February 19, 2014

"I don't know why your boyfriend smokes pot. I was a big pothead in high school and college and I started simply because it was fun."

"It felt super good and it made me happy. But I kept doing it because it made me complacent. I never got angry or frustrated and I never cared about anything too much to let it get me bent out of shape. (Except weed. I got really angry when I couldn't smoke weed.) I think some people do specifically do it because it takes the stress of caring away. It makes things easy. Maybe your boyfriend feels stressed out. I also had some depression at some point in my potheadedness (I don't remember where), and smoking pot was an activity that felt good and passed the time. As a depressed person, I couldn't pour myself into hobbies, but I could indulge in physical pleasures like pot. Since he's smoking when he wakes up, to me that seems more of an approach to manage stress. I'd add, some people do just enjoy smoking pot, but the everyday part and the waking-and-baking makes it seem like a crutch. Whatever it is, I don't think it's something you can change and if you try, will probably just result in fights and be unpleasant for you. You should decide whether you're OK with him dealing with stress or passing his time this way or not. And if you're not, find a new guy."

An answer is attempted, to a question asked at Metafilter.

My question: If "medical marijuana" is a legitimate concept and you use marijuana every day, should we assume (or worry) that you have a medical problem that warrants more scientific medical treatment or (if it's a psychological problem) more intelligent and direct personal engagement? And: Isn't marijuana going to make it difficult for you to give a straight answer to that question?

21 comments:

Bob R said...

Why aren't you (or maybe you are) asking the same questions about other pain medications, attention deficit drugs, anti-depressants, etc.? Or what if you drink alcohol on a daily basis purely for pleasure. All drugs have side effects. What's special about pot? (Not a rhetorical question.)

mesquito said...

Actually, for a couple of decades I drank alcohol every day for pleasure. "Pleasure," in my case, meant I was marginally less miserable than when I didn't drink.

JMS said...

Every time I hear the term "medical marijuana" I think of the prohibition-era grandma or grandpa that keeps a bottle of contraband whisky "strictly for medicinal purposes."

David said...

Yes it is.

Pot induces stupor. It can be a mildly debilitating stupor or a near paralytic one. Individual results vary.

If a considerable time in a stupor is something you actually need to live, pot isn't a bad way to do it. It's just that most people overestimate the benefits of stupor.

I have enough natural stupors that I clearly do not need a synthetic one.

Paco Wové said...

"what if you drink alcohol on a daily basis purely for pleasure."

If you poured yourself a highball or two on waking, a lot of people might suspect a problem.

SGT Ted said...

If "medical marijuana" is a legitimate concept and you use marijuana every day,

I am using medical cannabis, because the SSRI drugs I had been taking for PTSD were making me dangerously reckless as a side effect. So, I traded one daily use drug for another that is safer, gets the job done and doesn't have such nasty side effects.

...should we assume (or worry) that you have a medical problem that warrants more scientific medical treatment or (if it's a psychological problem) more intelligent and direct personal engagement?

I am doing that in conjunction with it's use already.

What if the cannabis use could replace the need for a more intrusive, expensive dangerous medical intervention?

Plus, you are not a doctor, so your worry is your own problem, most likely born from your earlier life experience of pot being a hippy party drug.

Also, lawyers trying to "solve" medical or social problems through legislation have led us to where we are today.

Society is no more fit to make such an assumption, seeing as how they have been misled with D.A.R.E. junk science and anti-pot reefer madness propaganda for, oh, 80 years now.

The same FDA and DEA that approves of the drug that was going to lead to my reckless death absolutely denies the real efficacy I get from cannabis in treating my condition and their position on pot isn't based on any science that backs them up.

So, that tells me they are wrong, despite all the tedious reliance on their credentials as to their allege expertise.

The "scientific" medical treatment is not always the BEST treatment, especially in the age of 10 million severe drug side effects of some chemical that no one knows is really safe for the individual to use for long periods of time.

And: Isn't marijuana going to make it difficult for you to give a straight answer to that question?

It's most likely not the weed that makes people stupid. They were probably already that way; they just happen to smoke pot too.

But, addiction is when your use of a substance negatively affects your ability to live a normal life and some people are like that when they get high/drunk and need to stay sober to function normally. So, medical weed may not be for them.

CStanley said...

Obama is answering Metafilter questions now?

The Cracker Emcee said...

"It's most likely not the weed that makes people stupid. They were probably already that way; they just happen to smoke pot too."

This. As with most things Safety Nazis like to scold about.

EDH said...

The legitimate concerns raised by the Metafilter answer and Althouse's skeptical follow-up question are well taken, and well answered by the comments so far.

Good debate thread.

Ann Althouse said...

"Or what if you drink alcohol on a daily basis purely for pleasure."

