The Cannabis Closet: ADD
A reader writes:
I'm a college student (should be writing my final paper right now, in fact), so there isn't any real stigma regarding smoking marijuana, but I do it for a much different reason than most of my friends. I'm 21 and I have rather severe Attention Deficit Disorder, something I've struggled with my entire life. The only medication that works for me at all is Adderall, which I think of as meth for rich people. However, while taking 25mg a day allows me to function normally as a student, it also makes me miserable. My medication suppresses my appetite to the point where I can't smell food without feeling nauseous, makes me panicky and paranoid, exacerbates my already bothersome insomnia and migraines, and (perhaps worst of all) destroys my sex drive. My doctor's response to these terrible side effects was more medication, mostly sedatives that make me feel like I'm walking on the bottom of the ocean and put me into an uncomfortable, dreamless sleep-coma.
I hated my life. I almost dropped out of college after my first semester because the idea of spending four years jacked up on Adderall, not sleeping, barely eating, and uninterested in the beautiful college girls all around me, was completely unbearable.
Andrew, weed is nothing short of a miracle for me.
I had smoked it before and enjoyed it, but never while I was taking my medication. A couple tokes and my headaches disappear, my appetite comes back with a vengeance, and my panicked paranoia melts into comparatively blissful relaxation. A couple more, and I can get a full night of deep, restful sleep, something I have trouble with even without amphetamines in my system. Even when I'm not taking Adderall, marijuana helps: my ADD causes my thoughts to jump constantly from topic to topic, my hands get restless if they're not continuously occupied and I'm always twitchy (which is exhausting when you do it all day) - all of this is much better when I'm stoned. Plus, it's fun! I can stare at the wall forever if I want to! Maybe that's not such a novelty to you, but for me, it's like having a superpower.
Because of weed, I don't have to choose between being functional and feeling good. I don't like having to break the law, but as a well-off, clean-cut white college student in a state with relatively relaxed cannabis laws, the risk for me is minuscule, and well worth the reward. In every other aspect of my life, I am a model citizen - there's not so much as a parking ticket on my record. I'm careful and responsible about my drug usage, and try to buy from people who grow it themselves and aren't using my money to fund violent gangs. That billions of dollars are wasted in this disastrous War on Drugs and thousands of lives are ruined, all in the name of protecting me from something that makes my quality of life significantly better, is a national outrage.