Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
When Adolescents Give Up Pot, Their Cognition Quickly Improves (npr.org)
477 points by sverige 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 515 comments

A therapist friend recently attended a conference where a big group of doctors and health professionals focused around adolescents presented on the link between pot and the development of psychosis and even schizophrenia in users under age 32 or something like that.

I've definitely heard about this colloquially with people reacting very differently to the same strain ("we were all fine but she was just freaking out"), and the new science coming out of places like Colorado seems to be showing a strong correlation in that direction. I guess you could say (colloquially again, since I'm not at all in the medical field) that pot can open a bad door in some people that may have stayed shut otherwise. Is that gene expression? Brain plasticity? Dunno.

I think prohibition does way more harm than good and I'm glad to see legalization coming to the states, but I don't think we can treat pot as totally harmless for people under 30 and teens in particular because it seems like it's very harmful for some.

One paper on the subject: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2931552/

As I understand it THC aggravates symptoms in people predisposed to psychosis. CBD is antipsychotic and can have a balancing effect but unfortunately growers have been selectively breeding and optimizing for high THC at the expense of CBD for decades. The result is that cannabis is more "incompatible" with certain people than it used to be.

Which is one of the big problems with cannabis studies.

THC is known as the "active" ingredient in cannabis. However we know it's definitely not the only one.

There are 113 identified cannabinoids. Most are believed to have some effect. And there's terpenes that are believed to have effects as well.

So the problem is that ever single bit of cannabis has different ratios of these chemicals. Even two plants with the exact same genetics grown in same conditions can have widely ranging ratios. Which potentially means widely ranging effects.

The good thing is with legalization moving along we should see a lot more high quality studies that can help us figure this out.




> The good thing is with legalization moving along we should see a lot more high quality studies that can help us figure this out.

This is tangential, but it seems odd to me that many of the same people who are opposed to GMOs on the grounds that “science may have missed something” are okay with legalizing pot until science clearly demonstrates harm. Note that I’m not directing that at you (I don’t think you said anything like what I’m describing), but your quip made me think of it. I’m only calling this out as an intriguing observation; not trying to pick on anyone.

I don't believe that's a fair comparison.

Firstly, marijuana taken internally has a long tradition of use. GMO's not so much. Admittedly, modern strains of marijuana may pose greater concerns.

Secondly, legalisation of recreational drugs is, I'd argue, only tangentially related to the harm they may cause by using them. Take alcohol as an example. The legalisation of recreational drugs is, I'd argue, more about a) personal-sovereignty, and b) the harm caused by the war on drugs.

For the record, I'm pro GMO when and where they makes sense, and also pro personal-sovereignty.

GMOs have been consumed as a primary food source daily by hundreds of millions of people per year with no known health risks, even after extensive study. Cannabis has been used for a while, but it hasn’t received the same level of study and concerns have been raised (e.g., this article). I’ve got to give this one to the GMOs.

> Secondly, legalisation of recreational drugs is, I'd argue, only tangentially related to the harm they may cause by using them. Take alcohol as an example. The legalisation of recreational drugs is, I'd argue, more about a) personal-sovereignty, and b) the harm caused by the war on drugs.

How does “personal sovereignty” explain supporting prohibitions against GMOs? The opposition to the war on drugs but seems plausible.

GMOs are the genetic equivalent to plastic in the ocean. Once it's in the wild it's damn hard to reverse the damage. Weed on the other hand you can just not consume.

GMOs are already produced on a massive scale; any irreversible damage is already done. Further, this is true for any domesticated organism, not GMOs in particular. Besides, the argument I referenced was about health risks, not ecological damage.

I don't care about health risks. Maybe that's why pro GMO and anti GMO folks can't have a discussion?

> I don't care about health risks.

Then my observation doesn't apply to you.

> Maybe that's why pro GMO and anti GMO folks can't have a discussion?

Lots of anti GMO folks have cited health concerns.

I've also noticed that. People are illogical.

>As I understand it THC aggravates symptoms in people predisposed to psychosis.

This seems to be similar reactions to those who take doses of LSD and other psychedelic drugs.

Just to level to the playing field:

This also seems to be the case for alcohol use.

It stands to reason drug response follows a bell shaped curve, where most people fit in to the pleasant-effects most-of-the-time large area covered by the curve, and fewer people fall outside.

Fun anecdote, my Bipolar disorder didn't manifest itself until immediately after the first time I consumed marijuana, and it is now a lifetime endeavor.

I know a lot of people who tried out marijuana as a medication for depression. (well, illegal / no prescription) It helped in the beginning, but most of them just became addicted, paranoid and incredible slow thinkers and figuratively numb.

Depression is hell, but it's not worth giving up your sanity and intellect.

I'm a big supporter of legalization, because I think prohibition is dramatically worse than any negatives from people smoking pot (similar to alcohol, etc).

That said, the two friends of mine that were the heaviest smokers, saw dramatic improvements in their lives in the few years immediately following giving up smoking pot. Both in terms of health and professional success. They were recreational smokers, rather than smoking for pain purposes or similar, it should be noted. One of them has become a very successful business person, the pot smoking had considerably dulled their ambition. They used to do the minimum to further their life. Afterward, their potential was unleashed, it was night and day (and a dramatic benefit to the well-being of their family).

I am a huge opposer of legalization, because I've seen what pot has done to people I care about. I would point out that solution to the negatives of prohibition is not legalization, but decriminalization. The issue with legalization is that it removes the stigma with trying it, which means we get more users than otherwise.

We can maintain the very correct statements that drugs are bad and that all possible care should be made to remove it's availability and discourage it's use, but treat it as a social problem, not a crime. Let's continue to shut down drug dealers, who grow, import, and spread the crud around, but no longer penalize users. Offer them treatment, help them find better means, rather than throwing them in jail.

Maybe we need ways other than the law to stigmatize bad behavior. The law is a blunt instrument.

Churches might serve this purpose, but those are out of fashion now.

You don't need a church to express social disapproval.

There are lots of behaviors that are not illegal and not against religion that we still use social feedback to minimize.

Thank God (:p)

I love the idea of minusing "thank God" / being happy that religion is largely passe. . . pure vindictive retaliatory holy grace


As a child I grew up in a home with a violent alcoholic father.

Should we shutdown licensed alcohol vendors because a few people react badly to alcohol / are irresponsible drinkers?

Obviously not.

The majority of people I've met have not been problem drinkers, nor problem users.

Drugs do not just lead you to harm others. In fact, like alcohol, most drug users probably do not harm others. But both cause significant self-harm. And society ends up bearing the burden of helping people who aren't able to help themselves, be it on an individual level or a governmental level.

> society ends up bearing the burden of helping people who aren't able to help themselves, be it on an individual level or a governmental level.

it doesn't have to do this. if people want to kill themselves slowly, they should be allowed to.

The problem is the same people who want to kill themselves slowly want our tax dollars to provide them free medical care whilst they do so. Your comment ignores the real burden that self-harming people create upon those around them, and why we need to get them out of self-harm rather than bearing the burden of it.

It's worth noting that the overwhelming majority of drug users never have a problem related to their drug use.

Just like the overwhelming majority of alcohol users never have a problem with their alcohol use.

While I agree with your general sentiment, I’m not convinced I have a comprehensive alternative to the current standard: legal / decriminalisation + harm reduction.

Prohibition seems like the least best alternative. I’m open to being wrong though.

It’s not up to the law to take upon itself the role of arbiter of society’s truer mores.

Once you establish a strong connection between what is lawful and what is moral, you open up the ominous gate of any future conflation of moral duty with any reproachable reach of law.

With legalization comes regulation, which is extremely beneficial, so it's better than just decriminalization. Like other commenter posted, the law shouldn't be the stigma-ruler we use to measure things. And I'll further that by saying that education and information is more important than stigma.

Isn’t that an overreaction? Pot allegedly has had an adverse effect on your friends, but anecdotally its only had a positive effect on friends and co-workers.

> I am a huge opposer of legalization, because I've seen what pot has done to people I care about.

frankly, this argument has no place in a society that considers itself free. it is not for you to tell me what harm i may inflict on my own body, nor to restrict others from helping me do it.

You're staking out a pretty extreme position there. Society has already accepted: helmet laws, seatbelt laws, mandatory health insurance, age limits for alcohol and tobacco consumption, food and drug regulations, etc.

