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More Americans report near-constant cannabis use (theatlantic.com)
315 points by TheBeardKing on Aug 20, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 374 comments

In the past I was addicted to pot. I was addicted in the sense that pretty much everything felt better when I was high. I was more relaxed and had less anxiety. Sex was better. Food tasted better. I was more creative. I thought about much deeper things. I spent less time online and in front of screens.

The biggest downside for me--and the reason I ended up quitting--was that my sober life just sucked in comparison. I was just waiting until the end of the day when I could go home and light up.

The other downsides were that I wasn't as sharp mentally when I was sober. I wasn't as ambitious. I was less social. In other words, it made me feel fine just hanging out in my apartment doing nothing. On the balance that made pot a negative for me.

Quitting wasn't that hard. And I still think about how great I felt when I smoked. I may smoke again in the future but for now, I appreciate operating in the real world without any crutches.

> The other downsides were that I wasn't as sharp mentally when I was sober. I wasn't as ambitious. I was less social. In other words, it made me feel fine just hanging out in my apartment doing nothing. On the balance that made pot a negative for me.

This is exactly why I quit. I found myself not comprehending technical conversations as well as I used to while sober. Hanging out at home doing nothing when you REALLY do want to go out do something eventually got me to quit. For me ambition is what has guided me for so long and not having that created an emptiness. I too felt less anxiety but in the long run I was actively watching the days go by and no progress in my life.

I don't believe these things are talked about enough. Its just the stereotypical "pothead".

This is something I had a serious problem with. First times I got high I realized I would forget the beginning of sentences by the time I got to the end of them so I basically could not form a complex thought. And I found this a hugely negative aspect. The relaxation/easygoing/laugh-at-everything/everything-tastes-amazing factors were not good enough to justify basically being mentally-handicapped.

The other problem was the hunger. Oh my god, the hunger. Food was the best thing ever... which is bad for a guy battling weight gain ever since 18. I knew this wasn't my drug when I ate an entire pizza by myself after smoking up and my stomach absolutely hated me the entire next day. The pot-using crowd I was with another time was highly entertained when I demanded to see the chef to compliment him in person on his risotto, though. :)

So I went back to my favorite mind-altering substance- A good whiskey or a couple of dark beers. :)

But to each their own. I do think that pot users, like gamers (note: is a gamer), need to be careful that their utilization does not impede other important/impactful areas of their lives too much.

> This is exactly why I quit. I found myself not comprehending technical conversations as well as I used to while sober.

This has not been my experience at all. In fact, total opposite entirely. If I smoke up I simply can not absorb any new technical information that is above my current knowledge and skill level. I am however more creative in coming up with solutions or new ideas with the information that I already might have.

You’re saying the same thing

It's confusing wording but I think the person he was responding to was saying that he had a harder time comprehending while sober, whereas he has a harder time comprehending while high.

As I understand it, the first person had a harder time comprehending while sober, because of his regular pot consumption. Compared to how well he comprehended sober when he didn't regularly smoke. So both think pot affected their comprehension, although one feels more affected when high and the other one when sober.

Concur, I found it can be sometimes an extremely frustrating, if not impossible experience trying to understand new technical concepts, however, when working over well trodden ground, it can show new subtle, mostly positive twists of creativity.

I went back after nearly 2 years clean. I don't recommend it. Once again I'm lacking in mental energy. I'm all for MJ if you need it, but I think a lot of us are fooling ourselves into thinking it's benign. Sure, it's better than alcohol, but I don't think that's a useful benchmark.

Sobriety can be boring, but until someone invents a better drug I think it's my only option until I retire.

As someone who has never smoked, I feel like this is the argument I always had with my friends who all have/do. Ultimately, their argument for smoking basically boiled down to the lack of scientific evidence that there are lasting consequences and that it was nowhere near as bad as alcohol. My argument was that there was a lack in scientific evidence, and that comparing the utility to alcohol was stupid.

It seems unlikely that a drug that affects neurotransmitters wouldn't result in tolerance, and the scientific evidence and anecdotal reports seem to confirm this. Anything that gives you a 'high' will ultimately have the opposite effect when you're sober. So in the end you'll just wind up wasting money smoking to feel normal, and you'll feel like shit when you've been sober for a while.

I did not feel like shit when cold turkey stopping a 4 year daily habit of MJ.

I know it's highly anecdotal, but I'm very thankful I spent those four years smoking cannabis instead of drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or taking prescription pills.

How much did you smoke per day?

There's a few talk on youtube where people tried to make stats of mental illness due to THC. It's not conclusive but it paints a less rosy picture than the 'natural harmless' substance one can hear everywhere.

Medicine is not a very giving topic, if you want to 'know' you better be infinitely patient and precise.

then that's a pretty ironic username for ya!

MJ != the only psychedelic out there...

> In other words, it made me feel fine just hanging out in my apartment doing nothing.

I've experienced this as well, but I don't consider it an inherit downside. To me, this is just my personal self being satisfied and at peace with not needing more than I have. Frequently I like to smoke alone in nature, just so I can rest peacefully.

If I had zero obligations or goals in life, I would smoke pot all day every day.

But since, like OP, it makes me want to sit at home and do nothing (not inherently a bad thing), it impedes my goals of producing creative work.

There is a fine line, I think, between people who can smoke pot responsibly (every few days or only once a week) and people who cannot go a single day (or even a few hours) without smoking.

As I've said in another post, I smoke about everyday, but I don't have any problem pursuing my goals, producing creative works, or excelling in my career.

The fine line you're talking about does exist, but it doesn't have anything to do with the frequency of usage. Responsibility can be achieved with or without pot.

Your choice. If you feel it's not holding you back then go for it.

IMO, pot is great when you're stuck in a situation in life which you can't escape for other factors. It can make a bad situation tolerable.

IME, pot increases your tactical thinking skills while reducing your strategic thinking ability. For instance, I spent years as a programmer doing well in my job while I was high all the time. It was great during the early phase of my career when people didn't expect much out of me, other than solving a list of bugs/defects or hacking my way through things. When I 'woke up' in my 40s, I realized I failed to grow in ways that were necessary for me to advance as both a programmer and a person. Now that I have spent some time sober, I really see what it enabled me to do to myself(or not do).

If you haven't taken a 6 month break I highly encourage it. If it seems difficult I hope you are honest with yourself to the point where you realize the hold it has on you. I spent 15 years nearly constantly high. I always told myself I could quit and never managed to go more than a few days sober. I always told myself that I just didn't want to stop, but I could if I really wanted to. It wasn't until I really tried to quit that I knew the kind of hold it had on me.

I think a lot of us in the tech industry can get away with a lot of bad behavior for quite a while. Showing up late, or stoned, or both... Not pushing the boundaries but just getting by... A lot of us can do that and still be considered 'rock stars' by the people around us, but therein lies a danger.

I'm not saying you can't smoke pot regularly and be successful. There are always exceptions and people with enough willpower to make it happen. They are the minority in the people I've encountered in life, however.

Thanks for the thoughtful input, and I'm certainly taking your anecdotes as advice. In fact, taking a break seems like a good idea, I'll have to work this into my life sometime soon.

However I have to be honest, my life has never been more successful than it currently is. Not to say it would be more so if I wasn't a daily user, but hopefully you see my point.

No need to respond if you're not comfortable, but in what ways did you fail to grow, that you realized? This could also be good advice for me.

It's tough.. Not only was I a pothead, I was an advocate. I grew and supplied dispensaries with flowers and edibles. I'm not saying weed should be banned but I think we need a rational discussion on it.

I understand your feelings. My salary peaked in the midst of my binge. I was a (in my circle) somewhat of a rockstar, making tons of money, working an easy job. It's the classic story of the tortoise and the hare though. I am, in some limited technical aspects, kinda smart. Some things come easy. I let that lull me into thinking I didn't need to compete. Now I'm no longer the golden boy and struggling to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world.

I failed to learn to develop my strategic thinking. As you age, people pay you less for the work you can get done and more for your ability to lead, to strategize, to think ahead. They don't pay you to craft clever solutions(well, not as much). You have to be social, clear minded, and dependable. I let myself get buried in unfinished tasks and useless distractions. I failed to cultivate more mature relationships outside my stoner friend circle. I failed to pursue more difficult and challenging roles. Heck, a peer of mine just landed a very senior job at MS. If I hadn't had my head in the clouds, I could have achieved similar successes. I basically burned the last ten years, my thirties, getting by instead of looking ahead.

I also let a very damaging relationship persist long after I knew it was destined to fail. I should have ended my marriage over a decade ago but instead I got high and avoided it. Now I'm on the hook for long-term alimony and starting over in my 40s after losing my house and over half of my net worth.

It's definitely not all the fault of my addictions, but my choice of drugs certainly didn't help. Now that I'm beyond it(despite dipping my toe back in the waters over the last few weeks to try to ease my sleep apnea), I have the clarity to see how it held me back. I always had a voracious appetite for learning and self-improvement. During my time 'in the cloud' it turned into a self-destructive binge of useless and expensive hobbies and distractions. I emerged with not much to show for it besides some hazy memories. Life is short. Attack it.

As a 25 year old, going on 31 days quitting cold turkey after blazing every hour for the past 5 years, having gone through a divorce 10 months ago...thank you for your post. Seriously, thank you. I attributed a lot of my successes to my weed smoking habit, but I have been catching whiffs of what you said in my own life, and to hear someone else express it so clearly...you’re really helping by sharing your experiences. I truly wish you the best.

the hard won wisdom and honest self asessment here are inspiring, and im not sure why. but i think its very good you wrote this, and im almost positive the guy you are responding to is going to benefit from what you are saying, not to mention all the other readers

Wow. I have been delving in my own delusional mind for far too long. For me, this really is the truth that has been hiding in the mist of denial. Thanks for sharing.

This is a great post, thank you.

oh man, that's exactly my experience - I get shit done but I'm perfectly aware that what I'm doing is not near my real capabilities. And tech life allows you to smoke every day without consequences - good money, no strict working hours, no one watching you work etc.

How did you manage to stay so high at work?

I was an engineer at a design services firm. My 'boss' was 500 miles away, along with the rest of my team. People threw bugs and tasks at me and I did them. At my company, I'd walk in, go straight to my cube, and sit there all day. Occasionally I'd get social. Even when I was assigned to other projects working with local teams, or even leading teams of people, I managed to make it work. People just got used to me being that way I guess.

