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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

Marijuana, Just Harmless Fun?

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jan 11th 2007

There is a prevailing attitude among many users of marijuana that it just harmless fun. I know from direct experience in my practice that many of these individuals smoke this drug at home, with their husband or wife and with the presence of children in the house. In many cases these users report that they wait until their children are in bed and asleep. There are those who smoke at home in the morning before they go to work. The reason given by many of these individuals is that it "takes the edge off" or reduces anxiety and stress. They are not occasional smokers but admit that they use marijuana every day. For some those who work at home or are housewives and who do not leave the house for employment, smoking often occurs with great frequency each day. They all insist that marijuana is just a harmless substance and is doing them no harm.

Summary of Research and Medical Reports:

Marijuana contains THC which is a psychoactive substance and is the reason why those who smoke large quantities of marijuana can experience hallucinations. For the same reason, those who suffer from schizophrenia experience and exacerbation of their symptoms, especially hallucinations and delusional thinking. In other words, it reverses the effects of the anti psychotic medications taken by these patients. However, even occasional users report that they experience panic and paranoid symptoms and, in fact, this discourages some of those individuals from continuing to experiment with this drug.

The parts of the brain affected by cannabis are those that control thinking, coordination, pleasure, attention and memory. While under the influence of cannabis all of these are affected. What that means is that activities such as studying, driving, school test performance, work performance and other activities are impaired while under the influence. Something called "state dependent memory" refers to the fact that anything studied while under the influence will be somewhat easier to recall if a test is taken while under the influence. In other words, one needs to be in the same state while test taking as when smoking. Of course, even in the same state, memory and test performance will be impaired.

Although marijuana smokers deny the ill effects of pot smoking on health, the facts are that frequent pot smoking leads to chronic bronchitis and can establish the conditions that lead to cancer.

Finally, it has been reported in a number of studies that while marijuana may not cause depression in those who do not suffer from that condition, it does increase symptoms of depression in those who already have a vulnerability to affective disorders. Therefore, cannabis use complicates depression in those already depressed and can lead to an out break of depressive symptoms in people with that vulnerability.

My Clinical Observations:

During my twenty to thirty years of working with psychotherapy patients many of whom smoked marijuana I have come to see how this substance affected them.

1. For those who say that even constant use of marijuana is not addictive, it is my experience that these chronic users cannot stop using without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Among these symptoms are increased anxiety and agitation, depression and craving for another smoke. Most if not all of them returned to cannabis use a few days or week after ceasing.

2. Repeatedly, I have observed that chronic use of this substance seems to rob people of their motivation and ambition. It has seemed to me as though the more a person smokes the more they talk about things they plan to do but never get around to doing:

 

One individual constantly talked about their education and career plans but never fulfilled any of them, so far as I know (this was many years ago) because he would not even reduce his cannabis consumption nor go into any type of drug rehab program.

Another young man (also many years ago) spent hours listening to the Grateful Dead while smoking cannabis, lost in what he considered to be the magical and brilliant sounds of Jerry Garcia. He ended up in a psychiatric hospital because he started to hallucinate and to experience suicidal depression. He never returned to treatment but I have always wondered what became of him, hoping that he was able to overcome his addiction.

A young woman I treated for depression was at her wits end because her boy friend and the person she hoped to marry stayed at home all day smoking pot, refusing to go out or do anything. He had his own room in the home of his parents. While he managed to go to work each day he was able to do little else after work and on weekends. Ultimately, she was forced to break up with him but was heart broken. She knew him from High School days before his drug abuse became chronic. When she tried to get him to stop smoking he became angry.

Additional Thoughts and Observations:

1. I believe we would all agree that anyone who drinks all day has a drinking problem and is probably alcoholic. In the same way, how can it be all right to smoke marijuana all day? This drug puts the user into an altered state of consciousness that, if he smoke all day long helps him be in that altered state all day long. How can this person work and function in an altered state of consciousness?

2. We know that driving is impaired while under the influence of alcohol. We also know that marijuana affects attention and motor coordination. Is really safe for someone under the influence of marijuana to be driving. Even if the effects of marijuana are not as severe for the driver as are the effects of alcohol doesn't impairment still bring the risk of danger? Yet, people not only drive under the influence of cannabis but even smoke while driving.

3. It has been pointed out that marijuana is a "gateway drug" for teenagers who begin to experiment with alcohol and other drugs. All the findings are that those adolescents who are chronic users of cannabis go on to other and more dangerous drugs and, ultimately, drop out of school. This should give those people who are parents and who smoke weed at home pauses to think about the effects of their activities on their children. I have asked some of these people if they worry about how their use will affect their children. Most of them provide some vague answer that demonstrates more denial than anything else about their activity and its affects on the family.

4. Incredibly and, to me, unbelievably, there have been those people who reported to me that, when they were growing up their parents invited them to smoke weed with them. We know that activities such as cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol, parental violence against one another and against the children are all remembered and imitated by these children when they become teenagers and adults. In other words, drug abuse at home will result in drug abuse by the children when they are older.

5. Some people argue that it is no different for those who drink alcohol. Somehow, they seem to think that alcohol consumption should automatically make cannabis consumption an acceptable activity. Yet, most health and mental health officials would agree that alcohol abuse is a serious and dangerous problem resulting in extremely high health and financial costs each year. It is not simply that marijuana abuse is a serious problem but that all substance abuse is insidious and dangerous.

6. Would you want to be treated by a Doctor or Nurse who is under the influence of marijuana. Do you want truck drivers, bus drivers and other public servants to perform their tasks under the influence? Is it really safe to smoke cannabis and then go to work. Is it really safe to smoke marijuana at work?

We have a serious drug and alcohol problem in our country. This problem has worsened over the years and has reached into ever younger age groups so that even school children have been found to be using drugs. Drugs use is not benign, whether it is alcohol, marijuana or any number of the other substances available to young and old alike.

What is your opinion?

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at dransphd@aol.com for details.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    Unhappily married - Lizzy - May 11th 2019

    my husband of 27 years started smoking pot and does an occasional opioid approximately 23 years ago and I have lived an extremely isolated life just raising our children.  I have decided I can no longer sacrifice myself for him. We have been in separate bedrooms for 5 years now.  I’m divorcling him. He refuses to stop.  It has destroyed my life.  I will rebuild on my own.

    I've seen the bad effects - monique - Nov 26th 2018

    My boyfriend has smoked weed since a teenager,he got in a bad bike accident and started using it more freakwently. He resently  in the past three years he smokes morning till night and takes oils on top of that. he blames everything on his pain of his body to take more weed, but its deffinetly him being effected by marjauana his pain intensifies and are faulse feelings I feel. Ive known him for six years and he only smokes more and more.he no longer enjoys anything in his life other than weed! he no loger wants to have people around him.

    Excessive marijuana and alcohol - - May 13th 2018

    My husband of 44 years (he is 63) has smoked pot practically every day. In addition he drinks 4-12 beers. He manages to work and take care of the outside lawn and gardens, however when he starts with his ritual of substances, anything productive is over. He rarely gets nasty, but he does become lethargic to the point of nodding and slurring words. It has gotten worse with time. We recently went on vacation and he did not smoke, only drank beer. He did not act lethargic like he does when he combines pot with beer. I can only assume the combination causes that behavior. I am concerned about his overall health. He has issues with not remembering conversations from the night before and on a couple occasions, he had spells of becoming disoriented and falling down. Unfortunately I see his life being shortened because of his choices. He doesn’t think he is out of control. In the past I have threatened diforce (I‘m still here). This is very disheartening to me!

    Evidence that demands a verdict - Robert Allen - Apr 20th 2018

    My wife and I watch the shows Locked up and COPS alot and most of the criminals who are caught for drug possesion show proof that Marijuana was their first drug of choice before they went on to opiates like CRACK, HEROIN, and METH.  Some were actually interviewed by investiagtors on how and why they started to use METH or CRACK and all of them remarked that is all started with Marijuana.  The same type of interviewing was conducted in various prisons and the inmates gave the exact same responces. I guess the current generation that is supporting legalizing Marigjuana does not want that information to see the light of day.  Their evidence is based on clinically controlled studies in controlled envionments with questionares and with an agenda to see to the whosale nation wide legalization of Marijuana.  Talking to those who are incarerated for drug use, manufactoring, etc. tell a different truth. This is hard evidence from the sources who use drugs.   

    Addicts Are the Best Liars - Meghan - Apr 13th 2018

    After 30 years of dealing with substance users, what I have found is they are the best liars. First, they lie to themselves for the reason that they have to use the substance, and 2nd they lie to everyone else about their substance use.  Where I used to think that marijuana was a better alternative to alcohol I have changed my mind completely, and when you combine the two substances, people can barely function, but they will insist that they can, even when they're slurring their speech, can barely stand up, staring blankly at a wall, or attacking the people who love them the most and hurt the most by their continued substance abuse.

    Any comments made by a substance user on this thread should be counter referenced by someone close to them who is sober.  That is the only way to find truth in the matter. However, Addicts are great deflectors of the truth, don't want to admit that they have a problem, and don't want anyone to challenge them on it either.  "Show me the study" they yell, but when you do, or give them any antidoto evidence at all, they are the first to deny it.  

    Middle Road - Brian - May 27th 2012

    Lot's of different perspectives here,

    I appreciated all of them.

    It is my personal belief that the truth lies somewhere

    in the middle. Is marijuana completely harmless? No.

    Can it be used irresponsibly or abused? Absolutely.

    I am a 21st century person, I am digging my own path.

    AA 12 steps has helped me stay off the booze. I even have a pretty decent knowledge of the so called "Big Book ,the history of the program, and both the positive side

    and cult-like aspects of the group.

    Marijuana is frowned upon in the rooms,

    and my sponsor who I respect and like

    reccomended stopping (he's a thumper alright)

    so I stopped for a while and my intake is quite

    rare and private.

