The effects of smoking weed are often hotly debated. Some point at the beneficial use of weed (the popular name for marihuana) as a treatment or pain killer for e.g. cancer patients. While it's medical use may be beneficial to some, the effects of smoking weed for pleasure can also be very negative.
Many studies have shown a relation between chronic (i.e. regular and long-lasting) marihuana use and a higher rate of among others memory problems, depression, anxiety, paranoid ideas, suicidal tendencies, schizophrenia and various psychotic symptoms. Have a look at Wikipedia and NIDA if you want to know more.
However, a personal story from a former user (who has no interest whatsoever to campaign for or against marihuana) may tell you much more than the dry facts. Here's the story from Richard D. (34), which may serve as 'the other side' to the pages about coffee shops at this web site.
By Richard D.
"Since I was about 17, I had smoked a joint regularly. It didn't have a very good effect on my personality then, but I didn't smoke often, so it wasn't a big deal.
But when I moved into a student house as a freshman with 3 other dope smokers, the weed and me really hit it off. We had a real weed culture there. Everyone had his own water pipe, and during the evenings we would smoke weed together with stony music on - The Doors, punk rock, 1970s soul, etc. One of the guys - who lit his first bong each morning before going to college - knew people who grew cannabis large-scale, and he sometimes got a bag full of cannabis. We could smoke for months from that.
In the first year or so, I had incredible fun and pleasure. Colors and sounds were so much more intense after a joint. I seemed to have the most wonderful, brilliant thoughts. Time had a totally different meaning. I could spend what felt like hours, and my watch would tell me it was only 10 minutes (or was it the other way around?). It was very spiritual, like I would go into another world after lighting a joint. I though marihuana and hash were fantastic. I think I even was more creative in that period.
After some time, it all slowly began to change. When stoned, I sometimes became paranoid. I thought the people in the room were talking in secret code and everybody knew what was meant except me. I suddenly got social anxiety - I didn't want to go out anymore, not showing up for parties while I had promised to be there. The fun people in my student house moved out, and not so nice people took their place. I started smoking weed each night alone. Then I got outright panic attacks. Each time I was stoned, I thought I was going to die.
Still, quitting weed was hard. During the daytime, when I was sober, I would laugh about me having those silly panic attacks. I would smoke weed again, certain that this time I would be able to control my own thoughts. But I would always end up having the panic attacks. I tried to quit, but failed to stay even a few days off the weed. Somehow I got hooked on it - I think I kept hoping that I could get the enormous pleasure of the first period back.
This went on for several months, with panic attacks every night, until I felt I couldn't go on like this. The effects of smoking weed were pretty disastrous for me. I quit, and maybe also because I moved to another city at the same time where I had a lot of friends who weren't interested in drugs at all, I succeeded. I never touched weed again.
It's been about 10 years now and the thought of smoking weed again does not even enter my mind. I sort of grew out of it. I'm now irritated when young people next to me somewhere light a joint. I dislike the smell and I'm happy it's all behind me.
Drugs First Give, Then Take
Looking back, I guess it was all part of growing up. I now feel as if the drugs give first, and then take. They first give you incredible pleasure at no cost, and then demand something in return. All in all, I believe the effects of smoking weed are pretty bad. I have 2 friends who ended up for years in a mental institution - a combination of having mental health problems and the effects of smoking weed a lot. I suspect drugs are especially dangerous if you have problems or if you don't have a balanced, healthy personality.
So, if you're a regular weed user, know that the pleasure can come at a price. It's your choice. You are fully responsible."
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