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Poll: Do you use marijuana
91 points by evo_9 on May 20, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 107 comments
No and never tried it
298 points
No, tried it, not for me.
167 points
Yes Smoke Occasionally (aka at a parties/social gathering once or twice a month).
163 points
Yes Smoke Daily.
121 points
Yes Smoke Weekends only.
35 points
Yes Edibles/Patch occasionally (aka at a parties/social gathering once or twice a month).
18 points
Yes Edibles/Patch Daily.
5 points
Yes Edibles/Patch Weekends only.
2 points

This poll has a lot of options for something that could have been boiled down to "No, Rarely, Sometimes, Smoke Weed Everyday."

Even worse - although there are 8 options to choose from - I don't find myself fitting into any of the categories.

Agreed. My pot usage is similar to my alcohol usage. It's not every day, just every now and then. I also enjoy different forms of cannabis (edibles, vaporize, hash oil, etc) just like alcohol (whiskey, beer, wine).

Seems like the 'no' spectrum is pretty light, compared to the amount of 'yes' answers. I doubt that making a distinction between edibles/smoking is that big of deal, and it might be nice to include some options like, "No, but I'm fine with people who do," or, "No, and I would never try it."

I think the focus of the poll is not to determine public attitude/opinion towards the substance, but to simply get a count of HN visitors who either do or do not consume it.

Right, but the two "No" options don't leave room for having a positive outcome and still not being an active user. What about, "No, because my current job or state's laws or inability to access marijuana prevent me from using it." Or, "No, but I would if I could."

In a way it's funny, either you hate it or you still use it on a regular basis.

I am strongly in favour of legalisation of cannabis.

There seems to be a lot of anecdote in this thread so I'll offer up some of my own.

I have met many people, often in MH hospital, who have complex interactions with their mental illness and cannabis use.

Some of those people had a psychotic illness and self medicated woth cannabis and other drugs. (Some of these people said their illness was easier to deal with now they had been off cannabis for a while).

Some people probably had underlying psychosis that was brought out by heavy cannabis use. They had family history of mental illness; their cannabis use was on the heavy end.

But then I've met people who had no family history of mental illness and who believed that cannabis caused their illness. They felt that since cannabis can cause temporary psychosis it can probably cause long term psychosis.

And it wasn't just psychotic illnesses. I've met people woth anxiety disorders and depression who's illness was made much worse hy cannabis.

The illegality of the drug makes good quality research really hard. It also makes people dismiss research as government funded propaganda.

So, while cannabis is great for some people we need to acknowledge that it is peoblematic for an unknown quantity of other people and put in place safeguards - nonise by under 18s; helplines and treatment for people having problems.

Being honest about the possibility of harm makes legalisation easier.

I've had trouble falling asleep every night for as long as I can remember, and marijuana is the only thing I've tried that has worked consistently for me. So I smoke every night; frequently at higher-than-therapeutic doses. The only detrimental effect I've experienced over the past 8 years of smoking has been a mild psychological dependence, which in my case can easily be mitigated with a few months' detox when necessary. I don't find that it interferes with my ability to work or pursue my interests outside of work, but that is definitely a concern worth keeping in mind if you smoke regularly. I know several very creative, productive people who really haven't been able to accomplish anything interesting since they started getting high every day. Ultimately, I think that mileage varies from one person to the next, and while I am an enthusiastic smoker myself, I wouldn't recommend it to someone who isn't completely familiar with the risks they'd be taking.

Surprised by dominant "No and never tried it"

Marijuana is scarce, hard to get and expensive after all.

Things like "anyone can try it if willing to" is different for "it is selling at any sypermarket".

It depends where you live.

Maybe, but I'm having a hard time to imagine a scenario where it is really easy. It is not that easy (as, say, soft drinks) neither in Uruguay or Amsterdam. It is expensive at the houses of everyone involved in drug dealing - it is their work after all.

Any way, the exceptions don't affect a open poll as this one. But I would be interest in a research that answer this questions at different realities, such as, slums, high society, drug dealers family, public high school, private high school, etc.

I would say it depends on who you know more than where you are.

Yep. Where I grew up a small amount would get you jail time and it could affect your student. Most stayed away from it.

Now I live in San Francisco and it's a bit of a different story here.

Not true, it's pretty easy to find, and very cheap compared to any other drugs (legal drugs like alcohol & tobacco included).

Why? I'm surprised so many more have tried it.

I live in LA.

Why are you surprised? I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything and consider most people that do drugs to be pretty irrational (especially anything beyond the socially accepted alcohol and cigs).

