Just a question about the green
November 12, 2006 12:12 AM   Subscribe

Is it OK for me to smoke marijuana every day?

I realize there is plenty of information out there about this already, however, since many Mefites are in the exact same situation as me (academically, career-wise, etc), I would like to hear not simply answers backed by research, but anecdotal evidence and opinions.

When I was in college I rarely used drugs besides alcohol, however now that I am a graduate and have a position as a creative designer at a small software company, I find myself smoking marijuana every night. It hasn't affected my performance at work, and I feel generally about the same as usual (I'm still reading constantly, exercising regularly), however I can't help but wonder if this is affecting me negatively in one way or another. Too much of anything is bad, right?

I am currently in the middle of applications for graduate school as well.

So my questions are the following:

Is it safe (smart?) for someone like me--in a position where I will be doing intense academic work within a year--to continue using marijuana every night of the week, save for maybe one day off?

Follow-up question: how prevalent is this type of marijuana use among educated professionals, academics, etc? (Safety in numbers might make me feel better about myself, heh)
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (57 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
A lot of people have been smoking marijuana as a regular part of their lives for a long time, you are not alone.

Some of the most imaginative and respected thinkers who have ever lived have found marijuana to be a useful tool in their creative process.

I have personally found that long term use (over a period of ~20 years) has had effects on my memory, but I think it is better to accept mild memory loss as a normal part of being a finite being.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Enjoy every day, and enjoy the fact that marijuana allows you to relax, focus, zone in... whatever it does for you.

Good luck with your future growth.
posted by Brave New Meatbomb at 12:23 AM on November 12, 2006

Forgive me, I didn't directly answer your question.

Yes, it is OK to smoke marijuana every day. It is a safe and smart thing to do.
posted by Brave New Meatbomb at 12:26 AM on November 12, 2006

I used to hang with a crowd who smoked every night. (Mid 30s). It came to be their only preference for entertainment and the costs began to be quite exorbitant because they required more and more to reach the high they were after.

For me, while I had enjoyed it in the past, it just made me go to sleep (what a waste eh?) and it seemed like I never did anything in my free time. Eventually, alcohol was the same (just drinking every evening till I went to sleep). Perhaps marijuana was the gateway drug to booze?

Anyway, I found the side effects outweighted the benefits but it wasn't a huge horrific experience. The only other thing I might suggest you consider (excuse me) is the reason why you're using so often is because you're avoiding something? I was avoiding boredom/stresses. It might be worth considering in your decision making process.
posted by b33j at 12:29 AM on November 12, 2006

I don't think this is the place to ask--I think you need to ask your friends or the people who are close to you if they think your marijuana use is negatively effecting your intellect or personality. Or just go by your own judgement--you seem worried about it, so is it imparing your work or somehow preventing you from having the lifestyle you want?
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:41 AM on November 12, 2006

Do you smoke because you are lonely in a new city and can't think of what else to do with your time? Think about what you would say to a friend who was drinking alone for the same reason. The first years out of university are very hard, finding your new life; it's a very lonely time and people do different things to get by.

In my experience, people have two kinds of relationship with pot: either they get completely taken over by it, or they are basically fine.

I have known 4 very smart people who have gotten into the smoking every day, or every other day, habit for more than a couple of months. They have just died inside; it is like crippling depression. They're impossible to talk to seriously; their eyes are always swimming. They're unwilling to consider that pot might be having a bad effect on them. (Note for those playing along at home: I'm not counting my friend that I asked a previous question about, since his situation is more complex.)

On the other hand, I've known plenty of people who smoke less often than that, especially socially (not as often alone); also people who have the once a day habit for a short time to deal with a specific stressor like a death in the family. And these people are fine, doing fine in grad school or intellectual jobs. I would say most people in academia that I know are open to smoking up a little now and then, but don't do it more often than a couple of times a week -- of course there are exceptions to this both ways.

If you have a family history of addictions, or if you know about yourself that you tend to get addicted to things (and this is why you avoided drugs in college), then maybe it's time to cut back. Get a hobby or volunteer gig that takes you out of the house at night a few nights a week; you'll meet people and have less at-home time to kill.

If you are wondering about the psychological-addiction angle -- and especially if you've got a ton of free time on your hands -- you might try reading David Foster Wallace's enormous book Infinite Jest. It's about all different kinds of addictions, and includes a bit on pot. Plus it's really good (although it's also pretentious, can be annoying, and doesn't really have an ending).