I wasn't really hiding it. I have long hair(usually worn down) and had a reputation as being a party guy. But I had an outstanding technical reputation and that shielded me from scrutiny. I was making my company a lot of money and as long as that continued I don't think anyone really gave a shit.

How do you think being high affected your work?

I usually did the minimum required of me. While I did challenge myself and learn new things, I stuck to the easy stuff. I worked the minimum amount of time every week and shied away from taking on voluntary projects which would have made my usefulness to my employer more obvious. I got my job done in 20-30 hours, billed for 40, and went home(shitty, I know).

When times got tough for my client(after nearly 6 years) I was eventually replaced with a WiPro guy.

I could have learned C++14, but instead I stuck with what I knew. I could have learned algorithms, but I stuck with the driver/systems/embedded stuff I knew. I could have learned the security frameworks and been really valuable right now.

The last 2 years have been a time of furious catching up. I'm now being courted by FANG companies and hoping I can make the cut(I need to bump my salary to afford alimony... long story).

As long as you a) have experience being stoned in public, and b) don't smell like burnt flower, it's not too difficult to fly under the radar. Just try not to talk with people, however if you do, I've learned that overloading a person's mind distracts them enough to not pay attention to your slightly glassy eyes. Basically: do your job and ask them to do theirs.

Edit: If this sounds like a off-place rant, it was not my intent. :)

If you haven't smoked from dawn till dusk day in day out, you can't really say people can achieve responsibility with it.

What I am saying is not to disagree, but to state that if you're a person who ends up smoking 12-16 times a day, there isn't much willpower left to handle anything but immediate responsibilities.

You may not use much, and you may not notice how your pot use affects you. But of you ever end up using more regularly, more pot per unit of time, do not fool yourself and believe it doesn't have its adverse effects.

But if you do really think that pot doesn't really impede your motivation, drive, social life etc., then show yourself. Quit for a while, if you can. If you've been deep enough into the hole, coming out will feel like a constant mental overdrive. I've heard it feels kind of like similar bliss people say they might get from meditation, or if you were under very mild psychedelics. Ideas, people, arts, everything feel more innately interesting. As if depression lifts, and the whole experience of being feels more vibrant or vivid. And slowly but surely it all fades away, if you go back to regular smoking.

Yeah, anecdotes from some other life.

Your message did seem off-putting at first, but I appreciate the clarification.

> If you haven't smoked from dawn till dusk day in day out

There have been several times in my life where this was exactly my behavior, and truthfully, they weren't my best times. In fact I'm not at all proposing that endless and mindless medication, or even limited and conscious medication doesn't have adverse side-effects. That would be a foolish thing to assert.

But then again, I think the point you're trying to address is somewhat absurd. If you take anything (booze, food, sun exposure) to the extreme level of "dusk till Dawn, day in day out", you'll be facing some serious changes to your life. But I know where you're coming from, and I would generally agree.

There's definitely a moment when you start realizing that you're sobering up (long term quitting), and it feels very much like a fog is lifting, and thinking and emotions become easier to direct. Calling it blissful isn't even much of a stretch, unlike relating it to the effects of psychedelics.

> And slowly but surely it all fades away, if you go back to regular smoking

This however I can't agree with. The bliss of sobering up might be real, but it doesn't even come close to the bliss of jumping back into the rabbit hole (true about any drug). That said, this is why I choose marijuana rather than say cigarettes, or booze, or pills, or junk food. Maybe someday I can learn to cut back and be a casual user, instead of the chronic user I am today.

On the other hand, participating in online forums can have similar effects.

I'm always glad to hear that people find a balance.

One thing that is difficult for me, however, is to understand how things affect me without long periods of abstinence.

Like, I'm an alcoholic, though I've become more and more functional. I pretty much only drink on the weekends and around other humans, now. But I went through about 6 months of total abstinence from drinking and I can say with a great deal of certainty that I didn't realize the various subtle ways that substance abuse was impacting my life.

It's a relavent epistemic problem, and so when I hear people saying what you're saying, I am not at all skeptical-- I believe that it is true that "Responsibility can be achieved with or without pot". I also believe that I personally was unable to fully understand my position when I was drinking every day.

Thanks for the words, and I'm excited to have this conversation in such a productive lense.

I would agree with your statement about not being able to fully understand the situation if the observer is constantly under the influence, in fact I would think it's an understatement. I myself am guilty of assuming a situation to be all fine, when a sober and detoxified version of myself wouldn't agree.

With no offense to you, I'm glad my crutch is marijuana and not alcohol. I grew up with addicts as parents, one with alcohol and the other with pot, and I've witnessed first hand the dramatic and disastrous effects of long-term alcohol abuse. I'm very happy for your ability to keep the addiction at bay, and wish you the best of encouragement.

It's always interesting to hear about people that can scale the alcohol back. I can't do it. I can (usually) get through work sober, but the second I get home I'm grabbing a beer, or downing a shot.

The only thing that worked for me was complete sobriety. Been sober 10 years now. Still think about drinking all the time tho.

I'm glad you found a thing that works.

My feeling is that we have dysfunctional behaviors and that alcohol is a tool we use to deal with that.

Its easier to not drink now, because I don't want to drink. I think that I know why I drink most of the times (and is scares me when I drink and don't know why); even when I don't know why, I can usually figure out why.

I did not want to quit drinking before my wife left me. She certainly did not make me drink. It was a way of coping with her demanding personality that I chose.

It's good if you can make not drinking work for you. I may be way off base, but if you can figure out why you are wanting to drink and if you can change that thing in your life, then that situation is far better.

If I could choose, I would still be married and have developed a different coping mechanism and just be completely sober, but that's not my choice... the fact that I don't want to drink and only do it for social expediency is cold comfort.

>I smoke about everyday, but I don't have any problem pursuing my goals, producing creative works, or excelling in my career.

Same, no issues. I have no issues with responsibility. I procrastinate more, but I don't feel like I'm missing or harming anything.


Would you really apply this to any deviation from people interacting with each other, for any length of time? Spending time alone in mediation hardly seems to qualify.

>In other words, it made me feel fine just hanging out in my apartment doing nothing.

That should be the natural state of man, though, I'd extend it to meeting with friends, cooking, playing, etc -- that is, being "non-productive". It took a lot of advertising and protestant ethic working hand in hand through opposing ends to move the needle towards full on consumption and full on productivity.

"All human evil comes from a single cause, man's inability to sit still in a room." - Blaise Pascal

Not everything is a social construction. The default state of life isn't being relaxed and comfortable, the default state is starvation and defending against disease, predation, and conflict. In your world where everyone is cooking and playing, who provides the food? Who staves away conflict?

What lifeform on Earth let you to believe that the default state of being was effortless comfort?

Your "default" is overbroad.

The default state of life is different in the frozen tundra vs the temperate rainforest. Some people live in areas where there is natural abundance of easily exploitable resources. Modernizing a bit, some people live in areas where the minimal acceptable standard of living can be supported on a few hours of work per week.

I'd argue that would be the state of men when they lived in forests. But we live in a society where most of our natural instincts are "suppressed": living in square boxes with just 2-3 people we trust; having to spend time at "work" in order to afford a living; looking at screens; the instinct to hunt; etc etc.

So in a way we do need something to help us "relax" in a world where we can't naturally.

You're hopelessly romanticizing the past. Life back then, in those forests was short, violent, and on the edge of starvation. There actually isn't a lot of food for people animals in a forest, especially the older it is.

>Not everything is a social construction. The default state of life isn't being relaxed and comfortable, the default state is starvation and defending against disease, predation, and conflict.

That's not what ethnologists saw in most primitive people's they've examined...

That sounds like my cat indeed

Looking at a lot of life, it’s more like long periods of rest interspersed with very short, very high intensity struggle. Big cats sleep most of the day, lizards bask, snakes and crocodiles just hang around. Most non-grazing animals spend a majority of time resting or asleep, conserving energy for big stakes bursts. Hell, lots of mammals sleep through whole seasons!

If that were true, humanity wouldn't even have reached the point where that advertising and protestant ethic were even possible.

I don’t get your logic?

I assumed protestant ethic came from all the non-anal families literally dying in an unforgiving and unfamiliar land.

My point was simply that if doing nothing was men’s natural state, we wouldn’t have progressed to the point where Protestantism (or advertising) was even a thing.

What’s a non-anal family? Most families are non-anal if you consider how human reproduction works by I’m not sure that’s what you’re talking about :P

I meant anal, short for "anal retentive" i.e. paranoid about doing things "properly".

Your logic makes sense if the Earth were the same everywhere. It breaks down if you understand that New England is fundamentally different from England or Africa.

The fact that puritanism thrived says something about New England's natural state in the 1600s. It says nothing about humankind's natural state.

Really, the fact that it emerged so late in human history, and was dominant so briefly, in such an unusual place suggests it's somewhat unnatural at a species scale.

I didn't make the point that puritanism is men's natural state. I simply made the point that "doing nothing" isn't.

> "All human evil comes from a single cause, man's inability to sit still in a room." - Blaise Pascal

Most human good comes from this, too...

"All human evil comes from a single cause, man's inability to sit still in a room." - Blaise Pascal

Now that's out of date. Between TV, video games, and the Web, there's now way too much ability to sit still in a room.

No, I don't think TV, video games and the Web really count as sitting "still". They don't fulfill the spirit of that quote. "Sitting still" in this context is about being contemplative, not being distracted by a glowing box.

I think @Animats was being sarcastic.

I just wanted to give a quick note that I do not have this experience at all.

Food doesn't taste better.

I am less creative. I lose my English and my Dutch. I am more stupid and everyone else who's high seems so intelligent!

I think about pretty much nothing. I'm like a little cupcake on a couch. I am doing as much as a little cupcake on a couch as well :)

I do have less anxiety and better sex. So for me it really just is a tool to use for those two things. I mostly use it as a tool for relaxation or psychological experimentation on myself (especially my working memory behaves differently).

Another downside you might not have considered is that you may have also adversely affected your neighbors if you live in shared housing. Not everyone enjoys the smell of pot, and I've had neighbors that made me miserable from the constant pot stench seeping through our shared wall.

This is why i don't use pot. The smell destroyed my house. I had pancretitus and quit drinking and thought i would just smoke once in a while (smoked in high school but that was decades ago).

Bought some, put it in a zip lock bag, in a zip lock bag, in a zip lock bag, in a glass container, inside a gun safe. By the way i didn't start with this configuration by when i reached it and still could smell it everywhere i knew it had to go.

