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Not a pothead pe se, but...
June 10, 2011 1:32 PM   Subscribe

I need help understanding and accepting my partner's daily use.

My partner smokes pot pretty much every day. It doesn't affect our lives adversely—his career is steady and stable, he's a mature and caring partner, there is no risky behavior associated with getting or using the pot. He uses it mostly to relax and sometimes for low-level pain management, pretty much how other people might have a drink once they're done for the day. He doesn't get overly goofy or make bad decisions on it. Honestly, I can't necessarily tell if he's smoked or not most of the time.

So, pretty much a best-case scenario for incorporating substances into your life. It still bothers me a little, though. I worry about getting stopped in the car when he has a little pot with him. Traveling by air always becomes kind of a thing, unless he knows he has a source where we're going. I wonder a little if it'a affecting his motivation levels—there hasn't been a whole lot of growth, career-wise. And worst of all, I feel a kind of low-level petty resentment—my work feeds and houses us, and if I wanted to smoke every day, I couldn't—we have random drug tests.

I'm actually a theoretical advocate for legalization—I recognize that pot is pretty much harmless, and most of the consequences associated with it are a result of it being illegal, not necessarily inherent to the substance. I don't smoke much much myself—I can't without risking my job, but anyway I don't like it very much. To each his own. But why does this bother me so much, and how can I become more accepting? Anecdotes about being a habitual smoker for decades and your life turning out just dandy are welcome. Suggestions and advice for dealing with practical concerns or frameworks for responsible use are welcome, too.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (48 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Pretend that he doesn't smoke pot, but all of his other day to day behavior is exactly the same. How would you feel about your relationship then?
posted by empath at 1:44 PM on June 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


But why does this bother me so much

Well, you answered this:

I worry about getting stopped in the car
Traveling by air always becomes kind of a thing
I wonder a little if it'a affecting his motivation levels
if I wanted to smoke every day, I couldn't


These are completely reasonable feelings. Have you discussed these things with your partner? You can voice your concerns without demanding that he stop. I think just getting it out in the open might help your resentment. But perhaps you're really resentful because you don't feel like he's contributing his fair share to the household, because you say "my work feeds and houses us" and "there hasn't been a whole lot of growth, career-wise." If that's the real reason, then address that.

IANAPS, it counter-intuitively makes me nauseous.
posted by desjardins at 1:45 PM on June 10, 2011 [19 favorites]


In this week's NYT magazine, there is an article about Disney that is also about a chronic habitual user that sounds a little like your partner.

I am not a therapist, but it sounds to me like the issue is the underlying thought that this is keeping him down and not as motivated as he maybe could be while you work your butt off to support the household. I think you need to figure out what you think would happen if he stopped. Would he get promoted because he worked harder? Me think the issue is not the pot per se, but the inequality in the contribution to the household.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:45 PM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


As far as the ambition thing goes: pot doesn't make you lazy. Lazy people are lazy. If you are a person wont to sleep on the couch all day, then that's what you will do when you get stoned. If you're more likely to "do stuff," the you'll get high and do stuff.

As far as long term consequences generally, there isn't really enough definitive research either way. The answer is probably: the long-term (health, cognitive, etc) effects are likely negligible.

So it really comes down to the pot smoker themselves, their relationship with it, etc. And it does sound, for all intents and purposes, that your SO isn't really negatively affected by his daily use. There are lot less healthy habits he could have, and millions of people prefer to go home after work and have a toke rather than a drink.

If anything, this sounds more like a relationship issue. You resent him because you don't think it's fair that he gets to do this everyday and you can't because of your job. While that's sort of understandable, it doesn't make any sense to feel that way. I mean, if you don't really like it, why do you care that he doesn't have to get tested and you do?

Also I'm confused: he has a career and is stable, so why is it that your work feeds and houses you guys?

I think there's probably more going on here and questioning the pot is probably a bit of a scapegoat. You should talk to your SO about career plans, your feelings about this, etc.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:46 PM on June 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


I keep trying to come up with less-charged things to replace "weed" with and I keep coming up with "concealed carrying a gun" or "insisting on carrying a knife" which are neither of them less charged than carrying around a controlled substance for a lot of people. So, to hell with trying to come up with a good analogy I suppose -- he's doing something unnecessary (so it seems) that puts you in a bad position (possibly getting arrested, having to deal with him maybe having it in his luggage and getting arrested, dealing with him trying to find a source, contact high (?) ) and it's stressful for you.

No wonder you resent it, even if it's just a little. He's engaging in what you perceive as (even slightly) risky behavior and you're having to be the "responsible one" all the time. I'd be pissed too. I don't know about how to become more accepting, especially since you feel that his habit, even as little as he smokes, is adversely effecting his ability to be your partner - to provide equally along with you.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:47 PM on June 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


Or on preview: what desjardins said.