    It's pretty trivial in my experience,

    if one has a problem with it perhaps

    they will gain insight from this article.

    When I am sponsoring people I feel

    that it would be dishonest

    and perhaps setting a bad example to use at all,

    so even a few puffs off a joint now and

    again is not on the cards there.

    It's almost a political issue rather than

    a sobriety/health issue in my opinion.

    MJ - harm/harmless? - Jim Markette - Jan 1st 2012

    Causes a  DEMOTIVATIONAL SYNDROME.

    Translate: Sit/lay and do nothing.

    Good, if that is what you want to do.

    And lungs rot.  Helps vision a lot.  You can see death

    approaching from a long way away.

    Marijuana use - jlh49 - Dec 29th 2011

    I have heard many testimonies on many addictions. and the only right thing i have heard is that they are all abusive if taken chronically. i have been sober for a little over two years. The reason is i had to change my way of thinking. no matter what the causes or the conditions may be, I find a solution to any problem thats in front of me. and no i dont hide it with a mind altering drug, i use the twelve steps of AA. That being said, i am under two drs. advice for two medications. One being cannibis. i have taken both as perscribed. i know i cannot take any thing like alcohol,cocaine, or meth as perscibed. So i know this will always be a controversy, but it is not with my sponsor and with my hp. and my sponsor is not on any medication. My God is a loving God. Not a punisher. Love god and keep your side of the street clean and only then you will be working the twelve steps of AA.

    Me And The Weed - Santos - Aug 19th 2011

    I'm 43, I've been a smoker on and off for about twenty five years now. I gave up alcohol eight years ago because it was causing chaos with my life and my emotions. I went to A.A. and other 12 step groups for a time but I found them cult like and just like being back in church. Having experienced both alcohol and weed I can say hands down that alcohol is by far the more damaging drug. I have also never been remotely tempted to take any other drug so for me that blows the gateway theory right out of the water. My pattern of consumption goes like this: I buy about four weeks worth of weed. I smoke it and then take a further month off before buying again. I like to kick back when my day is done and have a nice relaxing joint late at night. It's my little present to myself at the end of a hectic day. I disagree with almost everything in that article because it doesn't factor in non-heavy users like myself. A lot of people enjoy a glass of wine or two with dinner. Does that make them alcoholics? Having said that I don't really understand people who smoke all day every day. If you abuse any drug it will have negative effects. I find that if you take regular breaks the effect is all the sweeter when you smoke again. Here's to moderation I say.

    Does pot stunt psychological growth? - Doctor Don - Mar 8th 2011

    I am a clinical psychologist and long time psychotherapist (just lost most of my audience, I bet).  I read on this forum and have heard of many individuals who have benefited from regular use of pot, and I believe these people.  I share the wide-spread skepticism of legal drugs, and I definitely think it is hypocritical to criminalize marijuana while tobacco and alcohol is legal.

    HOWEVER, in my 35 years of work as a psychotherapist, I have never observed a client grow emotionally while smoking regularly.  Whenever a client has done good work in therapy sessions but shows no growth whatever and his or her life has remained exactly the same, I inquire about marijuana use and often (usually?) find that the client is a daily smoker.  I have also never seen a close intimate relationship where one of the partners is a daily smoker. 

    I should say that healing, person and spiritual growth, and self-awareness are not paths to contentment and happiness; they usually lead through pain as well as joy. And perhaps staying high is to royal road to a pain-free and stress-free life.  HOWEVER, if emotional development is important to you, be cautious about daily pot use.  Watch yourself and question yourself.  My experience is limited to clients in my private practice, and there may be many who are exceptions to my generalization.  Those exeptions,  however, have not written comments on this forum.  Advocates of daily use only brag about feeling good an functioning well, not about conquering their personal demons, overcoming shame and fear, or learning to love.

    Evidence - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Feb 28th 2011

    As per your request:

    (A Systematic Meta-analysis

    Matthew Large, BSc(Med), MBBS, FRANZCP; Swapnil Sharma, MBBS, FRANZCP; Michael T. Compton, MD, MPH; Tim Slade, PhD; Olav Nielssen, MBBS, MCrim, FRANZCP

    Arch Gen Psychiatry. Published online February 7, 2011. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.5)

    My credentials are listed on this site and are clearly available to anyone who wishes to see them.

    Dr. Schwartz

    Evidence Please - Don Joe - Feb 27th 2011

    Dr Schwartz,

    I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are, in fact, a fully qualified doctor with credentials. If so, could you please post some of the evidence that supports your findings, including data from your control group and test groups. as well as the basic assumptions on which you formulated your study?

    This whole article reads like an interest-backed bundle of speculation without any data to back up poorly worded claims. While I do not claim for a moment that Cannabis smoking does not adversely affect health, extrapolating test results from test subjects with a history with mental illness to the general population is problematic to say the least. While I do not doubt that cannabis smoking has exacerbated pre-exisiting disorders in some of your patients, I see no evidence that suggests it is of particular harm to the general population.

    Any substance from heroin to water can have an affect on the body's biological and mental processes. Individuals who are prone to addictive or compulsive behaviors can easily find themselves engaging in behaviors that are unhealthy both to physical and mental well-being. A quick search on YouTube will find hundreds of videos "water bloating" or drinking water until the point of vomiting, a substance that can kill when consumed in excess. Yet few would suggest that water should be banned based merely on evidence of deaths related to its excess consumption. Yet many do argue that cannabis should remain criminalized, even though there is less evidence of its toxic affects on cells than that of water.

    More likely than not this is a question of utility. Water is not only useful but necessary, whereas cannabis serves no immediate physical need. Nonetheless a lack of utility alone ought not be reason for a substance to be banned. Cannabis is consumed everyday by millions, most of whom are not daily users, and most of whom do not suffer from mental or emotional disorders.

    If we are really going to name a gateway drug, a substance whose use precedes that of all others, we really should blame milk. Nearly 100% of all heroin abusers started on milk. Nearly 100% of all drug related deaths occured by those who drank milk first.  Milk is a dangerous gateway drug. I can post hard evidence that it preceded nearly all hard drug use and antisocial behavior. At least I don't post the letters Ph. D next to my name.

    Geez the nerve of some people ...

     

    ATTN: Tim - Paul - Feb 4th 2011

    You sound a lot like me when I wasn't on medication for my moderate to severe depression. I also smoke marijauna on a daily basis. I am currently on effexor 37.5g x 2 daily (in the morning). I attend college and work 25 hours a week part time. I know how you feel, I would recommend getting help and finding a solution to this.

    Best of luck,

    Paul

    It doesn't help either!!!! - Paula - Jan 10th 2011

    WOW... I am 39, have been smoking pot on and off for the last 17 or so years... the last 8 months on a daily basis... I am the victim of years of domestic abuse, still ongoing even though we haven't been together for over 6 years, we have a child etc... I am now suffering from severe depression and anxiety, which has been brought on by years of abuse. I am now giving up the pot again, totally, if only for a few months as I DO FEEL that my daily overuse of it in the last 8 months has EXACERBATED my depression to the point I can no longer pull myself out of it, as I am normally able to do. I am about to go on antidepressants, which I don't want to do either, but the pot isn't helping me eat or sleep (never has helped me to sleep lol, has the reverse effect actually) but I am aware that while pot hasn't given me the depression or anxiety (I didn't start smoking until my mid 20's either) IT IS making it worse for me at the moment... I actually thought I was having withdrawals a few weeks ago when I went interstate and didn't take any with me (I'm a good girl at heart lol) BUT realised when I got home and smoked and the sickness was still there along with the anxiety that is wasn't pot withdrawals after all... I am actually suffering depression and anxiety... I stopped last night... I will repost in 7days to let you know what side effects etc if any I get, or if I actually do FEEL BETTER WITHOUT IT :D

    Weed isn't the devil, but it sure isnt harmless either. - Tim - Dec 4th 2010

    Hey I'm 19, been smoking for 4-5 years now, pretty much daily for 2 years straight now. I have some undiagnosed mental stuff going on, voices in my head, thinking i can read people's minds by looking at them, depression. I've tried stopping for the past week, and realized my brain is still thinking the same shit when I am sober, except I feel angrier when I'm sober. But when I smoke some reefer to make myself forget about all the stresses and pains of the world, i lose all motivation and over sleep way too much. I'll sleep for 12-16 hours a day, and then when I am up will get 1 or 2 little things done (laundry, an errand) then get high and accomplish shitall the rest of the day.

    Something to do with my mental stuff makes it extremely hard for me to keep a job, I can do my job fine and usually better then other workers when I am high (less worried about stresses and just focused on the task at hand). But every week or 2 I find I'll just have a complete breakdown on some day. I'll just cry for hours and have thoughts that are more delusional then normal. Then I can't deal with life for a bit after that, Ex. Can't wake up for appointments, get angry at friends, quit a good job. It's just become a terrible cycle, and I know that weed hasn't caused it, but I know that it is not helping either.

    I dont know if that made any sense but I should probably just find help i guess..

    Propoganda - Lou Meatskavitch - Nov 24th 2010

    Look, the basic idea behind this article is the same kind of propoganda you will find on one of those DARE sites. All the modern science and evidence out there is pointing more and more to marijuana being benign and if not 100 percent benign it's gotta be close. I will say that smoking all day everyday is prob not the best thing. But that's just for me. It varies for everyone. I know people that smoke all day everyday and are sharp, on the ball with their jobs, have plenty of hobbies and friends and great social life etc...I have been smoking pretty much everyday for the past almost 5 years. But I don't smoke all day mostly just at night when I've completed all work and writing (yes, a pothead who loves to read and write, wrap your propoganda minds around that one) then I relax with friends and smoke and do whatever after that. As for smoking at work or being able to function: it's easy and never has been a problem. People who are against weed have this idea that a person can't function or are servely impaired after smoking a bowl. That's just not true. I can function just as well both on a coordination level and mentally as anyone who's sober and I challenge anyone to take me up on that. Imagine how embrassing it will be for the sober guy when he can't keep up with me and I'm stoned. Maybe the brilliant and oh-so-smart writer of this article would care to take me up on that. The bottom line is this: in a world where psychiatrists and doctors dont think twice about prescribing xanax, kolonopin, percocet, oxycontin and a myriad of other highly addictive and life destroying drugs to treat pain and anxiety and depression why not smoke weed that is at most only mildly addictive, won't ruin your health, won't destroy your bank account, won't put you through painful withdrawl and isn't nearly as expensive as these other 'medicines'? Oh, right, it's illegal. Now, go and watch the news. Watch how little the government cares about the people and watch all the corruption and scandals and pork-barreling spending and senseless wars and watch how the government ignores your opinion at every turn. But then when it comes to weed I'm supposed to trust them and believe they care about my well-being. Please. Screw the law.