No thanks. Not opposed to using when out and someone has some but the smell was just to much to keep any in my house (this was an 8th).

Are you sure your neighbor wasn't running a grow op? I've never had a strain that wasn't tamed by two Ziploc bags, and the packaging that comes from the legal recreational shops are effectively odor-proof.

This sounds very wrong. I've kept plenty of pot hidden in my parent's house growing up and they never ever smelled it. They would have busted me hard for that.

Really fresh flower (from my grow tent, all perfectly legal in Alaska) was that aromatic. It's also so sticky that it can get on your fingers and other things, and you are actually smelling that and not the flower in the bag.

That's a valid point against smoking. But there are also edibles.

I agree but that's to come by when your not in a legal state.

Weed can be vaporized, which is pretty much odorless (and safer to consume).

Tell the neighbors.

> Tell the neighbors

It's odorless. There's nothing to tell

concentrates + pax vape is oderless.

I'll never stop being fascinated by how radically different the experiences of cannabis users are. The idea of weed reducing anxiety and making you feel "fine doing nothing" are the polar opposites of how it makes me feel.

Overall it sounds like your experiences were much more positive than mine, though.

One folk wisdom is that pot (and alcohol too) unblock some inner mental states that the rest of your brain inhibits. So some people get high and forget their troubles, but some people get high and forget their coping mechanisms.

It sounds like you consumed too large a dose. Being overwhelmingly high can easily be anxious and uncomfortable for many people.

Even if you think you consumed a small amount, it may have been more than you could handle, especially if you are comparing it to what is consumed by somebody who has built up a tolerance. As the article says, some of what's out there is very potent.

Not necessarily. I used to be able to take huge hits out of bongs for the first two years that I smoked - no anxiety. Something changed at some point and now taking even a small baby hit off of a joint will send my anxiety into overdrive...to the point where I can't even be in the same room with friends I've known my whole life. They can feel it too...it's contagious.

The last time that I smoked, almost 4 years ago, I had a single hit from a pot ecig. What would've been a non-issue, made me completely unable to function socially. Even trying to watch a relatively tame episode of Law and Order: SVU had me worried that my friends were going to hurt me and anxious about the episode content. I honestly felt mentally unwell and like I was going crazy.

I've smoked on and off since 14. I used to just feel kind of out of it and relaxed. It's not something I can do anymore, and not something that I miss.

> I'll never stop being fascinated by how radically different the experiences of cannabis users are

Nothing to be fascinated about. The experience is different primarily from the type of strain they have inhaled or ingested.

Sativa only strain - High, euphoria, very social

Indica only strain - Sleepy, lethargic, somewhat anti-social

Sativa dominant Sativa-Indica hybrid - Not so high, still little euphoric, smooth come down after few hours.

Indica dominant Indica-Sativa hybrid - Not so sleepy / lethargic, little euphoric...

And then there's the CBD dominant ones which don't get you high, and supposedly cure you of various illnesses. Not FDA approved.

No offense intended, but I'd like to mirror a lot of other folks' responses here: everyone's body is different.

I've tried a lot of different kinds of pot (it's all legal in the PNW) and I've never experienced the good feelings other folks I know do. It's just not pleasant for me, and it's a little grating to have to repeat this to my pot advocate friends; great that you get something out of it, but the reaction to my experiences that I just haven't tried the right kind is frustrating.

I experimented extensively with sativas, indicas, and all sorts of hybrids. I never ever got a euphoria. Indicas (and sativas in sufficient quantity) would give me couch lock, and clouded my mind to where I couldn't code. It never felt good, even tho I really wanted it to. I wanted to replace opioids with it. Sadly I just don't think my body works with it. Maybe that's why I come from a family of alcoholics rather than potheads :shrug:

Yeah, different strains is the most common explanation i've heard. But in my own self experimentation I notice relatively little difference between Sativa and Indica.

> Quitting wasn't that hard. And I still think about how great I felt when I smoked. I may smoke again in the future but for now, I appreciate operating in the real world without any crutches.

I think cannabis is an amazingly useful and versatile drug, but there was a time in my life where I was high pretty much constantly and although I wouldn't want to do that today, I actually think it is more useful - as a practical tool - when you have a high tolerance.

I find that when I don't have a tolerance to it, the feeling is pretty close in resemblance to how I feel when I've had way too much coffee - at that point I can't really do anything requiring complex thought. I have to do something pretty repetitive, so I find myself cleaning or just walking, maybe working out. Still useful for something, but that's about the extent of it.

At any rate, I find that the best part of being high is when I'm on the downward slope of the experience. Then I find I am more relaxed, productive, etc. I feel that I have gotten something of physical benefit from the effects.

So ... I really don't usually enjoy being stoned anymore. But I think cannabis is a more versatile tool than people give it credit for, and should be thought of that way. I'm not saying it shouldn't be used recreationally, but rather one should consider the right way to use it in context of the desired effect. Because the range of possible uses is actually pretty large.

I guess what I'm trying to say is - I think it still deserves a place in your medicine cabinet :)

>I wasn't as ambitious. I was less social. In other words, it made me feel fine just hanging out in my apartment doing nothing.

Incidentally, this echoes my experience with romantic relationships. Have you considered that you may have started dating the pot and not noticed?

As Marilyn Manson sang: "There's a hole in our soul, and we fill it with dope / and we're feeling fine".

I feel about the same. From the time I was 14 I was smoking pot nearly everyday until about 3 months ago when I decided to cut it out of my life completely. I really dont have an exact 'why' but I came home after work one day looked at a bowl that I had packed the previous night and decided to flush my weed down the toilet and throw all my paraphernalia and accessories (grinder, papers, wraps, bowls) down the trash chute.

I haven't missed it once honestly. Maybe I just came to a realization that I didn't enjoy it in the first place.

Edit: I'd like to add that around the same time I gave up/quit using all drugs (except a beer or two on the weekends) unless they were prescribed to me by my doctor. Even then I refused pain medication when I broke my hand because I think I have a tendency for substance abuse.

I'm glad you quit, because that's what you needed to do for you, and that's always the right thing to do. However, even though your comment is anecdotal, I do feel the need to point out that your concerns weren't because of the pot, but rather because of your decisions. If you smoke in moderation and learn your strains (sativa dominant for social situations, indica dominant for Netflix and chill), then it's a highly enjoyable plant with little to no downsides. From your comment, it looks like you overdid the indica, and you wouldn't enjoy sativa if you have anxiety to begin with. That being said, were I you, I certainly would stay quit, especially since sativa may be out of the equation for you.

Have there been any double blind tests of the difference between Sativa and Indica?

As someone who doesn't smoke, it sure sounds like sommelier's talk.

Even though it's almost legal now, the world of cannabis is full of so much mystical mumbo jumbo and outright fabrication. Take the whole CBD thing, for example. The only consensus seems to be that people who sell it say it does whatever the customer wants.

And how much CBD oil is actually being produced? Enough to stock every vape shop and every head shop in every strip mall in the entire USA with a few liters? Seems hard to imagine an industry that size.

There's a range of cannabinoids with varying effects; I believe this is something that's studied, acknowledged, but still not completely understood. THC is just the main one. The variations explain the differences between strains, "pure" Indica having higher concentration of THC, but lower diversity of cannabinoids. In reality everything is a blend.

This is in contrast to alcohol, which is straight ethanol, all the time. There's no difference in the active ingredients in alcohols. Anybody that claims a different high, based on beer, whiskey, ect., is only referring to environment and aesthetic influences, which do matter (also, hangovers may vary, due to ingredients used). There's bullshit in the industry, specifically w/CBD and medical claims, but I think it goes well beyond sommelier's talk.

Marijuana is not an easy to understand and classify, unlike other drugs, like alcohol. I think it's been pretty well established that there are significant differences between strains, though I suppose you're right, I've never seen a specific study.

Does this look like a double-blind placebo-controlled study to you? It looks like an interview to me

The interview seems to support the "sommelier's talk" hypothesis, considering the doctor explicitly says that "the sativa/indica distinction as commonly applied in the lay literature is total nonsense and an exercise in futility."

CBD has been demonstrated to stop seizures, so it does have some use. That said its possibilities are likely way oversold.

Here's a very cool example, if you're interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ybu-_tDXb8

It's not oversold. You'll be hearing more and more about it.

However, it's often sold in 'salves' and edibles in ineffectively small amounts, cheifly to those who are 'socially' allergic to cannabis.

After thirty years of smoking, I've found no real difference between sativa and indica strains. There are a half dozen different deltas of THC, and CBD has it's own. That's where the real variety in effect comes from. But it could be any strain that has this. The general consensus is sativa = active, indica = sleepy, but I've found it both ways. Ultimately the grower/gardener has a much bigger effect on the quality than the strain.

Cannabis chemistry and pharmacology science may be in its relative infancy, but it's already a broad and established field.

Gotta push back on the CBD part. Epidiolex was approved by the FDA (priority, fast track), but so far, multiple lines of evidence have shown it to be efficacious for a number of conditions.

The sativa/indica spectrum isn't really accurate. Pot is more like a multidimensional feature vector crossed with the user's feature vector- a complex multivariate interaction.

Indica, Sativa and Ruderalis are separate species of the genus Cannabis.

That's correct, kind of- nearly all modern cannabis are not pure strains, and the labelling at stores doesn't correspond to the species definitions.

Nearly all are cross breeds, yes. That does not mean that the labels are inaccurate - the species just don't correspond to lay-person's assumptions.

Trainwreck and it's daughter strain, Casey Jones, for example, have a heavily Indica dominant lineage, but behave veyr much like a Sativa. Casey Jones is amusing to bring out at parties: the volume of the room rises precipitously for about 20 minutes, and then... silence. :) It's very reliable.

The quality of the information on strains at the stores depends on the store you frequent. I tip well if the salesperson is knowledgeable and helpful.

I think we're in general agreement (and both a lot more experienced than the average person). I've seen things labelled at pure sativa which did nothing but cause people to feel couch lock, and pure indicas that lead to head highs in the stratosphere. I don't think the physiological effect is correlated strongly with the strain.

>In the past I was addicted to pot.

Pretty much anything that lights up reward or adrenaline/reaction parts of the Brian can be addictive. I think its important to qualify if we are talking about innate physiological addiction (as seen in opioids or alcohol) or the kind we can get from anything. After all there are people with food addictions and yes, they need help, but that isn't about to change the legal status of food.

