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Cannabis use produces persistent cognitive impairments: meta review (addictionjournal.org)
546 points by caaqil 10 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 536 comments



Since the article and the study are light on the details of "persistent" Here's the supporting data's in a bit more detail[0].

Overall this makes sense to me as an individually who personally enjoys it. The whole point of getting high is to be impaired (for me). So it's not really telling me anything new. Like drinking, I can't expect myself to be 100% functioning the next day so plan accordingly.

The question is how long is that persistence and how much does it affect? Permanent? Doesn't really seem to be answered in a way that I was hoping.

[0] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/action/downloadSupplement?do...


Wow, impairment is not my intention at all. But, to not impair myself takes careful moderation and preparation.

For cognitive benefits or "virtuous pot smoking", I need to have exercise, sleep, right intentions, a clean room and music. If I do it right, I have transformational ideas. If I don't write them down, they are gone.

The first hour is often a wash. I expect little. I often combine with coffee. Then, after an hour, I can work for 6 hours with true inspiration. It makes me care so much. Music is key. It's basically a spiritual work experience. Less is more-- if I smoke too much or too often (3+ times per week) I'm just stoned.

I've been working on moderate, prepared, virtuous pot smoking for years. It is still a challenge, but I know i'm not the only high functioning cannabis user.


>It is still a challenge, but I know i'm not the only high functioning cannabis user.

There are plenty of people that are highly functioning and regular smokers of pot that don't go through this level of ceremony about their usage, and I am somewhat skeptical this level of preparation is even particularly helpful in making someone a high functioning cannabis user in general.

Not saying it doesn't work for you, but this sort of story is something of a shibboleth on HN where someone claims that they do X process with Y substance or even just mental attitude and produce Z results.


It's the same as with other drugs, set and setting really change the quality of the overall experience.

Preparation is usually important to have a good time.

e.g. I clean up my apartment, buy groceries, do anything that needs to be done.

This is sort of what gets me high already. It's a success and smoking after having everything done is a blast.

My head is empty and I have nothing on my mind. The perfect mix to really enjoy it (for me).


I don't disagree that set and setting will impact things, but this isn't really being presented as a "If I do these things I am more likely to enjoy the experience", but rather as "I have to do all of these challenging things to make the experience one that meaningful and otherwise it's just a stoner getting a stoned, but this challenge is what makes me a high functioning user of marijuana"

To me, it's the distinction between "being stoned" and "virtuous pot smoking" and the connection being made between the latter being something that "high functioning cannabis users" do.

Lots of people just get stoned. That isn't what makes them high functioning or not - it's whether that impacts their ability to have a productive and fulfilling life. For me, and the many people I know that are regular users, the answer is not really. I imagine there are likely some trade offs, but I and the people I know have good careers, fulfilling personal lives, and do it because we enjoy it, the same way I partake in other hobbies I enjoy.


There was an article on newscientist about how people get good results using rituals, the ritual itself can be arbitrary.


Link?


I'm a mathematician. Back in the day, cannabis was a source of impairment. Now, a minimum effective dose of Indica from a vape pen helps me sleep. Except when it doesn't.

We value disruption in tech industries but our normative language for concentration, "focus" is lethal to creative thought. Reading math or daydreaming about research, one wants discursive ideas to intrude. This tool could be used for that... One wants to see with a generality not found in the source material, not be a good little "Simon Says" player.

Daytime consciousness is cognitive impairment. I wish the middle of the night could last forever.

There's the old trope that cannabis simply makes us believe we're being fantastically creative. So what? We're creatures who need affirmation. Interest, not raw technical reasoning ability, is the primary driver for creative research. Cannabis in moderation enhances interest.


Have you ever tried going on a hike in a forest during one of the experiences? It’s there you can realize we are living at the bottom of a sea of air. The trees are like coral and everything feels so alive. It’s like exploring the planet for the first time.


Wait til you try acid!


Also mushrooms and DMT


This is fairly similar to my work day. I paint 5+ hours a day and use very small amounts of THC in liquid form with headphones. I get into a flow state where time either slows down or speeds up but I'm rarely "impaired" unless it's accidental. What's maybe a little different than some people is the music I listen to is anything but chill. Death metal, hip-hop, classical, IDM, etc.

I originally started doing this because I've got chronic pain and it helps replace the pain signal. The flow state is an added benefit.


Nice music genres, got a link to your artwork?



this is exactly the kind of sweet spot of weed consumption that i’ve been trying to hit lately.

a couple of years ago, in my first year of university, i had developed an unfortunate weed addiction (it really is quite convenient for those who want to escape painful lives into fantasy), but after a couple years of cold turkey, i found myself missing the refreshing change of perspective that weed can genuinely provide when used responsibly.

these days, i try not to smoke more than once a week, and when i do so i try to make sure it doesn’t bleed into the rest of my life in all the same ways you do. clean room, coffee, music, notepad.

i am wary of relying on psychoactive substances to be creative, but whenever i’ve hit a dead end with a project, weed has a way of inspiring me to find new ways to solve a problem — be that aesthetic or technical design.

music is godly when high, and i have had many genuinely transformative moments listening to new albums under the substance.

for those wanting to “microdose” weed (as opposed to smoking blunt after blunt to get blitzed), i can highly recommend the DynaVap, an analogue weed vaporiser. the extraction of THC is significantly more efficient than combustion, and because the chamber is relatively small, it promotes consuming the substance responsibly.

(semi-tangent, but microdosing LSD has also been life changing, and i think delivers similar benefits to “microdosing” weed but with less brain fog, more clarity and more reliability)


I recently started infusing my own oils to then use sublingually for similar reasons and it's been a revelation!

You can know pretty much exactly how much THC you're getting and adjust / repeat as necessary. I haven't smoked in years but I've been vaping (with a Pax) for the past couple of years and attempted to "microdose" but it was very unpredictable and sometimes I would get higher than I wanted which is not good when using it for "work" purposes (programming, music, video editing, etc).

I've also recently come to the conclusion that for me, Cannabis definitely falls into the "less is more" category, and I limit regular doses (ie vaping to get high) to once a week. I can use the oils multiple times (at doses of roughly 5mg) to get into the zone without negative consequences.

When I overdo it with vaping I have the usual issues with forgetfulness (struggle to find words etc) and my motivation definitely takes a hit. Also I've found that tolerance grows very fast the more you use it and it becomes quite unpredictable.

Oh and for me it helps to mix it with a bit of caffeine as well. Slightly off topic but as someone sensitive to caffeine, the perfect "delivery mechanism" for me is a small shot of espresso in the morning and then a whole bunch of Sencha the rest of the day. Calm focus and good mood and still able to fall asleep :)


Love this. As an aside,

espresso + a whole bunch of sencha = calm + still able to fall asleep ==/==> "sensitive to caffeine", at least to my eyes!


Hah fair enough. Whole bunch is usually is 2 pots of 4 grams, 3 infusions each. But some people (like my wife) can guzzle filter coffee (much more total caffeine than my single shot) all day and have no trouble getting to sleep. Which makes me jealous. It’s all relative I guess


Sounds similar to me! Cannabis makes me think in a significantly different way, often going down rabbit holes. When something in my life isn't ideal (overweight, disorganized, sleep deprived, etc.), my high mind will go down negative rabbit holes. But if everything's going well, my high mind will come up with fantastic solutions to work problems or give me insight into how I can be a better person.


Music being key is what kills it for me. Music does absolutely nothing for me. High or not. I have no emotional response to any music.


That's crazy. I have a playlist I've been adding to slowly since I was a kid of songs I cannot listen to because the emotional response is too much, it makes my skin physically crawl all over my body and I can't contain my emotions.


What about a good scene in a movie that speaks to you personally, I had a friend who had a go to movie that left him sobbing that he would watch to remind him he’s human, because he didn’t react to music and was pretty muted emotionally in general. I thought that was a cool trick for him.


Not really. Really no. My wife will be crying during parts of movies and looks over and ask me why I am not crying. She doesn't like my usual response, "This is a movie. None of this is real. They are actors." Also, I don't like watching movies more than once (too much to do, too much to see, too much to read in our short lifetimes to do any of it more than once).


Are there specific "strains" or formats/consumption methods that work best for you? I find it to be quite impairing or sedating...and sometimes even confounding.

I can see how music can induce creativity. But even so I often find myself unable to get into the same intentional creative state that even green tea and natural motivation provides.


> I've been working on moderate, prepared, virtuous pot smoking for years

what tips do you have?


For me: Do it alone. Do the first 5% of the task to get the momentum. Vape it slowly while doing the task. Combine w caffeine. Psych youself up by saying "what if...". Use low temp vape so co2 and physical symptoms don't interfere. Use it to let your curiosity propel you. Use the smallest amount you can to achieve the effect. Try different strains and keep track. Sometimes a body strain can put you in touch with your body, pushing you to stretch/lengthen and that makes you more productive. Sometimes heady strains are too weird, but this varies greatly w indiv. Also exercising on weed can be very effective esp in nature... just dont push yourself past limits and stretch and roll after.


Minimum Viable Dose is how I look at it. I like blasting off to the moon once in a while, but a 1-gram dispensary preroll is often enough to knock me out and put me to sleep if I'm not careful.

I keep a weed vape, as well as different sized pipes. The big, fancy one is great for extended/shared sessions, but the smallest one (called a bat, I think. It looks like a straight glass tube, with a small 'pinch' near one end) is my idea of a perfect single serving. It takes a bit of practice, but gives me between 3 to 5 light hits.


This is great advice, have found much the same (different people are different).

I'd only add to make sure you're drinking enough water and have some quality snacks nearby.


I drink a lot of water and never eat until I want to come down. When I eat, I become mortal again. Really, if you can just avoid eating, it is a completely different high.

I definitely agree with doing it alone. I also use a fake cigarette "one hitter," as it is a minimal amount. It is always enough to work.

Also, yoga. Going to a Yoga class after a puff is just so healthy. Building health habits into drug use is a very good harmony of interests. Helps convince my wife that I'm not just getting stoned-- if I smoke, do work, work out, generate, etc—its hard to judge. (She also likes the sex—which Carl Sagan also talked about-- search for Mr x).

I believe Cannabis has a sort of state dependent memory. If you make an effort to fill cannabis experiences with lots of positive, productive, aesthetic events, it kind of "comes out" other times when you smoke. So, it takes practice! So, smoke before going to a museum, a concert or upon reaching the top of a mountain-- positive recreational use is another way to prepare for applied work-oriented use.

Never use it to escape. Use it to sensitize. And if you need it to solve your problems, that's a good sign that you might want to take a break.


> Cannabis has a sort of state dependent memory

I think your brain has a state dependent memory


what kind of music do you use? Any playlists you can share?


The flow state music podcast on Spotify is perfect.

Anything without lyrics.


Just curious, have you tried doing everything except smoking? Or maybe a conventional cigarette/something else you like. I just wonder when you have so much other 'theatre' (I don't say that putting it down) around it, how much can actually be ascribed to the cannabis.

Also, just listened to a few tracks from that, wow no way I could get anything done, I'd just drift off to sleep! (I've never used cannabis, but I imagine that would only make that more likely if anything, not less?)

I listen to much more 'up-beat' music while working sometimes; with lyrics but mostly that I don't understand. Ironically I started the playlist partly out of trying to learn the language (Hindi), but mostly it's too fast/advanced/niche for me to pick up much, so for this purpose it's roughly equivalent to not having lyrics I suppose. Except that I might mouth-along to particularly catchy bits even though I don't know what I'm saying usually.


Not parent, but if I could alter my state to be like-high without smoking weed, via sheer mental willpower or focus, I'd have probably started a cult by now.

If it was a teachable practice, I'm sure I'd have plenty of followers to boot.


No one starts cults any more. The lack of drug cults is proof! I'd love to go to some chill temple environment on the weekends and connect to ultimate reality.



I've been tossing around the idea of a primarily web-based cult for a few days, I'll let you know if we get any traction.

It's still in the ideation stage, and we don't have anything other than a few 'what-ifs', but this is tech, so it's not like we need to be fully implemented before we start taking members.


Sounds great, let me know


brain food on spotify. or anything with no/low lyrics that has a steady energy to it. deep house, lofi, even piano and strings.


how do you define “high functioning”?


High functioning, or high functioning?


Your comment strikes me cause I’ve been doing the same with alcohol - not to get drunk but to impair some of the logical thinking and analysis in the evenings.

Funnily enough I started to deal with ADD/ADHD in my family recently and learned from the doctor that this kind of behavior is symptomatic in adults.

Recently doc even shared this with me: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32489193/

Not directing this at you particularly but starting treatment helped with my family life so hoping it can nudge someone to their own benefit.


To cut it short, I think a tiny amount of alcohol can be a superb bargain. It allowed me to stay a bit neutral in parties (instead of crippled by anxiety and phobia). And being around people, even like a wallpaper had strange positive effect on my moral. I don't know if doing that long term (even tiny amount of beer) would harm your body, but having zero social life is also very very damaging.


Well, we are social creatures. Even the most introverted of us (finger points at self). So no surprise that being around parties/other people has a positive effect on moral.

The health benefits of the social contact almost certainly outweigh the negative health impacts of a tiny amount of alcohol.


A lot of drugs make you more social, but sadly they are all outlawed except alcohol. MDMA was used for years to lubricate psicotherapy sessions, until the FDA found out that some people was having "too much fun", banned the thing, and denied it has any possible positive effect. Only two years ago it seems that it is going to be reseached again.

Thomas Szasz has some books about drug history and the paths that turns a substance from legal to illegal. It only takes a high level guy to find the usage, made up some "facts", and illegalize it. Sadly, society is quick to buy those lies. E.g. someone claimed that some guys on LSD stared the sun for too long and got blind. It was a hoax, but so many media repeated the story that it got ingrained in the society that LSD is highly dangerous.


I wouldn't be surprised if many people have gotten therapy from their friends while on MDMA without even knowing it.


I would like to add psychedelic mushrooms to the list of unnecessarily banned substances, please :)


I am surprised to learn that Szasz was in support of any drug use in therapy, given that he went on to cofound CCHR, a branch of the church of scientology whose mission it is to ban psychiatry.

These are the people who claim "psychs" killed Kurt Cobain


How can otherwise intelligent people believe drugs are outlawed because people were having too much fun?


Did you note that the GP wrote it in quotes?


Implying a direct quote, making the claim even more ludicrous.


It does not. "Quotation" marks are used in lots of different contexts.

Examples: The virus "wants" to infect more people so it can spread. This article was written by a "professional" writer. Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.


The context is GPs message wherein a direct quotation is implied.


Perhaps slightly TMI, but it's HN so let's share some fun ideas I have about this.

__Stress is most likely super linear__

Not a doctor, but from what I know, the biggest negative effects of alcohol occur with binge drinking. From a logical perspective it makes sense that the negative effects are super linear, because that is the case with many forms of stress. When it comes to stress, there is always some threshhold value that you need to reach. When it is just over that threshhold value, you hurt, but you hurt a lot more if you reach 1.5threshhold value because there is 0.5threshhold value to wreak full havoc on your body while 1*threshhold value is being occupied with your body. Obviously, this way of thinking is simplified, but I think that's the intuition as to why many (but not all) forms of stress are super linear.

__Effects of alcohol in small and large quantities__

I think I've learned this particular fact about alcohol in my psych classes though, I can't fully remember so I can't cite sources (!). Another thing that I have learned is that alcohol is an upper at low quantities (1 to 2 standard glasses of beer), it gets your heart rate up, etc. It is a downer at larger quantities (e.g. drunk people at 10 standard glasses of beer). If you don't drink much alcohol, then you are most likely experiencing it as an upper, it doesn't continue that way.

I like to drink 1 to 2 glasses as well because of what you said, but also because it's an upper. When I was in my drug experimentation phase a few years ago, I've noticed I like uppers more.

__How to create upper effects without alcohol__

You don't have to drink alcohol to create an upper effect, when you go to a party, try this the next time: exercise beforehand, like a 3 to 6 mile run (if you have the stamina for that otherwise build it up). That will also produce a mild upper effect like alcohol. Another trick you can do is to present yourself as a hugger at the party (well maybe not with corona) and hug everyone you meet, that will also produce an upper effect. Also, dancing at parties will produce an upper effect (any aerobic exercise really).

My workshop on partying is open again in the summer, applications are open :P I guess I miss that time of my life. Partying sober is something to get used to, but it's possible (before I started experimenting with drugs, I started experimenting with partying sober, I've seen both sides).


> Another thing that I have learned is that alcohol is an upper at low quantities (1 to 2 standard glasses of beer), it gets your heart rate up, etc. It is a downer at larger quantities (e.g. drunk people at 10 standard glasses of beer). If you don't drink much alcohol, then you are most likely experiencing it as an upper, it doesn't continue that way.

> I like to drink 1 to 2 glasses as well because of what you said, but also because it's an upper.

This part of your comment reminded me of a very relevant and topical sketch from That Mitchell & Webb Look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTSCppeFzX4


That's an awesome share! Thanks for mentioning it it.

More importantly, it's definitely not the case that that organization is real, it's merely fiction. And I definitely am not trying to thwart it by inticing people to drink one to TWO glasses.

However, if it were to be real, then one could say that my plan might be diabolical indeed.


> Another trick you can do is to present yourself as a hugger at the party (well maybe not with corona) and hug everyone you meet, that will also produce an upper effect. Also, dancing at parties will produce an upper effect (any aerobic exercise really).

This advice is not very productive for people who drink because they have social anxiety at parties though :-)


Hmm... fair, I was a bit of a light case on anxiety. In these circumstances I could will it away.


What is "super linear" ?? Even more linear than linear?

It's OK everyone. You don't have to endlessly add superlatives to your ideas to make them sound more exciting. Just say linear. It's SUPER effective!


My understanding:

super = above

supra = under

I looked for a source, here it is: https://grammarist.com/words/super-vs-supra/

Normally people say exponential, but I think that's a silly term as it is quite a specific term since it means that the exponent is a variable (e.g. 2^x, 3^x, for every n, so n^x). For example, x^2 is super linear, but it isn't exponential. Yet, I'm fairly sure that I've heard people say that something is "exploding exponentially" but what they meant is that it's super linear since they got the faintest clue how much faster their projections are going compared to a linear projection.


Interestingly, this is the reason I decided many years ago _not_ to drink (or consume cannabis).

Like the parent, I don't find the reported results especially surprising - the part that would have been most interesting would have been how long after intoxication the observed effects last. Also, unfortunately, it's also clear that not everyone is as prudent with their cannabis consume as them, taking their performance even on the day after into account. I respect that sense of responsibility.


What was the treatment, I presume medication, but was anything preventative-proactive or non-medication prescribed or suggested first re: lifestyle changes like cleaning up diet etc?


Yes, there is a plenty and most are non-invasive.

Unfortunately, a lot of research is focused on children and and not a lot of things are being tested (due to safety of children research I presume), however this start to change and more adult-based reasearch is being made. While there is no golden bullet most of the proposed changes are non-intrusive.

What we're doing is changing our diet foremost. More Omega-3 acids, shifting toward protein diet and supplementing magnesium and vitamin D. We put a bowl with a lot of nuts (and small bits of chocolate) and it's disappearing astoundingly fast (we were eating nuts before, but by making it more accessible it's just "the stack" and because there are like 8 varietes in the bowls + chocolate chips no one complains about it being bland). ADD/ADHD has a lot of comorbidity with gut issues, so fibre is important too.

And there is more and more and more. Making sure that physical activity is present (as it's great dopamine booster), keeping track of sleep patterns (sleep deprivation is common as many ADD/ADHD are light sleepers), recognizing activities with hypnosis like effects, so to not get too drawn in and so on.

But in the end there's a lot of knowledge that is power itself. ADD/ADHD has ~70% (lately I heard 76% figure from one doctor) transmissibility, and thus being able to work with it better makes for better family life and parenthood. Family member had a burst of anger this year during Christmas like pretty much every year prior. Few years back? Everyone were scared of escalation and sat in silence for 2 days. This year - everyone shrugged it off as a brain explosion and we went on with holiday celebrations.

