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The Definitive Word On Pot

I started smoking pot when I was about Bieber’s age. In fact for more than 20 years of my life I would have sworn that marijuana made me smarter, wiser, more moral, and probably even more handsome. In reality, as most people who knew me during that time will happily tell you, it made me an obnoxious dingbat.

That seems to be the effect it has on most of its users. The problem is — a big problem — is that the more stoned you get, the more likely you are to believe the complete opposite.

It’s only logical: why would people spend tons of money and (at least in some jurisdictions) even risk arrest to take a drug that made them look and act dumber than they already were? Unless, of course, one of the chief effects of the drug were to stand reality on its head and translate bleary-eyed dumbfoundedness into a half-assed approximation of cosmic insight and understanding?

Marijuana users hate it when you point out that the “high” they experience is a form of temporary derangement if not clinical insanity. What they’re even less likely to appreciate — or be aware of — is that the derangement isn’t necessarily temporary.

That’s not to say it’s permanent — serious long-term research needs to be done — but the mind-altering effects of marijuana last long after you stop toking down on the joints or bong hits. Days? Weeks? Months? How about years?

I’m not necessarily the ideal guinea pig, but that’s how long it took in my case: somewhere between three or four years before the inverted perceptions of my dope years felt fully restored to their former levels of functionality.

“But wait!” I can hear legions of dopers protest. “Just because you had a problem with marijuana doesn’t mean everybody else does. I mean, look at all the great art and philosophy that came out of the baby boom generation when they started smoking weed en masse in the 1960s!”

To which I can only respond: Yeah, just look at it.

One of the most pernicious impacts of marijuana is the illusion that the universe revolves around the user, and that said user is uniquely qualified to understand and explain this to lesser mortals not under its influence. It’s not hard to see why this could be particularly problematic in the case of a 19 year old, who by dint of age and hormones alone, is already convinced he knows everything.


  1. michael turner November 12, 2016

    How silly. Nothing definitive here at all, just a bunch of generalities sarcastically stated, based on a study population of one. I’d be curious to know how this guy makes a living now that he’s restored to full functionality.

  2. Larry Livermore November 13, 2016

    It was an opinion piece, not a scientific study, and it was written several years ago (heaven knows why The Editor) saw fit to resurrect it now, but I assume it had something to do with Prop 64). That being said, my experience and observation in the intervening years have done nothing to weaken my view, and in fact have strengthened it.

    One of the saddest things I hear in the wake of Prop 64’s victory was that it was some sort of “consolation” or mitigating factor in ontraposition to the hard right takeover of government at nearly every level across the USA (among the few exceptions being the Northern California political sinecures occupied by befuddled quasi-liberals owned and operated every bit as effectively by Big Marijuana as their predecessors were by Big Timber.

    In fact, I would suspect that Republicans to the east of the Coast Range will generally be satisfied with the the West Coast’s wholesale embrace of pot because it effectively nullifies the millions of potentially bright and energetic individuals who theoretically could form a powerful opposition but instead will wallow in magical thinking, self-indulgent identity politics, and the delusion that turning the entire North Coast into an agricultural and manufacturing center for marijuana and butane-powered hash represents some sort of progress.

    It’s true that if I still lived in California I would probably have voted for Prop 64, not because I’m enthusiastic about furthering fostering an army of zombies, but because the human and economic cost of enforcing marijuana laws is just too much for society to bear. But if I thought there were a humane way of restricting marijuana use to a limited number of chemically dependent people without having to devote huge amounts of law enforcement resources to that purpose – ideally some sort of medical solution, combined with compulsory treatment for those who repeatedly show themselves to be incapable of caring for themselves (there are such individuals stumbling around the streets of every town up and down the North Coast), I’d vote for it in a heartbeat.

    Marijuana doesn’t harm some people as much as others (as could also be said of alcohol), and I have no desire to restrict the freedom of people who are capable of handling this drug as long as their use doesn’t impinge on the rights of others. But that being said, I have yet to encounter a single person – in nearly 50 years of exposure to the drug – upon whom its effects were unadulteratedly beneficial.

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