You can argue that our society can't consider itself free, but it's the society we have and the same argument is in play on a number of issues.

> Society has already accepted: helmet laws, seatbelt laws, mandatory health insurance, age limits for alcohol and tobacco consumption, food and drug regulations, etc.

not everything on that list is terrible; in fact, it provides a good opportunity to illustrate my point. not wearing a seatbelt makes it likely that you will become a lethal projectile in the event of an accident, so i'm okay with seatbelts being required. as far as food and drugs go, i think people should have access to as much information as possible about the things they are putting in their body, but i don't think they should be prevented from selling raw milk or dangerous drugs. i also think it is fine to prevent children from doing any number of risky things, as they are not mature enough be fully responsible for their actions. my problem is with treating adults like children. unless what you do with your body actually harms others, you should be left to do it in peace. and no, the fact that other people choose to waste resources cleaning up your mistakes does not constitute harming them.

So you're in favor of alcohol prohibition, too, correct?

Alcohol is legal, not decriminalized. Alcohol kills and hurts more people than marijuana ever has and ever will. Despite those problems, most sane people do not believe prohibition of alcohol was a good time for humanity.

> I think prohibition is dramatically worse than any negatives from people smoking pot (similar to alcohol, etc).

Alcohol has been an integral part of Western civilization for quite a while now. Prohibition on alcohol is in no way comparable to prohibition on pot [in terms of its impact]. Why do you think its prohibition is "dramatically" worse than making this mind altering substance generally available?

[secret handshake disclaimer: I liked Spliff and I don't mean just the band.]

Because we've tried that prohibition, and the results are demonstrably worse. I would recommend Radley Balko's numerous articles and his book on how detrimental the "war on drugs" has been to civil liberties in the USA in general, and how many people's lives it ruined.

It's dramatically worse becouse it imputes innocent people as criminals and puts them in jail.

People who break the law are by definition not "innocent". You might disagree with the laws/penalties, but anyone who knowingly violates the law is categorically not innocent.

Of course, that's the entire point. Without prohibition they are innocent. With prohibition they are criminals. That is why prohibition is dramatically worse. People who are not a threat to society are imputed as criminals, losing their life to jailtime and a permanent criminal record.

The same argument could be made for anything. Not paying your taxes is only illegal because there is a law that says you have to. You can't just define words to have whatever meaning you want. If you agree that they did something illegal then you can't call them innocent without lying.

It isn't that hard, don't do illegal drugs if you don't want to be called a criminal. You can work to make them legal, but that doesn't change the fact that they are illegal right now.

The point is that a person who otherwise works and provides value, but does cannabis is better for the society as a working person rather than someone in prison where people will pay with taxes for his living. If you skip on taxes you are living off of society so this should be illegal ofcourse.

Never disagreed with that. I'm just objecting to the usage of "innocent" in this context.

Ugh! Another case where technically correct is the worst kind of correct. It really adds nothing to the conversation, IMO.

I'm not "defining words to have whatever meaning". I explicitly agreed with you on the technicality of innocent vs criminal ("Of course"), and brought the conversation back the actual point:

Prihibition is dramatically worse because it imputes criminal charges onto people who are otherwise innocent. This is bad because these people are not a threat to society, yet with prohibition they lose their life to jailtime and a permanent criminal record.

I never said they are not illegal right now.

I talking about the original comment I was responding to. You specifically said that it "imputes innocent people as criminals". This implies that they are innocent which they are not.

I never said that it shouldn't be legalized/decriminalized, I'm just objecting to the usage of "innocent" to describe these people.

Fine - you are correct. These people are not "innocent" in the legal sense, in that they are in blatant violation of the law.

However I would then ask if the legal criteria of judging innocence are useful to society. My claim is that they are not, in that we label people as "guilty" and socially disadvantage them, when they may otherwise be perfectly productive members of society. Their use of cannabis in and of itself causes causes comparatively less harm to others, at least relative to harder drugs like alcohol.

Ok, I hear you. But I think my usage is ok. The purpose of prohibition is to apply a criminal status to an otherwise non-criminal. And without that law they are innocent, no? Or how else should we describe the status of said citizens without the existance of prohibition?

Circular reasoning FTW. You are a totalitarian toady.

> It helped in the beginning, but most of them just became addicted, paranoid and incredible slow thinkers and figuratively numb.

Depression itself leads to all of those things. Your anecdote is not data.

There is no evidence that marijuana is addictive or has lasting deleterious effects on intelligence. Your anecdata is not evidence.

This isn't /r/trees, you can't expect to make a claim like that without backing it up.

I made no claim, the parent did.

> There is no evidence that marijuana is addictive

Yeah that's misleading at best.

No evidence? You mean other than the study linked in the NPR article that's at the head of this discussion?

You mean the linked NPR article that agrees it doesn't have lasting effects, but instead effects that clear up as soon as people stop using? (Although with no control group, the described study is essentially worthless)

Did you have psychosis on that episode ?

Every study done, and likely to ever be done given ethical standards, attempting to link marijuana usage to mental illness shares the same fundamental problem which makes their results meaningless: It cannot account for self-selection. There is no way to know that those who would later be diagnosed with schizophrenia were not self medicating with marijuana, leading to the causation actually being backwards. And in that case there is also no way to know what effect preventing that self medication might have had, and whether it would be positive or negative.

Short of a plausible neurochemical explanation of how it would happen, phenomenological studies like those have to be discarded. They simply don't have the ability to illuminate anything, they can only feed intuitive guesses which is always dangerous in issues of health.

This same argument could be applied to many long-term medical studies: Maybe people with a pre-disposition to heart disease also hate exercising, so the link between heart disease is and lack of exercise is backwards. Yeah, that doesn't work.

Ignoring the link between mental illness and marijuana use is ridiculous. A medical study doesn't need 100% confidence to be true. If we held all of medical science to that bar, we'd never make progress.

Plus, we have a colloquialism for a person whose mind appears to have suffered damage from excessive marijuana usage: a burnout. It's something that even recreational users observe. And where there's smoke...

> Ignoring the link between mental illness and marijuana use is ridiculous.

Your statement presupposes the conclusion. You need to consider two different questions:

1) Do we have correlation between marijuana usage and mental illness above and beyond the line for something as common as alcohol or cigarettes?

2) Do we have have causation between marijuana and mental illness?

Most studies barely reach an "inconclusive, needs more study" on 1). 2) isn't even in scope yet.

> Plus, we have a colloquialism for a person whose mind appears to have suffered damage from excessive marijuana usage: a burnout.

We also have a word for someone with the same issue on a different drug--alcoholic.

I'm pretty sure we have far more conclusive evidence of the mental damage that alcohol does than the damage that marijuana does.

Alcohol is a red herring and serves no purpose in this discussion. The public has been made aware of the dangers of alcohol consumption.

> The relationship between cannabis and schizophrenia fulfills many but not all of the standard criteria for causality, including temporality, biological gradient, biological plausibility, experimental evidence, consistency, and coherence. At the present time, the evidence indicates that cannabis may be a component cause in the emergence of psychosis, and this warrants serious consideration from the point of view of public health policy. [0]

That's pretty solid, and far from "inconclusive." Animal testing have already confirmed that mice with certain genetic markers will develop schizophrenia if exposed to THC. [1]

[0] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24904437

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317170.php

> That's pretty solid, and far from "inconclusive."

It's literally what he said: "inconclusive, needs more study".

I'm not an expert on this though my father is, and from my recollection of our conversations I believe schizophrenia being latent until some trauma 'triggers' it in young adulthood is a quite common pattern, especially in men. Drug use is just one of many events that can induce this, and I don't believe it's in line with current clinical understanding to say that "door" "may have stayed shut otherwise".

A personal anecdote of mine. A friend has schizophrenia. There was a clear point of descent from smoking cannabis. He was 13 at the time - young for schizophrenia. He's now on clozapine, a powerful antipsychotic. Whenever his judgement fails him and he smokes pot, it's weeks to months before he has to spend some time in hospital. Otherwise, he could take other, heavier drugs to excess and not require urgent hospitalisation.

The rule for him was always "cannabis triggers".

You've illustrated the problem in anecdata: Nothing in what you said indicates that cannabis causes his episodes.

It is just as likely, given the description, that the sequence that results in an episode includes the prompts that trigger him to medicate with cannabis.

This is why we can't use personal experience to make public policy.

