities with those of our friends, family and community. Self-management also means knowing that we have the right to make choices about our health and well-being and that we are able to sense and decide what is right for us. It means taking responsibility and directing our own lives.

If you have trouble controlling your cannabis use and are worried about what is happening, you may need help to decide what to do. First, here are some signs that your use of cannabis may be harmful:

  • you started to use cannabis regularly at an early age
  • you use cannabis to cope with depression or anxiety
  • you use cannabis every day
  • you use cannabis before or during school or work
  • you use cannabis while driving or doing other physical activities
  • using cannabis is a major form of recreation for you

Here are some things to think about as you work to change the way you use cannabis use, if that is what you want to do.

  • Believe in yourself. Trust your instincts and your right to ask questions until you find the answers you need. You know yourself better than anyone else, so you will know what works best. Think about other times you have made changes in your life. What did you do? Did it work? If yes, then try it again. If not, keep trying until you find your answer.
  • Change is always possible. But, for many of us change can be difficult. You have to want it and be ready for it. The only way to know if you are ready to change is to be honest with yourself about your feelings.
  • Change often needs a plan. Write down a step-by-step plan for how you will make a change in your pattern of cannabis use. Make the plan by yourself or with a trusted person such as a family member, coach or school counsellor. Start by thinking about your goal. How do you want it to end up – low, moderate or no use of cannabis at all? When will you start? How long will the process take? What are the triggers that make you want to use cannabis? Answering these questions can help you develop your plan. Is there someone who will check in with you to see how your plan is going? What will you do if your plan doesn’t work?
  • Keep your perspective. It took some time for cannabis to become a concern for you. It may take some time to make a change in your use if that is what you want to do. No one is perfect, so most things, including making changes, don’t go perfectly in our lives. Take the long view… what good things have happened since you started to make a change? How are things different now than they were before?
  • Focus on healthy things in your life. What do you like to do? What are your passions? A particular sport or activity? Learning something new can increase your interest in life and be another way to spend time with others that is fun and rewarding. Learning to get and stay healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) is a major goal. And, working towards that goal can give you a lifetime of interesting experiences.
  • Use your support network. Know that you are not alone. Friends, family, your faith community and helping professionals can all help you find the assistance you need. They can also offer advice and support to take into account as you decide what is right for you.
  • Make new friends. Sometimes it is easier to make a change if you make new friends that don’t use cannabis as much or in the way you currently do. If you find people at school, work or through other activities who use cannabis in a way that you would like to, it can help change your use to something you are more comfortable with.
  • Prepare for success. Imagine what it will be like when you have made a change. Fantasize about the details. What will you be doing instead of using cannabis? Who will you be with? What else is happening in your life? How will you know if you are getting into trouble again if you are continuing to use cannabis? You can write down the answers to these questions in a journal as they come to you. Check back as you continue with your change.

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