Drugs, Identity and Youth Culture


Introduction
Just Another Product in the Economy
What Are You Actually Smoking?
Medicinal Use of Hemp Oil
Why Do People Take Drugs?
My Mind Isn't What It Used To Be, But Let's Not Think About That
Detoxorcist's Challenge

Last Updated: 11 October 2013  

Introduction

This section is a discourse on the psychology of drug use and youth culture, and what the effects of drugs are in physical and psychological terms. The vast majority of visitors to this site are likely to be adults, but it is an area that is worth exploring and relating to the wider areas of culture, identity and health. 

Just Another Product in an Economy

Drugs are often seen as anti-establishment and an alternative economy. However, they are just another product in the economy. Someone somewhere is making huge amounts of money from marketing each product to the general consumer. Legal industries are covered by national law and the workers in those industries and consumers of the products are protected by law. The growing of drugs related crops in poorer countries in Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia rarely benefits the actual growers themselves, but most frequently drug barons, local warlords, paramilitaries (with various claimed political agendas) and drugs smugglers. The act of buying drugs from a drug dealer in an industrialised country may seem divorced from the original of the drugs, but by buying drugs one is subsidising the exploitation of poor farmers, intimidation, landmines, assassinations, paramilitary activity, armed conflict, oppression by militias and warlords, political corruption, economic and political instability in the grower countries, as well as gang culture and gun crime in our own developed countries.

The price of the raw materials for the drugs is very cheap locally, hence why the growers make so little money. International markets do little to promote the price of legal crops so many farmers are 'forced' into drug crops. The consumers of drugs in western, industrialised economies pay in relative terms a much higher price, and far from being protected by law, are at the mercy of the drug producers, smugglers and dealers as to purity control. It is common practice to dilute/cut drugs to increase the volumes that can be sold and profitability. Consumers of drugs are virtually always consuming impure products. Be they smoked, snorted or injected, the act of taking the drugs at all is damaging for our bodies, let alone the effect of the impurities. Heroin users are frequently injecting or smoking washing powder. Are consumers of drugs really being treated with respect by the growers and dealers? Do the consumers of drugs mind supporting slavery and gangsters? They may even be lining the pockets of corrupt governments and murdering government agencies. So is dope smoking really a 'right on' activity for anti-capitalist and anti-establishment youths, who believe in freedom and human rights? I am not going to speculate on where drug money really goes, but there is plenty of information available if the reader has an interest in this area. Please formulate your own opinion, conservative or contrarian.

Our economy is full of products that are helpful, neutral or damaging to us. All drugs fall into the latter category in varying degrees. The war on drugs will never win, as there is too high a demand. The black market is all about supply and demand. If you arrest one drug dealer, another will take his place. Of course, we need to target drug dealers, but the overall war on drugs would be more effective if we targetted the actual users. Why is there such a high demand for drugs? If we can tackle the failings of society, identity crisis, widespread abuse of personal health, and people's ignorance about their health and their low self-esteem, then it is likely that demand for drugs would diminish significantly. The USA has over 50% of the world's cocaine market, and 60% of adults are categorised as obese. Cocaine is one of the USA's top selling consumer products. It has become much more popular in Europe in recent years. The USA clearly has more work to do to educate the public about their health and self-respect in general. However, this might not be good for the economy, legal or illegal. 

What Are You Actually Smoking?

The THC particles in a 'spliff', 'doobie', 'joint' or 'blunt' are over four times heavier than those in cigarette smoke. As it is oil based, unlike nicotene or alcohol, it takes weeks to leave the body, and dissolves in the body's fatty tissues and stays there indefinitely (unless detoxed out). In addition users use a 'roach' or rolled piece of cardboard, so that they can enjoy more of the tar and toxic impurities present in the smoke, as they don't want to miss out on any of their precioussssss [Gollum is not unlike a psychologically addicted cannabis user, often pale, skinny and rather pitiful]. It is not uncommon for the psychologically addicted last smoker of the joint to smoke it right down to the roach, inhaling burnt cardboard, ink etc. People who smoke a 'bowl' or 'bong' are frequently inhaling whilst holding a cigarette lighter over the top of the bong, to continue to ignite the dope whilst inhaling. This allows the dedicated and keen user to inhale more carbon monoxide and butane impuriy oxides. Also, dope smokers frequently hold the smoke in for longer than they would tobacco smoke, as they want to absorb the maximum amount of THC and get the maximum high. Often, people who smoke a bowl/bong try a 'breath hold' exercise when they've inhaled a lungful of dope smoke, until they really need to breath or they cough their guts out! Such practicises make smoking dope much worse for you than smoking a plain cigarette. Scientific studies have shown that cannabis smoke, often mixed with tobacco smoke, causes more damage to the lungs than simply tobacco smoke (filtered). With every lungful of cannabis/marijuana, you are causing increasing amounts of permanent and irreversible damage to the alveoli of your lungs. When smoked together with tobacco, the damaging effect on the lungs may be worse than smoking both separately at different times, on account of the fact that marijuana is reputed to open up the bronchial tubes, allowing tobacco smoke to penetrate further into the lungs and deposit tar and carcinogenic chemicals.

Long term use of psychotropic (psychoactive) drugs may result in the accumulation of Lipofuscin or lipopigment waste in cellular membranes, which tends to accelerate the ageing process and decrease neurotransmitter release from neuronal cells.

http://bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/abstract/155/1/1

Dope smokers are frequently inhaling burnt henna, beeswax, turpentine, condensed milk, banana, butter, pine tar, plant gums, motor oil and paraffin wax. Many of these bulking agents help to make the low quality resin appear more sticky and higher quality. Up to 10% or more of the weight of cannabis resin (hash, hashish) is bulking agents. Whilst most of these substances are very harmful if merely eaten, you can imagine the effect that they have when burnt and inhaled, with no filter. If burning paraffin wax was such a pleasant experience and so good for you, why don't dope smokers do this when they can't 'score' any drugs? They clearly don't mind the health effects of it when they are smoking it with the resin itself.

Those particularly desperate dope smokers who haven't scored in a few days or weeks may elect to scrape out their bong/bowl/chalice with a sharp implement and smoke the gunk in the bowl or a joint/blunt. Contrary to popular belief, a bong only serves to cool down the smoke before entering the lungs, so it doesn't burn the lips off the smoker. Anyone who has smoked hash in a pipe (non-water) will verify this! It really hurts. A bong does not act as a filter. Some water soluble toxins and tar may desolve in the bong water, but it is by no means a filter of sorts. No one who smokes dope wants anything that stops one getting the maximum 'high' from each drag/toke. That includes filters etc. That is why people smoke a joint with a roach and not roll up filter. They are desperate to get as high as possible. So that means that the maximum amount of carcinogens are entering the lungs. When it comes to bong scrapings, bits of metal and tar as well as THC oil may get into the mix too, so one is smoking concentrated tar! Lovely. And the anally retentive may even drink the bong water. If you can imagine that the inside of the bong stays wet pretty much for days/weeks on end, the bacteria built up in it bears no thinking about. It's no wonder people who share bongs too get so ill. Adding extra saliva to the end of the pipe. Even smoking the bong is bad enough, let alone drinking the bong water!!!

Promoters of cannabis legalisation frequently point out that if the drug was legal, then purity could be controlled and monitored, and that the consumers would be much healthier, as the negative health effects are all from the bulking agents and not from the hashish resin or grass itself. However, they obviously don't feel strongly enough about it or value their health enough to actually stop smoking cannabis until it is actually legalised. Perhaps this has something to do with their psychological dependence on the substance. Cannabis users, and users of any drugs for that matter, have a miraculous way of blanking out certain things they do not want to think about, so that can feel good about their lifestyle.

Increasingly the cannabis industry has more industrialised and commercialised. So more and more a strain of genetically modified marijuana, originated from the Netherlands, called Skunk, is being sold on the streets. It is up to 6 times stronger than naturally occurring marijuana leaves, and is priced much higher. It is grown under UV lighting in dedicated facilities and greenhouses in Europe mainly. It has been around for many decades, but is much more prevalent than before. The strain was created to provide the greatest THC concentration. It doesn't taste particularly natural and just tastes of THC oil. The high is very potent but more artificial feeling than from smoking 'normal' hash or grass. There is a big movement against GM food, but in drug taking circles, where people are most concerned with getting the greatest buzz possible, such ethical and health concerns often fall by the wayside.

Studies in the Netherlands and USA confirm that confiscated cannabis tested over roughly the last 10 years has doubled in strength. This may of course be down to a number of different factors, but it is likely it is because of the types grown.

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080617125751.htm

Hash oil is another marijuana derived product, which is THC oil, and is extremely potent. Like skunk, it provides a powerful artificial 'high' which is much more a downer than other more natural sources. In many cases, hash oil is artificially synthesized.

Smoking high potency forms of dope is really a world beyond the UK 'Class C' classification of grass.

Drugs in general are poisons and cause liver damage. The dosage at which they can be classified as 'toxic' and lethal varies according to the drug and what impurities are present in the drug. Some drugs like alcohol are burnt off easily and are not stored in the body, others tend to take a very long time to be removed from the body and tend to accumulate in the fatty tissues in the body, particularly the brain, and remain there throughout one's entire life, i.e. the vast majority of natural fat-based drugs like cannabis or opium, or synethetically manufactured such as MDMA (ecstacy), ampetamines (speed, whizz) or LSD (acid, trips) etc. The taking of any recreational drug into the body has a damaging effect on the endocrine system, which is regulated by the hypothalamus in the brain. This is the hormonal system of the body, that regulates energy levels, sleep and pleasure. This is why people who regularly take drugs generally feel tired or lose their natural high when you are 'straight', once the effects of the drugs have worn off. Taking drugs thereby provides temporary relief. Recreational drugs, legal and illegal, work by temporarily disrupting neurotransmitter activity or by mimmicking neurotransmitters. If they didn't do this, they wouldn't be drugs, they wouldn't 'work' and people wouldn't take them! This is why people with increasing hormonal imbalance seek to continue to take recreational drugs occasionally/regularly/all the time in order to feel 'good', as it provides temporary hormonal states of pleasure.

The lyrics to Ice T's cover version of 'I'm Your Pusher' can be found here

Drug takers do not often appreciate health bores sticking their nose into their business and telling them that if they stopped taking drugs and drank water and herbal tea etc. instead, they would feel great! Whilst in some cases this may be true, often, many drug users or ex-drug users have major endocrine system, mitochondrial membrane layer (in energy production), toxicity problems and nutritional deficency problems that require much more attention than this. Endocrine system issues are especially prevalent in cannabis or marijuana users. Those people who take drugs usually by definition have a psychological tendency to like experiences to happen to them, for immediate sensory fulfillment and pleasure, and thus tend to have poor diets and a desire for sugary and fried or fatty foods, regardless of whether they are vegetarian or not. Such an approach to diet encourages bad micro-organism overgrowth in the intestinal tract and also results in nutritional deficiencies over many years. If we consider that the 'average' diet is not particularly healthy, then the drinking, smoking and diet habits of a drug user are likely to be even less healthy. If a drug user wants to stop taking drugs and feel good naturally, then he may well need to address all these areas, and stopping may not be enough to actually feel good naturally again.

Studies of the human body show that cannabinoid receptors are concentrated in the brain, the liver, the testicles and the bone marrow of the spine. THC, the main psychoactive cannabinoid present in cannabis, causes inactivation of some frontal areas of the brain, causing a decrease in spatial awareness. This may cause some of the hallucinogenic effects associated with cannabis use. This effect however can also contribute to paranoia, and is why many cannabis users report a slightly 'uneasy' effect of cannabis in addition to its other properties.

Studies have estimated that 1% of the population goes on to develop schizophrenia at some point during their lifetime. Approximately 2% of occasional and mild cannabis users are estimated to go on to develop schizophrenia later in life. Approximately 6% of heavy cannabis users go on to develop schizophrenia. In other words, occasional users are twice as likely to develop schizophrenia and heavy users are 6 times more likely to develop schizophrenia than non-cannabis users. This is a worrying statistic. Of course, there is no way of knowing if that unlucky person might be you until it is too late.

Additionally, a 2010 British study has shown that smoking the stronger varieties of cannabis (with a higher THC content), specifically the genetically modified variety Skunk, can result in double the risk of developing psychosis later in life.

John McGrath of Queensland Brain Institute in Australia said, "the nature of the relationship between psychosis and cannabis use is by no means simple and more research is needed to examine the mechanisms at work.Ó

http://www.emaxhealth.com/1357/5/35875/even-more-evidence-links-marijuana-psychosis.html

As discussed below in the Medicinal Uses of Hemp Oil section, there are two main antagonistic cannabinoids in cannabis, THC and CBD. THC is psychoactive and CBD is non-psychoactive and anti-psychotic. High THC doses, without or with little protective CBD present (e.g. in skunk), are much more likely to result in psychosis than cannabis with more CBD present and less THC present (i.e. the less 'desirable' or 'potent' variants or crops of cannabis). There are similarities of the brain pattern of certain frontal parts of the brain (and associated reduction of spatial awareness) and medically diagnosed cases of schizophrenia, where spatial awareness is similarly reduced and there is a greater propensity towards misinterpreting events around one, anxiety and additionally hearing voices etc. Cannabis has been shown as discussed above to trigger schizophrenia in some individuals, and there is clearly more than just a passing similarity between the brain chemistry of both states/conditions.

