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Speaker: Towards a realistic drug policy

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  • Just thinking,

    My point was about acknowledging the very real health risks, not criminality.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Any time I've smoked too much dope I feel deranged. People who don't stop could be that way a lot. But that's drug abuse, rather than use. The pot-a-holics. I know a couple of people like this. But their level of derangement was 1. Preexisting. 2. Possibly affected by the other recreational drugs they take. 3. A possible consequence of a gangster lifestyle, in which paranoia might actually be a sane choice.

    It does seem that people who stop using come out of their derangement pretty quickly. Which makes me wonder about the age-old claim that dope affects your memory. I can say for certain that it affects my memory *when I'm high*. And the 'vacant' state for a day afterward is one where memory is not so much affected as something you don't really feel like doing (along with anything that involves concentration). But after a bit of time off, there doesn't really seem to be any difference.

    That said, being on it for lengthy periods could be habit forming. If you smoke every day, I doubt that you're performing at your mental peak much of the time. Alcohol doesn't seem to be so bad in this respect if used in moderation (but if used heavily it's probably worse). Perhaps that is the issue - using pot in moderation is quite unlikely because the idea is to get really stoned, not to just get a very, very mild stoning. The spinout I get from a usual session is probably about as mentally impairing as having drunk about 8 cans of beer in an hour. Yes, it doesn't last as long as 8 cans worth of drunk would, the stoning wears off after an hour or two. At which point, the temptation is to blaze up again. Rinse and repeat all day, and you're taking way more than even a prolific alcoholic (at way less cost, incidentally - that session probably costs about $5, whereas 8 beers is probably double that if you are at home, and about 10 times as much if you are at a bar). Add in the tolerance effect if you're a constant user and you're probably having one hell of a lot of this drug.

    A sensible alcohol drinker could have a bit every day. But if that were dope, in my case it would probably be about 1 or 2 puffs, enough to get what I'd call a very mild high. To smoke like that you can't really use roll-ups unless you want to be putting them out all the time. So you'd probably need a pipe. The whole thing is over in about 10 seconds. Whereas you can linger over your beer for half an hour. I don't know anyone who smokes dope like that, except for people who smoke the original joint. As in a joint concoction of dope and tobacco, mixed to whatever degree you like. I had one puff of one of those in Amsterdam by mistake (where they are very popular) and gave it back, no sorry mate that's not my bag. The guy seemed really surprised that I was turning down free weed. But having to smoke basically an entire cigarette of cancer to get a couple of puffs of nice green just didn't appeal to me.

    I think that is the real difference with dope and alcohol. Because it is practically impossible to overdose yourself to death with it, that leads to the temptation to consider it's effects as mild. They are not, they are actually very strong. You can be stoned out of your nut all day long, and just end up feeling tired and listless for a few days, rather than the extremely punishing feelings you get from overdosing on alcohol. You can do it every day. And in that way you can spend years doing very little else, which is never without consequence. You get unfit. You eat too much. You don't do any useful work. You neglect other duties. Your thoughts aren't collected, your conversation becomes silly, your choices foolish, your friends trend towards a similar lifestyle (if they don't distance themselves from you).

    But of course it is possible to use dope sensibly too. A little infrequently at times when you don't actually need to do work, and do need to relax, can be a nice thing to have. This, ironically, seems to be how the Dutch use it. There are still hardened stoners, but most people are just casual. I wonder if a big part of this is because they can talk to each other very openly about their use of it, so they can see how people they might model themselves after use it. In NZ there is still the stigma, the fear of speaking openly about it. I am quite nervous about posting this post, for instance, where I would not be the least bit nervous about talking about some drunken bender I'd had. I know some people will judge me because of it. I don't know who all the stoners around me are, because I certainly haven't just come out and told everyone all about my habits, and I presume others have the same conundrum.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    My point was about acknowledging the very real health risks, not criminality.

