Longtime Reader/Listener/Voguer Wants Me to Stop Pushing Pot on My Callers

Savage Love Letter of the Day

Comments

1

Little known fact is that most antidepressants can be and are abused. Bupropion (Wellbutrin) can cause immediate euphoria when taken in large amounts and so can tricyclic antidepressants. Most other antidepressants can have a stimulant effect when taken in large amounts.

2

Yup. Sounds like a middle aged social worker's take on pot. So much of who and what they are was defined within a reflexively anti-pot, pro-medical establishment opinion, pro 12 step addiction mindset.

It's a mindset that happily pushes what amount to experimental pharmaceuticals on people as young as 5, while simultaneously saying we don't know enough about pot... a substance humans have been using for 1000s of years.

So, to your reader... yeah whatever. Your time is ending.

3

Wow, Lester sounds blindly and almost irrationally dogmatic, which actually makes his response less credible to me.

I’m all for MJ, but to make a blanket statement that “MJ is safe” period with no qualifiers isn’t credible. To say it’s more safe than countless alternatives and more safe than booze would even be better.

And to dismiss this guy’s wealth of professional experience and really very mild concern as “bullshit” is, well, bullshit.

4

Chronic pot use makes you dumber.

5

Ive been a daily pot smoker for decades. I have a roomate who is a multiday bender sort of drunk. The "withdrawel" i went through when i gave up smoking a few months back (to see how it was affecting me) is simply not comparable to what roomie goes through when they have to get straight. I got a touch snappy, about what Im like when i have a big project due and its not going well. Roomie could barely get out of bed, cant eat for days, cold sweats and vomiting.

6

Thing is, even if people smoke pot to get high (which is, let's face it, the vast majority of cannabis use) then what is wrong with being high sometimes? I can actually understand where the LW is coming from in general, and anyone who hangs around with potheads of an age knows that it is toooootally possible to smoke too much pot and have it negatively impact your life. But that does not preclude any usage at all, it just means that we need to be adults and take action to prevent dependancy and negative life outcomes just like we do with booze etc. etc.. It does not follow that zero is always the right amount of cannabis to use, or that any experience of euphoria is a sin.

7

@4, probably true, but many people are more than smart enough to exist in society and find taking the edge off their IQ relaxing. @5 That is the other thing, I have also experienced cold turkey THC withdrawal and it was silly and unpleasant (why am I weeping for no reason? Why am I having six months of dreams in a week?) but it was absofuinglutely nothing like my friends who have gone through heroin withdrawal or even AA. There has to be a scientific approach to this topic that does not lump all drugs (or things like video games, facebook etc.) into a pile and try to treat them the same.

8

I've always thought Lester's writing is arrogant, condescending and immature. Perfect for an audience of rude teenagers, but not really for adults. Why Dan would consider him an 'expert' in this article is surprising.

9

@6 Back when openly discussing pot was more risky/edgy, my party line was always... 'Pot's halfway between a cocktail and an anti-depressant. Why isn't that universally considered the best thing in the world?'

10

Below is a TED talk discussing how the negative consequences of pot disproportionately fall on populations that are already struggling. This may explain why the social worker sees more downsides to pot than do Dan and commenters.

https://www.ted.com/talks/ben_cort_surprising_truths_about_legalizing_cannabis

11

I have trouble believing that pot is not addictive when so many people who claim this also smoke it every single day of their lives.

Yes, it's better for you than alcohol. Yes also antidepressants don't work for most people. Yes we get accustomed to the habit of being distracted or seeking euphoria and then find it hard to be sober and focused- that's modern life.

None of this changes the original point, which is that some people would like to be with partners who can be sober most of the time. It is also true that pot use has negative consequences for some people, and the people who are closest to them will be the first to notice. If none of this applies to you, then that's great! But don't dismiss it when it applies to others.

12

Wow. I was not prepared for such a flippant response from what seemed to me to be a reasonable objection brought up by the LW. Yes pot has been unfairly stigmatized but we shouldn’t swing too far the other way and see it as a magical substance able to sweep away a whole host of maladies with no side effects. It can be a beneficial addition to a normal life in moderation but it’s daily use seems to be likely to bring more harm than benefit in my opinion.

