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Paradox25's avatar

Can marijuana be used responsibly just like alcohol?

Asked by Paradox25 (10174points) May 15th, 2014

I’ve noticed this stigma, even on this site, where many people assume that you can use alcohol in a responsible manner, but not cannabis. Considering that alcohol destroys many lives despite the fact there are those who use this drug responsibly, and these points that NORML brings up, this makes me ask the following question below.

Why do people assume that alcohol can be used responsibly, and that you can be a respectful person while doing this, but not with cannabis? Is this stigma associated with cannabis use based on merely stereotyping the users of each of these two drugs, or is it something more? Moreover, are these stereotypes justifiable in your opinion?

Note: I have asked this question in the general section because I don’t want the comments on such a potentially vague topic to stray away from what I’m trying to ask in the latter paragraph. (I better state this again) I want to know why there’s a stigma associated with one drug, but not the other concerning responsible use and the respectability of a person, and whether this is justified or not in your opinion.

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82 Answers

rojo's avatar

Yes. Yes it can.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

They’re both mind altering chemicals. If you use either you better know what you’re doing. MJ has the stigma of being illegal for a long time. Ever see Reefer Madness?

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t. I smoke almost everyday :/ It makes TV more fun at the moment.

rojo's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Yep. many, many years ago I watched Reefer Madness several times. And, I can tell you, it is much funnier after a joint. The scene I remember the most is some guy laughing maniacally like some cheap horror film villain. I have never seen that in real life, except the bunch of us after seeing it in the movie. We did it every time we smoked for a couple of weeks after each viewing.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@rojo LMAO. I never tried watching it high. That would have been fun.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Both are mind altering, both can be used recreationaly and both can lead to dependence and addiction.
I see one big difference. When I pick up a bottle of an alcoholic beverage I know exactly how much ethanol I am getting. it is clearly labelled 5% 12% 80 proof etc. and I know the size of my cup or glass. There are strict standards and the numbers are easily verifiable. I know exactly how much EtOH is in a can of beer , or a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey. I also know my limit. I can also buy a tester to verify how quickly my body processes the EtOH and if it is legal for me to drive.

I have never seen that kind of info on a bag of weed, or a joint. The only description was “Dude this is the best. It will knock you on your ass.” There was never quantitative data with it. Will the new legalized pot have number like x micrograms of THC per 500 ml breath? Are there specs?
How will users make informed decisions for amount to use?

livelaughlove21's avatar

If it’s against the law to smoke it, there’s nothing responsible about using it in any amount. If it’s legal, then sure.

It would be an absolute deal-breaker for me if someone I was dating smoked weed, though, and I have very few friends that do it. Same goes for recreational alcohol use – I drink once in a blue moon and never to get drunk. I prefer associating with people that don’t need mind altering substances to enjoy life. I’ve never done it and never will, as I never saw the need to. I grew up in a home where everyone smoked pot (my dad calls himself a “professional pothead” and has been smoking since he was a kid) and it’s given me a huge bias against it. Just because you can use it “responsibly” doesn’t mean you don’t act like a moron when you do.

seekingwolf's avatar

I believe it can used responsibly.

If it were legal, it would be regulated, like alcohol. You could get information on how much THC you’re actually getting per whatever amount. The reason why you don’t get that information now is because weed is currently illegal and thus isn’t subject to regulation and quantification. Which is a shame.

I rarely drink and I rarely smoke. My state has decriminalised marijuana. When I do though, I enjoy it. I am not addicted or irresponsible.

I think many abuse weed but there many more who are responsible and not addicted.

bolwerk's avatar

Yes, but of course there is going to be more appreciation for alcohol across cultural and class lines. Not least of all, marijuana is stinky and disruptive in a social setting; alcohol is so wired into socialization that it is practically a mark of civilization. The problems with alcohol mostly occur outside the realm of “respectable” social settings: in bars, parties, and (for severe alcoholics) gutters.

And, despite marijuana being relatively harmless to consume, marijuana advocates are disingenuous when they pretend overindulgence has no negative consequences, short-term or long-term. While marijuana can certainly be used responsibly, you have to accept some people will abuse it.

seekingwolf's avatar

Let’s not forget that there are different ways to consume marijuana.

I say I “smoke” but I don’t. Too smelly!! My boyfriend doesn’t like the smell either. My boyfriend has a vaporizer we might use on a rare occasion. No smell, no smoke, not harsh on the lungs, etc.

And yes, there will always be people who abuse it. Just like alcohol.

CWOTUS's avatar

Legality does not equate to responsibility.

Just because alcohol is (commercially, in the USA) provided in accordance with strict guidelines as to purity and proof, as @LuckyGuy has pointed out, does not make it safe. In point of fact, people die every year from alcohol poisoning, because it is a poison (it’s not an accident that “intoxicated” has the root word “toxic” included). Yes, it is clear that such drinking is not “responsible”.

However, I am unaware of any instance of “marijuana overdose” or poisoning, and it would seem to me that those few cases that might be presented in evidence would be a clear case of “the exception/s making the rule”.

