Cannabis is listed in the alt lit Wikipedia article as one of the “kiddy drugs” alt lit people are supposed to use and write about.
I live in the “great” state of Michigan. Weed is legal here but only for specific medical purposes. I’m not personally sure whether I have a “medical need” for weed, or what that could even reasonably mean at all, but I received a recommendation from a seemingly benevolent doctor and permission to use from the state of MI and so I do.
The first time I smoked weed was at a Taking Back Sunday concert. I was in high school. Someone at the concert just randomly tapped me on the shoulder and offered me a joint, and I tried to take a hit or two of it and probably didn’t really know how to and didn’t experience any effects whatsoever really except that I felt rebellious and cool maybe.
For most of high school and university I didn’t drink or try any drugs. I had a sort of halfhearted resolve that I didn’t need drugs to have fun, I think, and had a burgeoning interest in “straight-edge hardcore” music. Anyway looking back I think staying sober mostly just alienated me from a lot of my friends who weren’t sober, so eventually I slowly decided to be not sober anymore. During this period I got drunk to the point of vomiting relatively often and got high off friends’ weed to the point of not remembering much except eating a lot of tortilla chips and watching Oldboy on Netflix a few times. It was ok. I don’t know.
After this “rebellious phase” I stopped drinking alcohol past my limits and getting very high with friends. I was in a band, and we went on a tour. During the tour I wrote a novella and smoked a lot of weed. Weed curbed my anxiety / depression / insomnia while on the tour. At some point during the tour I subconsciously realized I was using the weed more “to cope” and less “to party,” in a sort of “epiphany.” That moment deeply changed my conception of weed, and substance use in general, I guess.
After the tour I wanted to continue smoking weed but people were no longer freely providing it to me. For a while I bought small amounts from friends and friends’ dealers, and then I got tired of feeling like some sort of shitty suburban criminal and decided to try to get a medical card so that I could cop weed legally.
I got a medical recommendation from a mustachioed doctor in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I told him I thought weed could help me with appetite, nausea, sleeping, mood, and just general pain associated with my “major depressive disorder.”
That was like a year ago. I’ve been using medical weed I get from a dispensary in Ann Arbor for about a year now. It costs a lot of money, but in a cost-benefit analysis or something I feel the weed is worth it, as compared to psychotherapy or SSRIs or something, of which I have tried varieties.
Although I’m legally allowed to use weed, most of my friends and family apparently don’t like it or at the very least the smell of it, so I pretty much always have to use alone / in seclusion. This makes weed feel illegal or taboo to me although I know it really isn’t. It seems shitty.
I think it’s interesting that different parts of the country are legalizing weed, some for just medical purposes, some for recreational and medical purposes. In my personal investigations, available research on weed is mostly outdated, dubious, and/or in contradiction to other research. Some people will tell you weed is completely harmless while other people will tell you that people who say weed is harmless are brainwashed idiots, and it mostly depends to what extent they are right wing or left wing. Personally, I don’t really know what “the truth” about weed is, and I don’t really care. All I know is that I experience intense pain often, and weed sometimes mitigates that pain and its associated symptoms. And it feels about a thousandfold more effective than my prescription antidepressant.
I don’t know if using weed to manage severe depression is a sustainable or “good” plan, but I once heard that sustainability itself in a context of impermanence is kind of suspicious. So I try to take life one day at a time.
I can neither recommend nor not recommend using weed to anyone, I feel. People tend to forget, but it bears repeating that a psychedelic substance will have different effects on different people for about a thousand different reasons. Meaning you literally can’t knock it (or espouse it) until you try it.
It seems shitty that in states where weed is now legal, the people who were arrested for weed-related offenses prior to legalization are still locked up.
It seems Orwellian / shitty that anyone wants to police what another human wants to do with their consciousness.
2pac said that instead of a war on poverty, they got a war on drugs so the police can bother me.
There’s probably a lot to be said about how American drug policy is largely racist.
I was going to lengthen and edit this essay, “but then I got high.”