I would really recommend getting tested if you just as suspect that you or those close to you might be affected by ADHD. ADD/ADHD in adults (and women!) is somewhat new discipline so it might be hard to check oneself out (especially since in some countries it's trivialized by general practitioners as a simple gateway towards stimulants). Worst case you spend some money but the best case you get a portal to a wealth of self knowledge.


I’m assuming when you say “transmissibility” of ADHD you aren’t referring to it being a pathogen, are you speaking about the heritability?


Yes :)


Another view, is that, except for the extremely strong willed, getting used to a serene state of mind is addicting and kind of counter productive.

Perhaps, addictive is not the right word. But it seems to me (purely from a human nature perspective) its similar to obesity (Eating food is not "addictive", but there is a definite element of "craving" and inability to overcome that craving).

All in all, such substances are not natural and, with unchecked use, might put a whole society in danger. This is the reason I am ambivalent about the whole movement to legalize it.


> All in all, such substances are not natural...

But they are natural, aren't they? No less natural than the watermelon we are all eating (it might be cultivated), and I don't see anyone wanting to criminalize eating watermelon. Weed, tobacco, alcohol, coca leaves, poppy, they are all natural.

Also, even if it's natural, it has nothing to do with its dangerousness, so I don't follow your argument.

With regards to legalizing it, I'm on the side that if alcohol and tobacco are legal, weed should be legal, too. They are all bad for you in some sense, but we need to balance that with freedom and individual choice, and to me, they are pretty similar.


By natural, I meant, natural for regular human consumption. Not as in natural from mother earth.

Alcohol and tobacco are extremely dangerous and detrimental to any society.

What blows my mind is young teens, barely out of education, harping and celebrating the ability to drink. To me, that's insane. Why does a young person need to drink alcohol? When studies after studies have show how it affects human life in general. From health issue to societal problems to relationship issues.

In my view, alcohol should be shunned and should never be glorified.

When you bombard a child with images, videos, movies and acts of drinking day in and day out, you normalize it. And that is terrible.


> Why does a young person need to drink alcohol?

I think there is a cultural aspect. As a kid in Italy (>10yo), it was "ok" to have a glass of something like beer+sprite or wine+sprite during a meal. Maybe 1-2% of alcohol, it was cool and would obviously not get you drunk nor tipsy.

Having a glass of wine during a family meal, or a beer with your pizza with friends, was likewise pretty common and done mostly because of basic gastronomic pleasure.

This is _very far_ from the binge drinking/getting wasted culture which has been prevalent in the anglosphere for a while, and that has sadly expanded to a large part of the world since.

It's not drinking that should be shunned, but getting drunk.


Exactly on point. In Portugal, another southern-europe country, the rituals are quite similar. Drinking is normal.

Getting drunk though, used to be very not appreciated and shameful. Actually it is not very "macho" to be drunk because then you look vulnerable; out of control. The contrary of the cultural form of macho. This goes to the point that there used to be a thing where people who got drunk knew they should either quietly leave or just be very quiet. Hell even I still follow that. The downside of that is that alcoholism in Portugal is a very private matter and often not properly treated. Families break apart, but nobody from the outside sees it. When drunk, leave or shut up.

One thing I have a bit of a difficulty in Poland is that generally people have a very fast drinking rhythm that I know will lead me to drunkenness pretty fast and i come out as a wuss or not a jolly guy, because I reject such rhythm. On the other hand people look at me sideways when if I drink regularly a glass of wine or beer at meals. One of the things that got me a bit sad was losing the ability to drink a beer(20-0.33cl) beer at work break lunch as this is illegal here and very frowned upon. Another thing is the drinking and driving. In Portugal and quite a lot of countries in Europe(Germany for example) the blood-alcohol limit is 0.5, which allows for a single glass of wine or a 20cl beer, but in Poland it is 0.2 which means one is effectively banned from drinking at all if driving. Truth be told I believe the 0 drink and driving is the way to go. I know of too many situations where people start with good intentions and get carried away. Nowadays when i go to Portugal I feel be guilty if i even touch a drink at a meal and drive afterwards(very common due to the restaurant culture).

In Portugal, nowadays there is a normalization of the drunkenness in younger people as a way to signal one is having fun, but it feels an imported thing. Binge drinking is also on the rise, with day to day drinking falling.


They are not "natural" in the sense that humans don't consume ethyl alcohol to survive, in fact it is often quite damaging to biological systems. Apart from some microbes I'm not aware of any other organisms that use alcohol as their energy source. Alcohol/thc/caffeine/nicotine (you name it) do not fall in the "natural" diet of humans. Most psychoactive substances are metabolites which plants/fungi store in them to deter other animals from eating them.


>Alcohol/thc/caffeine/nicotine (you name it) do not fall in the "natural" diet of humans.

Well Sapiens likely consumed naturally fermented fruits even 200.000 years ago, after all we evolved to produce certain enzymes to digest ethanol.

Alcohol have shaped human cultures for thousand years, hardly unnatural.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/alcohol-...


Still we are not hamsters - hamsters can take 20x the amount of alcohol per body weight as humans, because for them it IS natural to base their diet on fermented fruits from their stashes. Humans are not like that.


Your argument is absurd. Sure, some caveman consumed alcohol that happened to occur naturally a gazillion years ago. So? You think huge factories producing alcohol and all the issues associated with it are justified?

By what you say, if whole of humanity consumed only naturally fermented fruit, I would half-heartedly agree.


> You think huge factories producing alcohol and all the issues associated with it are justified?

Humans also don't "naturally" need to be writing fictions, or draw pictures or make movies. And conversely, murder is pretty natural - take a look at how often it happens in nature!

Whether something is "natural" or not is a bit irrelevant - the big question is whether the action should be acceptable for humans to do. Drinking alcohol affects the person drinking it, but it gives them some comfort, or happiness. As long as they don't drink so much that it harms another person, i say they can do what they wish!

Same with pot and other recreational drugs.


Not just murder, wars and genocide.


For thousands of years humans routinely (e.g with every meal, even children) consumed low alcohol beer/wine), because it could be safely stored for extended periods, unlike water.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_beer


Sure, just like lacto-fermenting foods to preserve them. However stored water could always be boiled? I have always thought it was funny that the most obvious "health benefit" of tea-drinking was boiling water to prepare it (yes, I realize not all teas are brewed so hot, and there are plenty of interesting compounds in there, but still...)


Humans aren't the only mammals on this planet that consume alcohol.

https://news.berkeley.edu/2014/07/01/drunken-monkeys-and-our...


That'd still be "recreational use", not as staple food


Is anybody in this discussion advocating alcohol as a staple food?

A staple food is something that makes up a dominant portion of one's diet; it's beyond a mere common or everyday food.

    A staple food, food staple, or simply a staple, is a 
    food that is eaten routinely and in such quantities 
    that it constitutes a dominant portion of a standard 
    diet for a given person or group of people, supplying 
    a large fraction of energy needs and generally forming 
    a significant proportion of the intake of other nutrients 
    as well
I would certainly agree with you that alcohol is not a very safe choice for a staple food!


SSRI's or Benzodapines have severe side-effects, yet relying on them to survive isn't seen as disruptive to society. There may be an argument against self-medicating with Alcohol or Cannabis, but them being un-natural isn't it.


That's totally not the argument I'm trying to counter.


Sure, but what if you tripped and sprained your ankle? Yeah it hurts in the moment, but would it cognitively impair you the next day? It certainly might; maybe when you're thinking about something while in the shower, you put too much weight on the ankle and the pain makes you drop your train of thought. I think the point that GP was going for was (or what I read at least) that there are many human experiences which cause some form of cognitive impairment; it's more important to see how deleterious the impairment actually is to the individual and to society before judging it.


Maybe. It may be worth considering, however, that the reactions humans/other animals have to these substances are not necessarily accidental. Mammalia is young, plants are old, and have tamed us in many ways.


> unchecked use, might put a whole society in danger.

So you mean that if, for example, over 50% of the population was using a known mind-altering drug, society might go to shit?

Do prescription psychiatry medicines count?

You might want to take a look at what % of the western world has such a prescription. Between opiods, amphetamine, and anti-depressants, I think the US passed the 50% mark some time ago.


When my wife and I were dealing with our daughter spending 9 months in the NICU at the childrens hospital, any time my wife would cry the nurses would “tattle” on her and the psychiatrist would contact her trying to give her antidepressants. She’d be extremely irritated each time. “My child is very ill and could die, the way I’m reacting is precisely the correct response and I wouldn’t want to blunt it or negate it in any way”. It just felt like we lived in the land of the Lotus Eaters or something.


Absolutely. What ever I have read or heard about those drugs (most of it from peoples experiences on reddit and all), it is clear to me that they don't actually solve any issue, and simply make the mind numb. In some cases, perhaps that is required.

But why is it that the worlds richest country need to keep 50% of its population on drugs?

That is a societal flaw, and worryingly a self sustaining one at that.

I also attribute it to the hyper-velocity lifestyles, lack of stable marriages, excessive consumption of media in general and social media in particular. And most importantly, a materialistic point of view where the whole purpose of life is for pleasure, partying and enjoyment.


That’s a very reactionary attitude… you’re simply blaming all the “unknown” “new stuff” for everything negative in life.

I bet people blamed excessive reading of books, or “a materialistic point of view” during the Romans, the Middle Ages… modernity… hey, who coined the phrase “o tempora! O mores!”


If we agree that there is a mental health crisis (I'm on the fence on that honestly, but if), then it becomes natural to consider the causes of it. And where else would we find the causes than in the "new stuff"? A useful question may be what "new stuff" is more and less likely to be the cause? Trying to think of something new that is definitely not the cause might be interesting.


> But why is it that the worlds richest country need to keep 50% of its population on drugs?

100% of humans on earth are on drugs. Everything we consume is mind-altering. Sugars are just as addictive as drugs if not moreso. This is not an exaggeration, it's a change in perspective; wrestling back control of our subjective experiences from those who would outlaw what they don't understand (or for more nefarious reasons...). We have to start looking at food especially food consumed for non nutritive purposes in this new lens too. Heck even singing and dancing have been used the world over to illicit an altered state.

We also need to stop pining for a perfect self that is drug free. What does one gain by keeping oneself "pure"? It's not even possible but many limit the scope of what they consider mind-altering until the goal post matches their current state.

Once you accept that and embrace the idea that our minds are simply faucets of sensory experience that we subconsciously keep at a slow trickle of manageable info, you can start enjoying the turning of the spigot. You can start to appreciate the different subjective experiences that all things provide.

As an added bonus, we can all collectively change our tendency to look down upon those who've used and this energy can integrate others and prevent abuse. You don't have to look hard to find stories of reduced or eliminated drug enforcement bettering society.

The fact that this research starts by calling it "impairment" tells you that they have come prepared with their rose-tinted glasses. I don't want to belittle their work but I fear they've already aligned themselves with the classic anti-drug ethos.


I'm still wondering why the US is the only country with a steady supply of serial killers.


> over 50% of the population was using a known mind-altering drug, society might go to shit?

You mean like caffeine? (Or chocolate? Or even refined sugar?)


I worked in a pharmacy as a tech for a couple years. The amount of drugs the general population is on was *mind blowing*.


uh... caffeine? That's mind-altering.


In me, it's partially a coping mechanisms, and a method to to silence the brain demons. It's interesting that you brought up food, because I'm an emotional eater too.

I've had them under control for a while now, but the emotional eating is a struggle sometimes. I need to trick myself into not doing it.

For weed it's less of a struggle because I genuinely notice the "persistent" effects (no more than a few days in me), which effect my mental performance and emotional state.

Also, after quitting the binge I had withdrawal (I'm told for weed it's very mild, but it's horrendous nonetheless). More details to this in this video https://youtu.be/7u_cm5b1s7Y

I now smoke weed when I plan/want to for fun, and it's very occasionally...


Try quitting Coffee / caffeine.

The most horrific withdrawal ensues (at least for me).


I used to drink a litre of brewed coffee a day, when I worked at home. I drank it from 9AM to 4PM. When I resumed office work, that fell to about 3 shots a day (espresso equivalent), all by itself. No withdrawal.

Now I'm retired. I drink one strong coffee in the morning, with occassionally a shot later, on te rare occassions when I pass my fave coffee shop.

None of these changes required any effort, or even any intention; they just happened. There were never withdrawal symptoms. By comparison, I have withdrawn from both alcohol and nicotine; nicotine calls loudly, but alcohol withdrawal is really horrible (and dangerous).


That's interesting! I never heard of caffeine withdrawal before, but it makes sense when I think about it. I know a lot of people who say they that can't function with caffeine.

I'm not a big coffee drinker (and usually mix it with decaf, because too much makes me feel weird). So I'd probably be okay on that front.

How much coffee do you drink daily? I drink maybe one cup, and that's mostly for the taste (hence the decaf).


Caffeine withdrawal is very very unpleasant. If it's a daily habit and you abruptly cease consumption (aka "cold turkey") you're going to be in hell for at least a day. Usually more.

Occasionally you'll hear people talk about quitting this way with zero withdrawal. They may or may not be telling the truth. But I suppose outliers always exist. Definitely not the norm though.

    I know a lot of people who say they that can't function with caffeine
Yeah, because of the withdrawal. They could function fine without it, once they got past the withdrawal.

Of course, there's really no need to suffer painful withdrawal. It's pretty easy (at least physically) to just taper it down to 0mg per day over the course of ~5-7 days.


the problem with caffeine is, that once you are clean of it, you quickly get hooked on it again (due to socializing). Every meeting revolves around drinking coffee or tea or cola.


Interesting to hear that experience. I've never really felt like there was social pressure to drink caffeinated drinks whatsoever. Seems like there's always more people not drinking caffeinated drinks. Particularly executive types. Just my experience.


I drink about 6-9 cups of coffee per day.

The withdrawal journey that is published in the lying internet is not true (at least for me).

I get all sorts of diffuse pain in the legs and lower back area. Not to speak of the killing headache and depressed mood.


How can you actually sleep with that much coffee?! A single cup after ~1600 and I can't fall asleep until 0200 or later...


Tolerance builds quickly. At one point I could down a Red bull (about the same amount of caffeine as a strong cup of coffee) half an hour before bed and go straight to sleep.


wow, that is very badass.


That is impressive. I wish I was like you.

I drink coffee up to 2130. And I sleep like a baby from 0000.


Caffeine withdrawal is very individual and affected heavily by how much tolerance you've built up and dose, but worst case it's a week long hell of headaches, cold sweats and diahorrea.

For my part I tend to get maybe 200mg or so a day.


Unless incredibly severe I think the consequences should not impact it’s legality.

People will use it legal or not. If it’s legal you can charge taxes and spend that money on addiction prevention and treatment. Help people with addiction problems instead of putting them in jail.

Addiction is often a symptom of underlying mental health problems, you don’t solve those with punishment.

And that’s even disregarding the amount of crime and violence illegality creates.


Being legal adds a whole lot of marketing push and general acceptance in the population, especially young ones.

Time and again I see so many stories of young people fucking up their lives, and wasting so much of their lives trying to correct mistakes. Something which should have been guided by elders and well-wishers. But US society is neck deep into "individuality" at their own detriment.

A society that is taught from day one to be "independent" will discover that generations after generations will keep making the same mistakes. Same debt traps, same drug problems, same unhealthy choices.


As the others mentioned; Advertising should be banned.

I do agree though that general change is needed.

Imo it comes down to education on drugs, facilitating safe use, and treatment of mental health issues and addiction.

"Don't do it, but if you do; do it as safe as possible. If you get into trouble; get help." is imo the only sensible drug strategy.

It's one thing to say "drugs are bad mkay" another to actually explain what the risks are and just provide basic practical tips on how you can reduce risk if you do take drugs.

Things like not using too much of anything at once, getting drugs tested, making sure you do it in a safe environment, not mixing drugs, clean needles (although really don't do those types of drugs), etc etc.

Also make sure people know the difference between weed and for example heroin, meth and fentanyl. Not all drugs are equal, weed is relatively harmless.

Lastly testing; It should be facilitated. Here it's quite common to get your pills and powders tested. It's free and facilitated. It saves lives as you make sure people don't OD on pills that contain fentanyl instead of whatever the user expected it to be. Same for legal weed btw, I believe in the US the quality is much better because of legalization. These things work, they literally save lives.

You can prevent so much pain and suffering by simply accepting the fact that people will use drugs and adjust your policies based on that fact.


> adds a whole lot of marketing push

It sounds like you've identified the thing that should be illegal. Unfettered capitalisation on any product that can harm the population is generally a terrible idea, and the product frequently has nothing to do with it.


It should be the same for any potentially dangerous drug. Legalize it, tax it and ban advertising it completely. This should be applied to alcohol and tobacco as well. Advertising beer, wine or smoking should be forbidden.


> Being legal adds a whole lot of marketing push and general acceptance in the population, especially young ones.

Maybe where you live...


     Eating food is not "addictive"
Oh, it most definitely is. Or to be more specific, eating the "wrong" kinds of foods (typically fat and sugar) is addictive.

Also, unlike other addictions, you get bombarded with billboards and television ads for the thing you're trying to moderate.


"Natural" in an ambiguous that is impossible to define properly, yet it casts some morality on behaviour.

Anyway, the need for intoxicating itself seems to arise in more animals that have high developed cognitive abilities, Dolphins get high on passing around poisonous fishes, monkeys rub centipedes over their body and there are many more examples.

Mushrooms, smoking, fermented fruits and grains have been part of human lives for hundreds of thousands of years.

It seems that animals with high cognitive abilities feel the need to turn it off at times.


Of course they are natural.

I have adhs and I see my weed more like glasses.

Ever thought about that not every brain model/mode is as balanced as the other?

If I can't sleep properly for years, I get depressed. And yes of course I tried everything.


Appeal to nature is a logical fallacy.

Also, from the things we surround ourselves with. It's probably the most natural.


"Appeal to nature" isn't a logical fallacy, it just assumes some things about how things should be. You might disagree with those assumptions, but you, too, have beliefs about how things should be.


In which case it would be much more honest to say "I think this is good or bad" or "these are my values and they are not subject to debate" rather to propose that thing you like is the natural state of affairs and offer that up as if it were a proposition that you were debating. Or worse, the null-hypothesis from which some nebulous burden of proof is assumed for the opponent.

In other words, it is a dishonest strategem which relies on the other party making the logical fallacy that the natural state of affairs must be good, or that a burden of proof lies with them, instead of recognizing this as the sleight-of-hand that it is.

So I think GP was just being polite by calling it a logical fallacy :)


I smoke, but this is dense. Smoking the natural substance is an unnatural use, by that use of the word.

“It grows from the earth”

Yeah so does hemlock.


So don't smoke. There are other ways of consuming with out inhaling the aftermath of burning. Yes, I know the effects are different in how one is affected. The smoking of anything has always been a curious "ritual" to me as it is so against everything the body is made to do.


I have developed this pet theory that humans have grown fond of fire and will feel secure in its presence. How do they know they're at a fire instead of just basking in the sun? When they are inhaling, I mean smelling, its fresh smoke of course!

I don't find it far-fetched to assume that an affinity to fire was selected for over the last millennia. Why, we even have a mutation that makes us less susceptible to carcinogens in smoke compared to other mammals. That would make smoking, and smoking indoors, an activity that replaces the open fires we're accustomed to.

Standard disclaimer for evolutionary theories: They are ill-suited to determine social policy.


That's some theory. Personally, I don't buy in to it. The concept of a burning end of a ciggy replacing an actual fire is just too far out there for me to accept in some far reaches of the human psyche is out there.


Smoking is an acquired taste. As is alcohol. We learn to like things that make us feel good, and learn to dislike things that make us feel bad (poisonous or spoiled).


Eating fish could be considered as natural as it gets, but there is a species which contains one of the most potent poisons ever found, so..


Nature made you inquisitive and able to use and create tools, but you think engaging in those behaviors is somehow un-natural.


Even if the appeal to nature weren't bogus, both alcohol and cannabis are as "natural" as things can be in that broken worldview.