Recent research by UK Universities, in rats and mice, who have a very similar brain chemistry to humans, has shown a number of different trends. Firstly, rats that were given small doses of cannabis over a period of several weeks (equivalent to a few joints a day for a human), experienced a higher tolerance to heroin, when first exposed to heroin (i.e. required higher doses to get the same effect) than rats that had not been exposed to cannabis in prior weeks. This was tested by gauging the effort required by the rats to obtain dosings of heroin, the 'cannabis acclimatised rats' (not stoned at the time) making more effort to get more heroin. At very high doses there seemed no difference, but this is really examined the initial tolerance to heroin rather than actual propensity to try heroin. Clearly the higher dosages one takes, the more likely one is to get addicted.

The second recent study on mice tested the link between memory ability and cannabis use. A water tank with non-transparent water and a hidden platform below the surface of the water was used, with various brightly coloured objects around the room to aim the mice in navigation. One group of mice was dosed daily with cannabis over a period of a few weeks, at a dosage equivalent to a human intake of 2-3 joints a day. The age of these mice was equivalent to humans in the early teens, roughly between 12 and 15 years of age. The second group of mice were dosed with cannabis at a similar equivalent level to their size when they were slightly older, at an equivalent human age of 15-18 years old, for a similar period of a couple of weeks. There was no control of mice not dosed with cannabis at all for some strange reason, as far as I am aware. However, the results showed that some time later, when the mice were fully mature, and no traces of cannabis remained in their systems (effectively), that the group of mice that were dosed at an earlier age (i.e. when the brain was developing the most) suffered a 25% deficit in memory ability (i.e. ability to find the sunken platform) compared with the mice dosed at a later age. This may suggest, assuming brain chemistry similarities between mice and humans, that the age that youths most commonly first try cannabis, at the ages of 13-15 or even earlier these days, that it may be causing permanent 'damage' or impairment to their brain functions, when they are 'sober', for years afterwards, and into adult life. This study would imply that this is the worst possible time to be smoking cannabis - a little like some mobile phone research shows that children and young teenagers with thinner skulls may be causing more brain damage to themselves than adults with mobile phones. It may also refute the allegations by many pro-cannabis lobbyists that the short term memory loss associated with cannabis intoxication 'completely disappears' once the drug leaves one's system and not affect one's long term memory functions - the implication being at any age.

A very crude rule of thumb could be something like the following. For every 3 to 4 years spent smoking hash or marijuana on a regular or semi-regular basis, a full year of intensive detoxification protocols are required to actually rid the body of the majority of the toxins built up. People who start smoking dope rarely 'plan' for the future, and how many years they exactly want to smoke dope, but often one may end up smoking it far longer than one had originally anticipated, maybe 10 or 20 years in many cases. Are you prepared to do THAT much detoxification to mop up the effects of your own self-abuse?

Some miscellaneous links telling the 'truth' about cannabis can be found below. The DrugWarFacts web site is actually factual although includes quotations making both factual statements and perference inference (subjective). The pdf file discusses drugs in general rather than just cannabis.

www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana/factsmyths/#More_Information

http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/53

www.drugwarfacts.org/factbook.pdf

The first link above, from DrugPolicy.org, appears to make any generalised statements about cannabis, and 4 of the 5 top myths are actually true! Number 4 on the list 'Marijuana Offenses care not severely punished' is not really of particular interest to me as it is not medical in nature. Marijuana use is scientifically shown in a small number of test subjects to lead to psychosis, and a large number of users to be more predisposed towards paranoia and depression, and short term memory loss, even after the effects of the drug has 'worn off' - i.e. when it finally leaves the system. If you wish to explore the other claims, please read the rest of this page. The myths seem to correlate directly to my own experiences. This web site appears to be a criminal case of viewing cannabis and marijuana through rose tinted spectacles.

Quoting Leslie Iversen PhD from the DrugWarFacts article above: 'Tetrahydrocannabinol is a very safe drug. Laboratory animals (rats, mice, dogs, monkeys) can tolerate doses of up to 1,000 mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram). This would be equivalent to a 70 kg person swallowing 70 grams of the drug -- about 5,000 times more than is required to produce a high.'

I actually conducted my own 'animal experiments' during his late teens, despite being a vegetarian and into animal rights at the time, because he was 'stoned' and thought it was really funny and after all, cannabis is 'such a good drug, it's great for everyone and everything within no drawbacks'. One time, a friend of mine was going away on holiday and needed someone to look after her hamster. So she gave the hamster to my 'homeboy'. I went round to my homeboy's house on the Friday night, whilst his father was away, to get stoned (as was the routine by that point - very spontaneous and exciting!) Anyway, during the evening we were looking at the hamster in the cage and discussed dosing it with cannabis for a laugh, to get him 'nicely stoned'. So we broke off a little crumb from the precious stash, and gave it to the hamster stuck onto one of his hamster biscuits (from memory). The hamster ate it all up, and after a while, the Hamster started looking confused, running around the cage, which we thought was amusing, but then it was chasing after things that weren't there and acting psychotic. It tend curled up into a ball and lay there for the next 12 hours that I was there. I did a rough calculation of how much cannabis we have given it, and scaling up the body size/volume from hamster to human, we estimated that we had given it the equivalent of half to a whole ounce of cannabis. On it's first time. Now some researchers believe cannabis is not toxic and does not contribute to the onset of psychosis or schizophrenia; and the quotation above states that laboratory animals can ingest the equivalent of 2.5 ounces and 'tolerate it' - whatever that means. However, in this particular case, the aforementioned hamster, wasn't quite right the next day, and we felt really guilty about it. But we didn't think that maybe we shouldn't be smoking the stuff either. When returned to its owner, we both hoped she wouldn't notice, but after a week she was rather annoyed and told us that her hamster had gone completely insane and was still exhibiting strong psychotic, and possibly schizophrenic behaviour - as much as can be understood from a hamster's behaviour. It never recovered. Perhaps some lab animals can tolerate high doses, it would be sadistic to do so, and clearly some animals would become psychotic on much lower doses as I proved. If one assumes that the likelihood of cannabis triggering psychosis in a hamster is similar to that of humans, then it was extremely unlikely (i.e. 2-6% chance) that this hamster should have gone psychotic. So was the dosage to blame? According to Iversen, not. I would however like to see such 'scientists' dose humans with 2.5 ounces of cannabis and see the effect on their personalities. It is not unheard of for people taking large doses of other hallucinogens, such as LSD, to go insane afterwards and/or suffer severe neurological damage (e.g. Syd Barrett). Is it a far stretch to think that something similar might apply to cannabis. I myself during the early part of my cannabis 'career', when taking slightly too much cannabis, suffered from severe dizziness, nausea, headaches, being unable to physically move and even blackouts. In what were sometimes extremely unpleasant physical experiences. If I had consumed 10 times this amount on each occasion, as part of an 'experiment', I would hate to think how this would have turned out.

Other somewhat rose tinted links include:

www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis.shtml

http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis_faq1.shtml#3-1

I am not convinced by the claim that the active form of THC, Delta-9-THC, is not present whatsoever a few hours after smoking marijuana, but is converted into the non-psychoactive metabolites 11-OH-THC and 11-nor which is stored in one's fat cells. Myself and everyone I ever smoked cannabis with can testify that one feels stoned in a much less upbeat and more 'headachy' manner many hours after getting stoned, in fact, one can still feel it the next day. A friend of mine smoked one spliff and a couple of bongs the night before his Mathematics A-Level as he couldn't do without it for one night, and the result was that he could hardly think the next day and failed his exam. I find that it typicaly took 1-2 days to regain full use of his brain afterwards. Is building up non-psychoactive metabolites of THC in one's fat cells not an issue? These can potentially clog up one's mitochondrial membranes (as glutathione conjugates). If one continues to build these up over years, what is the scientific evidence to show that this is harmless? I am not convinced. I had a white blood cell mitochondrial membrane microscopy performed which showed that I had large amounts of glutathione conjugates of a 'drug or other chemical' clogging up his mitochondrial membranes. Not having taen any other drug in any quantities besides antibiotics at certain points in my life might suggest it was THC metabolites, although the exact drug could not be identified. The test has since been refined by Acumen, so it would be interesting for a known ex-dope smoker to take this test and find out what was going on on a cellular level!

Whilst the above sites claim that THC does not cause brain damage, I can confirm that regular smokers exhibited regular short term memory loss for years after having quit smoked cannabis for few years, some never regaining it. The effect cannabis smoking has on one's personality is rarely positive and this is sometimes what some people see as someone becomign 'brain damaged', when they are probably mainly seeing someone becomeing 'buzz oriented' and 'anally retentive' and becoming non-caring about their appearance or sexuality. Some smokers are seen to become 'vegetables'. Anyone who smokes cannabis will of course not like to admit any of these things. The above issues are discussed and examined in more detail in following sections on this page.

http://harmreductionjournal.com/content/4/1/11

www.aids.org/atn/a-327-02.html

www.nature.com/clpt/journal/v82/n5/abs/6100200a.html

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17429350

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17821306

The above links examine vaporising cannabis to avoid the lung damage and respiratory problems associated with smoking it (someone actually admitting that smoking it actually is actually bad for one's health! This is refreshing to see.)

Whilst cannabis is said to target the cannaboid receptors, mainly in the brain, liver, testicles and spinal column, it does appear to speed up the heart rate significantly. This is perhaps exaccerbated when smoked with tobacco. Whilst many users report feeling relaxed, it is not the body's usual relaxed state; their heart rates are elevated, often spiking immediately upon smoking each 'bong' or 'joint'. This feeling of elevated heart rate is clearly not conducive to total relaxation and mental calm. Cannabis targets the brain, and those who smoke it without tobacco may at first feel that it has an energising effect, that they want to get up and do something or some exercise. This 'up' sensation however does not last very long, and results in feeling more lethargic afterwards. In addition, if, in this 'aroused, up' state, the person tries to do some exercise, they may well enjoy it for a brief period of time, but in most cases, the cannabis acts to speed up the rate of their mitochondrial depletion, so it is a false sense of 'energy'. In addition, this elevated heart beat becomes extreme apparent if the person in question decides to have a hot bath. A hot bath will also elevate the heart rate, and if the person is stoned whilst getting in the bath, then the two will synergistically elevate the heart rate further, making the person probably feel somewhat uncomfortable after a short period of time. Clearly the exact effect depends on the person's cardiac function. Those who are stoned may also potentially indulge in overeating (usually sweet foods, but not necessarily) and those who are bloated often experience considerable discomfort and an elevated heart rate, so the two can sometimes combine to adverse effect. In the early part of my 'cannabis' career I did just that with pizza and on a normal amount of food would have been 'ok', but with a very large amount of pizza virtually passed out and could not move or speak for the next 12 hours, and lay fully clothed on top of someone's bed, making slight grunting and moaning noises when verbally addressed! Cannabis is often all about what you think you can do, but you actually can't do very well. A little like alcohol in some respects, although operating on a different level and different type of incapacitation of one's physical abilities.

When the relative harmfulness of drugs is discussed, often what is looked at is the number of total national fatalies (rather than a percentage of actual users) so that an objective comparison is not possible with tobacco, alcohol and prescription drugs. In addition, it is often the short term toxicity that is considered, the physical addictiveness of the drug and the risk of overdosing (the difference between a 'normal' or 'beginners' dose and a lethal dose, or of mixing with alcohol for example) rather than the actual long term effects on one's health and death of a small number of one's brain cells (for each time no gets high) and psychological addiction and mental illness. Actual brain damage and damage to one's neurological system (in particular with psychedelic drugs) is not often considered, as well as damage to one's endocrine system. Many stoners in the early part of their drug or cannabis careers actively seek out experiences where they see stars or have excessive 'head rushes' or other visual disturbances and find it 'cool' - which some might argue is a little borgeois as basically they are seeking neurological disturbances that many people who are chronically ill or with neurological problems experience. In addition, does any drug user stick to just one type of drug? And do users stick to moderate or low dosages, or do they 'go for it' at the weekend? Many consider 'natural' drugs to be less harmful than those created in a laboratory, but that is not necessarily true, and cannabis/marijuana is considered by many experts to be more harmful physically and psychologically than party drugs such as MDMA and LSD.

Below is a paper on the resemblance that LSD has to Melatonin and Seratonin molecules and how it affects the pineal gland.

www.serendipity.li/mcclay/pineal.html

Psychedelic drugs, e.g. LSD, magic mushrooms, hash, marijuana, ecstacy also have the added effect of causing temporary or often permanent neurological damage, which can result in short term memory loss, lack of immediate awareness, slow thinking, speech problems, difficulties in regaining (or having any) psychological reference points, increased emotional sensitivity (positive and negative), being total oblivious to social skills and basics about relationships and emotional boundaries, concentration difficulties, confusion, apathy, detachment, permanently dilated pupils, a tendency towards developing mental illness (depression and paranoia chiefly) and things permanently looking slightly 'trippy' (grainy, light sensitivity, difficulty in processing information about objects relative distances, reflective surfaces, and chequered or closely striped patterns etc. - whilst this may seem like you are getting 'high' for free initially, the novelty wears off leaving you feeling like an acid casualty to varying degrees for the rest of your life). Depression and paranoia are especially evident with users of cannabis/marijuana (and even psychosis in some users), mainly on account of the effects of THC. Hardly something to 'mellow' you out! LSD tends to have a somewhat more disassociative effect on users.