But he brought up a good point: Since it is still mostly illegal, you’re generally buying it from de facto criminals, and there are no good guidelines as to purity, strength of the active ingredients and lack of adulterants. So while I think that it is certainly possible to be a “responsible” user of marijuana, part of that responsibility includes strict attention to your supplier, which is not normally an issue with commercially available liquor.

And in the case of “homegrown pot” vs. “homemade liquor”, I’d choose the pot any day. I’ve had homemade liquor, and I’m glad to have survived to tell the tale. Never again.

GloPro's avatar

There are medicinal uses for marijuana. I haven’t heard of any medicinal uses for alcohol.

I personally think weed is safer than booze (as mentioned, smoking is not a required method), and there are fewer negative effects.

I drink because I can’t legally smoke, and I choose not to jeopardize my professional path. Sometimes I just don’t want to be sober, because being altered can be fun. I wish I could be high instead of drink, but it just isn’t an option. Most of the time I just volunteer to be DD and stay sober.

Concerts are one place I am bummed I’m not on a high. Everything is happy and smiley and I don’t lose control of my balance, my speech, my inhibitions. I have enjoyed some great shows off of one toke of a joint instead of $50 of overpriced Coors Light that makes me full, have to pee, unbalanced, and hungover the next day. Puff puff pass, please.

Mariah's avatar

Based on my reading (I’m not a user myself) cannabis is actually way easier to use responsibly. It’s not addictive, you can’t overdose on it, and it doesn’t make you violent like alcohol does to some people. Basically just don’t drive on the stuff and you’re golden.

It’s solely because it’s illegal that some people perceive it as a more dangerous drug.

Coloma's avatar

Of course it can, and personally, I think marijuana is far better than booze.
I hate stupid, sloppy, maudlin, angry drinkers. Gah!
Just like alcohol though, there is a time and a place, and that time and place does not involve work or driving and should be reserved for the usual “cocktail” hour. 4:20? lol

josie's avatar

Assuming we are excluding the possible therapeutic uses for the moment, I think it can.

In my opinion, it is pretty harmless to use alcohol sparingly in a social situation where people are interacting and talking. It seems to help people relax and be more engaging. Getting drunk in those circumstances, or using it as a chemical escape from the challenges of existence seems to be counter productive and unhealthy.

I think marijuana could have a similar niche. It gives most sensory experiences a little higher “resolution”. Listening to music, watching movies, sex, or just sitting in the sun seems to get a little bump from marijuana. Much more than that, and I would say it starts being another form of escape from existence, which again is unhealthy and counterproductive.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When I smoked, in my teens I had three rules for myself:

1) I never bought any.
2) I never asked anyone if they had some, or would fire some up.
3) I never drove. Well…I did once. Scared the living SHIT out of myself, which is how I came up with rule #3.

linguaphile's avatar

I live in Colorado. I’m not a user.

So far, since January there have been two marijuana related deaths. One was a young man who, in another report, ate 6 to 7 brownies. He had a psychotic break and jumped out of a window. Like @LuckyGuy says, the amount in each brownie is hard to control.

The second death was this mother of three

The Denver Post has something about marijuana and how the state is adapting everyday If you want to read up on how legal marijuana is being used responsibly and irresponsibly, how it’s affecting the economy, how it is being used medically, etc… take a look at The Denver Post.

Do I think it can be used responsibly, yes. Do I like many longtime users when they’re high, not really. They’re often da-duh’ed out and don’t add much to the conversation.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Mmmm…something tells me there was more than marijuana in those cookies….or they took something besides marijuana.

GloPro's avatar

The recommended legal dose is 3–10g per day, I believe. Secret cameras in shops in Colorado have repeatedly recorded staff recommending 50g to patrons. A guy eating 7 brownies blows my mind.

seekingwolf's avatar

Remember too that some people should never ever consume marijuana. People who have illnesses like schizophrenia should not be using marijuana. I have a friend who is bipolar (untreated) and she loves weed but I don’t think she is responsible with it and I don’t think she should be doing it at all. Seems to make her symptoms worse.

Oh, and some anxiety issues could be made worse on weed. I have anxiety but weed doesn’t affect it much. However, my brother has crippling anxiety. A medication mishap made him so anxious he couldn’t leave his room for a week. He is extremely sensitive.

I have talked to him personally and told him that he needs to stay away from weed. It’s okay if his friends smoke but he needs to decline. He agreed.

Coloma's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I can understand your bias, I have a bias against heavy alcohol users. Gah.
Thing is, you have to realize that A. Illegal or not, weed has been a mainstream and “highly” acceptable “drug”, for the last 40–50 years, and B. not everyone acts like a fool when they are high, not any more so than sloppy boozers.
My preference is to get high, all by myself and have, what I call, a “mini-vacation.”
It ramps up my already, mega watt creative side, makes tackling projects I procrastinate on with zest and energy, like cleaning the garage, haha.