"and consider most people that do drugs to be pretty irrational"

Why do you say that? Seems kinda silly to think that "socially accepted" drugs make someone more rational than the non-socially-accepted drugs.

> Seems kinda silly to think that "socially accepted" drugs make someone more rational than the non-socially-accepted drugs.

If something is socially acceptable then more people will try it because of group pressure. That's why I don't consider those to be as bad as stronger stuff. But in principle they are the same and alcohol is stronger than most soft drugs that are permitted in the Netherlands. Still doesn't seem to be outlawed in many places though...

i would say choosing which experiences to have based on relatively arbitrary and/or corrupt laws is irrational.

i find that people who go down this path of thought often misuse or abuse words like irrational, though.

And I consider people who limit their own experience for no good reason to be pretty irrational.

some people probably don't want to answer honestly. this has always been a challenge for cannabis advocates and activists.

Why answer at all then?

Wouldn't most people answer honestly because the poll is anonymous?

No. Researchers use tricks to get people to answer honestly. For example: they ask people to toss a coin before answering. If the coin comes up 'heads' the person must answer 'yes' even if their real answer would be 'no'. If the coin comes up 'tails' they must answer truthfully.

The introductory text explains that there is no way to know if the person is answering truthfully or following the coin 'heads' rule.

When you get the results you adjust for probability of the coin toss.


Nope, never done it. Most of my friends aren't into it, and the legal situation makes it seem more of a hassle than it's worth.

I only did rarely (maybe once or twice every two or three years, purely socially) until it was legalized in my state.

I don't like it enough to risk legal trouble to use it regularly. It's nice a few times a week, a healthier way to unwind than alcohol (it has replaced alcohol entirely for me with the exception of social drinking), but it's nothing special.

I've never had luck with getting edible dosage correct (to my liking), so I avoid those.

If you vote in a poll remember that upvoting an option in the poll does not automatically upvote the poll itself.

No, I get drug tested needs to be on there.

I have a chronic pain condition (fibromyalgia) and a lot of sleep issues. I've tried it a few times, a couple times socially with friends and a few times as attempt at pain relief but it is decidedly NOT for me.

It actually makes my pain worse overall, as a lot of my daily pain management is very mental. Sure, immediately after use, my pain lessens, but I feel too foggy and 'not there' to take advantage of being temporarily pain-free, and as it wears off, my pain increases faster than my brain's ability to wall it off and I wind up worse off than I was before I took it.

Fibromyalgia already comes with 'brain fog', and while high I start to lose the ability to tell the difference between being awake and being asleep and dreaming. It's very disconcerting to feel like you're waking up every five seconds. I definitely do not feel more creative, and there is no way I could code in that state. I just feel lost.

It would probably help my insomnia if I just used it and went straight to bed, but it's too much of a pain/risk to acquire for it to be worth it. And I detest the smell.

I would love to be a bigger fan of it but I find it makes me feel too anxious.

I think one of the most interesting things about weed is that it makes some people more relaxed and some people more anxious. It's bizarre that the same drug could have totally opposite reactions. I wonder if the anxiety comes from the illegality and/or the social stigmas it still has.

It can cause both of those response in the same person. Even within the same session

In my experiences, weed simply enhances whatever you are already feeling. This seems to hold true for psychological states as well as sensory input.

If you're already anxious, you'll become more anxious. If you're relaxed, you'll become more relaxed. If you're drunk, you'll be more drunk. Food is tastier. Music is more musical.

It just makes everything more. As a once in a while thing, I find this enhancement useful.

most people who aren't regular users have only ever tried one or two strains, while others of us have tried _hundreds_. some strains are more likely to cause anxiety or paranoia in people susceptible to that.

Why would you want to be a bigger fan then ? Are there upsides too ?

There are clearly upsides to it, otherwise people wouldn't use it. I have friends and family that use it and love it. It's a bit frustrating to see them enjoy it so much whereas it produces net negative effects for myself.

I've heard Indica strains can cause that more often that Sativa. I'm in the "never tried it" camp though, so I'm not an authority.

My understanding is that the importance of the indica-sativa dichotomy has been vastly exaggerated and that whatever differences exist between strains are more complicated. Think of something like a fingerprint that specifies the levels of various cannabinoids.

sativa strains are more associated with anxiety. indica are more associated with couch lock and falling asleep. most strains are a hybrid of the two, and lean one way or the other.

are weed patches common or even a thing? i'd call myself extremely familiar with marijuana and i've never seen one in the wild.