I respect people making their own choices to use or not use as they see fit and be warned of the experiences of others, but we need to be clear when the substance we are talking about causes innate physiological dependence, cannabis for example does not.

But cannabis does cause physical dependence:

"Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide as well as in the Unites States. Prolonged use of marijuana or repeated administration of its primary psychoactive constituent, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can lead to physical dependence in humans and laboratory animals. The changes that occur with repeated cannabis use include alterations in behavioral, physiological, and biochemical responses. A variety of withdrawal responses occur in cannabis-dependent individuals: anger, aggression, irritability, anxiety and nervousness, decreased appetite or weight loss, restlessness, and sleep difficulties with strange dreams. But the long half-life and other pharmacokinetic properties of THC result in delayed expression of withdrawal symptoms, and because of the lack of contiguity between drug cessation and withdrawal responses the latter are not readily recognized as a clinically relevant syndrome. Over the past 30 years, a substantial body of clinical and laboratory animal research has emerged supporting the assertion that chronic exposure to cannabinoids produces physical dependence and may contribute to drug maintenance in cannabis-dependent individuals." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3606907/

Also there is no clear distinction between physical and psychological dependence, just like the lines between physical and psychological trauma is equally blurred.

I stand corrected, it looks like my view was about 16 years out of date. However, the work I am reading indicates that caffeine is a much more addictive substance than cannabis...

> A variety of withdrawal responses occur in cannabis-dependent individuals: anger, aggression, irritability, anxiety and nervousness, decreased appetite or weight loss, restlessness, and sleep difficulties with strange dreams.

Yes, this is true, I experience all of this when I take a tolerance break. But this feeling lasts 1-2 days max, even after months on end of cannabis use.

Drugs like pot and alcohol seem to lower our standard for happiness. Sitting alone on the couch at home with no friends, you may not feel so great; drink a bottle of wine, or smoke a fat blunt and suddenly that couch feels pretty comfortable. The gnawing feeling of discomfort is not a bug, but a feature designed to force you to act. The main reason I avoid marijuana is the effect on my short-term memory, though.

In PiHKAL, Alexander Shulgin, wrote:

"I personally have chosen some drugs to be of sufficient value to be worth the risks; others, I deem not to be of sufficient value. For instance, I used a moderate amount of alcohol, generally in the form of wine, and -- at the present time -- my liver function tests are completely normal. I do not smoke tobacco. I used to, quite heavily, then gave it up. It was not the health risk that swayed me, but rather the fact that I had become completely dependent upon it. That was, in my view, a case of the price being unacceptably high.

Each decision is my own, based on what I know of the drug and what I know about myself.

Among the drugs that are currently illegal, I have chosen not to use marijuana, as I feel the light-headed intoxication and benign alteration of consciousness does not adequately compensate for an uncomfortable feeling that I am wasting time.

I have tried heroin. This drug, of course, is one of the major concerns in our society, at the present time. In me, it produces a dreamy peacefulness, with no rough edges of worry, stress or concern. But there is also a loss of motivation, of alertness, and of the urge to get things done it is not any fear of addiction that causes me to decide against heroin; it is the fact that, under its influence, nothing seems to be particularly important to me.

I have also tried cocaine. This drug, particularly in its notorioous "crack" form, is the cause celebre of today. To me, cocaine is an aggressive pusher, a stimulant which gives me a sense of power and of being completely with it, on top of the world. But there is also the inescapable knowlege, underneath, that it is not true power, that I am not really on top of the world, and that, when the drug's effects have disappeared, I will have gained nothing. There is a strange sense of falseness about the state. There is no insight. There is no learning. In its own distinctive way, I find cocaine to be as much an escape drug as heroin. With either one, you escape from who you are, or -- even more to the point -- from who you are not. In either case, you are relieved for a short time from awareness of your inadequacies. I frankly would rather address mine than escape them; there is, ultimately, far greater satisfaction that way.

With the psychedelic drugs, I believe that, for me, the modest risks (an occasional difficult experince or perhaps some body malaise) are more than balanced by the potential for learning. And that is why I have chosen to explore this particular area of pharmacology.

What do I mean when I say there is a potential for learning? It is a potential, not a certainty. I can learn, but I'm not forced to do so; I can gain insight into possible ways of improving the quality of my life, but only my own efforts will bring about the desired changes."

- Alexander Shulgin

"The gnawing feeling of discomfort is not a bug, but a feature designed to force you to act."

We all have a lot of feelings. Very few of them are unambiguously helpful and I would hesitate anyone from assuming certain impulses are purely good and should always be obeyed.

For many people, there is a need to "turn off" certain persistent feelings because they can't be sated otherwise. Some of us would simply like to be able to relax without those "gnawing" feelings bothering us, because we know our lives are successful and fulfilled beyond the point where we should be experiencing frequent discomfort for not taking constant action to improve our situation.

I have used cannabis a long time and while I had similar ideas in my 20s, none of this is similar to my current experience - mainly the verbiage and ideas that seem to be derived from drug treatment literature.

I’ve tried not consuming cannabis for long periods and it doesn’t improve my life overall. I did find it necessary to abstain when I has a programming/sysadmin startup job and was trying to learn and manage a huge load.

However, I’ve realized that I’ve largely smoked to cope with my significant growing medical issues over time, and my experience with life in general is not similar to that of others. Most people haven’t spent 1/3 of each day feeling much like they’re dying following meals, but I sure have.

For me, it alleviates my insomnia, anxiety, helps me relax, reduces minor aches and pains (of which I have many), and helps me work through my endless food settling/belching/chest pain/vomiting complex.

It also has a huge community around the cultivation, artistic accessories and (less engagingly) consumption. I was an artistic pipe blower for about 18 years and have a lot of other friends who have devoted their lives to making glass smoking accessories. Overall it fills a role somewhere around coffee, tobacco and wine.

Have you investigated that GI issue in depth? You could have Celiac, Crohn's, or a number of other issues. Covering up the symptoms with cannabis sounds like a surefire way to risk some sort of GI cancer down the road.

My family has a long history of GI issues that went unidentified and untreated for several years. They're extremely damaging over time. If you're constantly uncomfortable you should really diagnose the root cause ASAP.

Oh, and I’ll add that i’ve been self employed with no insurance or financially reasonable access to health care for almost all of the time my health was slowly deteriorating- over 18 years.

When I did see doctors, my symptoms were diagnosed as other syndromes or dismissed as something very mild. A family member who has celiac suffered from years of misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment, including surgeries, for conditions they don’t suffer from. So if I had been in the medical system all this time, it’s not clear the outcome would have been significantly better.

Yes, I almost certainly have celiac and food allergies. I’m currently at a leading hospital being evaluated by a widely cited expert who has written books about celiac and specializes in people who don’t get better following at GFD, such as me.

I agree that covering up symptoms with any drug can cause problems. It’s very common for swallowing disorders and celiac to exist for years before being diagnosed. I have celiac with the less typical presentation with fewer lower GI symptoms.

The "downsides" are still much better than those of alcoholism. I just hope (and believe this may happen this way) more people are going to give up booze and drugs and switch to the weed. As soon as I've tried (for a number of times, the first experiences may be confusing and even scary) the weed I've forgotten vodka as a nightmare, now I just smoke some weed about 2 evenings a month in average.

I still highly recommend to stay away from the weed if it's not legal at your location however - messing with criminals and cops can really ruin your life. If it's legal for medical use only - don't hesitate to ask the doctor (but don't be pushy or play an expert, doctors hate this), some progressive doctors at some locations may actually prescribe it for addictions, depressions and eating disorders treatment, not only for cancer/aids.

I was always curious about the mental sharpness / memory portion. I know the short-term memory impairment is well documented but in regards to mental sharpness, that's a bit more nebulous and hard to hone in on. Is there any evidence that the use of cannabis effects cognitive ability while not under the effects or "high" of the drug?

I'm a former daily smoker. I carry a water bottle with me everywhere. When I was a daily smoker, I would pretty frequently forget where I had just set my water bottle down. My partner still gives me shit for it. Since stopping, this is a very rare occurrence.

As far as the mental sharpness thing goes,I didn't notice any major changes. Some people I know would have some fogginess the day after. This never affected me personally. I think brain fog is definitely a real thing for _some_ users.

I totally understand this is anecdotal. I'm just trying to share my experiences. I hate how defensive people can be about cannabis. I am sympathetic to this because giving proponents of cannabis prohibition anything to latch onto delays progress. It should be legal. People should also have honest discussions about it. It's a fairly low risk drug IMO, but it is a drug.

Speaking from personal experience (several years of nearly daily use with “off” periods of a few months) - the loss of sharpness was indeed a bit more nebulous but definitely real.

On the plus side, I recently discovered low THC, high CBD strains that offer the anti anxiety benefits without loss of sharpness or short term memory. There’s almost no psychoactive effect, so this won’t get you high, but it will chill you out and help you get in the zone if you struggle with anxiety or PTSD symptoms.

For me, it leaves a lingering effect on my short term memory and mental performance, that sometimes bleeds into the next day.

Long after the high wears off, I sometimes consciously can tell "wow, I am really mentally underperforming today".

It's more difficult to form quick/sharp responses when talking, my though process isn't as sharp, and its kind of like my brain has more difficulty following trees of connections that I am normally very quick at.

I think the worst change I made after I began regularly smoking was ceasing my regular workouts. I felt that I was making more intellectual and emotional progress with regular meditation while high than I was with my body during workouts, which I struggled with at the time for various reasons. My life has become much busier since I began smoking (much of which I positively attribute to the creativity I felt while smoking), and I haven't been able to get back into a regular workout schedule, despite not smoking often anymore. I am thinking now that the biggest detrimental impact on my memory and happiness came from losing my exercise routine more than the marijuana itself.

the pot doesn't have anything to do with you ceasing your workouts. the brasilian jiu-jitsu community has an incredible high # of regular users, while high.

It didn't make me stop exercising, no. I was dealing with some undiagnosed health issues that made my workouts exceptionally unproductive and chose to spend more time writing poetry, painting, and journaling while high instead of continuing my workouts. I felt I was making more personal progress with those than with exercise, and that being creative and productive was a better use of my time and energy.

After ending my five year exercise habit it became a lot harder to start exercising again, and brain fog and laziness began setting in. The highs also got a lot duller and less productive, and I subsequently began seeking the highs I knew from when I was in good health which led me down the wrong path for a while. I'm not blaming marijuana for this in any way, just acknowledging that I stopped exercising when I started smoking, and that some physical/mental health issues I've had since then most likely exist because I haven't been exercising.