There is some debate as to whether acid tabs actually contain any strychnine or not. Strychnine is often cited as the poison present in LSD tabs or blotting paper. However, the amount of the poison required to cause stomach cramps and other adverse sensations experienced with LSD use is several times higher than the actual weight of the tab itself, if it is even present at all. Some theorise that the adverse sensations experienced when taking LSD are a result of poorly synthesized LSD (other chemical derivatives). Myself and many other associates have experienced such adverse sensations including adverse belly ache when taking LSD (many years ago!) The article on the web site below examines this issue.

www.erowid.org/chemicals/lsd/lsd_myth5.shtml

The effect is particularly bad with magic mushrooms (shrooms), which contain much larger concentrations of various poisons. Shrooms can often leave a person feeling nauseous after 30-60 minutes after taking them, and often for the entire duration of the 'trip' or until the person throws up. It may vary according to the source of the mushrooms, the degree of mould on them, the amount of contaminants and many other factors. Some users get around this problem by brewing a 'tea', i.e. boiling the mushrooms and then filtering off the solids. In this way, slightly fewer poisonous compounds or at least no inedible solids are consumed.

When taking LSD, there is not gentle come down as such, just a gradual lessening of the effect over 48+ hours. Sleep is difficult if not impossible and it feels like your brain is frying and frying. Hippies in the 60s not infrequently took methadone or heroin in order to get to sleep after an acid trip, and frequent LSD use in many cases led to the users become heroin addicts. The acid come down feels like a big headache after a while, possibly partly owing to a lack of sleep and endocrine/mitochondrial chaos. After a trip, the user often feels totally fatigued for about a week, requiring much more sleep than normal. The magic mushroom (shroom) come down is similar to that of LSD, but may include an unsettled stomach, as much larger concentrations of various poisons are being consumed. In addition, eating unwashed, raw mushrooms (straight from the ground) is unlikely to be particularly sensible anyway, even if they were 'edible' mushrooms. The actual 'peaking' time for mushrooms is generally shorter than for LSD, but the comedown may not be as long and protracted, assuming no severe nausea or stomach cramps/pains were experienced. The amount of suffering endured compared to the actual 'peak' or high is rather disproportionate and one could argue that one would have to be a total masochist to go through all of this, especially considering the neurological (psychological) damage (and sometimes depression/paranoia) endured for years/a lifetime afterwards.

Tripping is itself a fine line between total hell and a fun time! Often one is somewhere in a grey area, tripping out, but is one really having a particularly good time? Often just before or after the peak is 'disappointing' leaving the actual 'fun' time a matter of hours. Often if one is tripping heavily enough, it is more intense than fun, and depending on how one feels about that forced intensity for many hours, it can become rather a chore or a bore, or even a total nightmare. A trip therefore requires constant psychological management, and a group of 'trippers' may indeed be seen to nanny themselves and keep everything 'fluffy', pampered or 'cool' so no one has a 'bad time'.

LSD usage was considered a useful part of psychotherapy in the 1950s until its usage was outlawed. The logic being that it made patients open up more, sharpen their memory of past events etc (at low dosages). It is not infrequently noticed however by LSD users that whilst under the influence, they may believe they are experiencing and feeling many spiritual insights or revelations, but that they are totally incapable of communicating these to other people. This is not uncommon with users of psychedelic substances, as the ability to talk, communicate anything intelligently and general thought processes slow down and often become impossible. The level of conversation often becomes totally disjointed with complete and utter garbage being talked or written down, even though the user himself may think he is being deeply profound. LSD users may report that making a cup of tea may take half an hour or more, with the user staring blankly into space and unable to think, feeling like they are totally brain dead. The proponents of LSD in psychotherapy unsurprisingly appear to have unusually dilated pupils and are most likely promoting the use of a substance they themselves like to take and believe is a 'religion' or 'way of life'. The usefulness of memory recall and mental clarity whilst under the influence is in my opinion highly debatable and dubious. The proponents of such a style of psychotherapy clearly have no clue or idea about psychological techniques such as NLP. With LSD it is clearly difficult to control the dosage, as one tab or batch of the same 'type' (logo) may vary enormously to the next, and may be 4-5 times stronger or weaker. Those that want to push the limits and take 2 tabs or more, and accidentally take a highly strong tab (e.g. Pink Floyd) may end up much more drugged out than they had planned. I have personally observed some first timers taking acid with a friend and totally breaking down and crying their eyes out for hours, and having a horrible nightmare of a time. My best friend of many years ago took several tabs of an ultra strong type and ended up depression and disassociated for years afterwards (I lost contact with the aforementioned 'homeboy' and have no idea if he has ever fully recovered). Before he had taken any acid he was a down to earth and positive guy. Cannabis usage probably didn't help either. I believe that LSD use often results in a user's psychological problems and mental issues being magnified, perhaps during, but very much so afterwards. Clearly what happens during an LSD trip varies according to the individual, but often those who take it are emotionally inexperienced and young, and act in a rather anally retentive manner, and go to the lowest common denominator (e.g. listent to this music on acid, smoke a spliff, go for a walk, go to a rave, talk rubbish, laugh and giggle at something stupid etc.)

MDMA is sometimes used as a slimming drug by those who burn off calories by dancing for 6-8 hours at a time at raves. Fatalities from MDMA use are reputedly owing to dehydration. All stimulants such as MDMA and Amphetamine do put a strain on the heart, and the long term effects of usage are clearly not going to be beneficial to one's cardiovascular system. I have known a number of heavy MDMA users over the years, and the vast majority have pale (sometimes 'grey' looking) skin, blotchy complexion and are often unhealthily thin. They have also clearly had diminished serotonin production. I cannot say if their lifestyles were otherwise healthy or not, but comparing to the average non-user with similarly 'average' eating habits. The after effects of MDMA are similar to those of Amphetamine, and include extreme fatigue and some depression, and seem to last at least a week, regardless of the dosage taken (whether a tiny fraction of a tablet of E, or a full dosage). This is particularly true with E. It is not uncommon for those in rave clubs to take 2 tablets for a 'headstrong' dose! Es are most likely to contain a coctail of different drugs in them (as well as MDMA), mixed up to make the Es cheaper to produce. The quality control is dubious when buying from drug dealers.



The act of 'responsibly' taking small quantities of poisons for one's abstraction obsessed mind's entertainment and pleasure could be considered as rather borgeois, something that occurs in countries where people are no longer striving to survive for food for their next meal or for shelter above their heads, where being alive, healthy and having full use of your faculties simply isn't enough. The way to escape difficult emotional trauma is to work on one's self esteem and not to rely on plants and chemicals to provide temporary relief. Unfortunately the former is much harder to achieve than the latter in the short term. In the long term, drug use results in considerable amounts of emotional and physical 'pain' whereas having a high self-esteem only gets better and better! It is all a question of motivation and having the right psychological tools at one's disposal, and maintaining a positive peer group, not one that will drag you down to hell. A few web sites listing some of the effects of smoking marijuana and cannabis can be found below.

http://www.marijuana-detox.com/m-facts.htm

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/evidence99/marijuana/Health_1.html  

Medicinal Use of Hemp Oil

Various accounts of the benefits of hemp oil in cancer treatment can be found on the internet. There are many benefits with hemp oil usage, but equally some drawbacks too. Often hemp oil is used as a single source of treatment where many other proven natural methods exist. Hemp oil has proven useful in certain applications, particularly cancer treatment, but is far from a single solution to a variety of illnesses besides cancer. It has many undesirable effects on the endocrine system including the adrenal glands and brain chemistry, primarily, as well as mitochondrial function, cardiac function, and the lipid soluble components that dissolve into the fat tissue. Those with conditions that are partly driven by endocrine system abnormalities, such as Fibromyalgia, M.E. and Multiple Sclerosis, may get some pain relief benefit from smoking or otherwise consuming cannabis or marijuana (oil), but it will likely disrupt their endorcine system further in the medium and long term. It may well be a better bet than taking precription drugs for pain relief but that is just going from one drug to another, albeit slightly less damaging to one's health, whilst not addressing the root causes of the condition, which could be treatable by holistic means (albeit not as 'sexy' and requireing more mental effort than smoking a joint). Hemp oil etc. may also potentially cause psychosis in a small but significant number of individuals - as it is a highly concentrated source of THC. Cannabis is general also has psychoactive effects on those prone to mental illness including depression. For medicinal uses, for specific applications only, e.g. cancer, I believe that non-psychotic cannabis-based drugs have a place, but otherwise is a mixed bag at best in my opinion.

 

Why Do People Take Drugs?

'Because I want to'. 'Because it's fun'. 'I decide what to do with my life'. 'I'm being careful and moderate about my drugs consumption so it shouldn't impact my health and life' etc. 'I'll take drugs any time I want. Whatever! Whatever! [Eric Cartman, South Park]'

Drug users often see the act of taking drugs as empowering. They are taking control of their lives and making a decision, in spite of what they have been told in school and probably partly because of it. It is satisfying to go against what one is told, and it can give the person a sense of finding out the 'reality' and be at the cutting edge of discovery of what is good and what is not after years of misinformation, conditioning in school and ineffective drugs education.

Unfortunately, children and teenagers, in their attempts to feel like adults, show that they have autonomy and can decide for themselves and do what they want, rarely actually do anything creative or positive. Nearly always the attempts to carve out one's own life are negative self-expression and adoption of negative, destructive behaviours, which make them feel like they are in control or have power, in the short term. It is the same for binge drinking. Youth is all about discovering things, learning about relationships, learning about one's body, learning about sex, education, and preparing themselves for their future careers (optional in many cases!) Hopefully a person will have been educated properly about the benefits and dangers of drugs, and make a sensible decision to not bother taking them and not hang around with negative 'wasters' ['Negative Creep' by Kurt Kobain], and engage instead in more positive activities, including different sports, creative, artistic or intellectual pursuits, to discover themselves, push themselves to the limit and really enjoy being the best they can be.

Teachers don't seem to understand that sport is there is develop children's characters, to help children conquer fear, to develop bodily co-ordination and to fully engage in an activity relative to other children, to build confidence. Sport is a metaphor for survival in nature, for war, which is a metaphor for life itself. It is all about soul, spirit, self-expression, the confidence to interact with one's environment and with others, testing the human spirit, overcoming fear and pushing oneself and one's limits. Testing one's spirit is what life is all about. Vitality, self-expression, spirit, honesty with self and confidence and belief in oneself. There is no objective purpose to sport, and this is often why children or teenagers who haven't been encouraged regard it as pointless and rather 'redneck', going against their intellect, and take no interest. However, it is the teacher's job to try to encourage such children into the games, explain strategy to them, and give them a feeling for what they should actually be doing. If one believes a sport to be intellectually demeaning, then this is all the more reason to be good at it, to challenge the mind's command over the body and to overcome one's fear etc. One then then put it down and say it's not for you. But to not even properly engage in it smells of fear and lack of self-esteem, hidden behind some layers of rationalisation and superiority. Sport is all about the mind, the physical aspect is just one expression of its meaning. All top athletes are the best because of their minds, mindset and self-belief, not because of their bodies. Quite often there is a will and a desire to participate, but because everyone else is so much better, one really has no idea what one should be doing and what finer points to start working on first.

Teacher's don't seem to think it is worth pointing out that children are 'allowed' to practice in their spare time. Teachers are often refereeing a game just to have a good time and focus on the best players who are always in key striking positions. Teachers seem to allow the worst players to be in goal or defence all the time, where they feel left out of the game and stand around doing nothing for most of the game, ignoring the action, and then are scolding everytime the other team's best players score a goal. The teachers should be doing the opposite, mixing the worst players (or least encouraged players one should say) in with the best players in attacking and defensive positions, so that the least skilled and see what the skilled are doing, and be put under pressure, and have for example an experienced defender or goalkeeper who can direct the others. But can most teachers be bothered? Are they interested? Even in private schools where parents pay exorbitant fees, the teachers still don't bother. Many teachers seem to be only there to have a good time with the children they like and forget that they have a vital role in each child's growth. If a school has three games sessions per week, one of those sessions per week could be dedicated to game training, for example. This would ensure that each pupil is put under some pressure to practice the core skills required in the game and gain confidence (e.g. passing, goal scoring, goal keeping, tackling, ball control etc), especially those pupils who don't normally get 'stuck into the action' during games and are left out. Many schools only schedule training sessions once a year if at all for the lesser skilled games. It really is no additional effort, but it would require a will for teachers and referees to actually want to help children grow as people, rather than just being 'jobs worth' and doing the minimum that is required of them.

