Why I Hope My Kids Won't Smoke Pot

Why I Hope My Kids Won't Smoke PotI think I'm pretty liberal when it comes to marijuana. People very close to me use it regularly and I hold no judgements. I firmly believe it should be decriminalized, maybe even legalized. But I've chosen not to partake, and I hope my kids make the same choice.

It's not just the negative effect smoking pot has on the lungs, marijuana deposits four times as much tar into the lungs as tobacco, but that's worth noting here. It's what I've seen pot do to the creative mind. Marijuana, in my observation, is quite the dream killer.

This site you're reading right now is the result of some boredom experienced in the late 90s. The web piqued my curiosity and I wanted to learn how to write HTML. Months of trial and error later, I was writing fluently by hand I started this site as a sandbox of sorts. This is where I tried new things.

Throughout my life, when I felt that itch, I'd start projects. In addition to this blog, there's the podcast, an attempt to run a marathon, a ridiculous amount of archiving and various home and personal challenges. These projects come from a place of boredom and curiosity, and I've seen this space that sparks creativity and progression dissipate by the use of pot.

I don't want my kids' downtime and bored times "cured" by using pot. I want them to shake it up, experient, create, and better themselves and their lives when they have that feeling. My oldest is almost a teenager, and I know it's only a matter of time before a friend offers him some weed. My hope is he'll realize he doesn't need it.

Because he doesn't.


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Ben Vidal

Have to disagree with you Mike. Some of the best music out there from the Beetles to Pearl Jam to Jimmy Hendrix to well you name it was recorded or written while people were smoking pot.

I don't smoke, but I think the statement that it kills creativity is far exaggeration. Look at some of the Disney classics for cartoon movies. Many of them from an artwork design were crafted while on pot or other illicit drugs.

Look to Steve Jobs to Bill Gates who got high and solved amazing problems.

I don't smoke and I don't need, but some people do pretty amazing things while on it.

September 17, 2014 @ 10:46 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Ben Vidal

Those artists who create while doing drugs aren't typically smoking pot, are they? I thought it was LSD that stoked their creative fires.

My friends and family who smoke pot regularly seem to become demotivated and quickly become content doing nothing productive or creative.

September 17, 2014 @ 10:49 AM

Nunsy

I smoke a lot of weed and i can say that the only thing it does for me is make me real lazy and i never get shit done lol. My mind feels clouded everytime i smoke and i just zone out.

September 17, 2014 @ 10:52 AM

Producer

As a fairly successfully creative type I'd have to respectfully disagree. I wouldn't want my kids smoking pot either as studies show that it's potentially devastating to anyone under the age of 18. But I've used pot to fuel my creative endeavors for years. Now I wouldn't use it to perform any function of my work. However used during brainstoming sessions the ideas created and then refined while sober have been key in my career.

September 17, 2014 @ 10:55 AM

this guest

Wasn't one of the early reasons for prohibiting pot in the states
that black jazz musicians smoked weed and were 'tainting'
those good white folks

September 17, 2014 @ 10:59 AM

Ben Vidal

@ Toronto Mike: You can't take your microcosm and apply that to everyone. Remember how we gave shit to Philly Bob who essentially said all people on bikes are douche bags down town, because that's what he had experienced.

September 17, 2014 @ 10:59 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Producer

Out of curiosity, do you find your brainstorming sessions less creative when sober?

I'm just curious whether you find the pot makes you creative or simply enhances your existing creativity.

September 17, 2014 @ 11:03 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Ben Vidal

This entry isn't me judging pot smokers, I assure you. It's literally "my 2 cents" as to why I hope my kids don't smoke weed.

It's my personal opinion. I happen to think it's crazy that marijuana use is criminalized in this country.

September 17, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

Sam in Pickering

@torontomike

The lung damage is reason enough for you to not want your kids smoking pot!

September 17, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

J

FWIW, I don't think Toronto Mike'd post comes across as judgy. I just searched this blog for 'marijuana' and he's always been in favour of decriminalizing it.

And it's not quite like Mississauga Phil labeling all bikers as douchbags because a few don't follow the rules. This seems very specific to Mike's kids.

I didn't get a 'all pot smokers are losers' vibe from this because of course not all pot smokers are losers.

And if I had kids, I wouldn't want them smoking pot either.

September 17, 2014 @ 11:13 AM

this guest

some people might use it
as a way to create space around a new
perspective

being a card-carrying member of stoner nation is no doubt another matter
entirely


September 17, 2014 @ 11:15 AM

Ben Vidal

My rebuttal was in regards to mikes comment "My friends and family who smoke pot regularly seem to become demotivated and quickly become content doing nothing productive or creative". His original point wasn't judgmental, but that statement lumped people into a group. Nor did I imply that he thought all pot smokers are losers.