Also there are a number of previous AskMe questions about how to quit pot... those might make illuminating reading, too.

posted by LobsterMitten at 1:09 AM on November 12, 2006 [2 favorites]

well crap. Sorry about italics.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:10 AM on November 12, 2006

a more interesting question would be, why do you need to get high every single night? are you lonely? sad? just bored?
posted by matteo at 1:27 AM on November 12, 2006

Second what matteo said. If you're smoking for the fun of it, to improve what you're already doing, while you're active, that's cool. If you're smoking because you're bored and you've got nothing better to do, then it may be an issue.

Generally, I'd regard smoking every night not to be too much of a problem. It's when you smoke morning, noon and night that you might see your creativity and drive suffer.
posted by Jimbob at 1:31 AM on November 12, 2006

My experience mirrors Lobstermittens- with both brilliant friends gone dumb, dark, and recalcitrant about their habit, and a few friends who smoke every day but seem more-or-less-normal, with the given mild memory loss.

There's nothing safe and smart about doing drugs every day, though. Weed can get you in a lot of trouble, and last I checked, can affect your financial aid. That would be really bad for your future academic life. While weed may - or may not cause cancer, inhaling a ton of tar and smoke every night isn't exactly good for you.

Avoid trouble with your health, the police, and money, and smoke less, or not at all.

posted by fake at 1:35 AM on November 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

Smoking every night is probably not good, if only because it becomes the norm rather than the happy exception. The same old shit every night. You become bored and boring.

Try avoiding it on certain nights and doing something else, maybe all physical exercise, maybe marathon work sessions, maybe just clear thinking. If you feel as if you need it on those non-smoking nights, maybe you need to think about why you don't function well without artificial means. You should at least think about what it is you do best when smoking and try to come up with alternative ways to get to the same physical or mental state that allows those bests to happen.

Don't entirely trust your impression that it hasn't hurt your work, general creativity, or productivity. While you're young, you can compensate for and recuperate from all sorts of self-inflicted damage. But you're also aging and, like everyone else, slowly losing the ability to compensate and recuperate. Watch how much you are producing, how often you are coming up with good ideas. Keep a detailed diary of your work and see whether your work really is at the same level over time. Are the ideas still popping? Great ideas? At the same frequency? And are you still coming through with the necessary work needed to substantiate those ideas, or are they dying in your notebooks and forgotten conversations?
posted by pracowity at 1:38 AM on November 12, 2006

I've smoked marijuana quite a bit in the past but rarely do now. For me, it just made it hard for me to get up the next day and put me in kind of a slight fog for a little while. Personally I could not afford to lose that edge.

For my friends who are still chronic, I think it made them content with dead-end jobs, careers and just lifestyles in general. I think it is bad to use marijuana to plug the holes in your career, relationships etc and it will never help over the long term. Don't use weed to conceal these problems or plug these leaks, it won't work even if you can hit the snooze button for several years. Marijuana can make bad situations feel okay, but its a better long term strategy to fix the situation if this is why you are using it.

If its a physical problem, marijuana as medication is controversial - its a not a debate that is framed in logic and clear thinking.

I am not a doctor or a research scientist but I could tell horror stories of mental illness from my circle of friends which I believe to be related to their drug use (which is almost entirely marijuana based). Maybe its suffice to say, the human psyche is a fragile thing and some people who explore the edges of the human mental experience never come back. You're going to run this risk. I am somewhat haunted by the fact that I believe some of the problems these guys ran into were partially my fault.

You were looking for the viewpoint of a friend or peer, so here it is. I could not stand in front of a judge or a panel of academics and prove it, but I suspect heavy pot use is bad for you and I don't want you to be hurt.
posted by Deep Dish at 1:38 AM on November 12, 2006

I conducted a highly scientific survey in my head about fifteen seconds ago. The results will be published in greater detail in a very prestigious journal, but here's the abstract:

I have a few friends, six, who smoke weed every day. They're all between 29 and 34. Here are some other interesting facts about this sextet:

None has had a long term relationship... it's been at least a couple years now. That's not entirely true -- one is married. His wife smokes weed every day too. He, however, is the only one who regularly gets laid. And by regularly I mean more than twice a year.

Three are still working towards getting their bachelor's, two of them having dropped in and out of community college for the last decade. Remember -- they're all 29 and up. The other three have never really been able to keep jobs longer than a few months. One works at his dad's office now, another substitute teaches, and a third just got a gig as a telemarketer. This will be his fifth job this year. He's the biggest disaster of them all.

