Legal marijuana! Yay! Nooooo!
December 8, 2013 6:41 PM   Subscribe

I live in a place where marijuana is about to become available in storefronts. And I'm very very nervous.

I have a tendency to overuse marijuana. I wish I could use it like a normal person, but if I have marijuana around, I smoke it up. All of it. All day long. And if I don't smoke it all day long it's because I've made a deliberate effort to wait until a designated time, which is hard. I've been this way since I was a teenager. I continue to function when stoned but when smoking I am not at my best. Plus, overuse makes me depressed, lethargic, and fat. The fact that cannabis has been highly regulated has been enough of a deterrent to keep me away from it. I had an MMJ card for legit reasons, but tore it up and didn't renew when it became clear I was overusing. Tearing it up was essential because telling myself not to buy any or to only buy and use it moderately did not work. Although I could have found an non-dispensary connection I chose not to make the effort. So all has been well. Procuring an occasional joint, smoking socially if offered by a friend, coming across an occasional 8th every once in a while has presented little problem. But very soon, the cannabis stores in my community are going to be open to all, and loudly advertising. I applaud this on a civil liberties basis and wish I could just be a normal person who enjoyed the occasional joint. But I'm not. How do I regulate myself?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Whether it's hard drugs, soft ones, or going a little crazy with chocolate, the best solution to setting limits and sticking to them is to reach out to people around you to help out. You've already SORTA done this by posting here, but you really need somebody close to you that you can call and talk to when you feel like you're about to do something you regret.

Can you get in touch with a friend, family member, or maybe even therapist to help be there for you until you can handle saying no all by yourself?
posted by johnpoe50 at 6:47 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Maybe it would help to remind yourself that state law notwithstanding, marijuana is absolutely illegal to possess or use under federal law. Your state can't make marijuana legal for private citizens to use any more than, say, Montana could make it legal for private citizens to manufacture machine guns for personal use.
posted by Hatashran at 6:47 PM on December 8, 2013

Move if you have to?
posted by chickenmagazine at 6:52 PM on December 8, 2013

Although I could have found an non-dispensary connection I chose not to make the effort.

Harness this power of laziness! I'm assuming you're in Washington State. There are lots of rules for where the marijuana shops can't be (e.g., close to elementary schools). The overlapping restrictions mean that there are a lot of areas where there simply is no legal location for a storefront. Would you be able to move somewhere that's juuuuust inconvenient enough that you won't go out of your way to buy any? (Given the restrictions, you may already live in such a neighborhood.)
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:53 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

Addiction is addiction, and for many people it is treatable. Have you considered getting CBT to help you redirect your desire to overindulge?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:55 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]

Tearing it up was essential because telling myself not to buy any or to only buy and use it moderately did not work. Although I could have found an non-dispensary connection I chose not to make the effort

I think you are giving yourself too little credit here. You've voluntary put up roadblocks to your access in the past. So, ok, access just got easier, which means you'll have to work a bit harder. But you can do it!

I also agree with "addiction is addiction" opinion voiced above, and I think you should proceed as if you are trying to kick cigarettes, gambling, overeating, alcohol, or any other addiction. Have you tried AA type meetings or therapy?
posted by snarfles at 6:59 PM on December 8, 2013 [8 favorites]

It strikes me as a similar type of issue as those who have trouble with alcohol. A recovery/addiction group may be a good thing to look into, perhaps even before the issue presents itself. If and when it happens, you could already have a support group to lean on.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:02 PM on December 8, 2013 [8 favorites]

seconding birds of a feather. another thing you could do...

bill w was one of the co-founders of alcoholics anonymous, and he wrote a book which is considered to be the bible for recovering alcoholics. read his book first, then channel your energy into writing one for your situation, which needs a book of its own.
posted by bruce at 7:42 PM on December 8, 2013

I'm a serious pothead, and one way I regulate my usage is getting out of the house. If it's about to legalized, then yeah, some of the stigma is lifted, but even so, you never know who is going to get freaked out about dealing with a high person. And that's a total buzz kill, so -- get out of the house as much as possible. Do your work, then smoke your weed as a reward/for pain/ on some limited basis.
posted by angrycat at 7:44 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

But if it's a situation that if you have it, you will give up going outside to smoke it, then that's a different manner and treating it like an addiction as others have said is the way to go, perhaps
posted by angrycat at 7:45 PM on December 8, 2013

But very soon, the cannabis stores in my community are going to be open to all, and loudly advertising.