My happy brownie moments consist of my planning, in advance, having groceries in the house, all things done, and then, I hang out with my pets, garden, re-arrange my house, would kick back in my hot tub at my old property and just enjoy indulging in my creative side.
One of the best weekends I had was getting high, home alone and painting my living room walls a metallic bronze and hanging artwork.
Marijuanas effect on my brain chemistry is an enhancement of creativity. I don’t get tired, I don’t get stupid, and being a right brained type as it is, well…I could paint murals right up there with Michaelangelo, get into some Bonsai, break out my sculpting clay and tools, float flowers in my water garden and, in general, just have a bang up time, all by my lonesome. haha

rojo's avatar

@GloPro his too evidently.

wildpotato's avatar

Yes, I believe weed can be used responsibly.

@LuckyGuy, @seekingwolf, & @CWOTUS I have encountered extremely detailed labeling on medicinal weed in California, even down to the levels of different cannibinoids – not just THC. My favorite toke, actually, is this medicinal stuff that’s been bred to have a very low amount of THC, about the level in schwag – so it causes almost zero ‘head high’ – but is quite high in its level of CGB – which is the cannabinoid that binds to receptors in the gut, and so causes a great ‘body high.’ I love CBG weed, as it’s called, because it absolutely knocks my IBS pain out of the park without impairing my ability to read and study.

So not only is labeling in effect in some areas, types of marijuana can now be tailored to specific needs and used accordingly, with full knowledge of what you’re getting. The sativa (sleepy-high) versus indica (active-high) division has been well documented for ages, but this new fine-tuning is so much more helpful.

Regarding whether one can OD on weed – not in a way where the amount of the substance in your body can, by itself, kill you. However, I have observed one guy, who is not a regular smoker, ingest so much that he became incoherent, highly distressed, and somewhat out of his mind – for about an hour, until he fell asleep and woke up feeling ok. And I myself, a regular kind bud smoker, have smoked so much hash oil on one occasion that I literally could not stop myself from falling asleep. So there is such a thing as “too much,” for sure. I would worry about people ingesting too much in the edibles – @linguaphile‘s stories being illustrative examples. However, I wouldn’t tend to think that it’s the measuring of the THC and other cannabinoids in edibles that’s the issue – they’re made by heating weed in butter or other fat to a certain temp and then you use the butter in the food, and it is easy to control the weed/butter ratio and the amount you put in the food – but because it’s easier and less drawn out over time to consume a given amount of THC and other cannabinoids in food than it is to ingest them in the same amount by smoking, and so this consumption method is far more prone to abuse.

@GloPro 50 grams at once, that’s just utterly insane. Even 3–10 seems like quite a lot to me.

hey look, my lurve is palindromic!

Dan_Lyons's avatar

No. Not at all. It is against the law and we must OBEY obey obey obey

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s legal in several states @Dan_Lyons. I predict it will be legal in all 50 within the next 5 years, if not sooner.

Coloma's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Are you being sarcastic? I thought you mentioned you get high somewhere, recently here? I’m going with sarcasm. Yeah, obey the law, but it is perfectly fine to be a raging alcoholic or prescription drug addict, but god forbid, a little toke on the peace pipe. Pffft!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

No, trying to use either responsibly is folly, but to each their own, I guess.

Strauss's avatar

Colorado is currently working on labeling laws, especially for edibles, that will state the amount of THC in each package, and how many “standard dosages” are contained in the package. It seems that in the transition from medicinal to recreational, there are a lot of folks who do not know the effect large amounts of THC will have. The proposed labeling laws are a way to help figure this out.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@Coloma I am not a drone. I am not a clone. we must OBEY obey obey

hahahaha,,,,of course it’s sarcasm. I’m glad you remembered me telling you that!

And so I will say here and now that of course marijuana be used responsibly just like alcohol;
which is almost never ever never used responsibly.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Coloma That’s fine for you. Doesn’t change my viewpoint on marijuana, though. Like I said, I feel the same way about drinkers, even recreational drinkers. But hey, live and let live.

Blondesjon's avatar

Responsible use of any substance doen’t depend on the substance. It depends on the individual using it.

seekingwolf's avatar


But do you feel that there are some substances that really cannot be used responsibly at all? Or by the vast, vast majority of people? (assuming that maybe 0.00001% or whatever of the population has such a genetic make-up so that they can use certain substances and not get addicted?)


Strauss's avatar

The opiate of the masses?
Or the Mass of the Opiated?

MarvinPowell's avatar

I believe yes, it can. However, I also personally believe most people have no real self control, whether with alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana. That’s why so many people have lung cancer or drink and drive. At least weed is the least dangerous of those substances and would likely cause the fewest number of deaths or injuries.

But personally, I don’t have that much respect for people who do drugs or drink their problems away. I don’t like excessive alcohol abuse, or smoking tobacco, or smoking marijuana. I personally think its for weak-minded weak-willed people, but they should have every right to use (or abuse) whatever substances they wish.

Yes, there are some people who can use these substances responsibly. How many people of the general public actually can or the percentage of people who can do so, is a whole other issue.

seekingwolf's avatar


I can’t speak for the whole population but out of everyone I know who smokes weed, only a few are abusers or even heavy users. Most will do it a few times a year or so, with the most being once a month or so. I think the last time I did any was…2 months ago? Something like that. I do it very rarely and probably won’t use it again for a while. I just have a lot going on right now.