They don't have any friends outside of other pot smokers. They play a lot of videogames and play a lot of poker. They don't go out, because you can't smoke weed outside. They're remarkably unsocial.

Obviously, you can draw from this what you will. The only thing that this proves is that these six dudes I know are burnout morons who have let weed take over their lives. Cautionary tale? I dunno -- totally up to you to decide for yourself. I do know, though, that whenever I mention to one of them that they might want to quit smoking, if there's anyone else in the conversation who smokes weed regularly (like once a week, say?), they'll always jump straight to the other guy's defense. So think about who tells you it's OK and who says maybe you want to think twice.

If you're asking the question, then I think you probably feel like it's a crutch and you might think about giving yourself six months no weed. When some married friends started trying to get pregnant, they quit, and these were heavy pot smokers. They did pretty well and seemed to enjoy it.

These are just anecdotes, though. Make of them what you will. Just wait until my highly scientific survey gets published. You'll see.
posted by incessant at 1:48 AM on November 12, 2006 [2 favorites]

I have smoked day and night for years and I've quit for years. The only thing that I can offer is that there are a lot of extremely successful people in the world who smoke pot like other people drink beer. Whether or not any of us know them personally is irrelevant.

I might suggest going light when the school kicks up, but you'd probably figure it out yourself anyway if you fell behind.
posted by rhizome at 1:57 AM on November 12, 2006

Re: LobsterMittens comment: They're impossible to talk to seriously; their eyes are always swimming.

What does this mean, "their eyes are always swimming"? Do you mean they don't make eye contact, or something else?
posted by Brian James at 2:13 AM on November 12, 2006

I think there is, to some degree, an individual reaction factor to such activity. However, in my experience, those who smoke every day tend to put a certain amount of distance between their everyday personality and their "high" personality, which, though can be, and often are, related, can also differ considerably in many ways. I find that when I interact with persons that are consistently high, I don't feel I really know them. I find this tremendously destablising. The occassional high episode can give you some valuable insights, but also, they can be rather deceptive. You tend to be a little less intelligent under the influence, as it were. But then I'm also quite introverted regularly, and less so under the influence. This has a certain attraction as a result.

Marijuana has two very dominant effects on my own personality. In common is a feeling of relaxation and general acceptance, but i'm either giggling and participatory, or silent and withdrawn (and sometimes a little paranoid in situations with plenty of people.) I personally regard its use as recreational and a novelty and actually can't imagine using it everyday and particulary doing alone, outside of social situations. For me, that isn't at all removed from alcoholism and subtance dependency. It's abuse (for me at least) for reasons that may or may not be clear. This may be as a result of conditioning and constant anti-drug use messages but at the same time I trust myself to believe that this is not the case, at least for myself. Problem is, in such matters, it's difficult to be less than subjective.

The distance or divide between how you feel without and with is the factor that makes the proposition of smoking every day unattractive. But to each their own. I'm pretty sure I'd be an adrenaline junky if I could afford to be (auto racing.) It definitely has particular effects on everyone though, I've found, to various degrees.) If these effects are what you admire and want, then it may be perfectly fine. If they're at all worrisome, it may not be fine at all.
posted by juiceCake at 2:13 AM on November 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

Just don't let it take over. It's far too easy for cannabis to become a routine, and that is really bad... never let the highs be your source of creativity, because after a while you will feel it's the only source of creativity, and that is really bad. Creativity comes through experience and if all you are experiencing is a thc high every evening you will start to get really frustrated.

Everything in moderation. I see no difference between a spliff every evening to destress and a glass of red wine. Ask yourself though, "would I drink a glass of wine before working?". THe answer should be no. Same for cannabis. Have it after you get all your shit out of the way.
posted by twistedonion at 4:03 AM on November 12, 2006

heh, I'm all cloudy after a night of cookies... short term memory.... that is really bad ;-)
posted by twistedonion at 4:05 AM on November 12, 2006

I've known a half-dozen people (white, male, from middle-class backgrounds) who smoked pot every day. We were either friends who stopped being friends, or acquaintances who were too unpleasant to become friends. They were physically unpleasant, unambitious. They had a lot of trouble focusing on anything besides pot for any serious amount of time.

I've known innumerable people who have smoked pot on occasion in the past, but don't do it on a regular basis and don't consider it to be a part of their identity, or daily routine. They are equivalent in every observable way to people who have never smoked in their life.