September 17, 2014 @ 11:18 AM

Oscar

I don't smoke pot... often.. haven't smoked in about 2 years.
However I think Kevin Smith would be an example of how pot has benefited. He admitted he never smoked during the jay and silent bob days, but he's on a real tear of movies (Tusk coming out soon), and he's been smoking a lot of week lately.

I agree with the sentiment of not trying to cure boredom. I think boredom is when some of the most creative moments stem from - That's why I also, think we should limit how often we stare at smart phones. I can't remember the last time I went pee without checking my twitter feed.

September 17, 2014 @ 11:26 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Ben Vidal

I think if I decided all pot smokers were losers I'd be cutting out half my friends and family.

And that anecdote from my personal life was simply to contradict the "pot makes me / others more creative" observation.

I don't doubt that some have their creativity enhanced by marijuana, but in my personal experience that hasn't been the case. And like Argie said (here I am agreeing with Argie!), studies show the young teenaged brain is particularly harmed by smoking pot.

September 17, 2014 @ 11:27 AM

this guest

if this is true
there must be a lot of damaged teenaged brains out there

but yes, a good choice would be
track and field, chess club, reading a book, learning an instrument,
swimming, keeping a journal

September 17, 2014 @ 11:32 AM

J

@Ben Vidal

I guess when I read "My friends and family who smoke pot regularly seem to become demotivated and quickly become content doing nothing productive or creative." all I could think was "same here!".

My chronic pot smoking chums just sit on the couch playing video games and eating junk food. The pot seems to turn their brains off.

September 17, 2014 @ 11:34 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@this guest

Likely a big difference between the social smoker who joins in once in a while at a party and the regular smoker who smokes up every day.

September 17, 2014 @ 11:40 AM

Douglas

I've never understood what I will call society's "infatuation" with drugs. Needless to say, I'm not a drug user. Even controlled substances, like beverage alcohol, can be abused, as can prescription medications. I've never understood why anyone would think that it would, in general, be healthy to inhale the fumes of anything burning. From the lips to the lungs, that simply cannot be good. The thought of not knowing just what chemicals are in uncontrolled substances (eg. what is used to "cut" the purity of drugs, including marijuana) is simply more of a common sense deterrent, in my humble opinion. I don't "get it", and likely never will. Fortunately, both of my sons, now 17 and 16, have developed a similar mindset. One of them, he simply finds the concept of putting something "not fully known" in his body to be utterly frightening, plus he likes the idea of spending his money on having positive life experiences that he will remember forever. As a father, one cannot help but worry at times, but that is some pretty constructive thinking. Good on him.

September 17, 2014 @ 11:42 AM

Lyle Lanley

Reminds me of when Humble and Fred were going to do their 4/20 show high after smoking a bowl of hash.

http://www.torontomike.com/2012/04/humble_and_fred_smoking_a_bowl.html

September 17, 2014 @ 11:46 AM


Lorne

I've known plenty of pot-losers too. Now, in all fairness, I'll try to give the benefit of the doubt to "causation over correlation". Most of the people I know in that category were already lazy losers.

In other words, lazy losers smoke pot because they were already lazy losers. It just makes it worse. Smoking pot didn't make them lazy losers.

And in the same vein, some creative people use drugs to enhance their creativity, but they were already creative. I can't say if the pot made them more creative or not-- there's pretty much no way to quantify that. Can you measure "creativity" of an individual both on and off pot? How could you ever eliminate all the other variables? How could you measure this WITHOUT effecting the results. You can't. So there is literally no way to prove or disprove the help or harm it caused them.

And to top ALL THAT off, there's the fact that anecdotes are butt useless. "But pot is perfectly fine for me! It made me more creative and I totally don't get demotivated by it."

That's nice, you can drop your anecdote over there in the pile with the rest of them. Please don't get it mixed up with the stack of data. It's a hell of a chore to resort them later.

Maybe you're a special, unique case. Maybe your brain chemistry is different from others. Or maybe you are unable to judge your own reactions to a brain altering chemical using your own brain. Or maybe you're a liar. Who knows. Anecdote!

Or maybe it's like alcohol. If you are an alcoholic, and have an addictive personality, then you just admit that literally NO amount of alcohol is good for you. Period. No wiggle room. It isn't for you.

Same thing-- some people are "lazy losers". Their brain and body will take any opportunity it can to demotivate itself, to shut down. Motivation is a struggle. So-- why would you then do anything that would demotivate you? Pot is a depressant. No, it is. That's the chemistry of it. Fact there. That's just what it does to your brain chemistry. So if anything that is a depressant will demotivate you, and pot is a depressant-- then there is no amount of pot you can have. It isn't for you. Move on.

