Should I be worried?
August 30, 2008 7:15 PM   Subscribe

I've recently started doing weed. The effect that it has had on me is quite noticeable--I feel much more relaxed and confident--like the real me should feel. I have no inhibitions of telling people what I think, which in any other circumstance I would be too ashamed to (thinking that I might not be worthy of having such opinions). But now, I hardly give a damn what anybody else feels. Just one question though: am I okay for thinking that Marijuana might actually not be harmful to me in the extremely small dose that I take it in?

The first time that I had it--it was spiked, and we did it in a closed room so by the end of it I was dazed and confused to say the least. Thought everyone in the room had planned all of it from the beginning (even before they had met me) and were now carrying out their wicked schemes. However, I was still able to regain control and didn't do anything untoward, except smoke a lot and then go to sleep after an hour or two.

The second time I had some good stuff and made sure not to have too much. Since then (I've done it maybe five-six times; the first time was on Aug 1st), I've realized that I'm in a much better mood after taking just one good drag--that's it. The feeling stays with me for the whole day, and sometimes into the next.

I don't want to be addicted to the stuff, but it has improved my social behaviour manifold. I feel totally at peace with myself and am for the first time ever comfortable with the way I look. I actually think I don't look that bad to tell you the truth.

I guess what my question is, is that, do you think hemp can have a positive effect on your life. I have a friend whose father is a nationally celebrated artist and he's been a user for a long, long time now. I'm not looking for scorn or judgemental attitudes here, so I would appreciate it if you could keep it to yourself. What I would like is anecdotes about how it started for you, if you're still using (I know some of you might not want to share this info publicly, so feel free to Memail me if you think it's worth it), or if you've stopped, and why--and what was it about it that you thought was good/bad...?
posted by hadjiboy to Health & Fitness (44 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Related thread, with one of my favorite comments ever.
posted by lain at 7:25 PM on August 30, 2008

The key points on taking weed:

1) Try not to smoke alone. It's sometimes necessary, but can develop in a bad precedent, leading to...
2) Do not smoke everyday. If you've ever seen someone who is permafried from smoking too much, you would understand.
3) Try not to judge the goodness of weed based on THC, but rather on the other substances therein. THC alone makes you a very sad person.
4) Use the weed to explore how to maintain these feelings on the long term. I haven't mastered this bit, but if you can export the feeling-good bit without the not-caring-about-others, everything will be spiffy. It's a crutch, not a perma ego-booster... so only use it while you still need a crutch, i.e. when something's broken. I'm not saying weed is ONLY a crutch, but when you're using it as a crutch (like you are now) only use it while you need a crutch, and sparingly at that. Thinking "this stuff makes me happy" is a bad road to go down; thinking "this stuff temporarily makes me feel happy and I need to use it to learn how to feel this way without smoking up" is spiffy and doesn't lead bad places (see: number 2). Thinking "I am going to smoke with some friends and not because it improves my self-esteem" is also spiffy.

Have fun.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 7:34 PM on August 30, 2008

I think that a lot of together people handle weed without problems, but I've yet to see it have a positive effect on anyone's life. To be blunt, when most of my friends get into weed, they get out of everything else. There are some who seem to use it recreationally and do flourish, but they kind of already had their shit together.

If it's really changing your behavior as much as you think, you may be primed for dependence. May I at least suggest that you try to find some confidence when you're not smoking?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:38 PM on August 30, 2008

a) You don't so much "do" as smoke it. Pot isn't heroin. You don't get badass-sounding terminology like "rail a line" either.

b) Even in really large doses, it's not terribly harmful for you. You need to keep in mind that you'll piss dirty on a drug test and that it's (probably) illegal. Some activities will be denied to you therefore. The post lain linked above is a good point, too.

I've found that no matter how many days in a row one goes completely blazed out of one's mind, when one quits, it's only a couple of days before it's back to normal. You talk about "addiction"... there is a bit of that if you're using it like you describe. If it's enabling you to live anxiety-free, then not having it might result in the old anxiety returning. In that way, it's addictive--you know, like a diabetic is "addicted" to insulin.

If you want to decrease the health risks (which come from smoke), then get yourself a vaporizer of some sort. You'll just inhale THC steam instead of burnt plant matter.

Also, "one good drag".... pffft. Lightweight.
posted by Netzapper at 7:40 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yes, I still smoke weed, and started in high school. It has myriad psychological and physical effects, really, it's different for everyone. Sometimes it gives me bad insomnia, and if I'm not in good health, overtired, not enough exercise, it actually seems to contribute to a higher incidence of anxiety and panic attacks for me in the week following the smokeout.

