Over the past few decades, and more specifically, the last few years, the conversation about marijuana use has been changing. And thank god for that. We have transitioned from the years of Reefer Madness fear propaganda to more than 50 percent of the country supporting the use of medical marijuana use. I'm part of the half who's in support of its legalization for recreational and medical use.
But before you jump to any conclusions about the kind of person I am — a stoner, a slacker, a miscreant, or just too young to know any better — you should know that I do not live at home with my parents, I am not unemployed, and I don't spend all my time getting high. I, like a lot of other successful, grounded adults, use marijuana in a responsible and recreational way, for many different reasons while maintaining a healthy life and remaining and active and engaged member of society.
Just like most adults enjoy a cold beer or a stiff drink after a long day at work, smoking at the end of a stressful week feels like a relaxing reward. When I can't sleep — whether my boyfriend is snoring too loudly next to me or I just feel restless — smoking works better than any prescription or over-the-counter sleep aid. The benefits that I get from smoking are many and varied, but one thing that tends to surprise and confuse a lot of people about my marijuana use is that I like to smoke when I am writing (and I am not in bad company).
There has been a long and tangled history between the creative process and drug use, whether we're talking about writing or painting or creating music. From The Beatles to Hunter S. Thompson to Steve Jobs, some of the greatest minds and the most inventive people admit to having smoked a joint or two or a million, so I feel like it is something I can admit, too. There are a lot of things I do as a part of my creative process and practice. I use blackout poetry when I feel like I can't find the right words to use in my writing, and I like to read my work out loud while I edit. And although I don't believe I need to smoke weed in order to write the next great American novel, it is something that I like to do because, at least for me, it is beneficial in more ways than one:
Taking Writing Risks Become Easier When My Anxiety Is Quelled
Although smoking weed is commonly associated with the idea of increased paranoia and anxiety, certain strains of marijuana that have the completely adverse effect and actually help to decrease anxiety. When I'm writing, it is so easy to get caught up in my own expectations, shortcomings, and fears about my skills that I scare myself into a metaphorical corner that I can't write my way out of. But when I take a moment, step back, and find a temporary solution to those overwhelming anxieties — i.e., I take a break and smoke — I come back to the task at hand free of fear and self-doubt, and that allows me to bring my writing to the next level.
I Can Focus On One Thing At a Time
If you're a writer, than you know how easy it is to stray from your writing project. You have a million ideas going at once, and sometimes, it is impossible to focus on one of them long enough to get it onto paper before it is pulled away by another thought. It is easy to get caught up in the what-ifs and the how-tos, but when I smoke and write, my mind feels uncluttered and determined to complete the task at hand. It clears from my head distractions and preoccupations, and instead works as a better, healthier alternative to the prescription drugs that have become the go-to solution, for medical professionals and self-medicators alike, for attention deficit disorders and other distractions.
I Can Tap Into the Creativity I Already Have
There is no drug you can take that can actually make you a better storyteller, no pill powder or puff that can give you the idea for the next bestselling series. There are no steroids for the creative types. But for me, smoking weed helps to unlock the creativity that already exists in me and allows me to access ideas that previously lay just out of reach. It alters my state of mind in a way that calms and relaxes me, allowing me to focus on the process of creating instead of my insecurities as a writer or the hundreds of other things I have to get done by the end of the day. It encourages deep thought, conversation, and exploration — all of which lead to self discovery and creativity.
So, anyone want to light up with me today? There's a lot of writing to be done.
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