    It has benefits and costs like any psych drug - Chris - Sep 7th 2010

    As we all know, a drug is useful when its benefits outweigh the costs. I have been a long term sufferer of MDD and GAD/Panic disorder, several personality disorders etc, from all the different diagnosis's I have gotten over the years.  I have been on just about every medicine on the market, no kidding, and the one that has consistently worked for me was marijuana.  In fact, it has worked the best in combination with certain AD's that alone did not work.

    Because of the legality issue I chose to give it up and am now and several times before am on the medical merry go round of meds.  Too say that any of these psych meds are safe and not addictive is a pure mischaractermization on the parts of the Pharmaceutical companies and the Psychiatric industry.  I know because I have been on most of them.  The three meds that have worked best for me were Nardil, Klonopin, Marijuana.  All of which are frowned upon by the industry.  The other meds have made me suicidal on many occasions or completely zombified or apathetic and then end up in the hospital because I can't use the medications that work.  It has literally ruined my life and cost the taxpayers tons of money trying stuff that doesn't work.

    Marijuana is more benign than most of the psychiatric drugs.  But, just like any drug, it has its benefits and costs.  It can be addictive like all the psych drugs and it can have tolerance and withdrawal effects like all the psych drugs.  It depends on the individual.

    As far as a gateway drug, alcohol was mine and most people I know, then cigarettes.  To have these two drugs legal and not marijuana is completely hypocritical at best.  Cigarettes have been completely restricted now and I wonder how alcohol has escaped the taxation and advertisment restrictions everything else has.

    Personally, I think it should be the individual's choice as to which drug works best for them based on benefits and cost. 

    Marijuana has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for depression and anxiety.  I think the big pharmaceutical companies would be against it because it would cut into the profits of the psych med industry.

    If it works for you, you should be able to do it, if it does not then don't, pretty simple.

    My experiences with marijuana - Michael - Aug 25th 2010

    I suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder and depression. One aspect of my problems is that I am very prone to psychological pain, and dark, obsessive emotional states.

    I also used to be a chronic alcoholic. I was a MANIAC when I was an alcoholic (which was 10 years ago). I have been arrested over 50 times while drunk, I have hacked up my body with broken bottles, recieved surgery and over a hundred stitches. That barely scapes the surface of my experience with alcoholism, but the short story is: I almost died on multiple occasions from drinking, and I was homeless for over 2 years (I utterly destroyed and vandalized my unit while drunk, and was kicked out of every boarding house I tried to stay in due to my intoxicated behaviour)

    I used marijuana to help me quit drinking. I also found it very helpful with the insomnia that has plagued me my whole life, and with anxiety (even knows paradoxically large doses can trigger anxiety- or even moderate doses in new users). As a young child, I was taken to doctors about my problems sleeping. It has always taken me around 3 hours of lying in bed to drift to sleep. With marijuana its less than 30 minutes.

    I find marijuana VERY comforting for my emotional problems. I also have a very addictive personality.I find I am irresistably attracted to "high reward, low effort activities". I find having marijuana at the end of the day, satisfies my need for a reward. Knowing I have the reward at the end of each day, helps me battle through the day, knowing I can always calm down and relax at the end. In my case I think marijuana has incorporated well into my life with my disorder. Again, I am not saying this would be the case for all people.

    I used to smoke marijuana for 5 years when I was a teenager. Looking back this was one of the most stable (and happy) periods of my life.  But I was told by various people, that if I continued to smoke I would develop schitzophrenia. So I got scared off. Within 1 year I fell into alcoholism for many years, it nearly killed me.

    In total I have smoked marijuana on a daily basis for 15 years of my life. I have never, not a single time been arrested on marijuana. Many of my friends who were once against marijuana now support me using it simply because I have been going so well for so many years now. This simply cannot deny now, that for several years, I have been going the best they have ever seen me. I am no longer homeless, I own my own house, and even have a pet dog which I look after very well I think.

    I am not saying marijuana is for everyone, and smoking it 24 / 7 I don't think is a good idea (yes I have done this many times myself, but I have now reduced my usage to night time usage, because I find less actually produces better and stronger mood elevating effects).

    Marijuana may aggrivate anxiety and depressive thinking in some people, though I do not think it causes it. In my case it gets rid of these thoughts and absolutely breaks the cycle of my obsessing over upsetting things. Marijuana gets the crap out of my head better than any medication I have ever tried. I have been on many neuroleptics, mood stabalizers, multiple glasses of antidepressants over the years. The only other medical I have found useful is called Solian, which I take in a low dosage of 100mg per day,

    I have always had some level of trouble with motivation, even as a child I was frequently called lazy by my parents and teachers (I have written proof of this from school reports). Marijuana while making me somewhat intellectually excitable and interested in things at times, does not overall increase my motivation. It is somewhat pacifying in regards to motivation. I had trouble with motivation in the first place, but I don't think marijuana makes it worst. I simply have to push myself to do things- but overall I am a very happy person these days. For decades of my life I was plagued by thoughts of suicide- I always believed I would die young. I never think of suicide anymore- I don't want to die, I want to live as long as possible.

    I think I have used marijuana long enough to understand what it means to my life, and in my case I most certainly can tolerate it without any problems, and I love the whole culture related to cannabis.

    I really believe marijuana has a place to play in some psychiatric situations, but not in others, such as where people suffer from true psychosis.

    I also do not think it is a drug for young and immature people. But to deny marijuana is a helpful and positive tool in my life, is to deny reality.

    To simply view marijuana as an invariably destructive substance for people with all mental health disorders, is a grave miscalculation. I believe it may be especially useful in some substance abuse users and alcoholics, at providing a replacement. It may also be helpful in people that meet the criteria for dysthymia, this is something I have been diagnosed with by a panel of psychiatrists.

    My expiences with Cannabis - Michaek - Jul 30th 2010

    Well I have been diagnosed various times with Major Depression and Panic Disorder. I was diagnosed with Major Depression at age 13 BEFORE I even tried pot. Marijuana certainly helps me and I DEFINATELY do not feel it makes me depressed or anxious (alcohol does very much however). I do take an antidepressant which is extremely effect for me and I've been on for over 15 years. Pot doesn't interfere with it. However, I did feel depressed on weed once after quiting nicotine chewing gum which I had been on for over 12 years. I started smoking more and more to try and obtain the mood elevating effects. In my opinion, with the most chronic levels of usage, tolerance to the mood elevating effects can occur. I would advise you to advise your patients that if they become depressed or upset not to automatically esculate their dosage of marijuana because the mood elevating effects may then drop out at a time when it is least desirable, and the person may simply feel out of it from Pot but not happy. This has only ever happened to me once, I just recommend if your mood suddenly plummet down do NOT smoke more and more marijuana, but rather keep your usage the same, and go to a doctor if your depression is severe.

    LOVE WEED - PJ Raymond - Jul 1st 2010

    I read this article and I agree with some of it but I love weed and I am going to smoke a little less but I'm not going to quit. I am in business school at university and I've wrote all my exams high thus far and and I've always been happy with my results. Puff, just not too much and you'll be fine.

    i eat it - - Jun 24th 2010

    i just eat it.....yum yum brownies for me thank you very much. keeps me positive

    whats wrong with you people - - Jun 8th 2010

    I smoke alot but it doesnt affect me, i have been smoking for 49 years and have experienced none of the mentioned articles in this entire thread. honestly this whole thread is pathetic if you want to smoke smoke, if you dont want to then dont and if doing it causes you problems then just fucking stop. its not hard oh and Allan please withhold crap like this until maybe findings can be shown to the public based of a large scale clinical trial that can explore the effects on pretty much all types of people.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: It seems to be a pretty common assumption that people leap to that we (Dr. Schwartz, myself) are globally against the use of Marijuana/Cannabis.  This is not the case.  We are suggesting based on anecdotal evidence from our clinical practice that people with serious mental illness are often not well served by smoking; that it seems to make symptoms worse.  We are not claiming scientific status for these observations.  We are not hostile to Marijuana/Cannabis in general.  Certainly, there is a lot of room for scientific study into medicial uses of Cannabis for various disorders/illnesses.  In the absence of large scale clinical trials, anecdotal evidence is a reasonable thing to consider, however. 

    Marijuana and Cancer - Achsy - Mar 30th 2010

    New studies have shown that marijuana does not cause cancer of any kind, even if smoked heavily. It has, on the contrary, been found to reduce the size of tumors. Marijuana changes the brain only when smoked in adolescents, before the brain is fully developed at age 25. After this age recent studies have shown no negative long-term effects on the brain. Don't take my word for it, look at the new studies being released!

    Hmmm - a thinker - Mar 5th 2010

    Hello,

    It seems to me that over the years that the "debates" about marijuana use have been... far too emotionally charged when discussing personal experiences.

    Some people who use marijuana will not suffer any consequences.

    Some will.

    Just as the debate about schizophrenia's causality in relation to marijuana usage has been flipped around, so too can any detrimental effect on a person's life.

    Somebody who is lacking somewhat in motivation could be more likely to become, well, a bum.  But not all who lack motivation will become a bum.