13

I'm one of those pesky A&D Counsellors, but I have a harm reduction background. I've seen pot addiction/dependence/abuse. I have clients who cannot hold a job, housing, spending all their money, alienate their friends and family because they smoke pot to extreme levels. All they want to do is pot. Everything in life has lost all interest. When any addictions interfere to fuck up your life, it is a problem. It is hard to picture for regular users that push pot is harmless, but I see the worst daily. It is like saying meth is okay as there are plenty who are frequent users but are able to hold a job, have a good chem party, but we all also picture that homeless user selling sex to get by to get meth, not the pot user who can't hold a job so they got their kids taken away that I deal with. It is when it is pushed to destroying your own life it is a problem, no matter the substance. This was the case for the original caller and her concern with her SO' extreme use as his use is destroying their relationship. I woulda told caller to get SO into someone to talk to rather than excuse his behaviour as pot is fine and not addictive.

But let people do what they want as long as they can do it safely without hurting themselves and their family. After that, it is an addiction that is not healthy for the user and should be addressed.

14

I love the assumption that all of us with depression and:or anxiety have a therapist just waiting in the wings.

15

I dont think you can have this discussion without Afroman:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeYsTmIzjkw

And in 2014, NORML had him do a remake with a positive spin
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8AuMOGx_KY

16

Marijuana is horrible for anxiety. I'm already anxious and paranoid when I'm sober. I've gotten high on rare occasions without negative incident, but I wouldn't risk using it frequently because it's very easy for me to see how it can go wrong. It has the potential to trigger a disastrous panic attack. The problem with panic attacks is, a single panic attack makes you more sensitive to future ones. It's a gift that will not stop giving. So it's not a small risk.

I think Lester Black's response is way off the mark. All RYPPA said is we don't know if marijuana is helpful or harmful, and if it is helpful or harmful we don't know how helpful or harmful it is exactly. They didn't call for "shaming" anyone or keeping anyone away from their precious substances. There just needs to be more research. The fact that some people are not even willing to consider the possibility that their favorite drug might have a dark side certainly does not make the drug in question look harmless. There is no such thing as a drug without risks and if you claim otherwise maybe your opinion is influenced by dependence.

17

Lester painted the LW as some sort of uptight pot-phobe. I didn’t get that at all. The Lester/LW Venn diagram would show the two overlapped in their attitudes about pot by 75% or so. Lester was harsh.

18

So Dan, did you include Lester's "expert" response here because you thought it effectively rebutted the original letter (note: it didn't), or because it confirmed what you already wanted to believe?

The addictiveness of pot isn't really a controversial issue- it can be, in some people, although most use it without issue.

The potential clinical benefits are a different question. To credibly prove that a drug has clinical benefit, you need to show it in a randomized controlled trial. In humans. That does not include anything on Lester's list of animal studies- those are basically worthless when it comes to demonstrating efficacy in humans. That also doesn't include any of the survey-based studies he listed, which are not controlled and subject to all sorts of confounding factors.

So yes, it is a true statement that there is insufficient evidence for clinical benefit. There are some reasons for that- the federal government certainly hasn't made it easy to do such research- but that doesn't mean you can point to a study in lab mice and say you've cured depression. Scientific literature is filled with promising animal studies that ended up showing squat in clinical trials, which is why we do the research.

19

Anecdata: I never smoked pot before it was legalized in Washington, in large measure because I didn't want to screw around with finding the stuff before. So I was cannabis-naive until a couple of years ago, but very familiar with paralyzing anxiety and depression, which has been a problem all my life. I've spent the past decade trying to tweak my meds, and adding new ones occasionally. As it turns out, one of those is weed.

Since I have never once gotten paranoid when I smoke,which I know is both fortunate and weird, YMMV. But the way I use it is to help me go to sleep, and, yes, for the euphoria. But as I fall asleep, the effect of the euphoria is that I can change the way I think about things, which is virtually impossible when I am sober. Stoned Me is crap at a whoooole lot of things, which is why I don't try to do much when stoned. But Stoned Me also has a fascinating perspective and a much more positive mindset, and having access to that has helped me enormously. I know pot revelations are supposed to be stupid the next day, but many of mine have rung completely true under sober examination. Weed does very much help me with taking control of my life, and yes, it dulls my anxiety and depression.