Nope. I understand that. I wouldn't say that cannabis causes schizophrenia or even episodes. It's more a story of how my friend and the people that love him came to view cannabis as it relates to his illness. It's an "understanding" if you will held by carers and primary care givers alike. If you suffer from psychosis, they make a point of warning about cannabis.

Perhaps the lapse in judgement is a sign of an oncoming episode, with weed unnecessarily blamed. But the experience of so many people and the possibility of a link deserves to be investigated with the rigour of science.

This exactly. Right now we have correlation. A ton of people in this thread are trying to divine causation.

If anything, legalization will greatly increase the sample size of users that are comfortable with taking part in studies that could confirm the effects of marijuana on cognitive performance.

I personally find that in the times I've used marijuana, there's a very small zone between no effect and feeling like I'm clinging to my sanity. I rarely partake. It reminds me of how people describe ayahuasca as being profound, but not fun.

> but I don't think we can treat pot as totally harmless for people under 30 and teens in particular because it seems like it's very harmful for some.

But I can say the same for alcohol and cigarettes and ...

While there are a few diehards, most sane people will not defend "marijuana is harmless"--even for adults. It's a drug; it does something to your mind; that's why you use it.

However, the increasing amount of data suggests that what harm marijuana does is in the same class as things like alcohol and cigarettes--which are legal, but regulated.

> I don't think we can treat pot as totally harmless for people under 30 and teens in particular because it seems like it's very harmful for some.

You're right, of course. But the same is true of peanuts.

Let us say there are 100 teens in your neighborhood, 65 of them tried eating peanuts and 20 of them liked very much and started eating multiple times a week on a regular basis.

Now 5 of those 20 started developing health/mental problems which are noticeable by parents, teachers & doctors.

What are the chances of the majority of those 5 stop eating peanuts, It is very high.

Now, what are the chances of similar 5 teens stop using weed for health/mental problems?

>Now, what are the chances of similar 5 teens stop using weed for health/mental problems?

I did. I recognized immediately on the first episode that something was wrong, I had a serious trip at the age of 18 where I was experiencing extremely high paranoia and psychosis to the point where I tried to get to the hospital, made worse by the fact it was illegal at the time so my friends stopped me, increasing the paranoia. It took me another bad experience to realise it was me, not the drug because my friends were fine. I didn't smoke for 20 years and only very carefully started again and now I can, but very very small doses and only when I'm out doing something. I'm a woman and what I went through wasn't so rare for my other friends, women and men. It didn't have any rhyme nor reason who it struck. But most of us stopped eventually, then we went on to our successful lives.

Now, what are the chances of similar 5 teens stop using weed for health/mental problems?

Probably good with actual education that makes sure folks know the actual risks and what sorts of things to look out for. We should do this in a better manner than we do with alcohol now. We should be very careful not to lie to folks lest folks cast aside all that we try to teach.

A few folks won't listen, just like a few folks will eat peanuts nonetheless.

The same?

You can rationalize peanuts beeing unhealthy for you exactly the same way you can rationalize away health issues due to marijuana.

"All other people eating it are fine"

"I've been eating peanuts for 5 years, and look, Im still alive"

People harmed by peanuts generally aren't interested in eating peanuts and don't do it except by accident. That's not true for drugs.

Every drug is not heroin or meth. In fact, with the exception of cocaine, the overwhelming majority of recreational drug use (weed, MDMA, LSD, even ketamine) is relatively low risk for addiction.

>The same?

It is not the same. Look at the opioid epidemic in teens across USA, talk to health care providers in that area, there is very well recorded evidence "a BIG percentage" of kids who personally noticed "Learning problems and other mental problems" are UNABLE to STOP using weed.


There is recorded clinical data evidence throughout USA hospitals. Millions of kids across the country were found having various kinds of food allergies and advised by the doctors to stop eating those foods and the vast majority DID STOP eating them.

Yes, but a food allergy is something you can feel. You feel sick, you might have to go to the hospital once or twice if you ate something which contained peanuts. It is a much tighter feedback loop. Eat some peanuts -> feel sick -> go to hospital. As far as I am aware this loop is very quick. If you extend this feedback loop to span multiple years, the connection between trigger and result is a lot more blurry, and it leaves more room for rationalization.

The comparision is "If you eat this, you will probably die if you do not get immediate treatment" versus "If you smoke this, in some time in the future you might have mental health issues. Or you might be totally fine"

Peanuts are also not (mentally) addictive, and neither do they alter your mental state.

People like to take chances, and hope that its not gonna be them who get mentally ill.

> Peanuts are also not (mentally) addictive, and neither do they alter your mental state

Yes, they are? Anecdotally, if i put a bowl of peanuts on my desk, I'll eat them without knowing it, and speed up eating them when nervous, thinking, or bored. Any habit a human does enough can be mentally addictive.

Importantly, neither are physiologically addictive.

True, they can be mentally addictive as well.

Your example isnt about addiction though. its that most likely you are kinda hungry, want to do something with your hands while you are thinking, or a nervous tick.

mariam webster defines addiction as follows

> : compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (such as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal

> broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful

personally I would not even require the substance beeing harmfull. So yes, you can imho be addicted to peanuts, but finishing the bowl on your desk is not that.

My point in emphasizing is that there are no known physiological addictive components of canabis.

Presumably, the op knows the same, hence specified mentally addictive, but is confused because they don't think peanuts have the same, but they do. Mentally addictive only means you like the way it makes you feel so you keep doing it, not that your receptors actually need it or stop functioning without it (chemical dependence)

Cannabinoids have similar addiction pathways (dopamine receptors) as sex, sugar, and, for this example, salt.

> Peanuts are also not (mentally) addictive, and neither do they alter your mental state.

That is exactly why weed and peanuts should be treated differently.

Millions of people are told to stop smoking every day and they don't do it. That's because humans are bad at judging the likelihood of long-term effects, whereas food allergies have immediate and very painful ones.

This has nothing to do with the substance. If weed stopped you from breathing and made your tongue swell, people would drop it right away.

1 of those 100 peanut eaters would have had to have paramedics immediately, another would have required a benedryl.

The problem is that the discourse right now is extremely polarized, following the left/right divide in politics. You have people on the right claiming that pot will automatically ruin your life, and (some) people on the left pretending it's completely benign and almost a panacea. I once watched a "documentary" claiming that pot cures cancer! I kid you not.

The fact is, it's a substance that affects different people differently. It can cause intense anxiety in some people, and it can severely impair your judgement. Responsible use requires that users be properly informed of the risks. We need to be having a more balanced and honest discussion about this, and many other issues.

I agree with you that it is extremely polarized, but disagree that it follows the left/right divide in politics.

I have many friends and family on all sides of the spectrum, and there are many conservatives that have opinions like, "it's not for me, but I don't care what you do with your body" (not a typical conservative position IMHO, but becoming more common). I've also been hearing the "I support medical, but not recreational." Even here in Utah, a very conservative state, we are close to legalizing medical cannabis with prop 2.

On the progressive side I've been starting to hear people saying more and more that the evidence is incomplete, and therefore the government needs to consider regulating it much more heavily or wait to legalize until more science is done.

Of course, those are not the stereotypical views, but it's one of the issues that seems to cross left/right divides a lot more than others.

All high school weed smokers are not equal. There are many occasional smokers.

For the sake of simplicity, let me put a number here.

High schooler between 9th to 12 grade who smoke weed at least 10 times a week all four years will settle in LIFE below 50% of his potential (compared to how he would have done without weed)

I knew a guy at university who smoked everyday. And before he took exams or tests, he would do a bong hit to settle his nerves.

He got a 1st in Chemistry.


>a guy at university who smoked everyday

You did not read my post well. You did not know the guy you said did what I mentioned "10 times a week, for all 4 years 9-12 grade", If he did, he is unlikely to reach university. Even if few kids reach university with parents money, they would not have got 1st in Chemistry.

You may still show me 15 guys who reached university top class ranks after doing 4 year high school heavy weed. In the same high school I can show 85 kids (4 year high school heavy weed users) whose life prospects are diminished by the time they finish the collage .

That is the whole point

+1 definitely know a few people who somehow (total mystery to me) their brains are on fire when using. Similarly have opposite examples... It just seems to work differently for differently people.

used to be this way, then i got old.