In other words, putting psychoactive chemicals in your brain is a big deal and you should try to establish strong personal health and wellness routines before you begin doing it, and then prioritize those routines above the chemical habit.

Any daily pot-smoker will tell you that their short-term memory declines after a few weeks of daily/hourly use. It's extremely well known, though perhaps not well documented.

Right, I acknowledge that in my previous comment. I was more referring to the mental sharpness or cognitive ability. I was curious if there was a noticeable difference in critical thinking/problem solving for users while they are not under the effects of the drug itself

The effects on memory are related to the time since you smoked and are most noticeable after 1-3 hours. Basically, you get stimulated at first (during which time you may actually have increased creative problem solving) and eventually you get tired or "burned out". It feels a lot like low blood sugar which is why some people over eat. If you smoke a lot these effects can linger as a sort of hang over. If you smoke every day for years, it might last a few days.

Speaking for myself. If smoking regularly yes, there's a decline, even 12 hours after the high has gone. The more I spread things out however, the greater the benefits seem to be, both during and after. Every couple of weeks would likely be most ideal.

As an unscientific experiment, compare the rate of spelling and grammar errors in the comments on this article to the error rate in HN comments overall. I think I see a pattern, but it may be that all I'm seeing is my own biases.

So, the phone's autocorrect is smoking?

Don't forget that smoking (whether tobacco, or any other leaf) is doing physical, partially irreversible damage to your lungs.

I had a very similar experience except I was a student at the time. I had no job and therefore gradually my sober life became less and less. I'd stay up later into the night, wake up later, and light up earlier. Eventually I got to the point where I was high all the time, but not happy. I had to move house and ran out of weed so I just decided not to get any more. The next couple of weeks were weird. I couldn't sleep properly. But things got better. I've smoked a couple of times since but have no desire to do it again now even though I know it does feel good.

I am fine with doing nothing even as a non-user. Recently things have been getting boring but I find it pretty hard to take the initiative and get to know more people. Its the same process all over again (meeting a new person; finding common interests etc.) which bores me to death.

Not sure what to do in life at this point. I see some sense in just participating in the circus and wait till death comes.

Most likely you thought you were better. Funny thing: That is exactly how drunks see themselves when drinking too.

i'm still under ssri, mainly to avoid withdrawal effects, I don't really need them, and I do get the 'no crutches' thing, I'll be happy when I won't take them anymore.

> I wasn't as ambitious. I was less social. In other words, it made me feel fine just hanging out in my apartment doing nothing.

Wow. I just realized that's been my life for the past few years and I don't smoke. I might need to change something...

Ever try doing it just one night a week? Instead of every night?

Spot on

I have been smoking pot since I was 14 years old, I am 51 now. I would stop smoking from time to time, sometimes to prepare for football, sometimes because society wanted me too. I am not a lazy person, I smoke a sativa strain to get me motivated, it acts like a stimulant that can help me focus.. laser like focus to drown out daily distractions. I'll smoke an indica strain to sleep well at night. I have been a highly successful software developer, approaching my later days of my career. I can unequivocally tell you that pot has made a huge difference in my life. I am better on it, than when I am not. I can function perfectly, pot does not make me veg- out and I am quite active with many hobbies. Yes, I tend to be happier, more relaxed, and less stressed out when on pot... but the same is true for Prozac recipients. Am I evil and a loser because of this? F. No!

The reality is quite simple, different stains of pot affect people differently. Everyone is affected differently with only a few common effects. Pot can help some people while hindering others. I detest anybody who calls a pot head a loser because they smoke pot. It's just a bad stereotype. Contrary to what Jeff Sessions might believe, I am a good person, well respected, extremely intelligent, and a contributor to society. Most everyone who meets me or knows me wouldn't believe I smoke pot, but I smoke more than most pot heads could even imagine. Pot has been a miracle drug to me, much like Prozac is to others, without the liver damage. F those who diss pot smokers, there are many more of us than you can imagine.

This isn't directed at you but all heavy decade-plus smokers I know say similar things. This makes me wonder, if you've smoked for 30+ years with minor breaks due to football/society how do you really know what your baseline is sober for a long period of time if you started as a young adult?

Posting with a throwaway for obvious reasons.

I started smoking weed in College. Since then, I've developed a habit of smoking almost daily. Not all day, but usually a few tokes from a vape at the end of the night.

When people ask, I usually reflect that weed has been a very positive addition in my life.

I became VP of Eng. for a well known software company within 3 years of graduating. We did a lot of things right and the company eventually exited with unicorn status. I then left, bootstrapped my own startup w/ a small team, and after 2 years were acquired by a major software company which cemented financial independence. These days, I spent most of my time doing advisory/consulting/investing roles.

I achieved all of this within 10 years after graduating, AND essentially consuming weed daily(usually took breaks when traveling, etc.).

For me, it helps me with relaxing as well as creative thinking. The way I describe it is that it removes mental filters and allows you to appreciate something in a new way (that "mind blown" feeling). Sometimes the insights can be superficial, but sometimes they are not.

Nowadays, I am generally pretty open about my use when people ask. What I've found is that it is a lot more common then I used to think. So many founders, executives and otherwise "smart" people use it frequently for mostly the same reasons. I'd have never guessed.

For anyone who might be interested, I'd suggest reading Carl Sagan's essay on it in which he talks about his experiences and insights while high. He actually wrote it under a pseudonym (Mr. X) but revealed his identity through a friend after he passed. http://marijuana-uses.com/mr-x/

This is also just my own opinion - but from my own experience what I've found is that people tend to want to blame someone (or something) else for their problems in life. And generally, marijuana is a pretty good scapegoat to point a finger at.

I have taken many jobs where I had to stop for long periods of time so that I may pass a drug test. Do you really think that in 30 years I was never sober enough to make this determination? This attitude stems from the 'you're a pot smoker, you probably don't know what you're talking about' camp. If the subject was about the effects of tea, we wouldn't see comments like this. For the record, is a person who is on prozac sober?

A lot of people seem to be willing to kowtow to the current dogma of the medical / psychiatric community with regards to mental illnesses (depression, ADHD, etc.) Once you categorize these things as objective "chemical imbalances / medical issues", the next logical step is to treat these with "medicine", like Prozac or other SSRIs, or amphetamines in the case of ADD.

Many people don't seem to have the same respect for self medication, however. I personally think trying alternative treatment options, be it drug based or experience based, is always a better option than slavishly following your doctor who himself is often slavishly following some established medical dogma du jour or his own financial incentives. That is not to say that standard medication is not effective in some or many cases, moreso that there are very many people who think they "need their medicine" because a doctor or psychiatrist has diagnosed them with something that is at best an educated guess (with high error margin) along a multidimensional space of possible psychological profiles that we don't fully understand. My point is that by breaking down psychological issues into various abstract "disorders", it makes questioning a Prozac users choices tantamount to begrudging a diabetic for taking his insulin.

I wouldn't describe those as "slavish". Unless we're in a negative feedback loop, we should probably follow established principles and improve them constructively. I have seen some conspiracy videos where authors refer to psychiatry as an educated guess. I have never seen a lucid individual diminish science like that. Can you elaborate on what you see as "dogma" in this respect?

Disclosure: I smoke more than most.

Psychiatry is not robust. We don't know how the brain works. We're not even close to understanding how parts of the brain interact, we rely on coarse tools and irreplicable neuroscience to try to guess out the intersection of biology, chemistry, neuroscience, etc.

When we consistently see that studies are designed poorly (in many cases by selecting poor metrics, think self-assessed productivity on adderall or amortizing results of SSRIs over multiple severity levels of depression) and mechanisms are poorly understood, what do you think that it is?

Science is in many cases filled with perverse incentives that only complicate this relationship -- do you want citations, a popular publication, tenure, influence on policy decisions? Does your hypothesis align with the ideas which are popular enough to get funding?

The fact of the matter is that science is political, psychiatry is in its infancy, and results are not great in a lot of cases. We treat everything like we couldn't possibly be developing our generations' version of phrenology and it's hubris.

It's all anecdotal, but:

When I was an adolescent I was diagnosed with ADD after a few days of examination, and was recommended adderall, which my pareents thankfully refused.

My mom told her GP she had trouble focusing and was prescribed adderall pretty much willy nilly.

I know quite a few people who are perpetually on SSRIs for anxiety or depression, yes it works as a palliative measure for some but I do question both the long term efficacy, if the magnitude of the side effect and dependence risks are understated, and most importantly whether or not the patients worked hard at all of the endogenous variables relating to their lifestyle to optimize for happiness before slavishly accepting their diagnosis.

I don't like that the conspiracy nut / tinfoil hat / anti science pejorative gets thrown around so easily as an argument ender in discussions like this. It is most definitely NOT scientific how these diagnoses are done, it's heuristic based, it's based on observed models and patterns, obviously, since we barely have slightest idea about how our brain is working under the hood / how it differs among individuals / what leads to long term convalescence.

So, for some people, diet, exercise, getting out of unproductive or toxic relationships/jobs, can help, for others, they need the boost of an SSRI or something to get out of the bog, etc. but I definitely suspect that very many people are prematurely getting pushed to the latter option without fully exploring the former, as was the case with my mother and I (except with focus issues instead of depression, though i suspect they're related)

Think of the parent commenter -- Say he went to a doctor or a psychiatrist with his issues. How much time do you think they would spend with him before getting to the point of prescribing him something to take care of his issues. Maybe 10 hours max? Probably more like 2 or 3? Often times less? Whereas he is obviously a thoughtful, intelligent, and diligent person who has probably spent years responsibly experimenting on what works for him and found that it is marijuana. Yet that would never even be an option for the docs to prescribe to him. So if he were to slavishly follow what you deem as "science", he would be stuck in the paradigm that he needs an SSRI or benzo or whatever it may be. Whereas by being anti-scientific, and self-medicating, he's here telling us how happy/successful he is.

Another more prominent example would be the opioid crisis.

You sound exactly like an alcoholic.

>Most everyone who meets me or knows me wouldn't believe I smoke pot, but I smoke more than most pot heads could even imagine. Pot has been a miracle drug to me, much like Prozac is to others, without the liver damage. F those who diss pot smokers, there are many more of us than you can imagine.