However, it's usually a fun, relaxing time, where I get to goof off and be creative in minor ways. I think that people can be behaviorally addicted to it, but if you only indulge once a week or so, you've got very little to worry about in terms of your health and wellbeing, in my opinion.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:00 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

As to the positive effect on your life? Well, I think you're experiencing what many drug users call "expanding consciousness." It's like getting a glimpse behind the scenes in your brain. Suddenly you understand yourself and the world a little differently. I believe that is always a good thing.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:08 PM on August 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

Just put on Echoes and stop worrying.
posted by Freedomboy at 8:14 PM on August 30, 2008 [6 favorites]

Haji, marijuana used to be prescribed by doctors, listed in pharmacopoeia. The difficulty using cannabis was getting the proper dose. IMHO too little is better than too much. Some research shows that sub psychedelic dose of psilocybin mushroom increases visual acuity, much in the same way your single toke has benefits into the next day.Good on you.
posted by hortense at 8:21 PM on August 30, 2008

Totally empirical answer here. I started smoking pot in high school, and trailed off after college. Some friends never trailed off.

Those friends, in their later 20's, tended to be just a bit fuzzy, even when straight. As they approached their 30's, I'd invariably notice a substantially shortened attention span. And I don't know a single pot user past 35 or so who can focus their attention for more than a few seconds. Their minds sort of wander. Well, wait. That's not true. A couple of extraordinarily focused and intelligent friends who happen to be pot users retain decent attention spans......but not nearly the attention spans they'd once had.

I, myself, found myself a lot more drifty in terms of attentive focus endurance, after just light, occasional use. And it persisted for years after I quit.

Again, this is only empirical. But I've closely observed a LOT of people.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 8:38 PM on August 30, 2008

Haji, marijuana used to be prescribed by doctors,
Used to be? Doctors in California prescribe it every single day.

Also, marijuana is just plain NOT ADDICTIVE. your body does not become dependent on it, and there is no such thing as withdrawals.

You can of course become psychologically dependent on it, the same way some people become dependent on tv, the internet, sex, whatever. This is actually something to watch for- if you get to the point where you feel like "you just can't do [x]*" without taking a hit first, you probably want to think about cutting back. The other thing to watch for is that it makes people very very boring. I have roomed with potheads and they can be the most boring people in the world- they sit there, they eat, they sleep, they get high, they never interact with anyone who isn't a fellow stoner, they can't get a girl unless she wants weed from them, they even invent games where the goal is to get high, which is strange because they want to get high anyway so why the stupid game?

If it makes you feel good and helps you live your life, go for it. Just don't let it become your life.

*things like calling your parents, dealing with work/school, talking to new people socially etc. Basically you don't want to use it as a crutch.

posted by drjimmy11 at 8:51 PM on August 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

I strongly encourage you to make an appointment with a doctor or counselor about your confidence and self-esteem issues. It is not healthy to feel terrible about yourself literally all the time. If you are at a university, making the appointment will probably be very straightforward and at no cost to you. Your mental health is very important, so why mess around with self-medicating using an illegal drug or relying on amateur advice from friends or AskMeFi?

"Haji, marijuana used to be prescribed by doctors,
Used to be? Doctors in California prescribe it every single day."

Yes...doctors prescribe it. Has a doctor prescribed pot to the original poster?

I wish you the best of luck.
posted by skallagrim at 9:00 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Old school XxX punk here, but I personally believe that any psychological benefits derived from non-psychotrophic, non-prescription, non-regulated drugs are a sad simple shortcut to an underlying problem/subconscious attempt to find a solution for whatever ails you. I say psychological because, unlike cancer victims, you're not getting physiological benefits.

You're taking it as a mood enhancer, not as a pain killer, in other words.

I'm sure you're as safe as if you gained the same solace from a large bowl of banana pudding, but that doesn't mean that you, as a person, shouldn't address the things you don't like about yourself when you're not high.

Read: you're fine, but you can do better.

Sidebar: What DrJimmy11 talks about regarding the idea of "man I can't do X without a hit first" is really, really common. Can't take that test, can't call that girl, can't go to work, can't pay my bills, can't bang my girlfriend... Now, the pro-marijuana camp will say that's not "Addiction" because your body doesn't chemically suffer the same way as, say, a heroin junky---but a psychological dependence is, to me, almost as bad and certainly classified as some sort of "addiction", especially when you truly believe that it's necessary for any given task.
posted by TomMelee at 9:05 PM on August 30, 2008 [5 favorites]

I don't smoke. The first time I tried it, I got paranoid... that probably has a lot to do with the fact that it was a school field trip and my teacher was in the hotel room next door. I think Paranoia is the result of your mind being allowed to wander and the thing on the forefront is "You are breaking a rule!"