Citation very much needed :)

Maybe this is too reductionist but I once heard someone describe it as, "there's nothing fundamentally dangerous about pot, but one of its (often intended) effects is that is slows our engines down. And some of us need to be firing on all cylinders."

School was a tricky time for me. I'm thriving intellectually now, but I was a C- student pretty much 4th-12th grade. I needed those cycles that pot would have robbed me of.

South Park put it quite well: "Well, Stan, the truth is marijuana probably isn't gonna make you kill people, and it most likely isn't gonna fund terrorism, but… well, son, pot makes you feel fine with being bored. And it's when you're bored that you should be learning some new skill or discovering some new science or being creative. If you smoke pot you may grow up to find out that you aren't good at anything."

These are the kind of honest explanations for drugs that we need more of. Most people that do heroin don't become prostitutes to fund the habit. But once you've done it, no matter what happens in your life, it's not as good as that time you did heroin in your friends basement. And that's really sad.

edit: I'm being rightfully called out. I haven't done heroin and didn't mean to authoritatively say that there is only one realistic outcome. I only meant that painting the picture of drugs completely ruining your entire life isn't accurate, we all know very successful people that regularly do drugs.

I guess looking at movies and books, I could see where you'd get this idea, but it really isn't accurate.

There are different types of feeling good, and the purely chemical good isn't particularly rewarding. There are the moments in life where you are happy because you are living the life you want to live, and those are way better than just feeling good from drugs. Sometimes life goals and drugs come together, and that gets really interesting. It's reasonably common for people to do MDMA and have a glimpse of their life without anxiety and trauma, or LSD and looking at their own existence objectively.

For me, the best moments in my life are around building connections with people.

Lotta people talking about heroin in this thread, but lets be clear, unless you have tried heroin, or are otherwise intimately familiar with its affects, you are probably not qualified to talk about what it feels like.

Not trying to single out parent, just felt like it should be mentioned.

As someone who's done quite a bit of heroin...All of these comments are sort of correct in their own way. On its own turf, no, nothing will ever feel as good as heroin. Normal life experiences can't compete with that, not directly. But there is a one-dimensionality to its goodness that allows you to have experiences that, though i'm not sure they feel "better" than heroin, feel good in different ways that can be more satisfying, while also being sustainable.

It's sort of like the fact that nothing tastes better than cheesecake (or insert your favorite dessert here), but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy life or even other food without it.

As someone who's been through many different addictions, I'm starting to appreciate freedom from craving (a specific form of inner peace) more than the pleasure of indulging in a craving. (As well as the subtle benefits to mind and mood that come with it!)

Ya. It's sort of hard to explain to people who haven't experienced it, right? They like to ask "does not cheesecake ever taste as good as cheesecake?" and of course the answer is no: Cheesecake always tastes better than not-cheesecake. But there are other dimensions to experience that aren't captured by the immediacy of taste in that sense.

I am not misenjoying your non-shallow depth of double negatives (JK, love your observations)

I was trying to get to this with good versus rewarding, but it's one of those things that is so obvious when you feel it, but hard to communicate with people who haven't.

As far as drugs go though, there is a lot of personal preference involved too. For me, MDMA in unhealthy quantities is still the best that I've ever felt, and I know some other people prefer the meth high, but I don't think that's exactly what you are arguing against :)

The dimensionality is the key part. It's not just a metaphor, it's a physical quantity. Like cheesecake, the neurological response to heroin follows a specific profile of activation. However, (most) humans find fulfillment in far more dimensions than any single activity provides.

Life would be empty without cheesecake though.

Then I really don't recommend you experiment with heroin :)

I am a very very fat guy trying to eat properly and it’s excruciating, even after 5 weeks away from most of my daily life. Damned if I haven’t toyed briefly and desperately with the idea of some kind of pharmaceutical intervention. But my lifelong policy with drugs has always been if I can’t even handle Mountain Dew Throwback, I won’t have a chance with speed or coke or pot

Unsolicited tip. Something I find has helped me a lot with challenges like you are facing is to stop looking at them as difficult or choices and simply understanding it what you have to and are going to do. Remove the choice from the equation. I had some pretty destructive habits when I was younger and now people comment on my strong mental discipline. This approach has really helped. I recently had to cut all starch from my diet due to an auto-immune diagnosis and went through ketosis. The discipline has now become the habit. It never occurred to me to not follow through even in the deepest keto flu period. It's possible to achieve and once you've beaten one hurdle the next one becomes easier until you control fully your thoughts and not the other way around.

Definitely second this. Choices are hard, but decisions are easy. If you make hard rules for yourself and decide to follow them without exception, it is much easier to stick to, at least, that's what i've found for myself as well.

Much obliged. It’s a surprisingly alien concept for me with food, yet not elsewhere in my life. Odd, come to think of it.

Interesting. I will try to think that way. BTW I’m quite self-disciplined pretty much every other way and I never thought much about it, but I think that’s how I normally am. If it’s not food or caffeine...

Hah, I try to avoid it.

I'm writing from personal experience. Well, I've never done heavy opiates in a basement, so maybe going subterranean makes all the difference.

That makes it sound as if we should let people that only have a few days to live take all the heroin they want, actually. Maybe we should.

To a lesser extent, that's part of what hospice / palliative care is. Not to the extent that it's purely recreational, but often involve continued use of opiods for pain management.


If I get to choose the way I die it will be with an unlimited morphine drip slamming on the button repetitively. I had morphine back as a kid for a ruptured appendix and damn that stuff was good. I'll never forget the day they came in and I was expecting to get my daily shot and they told me I was being switched over to Tylenol lest I become addicted. I was 8, and I still remember thinking of saying "Oh I'm not becoming addicted but can we do it for 1 more day" haha...

> I had morphine back as a kid for a ruptured appendix and damn that stuff was good.

I suppose this varies a lot from individual to individual. I had morphine a few months ago for a shoulder reduction, and I felt horrible enough that I almost wish I'd just done it without painkillers at all.

Sadly there's still some prohibition on giving the patient enough to comfortably OD and voluntarily end their suffering in a lot of places. I've heard nurses say that they're instructed to try and keep the patient optimistic, even when all that life means to them anymore is continued suffering. Gotta squeeze every last dollar out of them or something I suppose.

There is a less cynical explanation: if you make it too easy for people to kill themselves then you run the risk of old people being coerced into taking that option by, for example, greedy relatives eyeing their inheritance.

And it could be seen as a perverse incentive for governments to make it too easy for people who are an economic and budgetary burden to end their own lives.

I believe this approach is also present in the UK where the patient isn't paying for their treatment directly. So I doubt it is to do with making money.

The patient may not be paying, but is the question is if the hospital still gets paid for his continued use of their services.

Wouldn't that be the argument of legitimate medical use though? You're mitigating the pain of people who literally have less than a year to live.

There is extensive research and clinical practice on the topic of comfort-measure care at the end of life. Opioids are, indeed, often felt to be helpful at the very end.

Depending on the condition of the patient and the specifics of the palliative care prescribed, that's exactly what happens. Just using morphine minus the extra additves used to make heroin. Add pure oxygen to the mix and I'm not sure the patient notices much of a difference - they're high as a kite regardless.

This is already part of palliative care. Fentanyl is synthetic heroine and is orders of magnitude more potent.

Terminal patients are often given lethal doses of morphine near the end.

From what I heard it is a bit of a lawyerish distinction at that point - that euthanasia is never the intent but may be the end result. If they arecterminally ill or mortally injured with instructions to treat by giving enough that they don't have pain. If it is a level that they can just slumber peacefully 22 hours a day they are to go with that. If they are 95% third degree burnt and they need more than that and it eventually stops their breathing it is an unfortunate side effect of treating their pain but still the best option sadly and not malpractice - sometimes needed treatments can kill even when everything is done right.

The evasion and mental gymnastics does have some point at least - it isn't the doctor deciding to take the life of a patient because of a judgement and well any student of the 20th century knows how /that/ can end.

The mental gymnastics are due to the legal environment in the US and in particular on laws in many states that could send physicians who prescribe a drug for the purpose of ending a patient's life to jail.

But there are lots of drugs that have the possible side effect of death, and plenty of patients who decide that the risk-benefit of taking a drug is warranted even though it might kill them.

So therefore, everything has to be described in terms of "pain management" and "comfort" where the cessation of breathing is just a... potential side effect. If that, combined with the patient's standing orders not to intubate or perform any sort of resuscitative action in the event that they stop breathing, leads to death... well...