Curious if any developers here would advocate it as an enhancement to creativity or other ability that relates to their work...

I don't see it as an enhancement but rather a tradeoff. It's harder to focus on specific ideas when stoned but easier to build relations between ideas, both are equally important. I also find I easily diverge in depth on every concern of the problem at hand, which may or may not be useful depending on the time frame.

Being stoned is a state of mind halfway between dreaming where you subconsciously imagine everything and being awake where you consciously see everything. If you play music you already know this as being in "the zone". Over time you get a feel for this state of mind and can easily get back there without smoking.

I suspect people who feel anxious when high are those trying to control everything as if they were fully awake. The big paradigm shift comes when you learn to give up control of your own thoughts to your subconscious. Just like the musicians who try to control everything about how they play and end up thinking about what others might think instead of imagining the sounds they should be playing in the first place.

Weed can most definitely help with your work by changing your perspective over it and thus exposing new relations between ideas. But in doing so you will also get a new perspective on yourself. This in turn expose the mental barriers currently blocking your creativity and there lies the paradigm shift. Being creative is something we all do from birth but lose as we grow up depending on our life experiences. Being high is a ticket for introspection where you revisit what caused the barriers to exist in the first place, accept it and then move on to be freely creative.

You might also want to check out Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner. He talks in depth about the psychology of our own mental barriers and how to overcome them.

If you think of weed as a magic thought enhancer, it's not. It's a magic introspection device and the results of that introspection is enhanced creativity.

The hyperfocus I experience while mildly stoned leads to some incredible breakthroughs, and many happy hours of progress. I find it allows me to keep a much larger amount of state in my mind at any given time, and makes my state memory more resilient to distractions like Facebook notifications and emails. It also dramatically improves my patience (a quality I normally lack), so I can hack away at a difficult problem for hours at a time.

Many of my favorite personal projects come from (or at least start during) a marijuana session.

A friend told me - If you've abstained for a while and then smoke, yes it helps creativity / thinking. A lot. If you consume daily then not at all

One area where it's really interesting is increasing spacial understanding. For example, 3D programming concepts.

I have absolutely noticed it helping me understand concepts in 3D programming. I would say it helps me understand mathematical concepts in general.

Its enhancements are amplified by the context in which it's used. If you are a frequent user and tend to use it when trying to relax, that will be the mode your body associates THC intake with.

It can give you a different perspective on your product since it will appear "new" to you (cannabis makes life seem more novel). And it makes you appreciate good UI/UX.

strongly advocate.

Yes, I'm addicted

A lot in the past, now no more

Same boat - there's a lot of granularity in the poll options but maybe not in the right way...

I have a pretty messed up knee that gives me nightly pain. I find that Advil or Aspirin sometimes doesn't work so instead I smoke a little weed, the pain disappears and I can fall asleep (after the initial high wears off). As for productivity when I'm high, I would say that it can assist in working through an idea when stuck architecting something, but I always make sure to check my work the next day; naming variables or services after foods and characters on the TV show I might have in the background makes for a very confusing code base.

yes and it doesn't matter. it's like coffee in terms of impact IMO.

I'm not sure about that. I know a few people (n<10) that have used soft drugs over a longer time and I remember them as crazy sharp in their younger years and they are very wooly headed now. Concentration problems, simply seem less smart to me. Note that they are heavy users, but still I definitely see a difference there that does not correlate with other people that have gone through a similar stretch of time and that have simply gotten older, but that don't feel less smart, and those don't seem to have concentration issues either.

I'm sure there is a scientific story out there to either confirm or deny this, it's just a personal observation.

yes, i suppose if smoking weed is the focus of your day, that could be the end result. I'm very much a casual user.

I fully support legalization and find marijuana to be relatively harmless compared to other recreational drugs, but comparing it to coffee is ludicrous!

Is that because coffee is far more addictive and has a worse withdrawal?

You mean long term impact right? Because if not you're either very sensitive to coffee or not inhaling or something :)

I consume marijuana regularly and enjoy it. Of course living in California, it is very easy to find, relatively cheap (I spend way less on weed every month than what most of my friends spend on Starbucks), and legal.

I had never tried it before moving to California (I come from a European country that vilifies all these things, and until I was an adult I thought it was some weird evil substance that turned anyone who tried it into a zombie), and then realized that I enjoyed the experience. If I were in a country where it is illegal, I'd be fine, but I'd definitely miss it (the same way I'd miss tea or chocolate).