I was going through 2-3 .5g 80-90% THC concentrate cartridges every week, and nobody would never know. It is a miracle drug for me as well, and took me off of many highly addictive prescribed benzos I would've really preferred to not been on. I cut down and switched back to flower now since concentrate doesn't really give me the full spectrum of effects like flower does. I have so much more money in my bank now too!

Out of curiosity, how much do you smoke?

1/4 to 1/2 oz per week, depending on what's going on and the strain of pot.

> I have been a highly successful software developer, approaching my later days of my career.

Somewhat unrelated question, if I may: why? I'm not much younger than you, and I've been doing technology (primarily what people today call 'devops') since the early 1990s, and honestly I enjoy it more now than ever before.

I enjoy it as well, but I would rather work for fun as supposed to a paycheck. Retirement means doing what you want to do, not what you have to do. :-D

Prozac causes liver damage?

Alternative headline: citizens of deeply broken society turn to least harmful drug available to them to dull the pain of their shitty lives.

Exactly that. I strongly believe that those who /do/ use drugs like this are self-medicating to escape the seemingly/maybe actually intractable social issues for which there is no single easy answer or method of escape.

Compared to /trying/ to get a good job somewhere and trying to find housing that isn't outrageously over-priced and trying to more or less win the lottery game that is presently life in western society... it's so much easier to "treat" the issue with a "magic pill"/bottle (or other form of ingesting the drugs).

I strongly feel that if this particular drug weren't an option they'd drink alcohol or smoke...

There is an easy answer though. You do what successful humans have done for thousands of years: - educate yourself - join or form a community that supports each other - fight for your survival like every ancestor in your genetic tree did before you.

Life isn't easy. But you also aren't naturally weak. Unfortunately, once you start doing drugs, you risk corrupting the source code of the machine you rely on.

Man who has never experienced extreme poverty or the absolute depths of American society attempts to provide easy answer to something he's never been through.

User claims to have intimate knowledge of what another user's been through.

I speak from experience

You are being haplessly Bayesian.

Good for you, you made it.

Go ahead and draw your statistically insignificant conclusion if you must, but keep it to yourself.

Do you also tell depressed people to just not be sad?

lol. Just to recap, my advice was:

- dont do drugs

- educate yourself

- find a support group

- fight for yourself

How is this controversial?

> keep it to yourself

But then who would speak out against fools like you?

If educating oneself was as easy as you say, there wouldn't be a poverty / education crisis.

An educational crisis would be "all books disappeared". The failure of people to educate themselves is a cultural crisis.

This is dogma, not advice.

That's a thought terminating cliche, not an argument.

I'm not trying to argue. I'm trying to terminate a cliche.

Aha! No, you want room 12A, next door.

Bro do you even poverty

it might be the best answer, but it is not the "easiest" for sure haha

>presently life in western society

Let’s be clear, this “kill the poor” precarity is mostly an American problem (maybe to a lesser extent in the UK and Canada). There are huge swathes of western society (i.e. European social democracies) that don’t fall prey to this insane ideology.

We've banned this account for using HN primarily for ideological battle and ignoring our requests to stop. We ban accounts that do this, regardless of their politics, as I've explained many times (https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20primarily%20regardle...). Would you please not create accounts to break HN's rules with?


> trying to more or less win the lottery game that is presently life in western society

This is why the "western society" label doesn't fit on the US. Western society isn't like that generally. The US is a huge outlier.

Yup, this article should put the use into context of other legal and abused drugs like alcohol and opoids etc, as well as illegal drugs. I would bet that substance abuse is increasing across the board in the US due to the stagsperity of our current economics.

It is no coincidence that all the old decayed manufacturing and mining towns are chock full of opioid and meth addicts.

Well, cannabis isn't legal in red states.

>deeply broken society

What hypothetical utopia are you comparing against exactly? If the US is "deeply broken" then so is every society ever.

Not every, there are at least 22 above the US according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satisfaction_with_Life_Index

So any society below those 22 on the "Satisfaction with life index" is "deeply broken"? I think you're missing the point; I'm not saying that the US is the most super awesome society in existence, I'm saying that we're much better off than most, and we're _obviously_ much better off than most historical civilizations.

The term "deeply broken" implies that the whole thing needs to be upended and reformed. A more reasonable and informed observer would note that there remain issues to be addressed, but we have seen incremental improvements for quite some time now and there's no good reason for e.g. revolution.

I vehemently disagree, we should absolutely revolt.

Show me the non-technological incremental improvements.

The US is not a democracy, legislative power is sold to the highest bidder. Legally.

Couple that with unregulated capitalism and things are looking quite bleak.

Inequality is on the rise and there is no reason to think that trend will reverse.

But at least we have iPhones.

We're very young as a species. Our current structures of power are not intentionally constructed but inherited. There is no reason to think this is the best we can do as a species. Why don't we put the same level of effort into designing our social structures as we do into literally everything else we develop as a society? Where is the rigor?

Now look me in the eyes and tell me everything is fine.

>I vehemently disagree, we should absolutely revolt.

You would make things worse.

>Show me the non-technological incremental improvements

Civil rights, LGBTQ rights, women's suffrage, the rise of the middle class, worker's rights... I could keep going.

>Couple that with unregulated capitalism and things are looking quite bleak

We don't have unregulated capitalism. Not even close.

>Inequality is on the rise and there is no reason to think that trend will reverse.

There is every reason to believe that it will if you even have a basic understanding of history. This stuff is cyclical and, in modern times, shows a constant upwards trend (i.e. trending toward economic equality and equality of opportunity).

>We're very young as a species. Our current structures of power are not intentionally constructed but inherited

Well you had better back that up because a lot of more knowledgeable people would disagree with you there. You are making a broad claim about human behavior without any evidence. I don't think you understand the gravity or far reaching consequences of that argument.

>Now look me in the eyes and tell me everything is fine.

I never said that. I said that most things are fine, in fact better than ever, and we should continually strive to improve those areas which aren't. You seem to think that 'equality' is something that we can impose by fiat, yet we have reams of evidence to the contrary.

Your appeal to history being cyclical is a statement of blind faith.

The past is not necessarily a good predictor of the future - corps have an unprecedented amount of power over our government.

I'm making a rather specific argument as to why things are going to keep getting worse. I do not accept your general appeal to history as a counter argument to this - we are in new territory.

Why specifically should we expect the trend of increasing corporate power over our legal systems to reverse?

> Civil rights, LGBTQ rights, women's suffrage, the rise of the middle class, worker's rights... I could keep going.

LGBTQ is the only recent development, no corporate interest to fight there and it was still a ridiculous struggle.

I think that the kernel of my disagreement with you is that your argument is rooted in appeals to history. And I think the kernel of my disagreement with this notion is simply that we suck at government.

All of the modern amenities we enjoy ultimately came out of a very effective way of finding things out about the world: empiricism and the scientific method. Until we bring that to bear on systems of governance, I will not be satisfied by any appeal to our current knowledge of how these things work. Because we don't know shit.

The aviation industry is my favorite example of how much we can accomplish with empirical systems engineering. The industry has collectively achieved an absolutely ridiculous standard of safety by carefully analyzing accidents at a systems level. From mechanical failures to user interfaces to pilot training - they consider each level on its own and how they interact. And the result is absolutely incredible.

We could bring these same techniques to bear on our societies. But we don't.

With that framing, you're omitting the most important part of the article:

All of the most powerful, most predatory actors in that society are gearing up to make that drug more widely available, experiment with its potency, and capitalize on the notion that it is "the least harmful."

I'm grateful they quoted a Stanford professor speaking truth: "We’ve learned enough about capitalism to know that’s very dangerous."

I agree with you. When I read articles like this:


I feel like we are repeating similar mistakes we made with the tobacco industry.

That company will be doing everything it can to try and increase cannabis use to make more money. Just like the alcohol and tobacco companies.

> I feel like we are repeating similar mistakes we made with the tobacco industry.

Pot is so much less addictive and damaging to health than tobacco and alcohol, that it makes perfect sense to have it legal and as readily available as those things.

I think that based on the evidence we have you are right about the relative risks. However I 1) think that if we had a do-over, we should outlaw tobacco but keep nicotine legal and 2), based on anecdotal experience I think we will end up finding in 30-40 years the true health/mental health outcomes of cannabis since it will be more easily studied 3) my big worry is less the legalization and more of the perverse incentives companies will have to promote its use through industry funded health studies, advertisements, etc...

Yup. Americans invented it in the last couple decades and all of us thate use it, at any frequency, are losers and burnouts with shitty lives.

Edit: removed the rest of my comment, going to be hopeful and assume the reply I got was correct. Sincere apologies for not reading in better faith.

GP is empathising with pot users. It’s a comment on the unreasonable stresses of life for a majority of people in modern society, and the taboo on medication and drugs policy.

Prior to around a month ago, I was constantly high on cannabis. I'm talking about nearly 24/7 except when at work. It took the terrible aspects of life away, and made me think deeply about certain situations/relationships/work issues. It kept me pretty sane and calm with panic disorder, and I was able to create lasting good quality friendships while on it since it calmed down my social anxiety. I took up biking (not while high, but I'd bike to places, get high, and then chill) and did 1500 miles in a year, and lost a good amount of weight. I got hired full time at a great corporate job, and secured my very first brand new apartment that I would live in alone. It took me off of 3 years of prescribed Klonopin.

Last month I took a break for 2.5 weeks to lower my tolerance and get a feel for sobriety again. I went through 2-3 days of feeling slightly sick, but after that I was back to normal. I made it through the 2 weeks, but picked it up more responsibly, only using it some nights after work, and only flower. I rarely ever smoke it, only vaporize.

It's been about a month, everything is fine, but I've noticed how much it really helped me cope with the realities of life, and allowed me to really think things out and keep my brain less scattered. Three years of everyday use, and I haven't really noticed any downsides to being high on cannabis nearly 24/7 other than wanting to sit alone at home and do nothing.

I have never tried any other drugs, unless prescribed.

I cannot help but think the Federal government is fully at fault for this one. So much time and effort spent to misinform, lie, and skew the truth on the consequences of cannabis (including extraordinarily disproportionate legal consequences) that the actual consequences in comparison seem much more benign and subtle. Its sad that South Park had to properly describe the true negative effects of cannabis before any reputable organization would touch it.

If there is a true concern for "public safety" then the only choice is to remove it as a schedule I, educate the populace on the true consequences, regulate as any other consumable substance, and provide assistance and help for those looking to quit.