Yes, it's almost as if society has developed firmly established norms about substance use which are so irrational as to be totally incoherent, and ITT you can find people reflexively confabulating justifications for those norms or trotting out the same tired old bromides to reassure themselves that the topic is being debated and that everything is fine.

Or maybe my drug-addled brain is just seeing pink elephants everywhere ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Appeal to nature might be a logical fallacy in arguments, but in practice is a useful heuristic anyway.


Given the amount of alternative “medicines” building on that heuristic, I fail to see where it is useful other than for scam artists.

Sure, there are biological inventions we can copy and refine for possibly even better inventions - but those are useful not because they originated from nature but because evolution found a locally optimal solution to a problem.


Well, being able to identify potentially locally optimal solutions without having to go through an entire optimization process yourself is a pretty powerful heuristic in my book.


Out of curiosity: How does any argument become more or less logical depending on its context?

Your comment reads to me as if the concept of logical fallacies is only useful or valid within the framework of rhetorical competitions – or alternatively that logically invalid reasoning is useful if you're only interested in making a decision, rather than making a correct or well-informed one.


You can’t just throw out the word “human nature” and expect anyone to accept it. “Human nature” just means “this thing we all know about how the world and people work, come on… now don’t be difficult”. It means nothing.


We are biological beings and our biology determines our diets, neurology, endocrinology, and multiple other factors about our lives. Whether people like it or not, we do have a biological human nature that shapes many aspects of our behaviour and culture.


That we have a human nature is obvious. That anyone can just throw out “human nature” as if they know what it is is the thing that I’m contesting!


"This thing humans do TOO OFTEN is simply not human nature!"


> except for the extremely strong willed, [...] addicting

Addiction isn't about willpower so much as psychopathology and genetics. It's a coping mechanism.

> getting used to a serene state of mind is [...] kind of counter productive

What is suspect about serenity? Is religion equally problematic as a source? How is it counterproductive?

> such substances are not natural and

A naturalist argument is usually invalid. We can't expand upon the rules of the universe. Plastics are just as natural as anything else. Cannabis also doesn't induce any foreign states in our brains.

Even using the narrow definition of "can't be found in the wild": cannabis is a plant, so it very much does exist in the wild. So do alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, psilocybin ("magic mushrooms") or ergotamine (LSD).

When applied to brain chemistry: to my knowledge, drugs don't do novel things to our brains. They promote infrequent states, but that doesn't make them unnatural. Especially not if you consider how alien dream states, meditative and transcendental experiences feel.

> with unchecked use, might put a whole society in danger

Adding a slippery slope to it doesn't improve your line of reasoning. It does tend to whip the masses into a frenzy, like its cousins "Won't somebody think of the children" and "Why should we help those who won't help themselves?".

It also doesn't conform to reality. Have California or Colorado collapsed because weed was legalised? Have the Netherlands?

> I am ambivalent about the whole movement to legalize it

Decriminalisation seems obvious to me as a solution, if coupled with a sorely needed investment in mental healthcare (across the West). The latter is necessary regardless of how we consider drugs - see homelessness, domestic violence, suicide, burnouts, etc. Decriminalisation works (cf Portugal's results), dries up income sources for the cartels, allows quality controls to be put in place, reduces stigmatisation for users, lowers the threshold for seeking therapy, keeps people out of prison for victimless crimes, creates a revenue source for the government through sales and other taxes...

The alternative to decriminalisation is telling the population "we know best". Looking at the so-called war on drugs globally, it's also an endeavour that's bound to fail, strengthen drug cartels, escalate violence and cause more damage than it prevents.


Plenty of animals consume alcohol (e.g. fermented fruit), presumably to get high. Is that natural?


I've seen some people using Cannabis in the way you describe over longer periods of time. In the short term there is no difference. Over the longer time (say a decade) the effect is noticeable to the point that they were no longer able to function in a job that they held down with ease beforehand.

These are pretty heavy users though. I don't have any heavy user in my surroundings that was not affected like that, but the sample size is small enough that this could easily be coincidence.


Personally, I have been a heavy user for well over a decade and I'm attaining not only promotions including greater responsibility at work in tech but high educational achievements as well so YMMV


Nearly all my friends who smoked it didn’t have any major issues until about 20 years in. YMMV also. Do not assume that short term trends apply in the long term.


People can be quite different neurologically. Some may see issues while others see benefits. I'm not neurotypical and I actually get a great degree of benefit from my cannabinoid use.


Best way to look at this is to wait until you’re at least 50 and compare with your peers who used it regularly for the last 30 years or so if you didn’t. There’s a 100% correlation on what you suggest.

I’m glad I didn’t bother with it at this point.


The people I'm talking about are in positions where being smart isn't optional. One poster here provides a nice datapoint to the contrary, and there are probably others. But the interesting thing to me about the people that I know is that they themselves are not aware of it. They attribute their changes to a host of other factors but never to their Cannabis use.


Well there’s smart and there’s smart. It seems to drive obsessive and paranoid tendencies in people which can be a positive impact on work and a negative impact on social behaviour at the same time.

I have seen the same lack of association before as well. A friend’s relationship has broken down due to his paranoia but that according to him doesn’t come from the 25 years of smoking cannabis but her behaviour. She doesn’t smoke and is perfectly normal in any way and I feel really sorry for the poor woman.


I use it as a sleep aid via CBD pills with an equal amount of THC. THC just knocks me out. Dosage is consistent and there’s no smell. I don’t enjoy the high from THC vs alcohol, so I just sleep through it. THC’s high feels like my brain is being “underclocked” which isn’t a pleasant experience for me personally.

I’ve tried living without it during the lockdowns since working from home saves hours. From eight months of not using it, I’ve found that I lose about 2-3 hours of sleep per day which drastically affects my performance. I’ve tried melatonin and I consistently workout every week, but nothing is as good as a sleep aid for me as THC


THC to make my brain shut up.

Melatonin to put me deep under and keep me from waking up 5 hours in and not being able to fall back asleep.

Best sleep of my life. Wish I'd found the combo years ago. Had trouble falling asleep since I was a little kid. Prescription sleep aids I've tried (or, god forbid, alcohol) don't work as well and make me feel shitty in the morning. That combo? Feel like a million bucks. It's great.

I worry about the long-term effects, but they'd have to be pretty bad to be worse than years and years of chronic bad sleep.


Anecdotal, but as a lifelong stoner I would say it takes about a week after sustained heavy use for the cognitive impairment to fully go away. I always quit for a little while when I have something important I need to do in my life.


A persistent high can be achieved by living mindfully with kindness and regular meditation (speaking from direct experience). Hence, I'm not surprised that any high induced with a substance instead, impairs the brain as brain starts depending on the induced experience, without having developed its own mechanism to have such an experience.


Many people, especially the young, can not find a peaceful time or place for meditation. The demands placed on them by western society take up too much of their energy.

For them, drugs are a must because otherwise they will grow up without any spiritual life at all.


This is just false. Just spend 15 minutes less per day on video games or doomscrolling.


Meditation/self-reflection will take less of your time than drugs. Much less. Plus most "spiritual growth" stemming from drugs is all an illusion.


Them, not me. I gladly meditate about 2 hours per day since I have the peace, the time and the place to do so. But it took me many years to get all three of these ingredients for my spiritual fire.


"Doesn't really seem to be answered in a way that I was hoping." Yep a meta review of meta reviews is not really gonna address much lol.


Why not?


I guess it depends on your goals... for me, it's more about pain management without nausea... just being able to sleep through the night. As I'm now no longer working for a banking institution or govt contractor, it's an option that I prefer.


I'm sure that persistence lasts about 2-3 months.


I've known many people in silicon valley who smoke cannabis regularly (several times a week if not daily). They all seemed to be cognitively normal. Some of them function on a level I only wish I could attain.

I think regular cannabis use attracts a certain type of person. That type of person can vary in their ability and intelligence, just like any type of person. This is also true of say, hardcore fans of fantasy fiction. They all have certain things in common, but you couldn't paint all of them as "creative" or any other trait.

I'm hesitant when hearing about long term effects, even on developing brains. Both Barack Obama and Carl Sagan smoked a ton of cannabis when they were younger. And they and others really turned out fine.

This paper seems to be a meta study that combines the results from other studies. Since there were multiple methodologies it's hard to get a sense of exactly what questions they were answering.


Disclaimer: I'm an almost daily smoker of cannabis.

There is definitely some impairment long term. I think we can assume that even without this huge study. I don't think knowing that matters unless we have some scale that tells us how dramatic that impairment is.

If I compare someone who smoked all the time, but also had a rich and engaging social life with a lifelong abstainer who live a mostly isolated existence, who is going to be more cognitively capable?

There are so many inputs that feed into who we are and what we are capable of that, in all likelihood, cannabis use is likely only incidental to much larger factors like isolation, media preferences, home life, etc.

As an anecdote, the worse thing I think I've ever done for my brain, the thing that I immediately felt dumber after doing, was reading "Shadow Wolves" (Steven Segal's book). I had trouble communicating thoughts effectively for weeks after finishing it. It was like it had sucked vocabulary out of my brain. Maybe that's how cannabis leads to long term impairment. It makes you read "Shadow Wolves".

Edit: Since people are voting this, I want to add an extra warning that I was not joking about "Shadow Wolves". If you read it, you will feel dumber, and it will take time to heal the damage done. Seriously.


Oh goodness. Thank you for introducing me to Shadow Wolves. It sounds positively dreadful. I want to read it but I don't want to pay for it. Either monetarily or cognitively.


You really really don't though. It's not one of those 'so bad it's good' kind of things where there is some novelty to be had. It's boring. It's written with a 4th grade vocabulary. There's no character development outside shallow tropes. Random right wing conspiracies are mixed in without any grounding in the story. The main character is a cartoon of cartoon of a human in a cartoon world with cartoon side kicks. It's awful in every way a book can be awful. And to top it all off it will literally curse your brain.


Haha. Fair. I've got this morbid curiosity about right wing authoritarian conspiracy fiction. Apparently Ben Shapiro has several novels in the same vein. Genuinely curious... why'd you read it in the first place? Are you part of the worst book club in history or something?


A friend gave it to me for Christmas as a gag gift, and as part of the joke escalation cycle I decided I would read it so I could bring it up sometime later. Bad idea :(


I wonder, if you hold other psychoactive substances - say coffee, alcohol, or nicotine to the same standard?

That is, we should assume they cause long term impairment without the need for any kind of study?


You should assume any disturbance of your brains chemical equilibrium is bad long term. Those drugs included. Absent fixing a specific deficiency that is.

If a study comes back and says, with a high confidence, that isn't the case for this or that, great, but I think it's a safe assumption for most chemicals.

Edit: Just to be clear, I'm saying it's not enough to show something is bad, as pretty much everything is bad. It has to be bad enough to matter.


If you take the point a step further, your argument can be applied to everything including sugar, salt, etc.

I think we are mostly in agreement - that any substance entering the body will have some effect.

The question is what effect, how much of an effect, and wether it is permanent/long lasting. Questions which require a study to answer.


Totally agree. However, I highly doubt such a study will be possible for the same reasons we still argue about salt and sugar: what's the control?

Unless we're able to find twins that live largely the same lives absent the one factor, we are really only capable of sussing out the especially harmful things with long term lifestyle studies. If cannabis is as bad as sugar, then we have 40 years of back and forth to look forward to, and the answer will ultimately be: A little bit is bad, but not bad enough to matter more than how many steps you took today, or how sad or angry you were, or how late you ate dinner.


I don’t think assumption is the correct stance, but a healthy skepticism sounds in order.

Alcohol is clearly capable of long term impairment, the debate seems to be about dose response. Nicotine is more questionable, but clearly leaves long term changes in the mind. People abstaining after long term nicotine usage will spend the rest of their lives experiencing cravings. Hell, it seems plausible long term consumption of food types has long term cognitive effects.


There's a theory that drug use is often about self-handicapping:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-handicapping

E.g. if someone in college does poorly because they got high all the time, maybe the reason they got high all the time was that they felt (rightly or not) that they would have done poorly anyway, and now they have the drug to blame. And maybe those who smoke a bit and still do well, do it sort of to have the excuse in reserve.

I've not much experience with cannabis, it's far less popular where I live than the US, but I can certainly see that alcohol is used as this sort of "flexible excuse", both short term and long term.


Self-handicapping is a huge effect, I’m surprised we don’t see it more frequently discussed in tech. This effect is really about creating a narrative and identity for ourselves. People attempt things and fail all of the time. If we put too much of our ego into the attempt it can be emotionally devastating when failure happens. So we protect ourselves by crafting alternative narratives. “If I succeed then great, but if I fail it’s because i choose to […]”. You are more likely to accomplish your goal if you put yourself fully into it, and the more you feed alternative narratives the less successful you’ll be. The way to live is to be fully committed and focused on your goals, and to have good skills on knowing how to recover from failure when that occurs.

[some definitional text] The purpose of self handicapping is to protect your self identity. “I could have x, but I didn’t because of y” is the narrative story. I could have gotten an A on the exam but I didn’t because I partied instead of studied is a classic example. For it to be true self-handicapping y needs to be a choice.


The people that I see doing it are doing it because of anxiety reasons. I think there are a variety of people with a variety of reasons for smoking weed.


while i agree with you there are many reasons for drug use. its likely the wikipedia article linked also applies subconsciously, so while they tellyou/think they do it for anxiety they may do it for a host of other reasons without fully knowing themselves. We all do this with many aspects of life, just pointing it out.


Yea fair point, it's indeed a lot easier to look at surface level reasons and take them at face value, while instead we should be critical of that. Good point.


> I think regular cannabis use attracts a certain type of person. That type of person can vary in their ability and intelligence, just like any type of person.

This matches my personal experience as well. I’m good friends with someone that holds a high-level FAANG position and consumes weed every day. While working. Attending meetings, coding, managing large teams, the whole she-bang. It’s unbelievable. They say it “calms their thoughts” and allows them to focus.

If I tried to code while high, I would end up wasting 3 hours just fiddling with the text colors in the IDE or just space out in a wormhole of deep introspection.

Marijuana really affects people differently.


I can code high, but I can't bug-fix or plan for shit.

Brains are weird.


I used to do this and in fact getting really high was the way I could marathon code. Sativa dabs would keep me up as long as I wanted and I could just keep going and going until about seven years into this habit, I sort of hit this wall where getting high no longer motivated me to keep going, instead I just wanted to play video games. Then I was prescribed medication for ADHD and it basically removed the desire to get high and helps me better than getting high used to because it doesn't impair my memory and gives me the ability to choose what I am motivated to do.


It's really no different to people using caffeine (aside to the legality). They are both drugs, the main difference being I bet more folks suffer from the effects of caffeine (anxiety, loss of sleep, stress), than the do cannabis.


Caffeine is one of the few stimulants that seems to be beneficial to the human health. Moderate use is linked to a lower likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and endometrial cancers, Parkinson’s disease... Certainly more beneficial than smoking cannabis (in most cases together with tobacco). Damage to the lungs is one of the first thing that comes to my mind.


Most of the beneficial effects are because of the complex chemistry of roasted coffee and not solely because of Caffeine. AFAIK cannabis has also a multitude of complex phytochemical elements that are beneficial to human health.


Vaporization of cannabis without tobacco makes lungs a moot point though.


Does it? Smoke is still smoke


Smoke is different from vapor. When you vape cannabis, you're not actually combusting anything, just heating the plant matter enough that some of the particles on the flower are converted to vapor and inhaled.


I am a dire pothead who only uses their Pax2, but please don't frame accepting "plant vapor" into your lungs as a totally harmless thing. It's still heated organic material that your lungs arn't made to accept.

It's better than smoking, but we need to be responsible and admit that it's not exactly without risk or harm.


The person you're responding to never said it was without risk, just that vaping isn't the same as smoking- and the scientific literature backs this statement up.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30049223/

> Conclusions: Single-dose inhalation of vaporized cannabis had no clinically meaningful positive or negative effect on airway function, exertional breathlessness, and exercise endurance in adults with advanced COPD. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03060993).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4456813/

> The majority of studies suggest that vapourizers adequately reduce risk of pulmonary symptoms (5,14–16), although complete safety may require a regulated source of plant material, rather than ‘street’ samples, which produce ammonia (17).

> The findings suggest that vapourization reduces the delivery of toxic byproducts associated with the use of smoked cannabis. A subsequent experiment addressed exhaled carbon monoxide (CO) (14). The researchers found a statistically significant difference between the increase in CO exhaled following smoking cannabis versus vapourization. The amount of exhaled CO showed little to no increase following vapourization compared with large increases following smoking, which would be expected for inhalation of a combustion product. These findings give further evidence that vapourization reduces exposure to gaseous combustion toxins.

This isn't to say there is no risk, but if someone is going to consume cannabis it is amazingly clear that vaporizing it is safer than smoking it.


> smoking cannabis (in most cases together with tobacco)

In most cases? Where in the world? In Canada at least, frequent cannabis smokers and frequent cigarette smokers are nearly disjoint groups.


Yes, this is a big difference between North America and Europe. I've never understood why (and consider it to be a big mistake), but for some reason most potheads in Europe mix their weed and hash with tobacco.


There are definitely places where "spliffs" (weed+tobacco) are the norm, but it's definitely atypical.


Spliffs are the norm most of Europe. An entire continent is hardly atypical.


A big difference is that caffeine is a stimulant, or "upper". Stimulants have a very different role socially. They are little good as excuses: No one is going to claim the reason they hit on the boss' wife at the Christmas party was because they got too high on coffee, or that the reason they got low grades in college was that they spent all day in their room drinking red bull.


No, sorry, cannabis and caffeine are not the same. Not the underlying substances, not the internal biological changes, not the effects.

No one laughed out their brains after drinking a pot of coffee.

Pun intended.


No, it’s not. If you are really comparing weed and coffee either you never tried weed or you are posting in bad faith.


When I drink a lot of coffee I can still function 100% normally (and because of ADHD, even better than my usual) and I am in no way impaired. That cannot be said about cannabis. They are not the same.


Your subjective experience as a caffeine addict is not really applicable. Caffeine definitely impairs me. I can't sleep, can't sit still, can't poop, can't focus on anything. Weed, on the other hand, keeps my thoughts focused and doesn't interfere with sleeping or bowel movements. See? Our personal experience is irrelevant to the discussion.


Nope. Not a caffeine addict. My wife once challenged me to go without caffeine for 30 days. No problem. Not even a headache.


You are not using the same meaning of "addiction". I'm most definitely an addict, of various substances. Can easily put them down for months or years, that's not proof that I'm not an addict. The addiction is the part where I keep coming back even though I can quit.


They are both drugs, but the side effects of caffeine are a lot less bad per usage compared to weed per usage. Perhaps I should phrase that a bit better, but I hope you see what I'm getting at.


Got a source for that?

Caffeine can have pretty "bad" effects - issues with sleep, headaches, panic attacks, and all sorts of cardiovascular issues (increased heart rate, sweating, etc).


Nicotine and caffeine are both mild stimulants and have nootropic effects. Weed hasn't done anything for me besides give me bad panic attacks and making me feel like I'm detached from reality. It does not have the same kind of nootropic and cognitive-enhancing effects of caffeine, not at all.

Like David Lynch, I'll stick to the coffee and cigarettes (even if the latter will probably kill me eventually, at least I can think straight)


Personal anectode but might help:

I also have anxiety and panic attacks triggered. Though when it's over and I can think calmly, I ALWAYS see those panic attacks are my subconscious' way of telling something wrong with my life/where I'm going etc. and I need to fix things. When everything's on track I never have panic attacks regardless of the amount of substance.

In that sense it's actually telling me, in a brutal yet true way, to fix my life, by facing me feelings or thoughts that I've been subconsciously running away from.

Might not be the same case with you, surely, but this is my 2 cents.


You might try rosemary and sage oil for your panic attacks after weed (should help if this is caused by AK1 gene).


Before anyone freaks out too much:

"Persistent" means up to one week. From the actual paper: "However, results were not significant for an abstinence period of more than 7 days."

Basically, science has proved that stoners behave like stoners. And if you stop it takes a few days for everything to wear off.