I don't smoke pot for the same reason I don't drink or play World of Warcraft. I fully acknowledge they are probably fun and people get a lot of enjoyment out of it. But I also acknowledge they can be extremely addictive and time consuming activities. Put aside the health effects. Put aside the COST of them. I know myself. I have a mildly addictive personality. And I also have barely any free time as it is. It's a struggle to find time to read, or write, or dance, or do freelance web design, or make a movie, or play a game, or do home renovations, or any of the hundreds of other things I WANT to do with my little free time. I don't need another barrier between me and doing what I want.

September 17, 2014 @ 11:58 AM

Oscar

do you have any opposition to your children experience psychedelics?

Not trying to funny. I can't find the article, but 'new-atheist' Sam Harris argues for the positives of having a psychedelic experience and how he's open to his daughter trying it.

September 17, 2014 @ 12:14 PM

Rob

There is two types of marijuana, one that makes you sleepy and the other that is euphoric.

September 17, 2014 @ 12:15 PM

Producer

@torontomike

I am an already creative person. Naturally so and have both bad and great ideas come out of both sober and high brainstorming sessions. I ingest THC in an effort to spark creative ideas and see things from a different perspective then I would while sober.

Can I quantify this. Yes actually. Based on what I've created. However I view it as a tool in my tool kit so to speak. Something to enhance my already creative mind at times.

The benefits that THC has is reason why it is a banned performance enhancing substance in combat sports. I'd also like to add that you don't need to "smoke" it to feel the effects. Oral ingestion works wonders and leaves no tar in the lungs.

September 17, 2014 @ 12:19 PM

this guest

"Whatever Calvin Coolidge is stoned on,
you gotta get me some of that."

- Louie Armstrong

(not)

September 17, 2014 @ 12:34 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Oscar

I'd prefer my kids did not consume psychedelic drugs.

@Lorne and @Producer

Good points... a lazy sober person is an even lazier person when high. But they were lazy sober. Is the pot making them lazy or just lazier?

And those who are creative while high are creative people when sober.

The question is, are there non-lazy people who lose their drive and motivation when high? I believe so.

September 17, 2014 @ 1:06 PM

Producer

@torontomike

THC can make you lethargic and lazy, so can a bottle of wine though or a couple cheeseburgers for that matter. I would suggest to anyone that when drive and motivation are required, that it's not the right time to pick up the bong, the bottle, or the bag of McDonald's.

You could argue that certain advances in technology have made people lazy or unmotivated for that matter. I think a naturally motivated person won't be ruined by the occasional THC any more then the carpenter with a brand new electronic nailer.

September 17, 2014 @ 1:16 PM

Lorne

@Mike: "The question is, are there non-lazy people who lose their drive and motivation when high? I believe so."

I would agree. I've known people in that camp. I've sure I would be one if I did use pot. And even if there's only a chance I would be, the risk:reward is WAY too skewed for me to roll those dice.

September 17, 2014 @ 1:19 PM

Justin

I'm a university student. Growing up in high school, I saw pot hinder, debilitate, and even flat out destroy lives. My closest friend in middle school was a well-rounded and well-respected individual. He went to high school got into weed, became an absolute pot-head, engaged in criminal activity, and went on to get kicked out of 3 schools before dropping out altogether. He was one of many productive people I saw whose lives went downhill because of weed.

I don't judge people who use marijuana recreationally or socially from time to time. Several of my friends do that and it doesn't bother me one bit. But as for those who smoke it every day, those who live to "hit bowls" all the time, I find it to be a disgusting way to live. Deplorable and disgusting

September 17, 2014 @ 6:06 PM

twins from bolton

We as parents can only talk & try to guide our kids into a life that WE want them to have at a young age - probably until grade 8-9.

Peer pressure - freinds, school & any other external activities have an influence with "social" activity, drinking, smoking. weed,experimenting with other - but hopefully not partaking. They have to be strong.

As kids grow up the guidance of parents change as they become more mature & want to be be self sufficient. I've heard it as "we are not children anymore & don't treat us like as if we were 5 or 6, we are older now & can make decisions on our own". That's when they were early teens. Did they do stuff - of course in high school early teens & it was a learning experience for both. It's part of growing up. The Glass Bubble doesn't exist anymore, especially with social media.


Goota take the leash off at some age, but every parent is different.