    Same with alcohol.  Same with cigarettes.  Same with being angry when you've had a bad day.

    Marijuana isn't going to make you "think" anything.  Relying on it is a behavioural problem that can only be managed by professionals and yourself.  Indeed, it can exacerbate behavioural problems you are not personally capable of managing.

    Anywho.  I'm a casual user.  A couple times a week or less.  I'm 24, was identifiably depressed at 16, started 100mg Zoloft at 19, became a "casual" (at times frequent) user of maryJ at 21, don't use it so much anymore.  Still on the Zoloft.  Graduated uni, life's peachy, the economy just sucks.

    Cheers.

    Could it be true?? - Josh - Feb 10th 2010

    I am a regular smoker... I have been smoking MANY times a day since I was about 14, less before that.  I am now 26 and wondering If I have trashed my life.  I have trouble concentrating and my memory is really bad. 

    That's not what troubles me at all.... I have in the past 3 years started treatments for depression, anxiety and OCD.  I have been on many different meds.  Is current my mental health so bad because of all the weed? Or was I going there anyway...

    I told my pschiatrist all about the weed but he was still pretty quick to put me on paxil

    Like everything in life. - Dr.Franken Stein Th.C. - Jan 23rd 2010

    There will be people who agree and disagree especially on such a sensitive subject. I am 22 years old and smoke about 3-4 times a week I agree that marijuguana can be harmfull because I have experienced the negative sideffects such as temporary Lazy Bum Sindrome, Laundry Overflowingitis, and my personal favorite Smoke Late at Night Feel Like Crap Next Day for Work...ok that last one stunk but my point is marijiuana...um what was I sayin? FTW!!! :)

     

    Who cares dude! Smoke if you want don't if you dont.

    Government Propaganda? - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Nov 17th 2009

    Hello Molly,

    I appreciate your energy and enthusiasm about this issue but I must correct some misunderstanding you have about what we have written here:

    1. We have never ever said that marijuana causes schizophrenia. That is simply not true. What we have said is that those who have the illness lying latent in their system, will experience far sooner as a result of marijuana usage. In addition, for those who have active schizophrenia, weed worsens the symptoms.

    2. There is lots of research on marijuana that is not at all funded by the U.S. Government. Some of that research has found negative things about pot and some has not.

    3. With more states legalizing "medical marijuana," it is surprising that you still cling to the theory that the government has some vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal.

    I hope you re think this issue.

    Dr. Schwartz

    perpetuating the same old government propaganda - Molly - Nov 17th 2009

    I've been smoking for 36 years and I totally disagree with every statement in here.  You seem to draw extremely broad conclusions to research that has since been refuted. That whole thing with pot causing schizophrenia?  Why is it that we haven't seen a surge in occurrance of schizophrenia?  That gateway crap?  As a mental health professional, don't you think there can be other reasons why kids try other drugs and that it's not caused by pot?  Like maybe being a risk taker by nature? 

    Like I said, I've been smoking for 36 years, some periods I smoked about as much as could be smoked, and I've never hallucinated.  Paranoia?  Try being worried about it being illegal or getting fired from your job (for something, by the way , that you are doing in the privacy of your own home).  I have a master's degree  and a house and after 8 years in the same position I'm getting ready to hang my own shingle.  So maybe there's people out there that lack motivation but no amount of drug free propaganda is going to make some people be ambititious. You don't have any "straight" clients that talk and talk but never do? Or do you just notice the pot smoking ones?

    No offense, but this is the most simplistic inaccurate tripe I've ever read.

    TDX - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Nov 11th 2009

    Hello TDX,

    It seems as though you are not aware of some of the latest developments in our nation as regards marijuana. There are increasing numbers of states that have legalized the use of "medical marijuana" so that its use is not illegal when purchased, with a prescription, from a legal seller.

    As to your comments about the medical establishment and its use of medications, even though I am not an MD, I must point out that MD's are not allowed to experiment with drugs. The Food and Drug Administration, the Federal agency that regulates the approval and sale of drugs, has been accused of waiting to long to complete research before approving drugs on the market place. The reason is that they want to know that drugs, both prescription and non prescription, are safe, so that people cannot be experimented with.

    As to marijuana itself, the real issue via the medical establishment has not been that marijuana is good or bad but that it has not been refined so that the beneficial elements are made available while "other" elements are removed. As it stands today, when the average user purchases marijuana from an illegal source, he really does not know what he is getting.

    Lastly, the issue of marijuana from my point of view, has to do with who is and is not safe using it in its present form. We have seen too many people who suffer from severe depression, to bipolar disorder and schizophrnia, use the drug and become increasingly mentally ill and even suicidal.

    Dr. Schwartz

    Arbitrary - TDX - Nov 11th 2009

    Smoking pot is kind of like walking up a teeter-totter:  Smoke a bit and you'll feel up, but smoke a lot and you'll come crashing down into a sleepy haze of giggles and junk food.  I agree with some studies which suggests small amounts of marijuana help alleve depression, but smoking heavily is counter-productive.  Things like this are hard to prove because of the illegality issue.

    Doctors experimenting with your physiology is considered okay because they can use their superior knowledge to make educated guesses, they can use Big Pharma's pills to carefully control your doses, and can administer tests to confirm physiological effects.  All of this takes lots of time, money, and experimenting.

    Doctors don't want you to use pot because it's hard to control dosage and it puts the power of self-determination into your own hands (and you won't have much self-determination if you smoke heavily), and they probably don't know how your pot use can interact with other meds you are taking.  Also, they don't get kickbacks from Big Pharma when you self-medicate.

    The social/judicial effects of smoking pot are far worse than the physical and mental effects.

    It is a gateway drug; because of its illegality one is bound to circles of illegal drug users and persons with an open-minded stance towards experimentation.

    Almost all well-paying occupations require abstinence from marijuana, requiring a complete change in lifestyle, or at least disguising it.  Job applicants with petty marijuana charges are assumed to be slow, lazy, dishonest, and thieves... I resent that.  It's a Catch 22;  Employers see marijuana users as having no benefit to society, so they don't give them a chance to be a benefit to society.

    Another Catch 22 for me...two things that alleve depression for me is pot and social interaction, but then I end up smoking with other people and get too stoned, making me sleepy and depressive (lazy) hours later.

    Pot isn't intrinsicaly bad, and when it comes to dosage, less is more.

    Clear Bias - Dan - Nov 6th 2009

    I mean clear bias not in the terms of some pre-disposition of opinion, but rather in the terms of the people of he experiences you have had.  When dealing with people with issues, when you come across people who smoke marijuana you will find that those people have issues.  I could tell you a similar series of experiences with people with overwhelmingly positive experience of marijuana.  I could tell you about a very long string of negative experiences involved with work, or sex, or love. 

    Without a doubt there are people who should not smoke marijuana.  There are people who become addicted to the effects of the drug.  But it is hard to find any experience that some people shouldn't avoid, or to which some people do not become unpleasantly attached.  If you doubt me had you considered washing your hands to be a dangerous, addictive activity?  It's a very common problem among those with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    Marijuana is the safest drug known to man.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: This particular essay by Dr. Schwartz does talk about marijuana usage in general but it also talks some about marajuana use by people who are experiencing conditions like depression or bipolar disorder.  This theme of use of the drug by people who are experiencing such conditions was followed up in a series of later posts, the latest of which may be Marijuana Makes It Worse: Severe Mental Illness.  If you follow the essays on this subject you will see that the real point of emphasis Dr. Schwartz and I have tried to make is that in our experience, the use of marijuana, unless "prescribed"(yes I know that is not the official term used but nevertheless) by a doctor, is more often than not a mistake, tending to make things worse.

    I agree - Rock Hard - Oct 4th 2009

    Prohibition of alcohol is the next step.

    agree with these comments - - Oct 2nd 2009

    i agree with these comments as i have smoked weedheavily for the past 6 years. I have managed to work aswell n just smoke b4 n after work. I know people who are alcholics and they are not able to work like me. Instead they are on incapacity benefits, costing this country more money. Where as i have always paid my TAXES. Society should change its veiw on potheads because they are not useless drug addicts which people would have u beleive. When i was youger i had suicidal feelings but after finding weed i realised that it isnt so bad and im still alive. It just angers me of the predigise i suffer with in the workplace and in society and yet it is ok to go out and get drunk. If i tell people i work with i smoke weed they will automatically look down on me and think im a person with mental problems, which is simply untrue

    Justin_Alan - Justin - Sep 17th 2009

    i agree with everything. this is one of the clearest articles i've read on the subject. i've been clean for 2 months and feel like lighting up right now! but i won't.

    Tab to blame for errant submission not MJ! - - Aug 16th 2009

    (continued again due to ineptness) another depression/pot link via Hopkins:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=16968348&ordinalpos=412&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    1. I agree with you that someone who drinks 'all day' would be considered an alcoholic (not sure in Europe) but is that person functional or rather, more functional than they would be w/o it? Are they 'impaired' all day? People are on anti-depressants all day (check out the half life of most) and are they considered dysfunctional? Again, were they more dysfunctional without them?

    2. This seems like a foolish statement coming from you. You seem intelligent enough to know that if someone is impaired, via prescription meds, alcohol, cannabis, etc. they shouldn't be driving. Now we need to define 'impaired' <grin>

    3. I think this is simply cultural. Are the majority of adults that grew up in Jamaica heroin addicts today, due to this gateway theory? Kids drink wine in France. Is France's alcoholism out of control? Here in the U.S. agencies have already demonized marijuana through school programs, so that itself will have an impact on how the child perceives what the parent is doing (i.e. 'wrong' 'bad')

    4. See above. I'm trying to go back and forth from your article, and may have missed something here. Try it and you'll see how the user interface is. (can't un-bold this)

    5. Again, I agree here, but I also believe there are reasons. Self-medication for one. The frenetic pace of modern U.S. life. If anything (work, relationships, substances, etc.) is affecting your health in a negative way, then that's not good. Is it alcohol and drugs to blame here, for the negative affect on health, or are we just seeing the first canaries in the coal mine? Here's a UCLA study re: cancer . . . http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501729_pf.html

    FWIW, the links I'm posting aren't to PROVE anything, but illustrate that I don't think we (collective) don't have enough evidence to say either way, and to be aware of your perspective/opinion based on the sampling.