This matches my experience perfectly. I used to smoke weed about once a month when when I was a teenager, and I noticed that I could observe mild cognitive impairments for about a week after smoking. They were fading gradually during those days. To illustrate, the next day after smoking I would occasionally notice that it takes me two times longer than usual to understand the task in school textbook and sometimes I could even loose the thread in a conversation. I also would catch my mind "frozen" in some thought, like "why can't the government just print all the money it needs?". Usually the next second you'd move to "ah, because inflation", but in that case it'd just "stand" at place.

On subsequent days it'd become less severe, and on day 5 and later I'd only notice that I forget why I came to the kitchen more often than usual. After about a week I was not able to spot anything unusual. This was actually quite scare and was one of the reasons I eventually quite entirely.

Another reason by the way was that I don't really find the effect pleasant or relaxing like many do. I fact, weed induces paranoia, thought loop and other unpleasant effects in my mind. The same is true for alcohol and lots of other drugs, so maybe my case is a bit more severe than regular.


Your experience pretty much matched mine with the cognitive impairment. It’s just something to wait out and not get stressed about for 2-3 days after.

I find I get a bit paranoid when I take too much (generally I only ingest edibles, my days of harsh af smoking doobies are over).

However, I do see benefits because I’m the kind of person that let’s little stressors accumulate over time. My somewhat infrequent usage has always come with a reset of my stress. It would be nice if it didn’t also come with a bit of downtime the week after.


> I also would catch my mind "frozen" in some thought, like "why can't the government just print all the money it needs?". Usually the next second you'd move to "ah, because inflation", but in that case it'd just "stand" at place.

Painfully relevant given the current fiscal policies.


Thank you for this extract. Iv seen many past meta analysis on the 7 to 14 day impairment but no difference after that. Based on these findings i use marijuana regularly but never in periods of need of high output like fundraising, product release date sprint etc... There are a lot of parts of life when you have a lot of stress but you don't actually need to be on your top game you just need to show up for those periods weed is amazing.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3037578/

> Cannabis appears to continue to exert impairing effects in executive functions even after 3 weeks of abstinence and beyond. While basic attentional and working memory abilities are largely restored, the most enduring and detectable deficits are seen in decision-making, concept formation and planning.


Your quote only relates to verbal learning and verbal memory, in one of the included meata-analisys.

The study includes many more cognitive functions.

Why do you quote this phrase from the middle of the text, out of context?

Read results in the abstract.


I did read the study, and while it clearly spells out that effect wane after one week in many cases, it remains completely vague on any persistence of long term effects under abstinence.

I've searched for the words day, week, month and year and there is absolutely no clear cut result to the end of persistency of THC/CBD effects.

What the study does clarify though is that the cohorts in most studies were small and that more research is needed for more tangible results.

The one positive advise, well hidden, is to counsel youth about unhealthy usage patterns, i.e. chronic canabis abuse.

A lot of fluff around no solid findings.

Which is a statement in and by itself.


As someone else mentioned, I think that only applied to certain effects. But the paper did say something along the lines of "persistent effects are highly debated" (sorry the site won't let me copy anything or download a PDF...)


I see a lot of people defending cannabis and I hate to be that guy but: be freaking cautious with cannabis. Yes it cannot make you an addict, yes it can help you to have a good time with people. But it can also fuck you up. I have PTSD since 2018 because of an accidental over dosing of cannabis oil.

Weed is really high on THC nowadays, which can easily make you panic or make you paranioac. As for most people it's bought illegaly, it is hard to know exactly what you're consuming, and even a cautious guy like me can make errors (I took several kind of drugs before that, and mostly which people consider stronger stuff).

I don't think it should be illegal, but be careful with what you're smoking, which quantities, where, and please don't talk about it like it cannot be dangerous and it's the perfect solution to relieve stress/relax.


I totally agree. I used to casually do it on a daily basis but would go on months sober. Coming back to it, the effects can be very overwhelming.

What concerns me are the vials that they now offer which contains highly concentrated thc oil contents.

I can tell you honestly that I was offered some and over did it one day and I was probably experiencing a psychotic episode.

My reality was distorted for half an hour. Like if I didn’t fold the towel a certain way, something bad could happen.

Getting too high has turned me away from using cannabis as it’s no longer enjoyable.


As someone who was physically dependent on benzos, heroin, and speed, you 100% can get addicted to cannabis. I wouldn't say it was any easier to quit for me than any other drug. The experience was different but the effects on my life were broadly similar.

If not addiction, what would you call spending money, time and health you can't afford on something? I only managed to quit about five months ago and I've already lost 18 kg in body weight and saved over £2,000. If that's not addiction I don't know what is.


You cannot get physically addicted to weed. You will never have withdrawals from quitting weed like you do with alcohol or heroin. Perhaps you can get mentally addicted to it but that applies to literally anything.


2 seconds of google search seems to prove the opposite... I don't think anyone is implying it's comparable to heroin.


Can you give more details about what happened? I took way too much many many times the worst that happened was: vomiting+awful headaches then falling asleep/"passing out". At which point can it cause PTSD?


Not OP, but the effect can, for some people, be likened in intensity to a bad trip on mushrooms or acid and be deeply traumatic. Especially dependent on the people you're with and the place you're in.


I'm not sure exactly what OP means, but depersonalization disorders are PTSD symptoms, often linked to trauma, and can be induced from cannabis[1].

My personal opinion is that legal states are making a mistake at treating concentrates (and edibles to a degree) as being as benign as their flower counterparts.

1. https://psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp-rj.20...


I've had depersonalization for over 10 years now after an incredibly intense experience from the first time I smoked weed(age 16.) Looking back I was a very anxious/depressed kid but theres no argument weed affected me in a very damaging and permanent manner.

I'm sure I would have been far more successful in life had I not smoked at all, but at the same time, I'm guessing I would have been much more narcissistic and judgemental towards people who struggle with mental illness. Win? Idk.

Had it been opiates instead of weed I probably would've died already.


> Yes it cannot make you an addict

On behalf of all my friends that are 100% addicted to cannabis, I disagree.

It's not a physical addiction, but you can totally be mentally addicted to cannabis.


My personal experience certainly agrees with this. I definitely shouldn’t smoke on a work night, and it’s not a good idea on Sunday either. The more hours until I need to perform cognitively, the better. I abstained for months before the last time I did job interviews.

On the other hand, I know people also gainfully employed at top companies who code while high and claim to have no issues. Your mileage may vary, I guess. Maybe they’re a lot smarter than me and can afford the slack, or maybe we react to it differently.


> code while high

I sometimes feel I code better when I'm slightly mentally impaired, because my mind stops getting in the way of getting things done and over analyzing problems.

But then I'm very rarely mentally impaired, as I normally neither drink nor consume cannabis or anything like that, so idk.

EDIT: Oh, just realized the answer is probably simple => less stress.


"I drive better when I've had a few" is something I have actually heard from people in my past. Far, far past. And they think that because they no longer have that voice in their head that tells them they're doing something stupid.

"I code better when I'm high" is something that can only be judged by those around you. If somebody else judges your code to be better, fine. But your self assessment is fundamentally flawed.


Those are wildly different actions though, unless you're modifying live production code for a pacemaker or something like that.

Doing a bit of inebriated coding that you verify later might be just fine. I'm almost certain that the resulting code won't be better, but there may be situations where a clear head would have produced no code at all due to mental blocks.


As a hard rule I'll never be impaired at work or anything like that, though on my personal projects I've found slowing drinking a glass of a good rum is a very useful aid to programming. As others have said there's a wonderful objectivity to programming, you can't really blag it when you're working with others as I am on the personal project. I think it's the lack of inhibition that helps, it's telling the voice in your head to shut up with over-engineering things and just get to the instant gratification of a panel of green tests and features that work.

Debugging while inebriated is another thing altogether, that's no fun at all.


Yeah, this is like the Hemingway quote - "Write drunk, proofread sober."


That would be true if programming didn't leave a trail of indisputable evidence.

If those drunk drivers had to constantly re-live and review telemetry data for their trips they would change their tune?


Or, you code worse but don't have the 'reflective' threads of cognition running at the time to notice?


Typical Ballmer’s Peak.


To jump on the bandwagon of giving advice, I would recommend green tea or for a stronger effect L-Theanine capsules.

There are things that make you faster, caffeine, prescription meds, Red Bull, blow, fast paced techno.

And things that make you slower, green tea, marry Jane, booze, different prescription meds, brainfm, chill beats.

I’m beginning to find slower and quieter is better for me.


I also have the same belief when I code. To be specific, I realize what’s missing, and how it could be done better. You are probably righr, Stress.


You would probably achieve the same effect by meditation and practicing attention control.


So why smoke at all? Don’t you want to operate in life at your cognitive best?


Don’t you want to operate in life at your cognitive best

I'm over 40 and have worked crap jobs most of my life. It isn't like my increasing my cognitive abilities being "best" - whatever the heck that actually means - is going to make a huge difference in my life. To tell you the truth, I'm much more worried about cognitive decline as a side effect of MS than I am the effects of getting high.

It isn't like it makes me stupid. I simply think differently and that isn't all bad. Cleaning house and other mundane chores are less bothersome, and my life is full of this mundane crap. It also isn't like being drunk and I can still participate in society (I personally don't drive and just use public transport, sober or not)


Its much better than that - I get semi-constant stream of creativity in my mind that simply isn't there when sober. You could say I become more artistic. I also literally go for 1-2h of walks and come back with tons of remarks, todos, plans etc. to improve my personal or work life. I just need to quickly note them in my phone or they would be probably forgotten when set of next ideas come. Picking up forgotten bits in life that would bite me later. Planning future with more clarity.

Few of the ideas are later dismissed as unrealistic or overly optimistic, but most of the best long term decisions in my life have been 'found' in Inception movie style while high, and expanded later. The perspective is really different, and I literally get a second, different opinion on my life and all the choices/duties.

I've handled tough breakups with this - the emotions were not suppressed or ignored or twisted to get out easily, rather I've got full exposure to all their sides which allowed me to process them remarkably quickly. The result was I got over it all and properly closed things for good in a rather speedy way.

The thing is, that's me - the next person might get a very different effect, sometimes rather negative and not helpful. Drugs don't work uniformly on everybody, even on alcohol some get cozy and some aggressive.

Its not about dumbing down at all - that's alcohol domain. Just shifting mindset to something alternative, in more than one way my mind is expanded. The next morning I am dumbed down, but in 1000x more pleasant manner than after alcohol, rather too-laid-back for some stressful annoying tasks.


Another MSer here and weed has never made me bang my head on the table because I kept mixing up words during the last meeting. That's all MS.


>Don’t you want to operate in life at your cognitive best?

No. Especially at bedtime, I want to be cognitively stopped. The fact that the cognitive is keeping me awake even though I'm physically exhausted sucks.


If only it was that simple.

Sober, I’d be coding and a notification would pop up on my phone, taking great attention away from the work. My child would be crying in the next room over and my brain would be formulating thoughts to discern what the fuss is all about.

My washer is leaking and now I have to set up an appointment for someone to come look at it and due to my busy schedule, I’d have to find time.

Distractions takes away the drive and motivations to code.

On Cannabis, the answers are there in my head and what to do.

Phone notification? Not important, ignore it.

Child crying? She has her mom.

Washer broke? Handle it after work.

Easily said but I think like many on here has stated, any stress reducing solution can make a difference.

Ymmv.


It definitely makes you smarter in some ways. For example, getting to the root of stress, processing difficult emotions. It's much easier to get in touch with those feelings when a little bit high. Meditation / yoga is another thing that works better high imo.


You're so right. It's certainly a tightrope, helping with anxiety vs inducing anxiety, at least for me. But when it works it works. Recently it completely opened my mind about my relationship with my mother and her identity as a person. It was right before a several week stay of her with us after a long time of us not seeing each other. It was the single biggest reason her visit was as enjoyable as it was because it enabled me to see her in a totally different, more compassionate, light.


> So why smoke at all? Don’t you want to operate in life at your cognitive best?

For all you know, GP is Einstein and he's working in the patent office, but with no chance of being recognized. Does he really have to be deprived of even one small joy in life so he can be at peak cognitive performance for shuffling patent applications around tomorrow? Who is he supposed to be performing for?


> Who is he supposed to be performing for?

Totally off topic but this sentence of yours perfectly sums up my mental state currently. Being a technologist, I believed tech could solve everything and thing and dedicated my life to it. This was when I was a teenager teaching myself to code 10-12 years ago. Back then tech wasn’t mainstream and geeks weren’t cool.

But now, tech is the new wallstreet and a tsunami of people are hitting its shores every year. I’m not sure what I can bring to the table. I’ve learnt a lot of computer science just for the fun of it. I don’t think I’ll ever use most of that knowledge.

I’m in this weird state where I know how amazing technology can be but at the same time I don’t really have much to contribute to it. Sure, I could set myself up for some big moonshots. But for what? I haven’t found happiness or satisfaction in all this while. I’m not sure if it’ll ever come. I can certainly distract myself with a lot of challenges to keep me from contemplating suicide. Or I could smoke weed. No difference really. No reason to squeeze out all you’ve got just to hit some random performance metrics or criteria.


I think you might just have discovered who is approving all those bullshit patents.


>Don’t you want to operate in life at your cognitive best?

Good lord no, I want my cognitive best to be when I'm getting shit done. When I'm doing non-cognitive tasks I want my cognitive best to get back in its box and shut up for a bit so I can enjoy life without constantly over-analysing everything. I'm certainly in that category, though I suspect something like a meditation practice would probably be more useful as a long-term strategy than having a drink after work.


In my case, I use drugs because I have MS and if I didn't, the only signals I ever get from my body are constant pain.

Some occasional drug use reminds me that my body doesn't exist solely to hurt me, that I can still experience pleasure, and that it's still worth trying to find things I might like/be able to enjoy since many of my previous physical pleasures aren't possible or are less enjoyable than they used to be. Without them, my physical existence is only pain, and that's depressing. Being depressed is way worse on my cognitive abilities than doing drugs once in a while.

This is true for most people who use regularly: The drugs are a harm-reduction measure. If weed fucks you up (-10 cognitive ability) but also gets rid of your anxiety (-20 cognitive ability), it's still a net win.


Not all the time. Overthinking is a thing, there is a reason why taking walks or showering helps solve problems when fully focused cognitive attention was leading only to frustration.

All that said, I think it is a good thing to not make anything that affects(increase or decrease) cognitive performance a habit.


Because it is actually enjoyable, and has some positive effects for some people, and everything in life has its own pros and cons.


At least for me I enjoy my job but it’s usually being on conference calls talking about tech with business people. I like to take a 5mg edible every hour or two while working. Everyone always comments how chipper and patient I am with people. So maybe I’m not at my cognitive best but at least on calls it seems to improve my ability to convey my message.


How long have you done this? Do you take tolerance breaks?


the findings in the study regarding work performance don't apply for everyone

smoking sativa strains increase work performance for me and i know a lot of other dev how performing well while smoking cannabis in the office!

- sorry they smoked at the rooftop terrace not in the office


You don't need to be at your absolute peak every second of your life. It's no different than having a drink.


Life isn't about the brain it's about the body, brains came much later in the evolutionary process. I like tuning up the senses and tuning down the cognition, at many points overthinking doesn't help much. Often lateral thinking can offer answers.


“Why lift weights at all? [why waste the next day sore.] Don’t you want to operate in life at your athletic best?”

“No. Resistance training is good for me long term.”

Exactly.


"Best" is relative. I find that it's a different, occasionally worthwhile, state of mind.


I totally agree. Have recently decided to abstain from smoking on nights before work. I’m never as sharp the morning after and edger going several weeks without smoking, the productivity differences are pretty noticeable for me.


Or maybe we shouldn't center our lives around work - making sure we're 100% optimal for the capitalist system. Even at 50% efficiency, developers provide a tremendous value to a company they work for. If relaxing with some weed daily is something someone enjoys, why shame them for not being 100% at work?


How long do they persist? 1 day, 1 week, a year, ten years?

I used to be a daily smoker and was horribly addicted. Now, at least ten years after I quit, I find myself having trouble remembering things. I lose my train of thought a lot too, really annoying. I don't know if that was attributed to my cannabis use, or just my brain in general.


It's a bit distressing how many people don't think weed can be addictive, clearly it is, just not in the same way as something like cigarettes.

That said, my friend, 10 years of life make you forgetful sometimes.

That's just called living.


I was going to say as well, just the act of getting older means some things will be forgotten. The brain does not have an infinite store. And as you get older, there are many more things that you are responsible for, and therefore some things get sacrificed from your memory. That’s just fact.


It's just really sucks that of the things that can't be remembered is the important stuff, yet I can still remember the opening bit of the Canterbury Tales that was commited to memory in school some couple of decades ago. yes, I know there's a difference in memory types, but come on!


It's not addictive, you just can't sleep any more for a while if you try to stop


It isn't physically addictive but it is mentally addictive and in this regard it will affect different people differently. I personally found it quite difficult to stop, it took over 5 years. Regardless I support its legalisation.


That sucks, I empathise. If it’s any help the same thing happens to me and I smoked and drank very rarely. There could be a link between substance use and cognitive impairment but part of it could just be getting older.


Agree. Most people our senior (boomers, silent generation) never smoked or smoked briefly and what they smoked was very weak by modern standards. Yet many from those generations also suffered with cognitive decline despit little to no marijuana use.


Umm we're talking about being young in the 60s here though right?


As a continuous overthinker, I switched from admonishing myself for losing my train of thought to feeling relief for a brief moment of thoughtlessness.

In terms of evolutionary biology, all forms of life develop memory first. Only once sufficiently resilient, an organism can begin to learn to forget things. Forgetting is an incredibly valuable tool. Don't diss it. Embrace the train of thought going off the rails every now and then.

If it was important, it'll come back. If not, congratulations, you've just made space in your brain for new memories!


> In terms of evolutionary biology, all forms of life develop memory first. Only once sufficiently resilient, an organism can begin to learn to forget things.

Interesting, can you link to more info on this?


Now that I am in my forties, simply having a bad night of sleep can have me forgetting names of colleagues and messing up the names between the dogs and my daughters. Lack of sleep is one of the most debilitating thing and it certainly wasn't like that 10-15 years ago. Ageing sucks!


I've found that a daily regimen of lion's mane plus bacopa and for just one month did wonders at restoring my memory and clarity after quitting weed a while back. This was before I was officially diagnosed as ADHD, I had tried for the longest to avoid getting on stimulants, but at a certain point, my career and my life was falling apart due to my inability to control my impulses.


It said 14 days of abstinence was enough to eliminate several effects, like verbal learning and verbal memory.


I have smoked for a number of years now, and I have continually been narrowing down on the best way to smoke (at least for me).

I have noticed that actually SMOKING weed makes me really stupid. Very similar to what is described in the article. My thought processes slow down, my focus decreases, and I am unable to be "normal" for the rest of the day (and possibly even the next day).

What I have found is that vaping the weed (not a dab pen, but a conduction vape like the Pax or Volcano) is a lot better. You are able to get much better control of exactly how high you want to get, because each puff is nowhere near as strong. It's not nearly as bad on your lungs, you won't have a cough from this. And because it only vaporizes some of the weed chemicals, I find that it completely reduces the brain fog. This has become my preferred way to use marijuana. I can just load up a vape bowl and take a small hit or two whenever I want, and within 2 hours I will be completely sober and back to normal.

I have problems with other means of usage. In my experience edibles are too hard to find, and it's too easy to take too much. Dab pens, dabs, and concentrates are nice, but they seem too addictive, so I stay away. I knew quite a few people who moved on from dabs to other harder drugs.

In terms of the effects of weed, I find it greatly enhances my interest in computers. When I use weed, suddenly the computer becomes fascinating to me. This has a major positive impact on my motivation and productivity. I used to worry about whether or not smoking weed was keeping me from my true potential, but the results speak for themselves: I am making more money than I ever thought I would as a FAANG engineer in my early 20s.


Similar experience but it's easy to keep increasing your tolerance that way to the point where you'll get the negative effects as well and become dependent. Finding a balance is tricky and I'm not sure it's worth it in the long run.

I'd personally would rather have it as a leisure activity once a week or month and not something I need for my job 5 days / week.

