Now that I have at least a few dozen of you ready to jump down my throat and shove studies, statistics, and stories in my face let me explain what I mean.
I hate what marijuana does to me and how young society views and pushes it.
It’s no secret that my drugs of choice were primarily sedatives/depressants and that my goal with my substance use was to be sedated and relieved of my pain, so you’d think I’d love weed. No, I never had a good relationship with marijuana, the “high” I got from it always felt awful and just wasn’t enough of a high to be worth the negative side effects it gave me. Now part of this could be the order in which my substance abuse started; unlike many stories I hear, my use did not begin with alcohol or marijuana, no, I jumped in head first into hard drugs. My substance use really started around 14 or 15, and I didn’t try marijuana until I was 19! I had probably used 6 or so forms of drugs before I got around to weed, so as you can imagine, if you’re used to mixing benzos and opiates, a weed high just isn’t impressive (note: do not mix benzos and opiates, you’ll die, preferably don’t do hard drugs at all, k thx).
Marijuana always gave me the weirdest and most uncomfortable highs. I’d frequently feel detached from my own body but very aware that my motor skills were terrible, it was like I was watching myself from behind and biting my nails hoping I didn’t fall down the stairs because I had poor control of my feet. Being high on pot felt like I was playing a game of QWOP, that’s how bad my motor skills were on it, and the worst part was that it wasn’t like alcohol where you’re blissfully unaware how clumsy you are, I was very aware and very afraid.
Bringing me to my next issue, anxiety and paranoia. I was so self-conscious while stoned, I actually hated smoking with other people because I was so embarrassed by myself. I would get extremely self-aware and constantly be worrying “am I acting weird? What does my face look like? How am I holding my body? Am I fitting in?” sure other drugs did the same thing (s/o cocaine) but the high of those trumped the anxiety. I think a big part of my social-anxiety while stoned was that the high took away my ability to easily enact my “training” from my childhood for my ASD, but it didn’t get me out of my own head enough to not notice or not care. The “therapy” (child abuse) I received as a child to learn to “act normal” due to my ASD and its effect on my drug use and recovery could be an entry of its own, but for now I’ll just say in my day-to-day life I do have to constantly think about things like body language, the expression on my face, how I’m speaking, etc. but I’ve been practicing for 20 years, so it came with relative ease, something about weed just took that all away and I always felt like a mess. I would be scared to prepare or cook food because I didn’t know how to function! Since I felt so out of control I didn’t trust anybody either, not even close friends, nobody was to be trusted.
Other unpleasant things smoking weed did to me: gave me the worst spins, headaches, nausea, lack of appetite, clumsiness, hypersensitivity, hypervigilance, agitation, impatience, nightmares, distorted vision, emotional and creative dulling, loss of ability to enjoy things, and more! So a lot of the things people use it to treat it actually worsened in me. It didn’t worsen my physical pain, but I was very aware the pain was there it just didn’t register in my brain as pain normally would, it was a very odd sensation. It did help me sleep though!
“Darling, you just haven’t tried the right strain yet!”
I can hear you yelling already, and this post isn’t even published yet. Yes, I’m sure your friend in California grows great strains for you and your body, but as a drug addict, I have tried my fair share of varieties and have mostly had the same results. Yes, I even have had many kinds of that “good stuff” from Colorado, and I think it made me even sicker than the high schooler crap. Weed just isn’t for me.
“Marijuana isn’t a real drug.”
Yes, yes it is. Do you feel different when you use it? It is a mood altering substance. I wouldn’t classify it as a hard drug or even a dangerous drug, but it’s still a drug. I have abused marijuana and used it the exact same way I abused alcohol, as I mentioned in this post about my Anorexia; here’s an excerpt:
What I didn’t notice was that I stopped eating. [–] It didn’t take long for me to replace alcohol with marijuana. [–] In my head, I was still sober because “weed didn’t count as a real drug,” but here I was using it the exact same way I used alcohol in the beginning. When it was time to eat, I’d prepare my food far enough along that stoned me didn’t have much to do, go get high, and eat without anxiety. I spend most of my time alone so it never really dawned on me that this is what I was doing.
Since I have abused marijuana and have used it to band-aid other disorders I wouldn’t consider myself “In Recovery” if I used marijuana, but I think other people can continue to use marijuana in their recovery journey, it could even help them stay clean off the hard stuff. I honestly believe that had I not abruptly quit using marijuana my benzo and opiate relapse may not have happened. Here’s another quote from another post:
Then as I got further into treatment my therapist asked me to stop using cannabis, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea, [–] but I really wanted to recover, so I did. [–] I did get a somewhat distressed feeling when I [first] quit but didn’t notice anything significant. [– talk of later discomfort/distress –] I intended to talk to my addiction therapist about this at our next appointment, but before that time came, I relapsed with opioids and benzodiazepines.
Even though in that post I was only talking about one kind of distress I felt when I quit, I felt many more, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it only took me a week after abruptly quitting marijuana to give up 1.5 years opiate free and relapse. So I’m not here to wag my finger at those in recovery still using marijuana, as long as you aren’t using it as a replacement drug and letting it take over your life.
The thing I hate though is how the pro-marijuana community push it as a cure-all and safe substance. As you can tell, marijuana doesn’t work for everyone; it didn’t fix all my problems and actually caused more. It might be physically safe, but its safety psychologically varies from person to person. One of my rehab friends was there for marijuana abuse; people back home laughed at them for going to rehab over weed, but after hearing how psychologically dependent they were on it and how it was affecting their life the same way my “real drug” problems were I “got it” and genuinely believe while many people can use marijuana safely and responsibly, for some people it can severely impact their quality of life; just like alcohol (but personally, I think marijuana is way safer than alcohol.)
I’m not anti-marijuana, I’m actually extremely pro-marijuana and pro-legalization! I think people should be allowed to use it recreationally and I rather enjoy being around stoned people (marijuana is not a trigger or temptation for me). I think it can be a fantastic medicine for people; if weed could control my anxiety and I was prescribed marijuana instead of the benzodiazepines I’m now physically dependent on I think my life would be extremely different. I’ve heard amazing stories and seen how marijuana has helped my friends, and I really wish it worked with my body, but it doesn’t.
I don’t dispute the medicinal properties it has, and I do believe it can be a miracle drug for some. I am firmly against its Schedule I classification and feel that should be changed so scientists and researchers can legally conduct studies for its medicinal use. I also believe it should be removed as a Schedule I drug so we stop needlessly convicting people and giving them outrageous sentences (specifically POC) over it; the “War On Drugs” is a total failure and has only caused more racial and socioeconomic tensions and discrimination (but I’ll save my social justice rant for elsewhere). I also believe that it is generally safe for the average person to indulge in recreationally, and I’m all for it for you.
So blaze it, vape it, or eat it, and have a good, safe, and responsible 4/20. Just please stop pushing it as this amazing thing for everybody, and please stop the “it’s not really a drug” rhetoric.
I’m actually about to give some CBD oil a shot, it should be arriving today, so I guess I’ll be celebrating 4/20 with you, just with less than 0.03% THC.