Seconding what the other person said. If you're in washington(or seattle!) look at this map.

In my neighborhood you'd be hard pressed to not take a bus ride, drive, or a 20+ minute bike ride(or a nearly half hour one way walk if you walk quickly). There will be no storefronts in my neighborhood. There seem to be more issues than just the school thing, it seems to be some kind of "image" issue, but regardless... it won't be that readily available.

Note that king county, and seattle are being nearly the most permissive. I can't find the right now but maps were released for the rest of the state and in most counties there's only one or two little TINY like a few hundred feet areas where it'll even be allowed.

Basically, i'm saying it won't be around that much like you might think.

If you're in colorado though, disregard this.
posted by emptythought at 8:24 PM on December 8, 2013

channel your energy into writing one for your situation, which needs a book of its own.

Actually, there is already an organization called Marijuana Anonymous, and they already have their own "big book".
posted by jcworth at 9:10 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Remember that YOU are in charge here, not the drugs. Stop thinking of yourself as someone with little or no willpower, someone without choice or control over your own actions.

If you no longer require it for medicinal purposes, then perhaps you shouldn't use it at all, since you don't have a firm grasp on yourself right now.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:18 PM on December 8, 2013

A lot of people in AA are there for marijuana or some other drug.
posted by xammerboy at 9:22 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

The problem isn't marijuana, or its location, or the ease of procurement.

It's willpower.

Sure, you could tell yourself lies like, "It's not my fault, it's just so much easier to get now."

Problem is, it wasn't ever hard. Especially if you are somewhere here in Washington. I've never smoked it in my life - and yet I could easily name at least 30 or so people I could get some from, at least half a dozen of which I'd have no trouble even right now, at near midnight, getting it within a 10-minute drive... and a couple within a 5 minute walk. And I'm NOT in a big city.

So that's nonsense. And what your question really reads like is already making excuses for failing at self-control. It's that whole, "But they bought me a drink! I wasn't going to have anymore, but they bought it, so it's not like I could waste it!" line of reasoning.

AKA as "It's not my fault, it just happened because..."

Depending on whether you view something "addictive" as a character failing, a mental health issue, or a medical one, there's a variety of methods to deal with it. And it's up to you to determine what will help you stick with the choices you make/want to make.

And really... the advice to think about it being illegal under federal law isn't terribly practical, for multiple reasons, the most obvious being that it's unlikely to remain that way for long... and this isn't something OP is going to be dealing with for just the next few years. If one has a lack of self-control or an inability to moderate a particular thing, it's pretty much a permanent part of their psyche.
posted by stormyteal at 11:59 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

It sounds like you're doing okay when you limit your access to it, but once you get some, you can't regulate your usage. In other words, once you start, you are unable to stop until it is gone. Our brains love combining physiological and psychological triggers, they're much more resilient that way; it sounds like you're combining a standard addiction with a scarcity response. It's way beyond just a lack of willpower here, so don't beat yourself up. Someone above suggested CBT, which is the gold standard for short-circuiting what you have going on here.* You might see concrete measurable benefit from seeing a CBT therapist, much moreso than many other "see a therapist" responses usually made on the green.

*Anonymous meetings (AA, NA, etc), by their nature, are a modified non-professional CBT strategy. They're not for everyone, but they are suggesting strategies for not doing one thing and instead doing something else. Don't knock it until you've tried it.
posted by juniperesque at 6:04 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Addiction is addiction. I am a compulsive overeater. Temptation is all around me. Junk food on every corner, snack machine at my job. There is NOWHERE I can go where I'm not surrounded by things I have no power to control my consumption of.

Alcolholics can't eat in restaurants without having to deal with the ever-present bar.

We all have to work our programs so that we're in control of our situation. I went to a therapist who specializes in eating-disorders. I found it helpful. I'm still not where I want to be, and I may never get a handle on it (because alcoholics can stop drinking, pot smokers can stop smoking, drug users can stop using, humans need to eat,) but having a frame of reference, and reminding myself that I'm worth the effort, I continue to make progress.

Do explore addiction therapy or a 12-step program. There are strategies, and the moral support is really helpful.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:21 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

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