January 17, 2014

"There's a lot of discussion about pot right now... they all come back to the same thing for me: Dad, Dad, Daddy."

"My entire life, my dad has smoked pot."
It's so synonymous with him that I've made a joke out of it. "What does your dad do?” comes that age old question. “He's a pot-smoking hippie” is the easiest answer. And he is. Several times a day, every day, for as far back as I can remember, my dad has toked the reefer, hit the Mary Jane....

56 comments:

SGT Ted said...

She blames the weed for her dads obvious mental illness.

Ann Althouse said...

"toked the reefer, hit the Mary Jane…"

Sounds like a script from an old comedy routine mocking solemn documentaries warning about drugs. They couldn't just say "smoking marijuana," they had to go on a jag with a string of marijuana synonyms, each paired with its own synonym for smoking.

tmitsss said...

How many people would I be willing to kill to keep that from happening again?


It's a round number

Pettifogger said...

As to mental illness and not abuse of weed being the property, a river in Egypt and all that.

I am in my mid 60s and know many people who smoked a little weed when young. As far as I can tell, it did them no harm. But it's hard to believe it would be OK to smoke weed everyday. Common sense says that is harmful. I drink alcohol only a few times a week and then only in moderation.

I would think you need to be more circumspect with weed than with alcohol. Having a cold beer on a hot day or a glass of wine with dinner is not about intoxication. Smoking weed is always about intoxication. That's a material difference.

Pettifogger said...

To be clear, I think decriminalization is probably for the best. But it should be accompanied by education about potential harm. We need to rebut the silly notion that everything that is not prohibited is harmless.

Lyssa said...

I agree with Pettifogger. I come down toward legalization for practical reasons (though I'm somewhat on the fence), but I don't accept for a second the arguments that the stuff is harmless. A lot of people can use it a little and not have a problem, but there are lot of people who can't and won't. Like alcohol, it's nasty, nasty stuff when overdone, and easy to overdo.

garage mahal said...

Actually sounds like a big b.s. story to me.

SJ said...

@Pettifogger,

There are many people who have done marijuana and don't suffer from mental illness.

However, there is a correlation between mental illness and marijuana.

I'll put it this way: if you know that a person has (or does) smoke weed, it doesn't give you much information about their mental health. However, if you know that they suffer from certain mental illnesses, you are very likely to find that they have smoked (or currently smoke) marijuana.

At least, most commentary I've seen on schizophrenia comments that many schizophrenics smoked weed, especially in the early stages of the disease.

They are usually assumed to smoke weed as a form of self-medication. Though some people wonder if marijuana might aid in triggering schizophrenia.

Nonapod said...

His temper is fast and sharp. He hit my mom when she was pregnant and that's when she left him.

Sounds like this guy was just an asshole regardless of pot. Some people are just self absorbed assholes who should never be parents.

TMink said...

SJ, I think there is an even higher correlation between schizophrenia and tobacco use than schizophrenia and pot smoking.

And one of the best pieces of anti-marijuana research is that heavy use as a teen can bring on psychotic symptoms in people who are genetically prone to schizophrenia. Not sure how this information correlates, but there it is!

Trey

TMink said...

SJ, I think there is an even higher correlation between schizophrenia and tobacco use than schizophrenia and pot smoking.

And one of the best pieces of anti-marijuana research is that heavy use as a teen can bring on psychotic symptoms in people who are genetically prone to schizophrenia. Not sure how this information correlates, but there it is!

Trey

madAsHell said...

Now that the state is selling, and taxing weed, I feel certain that Washington will become a mecca for the self-medicating mentally ill.

madAsHell said...

I can already see the guy at the end of the freeway off ramp with the sign that says: "Will work for WEED".

SteveR said...

Yeah this is a sad story with pot as a side.

SOJO said...



It really depends on the person. I would say if you start very young, like junior high, you have the most chance of turning a smart kid into a useless stoner. Not always, but that's pretty young for the strength they have now, plus it starts you down a road of bad habits.

However, older kids and adults seem to completely depend on the person's natural proclivities. There are a ton of super smart people, especially programmers, whose capacity is helped and harsh edges buffered, not hurt by weed. (This is beyond medical uses.)

Valentine Smith said...

They don't call it chronic for nothing. Reefer's the most insidious of all drugs precisely because of its seeming lack of potency compared to stimulants, opioids and booze.

Drunks beat their wives, junkies beat and rob their neighbors, and cokies and speed freaks are walking STD petrie dishes.

Reefer only makes you stupid, albeit very very very stupid. And some people really like it that way.

