Note: At the time of writing, marijuana is illegal under federal law. It remains classified as a Class I narcotic, same classification as heroin and cocaine. These are substances illegal because they have high abuse potential, no medical use, and severe safety concerns. However, 20 states have legalized marijuana for medical use (Procon.org). Two have made recreational marijuana legal and permitted retail sales of the plant.
My purpose in writing this is primarily to share about my experience with the ‘drug’. I’ll also introduce some discussion of the reasons behind its current legal status, which may be applicable to a wider range of substances.
Marijuana is an enjoyable recreational drug whose active molecules could do a lot of good in the world. Too much will fuck you up, but probably not permanently. The war on drugs is a farce, and it has infringed on the personal liberties of all while destroying the lives of the unfortunate. The prohibition on marijuana will eventually come to an end as social stigma is lifted, though I don’t expect this change to occur without great resistance from the establishment.
How does marijuana affect me?
A simple comparison with alcohol: alcohol tends to lead to greater engagement and reduced inhibitions (more present), while marijuana causes sensations of deep introspection (more in-your-head).
When I write after using marijuana..
Writing under the influence does not work well.
My experience suggests that marijuana does not contribute positively to the activity of writing. When it comes time to actually produce words that fall along a line of discourse, my mind wanders off into strange directions. Oftentimes I will come back to a document which I have edited while under the influence, only to find myself questioning whether the modifications made were of any value at all.
Writing becomes more laborious than I am accustomed to. I will sit and play with an idea, spinning it about, but failing to run with it at length. By the end of a session, my mind feels like it’s been quite productive, but the written record often reveals that my output has been exceedingly slow.
This doesn’t keep me from trying. When the mood arises, I’ll take to it. The act of writing is pleasureable, even if the result is unfit for anyone’s consumption other than myself. If I were a gambling man (which I am), I would wager that the best time to consume marijuana with the intention of actively improving one’s writing would be at some point pending a final review. One would ideally have gotten the bulk of the piece out of the way, including some self-editing, before turning to any potential ‘inspiration’ from marijuana.
Marijuana: a psychoactive substance
Typical case with psychoactive substances is that they suggest to the user that usefulness has its limits. A fairly relatable example is the side effect of sluggishness that results from marijuana use. Perhaps to do with THC’s capacity for making the passage of time seem altered. Some people I’ve spoken with swear that the effects are perceptible long after initial dosing.
A drug with psychoactive components. Users know when it’s becoming problematic because it can lead to adverse effects on relationships. However, most of these issues would be gone if marijuana usage wasn’t taboo — there are benefits to be gained from using marijuana and other psychoactive substances.
I once met a fellow who told me quite matter-of-factly that he’d quit using marijuana since high school, with emphasis (complete with hand quotations signing) on high school. For some people, that’s as far as they go with it. I’ve known other people who recognize that they’re probably dependent on marijuana as a source of happiness.
The key is knowing when to give substances up.
For more reports of self-reported changes after cessation of long-term marijuana use, I searched for strings matching the text “Why I Quit Marijuana”. I strongly recommend anyone who has been around marijuana for any period of time do some digging in this direction.
Why I Quit Marijuana
Here’s a video of George Carlin talking with John Stewart about drugs, alcohol, and creativity. I really like what he has to say because it hits on many truths at once.
“I was a smart kid, but I didn’t care. … I didn’t give a shit. It’s important in life not to give a shit.”
If that video caught your attention, George Carlin’s last interview is also pretty slick.
George Carlin’s memoir, entitled Last Words (Amazon.com) is going on my reading list after that one.
BTW, I copped the video from this article, though it’s been talked about elsewhere: http://remycarreiro.com/5-brilliant-comedians-and-their-thoughts-about-marijuana/
When It’s Time to Quit Smoking Weed – published for frat dudes: http://totalfratmove.com/962223
32 Year Old Quitting Weed After 17 Years http://www.uncommonforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=75764
Chris McCombs: “Smoking Weed with the Devil in Santa Barbara”
What about high-functioning users?
Ultimately what becomes of them? There isn’t a straight answer, because individuals don’t all behave the same way. Everyone says it and knows it: you live by your decisions.
I like to think that a threshold exists. An everyday marijuana user may not be dependent on the drug, but they probably have a reason in mind for being an everyday user. I’ll talk more about this, later, when I go over a calculated cost of daily marijuana consumption.
Why is marijuana illegal anyways?
I copy & pasted this from someone else.
Weed is illegal because of racist epithets of the 30’s, because mexican immigrants and black jazz singers were using it and they were infringing upon the white man’s whole-wheat way of life. Also, a certain perfect storm attacked the entire hemp industry, a fiber that comes from the cannabis plant ( where weed comes from ). The lumber industry and the cotton industry were threatened by the industrial hemp industry, because of the better quality product it produced, for a cheaper price. So, using their friends in office, they lobbied for a banning of all hemp under the guise of telling Americans the entire cannabis plant was evil. They played off of the wholesome Christian values of the time, and started advertising things such as Reefer Madness in order to get the public on their side. In turn, Congress was bought into passing a bill banning marijuana, and the hemp plant, allowing the lumber industry and the cotton industry to corner their respective markets. Yep, that’s what happened.
Sounds pretty good to me upon first reading, and probably worth examining.