And yeah: the concerns about getting caught with it on an airplane, et al., are totally legit. But again, seem like sort of a side issue you guys just need to work out.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:48 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It might bother you because you're the "responsible one" in the relationship and that feeling can really suck. Plus, it sounds like he actually is a pothead. The only thing that makes me say that is the comment about flying and the fact that he has to have a source on the other end. That's a total red flag to me. That's way beyond the occasional joint.

Perhaps you feel like it's closed some doors on the future. Like, you're never going to get your act together and move to Guatemala (or whatever you daydream about) because you can't count on him for it.

Alot of people are going to say "talk to him about it" and I have to agree with that. It's not fair to resent him because you didn't move to Guatemala, when you never actually said it out loud and tried to make a plan.
posted by cabingirl at 1:49 PM on June 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


The part that would concern me is that he is apparently unwilling to go anywhere if he cannot have pot with him -- he takes it in the car (this is, I grant, a problem only because pot is illegal), he has issues flying unless he knows he can get pot at his destination. This sounds like he is more dependent on it than either of you are acknowledging.

I am also curious how he has a stable career but you support the entire household.

The question is: what bothers you specifically? The fact that he won't go anywhere without having pot? The fact that his career is not growing? The fact that he is smoking pot and you can't? The fact that you (presumably) make more money? Some of those are issues about pot, but mostly they're general relationship issues.

(Note: I support legalising pot. I also hate the smell of it as it makes me sick.)
posted by jeather at 1:49 PM on June 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


there hasn't been a whole lot of growth, career-wise.

This seems to be what's bothering you. It's really not about the marijuana; you resent that he's allowed his career to stagnate and that he's relying on your work to pay the bills, etc. On a side note, beware of victimizing yourself. When you think things like, "my work feeds and houses us, and if I wanted to smoke every day, I couldn't—we have random drug tests," you're thinking of yourself as a martyr, which is very unproductive.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 1:52 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Traveling by air always becomes kind of a thing, unless he knows he has a source where we're going.

If has to be able to find weed at your destination in order for you to fly, he's not just a casual user. It doesn't sound like a take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing. You should confront him about this. He's putting weed before you, and you're working your ass off to support the household. You need to bring this up with him.
posted by sunnychef88 at 1:52 PM on June 10, 2011 [27 favorites]


I had a boyfriend like that as well. I really really cared for him but the daily continual pot use was interfering with our relationship. At the time I was an active commercial pilot and was concerned that we would get busted which meant that I would lose about 20K worth of pilot training - not cool. Like you our daily life had to accommodate his pot smoking. Airline travel was either out of the question or extremely risky in my eyes at best. Auto travel made me uncomfortable because I was afraid of getting busted with his stash and see the pilot thing above. Travel anywhere more than a day or two without a stash was just out of the question. More and more of this man's life began to revolve around the drug and less and less of it touched on anything else (like earning a living ).

Pot can be harmless - just as alcohol can be harmless. Or it can be a life destroyer. It depends on the person. We're not together anymore. I pulled my old friend off from the streets one time already - he's not doing so well now. No job. Artistic talents unused for years. Failing health. Living in poverty.

Do not kid yourself. If your partner is using anything on a daily basis they are an addict. Period. Their drug of choice will always be more important than your relationship (don't want believe that ? I think that you know in your heart of hearts that if you gave "the ultimatum" which one he'd choose). I have no idea if your partner will end up as did my ex-boyfriend did. No one can tell but time.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 1:54 PM on June 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'll admit that "low-level pain management" is changing a lot of what I was going to say, because I do know someone in similar straits.

Suppose it was Vicodin he was taking instead of marijuana, but everything else was exactly the same. Would you still be concerned?

If not -- then that sounds like he's managing his pain, but the fact that it's something that didn't come from a doctor's prescription pad may have you a little wigged.

If you are -- maybe you're concerned that he's juuuuuust on the edge between "I need it for pain" and "I'm starting to lean on it a bit much". I'd talk to him about those concerns.

As for "can't go on a trip without it" -- well, hell, if he is mainly using it for pain management, maybe that's why he can't go anywhere without it, becuase going without means "I'm in pain and that sucks," and you can't fault that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:55 PM on June 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


I support decriminalization or legalization of pot. But I could never live with someone who had to use it everyday. It is like someone who had to drink everyday, drinks and drives. We have gotten to the point with pot that supporters are afraid to say that it can be a problem. If he canʻt stop, if he puts you in jeopardy, there is a problem.
posted by fifilaru at 1:56 PM on June 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


To me, there's a big difference between using whenever you can/have the time (which could be almost every day, or once a week, depending on circumstances) and NEEDING to use. The latter is generally a problem sign, and it sounds like he's in that category.