My conclusion: getting high every day, like getting drunk every day, is bad for one's personality and constitution.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:43 AM on November 12, 2006

Smoked every day from 1976 to 2000. Went to college, got a job, raced, trained, fell in love, bought a house, etc. Now I'm a sporadic smoker. Is it preventing you from doing anything you really want to do? I'd have to agree with the 'glass of wine' analogy.
posted by fixedgear at 5:25 AM on November 12, 2006

1976 to 2000

wow, you've been smoking from the year I was born and stopped the year I started pretty much smoking daily... I'm stoned on a Sunday but I'm lovin that co-incidence. freaky man.
posted by twistedonion at 5:31 AM on November 12, 2006

Sure, go nuts. But be careful.

Many, many years back in college (where else?) I dated a woman who had the uncanny ability to smoke up at 11 PM, start her term paper at 2 AM, hand it in at 9 AM, and pick up her Phi Beta Kappa medal a couple of months later. Because the extent to which pot dulled her brain apparently did nothing to stop her from standing out at an Ivy League university, she considered herself invincible.

Except. I refused to participate, citing a propensity for addictive behavior. (OK, and naively I planned to run for president someday, and this was during the years after the media savaged Bill Clinton for "not inhaling" but before they gave his cokehead successor a free pass. But I digress.) I found to my chagrin that pot-smoking is a club, not an individual pursuit. And I was on the outside, looking in. Smoking up was clearly one of the most important parts of her life, and I say that without any sort of derision or sarcasm whatsoever. It was what it was. But it didn't involve me.

So, the moral of the story is, recognize that what you are doing is inherently exclusionary. Understand that your bong may be a gatekeeper for your friends, your romantic pursuits, and maybe even your career. Even if you don't think it is. Even if you understand that there are people who won't touch the stuff, even if you respect that choice, when you are stoned you will want to hang out with stoned people.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:56 AM on November 12, 2006 [13 favorites]

Excellent post, Saucy! You just pinpointed what I disliked about pot but was never able to communicate. Unlike alcohol users, it is a club. Being a non-smoker in a room of tokers is different than being a non-drinker in a room full of people drinking beer.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:30 AM on November 12, 2006

Depends. Clearly there's nothing wrong with having a glass or two of wine every night--in fact, it can be quite beneficial.

But getting drunk every night is totally different.

So... are you smoking a fattie every night, or having a couple of tokes? If the former, it's probably not a good idea, for all the reasons outlined above. If the latter, probably not bad.

More to the point: how do you feel when you don't?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:38 AM on November 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

It all depends. I've had periods of my life where it not only wasn't bad, but helped me get by, helped me be able to work, helped me get past illness and depression. Then again, I'm now at a place in my life where I have to try not to smoke that much. I find it too easy to, andI notice that nowadays it has a negative effect on me getting the hell on with things.
If anything I'm just going to try to cut it down to only after a certain time, and being better about not smoking when I have something to do.
So all in all, it kind of depends who you are and how you react to it and so forth. I know people who were just useless without a smoke.

I certainly agree with Saucy Intruder to a degree as well. It is well worth taking time to see how it is affecting your life, since it can be very easy to, in smoking up, ignore the negative effects it is having. I reaached a point where I just had to stop smoking for a few months so I could sort my head out. Then again there are periods where I've been a seamlessly functioning human being while chain smoking.
By and large I wouldn't say there are particular health benefits to stopping, unless you're prone to anxiety and the likes when smoking. A friend of mine smoked happily every day for a couple of years only to start having anxiety attacks whenever he smoked, to the extent that he quit for about 3 years andnow only smokes very occasionally. So sometimes it's enforced.
posted by opsin at 6:54 AM on November 12, 2006

Though that part of my life is largely behind a closed door now, I developed a rule awhile ago that kinda sums up what I think a lot of other people are saying:

don't let a drug become a lifestyle.

There's a difference between someone who smokes pot and a pothead, someone who enjoys a drink and a drinker. Just be careful where you stand.
posted by trinarian at 6:55 AM on November 12, 2006

I agree with most of the former posters. There is nothing wrong with having a couple of tokes a night... I equate it with a glass or two of wine. But everything in moderation.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:00 AM on November 12, 2006

If it's not OK to smoke weed every day I'm fucked.