The euphemism that is frequently used is "palliative sedation" (or "terminal sedation", although that seems to be used mostly by people of the thou-must-maximally-suffer school of thought).

That pretty much already happens with painkillers in many cases.

I don't buy that. I'm not sure where that information came from, but it's not the case for all users. Heroin feels amazing, but there's a ton of things in life that past users can find even better--even more rewarding. Russell Brand has a good book about this, it's called "Recovery"

Throughout highschool and college I knew a decent amount of people who experimented with drugs. But only a few who injected heroin, and all of them expressed that they weren't sure they were ever going to be happy again without heroin. And now most(maybe all) of them are dead.

I'm sure that's not true of every user, but enough of them that I really think heroin(and strong opioids in general) is a different beast.

That's a valid point, but it's worth pointing out that it can be applied to many more things than just marijuana (TV, video games, alcohol, social media, most articles people read, many apps, etc.). There's an enormous section of our economy that's devoted to wasting people's time when they could be "learning some new skill or discovering some new science or being creative" (I'd add taking care of your body, your mind, and your community to that list as well). For a lot of people, evenings have been the time to sit mindlessly in front of a screen for a few hours.

This ends up hurting our society on multiple fronts: people not being as productive as they could be because they're encouraged to waste time, an overall less happy society, a less healthy society because of the encouragement of sedentary behavior (and the economic burden that comes with that), a large part of the economy that could be devoted to improving people's lives but is instead wasted on encouraging negative behavior, etc. The problem is that we've grown so accustomed to this situation that we rarely think much about it, or what we can do to change it (whereas marijuana is getting at least some scrutiny, since legalization is new).

The problem with this quote is that it's too vague and can be applied to general entertainment and leisure time, no drugs needed.

You shouldn't be listening to music, you should be creating it. You shouldn't be playing video games, you should be designing them. You shouldn't be just eating food, you should be the one cooking it. You shouldn't be lazing around at the pool, you should be swimming laps.

It's disgustingly puritan. Really it's enough to tell people that you should spend part of your time being productive. How you spend your leisure time really doesn't matter. But I guess quoting south park is typically a prerequisite for constraining the discussion to the point of nothingness.

>If you smoke pot you may grow up to find out that you aren't good at anything.

I understand the audience on this forum will not like this sentiment, but with the empirical evidence we have on hand, video games are a bigger problem for our youth than pot will most likely ever be.


Clearly sitting around on the couch playing video games all day can be just as destructive as sitting on the couch smoking pot all day. Also clearly, there are tons of skilled, industrious people who also smoke pot. I don't think anyone here is saying you should never entertain yourself, but maybe also don't make yourself a slack jawed victim of Infinite Jest.

Moderation is the thing, and for young people in particular that can be a lot to ask.

>can be just as destructive as sitting on the couch smoking pot all day

All evidence points to it being more destructive.

>Moderation is the thing

That's exactly what I just said.

>and for young people in particular that can be a lot to ask.

It can be. And quite frankly certain forms of media are doing more damage to our youth than marijuana ever could when taken in excessive amounts. Loss of sleep, sedentary lifestyles, in some cases toxic social environments.

I understand the quote to mean that pot makes people okay with being bored. Other recreational activities don't have that same effect. You might do them to stave off boredom, or you won't be bored when doing them, but it's not really the same thing.

Video gaming is an interesting one, a form of dopamine addiction. Pot isnt about dopamine I think?

The quote, while probably the best way to address juvenile cannabis use I have ever heard, is still from a satirical cartoon. Subjectively, cannabis does NOT make oneself numbly content with being bored. What I found is that it makes things seem profound or meaningful or funny, significantly lowering the boredom threshold. You can for sure still be bored when high and I find the boredom feelings are actually amplified (like sitting in a huge line at a store with no screen/headphones gets really old really fast).

>Other recreational activities don't have that same effect.

I'm sorry what do you think leisure activities are?

_alternatives_ to beeing bored

Where does marijuana suddenly not fall under the same characteristics as any other leisure activity?

It's blatantly obvious some of the comments are speaking out of unbridled ignorance.

Well, if your definition of smoking marijuana is going outside, walking around, thinking about stuff or talking with friends, then yeah, it is also an alternative to boredom.

But when you finished the joint, you will still have to do something. And after the active part of smoking is done, the "beeing high makes you more likely be okay with beeing bored" still applies.

And I can promise you that I am not ignorant when talking about marijuana, and neither am I opposed to people smoking it for their enjoyment.

I don't understand what line you're drawing here, because I don't understand how this is different to say, listening to music.

I wouldn't consider music an "alternative to boredom" as its foremost characteristic or as a last resort to boredom. It's just a fun activity. Just like smoking marijuana is. It's too much of a mischaracterization of music, or pot, or any other leisure activity.

Thanks for wanting to understand, here's another go.

The effect of smoking pot lasts longer than the action of smoking pot. The effect of listening to music often is limited to the action of listening to music.

Pot affects people over time. So you might smoke a joint then be quite content being in the world doing whatever. If you didn't smoke the joint and did the same whatever things you would feel bored.

You generally don't feel bored and are ok with it on pot, you feel ok doing the same activities you would feel bored doing if you were not high.

I hope that improves the understanding.

There's a difference between being productive and being entertained. Stan's father describes productive activities, but sometimes you just want to relax and be entertained. Everything in moderation.

"most likely isn't gonna fund terrorism"

This isn't true, unfortunately (at least in the US and I suspect much of the world) unless you are getting it legally or know the source. The US does grow quite a bit of illegal marijuana but there is also quite a bit imported by Mexican cartels and I have seen articles about how legalization is having a non-trivial financial impact on cartels, such as:


For detailed reporting on cartels in Mexico see Borderland Beat: http://www.borderlandbeat.com/

Yes, you can say this is due to it being illegal and you would be right, but we shouldn't ignore what is actually being funded by US illegal drug consumption.

These are the kind of honest discussions we should have.

> South Park put it quite well: "Well, Stan, the truth is marijuana probably isn't gonna make you kill people, and it most likely isn't gonna fund terrorism, but… well, son,

> pot makes you feel fine with being bored. And it's when you're bored that you should be learning some new skill or discovering some new science or being creative.

>If you smoke pot you may grow up to find out that you aren't good at anything".

All high school weed smokers are not equal. There are many occasional smokers. For the sake of simplicity, let me put a number here.

High schooler between 9th to 12 grade who smoke weed at least 10 times a week all four years will settle in LIFE below 50% of his potential (compared to how he would have done without weed)

I read this in Randy's voice and laughed out loud.

impressive quote from a cartoon, wow.


I think you'd be surprised how many people smoke weed in high school. If I had to estimate I'd say that over half of my class smoked (including the class president and valedictorian) and probably close to 20% smoked on a daily basis. The parking lot literally reeked of weed every morning. Did everyone turn out ok? No but the vast majority of them did. Plenty of my aforementioned classmates are now doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc. By a number of metrics, they are successful and very useful humans.

I know people who were like that in high school who are just fine now. Actually, come to think of it I can't think of a single one of the 'stoners' that were in my grade at school who wasted their time being stoned constantly who didn't at least end up living a reasonable life to this point.

The few that didn't were the ones that either got into harder drugs or were already also stealing or hanging out with gangsters also.

The people that just sat around smoking weed though for the most part ended up alright.

I didn't smoke weed through high school but I still did poorly because I didn't really care. I was more concerned with my mom slowly dying of lung cancer at the time. I did enough to pass but was about it. High school was honestly one of the most pointless things i've had to do in my life. It didn't stop me from going to school after and doing useful things with my life though. I also smoked weed constantly throughout university and was consistently among the top in my class. I'd be stoned during midterms and get 100% or more on a couple occasions.

I've never found it slows me down or stops me from thinking. If anything it does the opposite. It lets my mind focus on one thing at a time without getting distracted and makes tasks i'd othwerwise find boring and probably procrastinate on fun and interesting and gives me more incentive to do those things.

No to dissuade or reject your points but you might have ADD/ADHD if that's how marijuana affects you.

Ya maybe...i've always wondered. Never bothered getting tested. I've mostly just learned to focus and pay attention when I need to. A while back a learned to meditate and practice mindfulness and i've found that's been more helpful than anything. When i start to feel my mind race i'll just close my eyes and focus on my breathing while I count for a little bit. It usually helps me get my thoughts back under control.