The second time, it made me want to eat nachos and watch cartoons. Seeing as I already would have loved to eat nachos and watch cartoons, I don't think pot does anything for me.

That being said, I have a friend who takes several medications that make him anxious, lose his appetite, and cause insomnia. Smoking Marijuana basically counteracts the side effects of all his medication, making his life much easier.

And don't worry about pot being dangerous for your health. The lethal dose of Marijuana is extremely high... so high that most people believe it's truly impossible to overdose. The Therapeutic/Lethal ratio for Aspirin is 1:20, meaning 2 pills help, but 40 can kill. To die from smoking pot, you'd have to consume nearly a ton in around 15 minutes. Likely you'd die of smoke inhalation first.

@Hortense: The problem with getting a proper "dose" is that Marijuana is a 'natural' product that is then prepared by the consumer. When drug companies and governments have tested Marijuana, they grow it as a crop under ideal conditions, harvest it, and then prepare it in a uniform fashion and thus have no problem getting a proper dose.
posted by aristan at 9:31 PM on August 30, 2008

If you're not a heavy user, and not progressing towards becoming one (5 joints or more per week, although some studies demarcate at lower or higher intake) and you don't have any congenital cardiovascular issues, the long-term physical effects are moderate. If your family medical history shows presence of psychosis, then you are at an increased risk of such a disorder yourself, which is increased by regular cannabis use.

Apart from the above two caveats, I wouldn't worry about pot. Its overall toxic footprint is lower than alcohol, when regular or greater use of both is compared. MeMail me for more info.
posted by daksya at 9:56 PM on August 30, 2008

Oh this is a complicated topic ...

As a person who smoked daily, multiple times a day for 10+ years and then quit, pretty much entirely...I can say that the biggest and most surprising difference to me was that I had developed this base of friends with whom our favorite shared activity was getting high and when I quit smoking pot, I lost that group of friends. Since I've quit smoking, I do notice that my short term memory is kind of shot. I can't remember passwords, my cell phone number or things people tell me. I had to relearn how to go interact with people in social situations without being high. I found that people I had ruled out as not fun to hang out with simply because they didn't smoke were actually really cool. I had to actually deal with my demons instead getting stoned out of my mind. Once I dealt with these issues and learned to deal with my angst and anxiety without being high, my life really bloomed for me and I started making healthier relationships and better decisions.

There's something that really sucks about being a former dedicated weed smoker, then quitting and living in the same community. It's hard for people to take you seriously. I feel like I have to prove myself over and over, that I'm not flaky or irresponsible. Maybe the regular weed smoking thing works great for artists and musicians, but for the rest of us working stiffs, the regular toking up daily routine starts to take its toll.

I don't regret all of my smoky tinted years, in fact, I feel like marijuana use helped shape my viewpoint of the world, and it helped me do some great creative work. I unfortunately liked smoking waaaayy too much, and had access to a lot of it. I still smoke once or twice a year and when I do it's almost a ceremonial thing. Yeah, weed is not chemically addictive, but psychologically and behaviorally, it can be. It's really easy to start smoking a lot of it regularly when you by it in any quantity and start keeping it around.

I can smell weed on people who have recently smoked it and can tell when people are stoned. When I'm interacting with someone, and I can tell they just smoked, it makes me think to myself, "am I so awful to hang out with that this person had to go get high first?"

So, yeah, my point is, don't get so dependent on weed that you lose your ambition or forget how to function as a social, emotional human being without it. Moderation.
posted by pluckysparrow at 9:58 PM on August 30, 2008 [9 favorites]

Go for it. I smoked pot for 15 years or so and eventually got down to "I buy the mexican swag" and smoke a bowl or two a day. I quit because my dealer went to dealing meth and having guns and stolen property in his house (and in and out of jail often). I wish I hadn't stopped. I had the same "one hit now and then" it does me wonders. It made me work, it made me not drink, it made me sociable. For years and years. Now that I stopped I'm in the hospital and seeking shrink and meds. It's been 4 years or so now, with a moment in Hawaii where I stopped a student blowing smoke and asked for a spare bud. Best day I've had in years.