Additionally, I have anxiety/depression/social issues that are greatly helped by THC. For example, I am extremely introverted, and tend to live in my head/on my computer all the time. Smoking a bit opens me up and makes me very talkative, which has been very helpful in social situations/relationships many, many times. Besides making me very talkative and much more upbeat and excited than I usually am, friends have told me that my behavior is not noticeably different while influenced by marijuana (i.e., my ideas are still coherent, I can still reason logically and rigorously, etc.). These friends have always been very straightforward and honest with me, so I trust them to not sugarcoat things for me. (to reinforce this, some of my most upvoted comments on Hacker News were written while high!)

I relate a lot to this essay by Carl Sagan in which he describes his relationship with the substance: http://marijuana-uses.com/mr-x/ . I find marijuana very helpful when doing certain kinds of intellectual or creative work. For instance, it's not that helpful when learning new things, but it is very helpful when going over ideas and concepts that I am already familiar with. It is helpful in 2 main ways: 1) linking ideas together that I had not linked together before, and 2) visualizing things better (especially in mathematics/physics). Re-reading a book or paper that I have already read, while high, is almost always sure to yield new understanding or ideas for me. It has also happened that I'd struggle with a musical piece (eg. on the piano or guitar) and that it all "crystallized" once high. Maybe this phenomenon is similar to why some people can pronounce foreign languages better when drunk. I do retain the insights and advancements when sober, and take notes in a notebook (which are coherent and hold up to scrutiny the next day). The one disappointment has been with programming: at best I program as well high as I do sober, and at worst it does slow me down a bit, without making my code any better.

I have been meaning to make more "formal" experiments on myself while high vs sober, e.g. on learning tasks etc. (I did do various tasks on the Nintendo DS game "Brain Training", and noticed no difference in my results while high vs while sober).

(I'm obviously always sober during work hours etc. - what I described above I only do on my free time, ie. weekends or evenings, while working on personal projects/research)

All in all, I think you get out of weed what you "put into it". Smoking weed doesn't turn burnouts into math geniuses, and vice versa. It needs to be an addition to your lifestyle rather than your whole lifestyle. I certainly don't think marijuana is a magical substance that makes you smarter or anything. I do believe that it puts your brain in a state in which it usually is not, and that this can be constructive for reasoning (the same way that talking to someone you've never talked to before, or talking to yourself (see rubber ducking) can help reasoning). All that being said, it is obviously not the case for everyone. For example, my girlfriend does not experience all of what I just described - for her, smoking weed just makes her more relaxed and happy. I'm sure there are many, many variables at play; but I'd still encourage everyone to give it a few tries (the first few times being not representative of the experience in general because it's all new to you) to see what it does for them.

Finally, I really like this essay by Sam Harris: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/drugs-and-the-meaning-of-...

I'm curious to know how you consume it. Smoked, vaporized, baked... ?

Either smoked or vaporized, with a preference for the latter for health reasons.

Living in a country where this stuff is practically legal (although not really is): yes, did smoke it like once a week during uni. Not that much any more, more like once or twice a year. Can't imagine developing "on it" though :s

I guess having it available in ample (i.e. Cheap) takes the excitement/suspense/mystery away...

Can't answer this pool. I consume once every 6 months in any special occasion, nothing hardcore, just 2 shots. :)

I miss the option "No, tried it, nothing special but will try once more if there is an opportunity."

Really hurts my ability to code, though not as badly as alcohol does.

I'm not the "productive user" type. Wish I was.

Yes, and liked it. Yes, and felt paranoid. Yes, drank beers, and smoked weed--stumbled home. Stopped.

What does edibles/patch mean?

Instead of smoking the leaves, many people put extracts into foods. e.g. marijuana brownies. Hadn't heard of patches, but I would think it's just like nicotine patches but with THC instead.

edibles are, well, things you eat that have been infused - typically baked goods, but there's a pretty broad spectrum. i once went to a thanksgiving where everything, including the turkey, was infused with cannabis oil.

patch i'm not familiar with, i guess there is some kind of patch. sounds boring.

Yes Smoke Occasionally (aka at a parties/social gathering once or twice a week).

Daily to treat vicious insomnia.

I used to smoke every night because I literally cannot sleep without drugs. But then I started taking seroquel instead. You should try it. Arguably more healthy. (and works better than weed too)

This is for bipolar disorder/schizophrenia?

Melatonin always worked very well for me but I developed an allergy to it.

What does this have to do with anything? I mean what is the point of this poll in hacker news?

possibly related to an article in the wall street journal which says the FBI is having trouble hiring great techies / hackers to fight cybercrime without considering allowing people who smoke marijuana.


from the article:

“I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” Mr. Comey said.