Honestly I think it's a little sad you (1) spend this much time thinking about people who smoked pot in high school and (2) have painted their futures this bleak.

I know plenty of people that spent high school and even a not insignificant amount of college in a pot-induced daze that are successful developers, scientists and even one doctor.

I have a similar attitude to MSG. It's probably not going to give you cancer, or cause any serious health problems, but it makes you ok with eating non-nutritious food that would otherwise be bland and tasteless.

Only because fearmongering has scared people away from MSG. You can use it to improve the flavor of nutritious food, too. It’s conceptually no different than salt; junk food contains it, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it in your own cooking.

This was more or less my point about MSG.

People are quick to down vote here.

Nutrients don't give food taste though. Mostly acids and other non vital alkaloids and terpenes do..

Vitamin-C definitely has a taste.

Because it is an acid..namely ascorbic acid..

> pot makes you feel fine with being bored.

How do you define "boredom"?

According to Oxford Dictionary it means:

"Feeling weary and impatient because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one's current activity." [1]

As far as my observations go this is particularly not fitting the perception experienced under the influence of weed.

Weed makes you feel - provided one responds positive to it - not weary, not impatient and one finds the present activity overly interesting.

> And it's when you're bored that you should be learning some new skill or discovering some new science or being creative. If you smoke pot you may grow up to find out that you aren't good at anything.

In my personal opinion I think that's alright. Not everybody has to be "good" at something. Whatever that even means.

[1]: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/bored

EDIT: I would like to mention that weed only makes me sleepy and helps relax. Also I don't think that one should respond to boredom (how I understand it) with weed - not at all. Drugs are never necessary to grow personally and often detrimental due to overuse.

> As far as my observations go this is particularly not fitting the perception experienced under the influence of weed.

And that is the point of what they're saying. Being bored can be uncomfortable. One route out of that is to do something more interesting and productive, another is to alter your perception so that you are ok with it.

People are usually bored doing math hw, but most people would still consider it "productive and interesting" once they are doing it. If you smoke weed and become more actively engaged with the boring activity of math hw, you become more interested and productive.

If people got to choose what they were doing it seems unlikely they would be bored in the first place though...

I think it depends on your definition of boredom. What does feeling bored mean to you?

Most people say that weed helps them be more creative, which is the opposite of the South Park quote. Having creative thoughts and dreams but not acting on them can lead to depression. "Being in the moment" is doing what you are thinking, and not letting worry or doubt stop you. Hence the creative energy people often get when high.

Good point - personally, I am skeptical whether weed increases creativity. I never experienced that. I just don't like the weed-bashing from the angle of the you-have-to-be-productive-dogma.

When I was younger (in my early/mid 20s mostly) I enjoyed it and in some ways I think it can stimulate creativity. The way it always felt to me was that it made me think "tangentially".

The stereotype of an absent-minded stoner is one way to look at it, but I often found that it caused my mind to wander and occasionally follow trains of thought that would normally be cut off earlier by "normal" thought processes.

That said, letting your mind wander can spur creativity and cannabis is something that enables this state. At the same time, if all you do is come up with random ideas (some of which might have value to yourself or others), it's only the start of the process. Brainstorming is great but if it never goes past the daydream phase, it may be irrelevant.

Either way, as I got older I stopped reacting positively to cannabis and I find it makes me more anxious than anything these days (yeah, yeah, I tried "that one strain I just had to try"). For whatever reason my brain just doesn't like being in that state anymore. But I'd never tell someone else how to relax or when it's valid to indulge in a bit of daydreaming if it agrees with them.

Maybe weed only helps them feel more creative.

I don't see a problem with the definition you posted.

I do - for me feeling bored means facing some kind of a vacuum. A lack of motivation and inspiration. When you deeply look into this it is for me often the only moment that makes me feel inspired. Of course it can cause weariness and if one responds to this boredom with avoidance - be it playing computer games or smoking weed. That's usually not benefiting personal growth.

"Weed makes you feel - provided one responds positive to it - not weary, not impatient and one finds the present activity overly interesting." - Exactly. It makes you ok with being bored rather than feeling weary and impatient and prone to go and do something instead of finding whatever banal activity you're doing overly interesting.

If cannabis makes you ok with being bored, just admit you're a boring person. It's there inside of you and you're using the cannabis as an excuse to continue it. You're not even considering what the implications are for add and adhd users, that is, they can concentrate on a task for much longer without feeling the same banality and lack of connection for example.

What's wrong with "banal" activities?

You're right, it's a matter of values.

Banal: Overeating/overdrinking/overconsuming, sitting around, reading reddit/HN for hours, playing video games or twitch.

Not banal: Challenging yourself to new activities or hobbies that require skill. Seeing the world, interacting with other people IRL. Learning (new topics, reading, etc). Building things. Getting out of your comfort zone.

Essentially, being passive/not learning/not engaging vs. learning/challenging oneself and trying to be more than you are.

While I can say I have the experience of not 'growing' at times (now), I would never say that's the weed's fault. Mostly because I've felt the exact same thing before ever smoking weed (I didn't smoke until my 30s). It's depression for me, and it's pervasive.

That said I can say that having depression (and a bit of PTSD) is way more of a hell without the weed to take my mind off it. And even if it's just playing a video game for 6 hours (rimworld is my current 2nd drug) that's far more active and engaging than my typical super depressed not leaving my bed state.

I also think bettering yourself and being a success isn't a one-size-fits-all package. I have a friend who smoked so much damn weed it's a wonder they have any brains left. They learned to play league of legends 10+ hours a day sometimes while high as a kite. They're now making multiple times the money streaming on twitch than they ever would've with any job they would be qualified for. They're the happiest they've ever been, met their SO through twitch, and are living the good life all by ignoring the advice being given here.

>Not banal: Challenging yourself to new activities or hobbies that require skill. Seeing the world, interacting with other people IRL. Learning (new topics, reading, etc). Building things. Getting out of your comfort zone.

All those things feel AMAZING while high, even if the banal things feel way better than sober. Cannabis doesn't just somehow discriminate to make only unproductive activities feel better.

I personally reached the conclusion to start seriously self-learning coding while stoned out of my mind and would furiously code in my room while stoned out of my mind. Now, about seven years later, I have a good career as a developer and still get stoned silly every night.

There's nothing in cannabis that stops you from engaging in these activities, and for some the consumption of cannabis can enhance these activities that are otherwise difficult to enter for them to enter on their own. You seem to be unaware of just how many great pieces of pop culture were developed or punched up while high. There's nothing preclusive about getting high, it's time to stop blaming the drug that has widely different effects in people and start looking at the people themselves and the environment they're apart of. I'm willing to concede the clinic trials that show cannabis has a negative effect on word list memorization and digital symbol substitution tests, but it's not forcing you to do anything you were incapable of doing before, and if it you let it can open so many windows.

We really need to look at society and ask why people are looking for a way out instead of a way in, but I guess it's easier to blame weed.

Banal is a pretty negative connotation for activities that I think are pretty core to human happiness

Some of the unhappiest people I know obsess over optimizing every second to be productive

Sometimes, often, in fact, we need banality to reset ourselves, to rest and recuperate.

We're not all Elon Musk, working 90 hours a week and always starting up a new start up. Banality will ensure we don't burn out before we're 40.

@jimmaswell: "Relevant note here is that Elon actually smokes it himself"

Also Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Feynman etc. (of course that doesn't prove anything - but it helps keeping things in proportion)

Relevant note here is that Elon actually smokes it himself

Or a matter of definition? For me banal means reading a novel or playing a game. Maybe that's because the term "banal" in German means just almost the same as in English. The German "banal" just means "nothing special", "ordinary", "not ingenious".

Is sleep a banal activity?

Sleep, dreams, and mental recuperation are underrated. How many coders wake up with the solution to a bug or problem they couldn't resolve.

That's the point, one person's "banal activity" is another person's necessary re-charge.

There is nothing wrong. It's just that they don't contribute to success. Now you might ask, what's wrong with not striving for success? Nothing, I suppose. It's nice however to be able to reach one's fullest potential.

While I agree that spending your free time sitting around, smoking weed and watching Netflix is a poor use of your time, I'd be wary of defining for yourself what the 'fullest potential' of another person is.

That's such a proud and confident thing to say. No need for a throwaway account.

