Cannabis: Checks and Balances
Marijuana lovers have a reputation of being chill, laid back and easygoing. Though cannabis can help a person become calm, the stereotyped stoner we see in movies is more a trope than an archetype. Most smokers actually do have families, jobs, worries, cares and responsibilities. Some even have to monitor their marijuana usage, due to the realities of life and the very real threat of consequences that can come from going green.
Using marijuana responsibly may sound laughable and unlikely to those unfamiliar with the concept, but it can be as simple as honestly budgeting the time and dime spent with Mary Jane.
Self-Awareness & Honesty
Part of self-preservation is being honest with yourself about what you can afford to do. Self-preservation is a part of self-love. You can’t truly love anything, including cannabis, if you don't first love yourself.
Responsible decision-making is about self-awareness, honesty and discipline. Most humanoids spend a great portion of their lives honing those skills through trial and error until they get old enough to recklessly not give a fuck. However, 9 out of 10 elders agree that holding off on eliminating fucks all together can maximize the impact of your life.
Choosing to smoke marijuana does not make you wise or cool, but it does offer you an opportunity to be a leader. Many users and non-users are oblivious to the many benefits of mindful marijuana use or have false information regarding the effects marijuana. As a result, many people shy away from enjoying one of the biggest natural resources the earth has provided.
Habits & Dependence
Brushing your teeth, recycling and going to the exact same bar after work are all singular actions that can become habitual if done repetitively. Habits don’t have to be considered harmful, but they do have to be acknowledged if we’re to really going to consider ourselves self-aware. Going to the same bar after work everyday can be a comforting ritual, and by itself doesn’t create an alcohol problem. It goes to follow that the act of ingesting marijuana, recreationally or medicinally, doesn’t necessarily create a drug problem.
It’s important to remember that cannabis is not the culprit. Folks competing on The Biggest Loser work to repair unhealthy relationships with food and people on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Exploitation have just had different vices. Forming an addiction is multifaceted, and according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine:
o Addiction affects neurotransmission and interactions within reward structures of the brain, the memory of previous exposures to rewards leads to a biological and behavioral response to external cues, in turn triggering craving and/or engagement in addictive behaviors.
o Genetic factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will develop addiction.
o Environmental factors, including culture, interact with the person’s biology and affect the extent to which genetic factors exert their influence.
o Resiliencies the individual acquires (through parenting or later life experiences) can affect the extent to which genetic predispositions lead to the behavioral and other manifestations of addiction.
It is possible to become physically dependent on marijuana, and symptoms of withdrawal can include fatigue, bad mood and the worsening of depression/anxiety if it’s already present.
Mental health professionals usually don’t encourage those suffering from illness to ingest marijuana, especially alongside pharmaceuticals, because it can bring on negative emotions and induce anxiety. However some mental health patients, like myself, choose to medicate with cannabis. Every brain is different. Being responsible means remaining conscious of this psychoactive herb's effect on your mental state.
Life is precious and how we chose to enjoy it should be our right. That’s why I’m #ComingOutGreen as an avid supporter of the responsible use of marijuana and woman who appreciates all things dank. As an intersectional activist, it’s only right I continue to stand up for what I believe in.
So with those checks and balances in mind, I take life and cannabis day by day. Indulging in an edible after a long weekend at my day job or a performance; it’s a reward for my hard work. When my plans aren’t coming together and I’m in panic, it’s a few moments of calm that I can use to find my feet.
Folks tend to use the cannabis users in their lives as points of reference when considering use or forming opinions on the plant. That’s pretty smart of them, and whether or not that’s completely fair to us is another subject… However, if you consume marijuana and understand the concept of research, you should be able to fathom how folks may look to you, too as an ambassador for bud.