Paradox25's avatar

@GloPro I used to smoke weed in my late teens on an occasional level, and then more regularly throughout my twenties. At about around thirty I had stopped smoking it completely, and there was a multitude of reasons why I had decided to do this, one of them being my own career. I did smoke it briefly again about two years ago after a nearly ten year break when I ran into a decent person at work who offered me some while it came up in a conversation. It was odd having that feeling again after so long of a break. I gave up smoking it for a while again though for my own reasons. I stated ‘decent person’ here, because like many drinkers, many pot smokers are rather shady, and for the most part I don’t even prefer to be in the company of many of who use it.

@josie @Blackberry For those who’ve never used, or never used it enough to appreciate its effects, cannabis can definitely increase your sensory experiences. It took me about a dozen highs until I had actually realized what cannabis really does to you. Before that I just simply laughed for no apparent reason, and it kind of felt like simply being drunk to me.

Listening to music is much more intense while ripped than being ‘sober’. I could play a much meaner guitar when I was ripped too, and some of my best chords that I’d recorded myself playing came from being ripped. Video games, books and movies seem to be intensified too. I suppose if one doesn’t realize what they’re ‘missing out’ on never having tried it though, and they already appreciate their experiences sober then maybe the pleasure of experiencing increased sensory experience becomes irrelevant.

@Coloma I understand where you’re coming from. Some of my best ideas usually came while I was stoned. One of my great ideas for making mold changes on a certain mold injection unit easier concerning the electrical functions and process during changeovers came the night before while I was at home ripped. This was just one example. Cannabis is an odd drug when compared to others. It can make you feel smashed, and not everyone will have the ability to understand what it really does to you. However, if you know how to use it and understand what it does to you it can be more than just a high, but a completely different way of perceiving your environment.

My experience was the opposite of livelaughlove’s though. I grew up in an alcoholic household where drinking was front and center, but where ‘drugs’ were looked down upon. The drinking culture where I live is very big too, and the beer brewery not far from me feeds this culture even more. I’ve had alcohol pushed pushed on me my entire life, but then having these same people criticize me for my weed habit despite the fact they drank more than I smoked. All of a sudden I had came to realize that smoking weed quietly at home reading a book and staying out of trouble was considered more of a vice where I lived than being out on the town being drunk, causing commotion, and making it in the police blotter. Sometimes I wonder if my peers really are not the ones with mental problems, not me.

@Dutchess_III Actually I really do believe that cannabis alone could have caused those people to do what they did. The fact is too much of anything can be bad. Moreover, ingesting cannabis orally is a different ballgame over smoking it. When one smokes weed it’s kind of difficult to allow yourself to smoke enough of it on a level where you would be in such a deranged mindset. Cannabis also has a tolerance level, so that by the relatively short amount of time it takes the effects of weed to hit you while smoking it, you really don’t get too much ‘higher; by smoking any more at that point.

Ingesting weed is very different. This is because your body will utilize the full amount of the THC that you have ingested, so you will feel the full effects of everything you had ate. It also takes a bit more time for the high to hit you this way, but when it hits you it can be much more intense over smoking it. There are other factors to consider here too. A great deal of the cannabis that is grown in states where it’s legal is very potent hybrids, some of these containing up to twenty five percent THC. Inexperienced, first time or mentally unstable users ingesting such large amounts of very powerful weed can literally turn deranged from this in my opinion.

@wildpotato I believe that if a person does something odd while high, such as slitting their wrists, killing a cat, etc, then this person probably had mental issues beforehand. I’ve seen people do crazy things while drunk on alcohol too. People do need to be educated about how to use weed if they decide to do so, and the recommended amount of THC. Some people I believe simply go out of their way to experience the ultimate high though, and have little regard on how they achieve this.

Coloma's avatar

@Paradox25 I agree, the irrational “logic” or heavy drinkers snubbing the occasional marijuana user. Delusion knows no bounds.
People and their programming, such folly. haha

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Yes, it can. I am an old lady of 61 – I was a tweenie in the 60’s. I know many people who started smoking it then, and still do today. Many hold high level jobs, never missed a day, raised wonderful families, and actually are normal in every way. Kind of like the social drinkers. Imagine that.

Coloma's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt haha..yes, imagine that!
Count me in that camp, nothing shady about me, model citizen, one parking ticket in 38 years, but, ya know, I’m a criminal because I “use” on occasion. lol

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I don’t use, and have never used, but I am not so narrow-minded that I don’t think anyone else should be able to make that choice.

Paradox25's avatar

@Coloma Fluther isn’t the real world though, and most people, even many who support either legalizing or decriminalizing pot, have the mindset that one can use alcohol responsibly, but not pot. I also don’t believe that the legal status of something means responsibility or not by default either.

Example 1: A conductor kills several people while operating his train while ripped. As a result this is mine, and everybody else’s fault who smokes weed. Also, this proves that weed is a bad substance and can not be used responsibly by most people (or anyone). If you grow, sell or use pot you’re responsible for feeding the elements that caused the deaths of those innocent people.