It's a huge exercise in self-control if anything. And perhaps being in this situation is a good sign you should check if you're suffering from ADHD. But everyone is different.


I live in California where it's legal so I can sample the various wares to see what works best. The dab pen's are cheap but much too harsh. Edibles take too long to come on and it's hard to get the dose right. I've gone back to smoking bud, because it works and doesn't feel harmful like vaping oil. I don't smoke everyday. I use it maybe once or twice a week when I get stuck on a problem, like finding myself getting obsessed to solve it by "flailing around." Pot slows me down and helps me see things in a different way. I can't write code while high, but I can think about it differently. I'll look up Pax and Volcano and see how they work.


If you're looking for a cheaper option I'd recommend the Arizer Solo, which is like the Pax in a less sleek form factor. It's been my main toking method during the pandemic and I can vouch for its efficacy.


Check out the dynavap. I've never seen a battery powered vape come close.


This is intriguing. What exactly is so good about it? And does it vape flower? My Arizer is getting a little clogged and I was thinking about upgrading soon.


I'm surprised that no one in this thread has used the word "hangover" yet, because that's exactly what these researchers have quantified. They certainly haven't "discovered" it, because anyone who is familiar with cannabis can attest that, just as with alcohol, if you get super high, you're going to feel it the next day.

To put it simply, if you get really wrecked on weed, the next day you're going to be stupid.

With that said, unlike with alcohol where hangovers are quite unpleasant, I suspect that a lot of cannabis users enjoy the next-day feeling. If you are like many people in technology whose minds are continually churning, problem-solving, absorbing and processing information, checking your phone, reading HN, obsessing over whatever idea and in general running on the mental hamster wheel that so many smart people struggle to take a break from, the feeling of being stupid and slow can be quite nice.


Under the influence, I realize that I am truly indeed, a creature of habits. I do many things without thinking about them. Learned behavior that are consistent and doesn’t really change.

Cannabis use somehow helps me focus on things I wouldn’t normally do; it’s like having a burst of energy and the mental capacity to do almost anything I put my mind to. Things that seem hard, complicated or long, seems simplified, doable and ordered. I’m a programmer btw.

There is the high, which I don’t really enjoy. I prefer the energy and focus over the high. I’ve been recommended CBD before as well.

I could be completely oblivious to its permanent affects. However I only use on occasion and go months sober.

I want to believe that there may be certain chemicals in Cannabis that can help the human brain be more productive and efficient, however I know nothing about the science.


The keyword here is _persistent_ as opposed to permanent. Significant bread consumption would lead to weight gain which would in turn also lead to a persistent but reversible impact on my overall health.

Keep it to a reasonable level, folks.


I find small amounts of cannabis[1] removing one annoying aspect of my ADHD: racing thoughts. Alcohol does the same for me but alcohol impairs my ability to work and weed does something opposite: I get creative, accurate, conscientious and "more focused" than usual. This is not "real focus" with "mind silence" that real ADHD meds bring but if I can smoke a tiny amount of pot and avoid taking what's usually prescribed - this is a win.

Larger amounts of weed tend to hyperfocus me but impair some processing abilities. For me, less is more here.

I'm smoking daily for over 20 years. I don't know how would my mind function without all those trees but I think I'm doing ok. Anecdotal but the single noticeable effect of daily cannabis smoking is the lack of so called "morning wood".

[1] Cannabis sativa ~19% THC <1% CBD, prescribed by a psychiatrist


> Cannabis is the third most consumed psychoactive substance in the world (after alcohol and nicotine)

Nit, but I believe that coffee is the most used psychoactive substance in the world. Even if it is not the most used, it is surely in the top three before cannabis.


Sugar is high up there too, I'm sure. (Pun intended..)

> Ultimately, the question of how much is too much becomes a personal decision, just as we all decide as adults what level of alcohol, caffeine or cigarettes we’ll ingest. Enough evidence exists for us to consider sugar very likely to be a toxic substance, and to make an informed decision about how best to balance the likely risks with the benefits.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/05/is-sugar-wor...


I went from an occasional social user to a habitual personal user...because COVID and staying at home were killing me. And it actually doubled my productivity. But eventually got to the point where I HAD to smoke to perform, and definitely had a way worse sober baseline after a year of persistent use. So I stopped. Regret having gone down that path =(.


Stopping after only a year is great! It took me seven years to conclude it was doing more harm than good -- twice.


I also went really hard this last year and am currently pulling back on my usage. I don't regret it. Now I know what all the danger signs are and I can recognize them in the future.


Thats awesom, i wish i had just kept smoking for pleasure instead of work. I think the daytime smoking messed me up...just felt really stupid and unmotivated in the end. The last straw was when I waked and baked and went to a meeting with leadership.


Yeah, but don't beat yourself up. That line can be really hard to find depending on your circumstances. For instance, I WFH and make my own hours, so there's not really a time of day I CAN'T be fucked up. This is also the first time in my life I had the money for a drug habit lol.

But yeah, my rule for meetings is that unless it's a meeting I'm running, complete sobriety is a must. The idea of being high around leadership is terrifying (same reason I don't drink when we have work conferences).


First alcohol, now this?! How else will we drown our sorrows and numb our pains?


Exercise and a healthy diet.

I typed this in jest but instead of closing the tab I realize that yes, this is a good alternative, perhaps the best, if you can do it. Not everyone can, and typically it’s not their fault if they can’t.


Exercise and healthy diets do not have the same effect on your mind as weed. I say this as a person who has a fairly healthy diet and exercises everyday.

Marijuana alters your state of consciousness. It enhances certain senses (taste being famous) but also allows for socializing and empathy. As a person who’s extremely narcissistic, it has helped me gain a lot of empathy by allowing me to “step aside” and observe my actions and those of others around me. And if you’re high with your partner, you can have a very fulfilling bonding experience (emotionally as well as sexually).

The only thing I’ve experienced come close is meditation. But that takes a lot of time and effort.


These are not replacements - you cannot replace one with the other. You simply might find you don't enjoy being inebriated. With this advice, honestly, most folks that smoke would ask if you have ever smoked pot regularly and how long that lasted.

To tell you the truth, I'm more likely to exercise and eat healthily if I'm stoned.

Taking a walk while stoned is pretty wonderful, and more taxing exercise aren't as bothersome. I think this is why pot is popular among some bodybuilders: Get stoned, lift weights and enjoy life. (I worked with a competitive bodybuilder, and this routine was pretty popular with non-steroid users). Food tastes really good while stoned, too, and this includes healthy stuff.


I'd say it's really a time tradeoff.

In my experience, the main reason to not eat healthy or exercise is because doing those things takes time, easily a LOT of time (e.g. cooking and cleanup easily account for 2-3 extra hrs/day and the numbers are similar for exercise [both active (dedicating time to it) and passive (walking around everywhere)]).

In the same vein, use of psychoactive substances is probably also a tradeoff between taking time to properly conduct mental maintenance v.s. a quick and dirty solution.


> In my experience, the main reason to not eat healthy or exercise is because doing those things takes time, easily a LOT of time

Instead they waste the time that would've made them healthier and happier on bullshit.


Not true. There are TONS of easy and healthy recipes out there. You can also just meal prep and cook for a whole week in lne session.


> There are TONS of easy and healthy recipes out there.

The cooking itself is not difficult, but you have surrounding activities that take significant time like prep, cleanup (dishes, cookware, table etc.), and extra time for grocery shopping (want fresh vegetables? you're probably going to have to shop every 3 days if not everyday. want diverse meals, you're going to need to spend time planning)

I have timed myself and the extra time cost here is definitely significant. I still cook my own meals because I think the trade off is worth it but I'm completely aware how much time (even the "invisible" time) I'm investing to do that.

> You can also just meal prep and cook for a whole week in lne session.

There's several points here: 1) prepping ahead of time doesn't suddenly make it cost no time... you're just shifting the time (likely into weekends, where a lot of people would probably want to spend that time doing other things!) and 2) pre-prepping means you either limit what type of food you can have (decreasing in quality the further it is from prep day) or it means you need to freeze, seal or can stuff, which negates a lot of the health benefits to begin with, potentially produces waste (sealing) and costs extra time!


Those suggestions might hold up for some people but even those seemingly innocuous avenues might cause things to go awry when used as tools for emotional regulation. And, maybe my counter-arguments falls outside of the scope of the qualifier "healthy". But, I'd be mindful of the two devolving into exercising too much, which isn't fun to deal with (persistent injuries), and eating disorders that cause anxiety of their own. At least, that's what happened to me.

For some of us, the way to deal with numbing stuff means changing our lives so there is less numbing needed.


Chop wood, carry water.


That sounds like more work. How do bootstrap?


My personal take

Go to bed/wake up at the same time everyday: might be easy

Learn to cook: might sound more difficult, learn to make 3-4 healthy but easy "cant go wrong" dishes (pulled chicken and broccoli eg.) You'll love eating your own food soon enough.

Exercise: hardest for me as I hate exercise. No silver bullets, just gotta stick with it.


The trick with exercise, I find, is to find something that is fun first, exercise second.

What that is will be different for different people: if you're a social person, you might try dancing(think salsa or other pair dances), or if you're the competitive kind, try some competitive sport that doesn't rely solely on physical fitness: anything where technique is as or more important as physical form will help you forget you're exercising and just focus on having fun/winning the game.

The perfect exercise is the one where you don't realize you've been exercising until you stop and smell the sweat!


I only like doing exercise where my brain is active all the time. So sports where there is competition (I play squash), or where i need to keep thinking about it (swimming so I don't drown), or one that doubles as social activity (like partner dancing)


Yeah, and it's a big if. Personally, I tried, and ended up having suicidal thoughts every time I exercised. With weed, that's not a problem.

If one has sorrows that need drowning, then the first step should be dealing with those issues and seek help if needed -- not trying cliché things that sound like they came from some mindfulness channel on Youtube.


i exercise a few times a week and eat well (take out/eat out once a month or so, everything else cooked at home, and vegetarian). That doesn't mean I don't want to have a few beers on a weekend still!


my friend does drugs excessively and wonders how I stay so straightedge. I don't drink or smoke, I eat a healthy vegan diet and exercise as much as I safely can.

but it's because alcohol and weed give me panic attacks, and interact with my meds. my body is slowly degenerating so I'm in constant pain and my exercise routine consists of rehab.

I feel like the pain and constant mental strife is aging me faster than weed would. heck, it'd be medical in my case.


> ExerCiSe AnD a HeAlThY dIeT

God, I can't hear that stupid saying anymore. Tell that the MD of a psychiatric hospital. He will have a good laugh.


Are alcohol and light drugs really helping or just covering the problem?

Keep in mind that a psychiatric hospital is working on actual psychiatric disorders, i.e. super serious medical problems (where your brain is rewired in "interesting" new ways, possibly forever). We're not discussing about a psychologist here, who's working on what are comparatively mild conditions.


Doesn’t help with a broken leg either.

My friends who are addicts (those that have survived) are using serious drugs and most of them have complex issues to deal with.

But lighter drugs, whether analgesics or pot/alcohol aren’t of any use for serious illness. And those kinds of drugs are the ones under discussion.


Cope.


I mean I don't, but I take the blame for that. Not god's fault I'm lazy.


> Not god's fault I'm lazy.

It is though isn't it?

[Insert free will debate here]


God is your supplier, I'd say he was at fault for sure. You're probably out of the warrenty period though...


Seriously. Am I supposed to just work and have a boring milquetoast existence hiking or whatever to make it to 80? When it really comes down to it, the most euphoric moments and best memories of my life have been messed up on weed and alcohol with people and music. Itd be depressing to move on and just reminisce about when times were better…


Your description of being messed up on weed actually sounds depressing.

I’ll take a hike in some beautiful nature anyday over depressing night in smoking weed. You have no idea how positive an effect being outside in nature has on you.


It probably is depressing. I’m expected to choose between a less enjoyable life or knowingly making myself stupider and unhealthier, obstructing other life goals I may have had.

How do you think I’ve never been outside in similar nature? The reality is I’ve experienced both countless times so I literally do know exactly how much of an effect that has while the same can’t be said vice versa. I’ve been to many national parks, forests, beaches, campgrounds, ski resorts, mountains all over the western US for decades. Yes it’s more wholesome and serene, but it’s sadly not a comparison for the sheer euphoria experienced imbibing recreational drugs in a variety of social settings. Why do you think EDC, Woodstock, and other major concerts are so huge?


Sometimes I go hiking. Sometimes it's with camera gear. Sometimes I go camping, or hunting. Sometimes I go into my garage and lift weights. Sometimes I take walks around the neighborhood. Sometimes I sit at home with a glass of scotch and music on. Sometimes instead of scotch, it's pot. Sometimes I have friends over, and we start making our way through my alcohol collection, and the music gets turned up, and we're dancing around like idiots in my kitchen. Sometimes I decide I want to try new things and I make half a dozen cocktails so I can have them in my repertoire while entertaining, and end up quite drunk, even while home alone. Sometimes I get high, sit on my couch, and play video games. I go out plenty (or did before the pandemic), and that frequently meant indulging in these previously mentioned vices. A favorite of mine over the pandemic has been to play the solo journaling RPG 'Thousand Year Old Vampire', and to keep the drinks flowing while I do it. I enjoy all these things, and could not replace any one of them with another.

And while I tend to not imbibe much of anything while out in nature - largely because I'm already clumsy enough - I also know hikers, including thru-hikers, who smoke every night on the trail, and talk about how wonderful that experience is. Not so much on the drinking side of things, for the thru-hikers, but I expect that is more about weight than anything.

Obviously, everything we do has some sort of impact on our bodies, and I suppose you can make an argument about the objective relative health impact of any of them.

But to try and argue that someone's subjective experience is an objectively worse one? That's silly. People can enjoy different things than you, and that doesn't make them "depressing"


Just so I'm clear here, you read "the most euphoric nights and best memories of my life" and editorialized that into "depressing"?

You're inserting your own disdain for weed here. That's fine if you don't like it, but it's not like he gave any of the gory details for you to actually make this assumption. If you said "I love eating salmon" it would be poor form for me to say "Your description of your eating habits sound horrible".


These aren't substitutes, but more like you are trying to tell folks how much better chicken is and that you'd rather have chicken breast over an apple any day because it is so much more enjoyable.

It isn't like being outside is lost on folks smoking weed. Do you have any clue how much smoking takes place while camping, on nature walks, in rustic cabins, and so on? You just do it sober.


And your description of a hike fills me with dread and depression.

The differences between us is what makes life worth living.

Your outlook has you on a bad road mon ami.


There's nothing depressing about such nights.


I was hiking pretty often in my twenties and can attest that nothing is better than getting messed up on alcohol and weed in nature with your friends.


Controlled, ability based violence! Aka martial arts with an emphasis on live training.

I do jest only somewhat. As a personal anecdote I find sparing to be a tremendously positive tool to get my mind off of work and daily troubles.


Whether taking punches is healthier than weed or alcohol is of course questionable.


Depending on the particular martial art strikes could be light or even missing entirely as is the case of grappling arts such as judo or jiu-jitsu thus lessening the risk of head trauma.


Agree that judo/jiu-jitsu have far less risk of head trauma/concussion, but as far as sports go they are still relatively dangerous - I quit after having one too many injuries.

I would say probably the safest sport, and my current favorite, is Olympic weightlifting, although climbing is in many ways similar to jiu-jitsu, and much safer.


I stopped drinking three years ago. Not because any problem just decided to stop. Started working out 3-5 days a week, heavy weightlifting. It’s been great and I feel happy, more motivated and it have split my focus, given me some much needed perspective. The only downside seems like I’m not getting tired as much as I used to which sometimes effects my sleep. No regrets.


Calm

Fitter, healthier and more productive

A pig

In a cage

On antibiotics

… by realizing there’s no way to zero risks and that trying to do so leads to a life perhaps not worth living

Who cares if a drink isn’t risk free or a joint makes your a little slower, live a little.


Life is plenty worth living without this stuff. But I guess we can't really come to an agreement since you've just defined people like me as "pigs in cages".


Hey, you do you. There are a million reasons not to do something, but if the deciding factor is a low grade long term risk I do suggest a person take that risk and live their life.


It's a reference to a Radiohead song. :)


Ditch the alcohol, moderately do this.

I’ve been finding it interesting how many more communities Ive found that abstain from alcohol and all the white powder drugs, but are cool with all psychadelics (with more than a few people only liking thc and shrooms because theyre “naturally occurring” compared to molecules “made in a lab”).

I wasnt looking for these communities but its predictable now.

I see the merit in it. I just drink other places.

But it does make me wonder if I will be a person that declines a drink and confuses someone’s entire worldview who expects an explanation or tries to push a drink on me. So far with active groups this big and easy to find it just seems like its not hard to go a long time without a drink without needing to consciously try.


Well, ketamine seems to be promising as of late...


The pedants are taking over...


Loving relationships

Healthy habits

Emotional growth

Challenging hobbies

Fulfilling romances

Exercise and using your body

Seeing yourself as a whole, not "othering" others

Making time for family

Telling those you love, that you love them

Spiritual practices

Getting lost in a book

Learning to cook

Volunteering and activism

etc,etc

You know, everything that's wonderful about life before capitalism, or at least the most popular implementations of it, told us we don't have time for such things anymore, that both partners need to work 40+ hours a week each, and we've been finding shortcuts to fulfillment and stress relief since. Worse, the status quo has co-opted a lot of good things and turned them into tools for further capitalist oppression. See "learn meditation to be a better employee to help with stress" narratives pushed at so many companies instead of narratives about "why is our work so stressful and what can we do about it?"

I feel like I can't talk to a coder before the conversation turns into "So what drugs are you abusing to remain competitive in the workplace?" We're in such a sea of workplace oppression, its practically water fish swim in, and its often difficult to point and say "Look, the abuses of low-regulatory capitalism is the water here, do you see it?" Instead we just go back to talking about doubling up on ADHD medicine, microdosing exotic chemicals, getting high to 'get by,' low-key drinking problems, caffeine usage thats out of control, etc.

This stuff, if not real, would be unbelievable in a dystopian sci-fi novel just a couple decades ago, but here we are. We're becoming Mentats from Dune addicted to sapho juice to please our paymasters.


Ayahuasca


Recreational sex?

(also I endorse sibling's comment of exercise + healthy diet)


Meaningless: "leads to acute cognitive impairments that may continue beyond the period of intoxication." - Wow, fascinating result right there. While intoxicated my cognition may be impaired. I had no idea. And those effects may (or may not) persist for some time after the intoxication fades. More research required. Amazing.

"Funding: None." - Well we got what we paid for!


I think a lot of the high functioning people who use THC could probably be even better without it. But what THC does is quiet a negative inner voice that prevents them from focusing and/or causes them to procrastinate. So the overall effect seems positive in the short term.

The issue is that THC does have long term effects. Most of which can be countered by being above average prior to use. Even if it zaps a few IQ points, being productive is better than being even smarter but paralyzed by anxiety. But the positive effects only last as long as the euphoria.

Some people encounter worse anxiety in the long term. A drug doesn’t solve the problem, just alters brain chemistry. Often the problem is external, rarely completely internal. If the initial source of anxiety is external, THC is a poor long term solution.

THC also does mess with reward mechanisms. Why feel good for being productive if you can just feel good by getting high? Without external motivators it’s easy to lose your internal drive when happiness is just a puff away.

It can also hurt emotional control, which is more subtle that other issues. That inner voice that causes anxiety is similar to the one that says slow down and be a nice person. By shutting one off, you also shut off the other. The same inhibition commonly associated with creativity is also associated with being a dick. THC seems to be associated with love, but this is largely a fantasy. Euphoria is not love by default.

I think the story about the productive stoner is over inflated. It’s a lot of work to truly solve the issues that THC can address. So if you are already high functioning, it’s easy to use a drug than address them instead. The issue is that THC will erode you over time, and may exacerbate the same issues that THC is supposed to address. Moderation is well and good, but the people using daily are self medicating, not using it recreationally. It takes a lot of control to not let THC take over your life when used regularly. And if you have that level of control initially, couldn’t you exercise it to live an equally fulfilled life in abstinence?