Coming home from work and smoking a little every day? Not a big deal to me --- very common with all sorts of things. Not being able to travel unless weed is available? Planning all activities around the availability of weed? Those are not good signs, and at the very least are really annoying.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:58 PM on June 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


As for the low-level pain management, I call BS on that. There are safe legal OTC substances he can take.
posted by fifilaru at 1:58 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, to me he sounds like your garden variety, unmotivated pot head. And that would concern me. His life, and yours, has to be rearranged to accommodate his habit. His pot smoking is affecting/limiting your lifestyle, to some extent. And it sounds like you no longer want to have those limits. So, talk to him - but be prepared for the fact that he probably won't be willing to change. Or he will say he'll change, but he won't actually do it.
posted by MexicanYenta at 2:02 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


As others have said, the air travel bit is very telling. Its not super casual use if he can't travel without it. I think this is a bigger deal to him than even you or he may know. Getting caught with pot on a plane can be a very big deal indeed, as can traveling in a car with it.

The people I know that I would consider generally with it, but still pot heads, do not regularly travel around with it on their person, that is just too risky for responsible adults.
posted by stormygrey at 2:10 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Coming home from work and smoking a little every day? Not a big deal to me --- very common with all sorts of things. Not being able to travel unless weed is available? Planning all activities around the availability of weed? Those are not good signs, and at the very least are really annoying.

This. I was an almost-daily pot smoker for years, and I wouldn't be cool with the way your boyfriend is treating weed. It's affecting your life together. Trust your gut here. You don't have to like this behavior.
posted by something something at 2:11 PM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Where do you live? I'm assuming it's somewhere where a medical card isn't an option, but it still might be good to research the laws in your state/locality about where the bar is for felony/misdemeanor weight to give yourself piece of mind. I also smoke on a daily basis, but I just leave off for anything involving air travel. On the other hand, I don't use it for management of physical pain so it may be harder for him. One possibility for more comfortable airplane trips for the both of you might be edibles, which might be easier to transport inconspicuously. As far as blunting (ha) his ambition, it is a pretty rough economic climate, but as a data point i'm the stoner in my relationship and i'm also the more career oriented/ambitious one. My middle-class brother would give you a lecture about how ~successful~ he is whilst being a total stoner. He says it keeps him successful. YMMV. Not really fair to resent your partner because your employer makes you take random drug tests. If your employer made you work on Christmas Eve, would you begrudge him celebrating with the rest of the family?

The whole issue might be bothering you if you haven't had a conversation about setting guidelines. You could say something like "I want you to be happy and comfortable but sometimes carrying pot in the car or on planes makes me extremely uncomfortable, so let's find a solution." I would consider air transport unnecessary but it'll have to be in the car at some point--maybe just not while you're also in the car, or maybe not in your car, etc.
posted by vivalamusicapop at 2:11 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


As someone who's been known to smoke (heavily at some times in my life, now rarely), and someone who's generally pro-pot, I think this behavior shows clear signs of dependency and that is a problem, even if it's a relatively minor one compared to say, full-on alcoholism. I used to be the sort to say "marijuana's not addictive, it's not a problem", but I was corrected by my friend who up until a few years ago was a daily pothead. He describes being captive to the substance, his life being in stasis and having to have a toke just to feel "normal" - really, when you're not smoking to feel 'weird' but rather smoking just to get back to your default 24/7 state, that's a huge sign that it's time to change. Since he's dialed it back (still smokes, just not daily) he's been able to focus more on his career, his relationship, and I've just seen a really positive change in him.

How to talk to your partner about this is something I can't provide much advice on, unfortunately. He might be hostile to you even bringing it up. I recommend being gentle and non-accusatory.
posted by naju at 2:13 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


If your partner is using anything on a daily basis they are an addict. Period.

Unfortunately for both of you, this statement by Poet_Lariat is true. Functional addicts are still addicts. Low level pain management? Comon. Self-medicating is a dangerous path.

Encourage your partner to try to go without for a few days. If he has pain issues, he should see a doctor. Smoking weed everyday is setting him up for some future health issues. Suggest replacing the smoking with daily exercise. I would resent my partner too if they got high every single day. You are seeing red flags. Do not just "learn acceptance." I encourage you to start talking to him, and these conversations should be substantive about your concerns.
posted by archivist at 2:15 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


First of all, make some ground rules: he's not allowed to travel with you in the car while carrying, and he's gotta stop planning vacations around weed availability.

