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The Curious Trend of Celebrities Quitting Cannabis

March 21, 2017

A curious new trend is sweeping through Hollywood and it’s catching some of us by surprise. Several prominent canna-friendly celebrities have come forward to admit that they are giving up the plant.

Woody Harrelson shocked the cannabis circuit this week when he told Vulture during an interview that after 30 years of using cannabis, he hasn’t touched it in over a year. His explanation was that he wanted to be more moderate, after “30 solid years of just partying.”

Indeed, he’s not the only one who has gone public with giving up cannabis. Pete Davidson, a comedian, Saturday Night Live cast member, and vocal cannabis supporter, took some time off from the show to get sober from everything, including cannabis. In an open note on Instagram, he wrote, “I quit drugs and am happy and sober for the first time in eight years.”

Davidson’s cannabis cessation is more surprising than Harrelson’s because he was using cannabis to help cope with Crohn’s disease, which he was diagnosed with at 18 years old.

Both Harrelson and Davidson have plenty in common, even starring in a cannabis-inspired SNL sketch in 2015 about New York City’s new cannabis possession policy. These two are certainly not the first, nor will they be the last, to give up cannabis for personal reasons.

Paul McCartney and Mark Wahlberg both gave up smoking cannabis, citing family as their motivation. Wahlberg became concerned when his daughter asked what the smell of cannabis was. He replied that it was a skunk, and her retort made him reconsider his choices: “Sometimes Daddy smells like that!”

Method Man slowed his cannabis consumption significantly in 2011, but for him it was an image issue. “I don’t want that every time you hear Method Man’s name you associate it with getting high,” he said, “because there’s so much more to me than that. I’m not actually distancing myself from my marijuana culture people, but it’s not in the forefront anymore. It comes to a point where no matter where you go, they’re always thinking you’re high. And I’m not always high. I mean, right now, I’m sober as a priest.”

Natalie Portman admitted that during her college days, she used cannabis almost every day, but has since quit. “I love stoner comedies. I smoked weed in college, but I haven’t smoked in years,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “I’m too old. I wish I was that cool, but I’m like an old lady now. I’m in bed by 10 p.m. I can’t do that anymore.”

During Lady Gaga’s Born This Way tour in 2012, she had a hip injury that was exacerbated by the rigorous schedule and physical demands of touring and performing. At night, she smoked up to 15 joints at a time to help deal with the pain. After the tour ended and she had hip surgery, she worked with Marina Abramovich, a famous performance artist, to help quit her cannabis habit.

Neil Young enjoyed the green herb for nearly 40 years during his career, but after suffering a stroke in 2005, he quit drinking and smoking any mind-altering substances for his health. “I did it for 40 years,” the singer told the New York Times. “Now I want to see what it’s like to not do it. It’s just a different perspective.”

CeeLo Green quit using cannabis in 2010 after he experienced a bad cannabis-induced anxiety attack. “I never got comfortable with it again,” he said.

Mark Foster of the band Foster the People quit smoking cannabis, but when he met Snoop Dogg, he told him, “I quit smoking, but I’d have a blunt with you now if I had the chance.” Surprisingly, Snoop reinforced his decision, saying, “You know what, brother, sometimes you gotta slow down and focus on your shit.”

Have you ever taken a tolerance break or decided to quit cannabis altogether? What inspired your decision?

Lisa Rough's Bio Image
Lisa Rough

Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.

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