It also makes me feel completely asexual, so Dan's usual suggestion is not useful for me. But, again, anecdotally, it is super good for the other stuff.

20

Like @4 I am a longtime daily smoker. In my case, it has been to treat a chronic condition dating back decades — one for which no other treatment has been effective. It made the symptoms much more bearable, and over time I noticed that it seemed to have the effect of reducing their frequency and severity. One respected study has recently pointed to its effectiveness, and now this disease is considered among the top five-or-so “most legitimate” uses for medical cannabis.

As of a month ago, I am now living abroad for months at a time in a place where I have no access, so I had to give it up. Happily, that coincided with my doctor putting me on a new medication which seems promising and which so far appears to be effective.

I’ve been surprised to find I’ve had no negative “withdrawal”-like effects — though now that drjones mentions it, I have noticed somewhat more frequent and vivid dreams. Since the last one was nothing but me surrounded by puppies, kittens and bunnies, though, I don’t really mind.

Even though I seem to be getting along fine, I’m looking forward to my return to North America in a couple of months, when I’ll be landing in Seattle and spending a few days before going on to DC. It’ll be great to be able to walk into a store and get some relief for what I’m sure will be an epic case of jet lag from that transpacific flight.

BTW, it will be my first trip there in nearly a decade. Other than the legal weed thing, Seattle hasn’t changed much in that time, right?

21

I in no way got the impression the letter writer was trying to say the boyfriend has an addiction problem or is trying to diagnosis him. I also feel like a big portion of what they both said was the same - Marijuana has some promising effects on being able to help with depression and anxiety. We don't know as much as we should because of our federal government refusing to do studies that should have been done a long time ago.

It seems like the only place where they diverge is the conclusion - the letterwriter seems to say proceed with caution and look at other more proven ways to address his depression and anxiety. While Lester seems to be saying nah, just go for it.

22

Yeah, whatever, I'm still not trying marijuana. But, I support everyone else's right to use it as much as they want.

23

EDITORIAL FROM A NOBODY (that no one asked for)

i don't have a dog in this game. i think its a slippery slope either way. left wing waysayers or right wing naysayers who speak in absolute terms as though it is fact are ALWAYS gonna be questionable. studies and stats or not.

{{lest not forget people, science can be total bullshit when proper research methods and protocols are not followed and it happens ALL the time: way too low Ns, lack of validity and reliability, fudged utility, bias, rater/inter rater error, cause and correlation confusion, study contamination, outliers, anomalies, normalization, skewers and spinners, even liars, big interests: e.g., pharma, one day carbs are good and fats are bad. now carbs are the devil and fats are the antidote. do the math. you name it the list goes on forever}}

while i don't have a dog in the game, i do have some opinions and observations that (fittingly) go both ways. and i know nobody asked me but i've commented on way less passionate subject matter so here's my unsolicited $.02

both sides have supportable and unsupportable points! that's it. period.

from the gate i will state i literally have no knowledge whatsoever of breeds, strains, sprains, hybrids of one green leaf or brown bark from another. all i know is that pot smells foul as fuck and some smells are more foul fuckery than others. i also have less than novice knowledge of the cannabis versus THC (though i get the jist). so clearly i have no technical knowledge whatsoever. does that disqualify me from even commenting?

i think most of us would agree that pot at least at face value seems to be less dangerous and less of an "addictive" substance that does not beget, provoke, prompt dependence the same way alcohol, stims, benzo's, opiods, do.

{{agreed on the addict word stigma, i tend to use reliant or dependent so as to not offend the offenders}}

the recreational overindulgence can still cause problems though. and while i'm not saying i think people overdose on pot. bad shit can still happen e.g., oh, i'm only stoned, i can drive. personally?
i literally oversmoked once (of the two handfuls and toefuls i ever smoked period) and i was so f'd up i literally thought i was going to die.

but i do have a history of low grade mood disorder, though not psychoses (some ex boyfriends might disagree). BUT there IS a family history of mood issues, schizophrenia AND alzheimers--two more reasons i'm scared of drugs (i don't want to exacerbate my destined cognitive decline). and i never want to be my dad.