Example 2: The driver of a car kills several people in a head on collision while driving drunk. As a result it was this irresponsible driver’s fault. This tragedy was not the fault of the alcohol, those who use this substance in a responsible manner, those who serve it, sell it or manufacture it.

I don’t think any type of drinker has the right to snub even the regular marijuana user. I just can’t help but not get around that butterfly effect regarding all of anyone’s actions, and their negative effects on society, legal or not. This butterfly effect is not merely confined to mind altering substances either, legal or not.

Moreover, what if they decide to make breathing air for free illegal next, should we respect that law too? Damn, a guy was arrested in Oregon several years ago just for using rain water on his own property in an unlawful manner.

Strauss's avatar

@Paradox25 Colorado used to have a similar law concerning rainwater and water rights. It has recently been changed so that I am allowed to collect rain water to use for irrigation.

GloPro's avatar

@Paradox25 Woah, you’re making some inaccurate assumptions about someone who kills another while under the influence of alcohol. Many bars and restaurants have certainly been found at fault for over-serving, and have been charged with crimes associated. In California all bartenders must attend alcohol awareness classes and can be held responsible for over-serving. Parents can be held accountable for an underage driver killing someone while intoxicated. There is most certainly an umbrella for alcohol.
In contrast, I rarely see that trickle down with a marijuana manslaughter. Possibly because it’s almost impossible to track past the user.

Strauss's avatar

@GloPro That’s one of the best arguments I’ve seen in support of decriminalization.

GloPro's avatar

@Yetanotheruser That isn’t as easy as it sounds, either. There are currently NO “cannabis café” locations in either Colorado or Washington. Should they decide to legalize the consumption in public (it currently is not legal to smoke in public, only to purchase, see source), then I assume the grams offered per person would be regulated, or the smoker would have to be somehow tracked as having patronized a café. Driving under the influence or marijuana, and how much marijuana, is obviously extremely hard to compare to alcohol. Would it be a zero tolerance law? It almost seems it would have to be. I’m certainly glad I don’t have to propose the regulation laws.

linguaphile's avatar

@GloPro To add to what you’ve said, there’s no breathalyzer or on-site tester that can correctly detect amount of cannabis in ones body. Even if the police could take the suspected DUI driver’s blood on-site, cannabis doesn’t metabolize quickly through the kidneys and liver like alcohol, but is stored in fat cells and would show up on blood tests for several weeks. The way I understand it, there’s no way to know if the joint was smoked last week or that night.

That’s one of Colorado’s challenges right now—how to determine if a person is driving while high on cannabis.

GloPro's avatar

@linguaphile It is not legal to use “sharps” without proper education and license – ie a paramedic, a phlebotomist, a nurse. Without overhauling that there will never be blood taken on sight.

linguaphile's avatar

@GloPro Exactly. That’s the problem with issuing DUIs. There’s no way to accurately measure someone’s DUI levels on cannabis right there and then. It may be clear that driving is impaired, but how can it be proved that it’s from pot not a bout of radical sneezing? The only way is to get a confession from the driver: “Yes, officer, I just ate 7 brownies a hour ago.”

I’m just so glad I don’t sit on Colorado’s legislature. The mental gymnastics has to be intense.

Coloma's avatar

@linguaphile haha…if someone ate 7 brownies they wouldn’t even be able find their car, let alone drive it.
Yes, lots of bugs to work out, no doubt.

Paradox25's avatar

@GloPro It was meant to be a sarcastic response, but yet one that’s based on a very real premise how society views the negatives of each drug. Also, my family didn’t win the lawsuit against the bar that served my brother the night he was killed. His blood alcohol level was well over .3.

Coloma's avatar

@Paradox25 I’m sorry for your famlies loss. :-(

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

My step-son got drunk at a family barbeque, came home and got in an argument with his brother, then went outside to his other brother’s truck, where there was a shotgun hidden behind the seat, and shot himself. His blood alcohol was also over .3

Now, who is to blame? The family that had the barbeque, the brother for arguing with him, the other brother for having a gun in the back of his truck?

It doesn’t do anyone any good to try to find blame. Ultimately it is a personal responsibility not to get messed up and do stupid things.

seekingwolf's avatar

Thought of this thread last night. I vaporized some for the first time in a long time. It was pretty enjoyable. Nothing smelly, did it in the comfort of my own living space, etc.

Anyway, I ended up watching a few episodes of a show on Netflix. Got into a long conversation with my boyfriend about the show. Took us a long time to get through a couple episodes because I kept pausing it to marvel over some little details that I hadn’t noticed before.

Then I ate a few unsalted saltines, took my usual evening medication, and we both went to sleep and slept like logs. I woke up feeling pretty refreshed.

Not as crazy as Reefer Madness and the mainstream media would like you to believe. :P

It was pretty fun. Just a new way to change your perspective. I’m okay with not doing it for a long time again, and I will probably hold off for a long time. Just my preference.


