Given the fact that adult consumption of recreational cannabis is relatively benign and something that brings people joy, I support its legalization and even consume the substance myself. However, like anything else, when cannabis is abused, it can lead to a large number of problems. These problems include lethargy, lack of motivation, disruption of healthy sleeping patterns, overeating, anxiety, carelessness, stupidity, dependency, irritability, and many more. In my many years of consuming cannabis, I’ve fluctuated between periods of abstinence, abuse, and responsible consumption. Responsible consumption allows one to enjoy the positive elements of cannabis without the debilitating side effects listed above. Although what constitutes responsible consumption varies from person to person, the following set of rules ensures that my cannabis consumption remains responsible.
- Don’t “solo sesh”
- Cannabis consumption should be an activity that bonds, not a habit that isolates
- Don’t try to rationalize it, being high does not improve productivity
- Don’t lie to yourself by claiming that you “work better high.” You don’t. If you have things to do, don’t get high.
- If you have something important the next day, don’t get high
- Cannabis consumption puts you in a haze that you will not be able to escape until you get a sober night’s sleep.
- Don’t peer pressure others
- Remember that temperance is a virtue. Do not discourage it in those around you.
- If there are kids around, just wait
- Cannabis is for responsible adults, not for children. If there are kids around, just find somewhere else to consume your cannabis.
- Do not consume cannabis for a majority of a week’s days
- If you consume cannabis more days than you do not, it is a habit. Consume cannabis three days a week OR LESS.
- Consumption is not a competition
- Don’t try to “out-consume” others. There’s nothing fun about being too high and there’s nothing cool about being the guy who consumes the most cannabis.
Again, responsible consumption varies from person to person but for most people, abiding by the above rules will prevent cannabis abuse.
Another principle that is beneficial to abide by when considering the use of recreational drugs is #KeepItGreen. While cannabis has its own share of side effects, most other recreational drugs have far worse side effects. If one is to begin consuming cannabis, abiding by the #KeepItGreen principle will ensure that cannabis use doesn’t become a gateway to more serious drug use.
In the wake of the recent news stories about vaping and the dangers it poses on the lungs, an additional qualification of responsible cannabis consumption is the avoidance of “dab pens.” Pens are dangerous for a number of reasons. I gave mine up a couple of months ago because of how convenient it was. Owning a dab pen makes it far too easy to be high all the time. If you lack any amount of self-control, having an odorless, instantly-gratifying machine that makes you feel great is a hard thing to not be using constantly. Additionally, people have been dying because of the damage that these vaping devices are causing their respiratory systems. It was previously believed that vaping is healthier than smoking; however, it is becoming clear that these new devices with mysterious ingredients may be far more dangerous than anticipated. For these reasons, I would not consider use of dab pens to fall within the category of responsible cannabis consumption.
12/21/2019 Some Problems with Cannabis
Like any reasonable person who has seen Inside Out, I love it. One of the film’s main messages is the importance of experiencing emotions besides joy. Life inevitably presents obstacles and hardships that unpleasant emotions like sadness and anger help us effectively navigate. For this reason, constant joy is not a good thing if one seeks to become a resilient individual capable of handling life’s many ups and downs. If being high on marijuana were an emotion in Inside Out, it would take Joy for a dance and temporarily kick all other emotions out of headquarters. While this is often nice in the moment, frequent cannabis consumption can get one wrapped up in the illusion that constant joy is sustainable and even necessary, possibly rendering them incapable of coping with unpleasant emotions. This will likely lead to problems in developing into a mature adult able to cope with difficulties.
Another problem with cannabis has to do with the creation of art. It is a common believe that cannabis helps with creativity. Sometimes, I find that consuming cannabis can in fact help with artistic inspiration. This is because if you have an uninspiring idea while not high, it may just disappear, whereas if you have the same idea while high, it may continue to grow and blossom into something tangible. The problem here is that the idea may not actually be a good idea; however, you might believe it to be a great idea because you’re high. This brings up the big question one should ask themselves while feeling creatively inspired while high: “is this truly a great idea or am I just high?” I find that at least 90% of the time, it is the latter.
4/9/2020 A New Perspective
Based on the teaching of Alcoholics Anonymous, I’ve come to the realization that for me, there is actually no such thing as responsible cannabis consumption. After publishing this article and being unable to adhere to what I consider to be responsible cannabis consumption, I’ve come to the following conclusion: for those who are addicts, responsible cannabis consumption is likely consuming no cannabis at all. I am unsure of whether or not marijuana is inherently addictive to anyone or only to those who are addicts (those with the disease of addiction (assuming the truthfulness of the disease model of addiction)).
Allow me to explain what I mean. Nearly anyone who repeatedly does heroin will get addicted because it is a highly addictive drug. Marijuana, on the other hand, is a substance that some might be able to consume without becoming addicted; it may not be inherently addictive like heroin. However, to someone with the disease of addiction, marijuana can be highly addictive. If you find yourself unable to consistently adhere to your definition of responsible cannabis consumption, then you might be an addict. If you exhibit other addictive behaviors or have issues with other substances, you might be an addict as well. In that case, cannabis consumption should be avoided because it will still result in addiction.
This brings up the question of how to determine whether or not you are truly an addict. This is a very complicated question. Someone might be an addict because they were born that way. Someone might also be an addict because of trauma or some difficult life event. In other articles, I hypothesize that those who experience the sensation of void are prone to addiction. Does this mean that someone who has taken the steps in order to internally fulfill their void can go from an addict to someone capable of responsible cannabis consumption? It is unclear because marijuana, like any other pleasurable substance or activity, has the potential to exacerbate void. For this reason, marijuana use has the potential to be problematic for just about anyone, not only addicts.
The previous post opened the question of whether we can fully heal from trauma. The implications of this would contradict the Alcoholics Anonymous-held belief that once someone is an addict, they are an addict for life. I think it’s hypothetically possible that with enough therapy and medication, one is capable of fully coming to terms with past trauma that causes addiction. However, knowing whether or not one has fully recovered from trauma is very difficult if not impossible. It would be somewhat reckless to assume that one has recovered and begin experimenting with substances. Because it’s so difficult to truly know, re-introducing controlled consumption to a former addict is a major risk where the costs will likely not outweigh the benefits.