It’s difficult to even be recreational now that everything is so high potency. It’s like every drink being high ABV, and it’s an arm race to make it higher. Edibles are about the only way to ensure a low dose. As someone who prefers to smoke I find it next to impossible to match an inebriation level similar to a light beer, unless it’s literally a single puff. A second can send you over the edge.


>Cannabis use produces persistent cognitive impairments

Yeah, that's what we use it for. Can't stand being so clever all the time...


I can confirm, I have known some people who smoked Cannabis basically the whole day long for several years. They lost certain cognitive abilities, e.g. they were not really able to do calculations in their head anymore. They also got severe problems with their biorhythm by the way.


I stopped cold turkey smoking weed daily after 25 years, i can tell you from personal experience this does not apply to everybody.

It also seems rather strange to take one property of their lives and use it to explain their in your eyes loss of abilities. Not doing something for a long time also has this effect, so perhaps they for many years didnt need to do calculations in their head, or use their high school french and so on.

If you said you knew a twin, and one of them smoked weed daily and they had identical lives, and one of them lost cognitive abilities and the other didnt, i would be more likely to give your reply any credit.


Ok, let me give you some more details. The first guy I knew was a friend when I was studying. He studied Electrotechnical engineering at university level, a highly mathematical study and when he started he was quite good with it. However at the same time when he started the study he also started using Cannabis a lot more, up to the point that he was smoking all day long. I used to play games with him like poker and backgammon, both games where you can use both your intuition and your rational brain. Over time he basically gave up trying to calculate or reason things, he just relied on his intuition, which didn't improve his game. At the same time his study results started to crash as well. This all didn't happen at once, it took several years.

The second guy I knew was a guy I met when I was playing backgammon in a café. I tried to explain him some things about the game that involved some very basic probability calculations but he stopped me and told that he had been smoking weed for 20 years and had lost capability to do calculations in his head.


> I tried to explain him some things about the game that involved some very basic probability calculations but he stopped me and told that he had been smoking weed for 20 years and had lost capability to do calculations in his head.

Maybe he just wanted you to leave him alone.


If someone said they got mental problems from regular alcohol/amphetamine/antidepressants/benzodiazepines consumption nobody would question them.

But when they share a negative experience with cannabis, suddenly a bunch of stoners appear and try to discredit their story! Your friend got schizophrenia from smoking weed? Nah bro, he was already predisposed, and by chance it activated after smoking weed. You have memory problems after years of smoking? Nah, you might be just getting old, we may never know!

Don't be so insecure about your drug habits. Cannabis can be harmful, so what? Billions of people smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, eat sugary treats, all while fully aware that it can be harmful (but it might cause no harm to them!). You smoke cannabis because you enjoy getting stoned, even though it might be harmful. You're an adult who weighed the pros and cons, and came to the conclusion that the risks are acceptable for you.

But please, don't try to discredit other people's experiences!


I merely tried to remind the comment poster of the option that there could easily be other causes for his observations of the people has has known. And i can't see why you would instantly label this is discrediting.

Dear friend of mine, who i used to smoke with developed psychosis. So i know consuming cannabis can have negative effects. Cannabis has many compounds, and many studies show some of them have good properties others maybe bad properties. Some science says they cause mental issues other science and study show the opposite.

Again i just find the 'cant do math in head again' a weird statement or things to directly relate to smoking weed. There are plenty of people i know that have never smoked weed and can't do head math as well as they could when they were in high school.

Also to refer to your statement about weed & schizofrenia, there is plenty of research done, but nothing conclusive. e.g. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32839678/

Anything can be harmful, if you use/eat/drink/smoke it enough. And surely not everybody just smokes weed because they 'like being stoned' as you write. Sure does not count for me.


Sounds reasonable. Most adults stop doing many calculations in their head unless they need it at their jobs and thus get worse at it. Same goes for me, btw. And I never smoked weed in my life.

It would be interesting if the people the OP talks about tried to simply retrain their abilities, which I'm sure most adults that are not used to doing these calculations anymore could.


yeah I think this articles doesn’t really say much useful regarding the biological effect by chemicals in cannabis.


I think it would require more detailed research


exactly.. great point. I smoke weed for 20+ years and have no issues with it.. i work in IT (cloud tech) and gotta learn lot of things every week. Weed helps to stress less, but i'm sure that if i was unemployed and smoking, it would make lazy dumb idiot that can't remember much.


From my short 1 month experiene working in a clinical ward: if young people got brought in due to a psychosis, in the case that it was drug induced, at least 50% were long term cannabis users (followed by alcohol abuse, then some psychoactive drugs, and heroin/crack).

Cannabis definitely is not the vanilla drug so many people make it out to be.

*EDIT: I get the selection bias now, sorry.


Excellent anecdata. If the effect is so striking, I wonder why it has so stubbornly eluded all the scientific studies seeking to find a causation? Could it be the case that the correlation you describe is caused by one or more "hidden variables"?


Yeah, but by being on a ward you’re inherently suffering from selection bias - you’re only seeing the people who have a problem of one variety of another. From what I understand cannabis is fairly effective at triggering latent psychosis, rather than being the causative agent itself.

I smoke weed like others smoke cigarettes, and while I may find it trickier to do QM in my head while I’m high, and often lose my train, I still can. Some tasks, like coding, become easier - I gain a myopic focus, as it closes out past and future and makes me present.

On the other hand, I’ll also sign off client phone calls with “love you!” and will screw up trivial tasks like pouring a cup of coffee.


The current trend of THC only and cutting out the CBD can't help.

CBD is a natural antipsychotic [1], and I can say the one time I had a really bad prolonged psychosis episode with weed, it was when I thought the CBD was interfering with a medication I was on for Crohn's and decided to cut it out but still use high dose THC for potential immune suppressant effects [2] daily during my flare.

Bad idea. Definitely lost my grip on reality.

Ever since I never drop below a 2:1 CBD:THC ratio and over the years I haven't had anything coming even close to what happened before.

It's astonishing that the current trend is THC without CBD with so little demand for combined product. For everyone touting it as a "natural drug" they sure don't have any issue messing around with the natural balance to create some scary strains.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the current 'conspiracy' trend is in part due to increased THC usage. When I had used it nightly at high doses for only two weeks there was no way I could effectively discern what was plausible or implausible on the Internet. And it took a fair while after stopping to get back to a place of normalcy with that aspect too.

1 - https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/understanding-relation...

2 - https://www.livescience.com/9008-marijuana-suppresses-immune...


But aren't these outliers? For the vast majority of people it is an occasional indulgence, like alcohol, no?


anecdotally, I feel like I know many more regular smokers than regular drinkers.

That said, this could also be selection bias.

I am currently living clean, but have had multiple periods of being stoned basically 24/7 beforehand, whilst always having a very healthy relationship to alcohol (a few drinks socially, once per week or less). It's possible that the people I attract into my life tend to be similar to me.


You are confusing p(psychosis|cannabis) with p(cannabis|psychosis)


In the graveyard many dead are to be found.


It seems virtually all stimulants used as a crutch to counter anxiety, depression, physical pain etc wind up killing off a lot of brain cells. My concern with modern (incredibly strong) Cannabis/THC is that some regular users seem to struggle with withdrawal if they don't smoke their bowls regularly, run short on weed etc.


Near daily smoker, these days pretty exclusively of the high potency stuff.

I've quit cold turkey multiple times for a variety of reasons, sometimes for 6+ months at a time. I've never noticed any withdrawal symptoms, thankfully. Or cravings on days/weekends/whatever where I don't smoke.

It's anecdotal experience, obviously, but it leads me to believe that there's not some near-universal withdrawal process that pot smokers go through that you would see with someone who is going through opiate withdrawal or similar.


I believe it ends up why one was smoking (or using any substance in any way) in the first place.

If you're enjoying and it just becomes a (not super healthy-but not my point here) everyday habit, sure, you probably won't have withdrawal symptoms.

If you're using something to get away from some reality in life that is too unbearable, and that unbearable thing is still a matter when you want to quit, then it'll be hard. But it's not actually the substance (excluding hard/chemically super addicting class of substances like heroin or sugar) but the fact of facing the problems.


Weed withdrawals can be very hard. I had to borderline force feed myself in the past right after quitting because my appetite was dead. You’re insomniac as hell, tired, irritable, and just generally uninterested


Weed withdrawals can last months for me, severe depression / anhedonia / executive function impairment; duration depending on how much/long I used.

I'll bounce back but man does it suck going through the repair process. Nothing is enjoyable, life just feels dull and flat, and it's hard to get anything done.


I don't know anything about you other than the two sentences that you just wrote up there, but I've known other people who have expressed similar sentiments. After years of struggling with this, they've determined that what's actually going on is that they in fact are depressed and have been for years, and their cannabis use has basically been self-medication of an anti-depressant. They thought it was cannabis withdrawal that was causing these symptoms, but what's actually been going on is that they were stopping treatment that was working (for other reasons, like "I don't want to be a stoner forever" or something)

They also reported the "bounce backs" as you do, but those were never permanent.

You have no reason to take this advice from someone random on the Internet, but I strongly recommend that you get yourself evaluated for depression or something related.


> but what's actually been going on is that they were stopping treatment that was working

Hard disagree. Cannabis isn’t actually an anti-depressant in the same way that alcohol and other euphoric drugs aren’t antidepressants. Chronic cannabis use has also been correlated with increased depression scores over time.

But that’s beside the point: Cannabis withdrawal and rebound is a very real phenomenon. It’s another myth that you can’t get addicted to THC or that it’s okay because it’s not a “physical” addiction. The withdrawal effects described above are consistent with cannabis withdrawal syndrome and are well documented.


There is ample research that cannabis functions as an anti-depressant. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=cannabis+as+antidepress...

There are many caveats that go into posting a Google Scholar link - the quality of the research is unknown, there is the reproducibility crisis to worry about, etc. etc; However, the presence of this ample research means that "Cannabis isn't actually an anti-depressant" is far from settled, and you shouldn't be stating that with such confidence.

Edit: Also, I happen to agree with you that cannabis withdrawal and rebound are real, and I agree with you that it is possible to get addicted to THC, and, sure the effects described above are consistent with cannabis withdrawal. None of that contradicts what I wrote.

However, those effects are also consistent with anti-depressant self-medication, and, as I mentioned, I've known people who went on prescribed anti-depressants, stopped having those effects and have had a marked improvement in their quality of life. (Some continued using cannabis, some stopped; it didn't seem to matter afterwards). I thought it was important to share that anecdata. I was very careful in my message to not say "you don't have cannabis withdrawal"; I was trying to communicate that I knew people that sounded like basq and it turned out they were diagnosed with clinical depression. Basq could have either outcome.

So, yea, sorry - hard disagree with your level of confidence.


Most of those top links are for cannabidiol, not cannabis. One of the top results clearly says that scant research suggesting that cannabis is an antidepressant is lacking in quality.

Your link doesn’t even begin to support your claims.


Literally first title:

"Antidepressant-like effect of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L."

And yes, the majority of the claims are that CBD is the anti-depressant; self-administration of CBD comes primarily from smoking/vaping/ingesting cannabis, so I don't even understand what "cannabidiol, not cannabis" means.

I don't really get the impression that you are arguing in good faith here, especially the "Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize." part of HN guidelines, so I'm just gonna drop this thread now.


> Chronic cannabis use has also been correlated with increased depression scores over time.

As someone diagnosed with depression long before ever partaking in cannabis, this doesn’t surprise me at all. People with depression seek relief, and cannabis can provide that to an extent.


Yes, it’s a common theme with any drug known to cause short-term euphoria: People will confuse the drug-induced euphoria for anti-depressant effect, but they’re very different.


The subreddit r/leaves has been really helpful for me in the past


The punny name of the sub and the reference to r/trees is lovely.

Knew r/trees but didn't know r/leaves.

Thanks.


You’ll like what r/MarijunanaEnthusiasts


That is not withdrawal. That is a preexisting condition.


Why do you mean?


I think they are implying OP has used weed as a crutch and accidentally obscured a real condition.

A bit like using painkillers to avoid having knee surgery. A crutch, not a solution.


And that is why you should only take one or two puffs and not smoke a whole joint like 15 years ago. Also, I'm strongly convinced you should not be consuming it everyday, maybe 3 times a week max and even then that is hectic. People are way to chilled out about cannabis/thc dosages.


I think people "should" be consuming whatever they want. We're not free if we're not free to damage or destroy our own damn selves. It's really nobody else's business what goes into one's own body, or how damaging it is or is not to the person ingesting it.


Well, maybe, but I think the parent comment had implicitly meant "should... [if you want to avoid cognitive impairment" rather than making any moral judgement on those who don't.


Mmm sounds like American individualism. You do not live in isolation and nothing happens in isolation. Everything we/you do affects others. Freedom is a false carrot that's been used to make people feel good enough so they don't burn down their governments when things go wrong. Stop paying rates/taxes and see how free you are.

Every single person who end up in EC/ER due to drugs/alcohol/jumping off roofs, are a drain on society. Yes it great that we can fix those people up when they hurt themselves, but where is the line when people get reckless etc? Someone is paying to get your broken leg fixed. We all need to acknowledge that and appreciate one another. Every hour that I work, someone in my country gets fed by a government grant, all I ask is that the person take care of themselves and not waste my money.


> Mmm sounds like American individualism.

Having rights to one's own physical body has nothing to do with America.

If we don't have ultimate physical control over our own physical body, to do with it as we please, we can't really be said to have any meaningful rights at all. All other basic rights as an existing entity stem from the fact that we are ourselves, and others are not.

It's absolutely not individualism to say that every adult human being should have unrestricted rights over their own person-as-object, to enrich or damage as one sees fit. That seems plain as day to me. How can you even have the concept of a society of people if the societal group claims ownership rights over the bodies of the people that supersede those of the people themselves?

(If you think society shouldn't be spending money to repair damage caused by individual choices because it's unfair, we're in agreement there, but your broken leg case is a bad example, because you end up illustrating a point which I don't think you meant to make: that healthcare costs, something extremely variable based on individual choices, probably shouldn't be borne by society as a whole but by individuals themselves.)


> How can you even have the concept of a society of people if the societal group claims ownership rights over the bodies of the people that supersede those of the people themselves?

Uh... how can you have the concept of a body of cells if the body claims ownership over the entirety of each one of it's cells?

Did you stub your toe? Well it's not actually, your toe, it's an independent living organism, and you need to respect it's God given right to run into hard objects every now and then.

Really though, I think if you explore the wide variety of human cultures that have existed over time, you'll find that historically speaking, the default level of organization has been the tribe, not the individual. Indeed, individualism as we know it is only possible in highly organized societies, with super-powerful governments that create a monetary system, common language, infrastructure, legal and judicial system to enforce contracts, and other things that enable one to live "independently" like Ebenezer Scrooge.

For a right-wing take on this, please see "The Rational Optimist" by Matt Ridley. If you prefer a more moderate view, I recommend "Better Angels of our Nature" by Steven Pinker. Finally, the book "Debt, the first 5000 years" by David Graeber touches on more than a few of these topics.

Granted, I may be misunderstanding your argument, so please clarify if this is the case. :)


Sure, if it doesn't affect anyone else. Sadly that's not always the case, e.g. if you are prone to psychotic episodes from consuming said thing or just having society paying for your cancer treatment later on


Taking drugs doesn't affect anyone else. Having psychotic episodes doesn't affect anyone else. Doing already-illegal things that violate the rights of others during psychotic episodes, that affects other people.

Taking drugs doesn't affect anyone else. Getting cancer doesn't affect anyone else. Receiving cancer treatment doesn't affect anyone else. Using public funds to pay for that cancer treatment, that affects other people.

Those things should not be conflated, or treated as identical.


I wrote the parent comment and mostly agree with you about personal choice @sneak, except 'Taking drugs doesn't affect anyone else'. Whether alcohol, weed, opiates or whatever substance abuse is hugely costly and damaging in modern society to those who don't have this disease. There is a strong argument for pre existing substance dependency condition in people but the toll on those around them is huge.

You are smudging cancer and substance abuse together but in many cases complete abstinence in an individual due to awareness of a pre existing familial susceptibility can help that person to never become addicted because they are aware of the danger and biological weakness in themselves. 12 step programs etc can help people abstain if they become addicted although it is a huge and heroic struggle back to the surface.

Sadly this is not the case with cancer.


Parent isn't doing anything more than suggesting users consider dosage and frequency. It's good advice IMO. Nothing was said about taking away your right to kill your own brain cells.


> It seems virtually all stimulants used as a crutch to counter anxiety, depression, physical pain etc wind up killing off a lot of brain cells.

First off, medications used to treat medical disorders aren't a crutch. Knock that off.

Second, this simply isn't true. "If it works well, it must be destructive" is the sort of zero-sum folk wisdom nonsense you find in backwaters. Stick to the facts.

Any thread about commonly used psychoactive drugs brings out all of these thinly-veiled attempts at moralization over others. :(


Not even alcohol (one of the "dirtiest" drugs as far as physiological effects go) kills brain cells. I wish this myth would die. The issue is in the way they affect your dopaminic and serotonergic regulation and how this can fuck up your brain chemistry, not that they're literally killing off your brain cells.

> My concern with modern (incredibly strong) Cannabis/THC is that some regular users seem to struggle with withdrawal if they don't smoke their bowls regularly, run short on weed etc.

That said, this is a very legitimate concern I have as well. It doesn't help that a lot of stoners seem like they're in denial over the fact that they gasp have a dependence on this substance like an alcoholic or smoker does.


Alcohol can kill brain cells, but from overactivity of withdrawals.

> Scientists postulate that this syndrome [Alcohol Withdrawal] represents the hyperactivity of neural adaptive mechanisms no longer balanced by the inhibitory effects of alcohol

> Increased NMDA receptor activity significantly increases the amount of calcium that enters nerve cells. Although calcium is essential for nerve cell function, an excess of this substance within neurons has been reported to produce cell toxicity or death

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh21-2/144.pdf


> struggle with withdrawal

Anecdata, but for big smokers they'll notice more cognitive decline for a couple of months if they quit abruptly.

Alcohol is even worse for teenager cognitive abilities, I don't believe weed is as harmful that it would produce as much neuronal damage.


> The study found that cannabis intoxication leads to small to moderate cognitive impairments in areas including

> making decisions,

> suppressing inappropriate responses,

> learning through reading and listening,

> the ability to remember what one reads or hears, and

> the time needed to complete a mental task.

I've no first hand experience here, but I can imagine there being tradeoffs. For example, I think creativity is somewhat negatively correlated with memory. Or, I'm often more productive when I'm tired because it's easier to focus. So going into an altered state of consciousness might still be beneficial or preferred even if it has tradeoffs.


I have a decent amount of first-hand experience myself, and while I agree with you (there are definitely benefits!), the sort of creativity that cannabis can induce is of a particular variety.

Specifically, cannabis-induced creativity for me, while tons of fun, tends to be very myopic. I focus more on minutiae and more immediately rewarding things like satisfying textures than on a overall composition and development. How appropriate that is for any given creative task and whether it’s worth the downside described in this paper (which are pretty obvious and also very real) are difficult questions if you enjoy it.

Personally, the output of cannabis-induced creativity often ends up being less rewarding for me in the long run.


I would generally agree that it does focus me pretty specifically on minutiae type details, which is sometimes exactly what I need.

Other times I find myself in a "stoner revelation" moment, which is not some groundbreaking breakthrough into the underlying fundamentals of how the world works, but instead where I will have something that I know, and is generally well known, but because it's so well known, not something I ever give much thought. The impaired state I'm in will force me to think about it at a more-than surface level, and sometimes those things that I normally take for granted get that surface stripped away and I'll end up with a useful thought. I've definitely had some successful changes to both my personal relationships and work organizational processes that have come about because smoking pot put me in the right state of mind. And, obviously, pot was never a requirement for those thoughts to be possible - they just didn't occur to me in my normal mode of operation.

And, of course, I've had plenty of "stoner revelations" that upon further inspection while sober, were completely stupid.


That is my thoght to. One function (like some type of memory)goes down in performance cause it’s performance was based on a trade of with some other aspect of thinking.