Damn that Dr. Dre and his bad medical advice!
posted by smackwich at 7:34 AM on November 12, 2006

Different people deal with drugs differently obviously.
For me I smoked from 12 to somewhere in my thirties but I can't say when I stopped. My memory is real bad and I think that the complaicency that weed gave me was a big factor in my low education level and general social retardation. Now I do not touch the stuff and do not hang with people that do.
If it is a part of your lifestyle it may be OK but if it is your lifestyle watch out. Modern weed is much more powerfull then what I smoked as a kid so anecdotes from old exsmokers like me may not tell the full story about how this will affect you in coming years.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:50 AM on November 12, 2006

incessant writes
"I have a few friends, six, who smoke weed every day. They're all between 29 and 34. Here are some other interesting facts about this sextet:

"None has had a long term relationship... "

"Three are still working towards getting their bachelor's, two of them having dropped in and out of community college for the last decade."

"They don't have any friends outside of other pot smokers. They play a lot of videogames and play a lot of poker. "

What incessant describes is strikingly similar to what I've observed with acquaintances who smoked a lot of pot. However, maybe these people would be losers anyway. Maybe it's not pot doing it to them, but rather, they are the types who naturally gravitate toward pot. (You know, the whole correlation isn't causation thing.)
posted by jayder at 8:04 AM on November 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

Yes, its OK. Is it Good? Is it Great? When it isn't, thats when I stop(ped).
posted by iurodivii at 8:12 AM on November 12, 2006

Pot is nowhere near as harmful as alcohol. The way I see it, smoking a bowl is no worse then drinking a beer or two. Pot just has a lousy reputation in the US because it is illegal and is often associated with hippies.

I think that the best way to answer this is to go back to your original question and replace "pot" with "beer." Still think you have a problem?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:31 AM on November 12, 2006

Important distinction:

Are you getting a little bit high, just to the level that it raises your mood, stimulates your creativity, increases free-association, etc? Or are you getting completely stoned and spending your nights zonked out in front of the TV and gorging on junk food?

If it's the first, I'd say no problem; if it's anywhere near the latter, cut it out. Think of it like alcohol: someone who has a glass or two of wine with dinner is doing fine; someone who's getting hammered on tequila shots every night has a problem. (I personally feel marijuana is a lot safer than alcohol in general, but the comparison still holds.)

On the safety-in-numbers thing: based only on my own personal experience, I'd guess a smallish percentage of your co-workers are occasional or frequent smokers, especially those in 'creative' jobs. A much higher percentage of grad students (and professors) will be, especially if you're going into an arts degree or something related.

The number tapers off rapidly as you get older: people seem to grow out of it, or it stops working for them, or they quit when they have kids, etc. (Though I was recently surprised to learn of a number of retirees who I thought were pretty straight-laced, who've become pretty matter-of-fact about toking up on a regular basis; that's in a medical marijuana state, though, so I don't know if that's just a local phenomenon.)

I'm going to second LobsterMitten's book recommendation... I hated Infinite Jest the first time I read it -- there's way too much cutesy look-at-me-I'm-so-postmodern -- but if you can get past that stuff there are some real insights. I can honestly say that book changed my outlook towards drugs (I'm still pro-legalization, but in a more cautious and (I think) nuanced way than I used to be.)
posted by ook at 8:46 AM on November 12, 2006

You tend to be a little less intelligent under the influence, as it were.

I've found that it's not so cut-and-dry. When I'm trying to concentrate on a difficult programming problem, for example, it can make it hard to take a systematic direct-attack approach, but very easy for my brain to side-step the issue and think up lateral outside-the-box solutions I would not have thought of otherwise. When I'm writing it's the same: writing a complete, coherant thought from start to finish flat-out is infintely more difficult for me high than straight, but I'm also more likely to use imaginative word structures and creative analogies. In conversation, it similarly restricts my ability to be as precise with what I'm trying to say, but for short fragments of pure unadulterated wit or insight, I'm more effective high.

It seems, at least for me, that smoking can enable the brain to make more interesting connections, at the cost of methodicality.

I found to my chagrin that pot-smoking is a club, not an individual pursuit.

In college, yes. I barely smoked in college, but just about all my friends did. They smoked all the time. Simpsons are on…let's smoke. 4:20 (p.m. and a.m.)…let's smoke. I'm bored…let's smoke. I simply had no interest in lounging about like a piece of furniture all day.