I’m sorry to hear about what happened. I agree with you on personal responsibility. I have no doubt that the step-son has gotten drunk before and has shown signs of being an angry/violent drunk. I think if you ingest a substance and find that you don’t react well to it, then it’s your responsibility to make sure that you don’t ingest it again. That’s why I put the blame on the person, provided they made the choice to drink themselves.

If I turned into an angry/dangerous/stupid person on alcohol, marijuana, OR anything else, I wouldn’t ingest that substance. Period. I don’t want to make a fool of myself or hurt someone.

Paradox25's avatar

@seekingwolf The following key words and statements, very much repeated by many, and why I was motivated to ask this question:

1) I hate those who abuse alcohol.
2) I hate those who use drugs.
3) Point #1 assumes that alcohol is either not a drug, or a at least a drug drug.
4) Point #2 assumes that all drugs are the same, unlike alcohol.

I don’t know, but I feel that I’m completely justified having a chip on my shoulder here considering that alcohol has destroyed most of my family, killed friends and ruined my childhood. Marijuana has done neither of the above to me.

I’m not saying weed is a miracle drug, or one without the potential for negative health effects and addiction, but the hypocrisy and attitudes concerning each substance is appalling to me. It often amazes me how people can find ways to justify their own vices, but yet find excuses to hate others for their vices.

This hypocrisy isn’t merely confined to the use of chemical substances either, because the butterfly effect can easily be extended to the effects all of our actions and inactions have on others in general.

Coloma's avatar

@Paradox25 Totally agree.
I too had raging drinkers in my family of origin, and my ex husband. NOTHING worse than a major boozer with emotional problems that splatter like a freaking can of paint across the wall every time they tip the bottle. Gah!

Strauss's avatar

I don’t hate anyone. I don’t hate anyone’s usage or abuse of anything.

That being said, there are those who have what is known as an addictive personality. Addiction is a disease that can be manifested through substance abuse (whether that substance is alcohol, pot or heroine). Like all drugs, there are appropriate and inappropriate uses, IMHO, for both cannabis and alcohol, including recreational use.

The criminalization of cannabis can be traced back to the time of the Mexican Revolution of 1910. After the “la revolucion”, Mexican immigrants flooded into the U.S., introducing to American culture the recreational use of marijuana. The drug became associated with the immigrants, and the fear and prejudice about the Spanish-speaking newcomers became associated with marijuana. Anti-drug campaigners warned against the encroaching “Marijuana Menace,” and terrible crimes were attributed to marijuana and the Mexicans who used it.

As for driving while impaired, I think it is stupid and irresponsible to engage in such behavior. I am in favor of behavior-based standards, rather than blood levels or anything similar, for marijuana as well as alcohol. If you are too wasted to drive safely it should show up in a field sobriety test. There are too many variables in personal tolerances to depend on blood levels.

I believe it is possible for most people to drink or use cannabis responsibly. However, there are many who, due to physical, emotional or mental condition, do not have the ability to be responsible, and I think these types of individuals should refrain from use.

GloPro's avatar

@Yetanotheruser “Like all drugs, there are appropriate and inappropriate uses…”

Like all drugs? Please tell me how acid is used appropriately? How about bath salts? PCP?

Sure, a lot of illicit drugs can and do have medical uses, but I’m not sure if I agree with you that all drugs have appropriate uses.

Coloma's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Agreed, and don’t forget addictions to food, exercise, hoarding, things, pets, etc. The addiction scale is pretty damn limitless. haha
@GloPro Abusing non-drug substances like bath salts is sorta in it’s own category I think, unless, it is an addict seeking any kind of high, like an alcoholic drinking cough syrup.
PCP is pretty severe, for sure,no real solid reason for using hardcore, man made, chemicals. but other hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, Peyote, Mushrooms, etc. have been used by many people, cultures as spiritual aides.

GloPro's avatar

I knew the peyote and mushrooms and such were used for spiritual guidance. I was not aware that synthetic substances were used that way. I’m still doubtful. I thought part of the holistic experience was using natural plants. Maybe it’s bastardized since it’s conception.

Coloma's avatar

@GloPro Oh no, I don’t agree that synthetic chemicals have anything to do with spiritual aides. PCP fries your brain instantly as does meth, I cannot fathom using those drugs, but I was a Cocaine user back in the 70’s and early 80’s, for a little while. The “fun” wasn’t sustainable enough to warrant the health issues. I also experimented with LSD, Peyote, mushrooms and mescaline.

It was the era of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, luckily I never had a bad experience nor ended up with any addictions.

Strauss's avatar

@GloPro When I first was introduced to LSD (in San Francisco in 1968), part of the conversation before ingestion was that some people using LSD would have spiritual experiences. References were made to the similarities between LSD, peyote, mushrooms and ayahuasca, all plants that had a history of use in spiritual settings.

GloPro's avatar

Right, I get that. However, LSD is a synthetic substance. I don’t think there is an “appropriate” use for a synthetic hallucinagenic. Drug users can claim that, but it’s just an excuse to get high. Indian tribes (and other religions/groups) have genuinely been using the plant based hallucinagenics throughout history. I categorize those differently.