If you can keep it down to a bowl or joint or two a day... beats meds... those things fuck you up in a way that the green just doesn't. Pick your poison. Ditto on the non-addictive thing, not smoking the green was way easier than not drinking coffee all day long (one cup in the morning now).
Pretty much everybody knows I was a bit better smoking a bit of the green. Now I'm looking at therapy and crazy meds... (I've tried them, not as good as the green) damn laws and crap.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:59 PM on August 30, 2008

Sidebar: What DrJimmy11 talks about regarding the idea of "man I can't do X without a hit first" is really, really common. Can't take that test, can't call that girl, can't go to work, can't pay my bills, can't bang my girlfriend... Now, the pro-marijuana camp will say that's not "Addiction" because your body doesn't chemically suffer the same way as, say, a heroin junky---but a psychological dependence is, to me, almost as bad and certainly classified as some sort of "addiction", especially when you truly believe that it's necessary for any given task.

Oy@ this and some of the answers on here. Some people get psychologically addicted, sure, but it's no guarantee. In fact, I'd say that if it helps hadjiboy over some initial feelings of awkwardness, it might help him to move past those things and become more successful, rather than focusing on feelings of physical or social inadequacy. I think use really becomes problematic with people who don't have anything else going on in their lives, generally. So hadjiboy, stay busy and productive amidst your substance use.

Personally, I never imbibed until after high school (and I wonder if being clean when I was younger & developing has something to do with my positive experiences), but I've found that it makes me incredibly productive when I do. I'm able to focus better, to do things like clean without any foot dragging. I'm a poet, and it really helps me get over mental blocks in my writing and hit on threads and themes that I wouldn't have considered before, although editing sober is a good idea. I also paint, and it gives me just a little more concentration--I tend to get so wrapped up in the process of painting, and the physical sensations of it, that I work much longer than I normally would. I realize that I'm unusual in these things, so I'll say that it's also great for relaxing--nothing's better than a warm bath, a pipe, and a book.

There are drawbacks--it took a couple years, but panic does happen, even with very sporadic use, and you might encounter occasional paranoia, although I think that a lot of that has to do with legal status. A very small dose (your one hit) probably would do a lot more to soothe your anxieties than anything else, though.

Addiction is not a possible drawback, though, in the physical sense of the word. I enjoy the effects, but I probably only indulge once a month these days, if that, even though I usually have some. Difficultly of finding it when it runs out and cost have something to do with this. Although I dislike the way drinking makes me feel, it's more convenient, and legal., so often I'll just have a glass of wine when I'd usually be doing my preferred substance.

The second time, it made me want to eat nachos and watch cartoons. Seeing as I already would have loved to eat nachos and watch cartoons, I don't think pot does anything for me.

See, you probably were under the influence, though. At small doses--and the first couple times one smokes, it's often hard to smoke more than that--it really doesn't do much more than make you enjoy the things you already do, a little bit more. I've always thought (and this is why it's so great for poetry) that it lets users enjoy things as a child would, a little less self consciously than a normal, social adult would. Its inhibition shedding, but in a joyful way, not a dance-on-the-table way. Which is why I prefer it, I guess. YMMV.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:14 PM on August 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

People I know who smoke every day have stopped growing up, maturing. They do ok from day to day, but their lives get a bit stagnant. From personal experience I'd echo TomMelee "You're taking it as a mood enhancer", and I'd urge you to look for a better solution.
posted by anadem at 10:19 PM on August 30, 2008

You sound a little like me a few years ago. A few thoughts I had when reading your question:

1. Do you really want to be dependant on a drug to do simple social things? This is where drugs start becoming compulsive habits. Yes, pot isnt physically addictive, but if you tell yourself you need it to chat someone up then you can delveop a serious compulsion.

2. You do not yet know what happens with chronic use, especially when you develop a tolerance to the drug. It will affect mood, sometimes in ways you dont like.

3. Ive also noticed a "glow" feeling for about 12-18 hours after the high wears off. I think this is just more seratonin than usual. Then after a couple of weeks my serotonin bottoms out and I get a serious depressive episode. Not to mention anxiety. This "safe" drug was really messing me up. I'd be really careful and carefully watch yourself before you declare this drug some superdrug that solves all your problems.

4. "I hardly give a damn what anybody else feels." Wow, you know as a human youre supposed to care somewhat about what other people feel. This is the path to asshole-dom. Id be very careful here.

5. Honestly, your question and posting history hints at someone who should consider some type or relaxation technique if not out-right therapy. Thinking pot will just solve all your problems wont work. It didnt work for me (see item 3).

6. You are now putting yourself at risk for arrest. You are also self-medicating which is a bad sign. Self-medicators usually do better with professional help.

7. The last day I got high I just threw my bag away because I was doing it nightly and it was hurting my mood, sleep, sex life, etc. I was entering the world of the pot weirdo and said "no more." I realized the stupidity of self-medicating and began a long but effective process of developing calm and positivity.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:20 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

I would think that Chesterton's sound advice about drink would apply to smoke as well.