and of course, the biggest reasons of drugs fear tying for first;
i have an addictive personality (i'd likely get hooked in a quick ny minute) and the dichotomy of now growing out of being a control freak. i'm an ACoAP. result of parenting--or trying to--dysfunctional parents, one being bipolar schizoaffective and the other being a codependent enabler who is kind of still broken to this day.

at the end of the day, i could see pot being a HUGE crutch for not getting at the real problems of not managing conflict or not controlling behavior by reeling in awry thoughts and tempering emotions. isn't that what we all aim to strive for. harmonious relationships that enrich our lives?

anxiety and depression are real as fuck. and are usually chronic and hard to treat. you never really cure. but its not an excuse to not do the work.

would i love to light a joint (take a head shot-preference; hit a bowl (never a bong, i'd pass out or choke to death); eat a brownie; rub my scalp like a genie bottle or a buddha head with some oil) every time i felt anxious. you fucking bet i would. it feels nicer than a klonopin that's for sure. do i leave the house EVER without a .5 of clonazepam just incase. FUCK NO. if i do, does it create sever anxiety knowing that IF i need it i don't have it on me. YES IT FUCKING DOES. it regs my fucked up neurotrans-wiring and my banged up amygdala.

then i get super tired (i've been known to take a disco nap AT the disco too) and eventually eat my face off (including an irish exit to the nearest seven eleven) with my go to--a hot dog with yellow mustard, doritos, and a tomato juice. i can't explain, it just is. then seconds. possibly thirds. anything i can get my hands on my munchies never subside. i'd eat until i'd burst. i wouldn't have dan's body; i'd be fucking fat as a house if i was a pothead. that kind of eating is unacceptable. and my cognition and conrtrol and inhibitions would never be able to intervene. i would be fat and unhappy and thus more depressed.

would i love to do any of the above when i feel low or lower, sad or lonely, isolated or ignored or invisible, despondent even? (btw, been on and off every single anti-D and class imaginable, tri's SSRIs SNRIs SDRIs NDRIs for eyes and cross eyes (syke) atyypicals less so but still yes. i'm silly as fuck high and people (expect people who hate me--its one or the other) find me (even more) hilarious and wittier than usual. i become the center of attention and it feels good. carefree. happy. silly. engaged. maybe a little out of body. a little pot and it was always a really good night.

which is worse? which is better? an as needed fast acting benzo within reason? a daily med (do they even work) that takes 6 weeks to even matter? some hippy grass? do they treat the cause? maybe. is either treating the symptoms? probably. but neither is REALLY fixing the problem.

GET YOUR ASS INTO THERAPY AND WORK OUT YOUR SHIT. learn alternatives, quiet the mind, find interventions, fill space with value and not filler.

pot helps cancer patients with pain.
pot helps cancer patients maintain and possibly sustain appetite and maybe gain weight (see above)
other (REAL) chronic pain. others i'm not thinking of (i'm tired)
yes, yes, and yes. i get it and i'm good with it. i begged my 38 never made it to 39 year old cousin to smoke while cancer was withering his mind body and soul away. he lost the battle a year to the day of his fucking diagnosis fucking cancer. cancer patients, especially in palliative care, please toke, i beg you. do anything and everything that brings you joy, makes you happy and life a little more bearable.

but pot makes a lot of otherwise smart people dumb. (dan is one exception i know). potheads are frequently dumbheads. and i say this with a sort of serious sort of sarcastic tone and some love. ALMOST ALL OF MY FRIENDS SMOKE. and most of my friends that smoke too much are dull, boring, disengaged, foggy, lifeless, and thus annoying. people that have, or once had substance, that can't have a god damn intelligent conversation to change their life. THAT's my beef. pot doesn't make every a dumb dumb but it makes many a dumb dumb and that's obnoxious.

and dr phil (arrogant SOB that he's become) says it changes your brain and so does his board. i believe him. for the worse? for the better. i don't know. but yes, its changing your brain.

nobody is an authority neither the LW or lester. i tend to agree more with the LW (from the clinical psych standpoint) but they both sound really righteous and pious. we need more studies, scientific, scientifically sound, non-big interest funded.

but recreationally or for mood, if you will if you must. moderation, like everything else, seems to be key.

i'm shutting the piss up now cause i'm fucking tired.