    6. Again, come on man. You're brighter than this, and spreading fear is beneath you. Would I want my Dr./bus driver/air-traffic controller on prescribed Librium? We already have special requirements for people in sensitive occupations.

    We have a serious drug and alcohol problem in our country. Here, I agree 100% (wow, huh?) But it's not the drugs that are the problem, what is causing such rampant alcohol & drug use? IMO, lifestyle. If you want the job, the pension, the house, the car, the big screen TV, then keep up or get trampled under. That causes stress in most people and as the pace for the above quickens, so increases the stress. Thus the greater need for a coping mechanism, or a replacement for the chemicals lost(serotonin,dopamine, etc.) /battling chemicals created (cortisol/nor-epinephrine, etc.) and society reaches out for medicine to feel better (check out big pharma's profits)

    I don't use marijuana, but I believe it's far more benign than alcohol and like alcohol can be used responsibly. I am also not a believer that people are sheep and can't be trusted to make their own choices. If meth-amphetamine were legalized tomorrow, myself, nor anyone I know would rush out to 'try it'. We don't need the government to save us from ourselves in this case. Scientists typically love Darwinism, but seem to be dragging their heels to let it play out. I don't understand that.

    I enjoyed your article. Above is my 2 cents (in multiple messes) and I found your site by random, so I'm afraid I won't be able to continue the correspondence, but I ask you to consider that there might be those that are benifiting from marijuana, and your perspective (sampling) is jaded by the very sampling.

    Your words strike me to be written by someone intelligent (despite the Ph.D <grin>) and intelligent people will question and reconsider additional evidence and aren't afraid to change their position on a subject when enlightened by said additional evidence. This comes from one who has changed his stance 180 degrees from what it once was for decades, due to extensive research.

    Be well Doc,

    Mark

     

    doubt from the rest of the information here - Anonymous - Jun 27th 2009

    I'm sorry but just saying at the beggining that marihuana causes allucination makes me even doubt from the rest of the information here, plus medication for general anxiety disorder has far worst consequences even involving sexual dysfunction.

    Pot is bad for you - Recovery 62 - May 20th 2009

    Back in 1987 I ended my life of smoking an ounce of pot every week, drinking three gallons of everclear and snorting cocaine daily.

    I was handed a book called "marijuana syndrome" which at the time confirms still today the information given by Dr. Schwartz on this site.

    Pot, herb, devils lettuce, hippie cabbage, refer, dope, green, buds, toke material, 420, smoke, mary jane and the many other names are bad for you.

    I have over and over heard the arguments for smoking this crap and the bottom line is it robs one of their life.  I was a seasoned dope smoker, missed out on a paid for degree to become a doctor and it affected my life in a very severe way.  As a result I was and am still diagnosed with depression and anxiety levels that are off the charts, but am medicated for it.   

    Denial is so powerful amongst people who really think they are smoking the natural stuff and that since it comes out of the garden it is perfectly safe.   Well I would argue that opium poppies also grow in nature but it will kill you and you will become addicted to it.

    I am on here to rant as I am so sick of the AA people putting drug addicts down.   When AA was started the alcoholics at the time were high society drunks and could  not be associated with those people, those who were on drugs.

    Pot is the worst killer of them all.  It is cunning, baffling and powerful beyond the comprehension of the human mind.

    Get off the pot.    

    Prescription - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - May 12th 2009

    Richard,

    In 1996, Proposition 215 was passed into law allowing for the medical use of marijuana by PRESCRIPTION in California.

    Dr. Schwartz

    not a prescription - Richard - May 12th 2009

    Get your facts right Dr.

    You do not receive a 'Prescription' for Marijuana in CA.  A Dr. can give you a 'Recommondation'.

    Self Medication - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - May 9th 2009

    Hi and thank you for your comments,

    The comments you wrote contain a combination of accurate and inaccurate fact. For example: 1. At the present time there is only one state where medical marijuana is available and that is California. That is the only state. There, people need a perscription from a medical doctor to purchase marijuana.

    2. Self medication is NEVER a good idea, whether the drug is legal or not, over the counter or prescription. If a person has a medical or mental problem, it is safer for them to see a medical doctor than to treat themselves.

    3. Your experiences with psychiatry have been very negative thus far. For example, benzodiazapines are not a good way to handle anxiety and panic in anyone, and especially in someone as young as you. The reason? They are addicting.

    Talking therapy is  not an effective way to help someone with panic and anxiety. You need cognitive-behavioral therapy with a clinical psychologist trained to provide this very focused type of psychotherapy.

    I want to urge you to find that type of psychologist and get the kind of help that will enable you to be free of medications and substances.

    You are young and your brain is still developing and will continue until you are approximately 24 y.o. Marijuana, alcohol and all such substances can interfere with that. Get off of all substances and start getting real help.

    Dr. Schwartz

    self-medication - - May 9th 2009

    i'm an 18 year old girl from new england and i smoke weed every day to every other day, sometimes skipping days. im diagnosed with "general anxiety disorder" and depression.

    since the age of 6, ive had severe anxiety attacks frequently, turning suicidal at 12. i learned to cope with no medical help because my parents, afraid of their kid having "mental problems" told me it was normal. finally at 16 i saw a therapist, who did not help, as without prescribing anything they can only offer advice. almost all of her advice i had figured out on my own. she referred me to a psychiatrist, at the time i was 17 so it was a child psychiatrist. this woman was crazy and treated me like a 4 year old, having secret meetings with my mom and trying to make me take drug and pregancy tests every week. she prescribed me lexapro, but i never took it because after the first appt i refused to go back.

    when i went to high school, i smoked very little if at all until 10th grade when i had older friends who smoked alot. the first time i got very high was extremely uncomfortable for me, i had intense paranoia and it was much like a panic attack. i didnt smoke for a while after that. i began to drink alot from the age of 15 to 17, and i never had a problem with drinking unless i got sick. smoking weed or drinking back then never had anything to do with my anxiety, i wasnt self medicating at all, it was just what almost everyone did and i had fun because i was with people having fun. eventually, drinking began to seem stupid to me after my friends totalled their cars and my best friend became a completely different obnoxious person as an alcoholic. i stopped drinking pretty much all together.

    as i lost my tolerance for drinking and saw the reality of it, i took on more of an intellectual mindstate. i began smoking regularly around 16. weed opened up my mind so much..i could see my whole life from an outside perspective as the person i want to be, i could understand my anxiety and was in better control of it, because with marijuana i learned to control my mind. sometimes i would have paranoia, afraid that i got 'too high', similar to a panic attack (getting too worked up) but i could control my brain optimistically and control my high. this helped me to control my anxiety. i saw life so much differently, optimistically, life was so much more interesting. the life that i wanted to throw away now intrigued me in a totally different way.

    at this point, ive smoked weed regularly for a little over 2 years. i am addicted to smoking, but its completely mental. it is just something fun to do. i do not need to smoke to have fun. i will not deny that now i am self medicating, because now my experiences are different and if i go a day without smoking, i feel anxious and nauseous. if i had proof that a SSRI or other medication could help me more than marijuana does, i would definitely consider quitting smoking and switching. ive talked to many people about this. while a few have told me medication will save my life, most people tell me that SSRIs and antidepressants make things worse for them, as well as change their personality with weird side effects. people i knew with perscriptions for benzos for anxiety such as klonopins and xanax would give me some. i became heavily addicted to these pills for a few months, as they completely diminished my anxiety. they also completely diminished my interest in doing ANYTHING as well as my memory of weeks on end.

    i havent taken any benzos in almost a year. i dont drink. i quit smoking cigarettes 5 months ago. the only drug i do is marijuana. i do not enjoy smoking and sitting around doing nothing. i love to do things outdoors, including hiking, sports, traveling, etc. i work out every other day, including running. i am graduating high school in a month and am attending college in october. ive had a steady job for 3 years.

    drug - a substance that when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function.

    to tell someone like me that self medicating with marijuana is wrong would be stupid. people think that just because a doctor prescribes them something, it is not really a drug. in many states i could be prescribed medical marijuana for my anxiety. in another country i could have been smoking my whole life for spiritual reasons. i dont really think its my fault that i have anxiety or that im depressed. millions of people are depressed. our world is full of so much evil today. if i had not started smoking weed, i fear i wouldve killed myself long ago. if anything, i think that more people should smoke weed as our culture becomes more ignorant and violent.

    i do fear the consequences of using cigar papers to smoke out of. by choice, i would use a vaporizor, which does not produce harmful smoke, but for now i live with my parents who would throw out that expensive device if they found it. marijuana itself is not harmful to the body, besides possible mental health issues that clearly no one has straight facts about.

    while marijuana is illegal, alcohol is completely legal and is abused every day by millions of americans. i would rather have pothead parents than alcoholic parents (from experience). it makes sense that man made chemical drugs are harmful to the body and brain and should be illegal. but marijuana, in modesty, is different and has medical potential for many people.

    a good precentage of americans in jail are there for marijuana charges. the government is mad that someone can make a living off of selling something illegal. they do not care about the harm these drugs are doing, or alcohol would not be legal and the american government would not be THE WORLD'S LARGEST CONSUMER OF COCAINE.

    not a matter of making judgments - Allan N. Schwartz, PhD - Apr 25th 2009

    It is not a matter of making judgments as it is reporting research and professional experiences with patients. However, i agree with you on a couple of key points: 1. It is a matter of controlling a habit and that means refraining from using the drug constantly, everyday and all day. 2. No doubt that personality has a lot to do with it. Again, those with the potential for depression are most likely to become depressed as a result of marijuana.Read the posting I did about marijuana and alcohol and legalizing marijuana . Dr. Schwartz