"The sound rule in the matter would appear to be like many other sound rules—a paradox. Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum; but drink when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing peasant of Italy. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world." -G. K. Chesterton
posted by keith0718 at 10:21 PM on August 30, 2008 [14 favorites]

Doctors in California prescribe it every single day

For appetites, cataracts, and seizure control. Not for "help me talk to girls and not be scared in the movie theater."

Also, to correct myself, I didnt just throw my pot away, I threw it down the sewer because it had become such a compulsive habit I couldnt just put it in the trash.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:33 PM on August 30, 2008

See, you probably were under the influence, though. At small doses--and the first couple times one smokes, it's often hard to smoke more than that--it really doesn't do much more than make you enjoy the things you already do, a little bit more. I've always thought (and this is why it's so great for poetry) that it lets users enjoy things as a child would, a little less self consciously than a normal, social adult would. Its inhibition shedding, but in a joyful way, not a dance-on-the-table way. Which is why I prefer it, I guess. YMMV.

Oh, I was definitely under the influence of it. I was giggling and having a good time and was very sure that the CD we were playing matched the anime I was watching perfectly. I meant to say that I don't think it affects my personality in the drastic way that we're always told drugs will. It didn't make me a different person, it helped make me a temporarily more relaxed person. (So basically you and I are agreeing 100% here.)
posted by aristan at 10:46 PM on August 30, 2008

Hi, I live in California, under prop 215 Doctors do not prescribe marijuana under 215 they provide a recommendation to a patient, it is not a prescription. You can get your recommend from your primary healthcare provider not necessarily an M.D. The dosage info I posted above was from a old medical PDR type book from about 1910.
posted by hortense at 10:58 PM on August 30, 2008

I don't want to be addicted to the stuff

It is impossible to be addicted to marijuana. It is possible, after years to decades of heavy, daily use, to develop a psychological dependency on it, but even then you can easily quit if you really want to. Addicted means you must have the chemical in your blood to function and lack of it causes physical misery, and that simply does not happen with marijuana.

At the frequency you use it, and calling it "doing weed" no less (stop doing that, by the way, or people will make fun of you), it's far less harmful as eating eggs and buttered toast for breakfast three times a week. Even with daily (once, twice a day) use, you will do far less harm to yourself than any "social drinker". On a physical and mental harm scale of 1 to 10, marijuana is pretty much the baseline "1" while alcohol, legal and almost universally acceptable, is a "7". Forget everything anyone ever told you about marijuana being a "dangerous drug", because it's all bullshit. The very worst thing that can happen to you is smoking it constantly every day and never getting anything done, which even the drug war propaganda acknowledges now.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:17 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Also, stop worrying so much. Having done it all, I assure you that everything, absolutely everything, if you're not injecting it intravenously, is safe to try a couple times, as long as you don't have some preexisting heart condition or something like that. You take more of a risk driving a car or crossing the street. The only way you'll get into a bad spot is when and if you find you really like one of the substances that is truly addictive and allow it to control your life. And even then, as William S. Burroughs said, you're never really hooked until you "quit" once and then start again. Don't worry about turning into a craven junkie by smoking a few joints once or twice a week, that only happens in TV commercials. You've got so many new experiences to try. Enjoy these, your salad days.

As far as anecdotes, I smoked it for the first time at 13 or so because it was forbidden and exciting, used it constantly throughout my teens and early 20s, and quit for the most part (I'll still hit it if someone passes it to me, which doesn't happen too often) at 25, and I'm 28 now. I stopped because it became boring, the returns were totally diminished. It had long since become an activity as usual and unremarkable as eating or peeing. Me and my friends didn't even look at pot as a "drug" anymore, more like just "something you smoke", or to potentiate the effects of or abrogate side effects of other drugs. At that point, it's useless to continue wasting money on it, making the effort to obtain it, risking driving around with it in your car, etc.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:38 PM on August 30, 2008

Pot for glaucoma, not cataracts. Although it's not as effective, or, I gather, as predictable in efficacy as other medications used to reduce abnormal intraocular pressure, per my Favoritest Ophthalmologist Ever a few years back.

He sent me home with a bottle of Betagan instead. Probably a good thing, as I found that weed either made me talk even more than I alrady do, or shut off my internal monologue entirely. As Bill Cosby said about cocaine, it Intensifies Your Personality, and, well, what if you're just an anxious bastard like me, or a complete asshole?
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:54 PM on August 30, 2008

Smoking for any reason other than to enjoy being high is to gravely overestimate the potential of the drug and will lead to depressive rebounds and general badness.