Oh and schizoids smoke cigarettes as a form of medication, while the correlation with marijuana may be reversed,

Jane the Actuary said...

This was my uncle -- except for the fact that he ended up in jail, and ultimately, when released, tried to stay clean and sober while living with my other uncle & family, until he died prematurely of some kind of unexplained stroke. Mom and Dad believe it was the pot.

The reality is that the fact that pot is illegal does dissuade people from smoking pot who otherwise would. While there are valid justifications for legalization, I also worry that there will be a whole host of unintended consequences. It goes back to all the discussions about "mincome" (was that here, or somewhere else) -- sure, there are people who are self-motivated, but there are others who, well, aren't, and feeling calm & serene due to being high might be good enough for them.

AustinRoth said...

And then, there are people such as myself. I am a regular user (by regular, 2 - 3 times a week, mainly on the weekend).

I started in Jr High (no pun intended, but I guess today it is called 'Middle School'), had periods as a young adult I overdid it a bit (but I was kind of overdoing EVERYTHING for those party years).

I am VP of Engineering in telecommunications, my wife of almost 30 years (who does not smoke, and never has) is fine with my habit, both my kids smoke about as much as I do (and yes, I have gotten high with them), my oldest has a degree in Computer Engineering, my youngest is an EMT.

My point? It is not the pot. It is the individual, the mental problems they may have, the amount of self control they have, and their overall goals and focus in life.

Just about any substance, including foods, drinks, whatever, can be abused and cause people various types of problems.

It used to be that the expectation was people were responsible for their own actions, but generations of 'victimization' attitudes now leads to blaming anyone BUT the individual for their actions and and consequences.

Boltforge said...

Dear Pro-Pot-Group,

The brain is 60% fat (due to it being mainly Myelin which is basically fat and why your brain is white in color). Myelin acts as an insulator for the neurons.

THC is fat soluble with a half-life of about a week. So for that joint smoked, only half of the THC consumed will be gone in a week. The rest is stored within fat and Myelin.

It has been shown that THC interferes with the Myelination of the brain (no surprise fat soluble drug interferes with fat dependent systems). Which is the reason for @TMink's mention about teen smoking and early onset of schizophrenia and other psychosis.

Myelination of the brain continues from birth to your early adult years. Messing this process up with THC isn't a good thing.

This isn't anti-pot propaganda. It's chemistry.

The existence of "refer-madness" from 100+ years ago is most likely a compounding event of poor diet in childhood + THC. Both of which interfere with development of the brain.

Boltforge said...

AustinRoth said...
"I am a regular user" ... "both my kids smoke about as much as I do (and yes, I have gotten high with them)"

And when you begin to develop cognitive impairment disorders like dementia and/or Alzheimers in your late 50's to early 60's? I'm sure that *you* will still think it is fine. For your kids ... probably not.

azaniamindset said...

Have we sufficiently considered the value of hypocrisy? This guy isnt " relaxed, soothed"- he has been anesthetizing himself for 30 years. It would have been much better had he been arrested, dried out and put in a 12 step program decades ago. Now he is a toothless burnout with 3 dysfunctional children and is dragging the son into the stupor with him. The only bright spot is that he is so pickled his business of selling drugs to the neighbor kids has fallen by the way side.

Oh no! if pot is illegal then the VP of Engineering can't legally get high and reductio ad absurdum on that noise. Mulch under another family because the society must be made to bend to the SWPL victim class.

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heyboom said...

@Boltforge

As an airline pilot, my biggest fear is flying with impaired pilots (whether it be alcohol or other narcotic). Based on your post, I'm wondering what the FAA will decide is the proper detox period for pot as compared to alcohol.

heyboom said...

I should add if pot is legalized nationwide.

EDH said...

"The brain is 60% fat..."

Oh, wow, man! But, then, why are only dumb people called "fat heads"?

Here, spark that up.

garage mahal said...

There is nothing more square than a person who has never smoked pot tell us about the effects of the marihuana drug cigarettes. Just stop. You look ridiculous.

tim in vermont said...

I didn't mean to get argumentative so I deleted my post.

In my own life, there are a few pot smokers. They all have jobs that are repetitive applications of training. In other words, they are pretty much doing the same things in year 20 as they are in year one. Carpentry, medical technician, retail. I have friends that work in jobs that require a high level of focus and intellectual flexibility. Exactly none of these people smoke pot, though many drink.

tim in vermont said...

Garage, that post explains a lot.

mrs. e said...

The story is not all that different than that of someone growing up in a household with an alcoholic.

tim in vermont said...