For example performance on learning through reading could be a local maximum for that function but part of a local minimum for some type of larger scale thinking like creativity or imagination.


Somewhat of a hot take but I think about this every now and then - simply put, Marijuana is a drug that makes people lazy. It tanks personal productivity. So we extrapolate where large swaths of populations in various states where Marijuana is legalized, wouldn’t that have a huge negative impact on the GDP? Literally neutering people’s productivity. It’s not just careers but I’ve seen addicted people (including myself) that have had serious negative impact on life and fulfilling responsibilities.

Where am I going wrong with this?


There ought to be a name for this paradox. Maybe this is out of left field but I've called it the "stimpack & herion" problem.

If I was playing a game, and I was the general of an army, and I could tell my marines to "use stimpack", which would make them move faster and be more focused, or "use herion", which would make them move slower and be less focused. A general would never order "use herion", and plenty would order "use stimpack" daily.

But the human race is not an army, and you are not a general, or a king. You're looking at the world as an engineer looks at a problem with a set of objects. This is super common on this site - we're programmers, we love re-ordering complex systems.

Not only are people far, far, far more complex than inanimate objects, but it might turn out that issuing any orders, or banning any activity has a catastrophically different and more negative effect than you can possibly calculate. Who knows how much of our culture wouldn't exist if people weren't free to drown in their sorrows, or if people spent their lives resenting you for limiting them.

I'm not an absolutist, we should ban plenty of substances, but be very careful when considering society as a system to be optimized.


Interesting analogy. Yeah, I tend to combine narrow observations and extrapolate them to see what happens on a societal scale. Speaking of Generals, I can imagine China/Russia drumming up pro-Marijuana narrative in US to cripple it from within. When 20% of the population is addicted to Marijuana with memory loss and obesity (munchies! hello), it is a good strategy. I mean, isn't that the reason China is banning video games - so teenagers don't waste time and contribute to the vision China has?

I am being a little frivolous but this is literally the kind of stuff I think about.


In some ways you're not wrong, but this was the mentality of East Germany as well. Why waste time with Jazz and jeans? Much more efficient to be reading didactics or working in a factory.

Maybe China is the best anyone has ever been at social engineering and maybe this time they'll get it just right. I'm not so sure.


> Why waste time with Jazz and jeans? Much more efficient to be reading didactics or working in a factory.

Considering the level of social infrastructure in the former DDR exceeded that in the BRD at the time of reunification, they might have had a point there. More public hospitals, more research facilities, better public transportation, more affordable housing. Sure, none of it had the flashy elements of Western capitalism, but it mostly worked.

Note that I'm not endorsing the Stasi or the many other things the DDR did to keep its population oppressed. But real life is full of grey areas.


Oh absolutely and I hope my tone captured that it’s not clear if the bets work out. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Vienna spending all its economic output on art and science sure didn’t help against a country who spent its entire output on tanks.

The Soviet space program comes to mind as well - the state can do plenty!


Call me crazy but you may be onto something. I don't think it's necessarily foreign actors that would take advantage of it though, moreso multinational corporations who need a sated and pliable workforce who don't think too much about their poor living conditions, lack of societal progress, lack of upward mobility, etc.

I do find it interesting that as cigarettes have waned in popularity and weed has gotten more popular, we're finding that people are less creative and innovative than ever before and there seems to be a persistent monoculture throughout the West that's extraordinarily drab. Might it have something to do with nicotine's cognitive-enhancing ability versus cannabis diminishing cognitive function? Probably not, and there's likely no way to do a cohort study on this subject, but it's an interesting question to pose regardless.


Or might this mono-culture simply be a side effect of the internet? Much like how the Roman empire led to a linguistic "mono-culture", and how railways (and later airplanes) increased global homogeneity, it seems more likely to me that as humans are more and more in contact with their far away cousins, they all start to blend more.


Well, in Russia it's the other way around - repeated pushes to legalize mj in Russia are seen as a way for USA to cripple Russian youngsters , making them disinterested in pursuing casual life goals - education, career and family. Go figure


How do they bring into this narrative various drug-using super-functional people like Steve Jobs?


From my recollection of his biography, Jobs quit weed after his teenage years. He did do a bunch of acid whilst in college, but LSD doesn't really have any detrimental cognitive effects.


Right, because human existence is entirely to "improve GDP". People have lives beyond making money for their bosses, you know?


"There's more to life than increasing its speed"


> Marijuana is a drug that makes people lazy

Some of my acquaintances have the paradoxical effect - they become less lazy.

Maybe similar to how amphetamines are used to treat ADHD - which seems perverse.


If people were less career obsessed, it would vastly reduce the amount of evil in the world tbh. Most large scale evil is done by career obsessed freaks.

I heard a talk show host once speculate that one reason weed has been illegal for so long is it would make the various motivational sticks and carrots the ruling class uses with white collar workers less effective in aggregate.


That’s crazy man. I’m very career focused and I want to improve the world. I work extremely hard, all day and everyday. I’m evil?

Here is some context, I commented elsewhere on my work ethic: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29895639


>Most large scale evil is done by career obsessed freaks.

He didn't say that most career-obsessed freaks are doing large scale evil.


It depends on what the incentives are for a career obsessed person. Someone that puts their career above basically everything else will short term optimize at the expense of e.g. public wellbeing to get in the good graces of powerful people. Profits are made off of vile decisions. That's capitalism.


> Marijuana is a drug that makes people lazy

Not necesssarily true. On the right Sativa strain it makes me incredibly productive.


California had liberal medical Marijuana for decades and now legalized it and is economically fine.


CALPERS would like a word...


labor is a requirement for survival. it is demand-induced, not supply-driven. Most can't choose to get high instead of go into work. high people still get the jobs done.

most people aren't incapable of realizing their full potential because of their personal mindspace, but because they are confined to a specific economic survival role.


didn't they ban psychedelics like LSD for a similar reason people just became way more loving and peaceful so less and less would sing up for the military?


In my subjective experience, weed-induced brain fog goes away after about three days of abstinence. This is after heavy duty multiple times per day for months at a time levels of smoking. Cravings also go away after about three days. I don't smoke weed any more though because it tends to turn into the aforementioned balls to the wall smoking pattern every single time I pick it up. I've never had that issue with any other substance.


> Cannabis is the third most consumed psychoactive substance in the world (after alcohol and nicotine) and adolescents as well as young adults have the highest rates of cannabis use.

More than caffeine? Really?!


I think they mean relative to other age groups and not other drugs.


There are different kinds of weed smokers. There are those who use it to get "stoned" and those who use weed to get calm and focus.

Stoners do bong hits until they are so stoned they fall asleep or run out of weed. I've never made a habit of that. I use a small pipe that holds about one bong hit and load the bowl just a few times a day and take tiny tokes off it when I take a break from coding.

I've been using weed like this since I was 12 years old in 1971, so for more than 50 years now.

During those years I learned how to design and engineer and build custom cars from the ground up. My father worked at "Barris Kustom" and I learned from him and others who worked there. From there I went on to work building advanced driving systems for C4-C5 quadriplegics, and the mod needed for wheelchairs they used.

In my late 20s I decided to learn how to use computers with the intent to learn how to code. I made my first "app" in the late 90's. Made my first website in `99, and my first web app for a single user in 2001 and released it as a multi-user app in 2002.

I'm 63 years old now. A couple weeks ago my wife asked me to go look at a friend's car. It had been sitting in their driveway for over a month because it wouldn't start. The car belongs to two guys who are a couple. Neither of them smoke weed. They like to drink on occasion but they're not everyday drinkers. They're both in the early 30s.

So I grabbed a few tools and went and looked at their car. When I got there the battery was dead. So I hooked up some jumper cables and after getting enough of a charge to get the gauges to work and the engine to turn over I tried to start it a few times and then told them what was wrong with their car. "It's out of gas".

I am sure there are those who'll dismiss it because I've been dismissed on this subject most of my life, but there's a point to found in that story that is relevant to this topic, which I've also seen come up over and over most all of my life.

Studies like these that attempt to find a link like this will most always conclude they found one because they're akin to wearing blinders to everything else that might also be a cause for the effect they cite.

If those two guys smoked weed the first thing most people who don't smoke weed would conclude is that is what caused them to not realize their car was simply out of gas.


Full paper, but it still seems to be very light on details, especially for a peer reviewed paper

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/add.15764


> "Cannabis is the third most consumed psychoactive substance in the world (after alcohol and nicotine)"

Where did caffeine go?


and sugar


Yup! Sugar could well be #1.


Gosh, if this study is true, then it means I'd have mentat-like powers if I never touched cannabis.


The discrepancy between the article conclusions and this comment section is hilarious.


I didn't see anything in the full text on the dosage amounts. I feel like with anything in life, the amount matters. 1-2 drinks a week does not give noticeable long-term effects. 20+ yeah that might be an issue. Maybe I didn't find the right info in the full text?


I get a kick out of the new weed addiction ads and billboards

I would like to know more about it but I just can’t find anything objective

I am very skeptical of my friends that make weed use their whole identity, Its not fun when they’re not doing it “recreationally” like the rest of us, but they seem decently functioning even though they use the term “microdose” quite liberally and abstractly. Not judging yet, I just know I wont consume weed that often. They all are suppressing anxiety or depression, from unrelated things theyve told me.


I wonder how much my brain is hardwired weirdly because I smoked a lot of weed from 14-19


I wouldn't assume that it did. I would focus on its remaining extreme plasticity. It seems likely that you could do an enormous amount of self-cultivation via practices like meditation.


Cannabis absolutely affects brain development if you use it consistently throughout adolescence. Don't get me wrong, I still favor legalization and decriminalization, but the number of people who like to pretend like it's some super happy wonder drug with no downsides whatsoever bother me. Like any drug, there are side effects, and this is one of them.



> residual neurocognitive deficits were observed in heavy cannabis-using youths

Emphasis on youth.

Tl;dr clickbait headline, don’t let your kids smoke a lot of pot, if that wasn’t already obvious.


Woah, it's a meta-analysis. So, you're definitely not going to get a good summary in 10 words.

Early use of cannabis was correlated with worse outcomes, but those who started later in life were still associated with deficits in the studies surveyed.

> To conclude, meta-analytical data on the acute effects of cannabis use on neurocognitive function have shown that cannabis intoxication leads to small to moderate deficits in numerous cognitive domains, most notably executive functions, verbal learning and memory and processing speed. These acute impairments are in accordance with the residual effects that have been documented in several meta-analyses suggesting that the detrimental effects of cannabis persist beyond the period of acute intake.

and

> Additionally, as youths remain particularly susceptible to the effects

Are both in their conclusion and paint a more complete tl;dr.


This tracks with what I’ve heard. We’ve known for years that cannabis negatively affects children (or at least that’s what I’ve seen plastered on the news for years). If this study didn’t control for age, then it’s not news to me.


I used to believe all the propaganda about marijuana being harmless, but now it's obvious to me that mind-altering drugs are bad for you (duh). I think we'll keep seeing more stories like this.


The issue with studies like this – is that it applies to the every-man. For most people, a lot of these points are probably true. For others, however, those same detriments show up as positives. For example, maybe cannabis does prolong decision making - but if you have anxiety, and cannabis alleviates that anxiety - your decision making processes are quicker. Studies like this are necessary, I just wish there was a way to footnote those neurodivergent examples.


Shouldn't the discussion on Cannabis use be focusing on the fact it's smoking. Like in 20 years are we just going to see another epidemic of weed related cancer cases.

Everything in excess is bad for you. You only get one set of lungs, treat the well.

Btw, don't care about people doing what they want with their bodies, but smoking related sicknesses are something I wouldn't wish on my enemies (not that I have any.).


Vaporization technology exists. Zero smoke is produced.


I have a CBD oil that has no THC in it. It is an acceptable compromise for when you wish to stay clear but still need some of the benefits.


I was a heavy user of cannabis (daily with rare week long breaks) for several years before taking on coding career. Only then I felt how a single dose was impairing my ability to maintain focus for 1-2 weeks. This was very obvious and frustrating to me. I eventually quit completely because a trade of was to high to me especially working on something exciting.


I don't use cannabis and don't know many people who, but I did meet some long time users back in CA when I lived there. They all seemed to have that "permanent high" look on their faces. I wonder if this is related. Maybe it's all worth it, I don't know.


Did they look permanently high, constantly talk about what route they drove to get wherever you were and how the traffic was along the way, refer to highway names with definite articles like "The 101", and say "dude" and "totally" a lot? Then they were just Los Angeles Californias. But yeah, they were also probably actually high.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIklKPzND20


This made my day, Jesus Christ. One of my favorite sketches of all time.


It wouldn't be so funny if it weren't totally true, dude!

Speaking of Californians Speaking:

Q: How many Northern Californians does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Hella!!!

Q: How many Southern Californians does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Totally!!!

https://escholarship.org/uc/item/6492j904

http://people.duke.edu/~eec10/hellanorcal.pdf

Hella Nor Cal or Totally So Cal?: The Perceptual Dialectology of California

Mary Bucholtz, Nancy Bermudez, Victor Fung, Lisa Edwards and Rosalva Vargas. Journal of English Linguistics 2007; 35; 325. DOI: 10.1177/0075424207307780

>Abstract

>This study provides the first detailed account of perceptual dialectology within California (as well as one of the first accounts of perceptual dialectology within any single state). Quantitative analysis of a map-labeling task carried out in Southern California reveals that California’s most salient linguistic boundary is between the northern and southern regions of the state. Whereas studies of the perceptual dialectology of the United States as a whole have focused almost exclusively on regional dialect differences, respondents associated particular regions of California less with distinctive dialects than with differences in language (English versus Spanish), slang use, and social groups. The diverse socio linguistic situation of California is reflected in the emphasis both on highly salient social groups thought to be stereotypical of California by residents and nonresidents alike (e.g., surfers) and on groups that, though prominent in the cultural landscape of the state, remain largely unrecognized by outsiders (e.g., hicks).

Extra credit question:

Can you locate the isogloss designating the "101" / "The 101" line?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isogloss


They were probably actually high.


Even when sober?


Yes. Also being a little slow at work. So I'm curious as to what the article means by "persistence": if it's 45 minutes or 45 years.


With an IQ of 163 I certainly welcome the cognitive impairment. I can't code while high, which is a blessing because I hate coding and have burned out on programming several times. Playing video games poses a greater challenge when I can't reason logically, which of course makes playing much more fun! Cannabis makes me feel 20 years younger in the mind, but 20 years older in the body. Being high is like both a return to childhood and an early retirement at the same time.

Haven't decided how much I wanna smoke though, because I do have projects I'd like to work on, and progress is slow stoned. On the other hand, I have a philosophy of 'slow is good'; A deep-seated belief that there's no such thing as "wasting time". Advancing at one's own pace may be a fundamental strategy in creative pursuits. I'm an artist though, don't know if this would fly developing business software.


I’m the opposite, I always code when I’m high, though most of time it’s for my personal hobby projects, I try not to smoke in the day time though.


> A systematic review published today in the scientific journal Addiction has found that cannabis use leads to acute cognitive impairments that may continue beyond the period of intoxication.

Hm,

> "may continue beyond the period of intoxication"

that's a very different fact then "persistent cognitive impairments"

Like I think anyone can agree that cannabis during the time of consumption leads to cognitive impairment.

It's also not a secret that canabis can have residual effects if consumed too much. Which as far as I know decrease over time if you stop consuming it, i.e. "residual effects" not something I would call "persistent" effects.

What I can't tell is if the study fund long term effects besides this, or if it want to make it look like it found such.


To me the wording where "may" is used, says that it's not guaranteed that persistent impairment will happen.

Then it's a matter of probability, much in the same way long-term effects of Corona is discussed.

Perhaps the probability is mentioned in the actual paper, but i tend to lose interest whenever the wording include the word "may".


as someone who successfully withdrew after smoking every day for five years, i don’t even eat after smoking a joint because I’m a bodybuilder and want to keep myself fit. wasn’t that hard tbh


Weed is great for enhancing consumption, but pretty terrible at any kind of production .

A play a few games of online chess most days, and you can tell if I'm smoking by my chess rating. There is obviously a big hit when stoned, but more interestingly is it takes a few days abstinence to fully recover and play at the previous level.

The Beatles used to ban weed from creative writing sessions where any kind of decision making was involved, but enjoyed it copiously during listening sessions.

I love practicing piano stoned, but if want to make any kind of progress, a clean mind is key.

So yes of course it can be enjoyed responsibly. But I highly doubt anybody who smokes doesn't take a performance hit, no matter how creative the activity is or otherwise.


And yet cannabis is being promoted at unprecedented pace. Almost every new netflix creation has cannabis promotion, see the movie “don’t look up”. Who knows best, scientists or netflix? :)


If you are medicating for anxiety it's not that simple. What is the persistent cognitive effect of chronic stress/anxiety and is that greater than the effect from cannabis.


Why is this a bad thing?


funny, I find that weed has the benefit of "suppressing inappropriate responses". I'm much more irritable when sober and likely to laugh something off while high. If I abstain too long I get more and more wound up.

"Addiction Journal" doesn't seem like a very impartial source. Like, "addiction" is a pretty loaded word. It doesn't strike me as the kind of journal that would publish a study that found great benefits from drug use.


I believe true stoners (not one myself, but I like them) would say that "impairment" is just a higher state of consciousness.


Random thought: If there is a plant that can impair cognitive function, there must be a plant that can improve it.


'If there's a rock that can give you wounds, then there must be a rock that can heal you?'

Not sure that works.

People do take some naturally derived drugs to increase focus and work rate, however.


Coffee?


Caffeine has less of an effect on you the longer you consume it. With cannabis it would seem that this particular effect gets stronger.


Don't we all know somebody who permanently "smoked themselves stupid"? I know that I do.


Does this also apply to CBD products?


HN seems to think that humans perusing relief from discomfort is an un-natural activity and that any pleasure that doesn't maximize your capitalist output is bad?


Not a fan of meta studies like this... do a focused study for absolute clarity.


honestly, i just recently found out my niece is taking seizure medicine that has a black box label, cannabis has been shown to help people who has seizures without all those risk associated with black label seizure medicine. i would prefer cannabis to be legal in her state because high cbd strains are still beneficial to a lot of people suffering.

here is a video of a guy suffering from tremors due to Parkinson's disease. he is given medical cannabis and the results are highly visible.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zNT8Zo_sfwo


Charlotte's Web is 50 state legal CBD


... and now so many states have legalized it. Great...


Glad I always stayed away from it.


Cannabis for most people starts and remains a recreational drug but for some it can lead to chronic abuse. In that way it is quite comparable to alcohol, stimulants etc.

There are people who I would regard as highly functional and productive throughout the day but who are drinking alcohol/smoking pot/using stimulants on a daily basis for decades. The dosages can be fairly high so as to clearly bluring the line between use or abuse but obviously low enough to ensure day-to-day functionality. For alcohol I'm talking about >70g daily (>5 standard drinks: >5 cans of beer, >1 bottle (750mL) of wine (12%)). So with that edge example in mind it highlights at least two important factors:

1. physiological adaptations 2. social acceptance/functionality

[Anectode: From my experience in Eastern Europe I was struck by fairly many examples of decades of regular high dosage use but excellent mental and physical fitness at an age of >75, to a point in which this age group seemed even "healthier" on an average than wealthy European countries in the West. Obviously from an epidemiological standpoint this "normal use" wreaks havoc but nonetheless the possible range of variation is quite remarkable.]

I find the model of a "Default mode network (DMN)" from neuroscience quite helpful to explain incentives in using "mind-altering" drugs like alcohol, cannabis etc. People (from sometimes to usually) do not enjoy or even begin to suffer on wakeful rest (daydreaming, mind-wandering: remembering the past, planning for the future, thinking about others/yoursels) so obviously they are drawn in trying to modulate it in differnet ways. Given the culture there are many "tools" at hand. From acupunture to zazen.

Cannabis in itself has wide spectrum of effects as there are a great variety of active compounds in different concentrations depending on the strain and cultivation methods but to make the matter simple let's reduce it to CBD and THC.