Many parents push their children to perform well at school, get Straight A's. Some push them to succeed in sports, to be the best. Some encourage hobbies and creative interests. Some take little interest in any of these things. Ultimately, what grades you get at school is not that important. GCSEs are a stepping stone to A-Levels, assuming the child stays on at school until the age of 18. As long as your grades are fairly good, that's enough. However, getting top grades is not the issue. The issue is having a consistent attitude to learning and taking an interest in life, society and learning new skills, having the right attitude, wising up, the will to apply what one learns to the world around one, and wanting to be in a position where one can do what one really wants, which one will take with one for the rest of one's life. Being at school may be dorky, and showing a keen interest in learning may not always be cool, unless of course a given teacher makes it really fun in the class to learn that subject and exudes a real passion for the subject matter. Sometimes if one is purely focussed on the grades, one isn't focussed on why one is studying the subjects, and what happens after the exam. What career one wants to pursue, and what specialties are open to one. It is too easy to perform in the classroom, but have no belief that one can really have the perfect job one wants. One may think, 'oh, I could never do that'...but the people who are living these dreams or professions were 'human' and were probably less academically gifted than you. It is all about passion and drive. Wanting to express oneself.

Unfortunately, children at school are often so horribly negative and fearful, and try to put up a 'front', and anything resembling interest in anything or than music or television is regarded as 'square' and peer pressure collectively acts to discourage this in many cases. I think parents should encourage their children to be free thinking and tough enough to ignore peer pressure and do their own thing, and tough enough to stand up for themselves physically and mentally (an inevitable consequence of being an individual, you get picked on and people want to fight you, but eventually will treat you with respect and reverence, once you have hit a sufficient number of aggressors). Of course this is not easy, as children depend on a peer group or close friends to feel secure. The trick is to have a close circle of friends who actually treat one with respect and encourage each other.

However, frequently, those with a low self-esteem or those lacking self-knowledge (those who are clueless in personal terms), tend to be most susceptible to manipulation, peer pressure and often are those that experiment with drugs. Low self-esteem can come from not engaging in social or sporting activities, perhaps through lack of encouragement, and perhaps through being told that one is no good at something. Which may be the case, as one has never really partaken in that activity very much. But it is these people who NEED the encouragement and should partake in that sport or activity MORE OFTEN, and should not just be criticised or assumed that they have no talent in this area. Parents should encourage their children to take part in activities (this does not mean suggest it once, then forget about it) on a continual basis during their childhood and never tell their children that they are no good at anything. Negative self-beliefs in one area often spread to other areas. Parents should help their children get to know themselves, but getting them to think about jobs and functions and processes in society, relationships and encourage social engagements, and give compliments and encouragement. Parents should activity question their children to help them figure out what they are really interested in and what their strengths are, and encourage them to build on these interests and strengths. Often those who lack confidence and have little self-knowledge focus inwards and do not take such an active interest in the traditions or activites within a society, which in turn does nothing to help them figure out what they want to do with their lives, doing nothing for their sense of direction or focus. Children and adults alike need certainty, need focus to be at their best. Low self-esteem, uncertainty and lack of focus leads to psychological problems. The Personal Orientation web page contains further thoughts on peer pressure, friends and self-esteem.

Teenagers tend to hide behind youth culture fads in order to feel empowered, that they can dress how they like and so on, like putting on a uniform or out of the box personality, but this rarely coincides with them being themselves and free thinking. Trends go in and out of style, and regrettably, rave culture, punk and drugs have permeated youth culture, and have encouraged more and more teenagers, especially in the UK, to experiment with drugs. It is probably worse now than in the 1960s (but without the 'love' and sense of 'hope' and with more cynicism and negativity)! The situation is most likely exaccerbated by the increasing use of computers and the internet (sense of alienation and impersonalisation), the increasing diversity and complexity of society, the increasing sense of internationalism, overloading of information and possibilities and the decreasing sense of control over one's life. Post-enlightenment has reached its logical conclusion. Perhaps it will swing around the other way again in the future.

It should be noted that the perception of a 'scene' is just that. It is often perpetuated by the music press, which is often over-examined by enthusiastic teenagers. If we look at a particular music 'scene' for example, the scene is more something created by the fans than the bands themselves. Bands are just a collection of individuals with different personalities and ideas. They may get along with other bands to varying degrees, and in many cases associate because of similar sounds even though personality and attitude may differ markedly. Fans may regard all bands in a 'scene' as sharing a common belief or philosophy, and regard that philosophy as a hard and fast 'rulebook' of how they should be or what they should think. This however is a perception and a form of self-limitation, and is a detrimental mindset for personal growth. It is ironic that the bands themselves are doing whatever they want, and say whatever they like, but some of the fans follow them sheepishly, try to look, act or think like them, and are not being themselves at all, but trying to be someone else. Those fans who try to piece together the ideology of a plethora of different groups and perhaps in different musical genres face an impossible task and may well end up totally confused. Fans should bear in mind the spirit of the actual bands themselves, people who know who they are and what they want (usually), and take a record in the spirit in which is was created, i.e. a piece of art by a group of individual personalities; Lyrics that are personal to them and that may not necessarily reflect another person's experience; and to not take it all so seriously. The bands sure don't (usually). Some bands are stereotypes and try to reflect the 'scene' and the 'way of thinking' and a particular example of such as the Anarcho Punk scene of the mid 1980s in the UK, where bands all shared a common conformist stance of pacifism, vegetarianism, anarchism, having little personality and generally being quite miserable. Bands often reflect the culture in which they emerged from, and when listening to bands from other countries, especially for teenagers who are often ignorant of other cultures, may not understand what is being said, and may take a guess based on their own 'scene's values' or take the lyrics totally out of context and read too much into them, as above. For example, it would be easy for a UK teenage listener of 1980s US Hardcore bands to come to the conclusion that 'all sports are bad and if you like them you must be an idiot', when the actual lyrics often referred to stereotypes of 'jocks' or American football fans, and indeed one needn't even be a 'jock' to like them and participate in them. It was merely the 'stereotype' that was being mocked, and it is easy for the meaning to be totally lost on the audience, reinforcing their own self-hating miserable attitudes, rather than boosting their empowering ones about being themselves etc. This is exaccerbated when the bands don't quite practice what they preach, or put their money where their mouth is (in terms of their actual behaviour reflecting their stated values), where one will often copy the lowest or least creative form. Individual bands are often very heterogenous, but this is rarely seen by the actual fans.

If one is used to sneering or sarcastic sounding vocals, it is sometimes hard to get out of the mindset of sarcasm and sneering and assume everything a singer sings about is sarcasm or making an ironic point. One conditions oneself into permanently expecting sarcasm and may find it very difficult to genuinely express one's positive feelings or understand when someone else is doing so. Teenagers are particularly susceptible to this as they are often embarrassed about themselves and feel insecure, and may develop a twisted set of views based on this sarcastic or knee-jerk interpretation of genuine expression in music and seeing what they are conditioned to want to see in the music. This is particularly the case when one cannot heat the lyrics properly or one has pirated the album and hasn't got the lyric sheet. Many people hear the odd word here or there or mishear a word, and often reach wildly off-track conclusions about what the songs are about. They may fill in the gaps between the lyrics they think they have identified with their 'instruction manual belief system' and add 1 and 1 and make 3, ascribing disempowering, low level meaning to something which may not necessarily be about that at all. Such people may also totally misunderstand the humour in the music and lyrics and take everything seriously, and largely misunderstand a band and totally get the wrong end of the stick. They may mistake humour and joking around as sarcasm, sneering and point making. When a song is painting a picture of ironic look at a certain person or character, some fans may read too much into the lyrics. Instead of trying to understand what type of character is being portrayed, many find the need to assume the band is singing about a 'bad type of person' in whom every single characteristic or trait is negative, and any charactetistic ascribed to this character is negative and something one should strive to be the opposite of. Real life is not like this! And such a tendency shows a lack of life experience. This is unfortunately what happens when people look to bands to tell them 'what to do and think', when bands are put on a pedestal, and when people with some emotional maturity and life experience are over-analysed by those without it.

People who feel they do not like the society they live in, and who feel they have to rebel against it, or act in such a way that they are making a 'statement' are often ironically not really rejecting the traditional values of their society at all, but still living them and a slave to them. This includes the western industrial society's bias towards keeping one's consciousness in one's 'head', rather than in one entire body, and being aware of one's body and one's surroundings. Eastern concepts of balance, natural fluidity of motion and grace are still lost upon such people, and everyone else, whatever values they claim to hold. The tendency is to allow one's mind to force its will onto the body and its environment. Rebellion can become an exercise in intellectual domination, and even domination over oneself. 'Rebels', goths, punks and so on are still often 'victims of consumer culture' in terms of diet, health, drug abuse (but a 'different', 'righteous' drug!) and to some degree cultural rules over communication and non-sexual displays of affection. Where stoners feel they are liberated in terms of communication and goofing around is often that which is anally retentive and purile.

The lack of identity amongst teenagers is a void that is frequently filled up by youth culture and the use of drugs. A teenager may have 'smoker' ingrained as part of his or her core identity. This is clearly ridiculous, but it happens all the time. It is just as ridiculous as someone whose core identity is someone that likes beer. Not someone of amazing xyz qualities, but that just happens to drink beer sometimes. Their identity is a drinker. This is very anally retentive and self-perpetuating/reinforcing. Creating an identity for oneself when one does not know oneself is really rather stupid, and results in a foolish drug consumer identity or as an identity in opposition to something else, rather than actually having anything to do with who one is. Lack of certainty is inevitable to an extent with teenagers, as they do not have the life experience, experience of pain in a wide manner of relationships, that makes an adult wise and mature. However, it is meant to be fun discovering these things! That is what life is all about.

Ironically, many cannabis smokers externalise their psychological problems, as do highly political teenagers, such that the reason they do not feel good about themselves is not their own fault, but society's. They may create ludicrously high expectations or a set of conditions that must be met in society for them to be happy that will never be met. We are not saying that society is free from injustice. The irony is that, whilst a cannabis user may make out that he is concerned about the pollution in the environment, animal welfare or human rights, he clearly not concerned or does not care about polluting and poisoning his own body. If one can't look after one's own body, then one is really in no position to complain about the planet not being looked after properly.

Quite often, teenagers will seek a grand cause, a higher purpose, a sense of meaning and significance, so that they don't have to think about themselves and their own lives, they can feel like they are contributing to a higher purpose and sense of meaning, and project their problems and feelings on unhappiness onto the outside world. Then you can feel justified in not treating yourself well or loving yourself or looking after yourself, as it is really insignificant compared to the cause you are focussed on (animal rights, anarchism, white power, whatever it is). Now you have given yourself permission to feel bad as much as you want, as your conditions for feeling good about the world will never be met. You may feel you are worthless, and that justice is the only goal. Putting yourself metaphorically (or actually) at the back of the queue out of a false sense of humility. Naively, you may think that (tens of) thousands of years of human corruption will suddenly be washed away by your idealism. Temptation, greed and jealousy are present in every society, in every time, and always will be. Everyone is susceptible to such weaknessess and temptations at one time or other. The feeling of alienation through political ideas or moral values can often lead to the sense of alienation and nihilism of the drugs lifestyle. Perhaps this is not one's intention from the outset, but people often become what they never thought they ever would! Children often never think they will be old and frail. Communists never think they could ever become capitalists. Capitalists never think they could ever become communists. Teenagers might think they could never become middle-aged and boring, obsessed with money and financial planning. But it happens all the time! If one's happiness is dependent on others believing in your cause and seeing it to completion, then you will have a long wait! You can't rely on others to believe in your cause, and everyone is entitled to their own ideas, however sensible or ridiculous. Let's hope your children don't adopt the dope lifestyle as their 'cause'.

Idealised societies or scenes can be imagined that are so constructed that if they could ever exist (in a sustainable manner) they would remove the need for one to face up to one's own fears, character deficiencies, weaknesses and allow us to continue to hide away from one's own low self-esteem. For example, if I had an assertiveness problem, then I might dream of an ideal society where I would not have to be assertive, where people were naturally empathic, considerate, egalitarian and sharing.

It is easy to understand how kid and teenagers can adopt the mindset of 'grand causes'. When you are growing up (usually), one's parents provide for one. Of course, many parents encourage their children to work for their pocket money or to 'hustle' a little for themselves, and to work in their holidays in their late teens (e.g. supermarkets, fast food restaurants etc.) However, for those that have everything provided for them, by caring and doting parents who wish to look after/spoil/protect their children, everything appears to come out of thin air for such children. No work or effort is required. In this mindset, it is easy to lose the connection between work and reward, the reward coming for no input. Thus it is easy to develop the attitude of the world owing one a living, or that society owes it to its inhabitants to look after them and stop all injustices, as such a person sees no other goal in society (earning money is not really perceived as important as one is provided for 'out of thin air'). However, as one grows older, and has been working for oneself, and reliant on oneself for many years (as no one else is looking after you), then there is often less predisposition to believe that society owes you a living or that fixing injustices is your primary goal anymore. This is exaccerbated when one has more responsibliities and has to provide for others, such as one's children or family. The roles are now reversed. This is why many middle class children become vegetarian or socialists/anarchists in their teens, and often becoming 'right wing' in middle age. This is a gross generalisation of course, and this is not to say that many causes are not worthwhile, but it does seem to apply to some extent with many people.