24

@1 (wellB is the most stim of the anti-Ds which is also used for smoking cessation and appetite suppressant do to its stim properties), @4 and @18 yes yes and yes especially you #18. i love dan as much and in a similar but different way that i love dr phil. but c'mon dan. for realz? lester sounds like a dope. but then he's a pothead i think. go figure.

25

Count me among those who found that Lester Black was rude and dismissive to the letter writer, and not particularly convincing either. Sure, SOME studies have found that pot is harmless and can be beneficial, but there are certainly other studies that have found otherwise; it seemed like Mr. Black was just cherry-picking the ones that agreed with his personal views. It’s simply not possible to claim that “pot is safe” with 100% certainty. (BTW, what’s the basis for his expertise? Is he a scientist? A medical doctor?)

As for Dan’s Savage Lovecast caller... it sounds like you didn’t get any sympathy from Dan, so here’s some from me. I was in a long-term relationship with a guy who went from occasional pot use to daily pot use. He would come home from work, roll himself a big fat joint, and for the rest of the evening he was basically Jeff Spicoli in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (ask your parents). He was not using it to combat anxiety or depression or back ache or what have you - he just liked getting high. Long story short, it SUCKS to be in a relationship with someone who’s in a fucking stupor all the time (they don’t call it “dope” for nothing). It doesn’t require a therapist to diagnose “troubling pot use”; if the girlfriend finds it troubling - or even just plain irritating - then she should DTMFA.

26

So I followed the links. The studies linked don't say what Lester Black wants them to say. Don't hold your breath for marijuana to appear as a psychiatric medication. There is evidence ketamine works for depression, and mushrooms. Not marijuana.

27

TLC @16: "The fact that some people are not even willing to consider the possibility that their favorite drug might have a dark side certainly does not make the drug in question look harmless. There is no such thing as a drug without risks and if you claim otherwise maybe your opinion is influenced by dependence."

Nailed it. It's a "methinks thou doth protest too much" scenario. I'm a former alcoholic, I smoke pot often (and always have preferred it to booze) and I know that it is absolutely possible to become psychologically dependent on it even if one is not smoking daily. It is not for everyone, and it can be used or abused, just like anything.

I was amused by this sentence: "More studies have shown depression, cravings, sweating, stomach problems, insomnia and decreased appetite from cannabis withdrawal." Depression and cravings, sure -- the world is better with weed to take the edge off, so why would people not have negative feelings about no longer having access to it? Insomnia as a side effect of withdrawal = more like the person has insomnia because they no longer have access to an effective treatment for insomnia. And decreased appetite? Because they no longer have the munchies, of course!

So yes. Better than some other (legal) alternatives, absolutely. A miracle plant with no drawbacks, of course not. I think everyone knows that, it's just a question of the degree folks think the harm compares to the good.

28

Back to the podcast, if Person A smokes weed (or [fill in blank here]) every day and Person B doesn't at all, they're probably just not compatible. She should move on.

29

FWIW, I long ago found out the muggles is very, very bad for my own particular anxiety-depression complex. Marijuana made me really nervous and unsociable. Beer, OTOH, made me a legend in my own mind, which I enjoyed, even if nobody else did. That, too, got old eventually.

And add one more to the "Lester is tripping" tally.

30

I always find it amusing when someone accuses the other party of a strawman argument and then proceeds to launch into a strawman. That's exactly what Lester Black did.

You're not making a good case for pot not being dangerously addictive when your kneejerk reaction to ANY criticism of pot, no matter how balanced or nuanced, is effectively the bitter backlash of a defensive junkie.

31

@23: "i also have less than novice knowledge of the cannabis versus THC (though i get the jist). so clearly i have no technical knowledge whatsoever. does that disqualify me from even commenting?"

No, not even your extreme long-windedness, lack of capitalization, self-referentiality, parentheticals within parentheticals, and back-to-back clichés ("i don't have a dog in this game. i think its a slippery slope either way") disqualify you from commenting.

Collectively they make your comments unreadable, though.

32

This comment thread is like a casting call for every "I'm the smartest!" self-appointed know it all in the Stranger's readership. Too funny.

33

Lester seems like a total dick with pretty thin expertise. Apart from that, I don't care who smokes what.