I guess, come to think of it, I do know of one highly productive computer programmer who smokes pot daily. He is also semi autistic, and a bit paranoid, but that is another story.

Will Cate said...

As sad as this story is, it's not much different from having a family member who slowly drinks him-or-herself to death. The only thing different is the substance; the self-destructive behavior that accompanies it takes on very familiar patterns.

Obviously this story is intended to throw cold water on the pro-pot movement, but I think alcohol abuse has done, and will likely always do, more collective damage to people and families than weed.

Peter said...

Methinks the fault lies in her dad, not in the pot he smoked.

AustinRoth said...

@Boltforge

Sorry, what were you talking about?

Boltforge said...

heyboom said...
"I'm wondering what the FAA will decide is the proper detox period for pot as compared to alcohol."

In the blood stream the psychotropic component has a half-life of about 2 days. So, 6 days would reduce the drug to about 10% of original dose. With lots of fudge factors for body mass, BMI, health, etc.

What Colorado really needs to do is get CU to do a serious impairment study. Shouldn't be to hard to find volunteers.

Boltforge said...

AustinRoth said...
"Sorry, what were you talking about?"

Now that is awesome. Were you partaking when you made that joke?

AustinRoth said...

Tim in Vermaont said"
In my own life, there are a few pot smokers. They all have jobs that are repetitive applications of training. In other words, they are pretty much doing the same things in year 20 as they are in year one. Carpentry, medical technician, retail. I have friends that work in jobs that require a high level of focus and intellectual flexibility. Exactly none of these people smoke pot, though many drink.


Funny I had the exact opposite thought. I would say in the high tech field (computers and telecom), I think at least 75% of the senior management I have dealt with smokes casually.

At my company, the CEO, CTO, SVP of Worldwide Sales, SVP of Marketing, and SVP of Global Ops all do. About the only one that does not is the CFO.

And they are an East Coast company. Back when I worked in Silicon Valley, it was even higher (pun absolutely intended).

AustinRoth said...

@Boltforge said, "Now that is awesome. Were you partaking when you made that joke?"

What joke? :D

p.s. - no, not yet. Still working.

The Godfather said...

It was fun when I was young.

So was drinking too much alcohol.

Neither is any way for an adult to live his/her life.

bbkingfish said...

I went to high school with several guys (always it's guys) who never were able to hold a job because they couldn't make it past all the taverns on the way home from work. Their biographies would be as depressing to read as this tale.

tim in vermont said...

OK, this thread has changed my mind regarding pot. I have used it in the past and have little to no inclination to use it again in the future, but I can see how there are light users of the drug that are not unduly impaired by it, and their use should not be criminalized because of a tendency of the drug to create low IQ, low ambition, burnouts.

As a practical matter, I don't want to live under a state with the power to effectively ban pot.

garage mahal said...

If you get jailed for smoking a flower you don't live in a free country.

eric said...

It's nice to see, now that the advocates for legal Marijuana use have gotten their way, that the truth is finally coming out in spits and cycles.

By the time it's fully legal, we will all be aware of just how destructive this drug is to society.

Revenant said...

As to mental illness and not abuse of weed being the property, a river in Egypt and all that.

The point is that the mental illness causes the abusive behavior in question. Marijuana does not create chemical dependence the way, say, opiates do.

This person's father is comparable to, say, a man who constantly cheated on his wife or got angry and beat the kids. The underlying problem is that the guy himself is an asshole; blaming the specific means by which he expressed his nature is a cop-out.

Revenant said...

I have friends that work in jobs that require a high level of focus and intellectual flexibility. Exactly none of these people smoke pot, though many drink.

I've known a lot of engineers and physicists who were potheads. Actually, a better way of phrasing that would be "virtually all the potheads I've known were engineers or physicists". This probably reflects my choice of friends and acquaintances more than anything else, though.

Revenant said...

It's nice to see, now that the advocates for legal Marijuana use have gotten their way, that the truth is finally coming out in spits and cycles.

At long last, opponents of marijuana legalization have a chance to tell *their* side of the story! The long decades of silence can end!

SJ said...

@Tmink,


SJ, I think there is an even higher correlation between schizophrenia and tobacco use than schizophrenia and pot smoking.


I don't know whether that argument counts as anti-tobacco, nor whether mine counted as anti-pot.

The research that I've seen is full of comments about how hard it is to get accurate data about pot use in the general population. Thus, it's hard to get baseline data for use of marijuana among those who don't suffer from schizophrenia.

However, there data that is available indicates that many schizophrenics used pot during the early stages of manifestation of the disease.

(It was not fully elucidated, but was mentioned in the best book I've seen on the legal and cultural status of the mentally ill.)