    Sigh. As I said before "Life itself, is fatal" in 100% of cases of life death is the only outcome. Plus the fact that life is full of risk, soap is more dangerous than cannabis, you slip on the soap in the shower, end up with brain damage when your head hits the handbasin, should we ban soap?. That bus you just missed would have killed you if you were standing in front of it, should we ban buses?.
    You can wrap yourself up in "cotton wool" and never leave the house, don't smoke, don't eat fat, don't eat meat, in fact don't eat anything, the quicker you die, the less risk you take but life without risk is a life unlived.
    There are so many things that are "Bad for you" a couple of years back it was eggs FFS. If you want to go through your short life worrying about what might happen then fine but if you want to stop worrying and put a smile on your face I suggest a big fat joint. Then you can sit back and get paranoid about the cops busting down your door, for your own good.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    It seems odd to me that pot is associated with tobacco, alcohol and inactivity, I come from (Vancouver) pot is everywhere and not taken terribly seriously. Last time we were back we saw some teenagers smoking a joint, and as a cop walked by they cupped their hand over it and smiled at him and he grinned and theatrically averted his eyes as he walked by them.

    Marijuana tends to be the intoxicant of choice for the athletic, in Vancouver anyway. Most people who grew up there have skied, skateboarded, snowboarded or mountainbiked stoned. Most athletes I know would not have considered getting drunk or smoking cigarettes, as it would have damaged their performance, but all of them were total potheads.

    In Whistler Being Stoned is No Big Deal

    "British Columbia's known for its pot. Whistler is, too. But we'll be more on the map now for marijuana, that's for sure."
    Depending on whom you ask, this province's marijuana crop is four to 12 times more potent than average weed. Much of it is grown in greenhouses, a practice that started in the '60s when U.S. draft-dodgers fled to Canada.
    Mayor Hugh O'Reilly hired a public relations consultant to put the best possible spin on his city's notoriety.
    "I don't think it's going to hurt the town at all," he said. "This is a resort town. We're going to get plenty of business anyway. This just helps."

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    In Whistler Being Stoned in No Big Deal - that sure as hell is the best explaination for the sacrine sweet movie they play for tourist.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    using pot in moderation is quite unlikely because the idea is to get really stoned, not to just get a very, very mild stoning

    I'm a little dubious, anecdata-ly, about this theory.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    In Whistler Being Stoned in No Big Deal - that sure as hell is the best explaination for the sacrine sweet movie they play for tourist.

    Is it this one by Douglas Coupland?

    Everything's Gone Green

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Perhaps that is the issue - using pot in moderation is quite unlikely because the idea is to get really stoned, not to just get a very, very mild stoning.

    When I was about 23, maybe.

    Getting really stoned is a complete pain in the ass as a grown-up. You can't do anything, and it's not really even pleasant.

    Isn't the whole idea to be able to assess your intake and not overdo it, just as you don't gulp a whole lot of booze every time you get near some?

    I'll often see people do that in a social situation -- just have the one toke.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    On a North American holiday I went to Canada during Easter. Pretty much everything was closed (including the hotel bar) so I booked a tour bus and part of the journey took us up to the ski field and the movie was part of it. Fantastic weather and should have gone for a walk but this was the programme and having seen tourist left behind on other bus tours stuck to it. This was one of the scenery films on superwide w**ker vision we all kill our repeat tourist markets with, but I suspect it would be cool stoned.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Marijuana tends to be the intoxicant of choice for the athletic, in Vancouver anyway

    It's how I prefer it, whilst doing something intense. Which means it's linked to exhilaration for me, so I've never got into the trap of using it to help me sleep.

    I'm a little dubious, anecdata-ly, about this theory.

    Yeah I'm throwing it out for discussion, it's not academic or anything. Perhaps more people do actually prefer to have it in moderation. It's really hard to know, because dosages are really, really inaccurate. I can only rate it personally, usually by some kind of judgment about my level of 'impairment'. But it's a different kind of impairment to alcohol. To be as physically impaired as alcohol for me takes a hell of a lot of dope. But I may well be mentally impaired a lot earlier. For instance, at those times, it's really easy to lose things, or get lost. Or lose the thread of a conversation, and make stupid stoner comments. So I tend to shut up, go nowhere, and put my stuff away carefully. Indeed, I usually put thought into it all beforehand, so that I don't have to trust my short term memory.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    nz native - okay, your point about the linking of 'all mass murderers smoked cannabis" and Stanley Graham is taken - fair enough.