Smoking a joint with your friends as a social lubricant and/or to facilitate your ability to beat Super Mario World is encouraged and acceptable. (It will not help you beat GTA IV, though it may make the game more delightfully confusing.)

Anything that feels good can become a crutch. It is important to allow yourself to feel genuinely bad, because how else would you know what good feels like, right? Marijuana will not make you a better person. It will not give you magical social skills. It may provide a temporary bridge that will allow you to develop those skills, but it is up to you to learn them unstoned, because the effect of the drug is temporary.

You can become psychologically dependent on marijuana, but you will never become physiologically addicted to it.

Marijuana is illegal in many places and because of that it is sold on the black market. Buying marijuana may put you in bad situations with bad people. It is not comparable to cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, heroin, pills, moonshine, or whatever else your local dealer may have available. Purchasing marijuana is often risky and dangerous. This is not fun. Trust me, I've been in jail for it. I wish it were legalized and regulated, but then I also wish I had a unicorn who fucked rainbows.

Smoking a joint at the end of the day is no better or worse than knocking back a couple of shots or downing a couple of beers. The long-term consequences of marijuana use is determined by the intensity of use and the potency of the pot.

Don't smoke in the morning. Don't smoke with a headache. Don't smoke to forget. Don't smoke to recall. Don't smoke to escape. Don't smoke to fit in.

Smoke to get high. That's what it's for.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:56 PM on August 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

Personally, I think anything done in excess can be dangerous. I think having a hit or two every few weeks (A hit or two, not a bowl or two. If you can make a bowl last a few weeks, you're doing fine.) isn't any worse than having a glass or two of wine with dinner. If you make an eighth of an ounce last for 4-5 months, it's fine. I think the horror stories you're seeing on this thread are from people smoking a bowl or two every day for years, which seems roughly equivalent to downing a six-pack or two every night for a few years. In both cases, you're going to wind up damaged.

You can't smoke pot like you smoke cigarettes. An entire joint is way, way, way too much. Just like alcohol, the point isn't to get royally fucked up, the point is to get a mild buzz. If you're trying to get royally fucked up on a regular basis, it's the same as trying to get completely drunk on a regular basis.
posted by fnerg at 12:01 AM on August 31, 2008

hadjiboy, ditto on that you're smoking frankly risible amounts (-:

You asked for experiences. ... My first time I was shocked, I had forgotten it was possible that I could be so comfortable in myself. And also, as you mentioned, with other people. Of course, because it was so good, (the starkness of the contrast should have been a warning sign in the first place) I was of course wondering could it have a (small) place in my life where it is contributing positive things without causing a mess. Books that helped me were '"The natural mind" by Dr Andrew Weil and "The Artificial Paradises" by C. Baudelaire. OK, it's irresistable to cue to ten years later, weed has a not so small place in my life and it's not all that positive.

At any rate it sounds to me like you are in a chemical romance, your post almost feels like it cannot decide between asking for advice and sharing the excitement. I am using the word romance in its original meaning of "discovery of something AWESOME" and drug romance like all other forms is fuil of wonder and excitement. Those small amounts are IMHO triggers that let you get high on the psychological buzz alone. However it has been said that the thrill isn't exactly in the substance rather than that awesome discovery itself. Once it wears off you may seek it in larger more regular amounts, different substances (you sound like you would love E btw) or if you're clever in poetry or music or whatever else may seem fresh at the time between a small group of insiders creating that secretive buzz of what it's all about.

Now I'll just go back to admiring pluckysparrow's concise comment.
posted by yoHighness at 12:06 AM on August 31, 2008

You're a big boy. You don't need our permission.
posted by jouke at 12:30 AM on August 31, 2008

Lot of good insight here, and I agree that you should be very careful not to use it as a crutch, but I also have another suggestion - have a beer. Alcohol was the drug that did for me what pot did for you, but it has a definite limiting factor for me. One beer, two, if I'm tired just a glass, alright, I'm chill, I'm feeling good. Any more than that and I start getting tired and stupid, and then it's a straight shot to outright drunk. Give a slight beer buzz a shot before you go down the pot road.
posted by saysthis at 1:21 AM on August 31, 2008

As with any drug be careful. Although noit physically addictive it can become a real crutch. I'm sat here on a Sunday morning doing my best not to light one up. I've smoked every day bar overseas holidays (apart from Amsterdam of course!) for about 15 years.

It can start to get to you. Lethargy becomes the order of the day if you can't give yourself a mental shake and rise above it (and that becomes harder the longer you have smoked for as you need to smoke more just to get that same buzz).