Responsible pot use means not inconveniencing those around you--including putting them at risk for arrest.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:24 PM on June 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm a bit paranoid about the car thing, myself, but it is probably not going to be a problem as long as you guys are always discreet and know what to do and say if you're pulled over... and a bust for a small amount of pot is not a major thing in many jurisdictions. Look up the penalties for possession in your area and see what you think. If it still bothers you, talk to him.

I think the air travel is a bigger deal, especially if he is bringing pot through airport security -- a lot of people do this routinely, admittedly, but it's off my personal list of risks I'm willing to take. That said, it is his risk, not yours (assuming he's not asking you to carry his baggie for him). Even if you are the "responsible" one, I bet there are some risks you take and choices you make that he feels kind of uncomfortable with, too... and if he's been doing this for a lot of years, he may not even suspect that it's A Thing for you. Again, I think you two should discuss this.

On the other hand, I agree with others that not being able or willing to go without for the duration of a trip may not be a great sign. I disagree with those who've drawn a direct line between daily use and addiction, though: this is not necessarily true of alcohol (plenty of people have a drink every evening and are not "addicts", and plenty of people drink only on weekends and are "addicts"), and it is not necessarily true of marijuana. I think this largely depends on him, and is an issue for you guys to work out together.

I also think the primary problem here seems to be resentment and inequality, not marijuana. You should take a good look at your career and his -- if "your work feeds and houses us", maybe you (or he) could consider changing careers, schedules, or living spaces in order to balance things out. Otherwise, I doubt your "low-level petty resentment" will go away, even if the pot does.
posted by vorfeed at 2:27 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fellow "pot-head" (hate that term as it implies burnout, lay about, bum) here and I do use daily for pain management as I have arthritis and neuropathic pain. You don't divulge what kind of pain he has, but cannabis certainly does make one care less about chronic pain (something to do with natural endocannabinals, CB1 & CB2 receptors specifically). I wouldn't say its a solve all by any stretch, but I'm a huge proponent of it as it made my life much easier trying to balance full time work, while taking a full load in undergrad and making deans list (trying to sit in class for three hours without toking prior was like hell, and paying attention difficult when all you want to do is LEAVE because sitting is unbearable). Yet everyone is different, and YMMV.
Cannabis doesn't necessarily make one lazy, some people are just lazy. I can tell you anecdotal situations where I've known people who are some what "dependent" on cannabis who certainly don't put forth much effort and take risks such as bringing cannabis on airplanes. At that point, I wonder how someone comes to the point of putting up so much risk for such little reward. Luckily I'm in a medical state, and don't worry much about it anymore other than following the same things I did when it was illegal (don't drive and smoke, keep it in the trunk, don't be obvious with it). This doesn't sound like your in a similar state with medical laws on the books.

I think you probably should let your partner know your concerns. They should respect the fact you have so much to loose if something bad were to happen with Johnny Law. I can travel just fine without it, and while I may miss having it, cannabis is not going to dictate where I travel (granted, I've only once flown in an airplane sober, and that was pure hell... never again). I do find it odd that he feels that attached to it, to the point that you mention it interferes with BOTH of your lives. That point is important. I am not sure if you've mentioned you wish that your partner was more ambitious but the market still sucks. Yet, that should not stop them from trying to get more work, move up the corp. ladder, or what have you.

I think its important you speak with them about your concerns, and have a discussion regarding this issue. It is important to you, as it should be and your partner should care. Their response will be telling of what your next move should be.
posted by handbanana at 2:33 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I spent a lot of years as a wake and baker, and if I didn't have so much shit to do, and an 8 year old to wrangle, and had any idea where middle aged women bought drugs that didn't come from the pharmacy...I might still be.

Daily pot smoking is no big deal. I know a metric ton of super successful Type As with a net worth bigger than most small towns, all of whom toked up pretty regularly in our 20s and 30s. Not willing to go a few days w/o it is a weird thing, because in all my years of hanging out with hippies, musicians, artists, bikers, librarians, and other riff-raff, I've never known anyone to be "addicted" to pot. I'm pretty sure it's not possible to be physically addicted, I guess people can get emotionally addicted to anything.

Sounds to me like you're more resentful because he's not "the provider" than anything else, that he's not fulfilling the role you expect him to play, and the pot is an excuse that you can hang it on. You sound all sorts of angry about him not equaling your income. If it's a purely money thing, and you demand financial parity, then I have no advice other than look for someone else with a higher cash value.
posted by dejah420 at 2:47 PM on June 10, 2011 [14 favorites]


I think the air travel is a bigger deal, especially if he is bringing pot through airport security -- a lot of people do this routinely, admittedly, but it's off my personal list of risks I'm willing to take. That said, it is his risk, not yours (assuming he's not asking you to carry his baggie for him)

Yeah, the gross personal risk belongs to the pothead, but Anonymous is still running the risk of having a major fucking bummer scuttle their travel plans, and maybe screw up his/their lives for years. Also, it can be emotionally difficult to watch someone you love get frog-marched away by TSA goons.