Google this shit up. Until you’ve done some digging, recognize that it’s just some random guy’s claim. Test its validity. There are websites on this, and on the war on drugs. Here are a couple more threads to examine:
Richard Nixon’s use of drug policy as a weapon against enemies.. Created the DEA.
Are drugs really that dangerous?
I found an article on PolicyMic.com in which the writer interviewed Carl Hart (link: http://www.policymic.com/articles/74879/meet-carl-hart-the-scientist-debunking-america-s-myths-about-drugs). To quote from that article:
People have these unbelievable views about drugs. We are a wealthy country, and we spend a lot of money on science to find the right answers about drugs. We have the truth, but it’s not being shared because law enforcement, politicians, parents, and even scientists have an interest in keeping the public unaware. I’m trying to say, “Be prepared to let evidence dictate what you think.” – Carl Hart
I like Carl Hart. He’s got his head on his shoulders in a good way. You may have heard about experiments where crack cocaine addicts were offered a choice between getting a hit and taking some cash? (Here’s a link to the New York Times about it.) Yeah, that was this guy.
Hart’s book (autobiography?) that is mentioned in the articles is entitled, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. Website for the book, and presumably for the author: http://www.highpricethebook.com
Cannabis Culture & the Marijuana Business
High Times magazine, head shops, whole industries spawned to help weed out the users amongst the rest of healthy society.
I love watching the developments that have been coming out lately. I’m hesitant to invest in this first wave of marijuana penny stocks because there are reports of poor management.
Potentially the largest problem that this new marijuana business faces is finding safe places to put the money. It’s kind of in limbo while marijuana remains scheduled as a Class I.
Marijuana’s Medicinal Use. (THC / cannabinoids [CBD])
Marijuana as a bronchodilator. You can really observe this at work. When you take a really dense/deep hit you feel it kind of tickling your lungs for a moment, and then you start coughing while the medicine kicks in. Google this shit up and you’ll find studies. I swear my breathing gets better, even in the presence of smoke, but don’t take my word for it.
Bronchodilator Effect of delta-1-tetrahydrocannabinol Br J Clin Pharmacol. Jun 1978; 5(6): 523–525. (that’s right, this isn’t news)
MMJ is legit. Check the studies that cite the one I’ve linked above.
The two molecules are interesting. One part makes you high, the other part … relaxes you? Relaxes muscle activity, causes the brain to run at a different frequency. I remember when I first encountered it, I’d find myself excited at the richness of my everyday experience. Listening to music through my headphones was jaw-dropping.
Guess what? I’m a Christian.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.. I caught hell once word got out in my church group. People began treating me very differently.
Drug Abuse and the Bible: http://www.gospelway.com/morality/drug_abuse.php
This one is fun. It cites Curtis L. Janeczek a couple of times. Author of Marijuana: Time for a Closer Look: Some Straight Answers about Pot…, which I invite you to judge by its cover.
Anyways, it’s all very old and dead. We’re just waiting for critical mass 😉
What happens once society changes its views on marijuana?
In the event that it becomes legal to use and possess recreational amounts, we’ll be dealing with the same situation as the Canadians and the Dutch.
Norml.org’s Principles of Responsible Use
There will be new challenges, sure. Self control will be tested across the board. And there will be a lot of relaxed and happy people.
The War on Drugs
I really suggest everyone watch the documentary How to Make Money Selling Drugs (rent it on Amazon Prime). It will catch you off guard a bit, guaranteed.
I agree with very little of the war on drugs. But you know, we fight this war because we can sell guns to both sides. We lock up people who don’t have the self control, we say, to be part of a normal, functioning society.
It goes beyond this. The anti-drug movement and its relation to prohibition has been written about. The War on Drugs has succeeded in concentrating large amounts of contraband and money into the hands of a few. Just recently, mixed in with the news of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, there was a mention of a Mexican drug lord or cartel boss confirmed killed in a firefight with authorities (military, police, all the same thing). The kicker is that the same guy was reported killed three years earlier.
Questions for further discussion:
Does marijuana use encourage poor decision making?
I believe a lot of this noise stems from the … I lost my train of thought for a minute. Back to this one, later.
What are the ‘experts’ saying about marijuana?
The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (wiki), formed by the Controlled Substances Act, produced a report in 1972 entitled Marihuana, a Signal of Misunderstanding. The full text of the report can be found here: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/nc/ncmenu.htm
For the highlights, you would do well to look here:
These guys received flak from the Nixon administration because their findings ran contrary to the drivel that the powers that be were putting forth at the time. Their report favored, of all things, the ending of marijuana prohibition and adopting other methods to discourage use.
As I dive into the ‘first report’, I find myself nodding my head at so much of it. A close reading gives way to a desire to praise those who wrote it. I imagine an angry Nixon, staring needles at Shafer. “God damn it, Shafer! You’d better remember who paid your salary!”
The followup, linked below, throws rocks at the original.
Bull N Y Acad Med. Jan 1974; 50(1): 55–75. | PMCID: PMC1749335
G G Nahas and A Greenwood: The first report of the National Commission on marihuana (1972): signal of misunderstanding or exercise in ambiguity.
Changing Attitudes Towards Marijuana
Top 10 Cannabis Studies the Government Wished it Had Never Funded
I just laugh, because anyone who has thought critically about the war on drugs knows the why behind the demonization of drugs. Now you can, too!
News & Further Reading