But once you graduate to the real world and have to get a job and support yourself or family, or when you move away from your friends and "buds" and have to strike out on your own, things change markedly. I've found that this is generally when the social smokers give up smoking. For them it was and will always be a group event, to be shared with a group, and that it will never be satisfying without that element. This is also around the time that the solitary smokers take up their habit. The group dynamic isn't the primary motivating reason to get high—on the contrary, most solitary smokers get a bit paranoid when going out in group situations. For them, smoking enhances the inward journey. This is why solo-smokers also tend to be introverts. The biggest problem to watch out for is that it's easy to become a complete recluse.

This is usually ameliorated by quitting for a few months and going back to "normal" life.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:00 AM on November 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

You're going to get an incredible variance in responses here. Basically from what I've experienced and seen others experience marijuana use has very, very little effect on their personal success and ambition. Any effects are for the most part due to people's perceptions of marijuana use. If we want to use anecdotal experience, I know people who were generally losers in high school. They were pretty much the definition of stoners and made it their lifestyle. Not surprising they're in and out of community college and I have no idea what they are doing now (dead end jobs, joining the military). Marijuana use was a large part of their life.

On the other hand I have intellectual friends for whom marijuana use was probably just as much as their life but they did not make a lifestyle out of it. They went on and are now either starting careers are top firms or, in the case of one friend I know, is the assistant editor at a top political magazine. They are the cliche definition of success and would be the ones who you would point to as doing things right.

I don't think the difference in the groups has anything to do with marijuana use. Now the latter category has trouble with relationships, and have given up relationships because the women have a strong distaste for marijuana. That is they did not know friends smoked, then the friends smoked and they became disgusted. For the most part it they have had a "good riddance to bad rubbish" and believe it weeds out (no pun intended) the more superficial ones who want to be known as a girlfriend of someone who is the hallmark of the rich and powerful.

That goes really with any drug use. I know people who are lawyers and i-bankers who shovel cocaine like snowplow.

There may be some, minute health effects to long-term marijuana use (nothing drastic, like long-term cocaine use). But I have yet to see anyone use marijuana and not to turn out like someone would expect them to turn out. Smart, driven people stay smart and driven. Those who drift through life continue to drift through life.

Just keep in mind if you continue to use, keep it on the down low. People will, fairly or not, judge you on your marijuana use. They will think you are escaping from something or have a deep seated psychological problem you are compensating for. It is silly that something so benign is stigmatized so greatly, but it happens with a lot of things. Personally I equate casual drug use with someone who plays World of Warcraft. Yeah they sometimes miss social opportunities because they are in their own little worlds, but for the vast majority of people it is not a problem.
posted by geoff. at 9:05 AM on November 12, 2006

Personally, it makes me dumb, an effect that seems to vary across people.
posted by rbs at 9:25 AM on November 12, 2006

In his recent biography Laurence Bergreen summed up Armstrong’s relationship with the drug; "He loved marijuana too. He smoked it in vast quantities from his early twenties until the end of his life; wrote songs in praise of it; and persuaded his musician friends to smoke it when they played. He planned to call an unpublished sequel to his autobiography Gage, his pet name for marijuana, but once his manager found out about the title and the subject of the work, he suppressed the manuscript, trying to protect Louis's reputation. Sections of the work that survived the censorship show that he regarded it as an essential element in his life and beneficial to his health." (from Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life, page 4) Armstrong maintained marijuana to be a thousand times better than whiskey and that it relaxed him while also keeping him clear headed. He pointed out that, though he smoked marijuana, during the entire forty-five years he had been blowing trumpet he had never let his public down, claiming that they had a reverence for each other.
posted by hortense at 9:50 AM on November 12, 2006

I know a number of bright and successful people, heads of companies, software designers, professors, physicians, and sculptors who regularly smoke up.

Every day? Not all of them, since responsibilities such as children and work frequently require them to maintain a clear head. But, several of these folks do smoke up every day. I even know a programmer to whom I do not believe I have ever spoken while he was sober.