Many dope smokers, and indeed punks, goths or anarchists may feel that society is a cruel place, and may well oppose infringements of civil liberties, wars and animal rights abuses. This externalisation of one's problems is often at the expense of the self. Whilst one feels that one is against the infringements of liberties of, violence against and killing of one's fellow man, one ironically has no problems with violence towards oneself, abuse of oneself and the slow killing of oneself! It is thus considered immoral for the government or industry to poison people, but it is perfectly acceptable for the average consumer to poison himself through ignorance or laziness! Is this not a double standard? If life precious, but not so precious that one would stop self-destructive and self-abusive behaviour and thoughts? Negative thinking and addictive patterns of self-hatred and low self esteem, poor diets full of excessive simple carbohydrates, sugar, additives, toxins and the poisoning of the body and damaging of the liver and brain cells with recreational drugs, alcohol and cigarettes...should we not call Amnesty International and have these people locked up and protected from themselves?! ;-)

It is clearly easier to appreciate something that you have created, built up, found, earnt or worked for yourself rather than something which is simply given to you as a present. For example, if you've saved the money to buy a car, choose the specification and buy it yourself, it feels great. But simply being given a car as a present or as a company car doesn't create the same feelings, and you are more likely to abuse that car as a result and not treat it with as much respect as if you bought it yourself. However, just because it is harder to appreciate something that you've inherited or been given, doesn't mean it can't be done! It simply requires a little more effort. The effort to put it in perspective and look at the situation objectively. This is often the reason why the middle classes in developed countries are often accused of being unappreciative, fussy, demanding, miserable and sometimes rather flakey. For teenagers, this is why so many middle class teenagers get depressed or are rebellious. When you get so much without having to lift a finger, everything loses its meaning. Far from doing their children a favour and showing them love, all it does is to create apathy and a sense of being spoilt. By getting more does not make one happier. Often it has the reverse effect. Meaning and gratitude is all important and without these we have nothing. Spoiling children and taking away their self-determinism and fight to get/earn what they want in life, making things too easy for them and not encouraging them to pursue their dreams and goals, separates cause from effect and takes away one's ability to feel good about things and often results in a loss of direction and disassociation. One aspect of this loss of meaning is the tendency to develop beliefs like 'I didn't ask for this' etc. and to simply look at what is wrong around you, lacking the ability to engage in the world around you in a positive way, and simply expecting more of everything to happen to you to make youself feel good, rather than feeling good and being grateful with what you've been blessed to actually have. It is sometimes referred to as the middle class disease. However, in industrialised countries, living standards have increased significantly over the last 30 years, and many segments of the working class are now rather affluent and try to ape the middle classes in their materialism and spoiling of children. So the 'disease' simply spreads to all segments of society.

Some people, mainly wasters, argue that the 'best' musicians and writers were 'on drugs' and therefore this is justification for the average joe to take drugs as it makes him more 'creative'. However there are some flaws in this argument. It should be noted that in the 19th Century, conventional medicine was rather barbaric and superstitious, and opium was frequently prescribed as a treatment for the common cold. This led to a large number of people becoming opium addicts. So because a person was addicted to opium does not mean that that addiction was a contributing factor in that person's life achievements. It was not a 'lifestyle choice' as such. Most classical and baroque music was composed by those who were not 'on drugs' - and whom arguably created the finest music ever made. One should perhaps also consider that those musicians that created great music were first and foremost great musicians. They had creative talent and drive, and by taking drugs were perhaps able to 'loosen' up their style a little and experiment. However, it should be noted that in most cases, drug use led to a gradual personal and physical decline and often resulted in premature death, thereby robbing the world of more of their creative works. In addition, it should be noted that many of these musicians had a creative peak and often went off the boil quickly, often because of the banality, stale nature of the lifestyle and capping of one's mental level caused by habitual drug use and 'getting wasted'. Some musicians were too wasted to record anything in the 60s and 70s and some became mentally ill as a result. One should bear in mind that only those with a very strong will made it through their stoned musical careers, and those who had weak wills fell by the wayside and were not heard from or raved about, so you only hear of those with stronger wills (in general terms, with exceptions of course). Those with a strong will are able to experiment a little musically, and carry on in spite of their self-destructive habits, but on a personal level their lives may well have left a great deal to be desired. Some wasters may be under the impression that simply taking drugs means that talent comes out of nowhere and they are instantly great musicians. However, it is probably just as well they are stoned, as otherwise they would notice that what they were playing was total cr*p! Some late teenage wasters write songs about various drugs or drug implements, in an extremely anally retentive manner, as if it is funny or naughty; a little like a young kid saying the word penis and laughing. If a waster could see a group of beer drinking jocks writing songs about a 'can of beer' or a 'beer glass' and sniggering, would they not be totally disgusted or consider them to be total idiots? Look in the mirror, homeboy. The best and most alive music is more often than not played when one is sober or straight rather than when one is stoned or wasted. Food for thought!

Funnily enough, the 420 celebration, 20th April, a pro-cannabis smoking and counter culture 'holiday', reputed to have been started in 1971 when kids were getting stoned after school at 4:20pm, is the same date as Adolf Hitler's birthday (born in Austria on 20th April 1889). So stoners and cannabis dependent users are celebrating on the same day as Neo-Nazis. Isn't this ironic? Most cannabis users I asked about this didn't know! Perhaps they were too stoned to notice this rather crucial fact! How unfortunate, but the joke is on the cannabis smokers (unfortunately as usual) who often believe they are being very clever.  

My Mind Isn't What It Used To Be, But Let's Not Think About That.

It is clear that the drug taking experiences varies considerably between individuals. Those who have self-confidence or identity issues prior to embarking on recreational drug consumption usually come out much worse than those who are confident and have a solid foundation of identity. The latter group often never take drugs in the first place, as they don't feel they need or want to to feel good about themselves. However there are a number of negative patterns and fundamental belief and value changes that occur when engaged in this activity. The extent and severity varies from individual to individual, but no one comes away psychological unscathed. Drug users or ex-drug users may recognise some or all of the patterns discussed below.

When a person embarks on his drug career, he expects to have the same views, values, perspectives and way of feeling that he does further down the line. This however is more fantasy than reality. It is like engaging in any sport, at first one is a little careful, and believes that one will only do it occasionally and in moderation, but eventually one will be taking more risks and becoming more heavily involved. It is also like growing up, when one's values and goals can sometimes radically change from one's youth to adulthood (not necessarily 'selling out'). This may sound like anti-drug propaganda, but I can testify that the vast majority of drug users I have ever known have started off with occasional cannabis use, and within a couple of years, have become heavy cannabis users, and users of harder drugs. They wonder, 'how did I end up here'? It is as if something crept up on them, but invisibly.

This is no coincidence. Drugs have alter one's state of mind, and quite frequently, users change their values as a result of drug use. This is particularly the case with psychedelic drugs, such as cannabis, marijuana and magic mushrooms and LSD. Before one has ever taken drugs, one has heard anti-drug propaganda/education in the media and at school. One has an association with all drugs being evil and bad. When one first starts to smoke cannabis, one may think that it is 'harmless'. One however has broken down one old belief about a drug. As one becomes used to the effects of cannabis, and it has become part of one's routine, it is no longer the outrageous, mind warping experience it once was. The seeds of wishing to try other drugs has been planted, and one begins to question the 'horror stories' one hears about drug users destroying their bodies and minds. Inhibitions decrease and the barriers to 'graduating' are greatly reduced. Peer pressure and how deeply ingrained one's fear or association of pain regarding harder drugs however ultimately decides which direction this individual takes.

What a cannabis user does not realise at the time is that for every time he smokes cannabis, his references shift. Smoking cannabis is only enjoyable supposedly because one has been free of psychedelic drugs for one's entire life previously. One has been socialised and has been in a rigid educational fabric and had restrictive values imprinted upon oneself by teachers, the media and parents (probably). Therefore experiencing a psychedelic and intoxicating substance such as cannabis allows the person to have a strong reference point against which to enjoy the effects of the drug. The longer a period that person smokes cannabis, the less concrete this background reference point is, and the less fun being 'stoned' will be. The individual will not be content just to sit around being stoned as an incredible source of entertainment, he will feel like intensifying the experience, doing different things.

Cannabis preys on people's mental weakness, and in many cases causes users to become extremely apathetic about their own personal appearance, reduces one's sexual identity and aggression. A person in a sense loses his spirit. The tendency to never actually go out, but stay in and get stoned in a nice, protective environment is very strong, especially as the effects of cannabis are largerly a depressant and result in a tired feeling. Many cannabis users know the feeling when they intend to do something or go out to a party or event, and decide to smoke a joint beforehand, and mysteriously never make it out of their bedroom all night. And every time they never make it out they are as suprised as the previous time. At least they felt sociable as they intended to go out.

Dope smokers are often psychologically torn apart. Their sense of normality and pre-drugs values are still strong, but they have developed various psychedelic-influenced values too. On the one hand, they feel embarrassed about their cannabis habit, about breaking the law, and their inability to have a 'normal', relaxed relationship to it, but at the same time feel that it is their basic human right to be able to light up a joint wherever they please, regardless of who might not appreciate having to inhale their smoke or have an idiot ruin their evening etc.

Dope smokers often 'spark up' or 'light up' at concerts or similar public events, in crowds, and usually have the attitude where everyone around them is expected to be complicit in the activity, to condone it, and to put up with all the smoke wafting in their direction (they may have quit or suffer from bad effects from inhaled smoke, or even be in the small minority of people who have psychosis triggered). It is a little like forcing other people to take drugs without their consent, which stoners are often very politically correct about (freedom and such like) ironically. Dope smokers are often oblivious to people around them becoming annoyed and if they receive dirty looks may get offended or take it personally, as if the people around them are out of order. This is ironic as those around them are really doing them a big favour, providing 'crowd cover' (i.e. to blend into the crowd to avoid detection) and putting up with passive inhalation etc. However, stoners would not consider not 'lighting up' as they need their fix too much. Many stoners dislike people smoking cigarettes around them so it is ironic here that they do exactly the same thing with cannabis (mixed with tobacco).

In other situations, when friends or colleagues know a person smokes dope, they are expected by the stoner to keep quiet about it, and not tell anyone else or to talk about it in front of authority figures. Whilst the stoner may believe this is expected, it is actually quite a liberty and the others are really doing them a favour. The stoner may see it as a basic premise of common decency. It is a little like knowing someone is a thief and being expected to shut up about it, one becomes an accomplice to the crime. If someone is that bothered about keeping it quiet, they should shut up about it and pretend they don't do it like a thief would when asked - unless talking to fellow criminals.

Dope smokers become very upset if people tease them for their addiction, which seems ridiculous to most non-drug users. Dope use often reduces one's libido and sexuality, often gradually turning users into asexual being. Whilst becoming more asexual and losing one's natural sexual confidence, one similtaneously craves attention and romantic/sexual interest with the opposite sex (or same sex if one is homosexual/lesbian), yet one stops oneself from achieving it. This is incredibly frustating. Conflicting values ultimately result in depression, pain and stress. The brain seeks congruency, and makes sure that a person is congruent in their values, even if it means denying certain values or beliefs that the person knows to be true to achieve that congruency. It is better to actually be congruent in one's values, and have one's beliefs strengthening each other and empowering one to be oneself and express oneself. For many marijuana smokers they see anyone who is interested in sex and displaying an interest in the goal of having sex or pursuing someone they like as being rather crude and 'cave man'-like - whereas the reverse may be true that the dope smokers in question are just in denial and have low self-esteem and are reverting to a child-like asexual way of being in the guise of seeming intelligent or not playing games. This cerebral (often depressed) existence is not really what they want however and cannot really be considered a development of the personality. In some areas it is regressive, and romantic relationship skills and self-awareness may trickle down to virtually zero.

People who first start out smoking cannabis often reject accusations that they are psychologically addicted, and say that they happen to smoke it all the time because they want to, and that they don't want to stop smoking it because they have too much fun. Whilst this may be their official reason, I am not sure that they themselves actually believe this. With every time one gets stoned, one's natural high is eaten away, and drains away, grain by grain, without the person noticing it. It is only really half acknowledged when cannot score or one does not have the money to buy any more, and has to 'straighten out' for a few days or weeks. This straightening out period is usually very uncomfortable on the next day, resulting in anxiousness and irritability, and a sense of regret or guilt about not having been straight more. Often the person loses all sense of reference and as the day/evening goes on, the brain feels more and more alert. The every day dope smoker is not used to having their brain functioning more efficiently, and has trouble relaxing and enjoying himself whilst 'straight'. The person has disempowering values, and strong negative references.

The tendency to not do anything manifests itself very much in sapping away a person's creativity or creative outlets, except perhaps for a few very basic ones (child-like outlets). Dope smokers tend to watch life pass them by, and over time become very frustrated, depressed and upset about this, and increasingly cynical about what they are doing and feeling more and more empty and unexpressed. However, they often do not associate enough pain with continuing their habit in order to gain enough leverage to actually stop. Cannabis smokers frequently require a religious conversion or psychotherapy in order to stop smoking for more than a few months, and to effect a permanent change in lifestyle. Whilst teenagers have more of an excuse to be emotionally inexperienced, adults do not, and adults who continue to smoke cannabis are indeed in even bigger trouble psychologically. Again, a person may not realise it until they step out of themselves.

