Better parenting through pot. Really?

The sentiments in the article claiming pot is a parenting panacea aren’t that surprising.  Pot users have always touted marijuana’s benefits in the alternative press.  What’s a little surprising about this article, which claims that one man became an infinitely better parent because of his pot use, is that the New York Times published it.

The one fallacy in the article, of course, is the author’s belief that everyone around him is as happy as he is.  One of the things pot does to its users is to give them an inflated sense of their own wisdom and wonderfulness.

I was 14 when a friend told me about the experience that put her off put forever — and that put me off too.  She and a friend had gotten together and smoked some joints.  With their minds expanded by drug use, they started to explore the wonderful mysteries of the universe and the meaning of life.  Soon, they had put together a comprehensive unified theory.  They were so excited by their brilliance (if you can be both lethargic and excited) that they decided to tape-record their conversation for posterity’s sake.

The next day my friend played back the tape recording and discovered this:  “So . . . it’s like . . . everything is real . . . you know?  Like . . . we’re all . . . one . . . with each other.  We’re . . . like . . . universal . . . uh, uh . . . friends.”  And so on, for almost thirty minutes.  Pot hadn’t expand their minds; it had just expanded their egos.

All I know as the parent of young ‘uns who are, sadly, at the age when all their peers are starting to use pot, is that pot use in young people has permanent negative effects on their brains.  After that, everything else about the stuff becomes irrelevant.

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  • Michael Adams

    A psychiatrist spoke to our Baptist Student Union, forty two or so years ago, and said something really simple, like most truly profound things are. Adolescence is a time of conflict, between the desire to be an adult and the desire to remain a child.  Maturation is the process of resolving this conflict. Tranquilizers of all sorts, including not only marijuana and alcohol, but also prescription drugs, and later, antidepressants, blunt the effect of this conflict, and thus postpone its resolution.
     
    In my dealings with recovering alcoholics and other addicts, in some of Austin’s finest nut-huts (Please excuse the technical language) I have described this idea, and asked them whether they found that, now sober, they were still dealing with the world as they did at age sixteen or so, when most of them began to drink. To a man, and to a woman, they have responded almost joyfully, because this explained so well what they were experiencing, like the brief but passionate loves, the impatience, etc, whose effects they had also masked with their drug (s) of choice. People in recovery say that it is easy to stop drinking.  What is hard is learning to cope with sobriety. In sharing the insight of this long-ago physician, I gave a few of them a conceptual tool to use in that kind of coping.
     
    I told my kids about this same thing, before they were of an age to try experiments on their own brains. I also told them that nobody needs to try to make himself any dumber than s/he was already born, and that we have a lot of alcoholism in the family, so be forewarned. It’s worked, so far.

  • JKB

    That tape sounds like what they pass off as a college liberal arts class these days.

    When I was a senior in high school, I smoked pot for about 6 months.  I was cool, I was with the in-crowd but I came to feel that I was damaging my brain so I stopped.  Seems the research caught up with my anecdotal.  Of course, that was 1980, now after the Baby Boomers became parents, messing up your brain is the least of the problem.  Get caught and your life is done.  You have a criminal record that keeps you out of jobs, etc.  Thanks, hippies, you sobered up just enough to make everything you did illegal for your kids.  

  • http://bkivey.wordpress.com/ bkivey

    I guess the secret is not to inhale. Unless you’re rolling around Honolulu with your buddies.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Thanks, Mike Adams. Your anecdote may be very helpful in our own dealings with an “adult?” family member’s problems with alcoholism.

    Your letter and JKB’s letter really help to define the spectrum of thought on drug legalization. As Thomas Sowell said, there are no solutions – only tradeoffs. I oppose drug use, but I also support its legalization. Is this contradictory or just accepting the better of two very bad choices?

  • Mike Devx

    Danny Lemieux says: I oppose drug use, but I also support its legalization. Is this contradictory or just accepting the better of two very bad choices?
     
    Danny, yours is a consistent libertarian perspective.  When doing no direct harm to others, while harming yourself, it is your choice, and you accept all individual responsibility for the results of your decisions.  No one needs to protect you from the bad effects of your own decision-making.  That’s classic libertarianism.

     Being a 100% advocate of individual responsibility, “protecting people from themselves” arguments rarely get anywhere with me.  The increase in crime associated with an increase in hard drug use in a community is a more serious problem for me.
     

  • Michael Adams

    Danny,
     
    If you send me the first name of the person of concern, I will be happy to pray for him/her. Ms. Worm has the address.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Pot makes a person easier to kill in battle. Thus I was never able to tolerate it’s entertainment function. Entertainment, no matter how good it was, paled in comparison to the fact that nobody is getting anything done when their head is separated from their body. Personally, I would always pay attention to life, death, and survival, rather than merely entertainment and “fun”. Then again, you hear of the ancient berserkers having a lot of fun slaughtering people and being invulnerable to pain. So there are all kinds of ways to get high.

     

  • Libby

    Strange how the author is more concerned with alleviating his crankiness while parenting than how his pot smoking might affect his children. He’s going to have some interesting conversations when his children reach the age of drug experimentation. He’ll either be a hypocrite, or an enabler or worse, an inadvertent supplier. But I guess this is what passes for hip parenting nowadays. 
    I inherited an acute sense of smell from my mother and I endured her constant exclamations of “I smell pot!” throughout childhood in hippie-central Boulder (and I’m reminded of this every time I catch a whiff that distinctive stench). Those poor kids have to live with that smell in their home – ick!