By Anonymous

I would like to let people know why I smoke marijuana.  Many of you will be able to identify with my experience and some may not.  As far as I can remember, I have been depressed.  I have always felt depression’s shadow looming over me, and if I had a good day, or two good days in a row, I would often feel anxious as to when the depression would hit me again.  For those of you who know, depression kills you.  It takes control of your life.  I got to the point where almost every waking moment I would feel hopeless, and even though sometimes I had a smile on my face, I was enveloped in darkness.  I started to use marijuana recreationally at the age of 22.  I knew a girl who smoked it and I wanted to try.  In the beginning I was amazed at how I would feel. 

That same summer, I had a really bad experience with someone and I felt depressed and hopeless. This incident drained me emotionally and I didn’t know how to cope.   My depression (like a cancer) grew.  I smoked a joint not knowing what it would do for me in terms of my depression, because prior to this I had only used marijuana recreationally and often at times when I was feeling fine.  When I got "high", I felt that there was hope for me.  Marijuana put the events of my life into perspective. And I had an epiphany: "What’s meant to happen will and I need to relax".  For some of you, that doesn’t constitute a breakthrough.  But for those individuals who know what depression is, you will know that many times you feel there is no hope.  To live life without hope is really sad. 

Marijuana helps me put things in perspective.  It helps me cope on a daily level.  It allows me to function.  When I am high, I am very productive, task-oriented and get my stuff done. It has helped me emotionally as it helps me deal with my own thoughts and feelings much better than I would if I weren’t smoking.  Marijuana has also helped me on a spiritual level.  I am able to see the beauty of the world around me when I am high.  For those who are depressed, you know that it’s hard to see beauty around you when you have the dark cloud of depression following you.  I have had some very sublime experiences when I am high.  I use marijuana as a way to self-medicate. 

I refuse to take prescription antidepressants because I know what they have done to family and friends.  I have seen people living as robots when they are medicated.  They are separated from themselves.  Marijuana has never made me feel like that.  On the contrary, I am more alive and productive and function to a fuller potential. 

Of course marijuana has its cons.  It contains many chemicals and over a period of time it depletes your short-term memory.  However, when I look at both sides and think about the positive experiences that I have had with marijuana and compare that to the negative consequences, I still am not able to justify NOT using it.  I am a "pothead".  I know that I am addicted to marijuana.  However, I would rather be addicted to pot as opposed to Prozac or Valium or some other prescription antidepressant.  One thing that I would like to clarify: marijuana does NOT cause depression, as some would have you believe.  Depression exists first and marijuana is used to self-medicate.  As a society, people need to open their minds and not base their arguments against decriminalization or legalization on stereotype and prejudice.

I would also like to mention that I am a full-time university student who holds down a part time job and volunteers.  I mention this because there are many ignorant people out there who think that marijuana causes people to be lazy. Get rid of the stereotypes and elevate your minds.     

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