Marijuana Abuse and its Effects

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Avatar for moutwash
3 years ago

Hello there everybody! The subject of this article may be somewhat uncommon in this community; just from my quick perusal of recent articles I can see that this is a more lighthearted group of people than those who would really want to read about this kind of thing. However, with the everlasting debate on marijuana and its legality, this is a pretty topical issue. Plus, many consider this drug and its usage to be a lifestyle all on its own.

Disclaimer: I am an advocate for federally legalizing marijuana

I'm aware that the above statement does conflict with the general topic of what this article is going to be about, but I think it would really be compromising my integrity if I did not make it known that I am pro-marijuana. What I am NOT is pro-marijuana-abuse, and I believe this is something that happens much more often than people are aware of.

Many other weed advocates would argue against the label of marijuana as a drug. I'm here to tell you right now: I'm sorry, but it is. The fact is that marijuana's main chemical component, THC, is a mind-altering, psychoactive substance that can produce many feelings which we attribute even to psychedelics. These include euphoria, paranoia, hyper-awareness, and others. Now, as is commonly known, there exists another chemical in cannabis which is known as CBD. This is not psychoactive at all, produces no highness effect, and is generally considered calming and even medicinal.

Now, in moderation, even marijuana that contains high percentages of THC is considered to be medicinal. I live in Illinois, where medicinal marijuana was legal before recreational use was permitted by law. I would not judge anybody who smokes it for this reason, or even for recreational reasons. This article is merely a cautionary statement in these times of marijuana-hype.

What is "abuse" and what does it look like?

The stoner stereotype is something that is commonly used in movies and other mediums of storytelling. One example that comes to mind is the character Marty from Cabin in the Woods, (great movie). In an already humorous movie, Marty is the comic relief, because I think that everybody, no matter what there views on marijuana use may be, can laugh at the air-headed stoner. Even my friends who smoke the most weed find that kind of stuff hilarious, because even if it's a bit of an exaggeration, it's one that still hits pretty close to home for anybody who smokes on a regular basis.

So that's the fun, quirky take on weed abuse. Obviously the characters who perpetuate the stereotype are idiots, but they're mostly lovable and I don't think anybody's all that upset to see it.

Let's look at it from another angle, though. Somebody who smokes weed everyday, like ya boy Snoop Doggy-Dog, and spends all of their time stoned, is rarely going to operate as well when they do NOT have the drug in their system. I've heard from many acquaintances and longtime users that they simply can't concentrate or relax when they aren't high. It's practically their coping mechanism, and it's usually their one and only. One issue with substance-related coping mechanisms is that they inhibit one's ability to find other more productive ways to relieve their stress. Well, that's probably no big deal, right? I mean, what somebody does on their own time is totally their business, and if they aren't hurting anyone then there's really nothing wrong with it. And that is my opinion on a lot, if not most, things. However, what about those times where you get stressed, but it turns out that you can't go off and take a hit of your dab pen? What if you're at work in a factory, and you have to go drive a forklift, but you just can't seem to calm down from whatever's bothering you? To smoke weed at a time like that can be very dangerous to everybody around you.

Another problem that I've seen in my life is that parents who sit around and smoke weed all of the time can be very neglectful. It's sad, and nobody would want to admit it, but it can be true. One of my best friends had parents who were like that, and their whole method of raising him was to sit him in front of a television, or buy him a gaming console to play with for all of his waking hours. What a kid actually needs is natural stimulus from their parents and from the outside world. In the early stages of their lives, they need toys to play with if only just to learn how to interact with different objects. Later on, I believe the most beneficial thing you can do is take your kid out to the park to get exercise and experience nature. Obviously not everybody is into those things, but in that case you'd generally find something else to do. When you're high, though, you really don't have that motivation, to play with your kid or teach them.

It's important to note that marijuana itself is not to blame in any situation. It is always up to the people using it, and the drug should not remain illegal just based on the actions of some bad actors.

Abuse is identified when an action is repeated at such a magnitude that it gets to the point where the lives of those around you are being affected. Any kind of abuse is very difficult to live around, even when it's not noticeable to the abuser. As far as most substance abuse goes, marijuana abuse is probably the least destructive that one could be involved in. Its effects are subtle and not always immediately apparent.

in my case, the opposite was true.

My personal experience with marijuana abuse

I'd like to start this off with another disclaimer: the effects of recreational cannabis are different for everybody. The events that are detailed here are coming from the point of view of somebody, (me), who suffers from multiple mental illnesses, some of which have psychotic symptoms.

This is the main reason that I feel compelled to write this article. I began smoking as a sophomore in high school, and had partaken in the act ever since. At this time I was not terribly aware of my overall mental health. I knew that I had anxiety, but hey, a lot of people do, and marijuana is something that is commonly used to treat its symptoms. So, I had a friend who introduced me to it. We hung out a few times after that with his other friends. The whole group was older than me, and I began to feel a little out of place due to the age gap and their other tastes which involved using a few other substances. Our paths split, and that was alright, but hell I was still going to be smoking that weed.

Fast forward a few years and I'm off to college. Still a pretty frequent stoner, but I was smart regardless, scored a 32 on my ACTs and I was feeling pretty damn good about where life was taking me. I ended up in Chicago, living in my university's dorms, and weed was reaaally easy to get. I was smoking every day, pretty much constantly doing one-hitters and relaxing as much as possible, because let's face it, school is stressful. On top of schooling, I was working multiple jobs, and here's where things get pretty messy.

My routine was something like this: Go to classes, receive probably five assignments each day; Go back to my dorm, have an hour before work; Smoke weed and play one round of a computer game that I was playing at the time; Go to work, smoke a little on the way, (it was a restaurant so I didn't really feel that bad); Work six/seven hours; Get home, smoke weed, neglect homework, go to bed. That was it. Needless to say, I eventually failed. Although I did fill in the cracks and study when I thought I needed to, and found the time to complete the assignments that mattered most, I had essentially smoked away all of my potential. That, however, is not the worst of it.

By the end of my second year, (about the time my grades were dropping really low, otherwise I was pulling like a 3.2 gpa), my mental illness took off like a rocket. I was becoming quite delusional, and when I would smoke weed these ideas became more and more profound. I was connecting dots that weren't there, letting any little notion snowball to massive proportions. I had a weeklong manic episode that consisted of extremely little sleep, and I know you workaholics out there will be scoffing at that, but nobody should be going three-plus days with literally no sleep. Following that, I found myself in the hospital. A few days after I got out of that, I withdrew from school altogether.

Post-dropping-out, depression hit really hard. In the following years I found myself in and out of psychiatric wards, a lot of which were because I was too high or had been mildly high for weeks or months on end. I lost a lot of my friends because smoking weed like that exacerbated the symptoms of my mental illness and they didn't want to be around it. I can't say I blame them.

At this point in my life, I rarely, rarely touch the stuff. When I do, I'm alone, in a controlled environment, when I know that my plans are to just go to sleep. I'm also medicated now for my disorders, and I can't say that I'm anywhere near in as rough of shape as I was even this time last year. I hope that the information I have given you, as well as my examples, have at least caused you to think about some of the issues that are associated with long-term marijuana OVERuse. Again, there's nothing wrong with smoking it in moderation, just please consider that it's not something that should be done all of the time. If you have any comments feel free to post them, and if you think this article belongs somewhere else please let me know. Thank you for reading.

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Avatar for moutwash
3 years ago