    I agree and disagree with this... - Chuck Boston - Apr 25th 2009

    Its true that smoking marijuana lowers motivation, causes breathing problems, and can send people on a downward spiral.  But this is because of the persons personality.  Someone who doesn't think of the future and only cares about partying will of course skip school and eventually do other drugs if they dont change.  But those who can control their habits, have goals that they really care for, and doesnt want to party hard can smoke marijuana and just marijuana.  And also be able to say im not going to smoke for awhile and does it.  Im one of those people.  I smoke all day every day and still do all my school work, work 9 hours a day and enjoy everything life has to offer.  Not everyone is suited for smoking weed just as with alcohol.  if you drink or do drugs, finding a balance in your habits that works for you and making sure you stick to that no matter how bad the craving is will ensure you dont end up in this authors "insane Asylum".  Experience both worlds before you make a judgement.  Otherwise why should anyone believe a one-sided view?

    marijuana is my medicine - - Apr 23rd 2009

    I happen to disagree with many of the "facts" stated above about marijuana. All the emphasis is directed at the possible side effects which clearly are dependent on the users personality traits as well as his/her tendency towards addiction. The effects of marijuana were grossly exaggerated claiming only negative outcomes. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for the problematic, crippling symptoms that occur with my illness. I smoke it and bake with it.Otherwise I am a motivated, active, healthy person. I see no reason why marijuana is illegal. Alcohol is far more debilitating than marijuana. We don't need to research deaths from alcohol in comparison to deaths from pot smoking, however if that is what it takes to open the eyes of people who need a better understanding of the positive effects of marijuana, it's a good place to begin.

    Stop lying to yourselves - R.D.Wagner - Mar 29th 2009

    I just made the decesion to quit weed today. The last four years of my life have been a complete waste. I just drifted between dead end jobs, and constantly thought about getting high. I recently enrolled in college, and it is strong motivation to stop smoking. Weed isn't worth it. I gain nothing from smoking, other than the need to be high to do ANYTHING. It is not harmless. I dare any of the people who have posted comments on here saying weed is harmless to quit for one month.

    Cannabis Helps Me - - Mar 10th 2009

    I have been a daily cannabis user for over a year and an occasional user for several years before that. I started smoking in order to deal with dysthymia (mild chronic depression) and a Generalized Anxiety Dissorder. It has had a very positive effect on my life. It has deffinitley not cured the depression and anxiety but it has not made it worse either. It just gives me a more positive outlook and helps me live in the moment, rather than worrying about everything all the time. I have not experienced any negative effects what so ever (unlike the many pharmacuetical anti depressent treatments that i have tried). I am almost done my second year of university and my cannabis use does not seem to have affected my marks at all. Furthermore, on several occasions I have quit cannabis for a week or more and had no withdrawl symptoms other than a mild longing that would be expected when anyone quits a fond habit for a time.

    I still deal with depression and at times life seems completley bleak and hopeless but i know it would be even more hopeless if it wasnt for cannabis. But remember, its a useful coping mechanism, not a cure.

    negative health effects are minimal compared to the benefits - Chris - Feb 9th 2009

    If anyone is interested in learning more about weed, its history etc check these out. I think people just need to learn more about marijuana because I think its pretty obvious that its negative health effects are minimal compared to the benefits of it. All these worst case scenarios you hear about are far outnumbered by people who smoke responsibly. Its all politics man!

    "The Union"

    "In Pot We Trust"

    Editor's Note: We're a mental health website, and are trying to address the mental health concerns that can come from pot smoking.  We have noted that use of pot can sometimes "release" mental illness that might otherwise have not become a problem, and that the use of pot can complicate and sometimes sabotage the treatment regimes prescribed for people who have mental illnesses.  This is our major objection to the use of pot, and from our perspectives, it is a very valid and concerning one, despite the popular sentiment we find expressed here frequently that pot should be legalized.  People who are vulnerable to mental illness, or who have mental illnesses should be very, very careful with regards to pot use, and sobriety from pot and other substances that might interfere with proper treatments as prescribed by a physician or with psychotherapy is the best course.  Otherwise, we're not trying to "harsh your mellow".  

    Live For Acceptance - - Feb 7th 2009

    It dosen't matter what you do in this life because despite how rich you get, or what ever your posistion in society is your going to end up in a casket sooner or later and all of this will literaly mean nothing to you. So if your comfortable with feeling truly amazing with very little negative side effects then smoke some weed. You never know when a stray bullet will strike you dead, it could be tomorrow and if you don't die from a stray bullet than you will eventually die form old age, so you have to live like you are dying because you are. Don't hold back and don't regret just be kind because were all in this hell together.

    Editor's Note: This is a fairly nihlistic way to look at things.  You could use this same argument to justify promiscuity or the use of much harder drugs than pot I think, as essentially you are saying, "life has no meaning so you might as well do whatever makes you feel good (so long as you're not hurting someone else)".  The thing is, people who act in such a hedonistically driven manner are frequently not happy people.  Happy people are more frequently, people who develop and maintain intimate social relationships.  Hedonistic activities tend to be also more superficial (in a relationship sense) and thus more meaningless activities. I don't mean to suggest that a person can't both smoke pot and have a rich and deep social network, but it doesn't sound like that is the case for you. This world can be a "hell" for sure, but it doesn't have to feel that way, and it is not generally necessary to smoke weed in order to have a decent experience of life.  

    The Truth - - Feb 6th 2009

    The Truth is marijuana is a drug and should be treated and taken the same as alchohol. It is relitivly harmless aside from the mild anxiety you go though when you quit after heavy useage. I can tell you that based on my own experiences with it, and the experiences of alot of people that I know. It is way less harmful than alchohol although that seems to be the more socially accepted drug. You may hear all of these horror stories about it but those are just extreme cases, and happen very little. For every one person that says marijuana ruined thier life there are probaly more than 30 people who say that it has improved thier outlook on life, and stop doing it with a positive opinion about it. It's not the drug that ruins people's lives it's the people them selves that ruin their lives. Being a full fledged pot head who dose nothing but sit around and smoke weed is equivilant to being an alchoholic, or a person who gets addicted to world of war craft, and becomes extremly unhealthy. Barack obama supports weed use and admits to heavily useing it in the past. Micheal Phelps was recently caught doing it, and he is one of the most successful athletes in history. This stuff is fun too whatever you veiw as entertaining like sports, video games or going to a theme park dosen't even come close to how amazing an experience you will have if you smoke weed, and if your smart you will combine smoking weed with your favorite activities, it greatly improves any expierience, you haven't experienced a theme park ride until you have experienced it high.  

    Editor's Note: When we talk about Marijuana use as risky, we are specifically considering potential health costs; the risks associated with smoking, and specific to our purpose, the increased risk (in our experiences) of psychiatric symptoms becoming worse, and of psychotic problems that seem to be related to marijuana usage, however tangental.  We are not commenting on the quality of the "high" or whether it is a pleasant or fun drug to use.  

    pot - - Feb 5th 2009

    I've been a chronic pot smoker since the age of 17. I'm 32 now and I gotta say : I'm in trouble. My brain is fried. Its just that simple. I can't concentrate. I can't remember  anything including simple things like peoples names, people I've known for years. At work co-workers will sometimes ask me if I did this or that the day before and I honestly can't recall so I just try to go with whatever. Its really embarassing. It did me in academics wise. It has also greatly hindered my ability to handle stress. Its a real problem.  Maybe its just me but I find it VERY addictive. I cannot seem to quit out right even though I realize what its doing to me. What's stopping me from quitting mostly are physical withdrawl symptoms (I get SUPER tired around 6:00pm if I don't smoke during the day). It's such a huge part of my daily routine, it punctuates everything. I used to have a very good brain. Actually, memory was one of my strong points. I just hope the damage is somehow reversable.

    I must say that, as a teenager,  the notion of pot being 'not as bad as the other stuff' contributed greatly to my unabashed indulgence in its consumption. That and the whole pot conter-culture BS. You know, we were just stupid kids: pot was cool and it wasn't addictive and its not like were smoking cigarettes, you can still drive a car, there are no lasting effects and it dosn't kill brain cells it just puts them to sleep... etc, etc. I see it now as a load of crap, but back then I beleived that stuff, or at least wanted to. Alot of those stupid kids no longer smoke pot but at the same  time alot of them still do. In the ones that still do, some have healthy balanced successfull lives, some not so much. In the ones that are not so much I'd say an overwhelming majority of them feel that the pot habit they aquired in high school really didn't help them at all. Is it just the pot? No, of course not, but it certainly didn't help. If it happened to me and them, is it so far fetched to think it could happen to someone else?

    The perceived harmlessness of pot is precisely what makes it such a menace: you can sail on it for years, smoking every day and never really hit rock bottom. Unlike certain heavier drugs\addictions like alcohol or coke or gambling, it never really forces you to make a drastic change to save your life or family or what have you.  And then, one day you wake up and you realize your a burn out and havn

    Its not to say that pot is in and of itself a bad thing, its just that it could be dangerous. For certain people it could be a bad choice. If a 17 year old kid would ask me what I think about pot I would have to tell him to be carefull, it can turn you into a dumbass.

    This is a bogus article - - Feb 4th 2009

    No real doctor would ever say this: "In other words, drug abuse at home will result in drug abuse by the children when they are older." A person in the medical community has a responsibility not to make such hysterical and alarmist claims. A definite claim like that is obviously a matter of opinion. I know numerous people who have a perfectly healthy relationship with pot whose parents smoked it while they were raising them. It is irresponsible to sneak this opinion in among medical facts and it undermines the validity of the article. Whatsmore this article has numerous typos and grammatical error, not a sign that the information was carefully assembled.  