I do wish that better data were available. But it isn't.

William said...

If pot were capable of subverting or elevating civilization, it would long since have subverted or elevated society. The father was an asshole. It's probably just as well he didn't use alcohol instead of weed to get through the day. Stoned assholes are more bearable than drunk assholes especially for young children......Assholes are never prudent judges of what meds to take to diminish their assholery. The guy was a bad father, but I've known worst.

John Lynch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Lynch said...

It's interesting to me how many commenters discount personal experience when it disagrees with what they think they know.

Yes, pot is very bad for some people. Why can't we admit that?

I have never met anyone who was a better person because they smoked a lot of pot. Calmer, maybe. Maybe more pleasant. But not better.

John Lynch said...

To address Revenant's point, he's seeing the potheads who can handle the drug. He doesn't see those that can't. It's selection bias. If they couldn't handle it they wouldn't be scientists and engineers. What about the smart kid who did drugs instead of finishing college? I've met some of those.

I've met people that handle it just fine, but I've also met people that can't and ruin their lives. Or, more commonly, they limit their lives by building them around drug use.

When deciding to legalize a drug, you have to look at the cost for everyone. And not just all the users of the drugs, but what's going to happen to the people around them. Maybe the net result of decriminalization or legalization would be positive, but for some people it will be very negative. It's not going to be good for everyone.

The author of this article didn't choose for her father to smoke pot, but was obviously affected by it. This is a blind spot a lot of libertarians have. Individual choices are great, but they aren't individual in their consequences. Drug use is a very big reason why poverty exists in this country (I'd say it's the #2 reason after family breakdown). When you get down into the working class of society drug use is much more prevalent, and the consequences are much more obvious.

Sure, people can choose not to use drugs, but many will. And we all have to deal with that, no matter how much we don't want to.

John Lynch said...

Ask anyone who's quit smoking weed if there's no physical dependence. There's withdrawal symptoms- irritability, weird dreams, and so on. If it's a psychological addiction, how come so many people have the same symptoms?

I work with stoners every day, and have for years. Marijuana is addictive in any way that matters. It has a lot of psychological effects. Memory loss is the most common, but some people get paranoid or just really stupid. I've met stoners that simply could not do anything on a day that they smoked. Nothing.

Most people don't become addicts, or are for a short period of their lives. It isn't the end of the world if it's freely available. But can people become addicted to weed? Of course they can. Is that bad? For some people, yes it is. The absolute denial of these obvious facts is perplexing.

Comparisons with alcohol aren't completely off base. We can admit that alcohol is bad for some people. Why not weed?

Revenant said...

Yes, pot is very bad for some people. Why can't we admit that?

I wasn't aware it was under contention. Heck, peanuts are very bad for some people; why not marijuana?

The question is, is the fact that it is bad for some people a reason to ban it? And the answer's "no".

Revenant said...

Ask anyone who's quit smoking weed if there's no physical dependence. There's withdrawal symptoms- irritability, weird dreams, and so on. If it's a psychological addiction, how come so many people have the same symptoms?

Because addictive personalities have a lot of things in common. Deprive a gambler of the ability to gamble and he too becomes irritable, emotional, suffers sleep disruption and so on and so on.

They're giving up something that was a big, big part of their lives. It would be bizarre and unusual if they DIDN'T experience bad side effects!

Revenant said...

Hm, let me flesh that out a little by way of a metaphor.

Ever notice how people whose loved ones die experience very similar reactions to one another? Or, for that matter, that children react very similarly when promised ice cream and then denied it?

Now, should we conclude from this that we're addicted to the people we love? That kids are addicted to ice cream? Of course not. But we're all human, and human nature is what it is. We handle loss, anger, grief, et al, in similar ways.

TMink said...

John Lynch, good point about the weird dreams. I always ask people who have quit about their dreams and most report a kind of a dream rebound where their dreams get pretty intense for awhile. They typically do not report BAD dreams, just as you said, weird ones.

I wonder if it is a dream rebound. I wonder if they have been going to sleep stoned, and thus, sedated, and if that sedation interferes with the brain going into normal REM sleep until the brain is no longer sedated. If this is the case, folks have too LITTLE to dream last night. Then, when they stop, they catch up.

I have not read any studies about that, but the vast majority of people who were regular smokers and stopped using report the dream rebound.

Trey

Freeman Hunt said...

I wonder if this man's life would have been even worse if his drug of choice had been alcohol.

Some people want to be intoxicated. Most of them achieve that with alcohol because it's legal. But what if pot were legal too and some of them went with that instead?