If you want to find out about Marijuana there is one basic rule you need to follow.
Don't ask people.
The amount of sheer bias in the average person's view on Marijuana is off the charts. Speak to a pothead you know and they'll tell you that weed is makes you a better person and the world would be improved if everybody was smoking it. Speak to many people from the older generation and chances are they'll tell you it's a gateway drug and should be avoided at all costs. Speak to your successful, high functioning friend and he'll tell you he smokes weed every day and that it's harmless. One person says it helps them relax, the other says it causes anxiety. Jeff says it makes people creative, Billy says it makes people lazy.
Each person will speak to you with pure confidence that they know exactly what they're talking about with completely opposite answers. So what the hell is going on here?
1. By it's very nature, marijuana effects each individual in a different way.
2. Marijuana is political. People will be more likely to believe facts that line up with their political beliefs. An individual with left leaning political beliefs will be far more likely to believe marijuana is a positive thing than somebody with right wing political beliefs.
3. Marijuana is a deeply social drug. Many people will share the views of their friends.
4. Marijuana is illegal in most countries. This can lead the uninformed to assume negative beliefs about the drug and the illegality creates barriers that block an open discussion.
Ok so people are unreliable. Go figure. How about the media portrayal of marijuana?
Unfortunately, most media either demonises it or deifies it.
There is a good chance you were shown something that looked like this in school:
Most schools in the western world were shown what was essentially anti-drug propaganda. The message was simple: All drugs are bad. The propaganda made heavy use of scare tactics and dramatisation. And they made very little distinction between each drug.
It's an understandable approach really. Parents were scared. They would hear stories about other kids being transformed from well-behaved kids to hardcore drug addicts overnight. The anti-drug campaign had good intentions. They simply wanted to protect children from the dangers of drugs.
Before the internet arrived, these propaganda campaigns dominated the minds of the mainstream population. In fact, they still effect the minds of much of the older generation. Most people over the age of 50 will tell you all about how bad marijuana is, often despite having never tried it themselves. This point of view is a direct result of the anti-drug propaganda they were exposed to when they were younger that was then often backed up by stories in the news media.
The main two claims of the campaign being: 1. Marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to harder drugs 2. Marijuana has negative effects on the brain of teenagers.
Its not as though these two claims have no truth behind them. Buying marijuana requires people to interact with drug dealers who are inevitably also going to try to sell harder drugs. (Of course the irony of this is that the only reason marijuana is a gateway drug is BECAUSE it's illegal). The second claim does have real research behind it and it's probably a wise move not to use mind altering drugs during the rapid growth phase in the brain during adolescence.
But the level of demonization of the anti-drug campaigns was completely unrealistic. And now the mainstream knows it.
So what changed? Well, the internet arrived.
With the free flow of information between people one very important fact began to emerge and became common consciousness:
MARIJUANA HAS NEVER KILLED ANYBODY.
Not one single person.
The inevitable comparison between marijuana and tobbaco then emerged.
Tobacco: 435,000 deaths per year
Marijuana: 0 deaths. Ever.
And then the comparison between marijuana and alcohol:
Alcohol: 85,000 deaths per year
Marijuana: 0 deaths. In the entire recorded history of the human race.
And both of these substances are completely legal, while marijuana remain illegal. People began to realise they had been lied to.
And then another astonishing fact became widely known all over the internet:
MARIJUANA CAN HELP TO CURE CANCER
Stories from all over the world suddenly began to emerge surrounding the amazing health benefits of marijuana. Stories that would have been seen as ridiculous before the internet arrived.
And so now marijuana's reputation has changed dramatically. The lies of the anti-drug propaganda have been eradicated. Turns out the hippies were right all along.
Marijuana is perfect. In every single possible way. And if you don't agree, you just need to open your mind man.
Legalisation is being discussed across the world and is set to be legalised in nine states across the US in 2018. Support for the drug reached new highs in 2017. A Gallup poll showed that 64% of Americans favour legalisation. The booming industry was expected to post nearly 10 Billion dollars in sales in 2017.
And it should be legalised everywhere. The pros far outweigh the cons.
The pendulum has now swung completely in the opposite direction. But often too far.
Yes marijuana has never killed anybody. And yes its a perfectly natural plant. And yes it can help to cure cancer.
But that doesn't make it harmless.
With all the positive media surrounding the drug in the present day it can be easy to forget about the very real negative effects it can cause:
1. Marijuana keeps you content. No matter what situation you're in
If you've lived with a heavy weed smoker before, or are/have been a heavy weed smoker yourself, there's a good chance that the following scene is very familiar to you:
Because when you're smoking weed heavily, you're content. Even if your situation is bad. No job, no girlfriend, no life? No worries! You feel perfectly content anyway. For many people it will rob them of their motivation and drive. Not only while they're high, but also in between getting high. This can have a serious negative impact on a person's life and is not to be taken lightly. Laziness is the killer of self-esteem.
2. Marijurana can be used as a coping mechanism
Many people will smoke the drug to help them deal with their emotions. University is stressing you out? Smoke up. Feel nervous around other people? Smoke up. Can't find the remote? Smoke the fuck up.
Doing this robs you of the mental resilience you would have built up if you hadn't used the drug to cope with the situation. Many people will depend on marijuana just to get through the day. In essence, marijuana can make you a weak person.
3. Smoking marijuana can cause anxiety
If you struggle with depression or anxiety, smoking up can make your symptoms far worse. Again, not only while high but also in between highs. Everybody knows that weed can cause momentary paranoia. But not many people are aware the effects on long-term underlying anxiety and depression.
The best advice for anybody using the drug is to listen to your body. Just because the current media trend is that marijuana is fantastic, that doesn't mean that it's fantastic FOR YOU. On a similar note, just because your friend can smoke every single day and function just fine, it doesn't mean that YOU can. The drug will effect each individual in a different way and you need to pay close attention to how it effects YOU.
As a general rule, most people should probably only be smoking up every once in a while. Not every single day.
And the idea that smoking weed makes you a non-comformist rebel is an illusion. In fact, being a heavy weed smoker can make you the perfect consumer: Lazy, content and hungry. You will consume media. You will consume junk food. You will act exactly how society wants you to act.
With the inevitable oncoming wave of legalisation and hype surrounding the drug, there is a danger of getting swept up in the fanfare and failing to notice the very real negative aspects of the drug.
So if you're wondering whether you should be smoking weed or not; ignore the media and ignore your friends. Simply ask yourself a very simple and honest question. Is the drug improving my life or making it worse?