    I quit smoking pot every day and I have experienced some depression but it would be irrisponsible of me to blame my depression on the pot. I smoked multiple times every day for several months and it was a little hard to stop but it was nothing like quitting a truly addictive drug like nicotine or alcohol. 99% of it was just not having pot around me in my apartment. I was simply in the habit of doing it each day. I didnt experience any real big struggle, I would just get figgity and would think about smoking pot, but that only lasted for a few days. Conventional wisdom is right insofar as pot does tend to keep people indoors in their houses, on the couch so it is important to watch out for this but it is far from the end of the world. Maybe use it outdoors?

    It is worth noting that MANY other countries do not villify and pathologize pot use the way we do in the U.S. In Spain and Quebec for instance it is acceptable to smoke a joint out in public and there is no epidemic of pot addiction in these countries.  

    Teenagers will always be drawn to the forbidden fruit and it is our job as adults not to get hysterical about it and think that every time someone smokes pot is has to have a negative effect.

    Just as you would be concerned about a friend who is drinking heavily and tells you they are depressed, watch out for this same behavior with pot (using to escape feelings rather then just enjoy what is already present).

    Pot is what you make it. - Bob. - Jan 21st 2009

    Pot will make an unstable person more unstable. I honestly believe it is no big deal if used with respect.

    I smoke pot atleast once a week. I go to highschool, i have a job, i run track and field, and play football.

     I hope to go to D1 state this year because i missed going by one place at Sectionals last year as a junior. No one can tell me that pot is messing up my life. Just as i work out, i smoke pot for fun. Thats all it is for me.

     Some of you need to look things up from a less biased website. that is not to say that this page doesnt make a few valad points.

    My experience - Jeff - Jan 16th 2009

    I started smoking M in the middle of law school and went from being, literally, at the top of my class to making mostly C's.  I tried really hard but nothing was sticking as much as it used to.  On days when I would plan to study, I would smoke a little and at that point all inspiration went out the window and I sat at home or, worse, would try to study and find that my short-term memory was non-existent.

     Before too long, all my wife and I did was smoke up.  I found it impossible to enjoy anything without being high.  and found it nearly impossible to have the ambition to do anything.  again, i had previously been at the very top of my law school class.  my work began to suffer and I began to smoke more and more because everything else was going to sh--.  i quit caring about doing well at anything and found myself totally checking out on any day i could.  when i was at home caring for our toddler, i found that, honestly, my looking forward to being with him was in fact secondary to my looking forward to being stoned all day.

     i am now in the process of quitting, 3 days sober as of now, with the help of NA and AA.  let me tell you, the withdrawals are real.  i'm anxious, depressed, on edge with a strong feeling that something just isn't right.  oh and i have headaches, nausea, constipation/diahrrea, am shaky as hell, and am experiencing random musle aches and even minor muscle spasms. 

    isnt it true - - Dec 28th 2008

    Marijuana can and does ruin lives, and like you said, anyone who disagrees always has a vaige comment that shows denial.  I think people forget that life really isnt that short, and even when it seems short, over the years things do add up.  I've known alot of people who began to smoke weed then i became one of them, and it really has ruined alot of things and gave me real life problems that i would have never experienced if it wasnt for marijuana.  People who smoke marijuana daily give up on everything that once made them happy, and just sit at home or get 'high' and go do something.  Never can someone who smokes pot regularly be doing an activity sober.  And it hurts when these people where once your friends, and they once didnt smoke pot all day every day.  It can really take toll on someone who has give'n it up and actually try's.  In conclusion, pot may be fun for a couple trys, but after that its just a waiste of time and it causes too many problems.

    Wife & Mother - Tina - Nov 19th 2008

    I have been with my husband 29 years. We were divorced due to legal issues and I have left him and taken him back many times over the years. I was aware of his pot smoking when we married but not aware of the control that it took over his life. We had a long marriage and three children. I spent many lonely nights as he would go to a male freinds to smoke etc. Each one of our three children has struggled with some sort of addiction. Our children are now grown 22,24 & 28. Our eldest is incarcerated and has a severe addiction to methanphetimine since the age of 14. I've  recently found out that he has smoked pot with 2 of our children and even used friends and connections of our children to purchase pot.I feel so betrayed and un-loved  but most of all I feel ashamed to have stayed with him all of these years. I have read many books and articles about addiction and all I can say that everything I have read has come true. Pot is HIGHLY  addictive and it can destroy peoples life's and make them delusional. I now know that it is impossible for him to change as his first love is pot. He also also recently had a stroke and a heart attack and continues to use. Please do not let this happen to you ! Don't allow an addict to stay in your life as it can destroy your life and your families life.

    what u want it to be! - fella - Nov 7th 2008

    how about the fact that life can end at any time dont u think that this ruins lives? its always the drugs never the perishability of our frail bodies and of coarse never fear itself!!

    Ruines Lifes BUT>>>>>> - Undiagnosed - Nov 7th 2008

    If you have ever been in chronic pain you may think twice about what methods you use for pain relief... While it can ruin lifes it can also save some from a life of pain and missery..

    http://www.undiagnosedillness.org

     

    Depression - Allan N Schwartz - Nov 6th 2008

    There are a few of you who seem to insist that we advocate having marijuana remain illegal. Speaking for myself as a writer for this site, (I have no idea how Mental Help Net feels about or what they think about the legalization of marijuana) marijuana should be legalized. However, that is solely my opinion and does not represent the opinion of this site.

    In fact, in reviewing the comment made by people who write about Pot, I cannot recall anyone suggesting it should remain illegal.

    However, the very real and solid research on the relationship between marijuana and depression is very clear: Those who have a tendency to be depressed or mentally ill will experience the symptoms a lot sooner than those who do not. In other words, if you have an inherited predisposition towards depression or a major mental illness, marijuana can hasten its onset. But, this is not true for everyone.

    The notion that there is a connection between marijuana use and depression based on marijuana being illegal is just plain silly. I know too many people who use marijuana(I am not one of them) and who get it very, very easily and have no depression at all and are in no way bothered about its illegality, even though they wish it were legal.

    Lastly, I am sorry to disagree with those who continue to insist that marijuana is harmless. For example, teenagers who use marijuana regularly and chronically, are in danger of harming themselves. The reasons have to do with the fact that adolescence is a time of rapid brain development and that continues until about 25 years of age. Chronic use interferes with that development and that prevents clear thinking, learning and cognitive development. Then, too, those who do fall to depression or one of the serious mental illnesses, cannot say that the marijuana was a "harmless" experience for them. It did not make them mentally ill, but it did hasten their problems and worsened them.

    I hope this is clarifying of what I am saying.

    Dr. Schwartz

    Ruined my school career - TOM - Nov 6th 2008

    i got in to smoking cannabis when i was at school, very quickly my grades went from fairly good, to extremly bad. i gave up going to school and lost motivation for nearly two years, continued to smoke pot, had no qualifications, and no great plans for my life. eventually  i got my act together and am now doing my gcse's at college. i hardly smoke pot any more, and my life is almost back on track.

     

    My husband smokes every day and I have been married 10 years - - Oct 24th 2008

    I have been married for 10 years and my husband smokes  everyday. I have told him to stop, he doesn't give me any money for bills anymore. I am seeking a lawyer tommorow. I am sick I have an ulcer and under alot of stress. I think it depends on each individual how you want to handle it. I have tried to help him and stood by him for all these years. When he doesn't smoke he is extremely crabby and withdrawn.

    How to deal with a pot smoker that uses it to cover mental problem - - Oct 23rd 2008

    I can say what I want to about pot smoking.  I was a pot smoker for years.  I did not smoke everyday but smoked on the weekends.  I like the other lady on here did not realize that I fell in love with my husband when he was high.  When he is sober, he can't even stand his own self.  When he is high he is a total different person.  OK, maybe I do agree with one of you about him covering up a mental illness with pot...but how does it help me when he will not admit that....somebody please tell  me how to deal with his crazy cycle of happy, crazy, happy, crazy.  I am exhausted.  I won't leave him because I truly love him and we have two children.  What else can I do?

    ruined my life - - Oct 22nd 2008

    Using pot is probably the worst thing I've ever done.  It has damaged my brain (memory, concentration, motivation, foggy burnt out feeling).  Smoked heavily for years. 

    DON'T TOUCH IT

    Re-Re - Stoney - Oct 21st 2008

    just cause you don't like it, you think you should make criminals of the people who do?  remember alcohol prohibition...now alcohol sponsers the Super Bowl...

    go read a book 

    Marijuana is not good for anyone - lilac - Oct 17th 2008

    I am totally aganist it. I know someone who does it all the time and I believe this person has fried their brain. I dont understand the need to smoke. It is totally stupid I have never smoked and I never will.

    Numbers mean nothing without a statistical base group - Tracy Baublits - Oct 17th 2008

    This all means very little without having a base percentage of users in the general populace. Obviously, with  it being illegal, this is not possible to get. Psychological abuse & stereotyping should be taken into consideration. Being told by society in general, the educational system, and gov't paid media, that you are an unmotivated loser who will be living in you parents basement, and that your brains are fried eggs, has to have an effect. As far as depression goes, if you are considered to be a criminal for doing something that causes no harm to society, very minimal long term health effects, in addition to the above mentioned stereotyping, is depression caused by the use of pot, OR, ONE of the effects of illegalization.

    self medicate - wife - Oct 16th 2008

    Some people that smoke pot are self medicating. I think the husband that is angry when he's not high suffers from a mental disorder such as depression, or bipolar spectrum disorder. Pot is NOT the problem, its a solution. Mental health help is attached with a stigma and its difficult to find good treatment. People would rather be labeled as stoner than as crazy or weak.

    Smoking Weed - Allan N Schwartz - Oct 16th 2008

    After reading the many comments sent in about my article on marijuana I have come to realize that there may be a misunderstanding. When I wrote the article about those who smoke marijuana I was not referring to those who come home and have a smoke once each night, or every other night or just on Saturday night.