At a guess, someone is curious and wants to know the answer to the question. Feel free to ignore it or give a false answer (I promise I won't come to check up on you).

The impression seems to be that all people from NL must use soft drugs because they are more or less legal there. It couldn't be further from the truth, the majority of the people that I see use drugs (soft/hard) in NL are actually foreigners that moved to NL specifically because of that particular freedom (and the generally laid back atmosphere of Amsterdam I guess) and tourists.

So, as a dutch person I'm kind of interested in the outcome of this poll too, especially given that in the rest of the developed world use/possession could easily be a misdemeanour or even a crime.

I have heard a lot of people say that they feel more creative after smoking marijuana. They make connections between ideas that they normally wouldn't and come up with creative solutions to difficult problems.

I worked with someone who designed a sophisticated DSL and a framework surrounding it. They said the basic design of the framework occurred to them when they were high.

I am guessing this could be the reason the OP is running this poll. He or she might consider Hacker News readers/contributors to be the smart/creative. And might be wondering if there is a correlation between these readers/contributors and Marijuana use.

Someone is curious, and apparently many upvoters are curious as well.

No. Never tried it.

It does not feed

I fail to comprehend why people voluntarily, fully aware, choose to destroy their own inner organs. You are the weakest.

"You are the weakest"

Because someone doesn't adhere to your standards, they are weak? That's a pretty poor outlook. Besides, there are perfectly safe ways to consume marijuana that aren't destructive, as with just about any other substance.

I simply fail to fathom people justifying their lousy and destructive behavior.

Tell me how exactly you safely consume marijuana? Please don't spread disinformation like that. I am not the one to judge you, but if you through all means try to good-talk your faulty behavior, this is a sign of addiction.

I encourage you to read the following page and seek help before it drags you down to a place you cannot recover from. It's not too late.


It's hard to safely consume food (red meat, sugar, etc) these days also. You want to know why I eat burgers? Because they taste damn good. Why do I consume marijuana? Because it makes me feel damn good. This doesn't mean I eat red meat and get high every single day. It's more like a couple times a month. This "destructive behavior" will not destroy my life.

My point is, who are you to decide what is "lousy and destructive behavior" for everyone? Marijuana is clearly not for you.

For some however, it is a very real solution to problems like anxiety, insomnia, depression, low appetite, etc. Marijuana often has fewer side-effects than medications prescribed for those same ailments, making it a better option for many. That is how some people justify consuming the drug, and I think it's pretty narrow-minded to assume anyone who makes such a justification is an addict.

We are effectively destroying our own inner organs by aging. We are all weak.


A natural process applied by our Creator. Amplifying this deprecation of your body by using drugs or other substances is bad form. The more so if you are fully aware these substances do that damage.

Is this why teetotalers regularly die younger than those who do not abstain? Stress is the true killer.

> our Creator

There it is

Source on edibles destroying organs?

I'm afraid you have been brainwashed by the propaganda against this plant (actually a herb). It has been used for 5,000 years by men, women, and children, and in a way, humans have evolved in co-existence with this plant.

You need to do your own research as opposed to looking at government-funded studies which are only funded to show harm. Start with www.leafscience.com and take it from there.

Edibles do not destroy any organs.

Do you drink alcohol? Coffee? Asprin?


Original post: No, never tried it. Instead I put my energy into making my life so good I wouldn't feel the need to escape from it.

Comment: Funny how everyone hates on my life choices as if I was pushing them on others! You a-hats are all just bullys!

I challenge every bully here to a fight. You want to twist my words? Why don't you try to twist my arm too? Chicken? Of course you are! You're just a bully!

Also into judging others a bit, it seems?


I'll try putting energy into my life next time I have a killer migraine that nothing else will relieve.

If you're not trolling - you do know that most people don't smoke as an escape from their lives, but for whole other reasons, right?

Personally I don't like it in recent years, but I used to years ago, and it was certainly not as an escape from anything.

I hope you've never had coffee. Or taken asprin. Or spun around in a swivel chair.

Or even have an ice cream in a hot day in summer.

It's ironic you calling everyone here bullies, when your original post was blatantly judgmental (some might say, hating other people's life choices), and your subsequent comment called everyone chicken and an a-hat and challenged them to a fight. If you want to see a bully look in the mirror.

You know, besides drinking alcohol, watching movies, reading books, and going to museums are also about escaping from every day life. There's no reason to stigmatize that, as long as it is in moderation.

jokes on you then.

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