I have been a pretty devoted cannabis smoker for the past 10 years. My usage has varied throughout the different situations in my life — sometimes smoking from morning til night, other times just having a couple of puffs at night before bed. I have taken short breaks but would always come back to that sweet leaf.
Like most users, I love how I feel when I’m stoned — relaxed, at ease, comfortable, and even finding more clarity in my situation as I experience “realizations”. I have often viewed my cannabis usage as a spiritual practice, helping me to open up to the divine within myself, and gaining more insight into certain issues.
Besides, who doesn’t love when food tastes extra good, when sex is more spectacular, and when nature is experienced more deeply and personally? Cannabis brings about an intensely beautiful perceptive experience of life itself.
But it wasn’t all bliss and nirvana. As any smoker will tell you, cannabis has its dark side too. Paranoia, self-consciousness, low self-esteem, memory loss, mood swings, irritability, overeating due to the munchies, not to mention the major dent it leaves in your wallet (and the higher your tolerance, the bigger the dent).
I’ve struggled with my opinion of cannabis, at times seeing it as a great helper in my life and awareness of myself. At other times, seeing the damage it does to my relationships with others and myself. I, like many users, go back and forth between wanting to quit, and wanting to use.
This past year I really noticed how bad my mood swings had become. I experienced intense paranoia about other women flirting with my partner and often punished him for my own misperceptions. I hated how it made me beat up on myself mercilessly, even to the point of physically abusing myself. As I got clear about wanting to save as much money as possible to build a financial safety net for myself, I questioned my previously accepted “need” for this substance.
I recently had a good excuse to take a break: living with my parents for a few months while visiting for the holidays. They are a super straight laced conservative religious couple, hardworking and devoted to their god. They have always been VERY anti-marijuana. In fact this caused a rift in our relationship for…