    Instead, I was and still am referring to those who smoke every day: All Day. In case you think that there are only a few people who do this I have to work to change that misconception. There are many who smoke All Day Long, everyday. They drive to work high, and spend the entire day in that intoxicated way.

    In my opinion and based on what I have both read and seen of private psychotherapy patients, smoking All Day and Every Day can do nothing good for the brain and central nervous system, not to mention the lungs.

    Dr. Schwartz

    i smoke weed - - Oct 15th 2008

    i smoke weed,

    i do it pretty reguarly not quite everyday, but many of my m8s do,

    i have no record of previous depression or any heriditory signs of mental disorders, so i am lucky because i am not in the danger group. i belive that all substances are dangerous but also that they are enjoyable and if used with sense and not done in excess they will cause little or no harm, i have been through phases were i have smoked too much, i have felt paranoia and been so worried, its horrible but i learnt and im careful not to let myself have too much or let it effect my school work or anything else i do.

     the people who are leaving comments telling other never to touch the drug are ridiculous. it is down to their own decision and it will effect every person differntly because we all have a different mental state. so you will never be able to tell unless you try.

    i smoke weed

    Weed is ruining my Husband - - Sep 24th 2008

    I can't tell you how painful it is to watch my husband's mind being screwed up because of marijuana. I love him with all my heart and I will not leave him, i have thought about it but usually only when he's being verbally abusive becuase he dosent have his weed. I married him thru sickness and health, He's  deffinatley sick right now, that's what helps me when he's mean, that if he wasn't a pot head he wouild not be treating me like that. it's not the man I married.  When he's high he is as happy as a clown and everything is so great and funny and he wants to talk up a storm. When he dosen't have his weed, he gets mad real fast, dosen't want to talk, depressed...the complete opposite of  the man I married . I understand why someone who smokes weed would be offended by this site, but isn't that true with most addictions? The turth hurts and our first instinct is to get offended and strike back at the source? Weed is not helpful, it's only helpful in the mind of the marijuana smoker.

    listen - - Aug 19th 2008

    alcohol makes people do very stupid and thoughtless things! i have done both for years and i will state the facts.....alcohol has ruined 10 years of my life, not pot. the worse thing i ever did while stoned was eat myself outta house and home.... so what. most people that speak of this have no clue what they are talking about, there are just ignorant. now i can say this i haven't drank or smoked in over a year but the simple fact of the matter is i would rather see somone stoned then drunk outta there mind. the alcohol is what makes people do the crazy stuff they do its the number 1 gateway, get too drunk you don't care what you do or who you hurt, get too stoned however you don't care how much you laugh or eat. wake up

    I Think Pot Ruins Lives - - Jul 10th 2008

    I started dating this guy that I had known for several years as a friend. I did asked if he did drugs before I started dating him, he said he smoked pot occasionally. I thought weekends every once in awhile. I don't do drugs I thought I could deal with it. But months into the relationship I find out he smokes from 6:00 am till he goes to bed and drinks 12 beers a day (every day) He has been smoking for 20 years and come to find out is on probation for 4 more years he has to report every three months, but they have not drug tested him. He buys some drink from the health food store before he goes to probation office. I wonder if what he is drinking will really work on someone that smokes all day everyday. We fly just two weeks ago and come to find out he took it on the plane with him without me knowing. I could not believe someone who was on probation would take such a chance. Needless to say we are not dating anymore..The relationship was making me sick because it was hard to relate to some that was stoned all the time.

     

    Stop the Lies - - Dec 31st 2007

    You can make all the excuses you want to about pot...you can compare it another drug or claim that it is not as bad as alcohol...keep on lying to yourself and others.

    I wish I had all the time back that I have spent waiting on other people who were pot smokers to get up off their ass and do something.  Talk talk talk talk talk and think they are brilliant all the the while they don't realize that when a sober person is listening to them, they are speaking babel.

    It takes away a persons ambitions, hell, they can't even keep a promise...you call this harmless?

    I hate that drug with a passion and love to see it burned off the face of the Earth.

    Indeed - Harley Lunsford - Oct 9th 2007

    While you hit on very important topics, i find you leave issues shallow, Dr. Schwartz. If you believe that alcohol is worse then marijuana, then logicly would you not also agree that amaricans should have the choice as they do with drinking. Or do you believe that alcohol should be illegal. thank you for your time

    Drug and alcohol effects - - Sep 5th 2007

    I am currently a student of psychology (undergrad). I eventually want to pursue a Ph.D. (also in psychology). My ex-fiancee was a kind and loving person once -- the best person I think I'll ever know. I miss him. He's not dead, but he fell back into substance abuse (primarily alcohol and pot), and I don't think he can quit without serious help.

    I can speak first hand about the horrifying effects of marijuana and alcohol on someone's brain. I've watched it. While my "evidence" for saying this is anecdotal, nothing anyone can ever say to me would change my mind. I lost the person that I (still) love more than anyone else in the world to drugs (pot and alcohol). Worse, no one involved in his life is able or willing to get him committed to treatment, and, I know from experience, that three months of sobriety would give him an entirely different outlook. When sober, he is different enough to openly discuss with anyone how alcohol and drugs have almost killed him (and they have).

    The "system" cannot or will not help him -- everyone seems to think that addicted people have a "choice" -- sometimes they do not. Sometimes their brains are so impacted that they cannot see that they even have a problem. Let's face it, lots of people drink beer and smoke pot, right? There is even a radio station near where I live that actively promotes "partying." There's a cult-like following.

    Well, I've seen what would have been our wedding rings pawned, televisions pawned, and much more...  I've seen pets go improperly attended, I've seen behavior that would win an Oscar if it were used to portray insanity. And, frankly, I've seen many tax dollars wasted on either less-than-effective care and treatment, and/or outright funding for those who are classed as "mentally ill," while, in fact, they spend the better part of most days party their brains out (literally) while living on the federal dole.

    As a friend/family/loved-one, as a taxpayer, and as a student of psychology, my opinion is that some very serious measures/assessments need to occur.

     

    - marrijuana ruins 2 yrs marriage - Jul 30th 2007

    My husbund smokes pot in the house and in the car, that makes me very upset, if I complain he gets very angry, almost insane, them he gets verbaly abusive and a litle more then that, he tells me to leave him. I love him and I don't want the divorce, but I hate marijuana, I never smoked it and I don't have any desire in do it. Is There any hope for my marriage?  Also my husband bring his friends to our house to smoke marijuana in my leaving room, I hate his friends for that. They know  I don't like marijuana and they bring that to my house. I'm  getting very depressed about this situation.

    Depression, mentally+emotionally - Jennifer - Jun 4th 2007

     

    I started smoking "the green" in the year 2005. Because of stress and depression. I would smoke almost everyday just to forget what happen that day, the words someone said or did. It just takes away the hurt and everything that happens. I stopped after meeting this guy and everything was great. I felt that I didn't need it anymore, but he started throwing these acquisations at me about my Ex. Now that this was going on for sometime now. I think about needing it again just to forget. It helps me to forget, so I don't have to think about it anymore. Plus I am Suicidal. Marijuana helps me to stop to think about suicide.

    I disagree - Jill - May 4th 2007

    Dr, Schwartz,

    Cannabis connected to cancer? Not according to researchers at UCLA. http://tinyurl.com/2wt26y and http://tinyurl.com/nsd2k

    cannabis causes schizophrenia? Not in any statistically significant way.http://tinyurl.com/ys6e47

    Cannabis causes exacerbation of mental health issues/schizophrenia? Possible, I suppose. Unless their illnesses are exacerbated by the failure of the mental health profession to provide evidence based, appropriate care to these patients which then forces them to medicate themselves. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    Cannabis a gateway drug? The gateway THEORY? It is called a THEORY for a reason. http://www.drugwarfacts.org/gatewayt.htm  Can some people become dependent on Cannabis. I'm sure they can. However, people can become addicted to any substance. Cannabis is safer than alcohol. Are you aware that there have been 0 deaths reported as a result of cannabis? http://tinyurl.com/yq8ca3

    Do I want a Dr, Nurse or a Truck Driver under the influence when they're working? No. I don't want them drinking alcohol while they're working either. But not everyone who drinks alcohol or who smokes cannabis use them while working.

    Have you ever seen Reefer Madness? And are you aware of the reason that Cannabis is illegal? Or as far as that goes, why we have prohibition on all drugs? Here is a good resource. http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/

    don't quite agree - - Mar 2nd 2007

    Any substance that is taken excessively will be harmful eventually. It is all a question of balance. If a person stays at home all day and smokes pot, well, I don't think pot is the true problem, it might just be a way to forget the real underlying problem, which might be depression or some kind of disorder. There is no real proof that cannabis is actually harmful, other than for your lungs, which is obvious. The person that starts hallucinating or ends up in a mental institute after smoking cannabis, well, had a serious problem from the begining, that might have been increased with the drug, but the drug, in itself, doesn't trigger mental problems out of nowhere.

    I came here for help - Rick the Reeno - Feb 1st 2007

    I came here to get help and guidelines on my problem of smoking every day. It seems to me all this site does is jugde and scare people, I've been off the drug for a week now, and when somebody actually decides to stop smoking, they are usually very aware of the facts stated abow. Can somebody give me a hint to a page that actually helps, and motivates me, instead of just beeing a total downer?

    Please reply.

    Editor's Note: Our Smoking topic center has a lot of information on ways to stop smoking.  Most of it is targeted to cigarettes, but there is a lot of overlap when you are dealing with a smoking habit.  You might also look at our self-help book, Psychological Self-Tools which describes general methods people can learn to use so as to help themselves make positive life changes.   Good luck with quitting your habit!  

     

    cannabis ruins lives - - Jan 29th 2007
    i started smoking it to ward off years of hopless depression then somewhere along the line the cannabis became the trigger for even worse depression making life a vicious cycle ITS NOT A BLOODY GAME dont even try it as for not being addictive thats a load of rubbish it is addictive it takes over your world

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