The mindset and subconscious values that always follow drug taking, no matter what form or severity, is the mindset of 'having a buzz'. The drug taker expects things to happen to him or her, to be moved or given a feel of exhilaration, rather than actually partake in anything requiring any intellectual involvement. Everything will turn into a 'buzz' eventually. All sense of subtlety is lost and the person's thoughts are all reduced to the lowest common denominator. Meals become a buzz, and often the persons concerned develop a love of spicy food, fried food, sweets, snacks etc. All senses must be continuously stimulated, included senses of smell with josticks (which also cover up the smell of the cannabis smoke). Constant music must be played. Dope smokers must be constantly stimulated with images from a TV screen (often with the sound off, so they can listen to some repetitive, soulless psychedelic music). This attitude is very destructive and prevents the individual from fully appreciating and experiencing life, and from being in the here and now, which is something that they ironically value. All of the above may not be true for every drug user, but it frequently and sadly is. The reason why cannabis users are ostracised and excluded from most other social circles is that they lose grip on what most other people are interested in. Frequently their conversations revolve around drug taking and intoxication. Whilst this may be very interesting for cannabis users, it is about as interesting as a bullet in the head for non-drug users. Non-drug users also pick on up their negative outlook and depressed nature and do not find such a person such fun to be with (after the 'whackiness' of a dope smoker's anally retentive humour has worn off, which is usually about 30 seconds).

Not only this, but because dope smokers or drug takers in general have an attitude of wanting entertainment to happen to them and being generally self-focussed (but perhaps seeing this as looking out for everyone else's right to be self-focussed and do whatever negative things they want to do - 'freedom'!), then the circle of friends they attract are likely to be self-focussed also. As one grows up and possibly gives up one's drug taking career, one may soon realise that one's friends are all jerks and all selfish, and not really friends at all, and may promptly seek some proper friends who actually care about you.

The attitude of expecting entertainment and everything else to happen to you does little for your motivation or drive. It is not uncommon amongst stoners and wasters to give up on challenging career options or studies, or pursuing careers, hobbies or sports that they would really enjoy because they involve effort and dedication to gain competence and skill. Wasters often end up with no skills or hobbies of any note as a result, and may be riddled with regret deep down, which they may not admit. Dropping out and doing something boring for money because it is easy or little mental effort rather than pursuing your dreams is not a good idea!

The lyrics to Green Day's song Burnout can be found herea>

Ironically, the actual act of being stoned isn't actually that much fun! The first dozen times you smoke dope, you have a buzzing headache, feel a little strange, and if you have consumed any alcohol whatsoever, often violently sick. This is exaccerbated by the fact that the person probably smokes it in a joint with tobacco, and may not even be a cigarette smoker, resulting in further feelings of nausea. They may come to associate the nicotene feelings with a joint, giving them more of a pull to perpetuate their habit. After the first dozen times of forcing oneself to smoke dope because one feels one ought to like it (perhaps a counterproductive belief?) and through peer pressure, one slowly gets to enjoy the psychedelic and 'fun' effects of cannabis, including the 'giggles', the 'munchies', spending hours talking complete rubbish like a child and finding it amusing, and enjoying psychedelic music and movies, and also the warm, fuzzy, smothering feeling. One's dress sense, taste and language usually take a distinct turn for the worse! Everything one likes now has to revolve around being good when listened to whilst stoned, or anarchist/left wing politics etc. (depending on the person). This is the honeymoon phase of a drug career. Through each phase, the average waster has a repertoire of songs, played in a certain order, that make him feel good whilst getting stoned. This repertoire may change according to the exact phase. It doesn't stay on this level however, it just goes downhill, and a dope smoker who is honest with himself will admit that subsequent dope parties with his friends aren't quite as fun as the last one, and some insidious element of depression/paranoia creeps in and mingles subtly with the fun and extreme experiences. One loses touch with 'normality' and most normal, mundane activites, including employment are treated with contempt and irony, having little meaning anymore. One can tell one is moving into the heavy dependency phase when one is smoking every day, and requires a spliff near bedtime just to be able to get to sleep. If one is deprived of this, then one lies in bed for hours unable to nod off, feeling frustrated and craving that extra spliff that will calm and nullify the mind (i.e. that melatonin and serotonin release, which is produced naturally if one doesn't mess around with drugs). Prolonged cannabis use or any drug use for that matter interferes with one's hypothalamus and natural melatonin and serotonin production.

Frequently, a waster or group of wasters will delay the lighting of the first dope of the day as long as possible, in order to experience as much 'potential difference' as possible. It is not being stoned that is really that enjoyable. It is the act of 'getting stoned' and enjoying that change in potential difference that they 'enjoy'. Perhaps the spliff or bong is a 'reward' for coping so valiantly with the harsh experience of being 'straight' and having to engage in mundane activities, like cleaning, going shopping for food, eating, getting dressed, working or studying! Being stoned all the time is incredibly boring. So maybe there is something about 'not being stoned' that is actually good. Otherwise, one would wish to be permanently stoned every day. The same principle applies when one first starts taking drugs. That is when one has the greatest potential difference between a lifetime of being 'straight' and being stoned. This is the honeymoon phase, the most fun part. It should therefore be of no surprise that things go downhill and get boring thereafter. It's only logical. That is why experienced wasters perhaps try to limit the amount they smoke, so that when they do, it is still enjoyable. Otherwise they get totally bored. Food for thought?

It is likely that half of the enjoyment of drugs in one's youth is in fact the release and sense of relief and pleasure one experiences from finishing years in school or leaving school itself, and being free of parental domination. Dope smokers often crave for a joint every 30 to 60 minutes after the previous one, mainly because the 'pleasant' effects of the previous joint have worn off, and they are left with a largely buzzing/throbbing type headache/sensation in the head that will last for half a day afterwards. Dope smokers probably spend half the time during a 'dope session' thinking about when the spliff will arrive in their grasp (being painfully slowly passed around the circle, all eyes unhealthily on it, like Gollum with his preciousssss), and when the possessor of the sacred lump of hash will next 'skin up', which usually seems like it takes forever, and worse still if the joint is passed the wrong way around the room - oh no! Torture! Some Gollum/Lord of the Rings 'humour':

Oooh my preciousssss! I love it when I score after a dry spell!

That first spliff is always the best! I wish they were all like that!

I am really going to make this last as long as possible!

Many dope sessions comprise of numerous youths crowded and huddled around the 'possessor of the dope' who is skinning up, all looking gormless, desperate and weak, and staring intently as the 'skinner upper', as if the person might run away with the stash and the spliff if they look away for a moment. Fear of the torture of 'missing your turn' and having to wait for the next spliff to be made. No one says anything and they can't focus on the here and now. And maybe when it is time to pass the joint to the next person, you make sure you take a few tokes in quick succession and an extra big toke before you pass it on, so the buzz will keep you going until the time in the distant future (what torture!) when you will next get that doobie in your mouth! Perhaps you are one of these joint hoggers as you can't deal with getting less than a good hit. If you go to a party like this, consider whether it is a 'party' and whether people are actually having a good time and socialising. Are people feeling relaxed or stressed because they want that next spliff so badly? If you have ever lost your 'stash', it is amazing that one can spend hours turning over a room, car or scanning each inch of the ground looking for it. It is as if it is worse than losing one's wallet, one's keys or as it is a matter of life and death! Smoking dope whilst drinking alcohol or drunk is often tempting fate, and seems like a good idea to many when they are drunk, and many end up throwing up and spending the whole party kissing the toilet seat and feeling violently ill.

Maybe one of the people at the session is desperate for that next joint, and the owner of the 'precious' or the lump of hash is trying to draw it out as long as possible, to conserve his lump, which is the opposite of what everyone else usually wants. There is almost always a little tension in the air between the owner of the stash and his entourage. Sometimes one of the entourage will offer to skin up! 'Can I skin up?' - it puts the dope holder on the spot and makes him seem tight fisted if he refuses. This is sometimes accepted by the possessor of the dope, but often rejected. The person offering to skin up tries to force the owner of the dope into a 'next spliff' and when they make the spliff they usually get first rights to 'spark it up' and enjoy the first part of the joint - to ensure they get their 'fill'! And perhaps a little extra! If it is rejected, the owner of the lump may try to save face and mumble something about being just about to skin up anyway! Or on the odd occasion they may say 'good idea', as if the desperate waster who requested it was being imaginative or creative in some capacity!

Perhaps you have 'blim' or 'hot rock' burns on all of your t-shirts and tops. Blim burns are small holes where small burning pieces of hash fall out of the end of your joint and burn a hole in your top and you only notice them when you feel you are being burnt alive. So whilst you are trying to relax you may be paranoid about being burnt and holding an ash try an inch away from the end of your spliff. Great! Or maybe you are paranoid about your parents coming into the room; and 'pretend to be on the toilet' regularly whilst rolling a joint or smoking a bong; or you are worried about other people in your halls of residence smelling the smoke (which is highly likely given the small windows in student accommodation to prevent suicides) - so you can't breathe for all the dope and josstick smoke in your room; or you are worried about the police driving by or creeping up on you in your car. Maybe you 'enjoy' scoring or buying drugs from unknown parties in dodgy parts of town. Or the fear of your seller not having the goods. Or the fear of getting ripped off (i.e. paying the full maximum street market price for an 1/8th or 1/4 ounce and getting a few/several grams short). You don't have as much of your preciousss as you had planned!!! Or the fear of getting stopped by the police once you have scored, before you can get your preciousss back to the safety of your bedroom. Perhaps you fear your stash running low or running out of Rizlas or cigarettes. Perhaps your joints always burn down one side, and require constant attention with the cigarette lighter to correct it or application of saliva on the side that burns too much. Perhaps you find this stressful (at least manufacturered cigarettes burn properly!) Perhaps you spend the entire evening indulging in mindless and anally retentive activities such as staring at curtains and ceiling lights move (a little). Perhaps people prefer to stare at fractals or other psychedelic pictures rather than engage in intelligent conversation or interacting with each other. Perhaps whilst at a concert you smoke a spliff and your legs immediately feel heavy and the rest of the night is spent fighting your legs and forcing mind over matter just to stand up and feel lively. Or if you smoked a bong or bowl, without the tobacco, perhaps you felt like running around for 5 minutes until you 'veg'ed out and wanted to sit down. Ruining your natural energy production. Great! Parteee!

One of the other really great things about being a dope smoker is that you often have burnt or cracked lips (from smoking through a very hot roach regularly). Another is having your upper front tooth or teeth get stained brown. Another is a sore throat that never goes away, and a constant thirst, making it hard to stay asleep, and meaning that you sip on drinks all the time (often sugary drinks which are bad for you and your digestive system). Maybe you have a constant cough and excess of mucus in your lungs. The kind of mucus that when you cough it up it is a thick green or yellow with many black specs in it (tar and other burnt products). Maybe when you first start smoking dope you think you are invincible and that a few days after a 'session', your lungs feel back to 'normal' again. It is clearly totally harmless! ;-) It's only after a couple of years of regular smoking that your lungs don't bounce back a few days after smoking. It takes a few years of quitting for your lungs to return to a close approximation of what they used to be like before you started smoking.

When you stand up from your optimum comfortable sofa seating, during a session, to perhaps negotiate your way to the kitchen or the toilet, you have an immediate head rush, where you feel dizzy and lose your vision for a few moments, where your vision goes fuzzy, all colours start to go a deep red. This often occurs the morning after a dope session too, and also for days after taking acid (sometimes never quite goes away). Is this borderline nauseous feeling good? Pleasurable hallucination? I don't think so! When you come back from the kitchen (making all your 'friends' a cup of tea/coffee) or from the toilet, someone has taken your place on the sofa, as a comfortable sofa seat is seen as the holy grail. It's each man for himself with your 'caring' stoner friends! Immediate physical needs come first - nothing personal! I have observed many an evening spent with 'friends' where no one gets out of their seats, despite being very uncomfortable, delaying toilet visits and no one making any tea or food etc, because if anyone moves from the best sofa, they know someone else will steal it (e.g. those on shared sofas or sitting on the floor etc.) Peace and love guys!

Perhaps you have enjoyed regular bouts of the cold or influenza, brought on by a weakened immune system and constant battering of the lungs. And sharing mucus with other people via the roach of a spliff or pipe for a bong/bowl. Would you want to kiss all the people you share a spliff with? Every one of them?! Perhaps you have suffered bouts of bronchitis also, disabling you for weeks. Perhaps you have gone through a major emotional trauma trying to quit for just a few days or weeks whilst you are recuperating from the flu or treating your bronchitis. Another advantage of getting bronchitis is that you will probably be prescribed sulphur-based anti-biotics, which also wipe out your beneficial gut flora and clog up your inter- and intra-cellular membranes. So apart from having a buzzing type headache and not being able to think clearly, concentrate or remember facts as well as the next person, you get to enjoy spending half your time either being ill or recovering from illness (flu etc.) In business, there is a term called 'opportunity cost', which is the cost of spending money on one thing, and missing the opportunity to be able to spend it elsewhere on something else. You could apply this principle of opportunity cost to the amount of your time that you spend doing nothing, sitting around with fellow smokers, and not exercising your full mental or physical faculties! That time never comes back! When you are older, you will kick yourself, as you will likely not have much spare time. There is nothing more depressing that getting progressively older with no skills, no hobbies, little or no creative or expressive output (from the soul, not anally retentive, immature, 6th form self-expression or emotionally repressed, one sided, negative self expression) to show for it. Perhaps you enjoy the stigma of being looked down (rightly or wrongly) upon by much of the population as a 'waster' and 'dope addict'. Perhaps you enjoy being forced into a counter culture which doesn't suit you, all because you want to defend your inalienable right to spark up!