I think it's a mistake to legalize cannabis and continue to treat it like any other consumer product, opening the floodgates to gratuitous advertisements and dubious health claims. Instead, the sale of cannabis (and perhaps other drugs) should be treated as a public health issue, where the sale is permitted as long as it isn't advertised and proper information is given about the product.

The Netherlands partly has this system, where cannabis sale is 'tolerated' for shops with permits, and where advertisements are forbidden. The system is far from ideal, but I think better than complete (de)criminalization. Additionally, the discussion about drugs is very open thanks to a number of publicly funded organizations. They do not hesitate to also note the positive sides of certain drugs, which all the more encourages a conversation about the responsible use of drugs.

Portugal has gone even further in decriminalizing other (more addictive) substances [1] with fairly good results.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/dec/05/portugals-radic...

As long as you are also willing to do the same with alcohol, which I would absolutely argue is a much more damaging drug to both the individual and society at large.

Can you cite any research that would support your argument that alcohol is much more damaging to the individual?



Alcohol is just generally a more toxic chemical. People don't get cirrhosis of the liver from smoking too much marijuana. I think if you really wanted to dig into the subject, you'd also find the alcohol is also more addictive and that driving under the influence of alcohol tends to be more dangerous that driving under the influence of cannabis.

The problem is, criminalization of pot does far more harm to society than decriminalization.

So, while there might be downsides of decriminalization, the downsides of criminalization far outweight the former.

Confiks isn’t arguing it should be criminal, though. Just saying it should be “tolerated”, but not the same way a lot of other products are - they mention disallowing advertisements, and restricting who can sell it.

This is actually pretty similar to how cigarettes are treated in Canada (and many countries). Restricted sales, legal ages to purchase, product covered in discouraging warnings, lots of restrictions around advertisements, tonnes of places you aren’t allowed to smoke (not just inside, but anywhere remotely close to doorways), etc. Basically sends the message “we think smoking is negative, but it’s better to tolerate it in a highly regulated way than to make it illegal.”

Can you name an area that has legalized cannabis and fallen victim to this flood of dubious health claims that you fear?

Do you see this as worse than our current system of criminalizing it and sending SWAT teams into dispensaries?

Is advertising cannabis legal in anywhere in the US? I haven't spent much time in the states where pot is legal but I certainly haven't seen any. Contrast this to traveling in Germany where the cigarette ads shocked me as an American - it felt so backwards.

> Is advertising cannabis legal in anywhere in the US?

I see cannabis dispensery ads pretty much everywhere here in San Francisco, on Buses, bus stands, billboards, even on the taxi cab top cone thingys....

It's on billboards across california.

The types of problems described in the article related to near-constant cannabis use:

> Users or former users I spoke with described lost jobs, lost marriages, lost houses, lost money, lost time. Foreclosures and divorces. Weight gain and mental-health problems. And one other thing: the problem of convincing other people that what they were experiencing was real. A few mentioned jokes about Doritos, and comments implying that the real issue was that they were lazy stoners.

With users themselves describing problems that result from smoking marijuana like impaired concentration, short-term memory, motivation, and neglecting responsibilities. These are serious pit falls of failing to moderate. But I also feel that legalizing marijuana is a better alternative than putting users in jail. Incarceration seems like it would cause a lot of the problems described by marijuana users (lost jobs, lost marriages, lost houses, lost money, lost time).

For those seeking the anti-anxiety benefits of a daily dose of high grade medicinal cannabis without the cognitive impairment associated with THC (notably impairment of short term memory, which is crucial for maintaining flow state while doing complex tasks like coding or chess) - may I recommend looking into high CBD, low THC flower.

You want THC <1% and CBD > 10%. I recently switched over to a high CBD strain and it has been a godsend for productivity. Another nice benefit of minimizing daily THC intake is I have started dreaming and remembering dreams again. THC tends to suppress dreaming activity.

In the Bay Area, you can find high CBD flower at most reputable dispensaries. I’ve tried a few products and the best one by far I’ve experienced is a strain called C3P0, sold under the Marley Naturals Red/Jellyfish brand.

(Shameless plug notwithstanding, I’m not affiliated with that brand in any way, just a very happy customer wanting to share a quality product with others who might appreciate it)

I've recently started taking 50 or 100mg CBD capsules. They're made from hemp so their THC content is vanishingly low (but still there, beware those who must take drug tests)

So far it seems to be working well for me in that it suppresses/blocks or otherwise mitigates the nerve pain associated with sciatic nerve damage.

Larger doses do send me to sleep, which for me is very strange because most pain relief medication prevents me from sleeping (as a side effect, it is very, very annoying)

I've only ever had a very hard time with THC, smoked or digested. Smoked and spent the weekend with a migraine. Ate and slept for about 2 days. Ate a different thing and freaked out for about a day. I really don't know what it is that makes my reaction to pot so negative; makes me wish we could pinpoint just which protein or receptor or whatever I have that's broken or overactive.

I haven't experienced any productivity beyond that which accompanies a lower pain level. Although I do very much recommend people with pain trying CBD capsules or oil. I've bought from Lazarus Naturals (I have no other relationship with them) and can recommend them as a vendor.

> Another nice benefit of minimizing daily THC intake is I have started dreaming and remembering dreams again. THC tends to suppress dreaming activity.

I had the same experience with increased dreams but they were just all anxiety dreams for a month or so, it was very unpleasant.

I’ve also experienced anxiety dreams at various times going back to early childhood. If you can get over the unpleasantness, they’re nothing to be afraid of. In fact they’re usually useful indications from your subconscious about things that are happening in real life. The best way to reduce the frequency of these dreams is to figure out what they’re about and fix the underlying problem. Easier said than done, obviously, but still a better solution that trying to fight the dreams or suppress them.

In general it’s good practice to maintain a close and cordial relationship with your subconscious. Dreams are one of the best ways to access this part of your self. To improve dream recall and understanding, practice writing down dreams first thing in the morning upon waking. It’s hard at first, and definitely unpleasant for anxiety dreams. But power through it. As you get in the habit, your dream recall will improve, then you will be able to decode the messages from your dreams, and then make changes as necessary.

For example, I have noticed an increase in anxiety dreams after interactions with certain emotionally abusive people in my family. Noticing this pattern motivated me to minimize my contact with these people, at which point the anxiety dreams stopped.

I took a 2.5 week break about a month or more ago after 3 years of continuous use, and my dreams are WILD in a good way.

I've also experienced this. Intense dreams are a common withdrawal symptom, apparently.

Fwiw, high CBD cannabis gives me memory problems.

Specifically: a 5-10 minute period in the next 24 hours that simply disappears, leaving me standing somewhere, wondering how I got there. It has happened every time, with multiple strains. I kept returning to it because it turns off my almost perpetual emotional pain like a lightswitch.

I have yet to met anyone who has shared this experience, or read anything about in the academic literature.

That is a bit odd. I often have the experience of standing somewhere wondering what I was doing, but that's more of a momentary thing that I would call garden variety absent-mindedness.

The other experience that comes to mind is driving - my brain sometimes shuts off for minutes at a time. Not a good thing.

I suspect this has more to do with what's on my mind than what substance I'm taking. I'd be skeptical that it's the CBD causing this experience in your case, but without more data it's hard to say. The one thing I'd recommend is practicing some attention-based meditation, like counting breaths for a few minutes each day. It may strengthen the meta-awareness muscle and reduce the likelihood of these blank-outs.

No, it's the CBD, and no, I'm not distracted - I know that feeling well :) It's reasonable to be skeptical - I get some kind of pushback every time I mention this.

I'm not high when it happens. And it's not a moment - at least one time was over ten minutes, involved parking a car, doing some shopping and who the fuck knows what else. I spent an hour searching for my car.

And it's never happened, ever, unless I'd smoked high CBD cannabis within the last 24 hours. I've smoke vastly more regular cannabis - but hadn't been, at least during one period when this happened. And, I'm not otherwise prone to this kind of episodic memory problem - as far as I've noticed :) I haven't had one since I stopped trying CBD cannabis.

Fwiw, I've been practicing mindfulness meditation on and off for 20 years. For a couple of years, during a period of disability, I was meditating over an hour each day.

I see. The plot thickens :-)

Based on what you're saying, my best guess for what is happening is that the memory issue might be correlated to the CBD intake but not caused by it. i.e., maybe you are taking the CBD to cope with a period of high stress or anxiety, and it's the anxiety which is causing the short-term memory loss. There is a fair amount of research correlating intense emotional stress with changes in memory or outright memory loss. Repressed memories of childhood abuse are an extreme example of this, but this also can happen for somewhat milder events.

It's not impossible that CBD could be causing your symptoms, but the lack of precedence in research findings or even other people's anecdotal experience makes this seem like the least likely scenario.

I'm curious if you have thought about doing some controlled testing, i.e. take some CBD once a week for 4 weeks every Monday, and see if you experience this memory glitch in the 24 hour period afterwards. Apologies if you've already thought of/done all of this.

As someone who lives with PTSD and has found CBD to be a godsend, I'm trying to investigate the potential downsides to this substance, and so far you're the only data point I have pointing to memory loss.

No, not anxiety. No different amount of stress from other times. I was taking it primarily for chronic pain syndrome, that I suffered from for several years.

Yes, I've tested it. Yes, it's the CBD. Yes, nobody else has ever said they've experienced this symptom.

I recall last year, I spent every evening eating something like 10mg - 30mg. It was awesome at night to sit down, eat a little bit of cannabutter and finally sleep.

I've had constant insomnia since I was probably 8. I only sleep 4 - 5 hours a night. I feel rested typically and energetic mentally, but physically it would flair up my allergies, eczema, etc. When I moved to california, it was the first time in my life I consistently was getting 6 - 8 hours of sleep.

During that time, I held a full-time job, was promoted to tech lead, delivered a major project, and was working on a side business. I honestly think it helped me achieve those things to the extent it helped me sleep.

Then this year I moved to a new state (where it isn't legal). I stopped smoking without any side effects, had a kid, and now I am sleeping 4 - 6 hours again. Allergies are bad, eczema, etc. and I'd love to start smoking or eating it again; as it definitely helped. However, here we are where it's not legal, and I'm trying to abide by the societal rules (even if I disagree).

Often, society doesn't really know what's best.

Honestly, try CBD pills. They have done wonders for my anxiety and you can order them online since they are made from Hemp. There is a sub reddit with lots of helpful information on Vendors.

