Cannabis: My least worrying vice

I probably smoked cannabis for the first time when I was about 15. I bought some in school and presumably as a first time buyer I got ripped off.

I smoked it later than night in a crappy overpriced bong - the idea of fashioning my own “Joint” out of paper tobacco and seemed impossible - I smoked cannabis for the first time.  As most adolescents do when trying a drug for the first time do, I smoked too much. This is because I presumed the effect would take place straightaway and when it didn’t I kept on clumsily sucking on the bong wondering if I was doing it right. Then suddenly it all started to go wrong, I felt weird and my concept of time started to blur, I think any sort of pleasure was counteracted by the worry that I had some how “overdosed.” That horrible night seemed to go on forever. I started to watch TV, which probably wasn’t the best idea as, scenes seemed to repeat themselves and I found the images quite harrowing. At some point I think I decided to walk around my house, an uncomfortable experience as I seemed to awake in the kitchen, the hall and then my room again without remembering how I got there. Finally I fell into a deep disturbed sleep, ah well it was definitely better than being awake. The next day I felt a bit groggy but seemed to have survived the experience without it causing irreparable damage.

Did that scary experience put me off drugs forever? No of course it didn’t I still had half a bag of weed in my drawer that had cost me a fortune. However I did treat the matter with a little bit of caution aware that if I had that same experience in a party or in a place where other young people I knew where present it would be seriously embarrassing.

My usage of cannabis has been through stages since then, unfortunately always superseded by alcohol During my schooldays I would smoke with friends on the weekend or very occasionally after school, however I was always cautious never too smoke during or before school as the boys who did that I didn’t like very much, and were not very good role models on how I wanted to live my life. When I became eighteen – or even before then because I had a fake ID – I began to prioritise alcohol as my drug of choice and most Fridays I would spend my weekly allowance in the pub on Friday night and spend the whole Saturday feeling terrible.

In the last five years I have acted cautiously towards cannabis. I had known many people in school who had smoked too much and it seemed too be having a destructive effect on their lives, while at the same time ignoring what a destructive effect alcohol was having on my own life. 

I was similarly cautious when I entered university and encountered some students who seemed to relish in the fact that now they faraway from their parents they could now do what they always wanted to do. What they presumably wanted to do, well my neighbours in my students halls, was get stoned all day in their room and play Playstation while munching on Domino’s.

However eventually I gave in as I realised smoking a joint with some of my university buddies was much sociable and pleasant than drinking snakebite and watching a bunch of tw@ts dancing to the Baywatch theme tune in the student union.

In my second year I lived with a young man who when I arrived said he had “been off weed” for five weeks. He had also given his girlfriend, who lived in another part of the country, complete control of his finances so he could not spend it on weed. This seemed to me pointless as he would ring up his girlfriend and say he needed money for food, she would forward it into his account and he would spend it on weed and not eat. I used to smoke with him occasionally, never before breakfast, or before lunch either, but on Friday night we used to sit and smoke talking about his weird taste in music and then I would usually walk to the shop to buy some kind of baked good or confectionary which I would indulge myself with.

After university I began to smoke more cannabis as I came to the conclusion that it was probably my least worrying vice, I smoke too many cigarettes, I drink too much alcohol I probably drink too much coffee, but my cannabis use is moderate at the most. I pretty much always have cannabis in a drawer in my house but living a busy lifestyle I find I rarely have the time to smoke it. Most of my friends who I used to smoke with are pretty much the same as me or some have just stopped smoking altogether as they find themselves caught up in the culture and stress of a career which in my opinion involves too much heavy drinking.

I used to tell people who are close to me that they smoke too much. I once had a girlfriend with an anxiety disorder who preferred to use cannabis to control it than the mixture of antidepressants and sleeping pills she was prescribed. However thinking back on it I do believe that in many cases, not all, telling someone not do something undermines a fundamental human ability. That is the ability to make their own choices and to realise themselves when something is doing them harm.
My own experience with cannabis contradicts the “gateway drug” theory as nine years after I first tried cannabis I tried another illegal drug, MDMA, didn’t think it was all that as it just made me sleepy. I personally don’t consider cannabis more than a less harmful, less indulgent form of tobacco. Yes there are people who do smoke to much of it just as there are people who eat too much junk food, watch too much TV, gamble too much, spend too much, the list is endless. Tonight I will probably go out drink too much beer and smoke too many cigarettes and I’m not sure why because I will definitely feel terrible tomorrow. Maybe I only do it because everyone else I know does it!