Imperfect Herb

Take note: There are downsides to using MMJ

I'm tired of writing about other people in this column, so please sit back and enjoy yourselves while I turn a few emotionally charged barbs and arrows on one of my favorite targets—me.

I've written a lot about the good side of medical marijuana: how it can help people deal with illness and pain, and how it should be legal so we can easily get our hands on it and use it like the herbal remedy it is. I've extolled its virtues and praised some dedicated advocates.

But there are a lot of downsides to using MMJ.

It's dangerous. It's a fact I have lived with for many years, and one that has arisen for me lately in a big way. If you deny it, you're in denial. I'm not talking about the vague threat of your wife finding the secret bag of weed in your golf bag. I'm talking about serious side effects that can kill you—or make you wish you were dead.

Since I got my MMJ card and started this column last September, I've smoked more pot than I did before. I kind of immersed myself in it for a while, to my extreme detriment. I fell into a couple of pitfalls, so to speak, so I thought I would explain a couple of them to help you avoid likewise falling. To wit:


I smoke most of my MMJ. It's the easiest way to get the job done. It's convenient and cost-effective, and I get results much faster than the other ways to get the goods in me. But because I smoke, often starting early in the morning, I hack and cough and wheeze a lot more than I would like. It affects my voice. And say what you will about studies that show longtime pot-smokers don't have an increased risk of cancer; those are statistical analyses. Bottom line—and I challenge any scientist or doctor to disagree—if you put any carcinogen in your body, you are increasing your chance of cancer.

So I haven't been doing my corpus any favors lately. And it makes me imagine a disgusting film of tarry black shit all over my teeth, even after I brush them. Take my doctor's advice, and get a vaporizer, or eat your MMJ. Edibles are easily available these days. Take advantage.


A few years ago, scientists came up with a new disease called amotivational syndrome. There is serious doubt that it even exists as a distinct syndrome, but the symptoms include diminished social interaction and lack of motivation to get shit done. The disputed syndrome has been repeatedly and loosely (and some say wrongly) associated with pot use. The symptoms have long been the focus of jokes and comments from angry, disappointed relatives and friends. Get off the couch, ya stoner.

Well, speaking from experience, recent experience, smoking a lot of MMJ can keep you on the couch, so to speak. I haven't been sitting around much—I never do—but my motivation to accomplish things nose-dived into the desert floor over the past six months. There was a huge fireball, figuratively speaking, and the people close to me saw it. I'm not blaming MMJ for my problems, but it certainly was a factor.

So, I guess the moral of this abridged story is: Watch The Fuck Out. Use your MMJ sparingly, and don't let it become a focus of your life. I've met a few folks in the MMJ community who seem absorbed by all things pot, rightfully but maybe overly enthralled by the chance to finally be out of the pot closet and in the sunshine. I'm glad to be out, too. But Mr. Smith advises sunscreen if we're going to be out here in the light.

Cover your naughty bits, or you could get a nasty sunburn.

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