Certainly, you will find plenty of losers who have wound up in an even losier situation because they can't stop sparkin' the spliff. But, ask yourself whether or not these people would have lost anyway.
posted by Netzapper at 11:44 AM on November 12, 2006

Someone else nailed it: If you're getting drunk every night, you've got a problem. If you're getting stoned every night, you've also got a problem.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 1:20 PM on November 12, 2006

If you're using cannabis every night, you really should be growing it yourself. A small indoor hydroponic setup with one healthy plant in it will easily keep you in smoke, and electricity costs much much less to buy than bud.
posted by flabdablet at 2:35 PM on November 12, 2006

I think it really comes down to lifestyle. It's a bit of a slippery slope from smoking every day to doing nothing but smoking. Make sure you're spending plenty of time climbing mountains, writing symphonies, going to sexy parties, cooking up a storm, painting portraits, playing soccer, being a culture vulture, shopping, and hamming it up with your non-stoner friends as well as smoking every night, and you'll be fine. If all you look forward to during the day is your delicious post-prandial joint, you're in danger of turning into a human smokestack, and it's time to cut back pronto and take up some other hobby.
posted by lemur at 3:59 PM on November 12, 2006

If you need to get stoned every night, then you should anticipate that somewhere down the line your non-stoner partner will have a problem with it.
posted by footnote at 4:32 PM on November 12, 2006

I don't know of any "professionals" that smoke pot on a regular basis (although I'm sure there are some). However, I know some 40-year-olds with master's degrees working at Borders that sneak out to their car on breaks for a few tokes. I think one of the biggest problems with your plan is that it's probably very obvious to everyone that you smoke every day. I've known plenty of longtime pot smokers and I could always spot them the second they entered a room.

There are a lot of potential problems with pot. I have a friend whose wife finally left and took their 2 children because he can't stop smoking every day. Another friend is serving 5 years in prison for killing his best friend in a car accident while he was high. I know quite a few friends who've had employment problems. I think it would be hard to deny that someone who smokes pot every day is not going to be the best employee (with the possible exceptions of musicians or artists).
posted by bda1972 at 4:47 PM on November 12, 2006

I think we've arrived at another important point: if you do anything every day without variation (e.g. eating a sirloin steak, drinking two glasses of wine, smoking weed, watching TV) and you feel uncomfortable taking a break from said activity, something is wrong. The word "addiction" may be appropriate.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:55 PM on November 12, 2006

People are all different, but for the record, I smoked mostly super great herb every day for almost a decade (until I moved abroad), and was consistently functional and productive, had an active life, was able to stay in committed, healthy love relationships, and was good at my jobs.

That said, it does affect short-term memory, and it's easy for people to get sucked into pretty heinous lethargy. Also, don't neglect the power of habits, so much easier to develop them than to change them sometimes.

The best question you can ask (and keep asking) is are you happy with yourself, are others, and is anything holding you back from doing what you want/need to do?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:10 PM on November 12, 2006

As counter point to the people who know lots of pothead losers:

I know four people who definitely smoke pot every day, and have for years.

One: smokes 1-2 bowls most nights, more on party nights, graduated magna cum laude from her college and is now a veterinarian and pretty successful. She's had several multi-year relationships, but is single right now.

One: smokes about a bowl a night, is in a long-term relationship (her partner doesn't smoke), dropped out of college before she discovered the green demon, but has since re-enrolled and is getting her life back on track.

Two: smoke vast quantities every night, are in a long-term relationship with one another, have lots of kinky sex (and talk about it two much), are paying down debt, advancing in their careers, creating art, and actively participating in their community. They both work professional jobs in the computer industry.

My best friend smoked pot every day for a couple of years, and might still if she knew where to find it on a regular basis. She graduated from an Ivy League university and earned two master's degrees. She's a science librarian.

Not as sure about the "everyday" thing:

Another good friend is a successful reporter with a master's degree, and has won awards for her writing. I don't know if she smokes it every day or just every day that I talk to her. But it's a regular part of her life.

Her editor, who is pretty accomplished and who I admire a great deal, also smokes regularly. He's married, has children, and is a contributing member of society.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 6:36 PM on November 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

two much = too much. Oops. (And I'm totally sober, too.)
posted by croutonsupafreak at 6:37 PM on November 12, 2006

Jesus Christ, dude, you're like something from a high school scare film. Get a grip.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:00 PM on November 12, 2006

Depends on how you're using it. Like someone (I think LobsterMitten) said upthread, if you're using it to cope with bad stuff in your life right now, well, OK. But if you start using it as the first recourse to deal with any bad stuff in your life, you are using pot to cope and that is not a good habit to have. Because what happens when bad stuff happens and you don't have any pot? My dad got into this habit, and is currently tearing our family apart because he couldn't stop using drugs (not pot at this point, but it was regular pot use to cope with his depression, etc. that started this whole mess, some 35 years ago). Using chemicals to cope with your problems (ones that aren't prescribed by a doctor and carefully monitored, anyway) is a really bad habit to get into. I have no idea if any of this is applicable, but you don't want to be in your 40s and having to deal with your life for the first time in decades without drugs to help.
posted by MadamM at 10:59 PM on November 12, 2006

When I was an undergrad, about 10 years ago, I spent a year or so smoking nearly every day. I was very social, got terrific grades, loved my classes, very productive, etc. What I liked was that it let me engage with the world in a much more emotional & embodied way than I was used to.