34

Ahh cannabis.

Cannabis is one of the very few things that I can think of that really make me happy and that worries me, especially considering that the other two are sex and dangerous stuff in general.

When I'm sober I see that we are rapidly going into a death spiral as a civilization, about half of the country hates and fears the other half, friends are either fickle or so brutally wounded that they can't really be friends, and(because I have a job that pays well and a girlfriend) life only goes downhill from here.

When I'm high I feel that everything's pretty ok and will work out.

And no, antidepressants aren't super effective. Believe me, I wish they were.

35

Pot effects people quite differently. I have substantial experience with this.

For me it had overwhelmingly positive effects for a long time. Then for whatever reason (my health and thus probably my biochemistry changed) it started to affect me very negatively (this is not uncommon), so I needed to stop a long time ago.

When interpreting the (unfortunately scarce) studies, this is obviously important to keep in mind. A study of even just me would show a wide range of results; OTOH, the negative results (during the period I've stopped [and trust me, any even slightly sane person would have]) needn't tarnish the positive results during the initial period.

Euphoria is really nice. Can one have too much? Sure. (You can breathe too much air and drink too much water too.)

@7 drjones "but many people are more than smart enough to exist in society and find taking the edge off their IQ relaxing"

Would I like to still be a tiny tiny bit smarter? Sure. But it was more than worth it (particularly for me personally, as my IQ is high). That tiny bit doesn't begin to compare with broad range of benefits of the growth that one can find experiencing altered states of consciousness.

36

🌈 Some study has just been published re the risks of dope smoking before the brain settles. Haven’t read it yet. And seriously, how else to get thru this fucking nightmare of a world at the moment. I guess nobody will write Dan again going on about it.

37

Holy hell, anyone else think of the Kavanaugh hearings with the structure of this letter & response? Thoughtful academic raises precise objections, taking great care to be respectful and clear about what they know and what they don't. The response to that is an obnoxious, rude, condescending man who rages and declares with confidence that he's been proven right about everything, even though nothing of the kind has happened.

And I say this as a daily cannabis user. I spent $800 at a dispensary yesterday (they were having a great sale!). So my natural sympathies obviously run to the pro-weed end of the spectrum, and from that vantage point I'd still say that Lester Black needs to go fuck himself.

I hope this weeks Reader Response Roundup has a mea culpa from Dan about how he bungled this one. The original LW deserves it.

38

Nobody has ever said dope was a benign substance LW, have they. We all know it’s a drug. It sure beats other pain relief drugs which pisses off the drug companies.

39

Not sure re the anti depressants, I think they best left alone. Not for long term, to stabilise the mind a bit while some self work is done to find other ways to deal with it. Therapy. Yoga. Meditation.
I think western medicine has brought great benefits and to the drug companies. Their drugs are more addictive than dope.
My reactions coming off it are yes increased dreams, very tired, some intense desire for the drug yet that passes in a couple of hours. And like sex and childbirth, I forget the experience. So I don’t think it’s physically addictive. I can be fine by end of the first day. No cravings.

40

@37 JyLckhart
"Kavanaugh...an obnoxious, rude, condescending man who rages"

I wonder if there has ever been a worse job interview (maybe if during one an interviewee literally killed the interviewer).

Stunning spectacle which does the opposite of persuading that he has acceptable judicial temperament, that he wouldn't attempt to rape women (particularly given his belligerence and abusiveness when NOT drunk...like he routinely was at the time).

People often ask 'why don't they put forward an alternative candidate'. (Of course the horrifying answer is that this is the only one on their list who holds that a POTUS is immune to legal consequence.)

This scum joining SCOTUS would be catastrophic; I'd rather be shot.

41

p.s. Kavanaugh needs to be impeached from his CURRENT seat on the bench.

42

🌈 yes curious. I feel an ache about all this and it’s not even my country. This is a travesty of process and democracy. Over a thousand Law Professors have said he should not be on the bench. I hope some of those republican Senators find some courage and defy trump.

43

🌈 The women are getting mobilised. Not sure the politicians have really understood the wave of rage that has been building.

45

@Lester Black,
quote: To start, yes, of course pot can be addictive. Just as with coffee, pasta, working out, sex, crack, social media, and literally any other activity or substance on earth, people can develop unhealthy relationships with weed.

