ADHD by Anonymous

I am a 46-year-old public health educator with an M.S. in Nutritional Science.  I have a 19-year-old son who is an avid supporter of marijuana. Until recently I have begged and pleaded with him to stop smoking 'dope', as I felt it was contributing to his "apathy" and seemingly poor motivation to "make something of himself". My son is near-genius in intellect who was accepted ' at a world renowned college prep school. Both his father (a neuroanethesiologist) and I highly value a good education and social responsibility. However, my son greatly dislikes school ;( barely graduated from high school last year) and rejects college (for now).

There is a family history (my brother and mother) of paranoid schizophrenia and depression, and about three years ago my son was diagnosed with ADHD. He demonstrated constant unfocused activity and could not concentrate on a task or sleep at night. He recently told me that at the time, a friend who was also diagnosed with ADHD told him to try pot.  My son went on the Internet and researched the effects of MJ on mental/physical agitation.. (Of course, he did this without my knowledge.) A few weeks after his diagnosis' I noticed that his moods began stabilizing, his fidgetiness calmed, and he began doing better in school; he was able to concentrate and accomplish tasks and began to sleep well at night, although he continued to have a difficult time waking up on time for school. Of course, I assumed he was taking his prescribed medication, Ritalin (which he later told me he never took--he would throw the pills down the toilet.) He hid his pot smoking pretty well from me and his dad.

When I asked my son why he started smoking pot, he said he knew "something was wrong" with him, so he conducted his own literature research. Concerned that he might inherit the family "curse" and already having been diagnosed with ADHD by two separate internists, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

He has tried to convince me of the medical benefits of MJ. . I have always been a law-abiding citizen and consider myself an informed, intelligent person, but until reading your articles, which I found very objective and informative, I dismissed MJ as a societal evil, 'the gateway drug' leading to heavier drug use with crystal meth, coke or heroin.

My son continues to use pot three or four times a week (via a water pipe).  For the first time in three years he is holding down a full-time job (going on 8 months now) and receiving excellent performance reviews.  He still is searching for his life's mission and I am confident that he will eventually find his niche in life.  Obviously, I have backed off on his pot smoking, but I urge him to use caution, as it is still illegal.

My first and only experience with smoking MJ (in college)was very similar to yours when you first tried it. Nothing happened, and my reaction was "What's the big deal?" I was expecting all of these wondrous, mind-expanding events to take place, and nothing happened.  As a result I abandoned the pursuit and have not smoked since that time (26 years ago).

I thank you for opening up this conservative mom's mind.