I would argue that striving for success is often the best way to actually not reach one's fullest potential.

You misunderstand me. I'm not making value judgements. Success and non-success means the same thing in the end. But while we're here, might as well experience a drive for success? Or smoke up and be lazy, that's fine too. I've done both and don't necessarily prefer one over another. I really don't think pride or confidence comes into play here.

but its better chances than trying to reach averageness.

> Weed makes you feel - provided one responds positive to it - not weary, not impatient and one finds the present activity overly interesting.

That's basically what he said. You're doing something that you'd ordinarily find boring, but now you don't feel bored.

Feeling bored is your mind telling you that you should be doing something else.

And how is that bad?

Okay - so you normally would feel unpleasant. Now you don't because of weed. Of course you can argue weed is unhealthy - totally possible. But regarding the perceived state change. How is that causing harm? Because s/he's not going to become wealthy or "successful"?

It’s not causing harm, it’s preventing growth.

I think sometimes, not a big deal.

The problem is if you do it to excess. When you would rather stay in and get high, than meet up with friends, drop out of school etc. When you are not living up to what you consider successful for yourself. Then you have a problem.

Being able to not rely on government assistance for ANYTHING, including health care, would be a start.

Please do not post political flamebait, or any flamebait, to Hacker News.


Good luck finding a single person on a developed country who fits this description. If anything, people with incredible drive lean on government assistance the most (e.g. Elon Musk and his two heavily-subsidized companies), because they know how to find leverage to accomplish their goals.

As a young, successful stoner living in Western Europe, I salute your ignorance

Please be civil on Hacker News.


One the other hand, people who feel like their engines are firing on all cylinders all the time (ie ADHD and friends) might find some relief in a drug that allows them to slow down and switch of their head radio while firing on only one cylinder...

The problem with ADHD and friends cause is that my brain actually _doesn't_ fire on all cylinders. While I think I feel the same way as everyone else and I have the same cognitive ability, I don't have the energy to structure my work, complete it and keep track of things in ways other classmates/coworkers magically can.

Cannabis certainly has a calming effect that could lower the hyperactivity component, but it doesn't address the attention deficit part.

The reason the most common treatment are stimulants like Ritalin, is because it "wakes us up" and brings us ADHD people to an alertness level similar to what our peers have by default.

Yes, this is true. ADHD is caused by the frontal lobe "executive control" cylinder not being able to take control as much as it should.

Often low dopamine and noradrenaline levels are to blame. (L-Tyrosine on an empty stomach can help, if you're looking for a natural solution.)

I definitely benefit from this. I find pot to be a great context switcher. Formerly after working on a problem for long hours, when I would go home I would still be immersed in the problem and unable to take my mind off it. Now when I come and have my things in order I warm up a vape bag and put on some jazz and am able to completely detach from work and really just enjoy my nights.

I use a completely different method (to detach from whatever it is - work or something else). I pick an instrument and play some music. Something anyone can do, as long as you don't fret about being good or not.

I always end up coming home from work, eating dinner, showering, queuing up a movie, smoking weed, having some random insight on a work related problem, and never getting around to the relaxing activity I had planned!

I have never understood this concept of detaching from work only to wake up the next day and having to face it. Why would you detach so much?

Relaxing is overrated. It deprives you of powers you have developed or will develop, only to make you a more powerless person.

And a powerless person can never and should never relax.

Haha, you are on some hyperbole stuff my dude. If you want to work super hard your whole life go for it. I am very satisfied working my 8 hours and then putting that work aside and enjoying my leisure time.

I still of course work extra some times or do productive things in my time off, but yeah unless there's a deadline I'm not gonna worry about some work problem on off hours when I can't even make progress until I get back to my work computer anyways.

Fear/worry/anxiety is the mind killer and often helps nothing.

And I never understood slaving away for your employee while you're not getting paid for it.

Relaxing is not overrated at all, it improves your ability to focus, and even makes you more productive. Far from depriving you of any powers or skills.

To each their own, but I'm not paid to work 24 hours per day, and doing so would undoubtedly affect my outside-of-work relationships and interests.

My experience is that there is not a linear relationship between effort invested and output. It's a diminishing returns problem after 8-10 hours per day, so it's not even productive for me to spend all day and night churning on a work problem, even if I wanted to do that.

Working 24 hours a day is a good way to burn out. Sometimes you need to switch contexts and look at the problem in a new direction.

Do you also think you don't need to make your bed in the morning since you're gonna sleep in it later that day?

I don't make my bed in the morning. But when my bed happens to be made, it is so refreshing to just come at night and sleep soundly. Like a reset button was hit.

I get it now. Sort of.

But the problem doesn't go away.

ADHD was pretty much the reason I struggled in school. The diagnosis gave me access to medication which turned a knob between two settings:

Be social, happy, energetic, hungry, incapable of succeeding in the education system of the 90s, 00s. (default me)

Be quiet, jittery, never eat, anti-social, depressed at times, but kick ass at school.

Tried a lot of different ADHD medications and generally found success in simply selectively switching that knob when I wanted to be a human or when I wanted to be a learning machine.

I wonder what pot would have done... never really thought about it.

Not a doctor but someone who was in a similar boat but to me it sounds like that dosage might have been too high, or you weren't taking it regularly enough. I found that once I was able to negotiate with my doctor to a lower prescription I was able to mostly get rid of the negatives of ADHD medicines. I found in general via a lot of other friends who were prescribed in the 90s/00s that their dosages were crazy high to start with as well.

Nope. ADHD is a spectrum. Often times it was/is misunderstood and its victims would feel isolated from the world. Marijuana would make that worse on certain vectors. It is not a silver bullet. It is a role of the dice. And the condition of the moment that you take it in decides the fate of the drug's effects on you. Could be good or bad.

I have diagnosed ADD/ADHD. Would hardly consider myself a "victim." It has pros and cons just like everything else in life. Personally I don't take medication and am totally sober. Mindfulness meditation helps tremendously

I meant in the context of a misunderstood person who nobody knows has ADHD and possesses behaviors that do not fit the norm, he is a victim of unjust social attitudes.

What pros are there? I havent found any personally.

There's a few that I've found!

1. Hyperfocus. It has been tremendous for programming or even reading. There's sort of an ADD threshold that I break through after ~30 minutes of self discipline and pain. Then I'm suddenly in the zone, some kind unshakeable state, for hours on end. Most people I know seem to need a break after 30-60 minutes, right when I'm just getting into it.

2. Fun and physical activity. I use extreme difficulty of maintaining attention as an indicator that what I'm doing is just not stimulating or interesting enough. Of course this might not be good when you're with other humans, but I find I'm often able to focus on things better when my body is moving. That means when I take someone out on a date somewhere, it's usually very interesting and unusual.

3. Fast context switching. This may be more of a coping mechanism than a benefit, but often times rather than focusing on a single task, I'll "procrastinate" by switching between multiple important tasks repeatedly or working on things that are peripherally related. As a result, I have a breadth of knowledge that helps me think creatively and still get work done as needed.

4. Creative thinking. I believe (anecdotally, no evidence) that people with ADD are less likely to get stuck in a rut, or get bogged down with repetitive, boring, familiar things, because we simply don't have the attention span for it.

Noticing changes faster, faster reactions. Probably how it evolved in the first place.

Faster Reactions?

I havent noticed any difference in how fast I recognize changes between me and coworkers. If at all, I seem to miss changes more often, as my mind usually goes "was that allways like that? I guess so", since recall of memories can be pretty flaky

Well such is the nature of anecdotal experiences. I've noticed, that I react faster then others. No idea how universal this correlation is.

I doubt that it relates to adhd, I only found studies showing an increased reaction time, but Id be happy to be proven wrong.

Average seems to be 0.25 seconds, if I remember correctly a online test I did at home put me at 0.28, just sliightly over average

The anti-drug-guy I am in this discussion: you are so right. It should be much more acceptable to just fire on one cylinder sometimes, just for the sake of human dignity.

But the normal treatment is amphetamines, isn't weed sorta the "opposite"


My study strategy in college was to review my notes for about an hour, take a bong hit, and watch a movie. Then I would get a great night sleep.

Otherwise, test anxiety would keep me awake and do more harm than good.

I'm a very anxious person and my mind is always going a million miles an hour. I have find the occasional light usage of marijuana does wonders for me.

Isn't ADHD typically treated with stimulants?

It is.

