Letters + Opinion » The Week in Weed

Just Because You're Paranoid

by and

  • North Coast Journal

Last week your author mentioned that several recent studies indicate marijuana use can cause problems with teenagers' developing brains, lowering IQs of chronic users during their transition to adulthood.

It's easy to point out that highly successful people have confessed to marijuana use in their formative years — world leaders, captains of industry, artists, actors and authors. It's a good point: Marijuana use as a youth (or an adult — more and more baby boomers are using marijuana regularly, according to the Huffington Post) isn't necessarily going to turn you into a bottom-feeding dropout welfare suck. Making us aware of this is the apparent goal of the "2013 Top 50 Marijuana Users," a list compiled by the Marijuana Policy Project and referenced by Lost Coast Outpost resident pot zealot Emily Hobelmann (who points to the list to evince that Gov. Jerry Brown's concern about pot use is either some kind of long con or an indication of his lack of mental acuity).

At first glance, the list seems to blow smoke in the face of those who say youthful pot smoking is harmful. But under some scrutiny, it does the pro-pot brigade no favors. Many of those on the list have denounced smoking weed and, in the snippets of confessions gathered by the MMP, many admit to only occasional use — long, long ago. Is it fair to call these people "Marijuana Users?" I think not.

Trying pot a dozen times in your youth and then giving it up does not make you an influential marijuana user. Nor does it reach the level of chronic use that studies show might yield negative effects on users. (I understand that some of these authorities may downplay their use to the press, but let's take them at their word.) So it's disingenuous to say that marijuana can't harm people because it didn't harm Brad Pitt's ability to make a lot of money. That's a real stretch of correlation and causality. (Plus, the list quotes Brad Pitt as saying he quit smoking marijuana so he could recover from depression and become a better father — not the most compelling pro-pot propaganda from an "influential user.")

Do you suffer from paranoia when you're high? Does getting on the phone, handing over your credit card info and signing up for a cryptic psychotherapy session sound like the best solution?

Well, lucky you! Paranoidhuman.com is here to save the day! Because nothing instills confidence in the paranoid and conspiracy-threatened stoner than an abstruse website asking for your credit card information while featuring jittery gifs and stylized images of children and women's heads splattered across cheap wallpaper.

The program is ostensibly designed to help the stoner overcome marijuana's anxiety-inducing side effects through consultation with a "Marijuana Paranoia Management Coach" (Only $262.50 for a five-hour session!). Wanna know what that actually means? Buy the book first (Only $19.99 on Amazon!).

Or here's an idea: Give up pot. If it doesn't make you feel good, don't use it.

Yes, people use marijuana as medicine — often a safer, cheaper alternative to other pain relievers. There are lots of local, above-board people offering anxiety consulting (free of pharmaceuticals, if preferred). But paranoidhuman.com doesn't even pretend to advocate for patients.

In the website's FAQ, the company's nameless proprietors promise:

"Being able to cut back on the alcohol and incorporate marijuana as a safer, and more productive social/recreational relaxant means you'll save cash. It's true. And furthermore, you're going to need this cash to buy heroin after marijuana opens the gateway to harder, more dangerous drugs."

I guess/hope that last bit is supposed to be a joke? Sigh.

Supervisors Chamber at the Humboldt County Courthouse was chalk full of weed stank the night of March 6 as droves of pot advocates turned out to weigh in on the proposed outdoor marijuana grow ordinance being considered by the county planning commission. The ordinance — which proposes limiting outdoor patient grows to five mature plans on properties between a half-acre and five acres in size — seeks to limit the negative impacts medicinal grows have on neighbors, including that pungent, skunky smell, which was oh-so-prevalent at the meeting. The planning commission will get another whiff of the issue when they again take up the ordinance April 3.

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