    The 10 'deranged by smoking pot' people I know *were* certified by competent medics (3 of them are unable to work, and are still in the mental health system, 4 are dead, and 3 I've lost track of. At least 4 of these unfortunates turned out to have a family history of schizophrenia.

    I also know of a very large number of people who really enjoy their dope, and dont seem in the least damaged by it.

    Thems the breaks-

    (O Steve Barnes: for a long time I had a self-illustrated motto on the inside of my loo door: "Dont take life so seriously! Or you'll never get out of it alive!" I forget where/who I stole the words from, but someone eventually nicked the thing.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    The 10 'deranged by smoking pot' people I know *were* certified by competent medics.

    Certified deranged *and* smoking pot, perhaps, but that's not the same thing. If nothing else, it's well known that mentally unwell people self-medicate in search for some relief from their condition.

    In short, correlation ≠ causation.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    In short, correlation ≠ causation.

    Yeah, indeed also, if there is correlation, often the cause and effect are confused.

    That said, I don't think pot helps the certified deranged any.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    @ Islander...

    Your quote comes from Elbert Hubbard

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Getting really stoned is a complete pain in the ass as a grown-up. You can't do anything, and it's not really even pleasant.

    You can't do everything, that's for sure. But I'd dispute that it's not pleasant. It can be unpleasant if you are called upon, but if you really don't actually have to do anything, if you are actually without responsibilities for the time, and the setting is right, then it can be nice. Like watching a movie - all you have to do is sit there for a couple of hours, eating and drinking. That said, it actually didn't make Avatar better - I think it affects your depth perception, and I found it rather off-putting.

    Isn't the whole idea to be able to assess your intake and not overdo it, just as you don't gulp a whole lot of booze every time you get near some?

    Took me a while to get this idea. Same goes for booze, actually. And TBH, for the effects socially, I definitely prefer booze. A small amount.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Page bookmarked. Thanks v. much Michael Savidge.

    3410: none of the ten had been mentally unwell - that their families or friends observed - before smoking cannabis*. 3 of them came from the area I've made my home in, and the others I knew in the Greymouth-to-Punakaiki area.

    Edit: before it was realised they were smoking cannabis, and subsequently became seriously ill.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    before it was realised they were smoking cannabis, and subsequently became seriously ill.

    Personally, I feel the drug is any easy scapegoat. Sure drugs can dishevel your consciousness, memory, mental faculties. And you can choose to subsequently reorganize your consciousness, memories and mental faculties. to allow things to remain in a state of disarray is a personal choice. If you throw a party for the neighbourhood and don't clean up afterwards and then throw another, your house is going to get fucked up, fast.

    I find the mind can be managed in a similar way. The illusion is that drugs cause the derangement. Rather than taking care with recovery times, frequency of use, and even more so just sourcing enough salt grains to self-administer with the wondrous and sometimes paranoid fabrications of the imagination. Along the lines of what 3410 said.

    Categorically dismissing the mind as some pitiful little organ that can get permanently fucked up so easily by chemicals (especially THC ffs) does nothing to empower us into the reality that the mind is a powerful, versatile tool with the capacity to maintain, heal and manage its own functions.

    "Incompetent medics, parlaying to a theocracy of victimhood"

    is what you meant to say Islander. Been there. It's easy to fool oneself into believing that something other than our own lack of responsibility for the degree of control we are willing to take with our own brains and the resultant unhindered manifestations of brain activity, is/are to blame. that's a child's mind. an attractive prospect for many adults.

    Thanks for your long post Ben Wilson, I appreciated that a lot, inspiring.

    Chris, I think you have a problem.

    Well, duh!?

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    3 of them came from the area I've made my home in, and the others I knew in the Greymouth-to-Punakaiki area.