There's a big difference between having a drink in the evening and having one first thing in the morning!

I think you should know you're self-medicating if you are keeping yourself on the drug all the time. And if it's a drug that makes you feel high (as opposed to a medicine that's aimed pretty well at correcting a bad symptom), I think you have a pretty serious medical problem. If you're telling yourself you're just enjoying life and paying attention or whatever, you should be a little self-critical.

Ann Althouse said...

"Also, lawyers trying to "solve" medical or social problems through legislation have led us to where we are today."

This post wasn't about the legal side of marijuana, it was about a woman in a relationship with a man who used marijuana every day (including sneaking it in the morning). And this was NOT a person with an articulated medical reason.

I can understand that this might be preferable to some other drug that has side-effects, but obviously altering your mood is a side-effect.

Ann Althouse said...

"It's most likely not the weed that makes people stupid. They were probably already that way; they just happen to smoke pot too."

Marijuana sacrifices some of your intelligence. Who knows how much? Some people have intelligence to spare. Some people might do better socially if they dumbed down a couple notches. Who knows?

Would you accept a university professor who used marijuana before teaching a class? Would it depend on whether he had some chronic pain or stress problem that he was treating? Survey some tuition-paying students.

Do you accept driving, perhaps with children in your car, knowing that there are drivers in other cars who are on marijuana?

These questions are very different from the problem of legalization, which has to do with leaving people alone. And the medical marijuana question encourages us to be empathetic with people who are suffering.

But there are many more problems here! Not ever problem is a legal problem.

Smilin' Jack said...

...I think you have a pretty serious medical problem. If you're telling yourself you're just enjoying life and paying attention or whatever, you should be a little self-critical.

Thanks for your informed input, Dr. Althouse, but you seem a bit unclear on the "self" aspect of "self-critical."

Ann Althouse said...

Now I know why Jack is smilin'.

SGT Ted said...

And if it's a drug that makes you feel high (as opposed to a medicine that's aimed pretty well at correcting a bad symptom)

The issue isn't this black and white. There are plenty of conventional legal meds that get you higher, or do worse things than a bit of short term memory loss and a cough.

As I said, the lack of impulse control as a result of the legal meds I was on was a far greater danger to me than the buzz of cannabis.

I've only seen pot induced stupor in either 1st time usage or massive consumption designed to *get* to that stupor, like college kids doing shots.

I do know a guy whose a very, very casual user who sits on the couch and giggles when he gets high. He an exception to everyone else I know that uses casually.

I've yet to see a valid study of cannabis that supports a loss of intelligence greater than that of alcoholic beverages when consumed in a similar fashion.

John Lynch said...

Weed is great, except for all the potheads.

Thorley Winston said...

Every time I hear the term "medical marijuana" I think of the prohibition-era grandma or grandpa that keeps a bottle of contraband whisky "strictly for medicinal purposes."


I usually picture Granny Clampett’s “spring tonic” in the jug with the three X’s on it.

rcocean said...

We'll probably find out the massive medical problems caused by Pot in the next 20 or 30 years. Note: Cigarettes in the 1920s and 1930s were thought to be Ok, only Puritans from the Midwest thought otherwise.

I find it odd that the media is constantly hectoring us to not smoke cigarettes, watch what we eat, lose weight, exercise, etc. but when it comes to smoking Pot, there seems to be this weird resistance to saying the truth: Its unhealthy.

Eric said...

Inherent in the question is the assumption a "more scientific medical treatment" exists and is actually better. Based on my own experience and that of people I know intimately I would say 1) if doctors decide the problem is in your head they want to put you on SSRIs. Depression, anxiety, phantom pains, insomnia... you name it. And 2) SSRIs don't work any better than marijuana and have much, much more dangerous side effects.

kentuckyliz said...

I know a young woman, married, with a child, who was complaining about her husband who only liked to hang out and get high and play video games. He was indignant about a new random drug test policy at his workplace. He refused to quit getting high. She was irked that he would jeopardize his job and the family well-being through such teenagerly devotion to doob. I asked what she thought about his doob use when they were dating as young people. She thought he was cool. Oh how having a family changes things. All of a sudden it's not so cool any more.

John Lynch said...

People get high because they want to get high. People differ as to how much they want to get high.

An addict is someone who wants to get high no matter what, no matter what the cost to themselves or others. The real problem for the woman on metafilter is that her "SO" wants to get high more than he wants to be with her. Knowing this, she doesn't confront him. Eventually she'll leave. She just doesn't want to leave yet. That's her choice, and her problem.

Drug use is a problem when it's a problem. It's not useful to talk about drugs as if they are something separate from the people using them. Because drug use is so personal it's very difficult to look at them objectively. Either we like getting high, or we've had to deal with someone who likes getting high at our expense. Sometimes both.