High Time to Speak Some Truths
In 2016, California legalized possession and use of recreational marijuana and on January 1st, 2018, began to allow legal sales. Since that’s coming up on almost a year and a half ago, I’d say it’s high time to speak some truths about weed. However, before I get started, I need to offer a caveat so we’re all on the same page. Namely, if you’re in recovery, don’t use weed. It’s not okay. I’ve tried marijuana maintenance before and while I didn’t end up in the hospital the way I did with alcohol, I still remained a broken human being. All the problems that were driving my addiction went untreated. Furthermore, as soon as I decided to cut out the weed, the booze returned with a vengeance. Stick to working some kind of a program and you’ll be much better off. With that said, let’s debunk some myths about marijuana.
Myth 1: Weed Is Harmless
No, it’s really not. Now I’m not going to get all 80s afternoon special on you and try to tell you it’s as dangerous as heroin or meth. That’s just not the case. But I’m also not going to entertain some of the notions of the NORML crowd: “Weed comes from the earth…it’s perfectly natural to smoke it!” Asbestos and ricin come from the earth, too, and you’re not going to find me smoking those, either. Marijuana impairs brain function, causes problems with child development, and adversely affects mood. None of these things sound harmless to me.
Myth 2: You Can’t Become Physically Addicted to Marijuana
I heard this one a lot growing up. The hacky-sackers would tell me, “It’s not really addictive. You can only get addicted to weed mentally, dude…but you can get mentally addicted to anything, you know? Eye drops. Chapstick. It’s all in your head, man.” Uh. That’s about as true as saying alcohol addiction is all in your head. You’re introducing a chemical into your brain, the brain responds, and the body follows suit. Do it often enough and you’ve chemically altered your brain. So yeah. I guess technically it’s in your head. The physical marijuana withdrawal symptoms are very real, though, and they’re kind of gross (ugh…those night sweats.) So go easy there, Cheech.
Myth 3: Marijuana Is a Gateway Drug to Harder Substances
The jury is still out on this at the moment and the science is inconclusive. Yes, it’s true that most hard drug abusers used marijuana before their drugs of choice, but most of them also tried alcohol and nicotine before the hard stuff, too. Furthermore, the majority of people who try weed (or tobacco or alcohol) at some point in their lives do not go on to heroin, meth, or other drugs. So it looks to be no more than (or about as much of) a gateway drug as beer or cigarettes. With that said, if you’re the type of person who needs a couple of drinks after a hard day, you might want to be careful about what else you try.
So there you have it. While marijuana may not be cocaine, heroin, or even alcohol, it still comes with its own set of problems. And if you’ve had a history of abusing substances, they’re problems that you just don’t need.