I didn’t include cocaine because it can be used medically, as can heroin, and aderal is methamphetamine salts, so the chemical compounds for clean meth can also be classified as medical.

PCP and similar synthetics have no medical applications, and thus cannot be used “appropriately.”

wildpotato's avatar

@GloPro I don’t think this is true of acid, but ecstacy – another synthetic hallucinogen – has actually been used in psychotherapy for years now. I remember hearing about this as far back as high school Health class in 1998ish. They showed a video that offered a surprisingly balanced look at E and this therapist who treated people with it (in conjunction with other techniques).

Anecdotally, I can tell you that acid has a cathartic therapeutic effect for many people, though the experience depends heavily on one’s frame of mind going into it. In fact, I personally find it easier to control and more predictable of a trip than those from mushrooms.

Paradox25's avatar

@Yetanotheruser I had tried LSD only a handful of times, like three I believe. The first time a ‘hit’ was given to me (I remembered it, roses on it) at a 4th of July fireworks display by a friend who was in from the service, only a few months before I went in myself. This was in the early nineties, and I was pissed at first because for about two hours nothing appeared to happen while everybody else was jamming it seemed. Ironically it hit me when the actual fireworks started.

Where I live at the time we had one of greatest displays in the state, usually well over an hour worth of fireworks. We were right under these colorful explosions, so when the stuff hit me it was extremely intense, especially the grand finale. That was an intense atmosphere, but we had a very memorable time, but I was able to drink like a case of beer without getting drunk while I was tripping.

I had brought four connected papers/trips a few years later, this time they had skulls on them. I had only tripped from the first hit. I attempted another trip the next day, but nothing happened. I waited two days after that, but again not much really happened. I saved the final trip for a month later and that one hit me, but I never did the stuff again. I think acid can be used responsibly since I’d found the effects of it almost identical to psilocybin mushrooms. I think these types of hallucinogens are very dangerous though if the wrong person, or someone in a negative mindset ingests these.

@Coloma I was never quite into the drug culture like others were around me, and most of the time it was something I did only when I was around others. These were the types of people who were the nicest to me though, even before my experimenting days. The drug-free and politically correct ‘nice’ boy and girl types usually shunned me, which is probably how I got involved with this type of crowd to begin with.

I had tried cocaine only about a dozen times, and it was hard to get and expensive where I lived. I never tried meth or mescaline. Actually the only drugs I ever did was alcohol, weed, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, Amanta mushrooms and cocaine. I had three trips from LSD, I went through like a ¼ ounce of psilocybin mushrooms one time and only did coke a handful of times.

I used to pick psychoactive Amanta mushrooms in the mountain behind my house. You wanted to leave them dry so the ibotenic acid would convert to muscimol, giving you a better and smoother effect. The effects of Amanta mushrooms were not as good as psilocybin ones. It’s very dangerous to pick these too, because it’s very easy to to confuse a panther or certain fly agarics with death caps. I went by rings and spore print patterns. Eating a death cap is a horrible way was to go. I really only liked weed though, but I wasn’t as into it, drinking and other drugs as many others were.

I think I only had like one beer in the last two years. Most of those people I hung with don’t do drugs anymore, and have moved on with their lives as well, but a few of them still like to drink or smoke occasionally.

Coloma's avatar

@Paradox25 Yes, that’s me, a couple of beers or the occasional happy brownie, but nothing that has ever taken over my life, health or ruined relationships over. I divorced my ex for many reasons, but one of the biggies was his drinking. Come on, if you have to drink every day you have a problem, sorry.

GloPro's avatar

Let me clarify what I was trying to say. I completely believe responsible recreational drug use is possible for some. I don’t agree that there are “appropriate and inappropriate” uses for every drug. Illicit substances with no medical applications have no appropriate use.

Coloma's avatar

@GloPro I agree. Snorting Draino is not on the same continuum as enjoying a little herbal essence or “using” anything for medicinal purpose. Seriously, the amount of prescription drug abuse is outta control.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I just heard about this study. Here is the magazine story version Harvard and Northwestern researchers study brains of 18–25 year olds. and the results don’t look good.

Here is the link to the new paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Cannabis Use Is Quantitatively Associated with Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Abnormalities in Young Adult Recreational Users
Excerpt from article:
“Similar studies have found a correlation between heavy pot use and brain abnormalities, but this is the first study that has found the same link with recreational users. The 20 people in the “marijuana group” of the study smoked four times a week on average; seven only smoked once a week. Those in the control group did not smoke at all.
“We looked specifically at people who have no adverse impacts from marijuana — no problems with work, school, the law, relationships, no addiction issues,” said Hans Breiter, another co-author of the study.”

I’m just throwing this out there. FYI.

GloPro's avatar

Long term effects of alcohol on the brain should be given for comparison, then.

Basically the article states that the cells remain largely intact but the brain shrinks. Chronic users see insets of damage related to liver that impacts the brain, but once the drinking stops the brain appears to return to a normal state in the majority of users. Long term chronic abusers obviously have more issues.

Very interesting that smoking changes the brain. I wonder what a larger, longer study will show? My brain may already be fucked from lots of things in my youth, but that study on pot is scary.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy Maybe the reward centers in the marijuana users brains are already enlarged, maybe they already have a larger reward center that wants to be fed. haha
Bottom line, we can always find studies to either support or reject just about anything.
From coffee to red wine, on and on, one day it’s good, the next day it’s bad.
Psychology today has an article about why drug users are more intelligent, based on risk taking and bold behaviors, charting uncharted territory as an evolutionary advantage.

Often the more intelligent are pioneers in areas that others do not explore. Of course this doesn;t mean that becoming a drug addict is a positive, only that having a curious and bold approach to new things signifies a higher intelligence.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Hey, I’m just passing along some interesting new info from a well respected research team. I have no dog in this fight.
I did look at the paper and they seems to have picked controls fairly. The only shortcoming I can see is the limited sample size: n=20 and n=20.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy Oh yeah, just making more conversation, no dog in the fight either, maybe a goose. lol

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Coloma Up until I saw that article my only beef with weed was the lack of specifications and exact contents and concentrations. See my post above.
My job prohibits consumption so I am fine either way. That article was news to me and I thought it might be interesting to individuals in positions with different intoxicant limitations.

CWOTUS's avatar

Does the paper say how the candidates were selected for the test, @LuckyGuy? I’m asking that because it seems unethical for a study to select human subjects with no prior drug use and introduce them to marijuana, doesn’t it?

So it would seem that candidates for the study might have been self-selected. In other words, they would have been drug users prior to the study, and invited into the “uses marijuana” group on that basis. And the control group, I would expect – in order to be a proper control – would have been screened for “no prior drug usage” in order to prevent corrupting the study data with results that may have accumulated over time prior to the study. So that group would have already self-selected for not using drugs. Which would make me question whether the study actually found a real cause-and-effect, or whether the brain abnormalities – whatever they were – existed in advance to guide the subjects toward one group or the other.

So I’m wondering: Is this bad science or bad ethics?

In any case, and regardless of the effects, I disfavor prohibition of any drug – any drug at all – even though I don’t advocate for drug use, either.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I understand where you’re coming from.
From my quick perusal it seemed a reasonable selection. All candidates were “high functioning” and “users” were casual, “occasional” users (I foget the definition <1 or 2 times per week?) Non users were just that – non-users.

High users absolutely had changes. This is the first time they could measure a change with only occasional use.

Paradox25's avatar

I’d also read studies that claim cannabis isn’t as harmful on the developed brain as once thought, and even less so than alcohol, and then I’ve read other studies, and then some more from respectable research too.

The fact is very little is known about how alcohol and marijuana compare in determining the effects of each on our bodies and brains. There is one fact I have noticed though, people with a bias against cannabis, but not one as much with alcohol will tend to cherry pick research in order to not break the comfort zone of their cognitive dissonance. I think the reasons for this are very obvious, because alcohol has become such an accepted part of most cultures, and to have the old paradigm challenged brings a great deal of people extreme discomfort.

In fact this cognitive dissonance is so prevalent, that even in supposedly progressive countries like Sweden and Norway, there are very strict laws against cannabis, but yet they appear to tolerate almost everything else, including their beloved alcohol. I was absolutely shocked when I looked at their cannabis policies, and the highly ignorant, uneducated comments many scandinavian people made to justify this paradigm (progressive doesn’t equate to liberal by default like many seem to think).

People with biases for either side of the debate here, whether they’re pro-cannabis/anti-alcohol, or pro-alcohol/anti-cannabis, will only post stats that favor their drug of choice, and post the stats that oppose the disliked drug. The fact is anyone can sway an argument in their favor through careful manipulating and maneuvering. Anti-drug people tend to be mostly cultural warriors, and I also agree with NORML when they rightfully state that drug offenders are really political prisoners.

Coloma's avatar

@Paradox25 Bottom line, all things in moderation. 3 hits or 3 drinks, maybe 4, now and then, no problemo. 13 hits and 13 drinks every day, check yourself in somewhere. lol

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Paradox25 There is one fact I have noticed though, people with a bias against cannabis, but not one as much with alcohol will tend to cherry pick research in order to not break the comfort zone of their cognitive dissonance. I think the reasons for this are very obvious, because alcohol has become such an accepted part of most cultures, and to have the old paradigm challenged brings a great deal of people extreme discomfort.
That extends to just about anything. People who want to smoke dope and get high will justify it, same as those who want to get schnockered and call it recreational fun. To try and wrestle their sacred cow from them by fact or anything else, one will find resistance. The more acceptable something is, no matter how wrong or detrimental, people will defend it because it is so normal; many atrocities worldwide have gone unchecked because of such.

Coloma's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I defend my right to eat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, so all you health nuts fuck off! lolo

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ I defend my right to eat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, so all you health nuts fuck off! lolo
I will be right there with you, as well as my right to use more sugar in my coffee than anyone else, eating chocolate mosses, Hershey’s Special Dark candy bars, and my beloved Coke Cola.

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