Anonymous is vague about whether pot is actually being smuggled past those TSA goons, but they do say that Mr. Anon does travel by car with the OP while holding. The legal splatter of a highway pot bust isn't necessarily going to confine itself to Mr. Anon. And think about what happens to Anon's job if they get busted for dope on the highway?

I think PhoBWanKenobi puts it splendidly re: responsible pot use.
posted by Sauce Trough at 3:23 PM on June 10, 2011


Sounds to me like you're more resentful because he's not "the provider" than anything else, that he's not fulfilling the role you expect him to play, and the pot is an excuse that you can hang it on. You sound all sorts of angry about him not equaling your income. If it's a purely money thing, and you demand financial parity, then I have no advice other than look for someone else with a higher cash value.

I don't get that vibe from the OP at all. She sounds like she's cutting her hubby a lot of slack, and trying to see things from his perspective.
posted by sunnychef88 at 3:28 PM on June 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


maybe check out a few local ALANON meetings (for friends and family of alcoholics...works for all substances, tho...) you don't have to talk if you don't want to, just sit and listen for a while. worst case scenario: you waste an hour or two. maybe you learn how to cope with your own rising resentment. YMMV

on the health front, IIRC, there was a european study that failed to show a link between smoking pot and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease (as opposed to cigarette smoking)...don't know if any studies have been published on the long-term neurological effects...i'm sure there's more info at the vault of erowid (good non-biased info on all recreational substances)
posted by sexyrobot at 3:31 PM on June 10, 2011


I would guess you are uncomfortable with your partner's behaviour because, arguments about whether pot is addictive aside, he is displaying the behaviour of an addict. I would not be able to sustain this relationship, FWIW.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:41 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pot is a funny substance. It's recreational, but also medicinal. 'Course, the medicinal aspect of pot has come into vogue only recently, having been revived by a large swath of medicos who recognize--as did the ancients and people through the 19th century--that it's a fabulous drug for quelling nausea and pain.

Needless to say, many other drugs are like this--used medicinally for pain management, and also recreationally too. But for the most part, these are hardcore opioid pain relievers that are seriously addictive. Users start with an opioid--say, percocet--for back pain, and, if they have addictive personalities, progress rapidly to addiction. Pretty soon, they're hooked--drug addicts. At this point, they can't get relief for the initial pain without using steadily increasing amounts.

Pot is different.

It can be used medically and recreationally, without fear of a lifechanging physical addiction. Small amounts give adequate pain relief; there's hardly any ramping up to larger amounts. There's little danger of seeing your benign use for pain control turn into a frightening, demonic addiction. This being the case, many medical users--perhaps most--take a recreational hit from time to time. I'd wager that the majority of folks who hold medical marijuana cards, even those with severe symptoms, burn an occasional bowl to add zest to a gourmet meal or spice to a party with friends. Why not? What's to lose?

That's the dilemma that your SO's in. He's got pain; he smokes dope to relieve it. If he were in a state with a medical card, he'd have one. But he also smokes dope, well, to get high, just for the sake of getting high.

I don't know if there's an easy way out of this dilemma, apart from encouraging him to be aware of it. He needs to separate the medical use from the recreational, and approach each mindfully and cautiously. If he's medicating, that means a small, preferably vaporized dose until the pain is gone, and no more. Experts say smaller is better with most medical doses, and you should tell him that. If he's recreating, that means responsible use, preferably on a schedule and predetermined in advance ("I'll toke up come Friday at 4:20 pm"). Help him to understand this, and by all means, support him for the medicinal end of the spectrum, if you feel he's getting adequate relief.
posted by Gordion Knott at 4:03 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would have issues with the part where he cannot be parted with the pot for so much as a day. But also if I were you, I'd be worried about the legal issues if he gets CAUGHT with the pot, especially if you have an anti-pot job. Even if you don't toke yourself, if he got arrested for it, I'm guessing that would reflect badly upon you at your job.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:06 PM on June 10, 2011


This varies by jurisdiction and other circumstances, but, in general: if you are in a routine traffic stop while traveling in a car with your partner, and your partner smells a little bit like pot, the cop is going to thoroughly search the car, and you and your partner (and any other occupants of the vehicle) for pot. If any is found, there will be a legal presumption that it was "in the possession of" everyone in the car. You won't be excused to go home just because you say, "It isn't mine, it's his." It will be a big chunk of Not Fun to deal with. Be very clear about the risk you're taking if there is pot in the same car that you're in. A misdemeanor or violation-level possession charge, which might ultimately be dismissed, is not a great big deal, but life is a lot easier without it.
posted by Corvid at 4:20 PM on June 10, 2011