September 17, 2014 @ 9:36 PM

mrmojorisinca

I attended a Ben Harper show years back and he made a pretty good statement about the use of pot. He mentioned that there are people who smoke regularly who loose touch with reality because of it, and suggested that they stop and come back to reality as life is good, he also suggested that some people are wound up way to tight and maybe they need a little..I had a good time at that show :) still hands down one top five concert :)

September 18, 2014 @ 9:52 AM



McNulty


The only reason to smoke pot is to get high.

I can drink a glass of wine with a meal and not get drunk. I don't view pot the same. It's a drug and it's sole purpose to to get stoned.

I hope my kids don't do it either. But I won't go on a Dave Williamsesque tirade and hate anyone who does it.

September 18, 2014 @ 12:28 PM

this guest

I read about tobaccos in north america used as sacraments in indigenous culture...
tobaccos it seems that no longer exist,
having been supplanted (no pun intended) by corporate tobacco.
I wonder about the use of marijuana as a
sacrament, is this done?
or was it done traditionally?

September 18, 2014 @ 1:09 PM

Philly-Bob

Okay, s I guess I should weigh in here.

@ McNulty - there are many reasons to smoke pot. Getting high is obviously up there, but it also help nausea and headaches. Talk to any Chemo patient about the virtues of pot.

I myself smoke pot, I will take a joint over a beer any day. Studies show pot has an adverse effect on developing minds...no shit Sherlock...booze ain't too good for them either. I'd prefer my child indulge in either until he's an adult and can make responsible choices, but I'm also realistic enough to know it's not likely.

@ TO Mike - Lazy people are lazy. A single joint doesn't wipe me out anymore than a single beer would you. I'm certain if you and I were to smoke a joint together, you'd be super high, whereas I'd be just fine cause I've built up a tolerance to it. Non (or very occasional) Smokers don't understand that i find.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a "stoner" I don't sit around and smoke Phat blunts all day. I come home from work, pack a little pipe to take the edge off the day (have a beer if you prefer), then I don't have another puff until my son is asleep. I'm hyperactive, they wanted to put me on Ritalin when i was younger, thank God dad said no. Pot just brings me down to the rest of your level.

September 18, 2014 @ 6:18 PM

Philly-Bob

That should have said indulge in neither....stupid keyboard (PEBKAC for you techheads)

September 18, 2014 @ 6:20 PM

Argie

@Phil
So you're saying you smoke about almost every night? That can't be good for you in the long term. This is not a moral judgement - it just seems unhealthy.

September 18, 2014 @ 7:18 PM

Philly-Bob

@ Argue - No offense taken and none intended when I say most men I know have a beer or three in a night, that isn't any better

September 18, 2014 @ 7:51 PM

Someone

http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/01/11282/marijuana-shown-be-less-damaging-lungs-tobacco

Note that the study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Heart Lung Blood Institute and was featured in The Journal of the American Medical Association so it carries some weight.

I'm a recreational pot user. Over the years I've used it on a semi-regular basis. I also work a 50-hour week and attend school part-time. I have not missed more than 5 days of work in the past 15 years and I always had a valid reason. Now, if I started my day with a joint then I'd have far less motivation to get moving same as if I started my day with a glass of wine, which is why I don't. My point is that pot, like alcohol, has it's time and place. If I have an essay to write, I don't smoke up first. I never smoke during the day. I don't find that I feel sluggish or lazy, just really calm. I suffer from anxiety and, although I take medication for it, smoking pot has a calming effect without the side effects of benzodiazepines and both my doctors approve. I have known some chronic users whose days were broken up by "smoke breaks" and they were often unmotivated and lazy. However, much as I hate to say it, in most of the cases I've seen, they were lazy to begin with.

As a parent, I wouldn't want my teenager smoking pot but kids will experiment and there's far worse out there. Marijuana is not, generally speaking, an addictive substance, although the act of smoking it can become habitual. When compared to alcohol (addiction rate-82%) and tobacco(addiction rate-98%), it's far easier to walk away relatively unscathed. I've stopped smoking pot at various times for a variety of reasons and have never experienced any sort of withdrawal symptoms. I've experienced caffeine withdrawal and tobacco withdrawal neither of which are pretty but nothing with pot, ever. I'm sure everyone knows someone who's an exception but, generally speaking, if someone has gone off the rails b/c they smoke too much weed then they may have serious underlying issues of which chronic pot-smoking is a symptom.

*Note-It's worth noting that, the information from the ALA in regards to marijuana depositing four times as much tar into the lungs as tobacco is based on smoking an equal amount of both. Most cigarette smokers smoke 20-30 cigarettes a day. I don't think I've ever met anyone who smokes that many joints in a day, although I'm sure they exist.

September 19, 2014 @ 10:15 AM

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