To be perfectly honest though, I'm well aware I could acheive much more (much much more in fact) if I didn't have this habit.

It's all perspective though I guess. I'm happy with the way my life is. If I wasn't... who knows how easy it would be to change.

If I can give any advice it's this - if you do find yourself smoking every day have a pint of water before bed and don't smoke at least two hours before going. At least then the next day isn't a groggy mess of inaction.
posted by twistedonion at 5:00 AM on August 31, 2008

Another bit of advice (and this could be the paranoia) but do you really want to start a drug habit that will leave you less motivated with a major world recession on the cards? Just a thought that's occurred to me the last few days. Life is cushy now I'm employed.... but a severe case of manana is going to be a hinderence when the shit hits the fan.

Like I said, probably just my paranoia but if I was you I'd keep my fun with dope just that. Fun. And it's loads of fun, let's face it!
posted by twistedonion at 5:04 AM on August 31, 2008

Man there is a lot of reefer madness in this thread.

I know many people who smoke pot daily or close to daily who are highly accomplished, very successful, loving, decent people, not burned out unmotivated slackers. Many people.

Consider that some people are *already* burned out and unmotivated, and this may attract them to marijuana. But plenty of people who have their shit so together that they squeak when they walk use pot on a regular basis.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:40 AM on August 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

Lot of good insight here, and I agree that you should be very careful not to use it as a crutch, but I also have another suggestion - have a beer. Alcohol was the drug that did for me what pot did for you, but it has a definite limiting factor for me. One beer, two, if I'm tired just a glass, alright, I'm chill, I'm feeling good. Any more than that and I start getting tired and stupid, and then it's a straight shot to outright drunk. Give a slight beer buzz a shot before you go down the pot road.

I have no idea why someone should use another drug that can cause physical addiction, that is more difficult to titrate, and that causes more unpleasant physical effects than one that doesn't.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:07 AM on August 31, 2008

My two cents:

You should work on becoming more confident and relaxed without smoking pot.

To answer your question, though. Nah, smoking pot now and then won't harm you. But as someone who has smoked pot in the past and hung around a lot of stoners, I will tell you this: stoners are really, really boring. Drinkers, on the other hand, can be a frickin' blast.
posted by emd3737 at 10:10 AM on August 31, 2008

My rheumatologist, who was in his late 70s, used to ask me at every appointment "Are you smoking?" I assured him I wasn't, and one time commented that I thought it was obvious I didn't, since my hair/clothes didn't smell like stale smoke. He replied, "I meant pot." He'd then say that pot smoke is hard on the lungs just like cigarette smoke. That seemed to be his only concern. (Oh, and I didn't smoke weed at the time and always thought it weird that he continually questioned me about it. Years later at a job interview my potential boss informed me that he and one of the salesmen occasionally liked to spark up in the office. I wondered aloud to a co-worker when I got back to my office why he would tell me something like that. She replied, "You look like a pothead." What the ???)
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:14 AM on August 31, 2008

He'd then say that pot smoke is hard on the lungs just like cigarette smoke

Turns out that's not true, although it was the accepted epidemiological wisdom until 2006.

As for the rest of it, I would say that a useful thought experiment would be to substitute "a few beers" for "a bowl" in any statements you make, and see how they might sound to you if someone else said them.

"I enjoy having {} now and then" sounds just fine to me, whether it's "a few beers" or "a bowl."

"I'm too nervous to talk to girls unless I have {} first" sounds like something worth getting concerned about, whether it's "a few beers" or "a bowl."

Your mileage may vary.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:58 AM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Two anecdotal things:

1. Sex drive = enhanced along with all sexual things
2. Vaporizers are safer than smoking for many reasons, not the least of which is, you don't smell like a drug that is, in many ways, if not illegal where you live, at least possibly frowned upon, depending your circumstances. And when I say vaporizer, I mean this.

My ex smoked every day for years, and the two things that were negative about it is that we were always late to everything (people call this the "last bong hit theory"), and he would often panic if he could not get any and spend money we didn't have getting it.

If you notice either of the two above points, you should force yourself to take a break. Don't allow it to supersede the realities of being yourself; only ENHANCE things.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:21 PM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Uotc--just curious, but is one of the reasons he's your ex because of his habit (I hope not; that's not where I want to be 10-20 years from now!).

About the usage--no, it's not that I don't care "how" people feel, it's just that this part of my brain that tells me that everyone is looking at me/laughing at me/judging me all the time, switches off in a way. I say in a way because although I'm not bothered about peoples opinions about the way I look, or behave, or speak (I think I'm just fine the way I am after I get the day-after buzz which someone mentioned upthread)--I am a bit concerned about the kind of negative view that people in general have about the drug.

Growing up with a lot of American influence--it always seemed to me to be a rite of passage in a way, and I was almost giddy with excitement to be doing it that first time. A wish that I felt would never be fulfilled, either because of my fear of it being termed as a "drug", and therefore having such a negative connotation that I assumed I would never be able to bring myself around to it.

Although, I'm afraid that most of you might be right in advising me not to become too dependant on it to the extent that I start to think that I can't do anything without it.

Of course, I do think of it as a crutch or a bridge to get me to where I want to be. I never thought that this was even possible, and to know I'm capable of so much more (even with a little bit of help) gives me hope for the future. The trick I see here is to realize that I am the person who I see now, and not the other one, and try and accept that without using pot, which I know sounds a bit odd, but I'm hoping just three puffs (I just deduced that this is the perfect intake for me--and yeah--sorry for calling it "doing weed"; I'm a newb, what did you expect!), will not make me psychologically addicted, or have I reached that stage already by thinking that having three puffs every other day or so will be okay?

Seriously, I don't want to become "psychologically" addicted to the stuff, but my response has been very, very positive. As another poster points out--I've become much more focused, relaxed, energetic (obviously if you have too much, and for me too much would be seven or eight puffs, then you do tend to feel sleepy, or at least I do)--I also feel much more connected to everyone, and comfortable enough to share my feelings with others. I've also noticed becoming much more patient after using it, although if someone's acting smart, or trying to bully me--I don't back down like I used to, but actually feel bold enough to stand up for myself, which is another positive influence it's had.

Just as an fyi for anyone who wanted to know: the laws here in Hyderabad, and India I'd reckon, are pretty similar to the ones in the States as far as Marijuana usage is concerned. If the cops find you doing it, you're bound to get into trouble, which is why we do it at a friend's place. And besides--all the medication that I've tried before for my anxiety and low self esteem (if there's even a drug for that) hasn't even come close to coming close to the kind of effect that I've had with weed.

So thanks for all the helpful answers, and well wishes. I would definitely like to smoke a joint with you guys sometime!:)
posted by hadjiboy at 1:18 PM on August 31, 2008

don't mistake the doorway for the destination
posted by Redhush at 7:13 PM on August 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

I guess what my question is, is that, do you think hemp can have a positive effect on your life.

My fundamental rule, when it comes to pot, is that the only decent way to use it is to enhance aspects of your life, not replace aspects of your life.

Having had experience with pot-smokers, and as an on-and-off pot smoker since I was 15, I can divide the pot smokers I know into two categories. The interested, active people with lots of hobbies and things to keep them keen, who smoked pot as something fun to do on top of everything else (ie. as an alternative experience while listening to the latest album, or at social functions)...and the bored, pathetic lamers who smoked pot because they had nothing better to do. The first category got on with their lives, some quit pot, others still smoke it, but are essentially no different from any other successful, happy person. Any "positive effects" are short term, and in the moment. The second category, after 10 to 15 years of smoking pot to "fill a gap in their lives", are generally boring dullards, often unemployed, often hanging with an ever-decreasing circle of similar pot-head friends.

Make sure you're in the first category, not the second. Make pot a part of your life, not the core of your life. Don't use it to replace anything that "isn't there".

It's easy to quit in the first category, because the only side effect of quitting pot is boredom. If you have other things you do that interest you anyway, then you can quit and not think twice about it. But if your life is empty, and you try to quit smoking pot, the boredom will drive you back to it quickly.
posted by Jimbob at 10:13 PM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Smoking has a different effect on pretty much everyone.

Put me in the camp of daily smokers who still manage to be pretty damn effective. I still grow, I still learn, and I'm still emotionally able to interact with friends (smokers and non-smokers alike). In fact, it helps me calm my anxiety and panic less frequently, I sometimes prefer to smoke alone in moderate doses, and it often helps me get a fresh perspective on situations that have my head wrapped in circles.

I suppose it's possible that my memory and attention span have been affected, but I've been smoking for a long time while simultaneously getting good grades at a good, full-time school and working full-time also. Not everyone who smokes is irresponsible, zombie-like, or addicted. Kthxbai.
posted by lunit at 10:20 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

I know many people who smoke pot daily or close to daily who are highly accomplished, very successful, loving, decent people, not burned out unmotivated slackers. Many people.

Bears repeating. I'll also second DecemberBoy's comments and enthusiastically second the vaporizer recommendation. I've been enjoying this one for years. It's way better than smoking.

Also, be discriminating -- don't smoke the shwaggy stuff.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:19 PM on September 2, 2008

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