What Corvid says. From painful personal experience. Pot has a wide span of effects for different people. I don't know your ages, but when I hit my late thirties, it hit me (no pun) that it no longer made me feel High, just tired, burned out and lazy. If it wasn't T.V. or video games, I was useless. Just me.
Well, and 60% of my pothead friends.
I don't know your guy or his pain situation, but there may well come a time when the balance swings the other way and it might not be worth it anymore to him as well, but I am totally whistling in the wind. Just putting it out as a possibility
posted by Redhush at 5:51 PM on June 10, 2011


I have a medical marijuana card in CA. Let me give you some perspective here.

I have awful, debilitating lower back pain from a repetitive injury that I refuse to take heavy meds for or get surgery to relieve (because I'm scared of the surgery, ok?)

Never a pot smoker, edibles saved my life. But here is the twist: The marijuana cured the inflammation, and therefore the chronic pain, SO I DON'T NEED THE CHRONIC NOW (yeah, I just did that) AS OFTEN AS I NEEDED TO TAKE STUFF LIKE ADVIL OR STRONGER.

This happened within about three months of use. I keep my prescription current just in case I strain, but I now have a remedy that cures me for weeks at a time, not hours.

------

I'm not sure what's up with your BF's use, but I do know that marijuana was a legitimate cure for lots of inflammation pain before the prohibition of the plant and the widespread use of aspirin.

Is he possibly self-medicating for anxiety or some other undiagnosed reason? Because that's all I can think of here, as someone who uses marijuana for pain.

------

I'm a little concerned you say buying pot is low risk, but then you seem to indicate use of marijuana is not legal in your jurisdiction.

You're right to question this situation with your BF.

How you divide your household expenses is none of my business. But if the pot plays a role in that and it's bugging you deep down, add it to my concerns.
posted by jbenben at 5:55 PM on June 10, 2011


And for fun, you can Netflix this Kevin Smith talk/stand-up routine called Kevin Smith: Too Fat for 40!

The majority of it is about how he became a late bloomer in terms of pot, and how much he loves it. I totally agree with everything he says, it is super fun and fairly benign in the right context.

Honestly, there are a lot of productive pot smokers out there. I'm offering this up to you as an alternative viewpoint, in case none of the comments above (including mine) clicked for you.

It's well worth the watch if you want to feel better about this.

Enjoy.
posted by jbenben at 6:07 PM on June 10, 2011


Regular smoker here. Based on my own personal experiences, I think it's worth to further talk to your partner about why they feel the need to smoke up everyday. I've been psychologically addicted to pot at numerous points in my life (and if you say your partner is smoking everyday then I am guessing that they are, too) in that, getting high is what I look forward to most in my day.

Honestly, I have found then when things are, generally speaking, going really well in my life--there is minimal stress--I just don't have that same need to get high all the time. You say your partner smokes to relax; I'm not saying that something might be "wrong" in their life, but perhaps it would be worth looking into if/why they need to use the drug as an escape.
posted by lobbyist at 6:17 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know your ages, but when I hit my late thirties, it hit me (no pun) that it no longer made me feel High, just tired, burned out and lazy. If it wasn't T.V. or video games, I was useless. Just me.

This happened to me in my late teens/early 20's! Yes, ex-pothead here, to add onto the point that weed is perhaps the most individually-experienced of all the drugs that exist.

I haven't been a smoker since I was about 21-22 (now 33 and can't even imagine hitting it; the thought makes me ill), but I have been in two serious relationships with, I guess "pot-heads" (hate the term) since then. In both cases, I looked at how they handled the drug and I respected it a lot. They both (they were both men, BTW), worked harder, were more into what they were doing, and were a HELL of a lot less likely to lay around on the couch watching TV than the average person. I used to look at that and be like "WHY CAN'T I BE COOL LIKE THAT ANYMORE?" Answer: I just couldn't. If I smoked a bowl in the past ten years, including now, I would first freak out and then lay in the supine position for a week. But that doesn't mean everyone would do that.

I got around the driving-with-BF thing by going the speed limit and using my turn signals, and I don't really ever travel by air so that was a non-issue - apologies for the non-help with that.

To answer the motivation question - this is all I can tell you. Your BF is who he is. Pot doesn't change that. I can't smoke it because I am ALWAYS weird and lazy, and it only exacerbates those tendencies. My two exes were both workers, somewhat driven and just liked the physical feeling of work, and it exacerbates those tendencies in them, too.

I feel like I'm getting long-winded and forgot where I was originally going with this (HA AND I DON'T SMOKE), but point is, talk to him. Ask him what HE feels about the fact that he can't go anywhere without pot - tell him your concerns about it. Just don't rush in like "It's making you a loser and I hate everything and you suck!" Not like you would do that, but you know what I mean. Best of luck!
posted by deep thought sunstar at 8:32 PM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


There are areas where this affects you. You can refuse to travel with him by plane or car if he carries an illegal substance. How important is it you for your partner to be ambitious? Pot seems to be great at killing ambition. I don't think there's a lot to gain by labeling him. I think it's more helpful for you to be clear about how you want to live. I think you have some doubts about him and the pot is the lightning rod for those doubts.
posted by theora55 at 8:36 PM on June 10, 2011


I worked for a pharmaceutical company researching cannabinoids for pain relief,* so I obviously believe it can help with management of chronic pain. If that's truly what he's using it for and he can't get relief from OTC medications, then I can see why he wouldn't want to stop using. Many people get no relief from aspirin or acetaminophen. Hell, as my oral surgeon found out when I had to have my wisdom teeth removed, I don't feel any effects from taking heroic doses of vicodin or demerol, and my dentist has to use a ridiculous amount of novocaine on me. Cannabis doesn't work as an analgesic for me either, though.

Then again, his "low level pain" could indeed be cover for a psychological addiction. Comes down to whether or not you trust him, I suppose.

*Really glad that's over with; you don't want to know about rodent pain models. Didn't do the in vivo work myself, but it was tough to hear about in meetings.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 9:07 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was coming in to talk about the pain management side of things.

I have high levels of chronic pain, which are managed by the joys of (legal, taken as prescribed) pharmaceuticals. I see a pain management doctor monthly, where they keep track of my scripts and my pain levels. They make sure that if something is going on, they're supporting me in getting my pain managed.

Now, I know that smoking pot would help my chronic levels of pain. BUT...no one would be managing that for me. You can NOT underestimate the ability of pain to fuck with your brain and your decision making. There are safe-guards in place for rx pain relief for a reason. He's circumventing those safe-guards and self-medicating.

The thing about pain is that it is often invisible to everyone but the sufferer. That makes it easy to fake. It also makes it easy for people to ignore. I don't know if his pain is real. I don't know if it's just the excuse he uses to keep smoking. It seems like you don't know those things either.

I fully support legalisation (and live in a state where it is legalised), but I also know how much pot can destroy motivation and low long term use can damage the ability of a brain to function in a "normal" way (I teach high school...LOTS of first hand experience there!). I would personally never choose it (and really have never tried it), because there are other ways of getting my pain legally treated that don't make me scared to drive or fly.
posted by guster4lovers at 11:06 AM on June 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only experience I have of this is living in a house with six people, three of whom smoked daily and three who smoked rarely or never. I was struck by how paranoid the smokers seemed. A small sample with no controls, to be sure, but it's kept me from accepting my doctor's offer of a script.
posted by Mertonian at 11:50 AM on June 11, 2011


I'm a major pothead.

I'm dating somebody new, and if in the happy event we go away together, I will not bring pot with us. Because he doesn't smoke, and I don't want him to get busted.

I'm not going to freak out or start seeing bugs come out of the walls because no weed. Because I use it to manage chronic pain symptoms, I may find pain harder to deal with. But if I care about somebody, I can certainly deal without it for a little while.
posted by angrycat at 12:23 PM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


oh also I was on all sorts of opiates for pain management. my opinion is that they suck balls. And getting addicted to those is not a lot of fun, when it comes time to get off the ride.
posted by angrycat at 12:25 PM on June 11, 2011


I need help understanding and accepting my partner's daily use.

Then you need to have a discussion with him. We don't know him from a hole in the wall.

My partner smokes pot pretty much every day. It doesn't affect our lives adversely—his career is steady and stable, he's a mature and caring partner, there is no risky behavior associated with getting or using the pot. He uses it mostly to relax and sometimes for low-level pain management, pretty much how other people might have a drink once they're done for the day. He doesn't get overly goofy or make bad decisions on it. Honestly, I can't necessarily tell if he's smoked or not most of the time.

This paragraph goes from "smokes pot every day" to "I don't even know if he's smoking it". It tells me absolutely nothing except that even though you can't quantify detriments that come from its daily use...you still don't like it. That is 100% fine. You're allowed to feel that way. But you need to talk to your partner about that.

As for the "low-level pain management", I wish you could clarify that. Does he have some kind of DIAGNOSED chronic pain, or is it more like "my shoulder hurts today...where my BONG at?" With the amount of use you are implying, I'd imagine he has some kind of chronic pain.

If not, he's using it as a form of recreation. If you have a problem with that...you should tell him that. Don't gussy it all up by saying shit like "well maybe its affecting your motivational levels...even though I can't tell when you're using". Just tell him how you feel.

So, pretty much a best-case scenario for incorporating substances into your life. It still bothers me a little, though. I worry about getting stopped in the car when he has a little pot with him. Traveling by air always becomes kind of a thing, unless he knows he has a source where we're going.

You not having a reason to feel bothered just gained some footing. This became a legal thing. I don't know where you live or what kind of consequences pot may have. In California its a small fine for not traffick-able amount...in other jurisdictions it may be a felony. I have no idea. BUT...the fact that he is bringing it with him in airplanes is just stupid. I smoke(d) pot on a regular basis...and because I KNOW I will always get "randomly searched", I take great effort to ensure that there isn't even an odor of marijuana on me. Taking $5-400 worth of drugs on a plane may land you in prison for a long long long time. Thats just stupid, and you have a right to be angry. Same with the car.

I was a heavy user...I smoked every night for about 2 years or so. I took breaks when I felt that my tolerance was getting too high. But I NEVER had pot in car with me unless I had just got some and was going home. And even then, I complied with common sense and jurisdictional laws (med cert, sealed package, in locked trunk...under some blankets...driving the speed limit). That's just stupid.

Or he's got a problem if he can't go anywhere without bringing his stash.

I wonder a little if it'a affecting his motivation levels—there hasn't been a whole lot of growth, career-wise. And worst of all, I feel a kind of low-level petty resentment—my work feeds and houses us, and if I wanted to smoke every day, I couldn't—we have random drug tests.

I think you're just piling on sentences hoping something sticks and all the support gets thrown your way. Besides your "wondering a little", I don't see any reason to think this is affecting his career. If your work "feeds and houses" you both...where does his income go? Does it not go towards the same cause? Are you jealous that you have random drug tests and he doesn't?

I'm actually a theoretical advocate for legalization—I recognize that pot is pretty much harmless, and most of the consequences associated with it are a result of it being illegal, not necessarily inherent to the substance. I don't smoke much much myself—I can't without risking my job, but anyway I don't like it very much. To each his own.

Agreed. Marijuana, just like tequila, isn't for everyone.

But why does this bother me so much, and how can I become more accepting? Anecdotes about being a habitual smoker for decades and your life turning out just dandy are welcome. Suggestions and advice for dealing with practical concerns or frameworks for responsible use are welcome, too.

Yeah, seriously you can get anecdotes up the ying-yang about how pot has ruined lives. And you can get anecdotes about how pot has saved lives. Anecdotes mean absolutely nothing.

What means something is communicating with your SO. If you have a problem with his drug use (even though you support its use in a public health kinda way), you need to talk to him about it.

Nothing else matters. This is not a matter of right and wrong. Its a matter of what works for both of you as a couple.

And seriously...work on communicating. You could change marijuana to anything else here and I'd still think there are some communication barriers you need to break down.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:05 PM on June 11, 2011


Wow...reading from this, it seems like a lot of users are filling in a lot of the blanks you left in your story with details from their own life.

Please read carefully and use only that which is relevant to your life.

You need to discuss this with him. I guarantee you that if you emailed/read him this question, you guys would be able to hash out something that works for both of you.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:10 PM on June 11, 2011


sunnychef88 nailed it. There's a huge difference between someone who enjoys smoking to relax and kill a few hours (even if it's pretty frequent) and someone who lets it majorly affect other parts of their lives. I've dated people who don't smoke, and I don't smoke when I'm with them, and if I didn't smoke I wouldn't want a partner who was stoned all the time either. Maybe it's time to sit down and talk about some limits?
posted by devilsbrigade at 5:48 PM on June 11, 2011


Big red flags if you can't travel safely together.

If he needs marijuana to manage chronic pain and medical marijuana is not practical where you live, please do whatever is necessary to get him legal treatment - even if that means moving to a different state.

However, if his needs are amorphous and generally boil down to him being inseperable from pot or else he can't function emotionally, please consider taking a pot-free vacation - with or without him.

Pohibiition is stupid, but so is being beholden to an addict.
posted by SakuraK at 1:23 AM on June 12, 2011


Yeah, just to pop back in and agree w/ angrycat about opiates vs pot....I would much rather smoke pot than take the level of prescribed drugs it takes to make me pain free. I've learned to live w/ a lot more pain than I want, simply because I can't allow myself to get addicted to "real" drugs. For me, were pot legal where I am, I would chose pot over opiates.
posted by dejah420 at 4:53 PM on June 13, 2011


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