Sometimes, though, the supply ran out for several days -- and then I'd experience an onset of intense anxiety. Eventually, the anxiety started making its way into the highs, and I found myself getting stuck in extremely negative thought-patterns whenever I smoked. An older person I looked up to as a kind of having a kind of "shaman"-like wisdom told me the plant was trying to get me stop smoking it. Although I tend not to buy into that sort of thing, it made a kind of intuitive sense -- the relationship I'd had with the substance had changed, fundamentally; it was time to move on.

The point in this long ramble, I suppose, is that I never based my decision on whether or not I was doing too much, but rather on the nature & quality of the experience I had with it; the decision to stop arose organically, not as the result of applying an abstract standard.
posted by treepour at 12:00 AM on November 13, 2006

Today's wisdom from Ben Stein:
"I can think of two major differences between the ones who are successful and the ones who are not. The first difference is that the confident group did not disable themselves by drug use or excessive alcohol use.

It's an amazing thing, but it's true: The men and women I know who have spent a lot of time smoking pot have, by and large, thrown their lives away in the pursuit of feeling no pain. There are exceptions, but typically they can barely get out of bed, let alone pursue a career aggressively or save in a disciplined way.

Basic, long-term sobriety seems to me a precondition for a successful life, and certainly a precondition -- in most cases -- for a life of prudence as far as money is concerned. The man or woman lost in marijuana-induced bliss cannot and will not be able to evaluate investment options and pick the best ones -- it's that simple. One of the many blessings of sobriety is to be able to invest sensibly.

posted by rxrfrx at 4:32 AM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

The man or woman lost in marijuana-induced bliss cannot and will not be able to evaluate investment options and pick the best ones -- it's that simple.

This conveniently ignores the fact that really successful people pay other people to invest their money for them.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:10 AM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

The man or woman lost in marijuana-induced bliss cannot and will not be able to evaluate investment options and pick the best ones -- it's that simple.

Tell that to Paul McCartney. Chronic Pothead. Net worth: 1.5 Billion.

From Ben Stein's wikipedia entry: On June 17, 2002, CNN aired a clip of Stein stating, "I'm sure there was no Deep Throat. I'm absolutely sure of it. I've got a million dollars there's no Deep Throat."

Who'd you pay that million to, Ben? Mark Felt?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:34 AM on November 13, 2006

God, I hate Ben Stein with a passion. I retract what I said upthread, just because of him.
posted by footnote at 7:09 AM on November 13, 2006

Yeah well, that's the same Ben Stein who worked under the heavy, heavy drinking Nixon. So it's apparently okay to get trashed when you're leading a war as long as you maintain a hatred for those damn commie hippies. Christ, wisdom and Ben Stein in the same sentence.
posted by geoff. at 8:45 AM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

Puff away! Especially if you're entering Academia. I think it's required on some grad school apps that you be a stoner.
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:05 AM on November 14, 2006

I am not a big fan of stoners, but that smug, humorless little essay of Ben Stein's makes me want to spend all weekend getting high as a kite.
posted by jayder at 10:47 AM on November 18, 2006

Piss on Ben Stein. I can think of dozens of very successful colleagues (not saying if I'm one, but take a guess) who smoke pot pretty much daily and write books and get tenure and lead their fields. I have family members and friends in other fields, including (fuck you Ben Stein) a fabulously successful securities trader, who use pot almost daily. And Willie Nelson has put out more records than you can count and is one of the greatest artists in American music. Just a few examples of why you should laugh at the reefer madness Partnership-for-a-Drug-Free-America bullshit.

Pot is less prevalent in academia than it used to be -- the hyper-professionalization of the field has something to do with it. But it depends on the field and the part of the country.

Do some people have a problem with it? Sure. Know thyself. It does sound like you're concerned, but you haven't given one reason why it's messing you up. You sound like you're doing just fine.

It's no different than drinking a glass or two of wine every night for a many people.
posted by spitbull at 6:39 AM on November 19, 2006

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