This, and the LW's argument both distort the concept of addiction. In the 70s, they tried to say that even though pot is not physically addictive, it is psychologically addictive. But this really only means you want it, not you need it.
Pasta, working out, sex, social media, and gambling are all things that can be taken too far, but are not addictive. A small percentage of the population will have difficulty giving up these things. Heroin, opium (and other opioids), alcohol, and nicotine are in a different class. There are physical withdrawal symptoms that compel using to avoid.

When they tried to tell us that pot was addictive just like heroin, they made it a gateway drug. When we discovered on our own that pot is not addictive, everything else they told us was suspect.

Redefining addiction is not the answer.

46

There are no psychoactive drugs which act the same way in everyone. Antidepressant drugs are notoriously varied in their effects and are not well understood even in cases where they help. There are lots of hypotheses about how they work, and whichever assumption is currently popular is treated as fact by many doctors, but it's still not fact-based medicine.

Since weed helps some people with depression, and even some people with anxiety issues - make it legal, let people try it, and if it works for them, great.

Claiming it does or doesn't work in general is foolish, given what we know about the puzzling variability of how most medications work in individuals.

47

Addendum to @46
I read an article several years ago which quoted a therapist as saying that weed doesn't really help depression, it just makes people think they are less depressed.

Seriously.

One of many examples of crap thinking by members of the psychology profession.

48

@47 ECarpenter "weed doesn't really help depression, it just makes people think they are less depressed"

Of course that was a stupid statement. But according to the definition I just googled, maybe he intended to address the symptoms that aren't experiential.

"Clinical depression
The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem."

Perhaps people can still feel (consciously) less depressed and continue to have the (perhaps subconsciously generated) symptoms of it?

I have close to no idea; one day as a side-effect of a pharmaceutical I had depression. A nightmare, but one I value, since I learned a lot experiencing the (profound gravitational attraction of the fundamental need for) transition back from it.

49

(1) Just an FYI...

We have all by now heard and read the now depoliticized facts about the pros and cons of cannabis use. Here's a health risk associated with long term and/or frequent cannabis use you don’t often hear about: cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). Just the thought of it makes me feel nauseated.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3576702/

http://usa.thelancet.com/blog/2017-11-27-recent-rise-cannabinoid-hyperemesis-syndrome

(2) RE: pot cold turkey vs cannabis cold turkey

As far as i know, there have been no reported deaths from cannabis withdrawal. However, unsupervised alcohol detox can kill you.

50

I guess in the end, Dan likes pot (obviously) and thinks it helps him. And it's his column, so whatever.

That said, to publish the criticism and then the ludicrous response from Luther suggests that Dan may be slightly more conflicted about pushing pot as a cure-all for everything than he lets on. Usually Dan's tell is that when he gets dispropotionately defensive relative to the criticism it's because he knows on some level that he may not be right. Not that he's wrong, necessarily, just that he may not be right.

In this case he uses a pretty flimsy counterargument by a clear non-expert to support his position. That's bush league, Dan, but not really unexpected.

51

Man what I'd give to have some medical graded Cannabis right now. I suffer form nerve damage in my legs as well as arthritis/bone spurs/degenerated disk in my back and possibly some in my neck. I used to occasionally social smoke in college and my first 10 years beyond but haven't smoked in over 20 years. I remember it being very relaxing and I suspect it would make the pain more bearable since drugs and anti-depressants don't help. The state legislature here can't get their shit together as to how they want to run pot dispensaries,

52

Citing 19th century pharmacology as support for the blanket proposition that marijuana “is safe,” kind of made me lose respect for the rebuttal.

53

Lester may be an “expert” cannabis user but needs to do some research on confirmation bias.

54

Marijuana strains are so different that they should probably be thought of as a class of drugs, not one drug. For this reason one cannot make blanket statements such as "marijuana is bad for anxiety," or even "marijuana is bad for my anxiety." Sativas will often send me into anxiety and negative thought spirals, whereas Indicas usually won't, even if they have equal amounts of THC. Even two Indicas, say, that have the same percentages of listed active ingredients, can feel greatly different. There are clearly other psychoactive compounds that matter besides THC and CBD.