If you haven't sleep really fully or had a lie on the day of a dope session, e.g on Friday night after a long week at work or studying, it is likely that you will feel extremely tired perhaps 30 minutes or an hour after the initial 'up' feeling of being stoned. This occurs normally when one first gets stoned, but is particularly accentuated when one hasn't slept that well. Often, dope sessions are fun for 30 minutes or so, and then the remaining 6+ hours are spent suffering, struggling to keep awake, feeling totally exhausted, as if you are running a marathon, or participating in some kind of endurance activity. Like a form of punishment. And ironically it is! No wonder dope sessions suffer so many casualties, of people 'monging' out and sitting still with their eyes closed listening to music, yawning and sometimes nodding off. Partee!!!

Stoners may recall many friday or saturday nights spend moping around feeling depressed or bored as they were unable to score any dope. Their non-drug taking counterparts may conversely be having a great time at the weekend and be carefree! If stoners get very desperate, especially during a 'drought' (when there has been a big drug bust), they may go beyond their usual dealer and channels for scoring, and go to dodgy areas and dodgy pubs and ask around if anyone knows where one can score some hash or weed. Often the most stoner person in a pub is approach by numerous desperate wasters and asked the same question! What a compliment. If one does go out to score in a dodgy part of town, then one is probably extremely nervous about either getting mugged, ripped off or given a bad deal. Especially so when one hands over one's money to someone who disappears to 'get the goods' - will they come back? Many chancers can see a sucker coming. Stoners may well spend an entire evening trying to score, walking the streets, whilst their non-drug taking counterparts are having a great time doing something else! If you fail to score or get ripped off, you will probably be even more miserable than if you were just moping around at home depressed about not being stoned.

It is not unusual for doper friends to only get together when they have some hash or weed. If they don't have any, they may find each other's company rather boring or strained. Is this friendship? If they do hook up when there is no dope, the atmosphere certainly won't be the same, and they won't be having as much fun. Or if they are, they are trying to hide that craving into the background. Some friends you may only ever see to score dope from. What kind of friendship is that? One where they are not worth seeing if they don't have any dope to sell you. Friends that make a profit from you.

Teenagers and kids in general are often taking in many experiences for the first time in their lives. This is what makes playing for children so much fun. If the children or teenagers never openly talk about certain topics with their parents, then they may well come to the conclusion that the parents don't or have never done a particular thing, even if it is patently obvious they must have (e.g. sex!) Often we don't want to think of our parents as real adults, sexual beings, but in some idealised manner. If adults never discuss sex or drugs with us, in a manner that suggests they really know what they are talking about, or in a balanced manner, then a teenager may well assume that when he begins his drug career and is in the honeymoon phase of drug taking (first starting out getting stoned or taking acid or speed) that he is being very clever, and that no one else has ever experienced this or really knows the score. It is a little like teenagers assuming that no one has ever had a blow job before the milennium. That in the 1940s and 50s, that no one ever did it doggie style or had a blow job, because TV was black and white then, and that it is only recently that people are doing these things. Adults do much of their 'taboo' activities behind closed doors and do not openly discuss them, so teenagers become embarrassed about the subjects and feel they are all new to everyone somehow. This is not always the case of course, and may vary according to the individual's perception to varying degrees. If you are taking speed or acid for the first time and it seems that all you had was a good time, but that you did not feel 'too' bad afterwards, you may assume that all negative anti-drug propaganda is false and somehow is talking about something totally different, alien to what you are doing. It is the way people assume something bad will never happen to them. Stoners often think that they are discovering the 'best way' to smoke dope etc., that previous generations never knew. Thus one can view past generations as backwards or as 'losers', whilst oneself is 'cool'.

Many dope smokers when they first start out, look at other, more 'experienced' smokers and think 'How sad, I'll never end up like that. They are just weak or stupid'. A little like the Heroin user who doesn't think he'll end up an addict. Unfortuntely, fate often has the last laugh. Even if a dope user escapes the circle of depression and laziness, aka becoming a human vegetable, then he will have suffered psychological damage on one level, whether he knows it or not. Such a person may appear somewhat flakey or perhaps mad. Psychedelic drugs and mental health do not go hand in hand.

Frequently, a dope smoker will admit that natural high is the highest goal, but will rarely actually do anything about it. They may say that they can feel totally relaxed all the time and have a natural high all the time, but to actually do so would require immense mental effort, would not last long, and they give up and can't be bothered. So they spend most of their time in a netherzone. Frequently, a dope smoker's friends will all be smokers, so there are no longer any reference points in normal life to relate to, and with a group of friends all of whom share the same psychological problems and negative outlook, the chances of breaking out of the cycle or even engaging in anything creative, productive or positive are fairly slim. Also, before one started smoking dope, one was quite happy without it. One did not know about it, and one had a basic reference point of what day to day feeling was like. When one starts smoking, one could theoretically get back to feeling the same way if one just stopped smoking, if you listen to the arguments of the dope smokers. However, try it! It's not true! In fact, it may take years to get back to that natural feeling! And the longer you leave it, the longer it will take to get back there.

A dope smoker may often cite that being 'straight' is simply not that great. This may of course result from the destruction of their natural high, that increases as their dope habit carries on, but also from their generally poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle, and increased accumulation of toxins in the body. However, it should be considered that the person may not ever have experienced genuinely excellent health and energy. That person may never have truly tried 'life' and so is not in a position to knock it until they've actually tried it. Many people pollute their bodies pretty much from early childhood with processed foods and exposure the environmental pollution and harmful EM fields. They may well have forgotten what it feels like to feel truly great. Without proper references, how is one able to judge what is in their own best interests and be aware of the options available to them?

It may often be observed that prior to taking drugs, a person may be more laid back and less fussy about the people they hang around with. But with years of drug taking, the person may become very fussy and almost hypersensitive about their crowd or friends and become very cliquey. Everyone they hang around with has to be 'safe', or a drug taker too. Or someone who puts himself down in some way. Not only that, but cliques get very fussy about new recruits having to 'groove' and make jokes in exactly the 'right', annally retentive way. Someone who isn't quite on the same groove may well be laughed at and looked down upon, even though on paper they have very much in common (superficially). No one who makes them feel uncomfortable or lost can be part of the social circle. Eventually you may end up ironically hanging around with purely self-interested drug users whom may not really be great friends to you, but whom you feel trapped to hang around with, and self-perpetuate each other's drug and psychological problems - and social suicide! Stagnation and over-familiarity follows, exaccerbated by the fact that many of the clique sit around stoned all the time and with time don't have anything to say for themselves because they don't really do anything. The lack of outside input and anything new therefore becomes a real chore. Whilst holding the pretence of brotherly love or freedom and openness etc, members of a clique may ironically feel isolated and find it hard to open up to people. It is like being with a group of people who are physically together but psychologically all alone. Not much fun. Of course, each person's individual experience is different, but this pattern is not uncommon.

Drug takers, particularly those who take psychedelic drugs like marijuana/cannabis, magic mushrooms and/or LSD, in the beginning may well find the experiences inspiring or uplifting (if a disconnected type of way). They may feel that they have experienced higher or previously unexplored states of being, and that because they know what it is like, they feel they can access these states of mind any time they like, at will. Using willpower to override their 'normal', slightly depressed or bored state of mind. However, as people have found over many millennia, it isn't possible to maintain 'higher states of consciousness' or 'feelings of nirvana' through willpower alone. This will only get you so far and is likely to fizzle out, which seems to occur in the majority of cases in those who make such claims early on in their drug careers. Without having a fundamental understanding of how the mind works, what causes you to feel good and bad, you are not going to be able to consistently feel good in the short term or long term. The brain soon adjusts to consumed drugs and their initially outrageously euphoric effects will be overtaken by their intoxicating or numbing effects. If a drug taker who has this kind of enlightened experience wishes to attain higher levels of mental functioning 24/7, then he or she will need to start consciously working on their focus, and examining their core beliefs and removing layers of self-loathing that they have carried around for a large part of their lives. This often is very difficult if not impossible if one is still taking drugs, of whatever kind, even on an occasional basis (especially psychedelics as mentioned above.) Sometimes the intention is to push oneself into the mould of another 'ideal' personality type, without addressing any of one's personal issues of self esteem and expecting it to stick! The brain is not stupid, it puts out what is put in. So nice idea, but sadly it is unlikely to amount to much. The beneficial side of psychedelic drugs and the loss of inhibitions with respect to social conventions cited by many often only pertains to negative, anally retentive, childish or destructive behaviour and rarely (or not often enough) positive behaviour, creativity and real self-honesty, so the overall effect becomes negative rather than positive.

The lyrics to NWA's Express Yourself can be found here

Amongst some circles of 'friends', stoners have the attitude that they should all try to be sharp, especially when taking drugs, and that if anyone acts dopey, cabbages out or acts like they do not know what they are doing, they are ostracized and looked down upon. This 'sharp nazi' approach is a kind of sport and may well have some sound grounding, but instead of trying to remain sharp in spite of what one is doing (using willpower alone, which works only some of the time), inevitably one will feel 'cabbaged out' some of the time. Why not go one better and not get stoned at all? Then you wouldn't have to feel cabbaged and you could stay even sharper and for longer? Often people's objectives and behaviour are not congruent and goals supportive of each other.

When a dope smoker says that he enjoys smoking a blunt, chronic, number, a cone, or whatever, what he probably means is that he doesn't enjoy not smoking dope. There is a subtle difference. After many months or years of getting stoned, it may not be as much fun as it used to be, and that the periods of 'straightening out' or being sobre/not stoned are less fun than they used to be (one's natural high gone or considerably lessened/'blunted' - and one increasing suffering the effects of a disrupted endocrine system, psychological dependence, depression etc.). So getting stoned is a way to feel semi-good or slightly less 'shit', with maybe the odd 20 minutes of actual pleasure here and there. This is not the same as 'enjoying it'! Please do not kid yourself.

It is not uncommon for a dope smoker to think he looks 'normal' or fine, but in objective terms he may look like crap and not all there mentally. It is often as if he is half in the room and half left his brain at home - disassociated. A gradual loss of awareness and concern for one's appearance or a narrower vision and perception of these things may add to this pale complexion and general look. This loss of perception of how one is is a little like being brainwashed by a cult, except that one is being brainwashed by a plant!

Look at a stoner dancing! Smoking a little dope may help to loosen one's inhibitions (if one has the necessary attitude to back it up - as otherwise it can work the reverse way around as one becomes lethargic and perhaps paranoid and overly self-conscious) and help some people to get up and dance (for a short while until they feel too tired!) Many dope smokers probably think they are great dancers. However, the reality is often the total opposite. It is said that dancing is a way of expressing oneself and one's sexuality. Doper dancing is often a mass of chaotically flailing limbs, with no style, elegance, grace or co-ordination whatsoever; or perhaps an inexpressive and mentally constipated swaying of bend arms from side to side. That is perhaps a method of self expression, but on the lowest common denominator. Stoners rarely have the confidence to express themselves sexually in their dancing, and with confidence. One's cluelessness about dancing and one's sexuality often reflects in other areas of one's personality that may well have regressed or become underdeveloped. Often they hide behind the mental haze of dope smoke. It has been observed by various people that whilst a group of dopers may dance in a group, they are all dancing in 'their own heads', or dancing alone in effect. Robert Forster's song Snake Skin Lady sums this up quite well.

Dope smoking parents often have a hard time with their children. A dope smoker may after many years of smoking develop a sense of 'righteousness' and 'political correctness' and try to formulate relationships with people that one can talk to in a sensitive manner with, and have adult conversations with, with no aggression or 'front'. However, when it comes to children, dope smoking parents often assume that they are adults when they are simply not yet (talking to their kids like they do their waster friends). They may treat their children like friends rather than actually be a proper parent to them. To some extent they don't like to tell others what to do, as they don't like being told what to do themselves, so in a sense they lack the confidence or will to acually behave like parents and take on a predictable parenting role for the child. Perhaps being 'parent'ish is considered un-PC or 'not cool'! Perhaps they seek a 'cool' relationship with their child - which may well be possible when they are in their late teens or early adulthood, but certainly not when they are very small. Doper parents may well treat the child like an adult, and when the child acts up, instead of providing boundaries and being firm, they may just try to explain why the child should not do it, in a soft and unauthoritative manner, as if the child will comprehend this. The child will in all likelihood not take them seriously as a parent. This often leads to the child acting up more and more, desperate for someone to show him boundaries and what he can get away with and what he can't. Dope smoking parents may also find some of the child's spoilt behaviour or attitude as funny or a sign of independent will, which they may encourage. One should not confuse independence with being spoilt and behaving badly. Stoned parents may not only smoke dope in front of the child so that he learns that he should copy his parents and be a stoner from an early age (there being no 'straight' or clean living role model to copy), but gets to inhale dope smoke as well, poisoning his lungs and making him stoned as well! This is really rather selfish. What stoner parents often forget is that they probably had the luxury of straight parents, but that their kids aren't getting that same chance.