It's unconventional given the liberal/libertarian aspects of the current movement, but this is a problem. I know at least two people very well, and a few more less well who smoke - all - the - time. They vape it like tobacco. They are basically permanently 'kind of high' - completely functional, you'd never really know it to meet them ... but this is more than a little distressing. One is in finance, the other a healthcare practitioner, the others stay at home parents.

It's a kind of new phenom that we need to grapple with because the 'bad effects' are not going to be so much chemical etc., they're going to be psychological and we're in kind of new territory.

One in six Americans takes psychiatric prescription drugs, mostly antidepressants. Weed is basically an antidepressant and pain killer.

I think the bigger question is, why are Americans self-medicating so much?

Chemically, cannabinoids are not really antidepressants (which mostly affect the serotonin system) or pain killers (opioids affect the opioid receptors). Cannabinoids have a variety of effects due to the endocannabinoid system, which is naturally occurring in the human physiology and does affect mood, memory, etc. However, it's simply not chemically accurate to call them pain killers or antidepressants, cannabis lies in a separate category.

The point is that it is how many people use it (and alcohol, and other drugs).

Our society is a hollow shell of the reality of the one we evolved in for millions of years. So we watch sports, porn, and run in place at the gym to simulate the feeling of actually doing something. And we all have our super awesome, super cool tech gadgets to thank

Having first child soon, and i'm thinking big picture about stuff like this. I remember growing up in the 90s , running around neighbor all day until the street lights came on. It's true, we had gameboys (not iphones) so there were some screens we looked at. But i didnt get a cell phone till i got a car. When we went out for dinner as a family you would play with the placemat and crayons. now you just shove an iphone in a kids face and let them use all your 4g data on youtube while the parents stare at their own iphones in silence.

Is this an American only issue? I was under the impression that marijuana is very popular everywhere.

No, it's merely popular to attack the US.

Iceland - widely considered one of the great societies on earth - uses anti-depressants as much as the US.

Here's next in line on the list of anti-depressant usage (in order of use):

Australia (10% lower usage than the US), Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, UK, Finland, Belgium (30% lower usage than the US)

Most of the countries with the highest standards of living on earth, have the highest rates of anti-depressant use. The sole exception to this are Japan and South Korea, which have particularly low rates of use due to a cultural aversion (even though Japan has a notoriously high suicide rate).

Poor and middle-tier countries can't afford routine anti-depressant use. Income levels map very nicely to anti-depressant usage. US, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden are 6 of the 8 or so highest median income nations (Norway doesn't track as well, it's down the ranking), and they're the top six anti-depressant users.

But actual prescribing of anti-depressants and painkillers is considerably higher in the US than elsewhere.

Poverty, loneliness, helplessness, hopelessness, lack of other healthcare options, lack of community, overwork, hate by others (racism, sexism, etc.), lack of any say in government, getting fucked over by companies over and over again, etc. I bet all those are top reasons for self-medicating in America. When you're one accident away from being homeless, alone, and have no hope of changing anything about your life, it's likely you'll self-medicate. When you can't get treatment for your work injury and have to work in pain all the time to keep from being homeless, you're likely to self-medicate. Do I really need to keep going? I think the causes of self-medication in America are incredibly obvious but most people choose to put their heads in the sand and not see them.

With the exception of healthcare options (and then only for a subset of Americans) none of these are problems unique to American life.

Sure, but the discussion is about the fringes. The US has a higher poverty rate than most other developed nations. Poverty isn’t unique to American life, but it impacts a larger percentage of Americans than in French, Brits or Australians.

I never claimed they were. They are quite ubiquitous in America, however.

If you'd never really know it to meet them, what about their usage is distressing?

Most people are "basically permanently 'kind of high'" on caffeine, or nicotine, or both. Is that distressing?

For one, I also have family members who are very alcoholic and 'you'd never know it' either, i.e. fairly highly functional.

The effects of caffeine and nicotine are mild, and mostly physical. Especially with nicotine, it's a 'maintenance addiction' in that smoking in addicts is mostly to get to 'stay normal' because the body has adjusted dopamine receptors. A little bit similar with caffeine in that we build a tolerance.

I don't think it's a stretch to consider that there might be some issues with a good chunk of society walking around stoned all day. I'd put 'drunk' in a similar category.

The people who I know who are like this are themselves concerned but they can't seem to change their habits. It's not just a matter of 'physical/mental' state - they are basically different people in this mode and they know it.

> The effects of caffeine and nicotine are mild, and mostly physical

The primary effect of caffeine is mental alertness.

Mildly high isn't equivalent to stoned, and I don't think it's a stretch to consider that the might be some issues with everyone self-medicating for motivation and concentration with caffeine all day.

They seem to be alluding to some unknown effects of being 'kind of high', but I agree with you.

>you'd never really know it to meet them

>this is more than a little distressing

But, I mean, that's just not how our current paradigm of mental health medicine works, afaik. A lot of mental health related diagnoses are entirely based on the effects to people's lives and ability to accomplish what they want in life. The disorder _is_ the effect on your life, it's not like some internal disease that will do it's work unnoticed and then suddenly kill you if untreated or something because your blah-count is abnormal and your foo-readings are off the charts.

>the 'bad effects' are [...] _going to be_ psychological

I don't think it's fair to postulate on future effects of things like this, when we have current, researched problems with society in this area that we aren't addressing, like the attention-rent-seeking behavior of basically all software today.

> but this is more than a little distressing

You are struggling with your own personal moral beliefs.

You even stated they are "completely functional" yet you're significantly troubled by marijuana use while you have no issues with excessive use of caffeine and nicotine.

You didn't list what you think the problem is.

The problem isn't listed because it viewed as self evident to some people. I'd list the problem of having high functional people who use marijuana everyday as:

A - MJ, while a mild drug, is still a drug, and it seems like people who use it everyday are addicts.

B - On the one hand I'm OK with people making their own decisions as to how they want to live their life, but on the other hand if we are talking about the type of society that we want to have, lots of people taking hallucinogens to get through the day doesn't exactly fit the image. Something seems wrong.

C - We don't really know the long term impacts of doing this. It is probably somewhat bad somehow, even if we don't know exactly how.

You didn't really list any problems either

A society in which most people were walking around stoned, drunk or on hallucinogens is not consistent with what most people would consider a civic or moral society and the negative aspects wouldn't need 'explaining' as it would be self evident.

What are the civic virtues or moral precepts that you believe would have been infringed by such a society?

Show up drunk or stoned to your friends kid's birthday, to a wedding or a funeral, to work, to meetings with clients, to the DMV, to your parents Christmas meet-and-greet, to your kids school play, to the PTA meeting, and then ponder that and you'll have your answer.

If you live in US, it is quite likely that you're interacting with people who are under influence of some drug (usually cannabis) on a daily basis, without realizing that.

Small point, marijuana isn't a hallucinogen.

While it's generally true that it isn't, some strains may produce quite strong auditory and visual hallucinations for some users.


Experiences produced by particular strain can vary wildly even for the same user, so it boils down to experimenting with different strains in different settings and finding out what works for you. Some users report that mixing strains of "haze" family tends to produce strong closed-eye visuals and mild open-eye ones.

If your vision is affected by visual snow (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_snow) or you are prone to have noticeable phosphene images with closed eyes, then it may be sufficient to simply focus on them while being high. The drug will greatly amplify your natural "hallucinations", subjectively up to the level of mild dose of psylocibin or LSD. Of course, taking those classic psychedelics is a more reliable way to produce visuals, but they come with headspace which is quite different (and for some less desirable and comfortable) from weed-induced one.

The same focusing technique can work for monotonic sounds - it's quite amusing to observe how fridge's buzz turns into full-blown symphony :).

>The same focusing technique can work for monotonic sounds - it's quite amusing to observe how fridge's buzz turns into full-blown symphony :).

Ooooh yeah I would get that sometimes...crickets playing electronica, window screens playing bluegrass, and shower faucet playing heavy metal.

Fair point. It is psychoactive but not exactly a hallucinogen.

I would like to have the kind of society that can accept cannabis has no more dangers than many other legal substances because that is the truth. We shouldn't restrict it simply because you feel like other people are addicts.

You're concerned some people might be addicts, I'm concerned that you're comfortable with the status quo of criminalization.

You are telling us you have an intuition that there are more dangers than meet the eye. That’s a valid intuition.

But you’re structuring your comments as if you have an argument and evidence, when you don’t. That’s confusing people and causing fights.

It’s ok to have speculative thoughts, just frame them as such and you’ll get higher quality conversation.

Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol are all mind-altering drugs. It's just society has called those drugs ok.

Why does using somehting everyday make you automatically an addict. Are really people who are prescribed and use anti-depressant addicts. I think its more similar than not.

Using alcohol everyday on the other hand, that can make you addicted in ways pot never can...

Yes, anti-depressants are addictive, and so is weed though to greater or lesser degrees, and in different ways.

Cross-generation, too--it will take a long time to know. (Usage isn't new, but it will increase.)

The fact that metabolized THC is a THC uptake inhibitor is a part of that.

>they're going to be psychological and we're in kind of new territory.

It may be new territory for you, but I can assure you that grown adults have been smoking pot for a long time, and understand the psychological effects and their limits.

No. I believe staying high all day changes people quite fundamentally, I feel this way because I know people who have changed due to it, and one whom I knew only as 'stoned always' who quit one day for no apparent reason and his life fundamentally changed. You probably have heard of him, actually.

When things got stressful at work I started smoking cannabis daily. It was really detrimental to my overall productivity. It was great for the stress, and made me feel wonderful, but it’s severely dulled the sharp edges of my mind.

When things got stressful at work I started smoking cannabis occasionally. It was really helpful to my overall mental well-being. It was great for stress, and made me feel wonderful, and it severely enhanced the creative part of my mind.

You realise this type of parroting only works for logical arguments right? It's pretty pointless to flip the meaning of everything in an anecdote, you can't refute an anecdote by disproving it logically.

When things got stressful at college, I started smoking cannabis occasionally. It was really liberating to my overall mental well-being. It was great for stress, and made me feel wonderful, and it severely dulled the anxiety I felt in creatively expressing large technical concepts - both in class assignments and at a college job.

Then I went to the mall high with a sober friend - and had to keep him from getting distracted in stores and keep him on track to buy the item we needed. That's when I realized I was High-functioning. (True stories.)

Have you considered that it really is just another truthful anecdote?

Do you earnestly believe I was trying to disprove his anecdote logically?

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