This topic is more complex than simple HN comments are going to cover. There are different types of ADHD and though ADHD is good for software development (because of hyperfocus) it's also correlated with having a lower IQ. So high functioning ADHD people are a rarity and they're often in software or something similar for a multitude of reasons.

What you read here is how smart people with ADHD feel about their condition. It's dangerous to extrapolate to the broader public. You're also going to miss much of the conversation because most people that have tried pot once or twice aren't going to comment on it because they know how it's going to end up in a database somewhere. So you're going to see more pro-pot arguments than "I tried it and it didn't work for me" arguments.

Neurotypicals can hyperfocus as well, and personally for me (ADHD-PI) I hyperfocus very few times at work, but more frequently at home.

I would argue that hyperfocus vs inattention is a net-loss for my employee

Also ADHD-PI, and yeah, hyperfocus is great for coding, but you have to be working on something "interesting enough" to trigger it. Not all the work you will do at work will be interesting, so without treatment you swing wildly between being super productive and massively unproductive, which might be okay in a small startup but fails to mesh with larger companies that expect any sort of consistency in your output.

So it's not just the loss of productivity from inattention that's a problem for most jobs, but the lack of consistency in your output.

I'm just going to combine these responses because they're related.

> Neurotypicals can hyperfocus as well, and personally for me (ADHD-PI) I hyperfocus very few times at work, but more frequently at home.

Yes, neurotypicals can hyperfocus as well, but I've found that ADHD coders are way more likely to hyperfocus. The key is setting up the environment around them. I'm also ADHD-PI if it matters, though my specific situation is more complicated so it went undiagnosed for decades.

> So it's not just the loss of productivity from inattention that's a problem for most jobs, but the lack of consistency in your output.

Agree here too; especially for the unmedicated.

That said, very few neurotypicals hit the performance I see from high functioning ADHD coders (~2000-3000 commits a year and completely ridiculous learning rate with new technology).

Neurotypicals are also less pissed off with minor annoyances than ADHDers and ASDers, so they don't code up solutions to little problems that cost them 5 seconds a day, when in the long run that it is worth it to do so.[0]

But you're right that the bigger the team, the worse they do. Especially if the project is a tarball of uninterestingness and wrought with pointless, unscheduled meetings and other interruptions.

[0] https://xkcd.com/1205/

and companies usually have lots of meetings, people interrupting you to ask question, lots of distractions breaking that hyperfocus

ADHD is, to my knowledge, caused by a too low reward mechanism in the brain. Ie, the brain constantly attempts to find something to get a dopamine release, constantly flicking to a new channel on the TV, so to speak, because it's incapable of finding a particular program interesting.

The stimulants generally used allow the brain to get a reward for the current activity, pushing it over the threshold and allowing it to focus on an activity and pay attention to a situation.

On the inverse, simply making the brain slower would yield similar results, IMO. It likely wouldn't fix it overall, you would still suffer from an attention deficit but the overall condition would slow down a bit. That might help a lot.

Well, same can be said about watching television, playing games or staring at your phone.

Now, if there is no adverse health issue other than making you a little dumber, shouldn't we also ban a host of other habits that cause just a bit of harm to you? What about eating sweets that may give you a bit of pleasure but are also unhealthy if ingested regularly? What about driving car to cinema when you could watch the movie in safety of your home without causing pollution or risking getting your kids in an accident?

Or maybe, just maybe, the freedom is value in itself and we should allow people to make decisions even if they are not optimal for themselves and for others who may have to chip in to pay for somebody elses mistakes?

Well, same can be said about watching television

And it has: http://i.imgur.com/yPCC3dj.jpg

shouldn't we also ban

Also? Who said anything about banning pot?

>Also? Who said anything about banning pot?

Everyone. Like every gov't globally in the past 40 years.

It's funny because all it has ever done for me is the opposite. I'm a pretty energetic dude and weed has always made me want to get out and move, go and play a pickup game or something. It has also brought a different type of focus on any activity I'm doing.

I see a lot of pretty silly takes in this thread that weed automatically makes you happy with boredom somehow, and that apparently leads to a bunch of people sitting on couches zoned out who would have otherwise, with that "bored" time, gone out and learned juggling. Sounds like some grandma's opinion from the 40s.

No, but the pharmacological effects are not to be ignored just because you have a different personal experience with the drug.

I am on a balanced schedule of stimulants that keep me productive and not-depressed. This doesn't give me the right to tell people to take these drugs because of my personal opinion; research shows the effects of stimulant use, abuse, and misuse, and it's mostly pretty negative.

I think we're saying the same thing here. Look at all sides. Don't make blanket judgments. One person's experience does not necessarily become another's. Science is good, but not a guarantee.

It seems that this might not be entirely the case. In young mice, at least, THC slows them down... but in elderly mice, it returns their brain to normal functioning. There's speculation that the young might already have enough endocannabinoids but as we age and production slows, supplementation can benefit memory and cognitive capabilities. That's only supported in animal models for now, though.

If you use it right you don't just vegitate. It makes you far better at many tasks and can be used to do epic amounts of work so long as you get your work that requires a lot of thinking done first.

All drugs work this way: alcohol, cigarettes, weed, facebook, coffee, etc.

The problem is confining to a narrow usage pattern. It is just impossible for 99.99% of people over 30 years of their lives. All will make mistakes at one point.

I'm not so sure. Many people get drunk every Friday or Saturday night for decades without developing alcoholism or ill effects on the rest of their life.

Even if you don't technically become an alcoholic, getting drunk once a week for decades will absolutely have ill effects on your body. This is medically inevitable.

It should also be a person's choice. I find this the main issue. Personal freedom. Many people choose to drive a car, which has one of the highest mortality rates. But people still drive. What's wrong with a drink or a smoke then, even if that person knows it's dangerous.

Where do you get your information?

Yes but those people aren't exactly drinking just a little to become more productive the rest of the week. It's quite likely their day jobs are the hourly type factory based where intellect is need not apply.

I think the comment i was replying to stated that a little relaxation in the middle of a stressful hour can really help you focus more.

It would be interesting to test pot + Ritalin on ADHD and non ADHD teenagers and adults.

just my 2cts on smoking pot: people always say pot is not addictive, and not fundamentally dangerous. but it's something that influences your state of mind, so it's totally dependent on your state of mind and your ability to control it. for me personally most drugs are not addictive, but i'm struggling already for YEARS to get off pot. first time i took time off it i actually got physically sick. i've always smoked with pleasure, but i'd never ever recommend it to anyone, and i hope soon i will be free of it.

for me personally the effect is this: when i am stoned, i can focus and learn easily. sometimes it feels more easy than when i'm sober. HOWEVER when i am stoned, i have trouble to APPLY what i learnt. when i am sober, it's easy to APPLY what i learnt. so it's very important to me to be sober, so i can finally apply more effectivly all that i learnt.

the key that led me to this is that one day in my early smoking days my brother told me, each year take a month or 2 off it, to show your mind and body you can do without. in these periods i started noticing these changes and differences between states of mind i was in, eventually taking me to the point of realization it was affecting me in a bad way compared to what i wanted out of life.

that being said i have a lot of stoner friends who are also aware of this, but it doesnt bother them and they live happy lives. that's the personal part. if it prevents you from being you or not, and if it stops you from acheiving your goals or not.

i am from the netherlands, it's super easy to get pot fairly ok pot to smoke, maybe for a person like me, too easy.

when i don't smoke even for a few days now after smoking pretty much constantly for around 10 years (5/6 joints a day generally) my cognition shoots up and because i can apply what i have learnt, my life's frustration drops and happiness increases. this is actually what i felt from being stoned when i first started, so that's also something which might be dynamic in nature, and personal to each individual.

last piece of information: i think most people, smoke, drink and smoke pot etc. due to stress, knowingly or unknowingly. because these all reduce the impact of the stress. like instead of getting intense stress, you get less stress spread out over a longer period of time. this might seem nice for some very stressful singular event, but if you do it consistently , it means that you will be lagging behind on dealing with your stress, and these longer less stressful periods start to overlap, causing actually stress levels to be MUCH HIGHER than what you would expect.

be careful, self-reflect, and look critically at your life and how these substances affect your path. it's fun to do drugs or take substances w/e you want to call it. but there is a fine line between use and misuse. if you feel depressed or something like that, seek help from a PERSON and not a SUBSTANCE

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact