How pot causes delusions

Today’s Times is carrying a wacko Op-Ed piece. Titled “Pot for Parents”, I thought on first read it was a humor piece. I ran it by a few other people who think it’s the real deal. Either way, it’s either very funny or very sad and can serve as a lesson to us on self-delusion. Let’s take a look.

THE youngest of my three daughters was born around the same time I became a card-carrying medical cannabis patient. Even though I was only 44, I’d been suffering from occasional back pain. I also suffered bouts of stress, compounded by anxiety. The causes were unknown, but there seemed to be a correlation with work deadlines and flying coach with three children under the age of 5. Sometimes it got so bad I had trouble falling asleep at night, leaving me groggy and irritable.

Sounds like me. Mid-40s, bad back, crazy kid, busy work. Groggy and irritable. Sounds like a lot of parents and professionals, really. Most get by. Some are disabled by anxiety. Either the symptoms of stress are manageable with exercise and rest, or they aren’t and parents come to someone like me to help them out by doling out meds or sending them to therapy. And this parent did seek medical help.

I received a thorough physical examination from my CannaMed doctor, who checked not only my pulse but my blood pressure as well. Examining the results, he concluded that I would benefit enormously from a cannabis-based treatment regimen…

A pot doctor recommended pot. What a shock. And the took not only the pulse but the blood pressure too! Just like a real doctor! What else was involved in this exam? Did he take a complete history? Physical? Blood work such as thyroid hormone? Did he consider therapy or standard prescription medications? An exercise regimen? I don’t know. But the author makes it sound like he went to a pot doctor and got pot. This has nothing to do with practicing medicine. When all you have is a hammer…

Look, I’m not judging. I don’t care if some Dude in Cali wants to get high. But to spend an entire Op-Ed piece justifying it?

Up to this point, this sounded like a pretty common story, nothing unusual about the tone, but then it seems to slide into parody…I hope.

After two years of treatment, I can state unequivocally that I feel much better about pretty much everything. Sure, my back still hurts, but I’m cool with it.

But the best part is an amazing off-label benefit I call Parental Attention Surplus Syndrome.

Before beginning treatment, I was a dutiful if not particularly enthusiastic father. Workaday parental obligations were a necessary, unfortunate chore. I was so stressed out by the end of the day that bedtime, with its interminable pleas for more stories, songs, sips of water and potty breaks, felt like a labor to be endured and dispatched as quickly as possible.

Yes, kids are like that: whiny little brats demanding songs, sustenance, love. What a friggin’ drag. Maybe no one told The Dude parenting is hard. Most folks “endure” it without getting drunk or stoned on a daily basis, especially not while watching the kids.

He goes on to give examples of how pot makes him a great dad, many of which sound like conversations from my dorm in Ann Arbor.

Is it possible that cannabis might improve someone’s parenting skills? I suppose it’s possible but the piece comes off as a convoluted rationalization for why it’s ok to parent while impaired. And perhaps it isn’t helping his imagination as much as he thinks.

But I just can’t imagine how it could possibly be worse for them than the consequences of their father’s former stress-fueled frustration and withdrawal. When I’m rolling around the floor with my giggling daughters, clicking into an easy dynamic of goofy happiness and love, I feel it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Maybe part of raising kids is teaching them that to succeed in the world we must learn to deal with our problems rather than hiding them in a cloud of smoke.


  1. becca

     /  September 8, 2012

    One of these days, someone will figure out how to have a real live grown up discussion about substance use and parenting that gets beyond “drugs are bad mmmkay”. But until that day, I’ll stick with a quick reminder- you have a lot more resources (social, economic, personal experience emotional, ect.) than many people Pal. Just cause you have a bad back doesn’t mean you know what this guy, or his kids, are going through.

  2. It’s true, I’m sure , tat cannabis is a solution to poverty, etc. opium is the opiate of the masses.

  3. One thing I really enjoy about parenting is the way it requires the adults to slow down and focus. It gives us permission to wander in nature or linger over the pages of a shared book. And yet, it is exhausting, and parts of it are true tests of physical and emotional endurance. My problem isn’t that I don’t want to take the time to be a loving and involved parent, it’s that doing so means that I’m often up very late at night taking care of the logistical stuff that has to happen so we have time for fun tomorrow. Which is why I abuse caffeine instead of cannabis.

  4. DrugMonkey

     /  September 8, 2012

    Funny. Alcohol and Xanax serve a similar crutch for some people but they never try to claim it is a good thing.

    Oh, and becca you dumbass, Pal’s point goes beyond drugs R bad m’kay. The real question is why every time someone mentions pot might be less than awesome, ppl like you resort to such straw arguments.

  5. Isabel

     /  September 8, 2012

    “Funny. Alcohol and Xanax serve a similar crutch for some people but they never try to claim it is a good thing. ”

    Maybe because it’s not. Did you ever think of that?

    Yeah, so awful how instead of finding his kids demands stress inducing he now finds them fun and stress reducing.

    We must ban this shit.

  6. Isabel

     /  September 8, 2012

    On PlS’s blog not long ago he expressed the same parenting frustrations and a number of people recommended alcohol. I heard no objections as I remember.

    Oh, I forgot. Alcohol is magical, right DM?

  7. Isabel

     /  September 9, 2012

    “Maybe part of raising kids is teaching them that to succeed in the world we must learn to deal with our problems rather than hiding them in a cloud of smoke.”

    He’s not smoking anything btw. Did you read the article, or just scan it for quotes for your sanctimonious blog post?

    And deal with your problems how? Drinking a beer? Anyway, it was an unexpected effect of a treatment for pain, not an attempt to hide from problems. That’s just your unsubstantiated opinion.

  8. Isabel: You. Are. So. High.

  9. DrugMonkey

     /  September 9, 2012

    It is fascinating that you insist on painting me as one who is a big fan of alcohol when you have very little evidence of me engaging in the online behavior you reference. You should check your assumptions. And perhaps you should explain how the NIAAA an all scientists funded by it do not come under the scurrilous accusations you level at NIDA and it’s awardees.

  10. Isabel

     /  September 9, 2012

    How are they contributing to the drug war crisis, DM? Unfortunately, with your blind worship of your beloved Czar, you *are* contributing. Maybe you and your colleagues are hypnotized by his Hitleresque eyebrows. History does have a way of repeating itself.

    You don’t seem to mind when people talk about alcohol, even using it while they take care of kids. Nobody is accused of having a crutch or being an addict at those times.

    As a drug researcher, it is alarming that there is no nuance in your (or as an MD, Pal’s) approach to cannabis use. Everyone is a criminal addict who should be hauled before a judge who will decide if they need treatment. is that your first thought when Isis or PlS mentions having a drink?

    Pal says he doesn’t care about cannabis use, but why is he acting like the NYT writer is some kind of rationalizing addict? I see zero evidence of that in the original article.

    Bob thanks for the classic example of the knee-jerk reaction to any mention of cannabis legalization. Some skeptic you are. For the record, I get the feeling I’m the most sober person around these parts.

  11. Isabel

     /  September 9, 2012

    And evidence that I’m a “stoner”? I do read twitter, ya know….

    Funny, people for gay marriage are not all assumed to be gays wanting to get married, etc.

    Why can only “stoners” be against living in a police state? Weird.

  12. Neuropathologist

     /  September 9, 2012

    Pal should do some research on the endocannabinoid system before dismissing this subject’s amazement with his general condition. Mr. Pal sounds as though he has extra hostility that only comes with ignorance or fear. Newsflash – endocannabinoid signaling regulates homeostatic activities in what seems to be every body system. Get educated! Follow some groups on twitter and learn about this stuff. Pubmed ‘endocannabinoids’ and dig in! You people are supposed to be the wise ones!

  13. I got a pink icon?

     /  September 9, 2012

    So you’ve both got back pain, etc.
    And one of you smokes pot and plays with his children and is enjoying life,
    The other’s spending time bitching about a guy enjoying his life and kids.
    I feel that marijuana’s less psychologically addictive and less detrimental as a whole when compared to, say, whatever imbalances make someone get on here and write a story bashing another man’s story of happiness.

    • You misunderstand. I don’t really give a damn about the author. What I care about is the uncritical view he takes of his own decisions and cannabis use in general. It’s not that there is nothing positive about cannabis. It’s that not everything is positive about cannabis. It comes with a lot of baggage.

      I can tell you as a parent and a physician that, while it’s fine to get altered from time to time, in general it’s not a good idea to parent while drunk or stoned.

      I actually make conscious decisions not to have an extra glass of wine or whatever if I’m the parent in charge. Emergencies arise frequently with kids—things that require good judgement, or driving to a hospital, etc. And kids probably shouldn’t be raised to think that being drunk or stoned constantly is a good way to live. These substances have consequences.

      I’ve been explaining to my own kid the difference between having a drink, and drinking all the time and driving drunk. It’s a tough distinction to explain, but it’s important.

  14. Isabel

     /  September 9, 2012

    “I’ve been explaining to my own kid the difference between having a drink, and drinking all the time and driving drunk. It’s a tough distinction to explain, but it’s important.”

    A nuanced view. Exactly what I am talking about. Now can you relate this to cannabis?

    Furthermore I don’t know why you even bring this up- the author doesn’t smoke; he is eating it discretely and monitoring his use carefully. He explains this in the article!

    Also there is a huge difference in competency loss with the two drugs. Experienced cannabis users can pretty much go about their business in ways alcohol users can only dream of. Users of both drugs understand this very well.

    • 1) who cares how he’s ingesting it.

      2) there is not a huge difference in the intoxication effect. Different but equally disabling.

      3) Cannabis is still (for now) illegal. Until it becomes otherwise, it’s not a great idea to teach your kids it’s ok to break the law (except for rare circumstances where civil disobedience is necessary, and this isn’t one of them).

  15. Isabel

     /  September 9, 2012

    “1) who cares how he’s ingesting it.”

    Well first you implied he was smoking, and then that he was setting a bad example for his kids. Neither applies here.

    “Different but equally disabling.”

    Sounds like DM is not the only one who gets his info/propaganda from the NIDA website. Again, with an experienced, regular user it is not comparable in any way to alcohol.

    ” it’s not a great idea to teach your kids it’s ok to break the law ”

    It’s like talking to a wall. His kids don’t even know he is using it!

    “circumstances where civil disobedience is necessary, and this isn’t one of them”

    you are dead wrong about this also. But I am sick of talking to a wall.

  16. What about common prescription drugs that cause impairment? Is the dose and therefore the level of altered cognition easier to control than cannabis? How do parenting responsibilities impact the way doctors prescribe these types of drugs?

    Anecdote: I had dental surgery recently, and the surgeon prescribed vicodin even after I said I wasn’t comfortable taking it. I’m the default parent under nearly all circumstances anyway, but at the time my Trophy Husband was out of state. I didn’t fill it. I really felt, correctly or not, that it was an issue of safety. I had this fear that a kiddo would need something in the middle of the night and have trouble waking me up. Maybe the dose was small and made it no big deal, but I have no idea.

  17. Isis the Scientist

     /  September 10, 2012

    I’m about to pour a glass of wine. Totes ok to judge me if you want Pal.

    • Don’t you get it? Wine is way cooler than pot. But pot has better music.

      • Isis the Scientist

         /  September 10, 2012

        Wine has way better shoes and there is never pathchouli.

  18. Isabel

     /  September 10, 2012

    I love how when you guys are losing an argument and there is no way out, you get all cliquish and make snotty remarks like you are above it all and the whole subject is a big joke anyway. So high school, so transparent.

  19. Isis the Scientist

     /  September 11, 2012

    I have no argument about anything. I love how you lump the entire internet into “you guys.” Maybe all the pot has made you paranoid?

  20. DrugMonkey

     /  September 11, 2012

    A new paper shows that THC impairs recognition of fearful and angry facial expression. Only marginally impairs detection of sadness and happiness.

    ….if you can’t tell your kid is having an emotional experience I’m certain that makes it waaay easier to be the parent.

  21. DrugMonkey

     /  September 11, 2012

    His kids don’t even know he is using it!

    AHAHAHAAHAH, sure they don’t. Potheads frigging crack me up. Is this like your assertion that stoned drivers compensate for their impairment by driving slowly and nobody notices?

    Let me tell you, kids notice stuff about the behavior of their parents. You bet. Even if they don’t really know why or what is going on.

  22. Isabel

     /  September 11, 2012

    “I have no argument about anything.”


    “entire internet”

    LOL. Do you think you, Pal, DM are the entire internet?

    ” Maybe all the pot has made you paranoid?”

    More likely the booze has made you brain dead. You need to get out more. There is life beyond your alcohol haze. Maybe take notice of the tragic effects of cannabis prohibition on your fellow Hispanics, both (especially young) immigrants and those in Latin America.

    DM– making up more statements eh? I never said nobody notices. However in the case of a regular, experienced user, probably not. Potheads? Can you give me an equivalent word that we can use for people who use ethanol regularly to get through the day, like Isis? What can we call them? Drunks? Winos? We need to be assured that federally funded drug researchers such as yourself are not biased.

    Also I didn’t say kids don’t notice their parents behavior. Stop making shit up! Another sign that people can’t make an argument.

    • Isis the Scientist

       /  September 11, 2012

      Regularly to get through the day? You really are aces for making shit up.

    • Isis the Scientist

       /  September 11, 2012

      I should add that to the best of my knowledge I have never expressed views on the legality or ethics of drug use of any type.

  23. Isabel

     /  September 11, 2012

    “There is growing evidence that drugs of abuse”

    Hard to get past this opener…

    What is that, DM? Also it’s about THC, not pot. Is pure THC a drug of abuse?

  24. Isabel

     /  September 11, 2012

    “….if you can’t tell your kid is having an emotional experience I’m certain that makes it waaay easier to be the parent.”

    You got that from the paper? Anyway, the pure doses of THC don’t affect happiness and sadness recognition. How does alcohol affect one’s experience with children? I’d appreciate some links, thanks. I’m worried about Isis’ kids.

  25. Isabel

     /  September 11, 2012

    “I should add that to the best of my knowledge I have never expressed views on the legality or ethics of drug use of any type.”

    No, you just mock people who do. That doesn’t send a message, sure it doesn’t. DM share’s the same belief as you. Anyone who says anything positive or even neutral about pot, or about prohibition, is fair game for FWDAOTI. But the rest of us know better. We get where you’re coming from.

    “Regularly to get through the day? You really are aces for making shit up.”

    No, DM wins the prize for that. I was mocking him that time by applying his reasoning to people who choose to use alcohol, but you didn’t catch it. The point is people like you who mention drinking wine all the time are given a pass because you are using a “normative” drug. But someone who uses cannabis moderately is automatically an “addict” or even a “pothead”. It shows bias, which is especially worrisome in the case of medical researchers and practitioners.

    I’ve been called a”pothead” by DrugMonkey even though, if you must know, I’ve had no drug other than caffeine in more than a month.

  26. Isis the Scientist

     /  September 11, 2012

    I mock everyone with a militant agenda.

  27. Bill Bryan

     /  September 11, 2012

    Back during the ’30s the Roosevelt Administration was concerned:
    “What are we going to do with the ‘Alcohol Police’ now that Prohibition
    is ended? They know police procedures; they’ve worked with each
    other—some as long as 14 years— and they’re armed. If we fire them,
    things could happen—serious things. Why don’t we make something
    else illegal—like marijuana—so that they will have a job to do and not
    be a threat?”

    “Marijuana? How’d you come up with marijuana?” asked one official
    of the Prohibition Bureau.

    “Most people don’t know what it is; AND, only Niggers, perverts and
    musicians use it—Who’s gonna care?”

    Who indeed.

  28. Isabel

     /  September 11, 2012

    “I mock everyone with a militant agenda.”

    The author of the NYT opinion piece, who you mocked on Twiiter, also, was being militant? How?

    And I’m being militant? How, exactly? So who else do you mock? feminazis? anti-racists? the proponents of the Drug War? I’m very curious.

    Sure, Isis. Nice try.

  29. Isabel

     /  September 11, 2012

    And speaking of “militant” Isis, I’m not the one in this discussion who worships a Hitleresque-eyebrowed “Czar” who runs a “war on drugs”. But he’s a clique-member, so he gets a pass. \

    Btw, both DM and his Czar finally admit that alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis, and now claim that alcohol is only legal because, by their twisted reasoning, it deserves to be grandfathered in. But they really feel that in the best case scenario you would be hauled before a judge who alone would decide if you need treatment for your drinking or not. It’s called The Third Way. Sounds kinda militant to me.

  30. Isis the Scientist

     /  September 11, 2012

    Hahahaha!! How does one person write so much nonsense?

  31. Isabel

     /  September 12, 2012

    I’m just an honest observer, Isis. It’s our sad reality that is nonsensical. I’ve taken the time to educate myself also. Maybe it’s time to take your head out of the sand and do the same.

    • observer

       /  September 13, 2012

      Thank you Isabel for standing up to these arrogant worms. They sound like people of past or future entitlement who have never actually had an original thought pass their mind. Just feeding on whatever nonsense they think will give them an advantage over those they insult. We appreciate Isabel’s courage and no-bullshit assessment of the situation. Shame on you Pal, DM, Isis. You need to check yourselves, seriously, get your shit together and start to use your fucking heads instead of your ridiculous egos. So troubling that you may be people in positions of power.

  32. Isabel

     /  September 15, 2012

    Thanks, observer, I appreciate the support. I don’t get much around here. Most participants in the blogging community are content to be “Good Germans” and pretend they don’t notice what is happening, while those in the medical research community who take money from the corrupt NIDA find selfish reasons to justify their actions, just like I’m sure the nazi scientists did. I wish I knew why so many supposedly caring people are willing to look the other way when it comes to the biggest social problem of our era. While parents are separated from their children for decades and millions of young people (mostly low income and PoC) have their futures derailed and while our privacy and rights are steadily eroding and law enforcement becomes more powerful with each administration. The “Third Way” Drugmonkey and his colleagues are promoting as some sort of alternative promises the usual increase in police powers (I did the unthinkable – I read the action items instead of listening to the propaganda). The most disgusting part is that DM, Isis, and Pal feel they are qualified to constantly lecture everybody else about social justice!

  33. Isabel put forth much more convincing arguments than the rest of you. I’m kinda disappointed.

    • Isabel argued against ideas never asserted. There was nothing to refute. She has a hammer, so we are all nails.

      Her arguments boil down to a few repeated tropes:
      1) Pot isn’t bad. If you show evidence of potential harm, you are a part of the Drug War.
      2) Alcohol is far worse than pot, and if you say anything bad about pot and fail to mention alcohol being worse, you are part of the Drug War.
      3) Pot can make people feel good and if you don’t like it you are part of the Drug War.

      4) If you say anything about pot, and I don’t like it, you must support total prohibition. Any you’re a hypocrite. And you’re part of the Drug War.
      5) I’ve seen you with Drug Monkey. You’re part of the Drug War.

      • Isis the Scientist

         /  September 19, 2012

        This is Isabel’s general tactic. To take a post that says “Don’t parent impaired” or “these side effects are documented in the literature” and use it to accuse the entire internet of prohibition.

        • Isabel

           /  September 22, 2012

          “To take a post that says “Don’t parent impaired” or “these side effects are documented in the literature” ”

          When PLS posts and the other parent-scientopians commiserate with suggestions of alcohol use and friendly debates about how early in the day the ethanol use can begin, it’s cool, fun banter; but mention a related situation but substituting cannabis we have all kinds of condemnation and demands for a list of side effects, like a pharma ad. wtf?

          “to accuse the entire internet of prohibition.”

          How or why someone would accuse the internet of prohibition, whatever that even means (maybe don’t post drunk next time Isis?) I have no idea. But where are you getting the “entire internet”? I am talking about DM, PalMD and now you since you barged in, and a few blogs where you hang out with the people you all commonly refer to as the “blogging community” Sorry I should have explained that more explicitly. But it does go for most of the wider science/academic blogging “community”. Even those who say they are against prohibition rarely speak up on the issue. Where are all the blog posts for example? Except for Ed Brayton, I don’t know of any other blogs of that description where this major crisis is even mentioned on a regular basis. Obviously some other blogs (some I’ve linked to at DrugMonkey’s) do discuss the subject, and many other sites on the internet, many of which express anti-prohibitionist views 🙂

          • Then go tell those folks you disapprove of their impaired parenting. That is tangential to the point being discussed here.

          • Isabel

             /  September 25, 2012

            I never said I disapproved. You, DrugMonkey and Pal are the ones doing all the disapproving, and you are extremely biased in your mockery and disapproval. That is the whole point. You can’t justify your bias, so you pretend it never happened. But we all know better, don’t we Isis?

  34. Neuropathologist

     /  September 19, 2012

    Wow, pal, your hammer and nail comment is really getting more than its share of airtime these days. Too bad it makes absolutely no sense in this case since Isabel is offering well-rounded and diverse arguments to your unidirectional argument that amounts to you and your cohorts offering discriminatory, prejudicial, mis-informed opinions, and nothing more. I hope you realize that you are now in the minority of people who cannot see through the tired DEA propaganda and reefer madness to realize that cannabis offers huge therapeutic potential for a wider variety of conditions than any other therapeutic agent on the planet.

    Let’s hope you and your colleagues come to your senses so you can join the rest of us in the brave world of independent thought and research. Unfortunately you seem like the types who would would sell their soul for a drug-company dollar. Remember this, when you prescribe neuroleptics to someone with neuralgia or depression, or opiate derivatives to someone with back pain, without mentioning Cannabis as a safe alternative, you are breaking the Hippocratic oath and history will not judge you kindly, Herr Doctor.

  35. Barbarella

     /  September 21, 2012

    One argument that Pal MD made, and it fell under the table never to be noticed again, is that pot is illegal. Hurrah for those who live in one of two states where pot use is not treated as the next thing to murder. I have a son who has spent two stints in the county jail for being found with rolling papers in his pocket. He is 24.

    I know he smokes pot and I have warned him against it, also alcohol. Since I have bipolar disorder, all mood and mental affecting substances have a much greater impact on me than other people. I want him to know that self-medicating is dangerous.

    It is also illegal. It has cost him over $5,000 in court fees so far, plus a state policeman swung a closed fist at his head while he was lying on the ground. So far he hasn’t been raped in jail. So far.

    Perhaps when Isabel and all the other fun-time people weighing in on this subject have children who are at risk of being abused and chewed up and destroyed by the system, she will stop advocating that they break the law. First change it.

    I have rarely met a heavy user of any mind-altering substance (alcohol, tobacco, food, sugar, drugs–prescription and otherwise) who didn’t turn out to have an underlying issue with anxiety, depression, mood swings, etc. But that’s just me and my friends. And as they say, crazy birds of a feather flock together.

  36. Becky

     /  September 21, 2012

    I’m generally pro legalization, but my goodness, the thoughtless spit-inflected vitriol passing for argument by “Isabel” et al. is causing me to reconsider.

  37. Chris

     /  September 22, 2012

    I am also pro-legalization. But I want it taxed and regulated, especially in regards to driving under the influence.

    Plus I do not want to smell it, just like I do not want to smell tobacco smoke. They are both vile odors, and should be kept away from public areas.

    • Bill Bryan

       /  September 23, 2012

      I LOVE the smell of burning pot and most cigars. Not to thrilled about the smell of
      cigarette; BUT, according to two HUGE, many year studies by the WHO in Europe
      and one done in California, “non-smokers who work in a (cigarette) smoke filled workplace have lower incidences of lung cancer and other cancers than non-smokers who work in a smoke free work-place.” (!!!!!)

      How can this be? Look up the definition of ‘HORMESIS.’ Most 8th grade graduates
      in US 150 years ago knew the definition; but, most Master degreed US graduates do
      not know this simple—but still controversial—definition.

  38. Isabel

     /  September 22, 2012

    “One argument that Pal MD made, and it fell under the table never to be noticed again, is that pot is illegal. ”

    I guess you missed the whole prohibition discussion 🙂

    “Perhaps when Isabel and all the other fun-time people weighing in on this subject have children who are at risk of being abused and chewed up and destroyed by the system, she will stop advocating that they break the law. ”

    No one has advocated anything of the kind. We know we are in a warped environment when people keep presenting these made-up, twisted staements as arguments. Barbarella, we just recognize that they will break the law despite our best efforts, as you yourself have learned.

    ” First change it. ”

    What do you think I am doing? And why aren’t you doing the same, for your son’s sake? Actually many parents who are for prohibition when their kids are young change their minds when their kids are older, and in danger of arrest and derailed futures, or even imprisonment and rape.

    More people are arrested every year for pot than for all violent offenses combined, even though prohibition has been *repeatedly* decreed by the feds themselves to be completely unwarranted. Yet DM is so deluded in his NIDA bubble that he thinks his weird articles about rare cases of hyperemesis should weigh heavily on any discussion of ending prohibition. PalMD tweeted that legalization is a concern of “stoners and libertarians” only, even though 800,000 young people are arrested every year in this country -most with mere possession, mostly lower class and mostly black and hispanic. The scariest part is that people talk as if Prohibition is a thing of the past, as if we were not living through an especially harrowing example of this social form of insanity.

    Maybe we should start a movement to boycott alcohol products until pot is legal. It’s here to stay folks. It’s popular and a less harmful alternative to alcohol. Ignoring the government’s own commissions’ recommendations and instead going after users with more resources than we use to go after real criminals is something we are going to have to answer for one day.

  39. Barbarella

     /  September 25, 2012

    I wonder if you have a child in danger who you love, Isabel. I AM trying to change the law. I am and always have been working towards decriminalization, not just of pot but of all drugs of addiction. People who are diabetic don’t get clubbed, fined, thrown in jail and raped.

    I know many people can use pot and alcohol occasionally and get some relief from anxiety. I have no problem with that at all.

    But the mental illness which is prevalent in my family is showing up, like pieces of broken glass, in the behavior of my son. If he continues to medicate his dysfunctional-level anxiety by smoking pot and having the occasional drink, he walks the tightrope of falling into an all-out psychotic depression and coming out of it through the auspices of ECT. I have been there and it was at his age.

    Thanks for your deeply empathetic smiley-face.

    • Isabel

       /  September 25, 2012

      We are in total agreement. I think it is terrible that your son is treated worse than a serious criminal. I try to bring this injustice to others’ attention. I think you should be arguing with Pal on this. He is the one who is quick to judge, not me.

      • I’m missing something. Where did I give an opinion on law?

        • Isabel

           /  September 25, 2012

          That isn’t what we are talking about. Please don’t make stupid DM style disingenuous arguments. It is beyond tedious at this point. Why do you hold cannabis to a higher standard? When have you spoken out about the injustices of the drug laws? When have you called for people discussing their drinking to talk about the “the uncritical view they take of their own decisions and alcohol use in general” – what about all the baggage? Why did you tweet that the anti-prohibition movement is a concern or “stoners and libertarians”?

  40. Neuropathologist

     /  September 28, 2012

    Barbarella, I’m genuinely sorry about your family history of mental illness. It is a very poorly-handled spectrum of our health care system. Unfortunately, this leads many with mental illness to self-medicate, as they look for ways to improve their individual condition. Unfortunately in the case of cannabis, self-medicating is confused with dependency. Enter the example cited in mainstream media against cannabis causing schizophrenia because more schizophrenics use cannabis than the general population. That would be akin to saying water causes thirst because thirsty people drink more water than non-thirsty people. It’s a misunderstanding and a denial of the marked benefits of cannabis for cognitive or mental disorders.
    “Therapeutic Use of Cannabinoids in Psychiatry”

  41. becca

     /  October 2, 2012

    “Alcohol and Xanax serve a similar crutch for some people but they never try to claim it is a good thing.”
    Mommywantsvodka much? She’s hilarious too. Heck, Pal tweeted about his “clean child, dinner on the table, small glass of cold sake. I think it’s going to be all right” tonight, after what sounded like a pretty rough day. I wouldn’t judge that, even though pretty obviously implies some degree of “parenting while intoxicated”.

    Whereever everyday parenting stress ends and clinical anxiety and depression start, people will claim they are self-medicating with whatever (pot, alcohol, redbox, blogs, ben and jerrys). Sometimes “self-medicating” is just an excuse for someone who can and should cope without it, but generally we can’t really know from the outside what somebody else’s lived experiences are like. And unless you’ve seen them interact with their kid and gotten a sense of the range of situations they put themselves and their kid in, you can’t get a valid sense of what they are like as a parent (barring egregious abuse/neglect, which were not at play in the op-ed, to my understanding anyway).

    I do know parents who were better at parenting on antidepressants than on pot, but better on pot than with whatever their brain chemistry had as “endogenous default”.
    I also know that a parent can be a habitual pot user and their kids be none the wiser for 13+ years. I also know that ex-drug dealers can make good parents. And that it is possible, through honest age-appropriate dialog, to raise a vehemently anti-substance abuse kid despite (because of???) a personal history with illegal substances.
    Given these experiences, I believe there are a lot of shades of grey when it comes to substance use and parents. I actually have rather strong feelings about people with moderate/severe untreated depression trying to cope with parenting stresses, but I also recognize that not everyone responds to the FDA approved treatments for that.
    I think it’s possible the original op-ed could encourage some people who would be better off abstaining that they can go right on using/abusing, and that is sad and worrisome. It’s not a totally innocuous thing to write. At the same time, I think it’s more likely that the op-ed will comfort a good many parents who are trying their best to cope with serious mental/physical disabilities, and who just doing the best job they can with parenting (ditto for “mommywantsvodka”, incidentally).

    “….if you can’t tell your kid is having an emotional experience I’m certain that makes it waaay easier to be the parent.”
    If there’s a drug strong enough for anyone to not be able to tell when *my* kid is angry, I’ve yet to see anyone on it. I’m pretty sure people can tell for miles around, the way he can holler. But then, real-live 3 year olds tend to be more expressive than default pictures in research studies. It’s also different reading faces of people one knows/loves than it is reading faces of strangers. I wonder if anyone’s looked at that as a factor in some of the oxytocin literature, actually.

    • Isabel

       /  October 4, 2012

      “Sometimes “self-medicating” is just an excuse for someone who can and should cope without it”

      Good points but I think we have to be really careful about moralizing. I was hanging out with a two year old last weekend who was enjoying spinning around and feeling dizzy. Was he stressed, or self-medicating? I don’t think so, he just liked it. We are very uncomfortable with this, and one of the results is this moralizing and criticizing of other peoples’ choices in how they achieve altered states and attempts to justify our own, including labeling ourselves and others as sick and needing to self-medicate.

      As I said before (but like the fact that alcohol is a drug it bears repeating) most adult humans use drugs all the time. Very, very few people abstain completely. It’s normal.

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