    Ah! Well, that explains it. ;)

    But seriously... I can't argue with your observations, except to say that possibly sometimes one gets the explanations one looks for.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    possibly sometimes one gets the explanations one looks for.

    sounds like that to me.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • nz native,

    I’m sorry to hear about the unfortunate out comes for the mentally unwell people you knew Islander .
    But while I believe cannabis may be able to bring on a schizophrenic episode in someone who already has the condition I don’t believe cannabis itself can cause the disease. Otherwise where’s the huge spike in the stats starting from the mid 1960’s on ………. There isn’t one.


    However keeping youngsters drug free for as long as possible is a fine idea which I support .

    When I say alcohol psychosis I’m probably not using the clinically correct term, I use it to describe out of character violence and aggression brought on by the consumption of alcohol …….

    I’d say most domestic violence involves a bit of alcohol psychosis ……. and we have a lot of that in Nz.

    Same when males get in fights and punch their mates ……… or people fighting with strangers at places like taxi stands .

    What else but psychosis could cause a young person to use their car as a weapon and run down people?. Now that IS attempted mass murder and every case I can think of bar one involved an alcohol affected person behind the steering wheel.

    Having worked as both a barman and a taxi driver in the past I’m actually quite surprised to think anyone believes alcohol psychosis to be a rare condition. But my use of the term is pretty broad.

    Quite often it is the amount of drunk people around which has a bearing on how safe or relaxed we feel, especially in an environment like a city center. The consumption of alcohol is related to rates of violence, disorder and dickheadness …………… not cannabis

    Since May 2007 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    But while I believe cannabis may be able to bring on a schizophrenic episode in someone who already has the condition

    While I'm in total agreement about this, I don't think enough is said about the potential to use cannabis to suppress (mild) paranoid schizophrenic episodes.

    "oh that wasn't real, I'm just stoned"

    is a remarkably powerful grounding point, especially considering THC is relatively unimpairing. The danger of (mild) paranoid schizophrenia is not so much the hallucinations themselves as much as our belief in them. Just personal experience there though...

    And in answer to lung cancer...........moon cake.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    ""Incompetent medics, parlaying to a theocracy of victimhood" is what you meant to say Islander."

    Emphatically not so (aside from the fact that your words in quotes are nonsensical.)

    We are - our brains are- extraordinary - and extraordinarily vulnerable. Believe what you like - and you obviously will - but I will back my experiences against your beliefs, especially when your beliefs run counter to my experiences.

    Anyway, I've said my say. I'll leave this thread here.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    but I will back my experiences against your beliefs

    As I'm guessing you've never been formally diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, it's more likely that you're backing your belief in others experiences against my experiences.

    Sorry if you couldn't make sense of this

    "Incompetent medics, parlaying to a theocracy of victimhood"

    basically, medical professionals who still don't know enough, working at the behest of drug companies in a manner that disenfranchises sufferers. Thus, The sufferer's potential to exploit the same faculties that exacerbated the problem in order to consciously solve the problem are categorically denied (limited profitability.)

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Strangely islander, I find the disenfranchisement prescribed by the medical professionals ie. 'deranged', not dissimilar to your categorically dismissing a series of words as entirely nonsensical.

    Taking the time to ponder and attempt to form an independent opinion as to their collective meaning regardless of the initially perceived apparent lack of logic, is not always a waste of time.

    I do not pretend that we don't all suffer vulnerabilities, merely that our capacity to be consciously aware of our vulnerabilities indicates the potential to interact with our own vulnerabilities.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Ok, Whilst I truly respect anyone's right to examine entirely disregarded studies for political, societal benefit (let's face it, not many governments think about it seriously) let's agree for the benefit of stoners, that Islander may have a wisdom of finer detail, and the average person may not enter this field but some could. Can't we all grow up one day? I guess not,if it's tit for tat. I mean at the end of the day, some grow up and figure their own tolerance and deal with it accordingly. It's called human nature. Yes, some can't and screw up, and some trigger different reactions that the brain will interpret. Sometimes it ca not be helped. It is life. Be in it.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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