CBD seems to be described as "bodily" reducing pain, anxiety, helping in falling asleep ...

THC is usually perceived as acting more on the "mind" at the right dosage and consumption (orally) moderately psychedelic and generally stimulating. The "dark side" being perceived as paranoid/psychotic/panic attacks.

So to say "Cannabis" produces acute cognitive impairments (more neutral: modulates DMN) that may continue beyond the period of intoxication for me is kind of a no-brainer. If I regularly "consume" to modulate my DMN it going to change my brain in some way or another but as with the edge cases with alcohol highlighted above it is extremely difficult or outright impossible to isolate confounding factors to what causes actual permanent damage (social isolation, chronic abuse, physiological issues, genetics, upbringing (nurture), invidiual psychological vulnerability ...).

Instead of playing into fear a model like DMN for me puts things into context.

My personal romance: I once overdosed on edibles it was the classical "horrible" experience but very insightful after I took the time to integrate it. So I decided to exclusively use the THC-side of Cannabis to face my "demons" in living through my paranoias. This high dosage use of course limits itself to a maximum of 2 times a year. It still remains very unpleasant and a hard ride but I'm more in harmony with the plant so as to not fight with her. In this respectful dance I found it quite valuable as a teacher.


I used to wish to be a professional drummer. When I was 14 I attended a drum camp for a week to meet and learn from some of the world’s best drummers, along with other children and adults from around the UK with similar ambitions.

I became friends with one kid who was exceptionally talented as a musician, but also had a chronic marijuana habit. He was a better drummer than me at the time, but the drum camp was held every year. I attended the following year, and to my surprise, so did he.

As I am a huge nerd, I spent the entire year obsessively practicing. My friend spent the whole year smoking marijuana and being complacent. We were excited to see each other and catch up, but it wasn’t long before we started showing off our skills on the drum sets. His heart sank when he realised how dramatically my skills had surpassed his. I think he had a bit of an identity crisis, and likely as a consequence of the frequent substance abuse he developed a deep and blatant paranoia. He tried to commit suicide in his room the following day, and had to be removed from the camp.

I didn’t speak to him much after that — kids weren’t quite as connected as they are today back in 2005 — but to my surprise he did manage to contact me a couple of years ago. I asked him how he was, and he said he was doing better now after rehabilitation, but that life got much worse for him since we last met, explaining that he had been addicted to heroin.

I recognise that this is an extreme case, but I grew up with a lot of kids like this, and marijuana is scary as shit to me, despite some nerds today being adamant that it’s excellent and certainly better than alcohol.


This is an interesting story, but you have to wonder what led to this kid starting to smoke weed in the first place. It sounds to me like he may have had bigger underlying mental health issues that caused him to start smoking, rather than the weed being the cause of his subsequent suïcideer attempt and heroin addiction.


And what if the weed took his minor problem and significantly magnified it? We see this behavior happen all the time in other drugs like SSRIs.


That's how I feel when using. The good times become better, but the bad times become worse.


Depression can be a big factor, so I rather see cannabis use as a symptom not as the illness.


As a user, I highly recommend that anyone under 21 not use cannabis. Their young brain is still developing.

It’s a drug like alcohol. Addiction can have consequences.


Agreed.

I started my drug usage in my mid-20s (including alcohol) and I highly recommend it. My brain was done cooking and I had enough self-confidence + self-awareness to not make dangerous decisions.


Same here! Both for alcohol and weed. Based on the little I know, that seems to be much better than starting to smoke while the brain is developing.


I hope that you do not regret telling this story, I appreciated it very much. I am glad to hear that your friend is doing better.

I have similar experiences with losing friends in a similar fashion. It is a sad thing.


14 year olds don't get access to weed without someone either giving it to them or giving them the money to do it. I doubt you showing him up had much to do with the suicide attempt, so don't worry.


If you begin a habit from an unhealthy place -- then yeah, it can be the beginning of a negative feedback loop. Sounds like this kid started from a bad place, and I'm not sure that a 14 year old could possibly begin a weed habit from a healthy place. Hell, even 20 seems a bit early.

    nerds today being adamant that it’s excellent
Well, it's certainly a tool. Tools can help you or hurt you. I think a lot of people have success with it. But, people hurt themselves with it too.

I really wince when people talk about weed as some kind of magic cure.


Remember, this is anecdotal.

I'd view the problems with marijuana (and heroin) as symptoms of mental health issues; not the cause.


This is totally irrelevant in multiple different ways.


Why is it that everytime a bad story about MJ is mentioned, there are always so many people in comments doubting authenticity and relevancy? It is almost like an agenda or something


People are skeptical on any side about purely anecdotal experiences. I've posted pro-marijuana anecdotal experiences in here, but I don't expect people to take it as gospel, and frequently specifically call it out as a personal anecdote. In the past, have seen the exact sort of response your replying to directed towards me.

And that's fine, because anecdotes aren't data!

But it's just hard to separate correlation from causation here. Not all people who drink or smoke or do other drugs are depressed, but plenty of depressed people will drink or do drugs.

Plenty of people that have natural talent or skill, or who worked long enough to get to "the top of their game" get complacent even if they do not regularly engage in any of the vices we're talking about here. Arrogance and complacency are hardly unique to drinkers and smokers.

Even from an anecdotal perspective, assuming that marijuana was a contributor to the person becoming complacent, it seems unlikely that the marijuana was a strong causative factor in the suicide attempt. There are a lot of people that smoke pot regularly, and by definition, most of them are not the best person at their hobbies or professions, and they're not committing suicide. There's obviously some deeper issues in play here. (And I think it might be totally reasonable to say that people that have those deeper issues should avoid mind-altering substances)


We don't tend to see the same skepticism for the positive anecdotes in online discussion of cannabis, though.


Most positive anecdotes are not nearly as extreme as this one, but there's certainly skepticism for even mild positive statements.

You can look in the comment section for this very article for multiple examples - I replied to someone who indicated that another person must have "depressing" nights because they stated that they sometimes enjoy having a night with friends listening to music while high, for example. Subjective opinions of how to enjoy an evening are greeted with being told they're wrong - a bit beyond even skepticism, even!

If us potheads start posting anecdotes about how smoking took us from being unsuccessful and contemplating suicide to successful and having wonderful personal happiness and contentment - basically the reverse of the original post in this thread - I'm sure we'd see similar levels of skepticism. As it is, the positive anecdotes are basically "It's fun and helps me relax", "I feel more creative while high", "It sometimes helps me approach things from a different perspective" and similar.


I've had the same reaction from sharing a story about bad experiences with mushrooms. It wasn't in the context of evidence either, but still got people saying it sounded like anti-drug propaganda.

I think it's just the result of a cultural perception shift swinging hard the other way from the decades that drugs were demonized to now people looking at many drugs (mdma, marijuana and psilocybin especially) as miraculous substances that will solve all our issues. This happens with most shifts - it starts on one end of the extreme, then gets a reaction which swings the pendulum to the other extreme. In a decade I'm sure it will even out and we can have open conversations without reactions being so dogmatic.


I wouldn't call it a 'bad story', rather a story giving false impression of the general situation, even if from your perspective its how it looks like. But things are almost always more complex than first glance makes them look like, as in this case. Why - MJ being a gateway drug is mostly about being one of the most accessible and 'light' drug for people desperately wanting to escape/avoid reality of their lives.

Kids growing up in dysfunctional families (who might actually look OK from outside), or with some mental issues often desperately seek any kind of escape in whatever comes around. For many Alcohol, cigarettes and MJ are most accessible but sooner or later they find these substances don't work as they thought, the ugly reality is still there. So they move up the ladder for stronger escape.

Its false to paint MJ as cause of this, taking perfectly fine and balanced young individuals and bending them on path of addiction. Yet this is how it has been sold to public for past 60 years all around the world.


Caffeine is the real gateway drug. Cola gets them started, then it's a slippery slope down from there.


Maybe because it has been scapegoated as a "gateway drug" for years and years by various interested parties?


Plain old denialism.


I think its the fact that a story about a 14 year old using drugs is not an example of what 99.9% of the "nerds who think weed is excellent" have in mind when they talk about using cannabis


Ok. An anecdote about cannabis use producing persistent cognitive impairment seemed to me to be relevant to an article describing cannabis use producing persistent cognitive impairment.


Did you miss the part where the kid became a heroin addict? Heroin will certainly provide long term impairment in the form of a lifelong addiction. Hard to find the effect of MJ in that long shadow.


I’m not sure why you’re asking if I missed that part given it was me that shared the anecdote to begin with.


Because that doesn't seem to be factoring into your analysis of the source of the impairment.

If I told a story about a kid who showed back up at band camp and had become 50 pounds heavier and hadn't progressed as a drummer, then went on to become a heroin addict etc. you wouldn't be blaming cookies. You'd stop and wonder what the hell was going on in his life.


I wasn't aware that cookies cause paranoid delusions.

Marijuana on the other hand…[0]

As I mentioned, I grew up with several kids like this. Most didn't attempt suicide (as far as I'm aware, anyway), but the possibility of confirmation bias aside, I certainly feel as though I recognised a pattern of paranoid delusion among young stoners that I knew.

[0]: https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2014-07-16-how-cannabis-causes-par....


I grew up in a super poor neighborhood, and I knew maybe 10-15 kids who started smoking MJ before age 16. The only ones who had any kind of extreme cognitive fallout were the ones that dabbled in more extreme stuff (like PCP). Even in those cases though, it's hard to point at the drug as opposed to the reason they were using. (In the PCP case it was three brother with a mentally ill single mother)

I'm not discounting the possibility that MJ can cause such things, but even the studies put the risk fairly low, and it's hard to separate environmental and genetic risks in the population they have available to study.


He became a heroin addict after his suicide attempt, after he crashed out of band camp, after he smoked his ambition to be a goos drummer away.


> after he smoked his ambition to be a goos drummer away.

This is the part that doesn't follow. We have no actual indication that smoking pot had anything to do with his lack/loss of ambition.

I could give plenty of anecdotal studies where people became complacent because they got a promotion, or made it to a certain landmark, or realized that they were the smartest person in the room at the time, or a million other things. Complacency is not something that requires smoking pot to feel.

Like, I don't want to denigrate the person in the anecdote - but if your sense of identity is so tied up in being the best drummer among a certain peer group that when you lose that title you are going to attempt suicide, you have more fundamental psychological problems to deal with.

If pot was causing people to want to kill themselves because they weren't the best at something, we'd have a lot more suicides in the world. It's a massive claim, and one that requires proof beyond an anecdote.


“ This is the part that doesn't follow.”

This is what follows, or at least strongly implied, from OP’s post;

“ My friend spent the whole year smoking marijuana and being complacent”

We can only argue from what is in the story. Not what is not in it or what we’d rather wasn’t.

The OP shared a story, admitting its anecdotal.


When someone who retreats from their hobbies, tries to kill themself, and engages in risky behavior like heroine use and drug use, I think its reasonable to suspect that person has some problems in their life beyond smoking marijuana.


Did the anecdote provide any evidence or argument linking cannabis use to presistent cognitive impairment? I must have missed it. Can you quote the relevant parts?


I'm not sure how a suicidal heroin junkie fucking up their life with hard drugs is relevant in a thread about cannabis. The whole "gateway drug" nonsense was debunked decades ago.


The suicide attempt was before he turned to hard drugs, and I did explicitly say that I recognise my anecdote is an extreme case.


This. The very vast majority of cannabis consumers will never touch hard drugs, and have no desire to even consider it.


I don't know if the "gateway" concept is true or not but this fact (if true) doesn't dispute it. If you imagine hard drug use as a funnel with an optional step at the top - marijuana, with a very low conversation rate, the fact the conversation rate is low doesn't mean it's not the top of the funnel.


All of which would equally apply to alcohol or tobacco. And the data to support such a link for alcohol or tobacco is apparently just as strong, if not stronger.

But this whole line is a canard. The question is, would prohibiting any or all of those help anyone? Does prohibition help or not?

Because prohibition is the one part of the equation that a debate could actually have any affect on.

But I think it is quite clear why so much time, energy, and dubious argumentation is spent avoiding that question.


The consequences of a statement are irrelevant to the truth of that statement.

My point, as I wrote, is that it may or may not be true that marijuana is a gateway drug even if few marijuana users actually go through that gateway.


Everyone who has ever crashed in a car first entered a car.


Do you dispute that getting into a car is a gateway to car accidents?


Getting into a car is necessary for having an accident, but it is insufficient.

The "gateway drug" argument is that any amount of cannabis is sufficient for becoming a skin-popping fentanyl junkie, but it is not necessary.


> The "gateway drug" argument is that any amount of cannabis is sufficient for becoming a skin-popping fentanyl junkie

That's an extreme, and not representative of what most people mean when they say "gateway drug".

My understanding of the gateway drug argument is this: someone who starts with a seemingly-innocuous mind-altering substance is more likely to end up wanting more and going for harder stuff than someone who has never used any drugs at all. By normalizing the light drug, some percentage of the new users will end up addicted to hard drugs that wouldn't have otherwise.

I'm not familiar enough with the evidence to have an opinion on the accuracy of this argument, but it's not helpful to take the most idiotic framing of it and attack it, even if it is the framing with the greatest meme value.


The correlation is that those who use "hard" drugs have often also previously used other drugs, including alcohol and prescription medication. Flipping that around to say the using cannabis leads to injecting heroin is the classic post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy.

Perhaps the correlation is a result of cannabis being illegal in your country: if you break one law (cannabis use), the barriers are down and you may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb and explore stronger remedies for your troubles.

So the questions that need to be investigated are these. Is there in fact any kind of correlation? If there is a correlation, is it causative? Of course, no true believer needs these questions answered, which is why the research into these things in not legal in countries where prohibition enforcement and punishment is big industry.


No I'm agreeing with it to highlight its uselessness as a thought.


Is caffeine also at the top of the funnel? How about melatonin?

The fact that most heroin users have used caffeine previously does not mean that caffeine is a gateway drug to heroin, or at all correlated with hard drug use. The same applies to cannabis.


yup. It's an interesting story, but the article is about generalizable impacts of cannabis, and this person in the story is certainly not an example of that. Granted, it was acknowledged that this was an extreme case.


r/leaves


Fake news


> suggesting that the damaging effects of cannabis begin while it is being consumed and persist beyond that period

I'm so glad that the effects of cannabis persist beyond the period while I'm consuming it. If they stopped as soon as I stopped vaping, I'd have to find some other substance to abuse, that lasts at least an hour or so. Maybe something safer, like alcohol or smack perhaps. /s


People here probably don't want to hear this, but if there's going to be any social evolution to the next level, it will probably be 50+ years from now, when future generations will recognize that consumption/excessive consumption of the following substances should be banned:

* tobacco (completely banned, I don't think there's any reasonable amount of tobacco its users could use where its positive aspects outweigh the negative)

* alcohol

* sugar (this is a super complicated thing and it would have to include controlling how much added sugar each food has, what kinds of food are even allowed to have sugar in them - sauerkraut isn't supposed to have any sugar, US! - plus probably some active measures both positive and punitive against morbid obesity)

* all recreational and non-recreational drugs

* coffee/caffeine and all associated beverages

* probably vaping

Yes, this will probably take all fun in (current) life, we'll need to find new ways to have fun without these substances. We're quite smart, I'm sure we'll find a way. We'll just need to re-architect our societies, ergo "social evolution"/"50+ years from now").

But otherwise I don't think it's feasible to live 120+ years and to have everyone fully functional. It would probably also help those fallen on hard times (this would also require that everyone becomes much better at exercising their empathy, which is probably the <<really>> hard problem here).

Again, just because this doesn't sound like a fun world or a world you'd want to live in, it doesn't mean it couldn't be. Just like with everything about the future, it could just be a failure of imagination: <<you>> can't see how that could be, but people in the future might be able to make it work in new and interesting ways.

I imagine that 200 years from now we might look back at using all these substances as something as dumb as drawing blood with leeches for a migraine or something.


> I imagine that 200 years from now we might look back at using all these substances as something as dumb as drawing blood with leeches for a migraine or something.

The reason to take those substance is to get a modified state of mind. In that effect, they are successful. It's not comparable to something that was just doing 'nothing' toward its stated goal. The goal is not to live to 120+ years. No one takes coffee thinking 'this will help me live an exceedingly long life'.

On the other hand, it's not so much imagining a society with this list banned that is difficult. It's to imagine a government capable of enforcing such banning.

I think it is infinitely more likely that in 50 years, it will be recognized as a folly to have spent so much money into trying to ban those substance. If the goal is to effectively reduce consumption, outright banning is not the way to go. Also, I have a personal belief that mental health is on the verge of revolution, and psilocybin in particular will be made more available, possibly even for recreational use.

I have not seen a good reason for now to reduce my caffeine consumption. I drink two cups per days, one of which is decaffeinated. I try to read regularly to see if new info arises there, and so far nothing. The only justification I might have to stop this consumption is the work condition for the producers and having to import it from afar.


I agree with you, the goal is obviously instant gratification. Which is the problem. Most of the stuff that is good for us is in the delayed gratification camp.

We're discovering that due to increased aggression (alcohol), increased aging rates and increased cancer risk (alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, vaping, etc), these substances as a whole contribute to lower life expectancies. For alcohol and tobacco it's usually the worst kind, their users reduce life expectancies for <<others>>.

It's not super clear cut and research is still ongoing. Plus a government ban without popular support was the Prohibition, which everyone considers a dumb move these days.

This whole thing would need popular support, even more than that, <<consensus>>. People need to realize these problems and find solutions for them, and only then ban them, to formalize this decision.


Most recreational and non-recreational drugs are banned, alcohol was also banned. How well has this gone?


Not well, because the social structure isn't in place.

People need to come to a general consensus that alcohol is bad and it needs to go on its own. And you need to come up with alternative supporting measures. For example people use alcohol to work around social pressures, so we would need to find a way to diminish those.

This is not something you let extremists enforce.

I am aware that I'm asking for something close to impossible in the current climate.


It will never disappear and chemically altering your mind is IMO an unalienable right as a human being in possession of their own body. Plenty of experiences have downsides at scale, no reason to shut them off.


Think of it this way: what if to become a next level civilization, to live forever and travel to space and teleport and whatever, there's a general consensus that we need to stop using them.

I think people would do it.


'General consensus' does not exist.

Take the Covid vaccine: it is clearly shown to reduce the risks compared to getting Covid without it, and still there is no consensus about getting vaccinated, and there never will be. Getting to 100% vaccination rate will be a social trauma.

Another example, climate change: the science is clear and easy to understand. The root cause is known for more than hundred of years, and the effect has been clearly measured since the 1960s. The scale of the issue has been made clearer and clearer these last decades. And yet, even beyond people holding interest in the current status quo, there are still people resisting this consensus, attributing any attempt to make society change there a polarizing and partisan issue.

So no, people would not do it.


I guess I'm more optimistic than you.

There is general consensus on many things (for example murder is banned across the world). There is rarely consensus on the "hot topics" of the day.

General consensus in my eyes doesn't mean that you have absolutely everyone agree, just a super high majority that gives you legitimacy. For example any vote above a super majority (67%, but for big stuff like this I'd say 80%+ )in a referendum could work.

There will always be extremists and for things to move you can't count on 100%.

For example even today, you couldn't pass a law for seat belt usage with 100% support. Even though any sane person in the last 20+ years would say that's ridiculous.


I think you're overestimating how much most people desire and will desire such things in their life.


He he he :-)

People have always wanted to: a) live forever, b) live forever in good health, c) do whatever they please throughout their hopefully healthy and immortal existence.

a), b) will require advanced medicine and healthier lifestyles while c) kind of requires that we get off the planet if we want close to infinite resources.

We have a million songs and movies and books and we've had tons of people dedicating their existence to the things I've listed above. We've had plenty of people killing and starting wars for them (or at least a hope at getting them).

If anything, I'm underestimating how much they want those things.


I don't think there'll need to be a choice personally.


You'd be lucky to live to 80 if you ban all that, let alone 120+..


And that's a failure of our current society.

A general failure of imagination and empathy, that we need to lean on these abuses to remain functional.




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