Parents who smoke dope may also be influencing their children's beliefs, as those who do not influence their children's beliefs. Beliefs affect a child's present and future behaviour. When I was 21, I used to go around to my friend's in North East London, and hang out, score a 'lid of Sensei weed' and smoke and listen to reggae with his friend. My friend was staying with his mother, and he had his 2 sons living with him. Over time, his kids became acclimatised to the weed smoking. The sons were around 6-8 years old. One son said 'Daddy I don't want you to die' when he was skinning up. He explained that it wasn't going to kill him, and that it was 'harmless', but for adults only. A few weeks later, one of the sons was sitting in the living room with us, and he started to skin up! He took out a Rizla and put it on the coffee table near the cigarettes and lid of weed. I can't recall whether it was me or my friend who put a stop to it. But what did we expect? I felt very bad about it at the time, and still feel a little bad about it now, but not bad enough to stop smoking weed there and thereafter (addictions must). Who is likely to have started smoking dope in his teens as he was copying his father? No prizes for guessing. Their cousin, a young teen who was just getting into Drum and Bass and Jungle at the time, did not smoke weed but within a year or so he was smoking weed - would he have done so anyway?

It is clear that a drug works because it confuses the body's endocrine system and results in a temporary state some people equate to pleasure. Drugs also confuse the mind in an insidious manner over a period of time. In short, they confuse both the mind and the body on the most fundamental level. The reason many people feel this is liberating is that they have closed their minds, focus and beliefs for many years and seek escape from this. Many people when they are high believe that they experience clarity of thought, spiritual beauty or ultimate confidence. If you have to confuse both your body and your mind to experience confidence, then you have some serious belief issues to address. If you believe that any kind of valuable clarity of mind can come from confusing both the body and the mind, then you need to be honest with yourself. It is possible to be clearly confused, but this is not the same as clarity. One never quite experiences the same sensation of clarity the morning or day afterwards. Some people when they take LSD believe they have moments of understanding everything (when they aren't feeling the sensation of needing to go to the toilet for hours but not actually needing to), and write down their grand ideas on a piece of paper. When reading it the next day, it is nearly always complete rubbish and gibberish, and either makes no sense whatsoever or means absolutely nothing. It was the sound of the words that impressed the user so much when he was tripping. It is clearly possible to experience clarity in a confused state where one's boundaries are edged away, but it is no absolute or objective kind of clarity. Often cannabis users are out of touch with their emotions or sexuality when they are 'straight' and use drug taking as an outlet to feel overly emotional or experience longings and a willingness to engage with the opposite sex. Everyone needs balance, and it is best to feel confident, have focus, have clarity, be honest with oneself and align one's beliefs with what one actually wants, and feel one's sexuality and be one with it, 24 hours a day, not just when you are high as a kite (for brief moments when you aren't feeling paranoid).

If something seems too good to be true, it usually is! When people first start to take drugs, they are often in disbelief over how something they feel is so wonderful can be given such a bad reputation in the media. Often new drug takers choose to blank out everything they've ever been told about drug use as a result, as if they are the first people in the history of the world to experience the great benefits and experiences they offer. Some people with elitist or anti-establishment beliefs enjoy the superiority they feel when embarking on a drugs career as they know what time it is more than anyone else. Sometimes people only feel good when they feel they are more clever than the mass of sheep around them. People who take drugs often boast statistics about the small percentage of the brain that is used in the average human. In reality, the amount of brain power used by the average, emotionally and spiritually indisciplined drug taker is even lower. Any area where one can feel good without having to make any mental effort or without having to give up one's negative emotional patterns and addictive negative behaviour has very little value. One's negative beliefs and patterns do not just disappear the longer you take drugs! Replacing by an idealised super 'chilled out and sorted' personality. It is ironically usually those with such negative beliefs who start taking drugs in the first place and end up worse off at the end with even more negative beliefs to deal with and inability to control one's focus. Ultimately it all comes down to consciousness and the ability to be honest with oneself. Don't fool yourself and blank out certain facts about how you feel so you can perpetuate your lifestyle. Try to step outside of the situation and view your life from a different perspective. This is sometimes very hard without actually arriving at the different place (belief and focus-wise) and looking back at how you used to feel, what you used to believe and how you used to focus. Quite often the enjoyment of drugs has disappeared a long time ago with users, but they are simply locked into a certain way of looking at themselves and the world and a way of feeling that perpetuates their lifestyle indefinitely. Give it a go - try to step out of yourself and be objective.

In many ways, taking psychedelic drugs is like being lied to. Your perception of reality is being changed over time without your full knowledge. It is like paying for lies and consuming lies. Smoking lies. I have not met anyone in whom drug use has had any overall positive effect on their personality. Not a single one.

Below is an interesting documentary video examining the effect of common recreational drugs on a variety of insects and animal species.



I first started smoking dope when I was 15, and continued until I was 25. This was never my intention at the outset of course. My brother started smoking dope when he was 18, at University, and when he came home to our parents for the weekend, he would bring home his stash, and although he felt protective of me, he was stupid enough to want me to keep him company whilst he smoked his joint in the garden every time. This led to me gradually wanting to try it. After an initial period of forcing myself to keep smoking it (my brother's values having changed by that point, surprise surprise), as I wasn't actually enjoying it,I gradually learnt to 'enjoy it'. I had an alcoholic father from an early age, and was often in fear of when the next drinking binge would take place, as was the rest of my family. I was strongly against addictive drugs, but regarded cannabis as 'harmless' as it was 'only' psychologically addictive. My brother was also quite domineering, ironically even more so than my father. My brother would heavily pressure me to keep him company and stay in all the time, and stay up ridiculously late at night, every night, sapping my sense of freedom, my 'balls' and individuality. I became gradually brainwashed as a result and somewhat depressed. My brother and I lived at home with our parents when I was 18, and when meeting up with my friends, who had jobs, I felt that they were wasting their time, working 'straight' jobs just to pay for the bills and to have enough money to get wasted at the weekend. However, I did not appreciate that it is not normal to just live with your parents and have everything paid for. Bills must be paid and independence is a must, whatever the cost. My brother gradually went mad, and had arguably various psychological issues already when he started smoking dope. My brother, when confronted by his parents about anything, would state that from his 'cosmic perspective', that it did not matter. However, ironically, he did not see that from his 'cosmic perspective', the universe did not care about his welfare and income and keeping him in dope, and equally why should it matter if the parents did not feed him and support him and keep him in dope money, and kicked him out and expected him to earn his own money? He hadn't thought of that, and as wasters often do, view the world from a primary selfish perspective. At the age of 22, I had a falling out with my brother, who was more interested in me scoring dope for him than actually seeing me. After many failed attempts at quitting dope, mainly on account of maintaining the same negative and dope smoking friends and association with my brother (why would someone who did not smoke dope want to sit around with people who were getting stoned?! It can only go in one direction.) Eventually I managed to get the leverage I needed, and this involved funnily enough religious conversion (at the time). I consider the 10 years I spent smoking dope as a total waste of time, 10 years flushed down the toilet.

The lyrics to NWA's Gangsta Gangsta can be found here

That is not counting the subsequent years spent trying to learn about who I was because I had never really done this in my teens, choosing to fool myself instead with drugs. I have however attempted to impart my own knowledge of what is necessary on a psychological level to quit. This information can be found in the following section and elsewhere on my other web site.  

Detoxorcist's Challenge

Is all this really making you happy? Are you habitual cravings normal? Do you enjoy them? Is cannabis really the solution you need to make your life perfect? I want to challenge YOU. If you do firmly believe that you are smoking cannabis or taking other drugs just for fun, and that you can stop any time you want, but you choose not to because you like it so much, then accept his challenge with no fear! If you smoke once or a week, or everyday, I challenge you to stop taking any drugs for a period of a month. Completely. Make a clean break from your stoner friends. Hang out with people who do other things. Try it just for a month. Can you really do it? PROVE to me that it is a choice and not a psychological addiction.

It is also a very useful exercise to objectively notice what feelings you are regularly experiencing. When you habitually feel a certain way, it is often hard to really acknowledge that it is happening. It you did truly acknowledge it, you would be extremely motivated to do something about it. For a week or month prior to your temporary drug reprieve, why not keep a daily written record of the emotions you are experiencing, both positive and negative, and for how times a day and roughly how many hours a day you were experiencing each one; and also record how you feel physically, e.g. how energised or tired you feel, and for how much of the day. You could perhaps get technical and produce a spreadsheet, with all the different emotions you experience on the vertical axis and the day number on the horizontal axis. This makes visual comparison simple. Then during your drug free month, do the same and keep a daily log of your emotions. Even if you don't decide to quit for a month (and let me down!), it would indeed be an interesting exercise to log your emotions anyway. After all, knowing more about yourself and being honest with yourself can never be bad, right?

If you experience negative feelings of frustration, sadness, loneliness, depression, shame, embarrassment, awkwardness, anger, indecision, cravings for either tobacco or cannabis, etc., write them down in the diary, and record how many times a day you felt like this, and how long for. Be honest. Conversely, write down every positive feeling you had. If you are getting stoned, you may want to record your level of enjoyment of this experience and any positive and negative feelings or emotions during this period. This will help to give you an objective picture of actually how fun it really is. When thinking about how much you like to be stoned, you must also consider 'opportunity cost' or rather, what you are missing out on doing or experiencing by doing this. Try to figure out why you felt the way you did, and jot down any thoughts on the subject. If your mind is in no way affected by your habit, then it should read fairly positive or neutral for the vast majority of the day. This may allow you to be at least partially objective about yourself. The mind does funny things, but rarely are we aware of how often we do things psychologically. The reason why I suggest being 'straight' for a month is because the mind is often in a state of confusion for the first few days, and many psychologically addicted wasters can go without dope for a week or two if they really try, but a month is more challenging and allows a person to really get a taste for their new (i.e. original) states of mind. Show this list/diary to a friend of yours, someone who does not take any drugs and has never done, and ask him for his opinion, whether it seems balanced or healthy. If you pass this challenge with flying colours, then good for you! If you don't, then you need to be honest with yourself and admit that you are a slave to a plant, and that you need to do something about it. Get motivated and act!

At the end of the day, it comes down to one's whole approach to life. You can choose life, health, feeling good and energised all the time, experience situations and relationships to the full, have the maximal bodily, spatial and spiritual awareness, feel honest and consistent, strengthen your positive and empowering beliefs, feel like you can be, do and achieve anything and actually do it, and not fool oneself. Or you can choose death, ill health, self-abuse, nulling one's senses, yo yo rollercoaster ride, fooling yourself, denying reality, perverting your perception of reality, restricting your potential and your dreams, feeling tired and worn out and embrace negative beliefs and world views that feel righteous but that ultimately cause you misery. The choice is yours!

Proceed and read the sections on this web site about focus and belief, and motivation. Get motivated!

Rooting out your negative core beliefs and replacing them with positive empowering beliefs may be difficult for some dope smokers, and creating enough leverage. The psychological techniques described on this site may well help in this regard. If we are to look at a celebrity example, Amanda Donohoe used to smoke dope every day when she was younger, and really wanted to quit but kept failing. Eventually she saw a psychiatrist, and after many sessions, created a solid base for quitting and beginning a more positive, creative life. I had similar problems quitting himself, in hindsight, I could put it down to still keeping the same friends who inevitably tried to tempt him back into the game again. Eventually I converted to Christianity and the values shift meant that quitting was quite effortless. I am not really a Christian now but have learned to build up some self-respect and have associatd such pain with drug taking, I would never be tempted ever again to do it - even though I do it in my dreams still on occasion - these are more assertiveness/shadow dreams where I don't really want to be doing it but feel pressured into it. I am not suggesting that everyone needs to take up a faith in order to quit drugs, but it can certainly be a powerful and easy method to changing one's core values and beliefs on a deep level. Not that it is something you would do for rational reasons in any case or plan!



If you do decide that enough is enough and you are going to quit for good (this time), then you need to be aware that you can't just keep the same beliefs, do the same things, have the same doper friends, but just without smoking dope. Smoking dope is often a forfeit for more positive activities, and you can't just cut out one of the few things that made you feel better (temporarily) without actually adding anything positive or creative into your lifestyle. Try taking up a martial art, working out more, going for walks in the countryside, anything. Try reading more, writing, painting or a new hobby. Maybe take up an extreme sport, or 'normal' sport. Find some new friends, who aren't wasters, and who won't try to drag you down. If you continue to hang out with your waster friends, their collective core beliefs about why being alive is boring without dope will rub off on you, and they will likely try to get you back into dope as they miss your company when stoned or because it makes them feel less insecure and threatened. Wasters don't like to be outside their comfort zone when it comes to admitting things about themselves, by seeing others breaking free. True friends may be hard to come by, but are worth their weight in gold.

If you need motivation, then go back and re-read how much pain you are actually causing yourself physically and psychologically. Imagine how many wasted evenings you have spent smoking by yourself or with depressing company, how much money you have spent, your health etc. Imagine how your life will end up if you continue until you die. Imagine your sense of alienation, depression, frustration, disappointment. Really exaggerate it for effect (not that you need to!) Make this unbearable pain that you have no inclination to get back to ever again! Thinking of a spliff needs to repulse you to the bone. If it doesn't, then you aren't motivated enough. You have not associated enough pain to it. Good luck!

© 2006-2014 Fabian Dee