I stuttered very severely as a child. That greatly limited my social interaction. In addition, I had a very anxious mother who cautioned against everything while at the same time encouraging me to do more things, which caused all kinds of inner conflict and self-doubt.

I went through grade school, high school, and college pretty much without saying anything in class, ever. I never had a girlfriend. My self-image was pathetic, and although I was a "success" (i.e. I got a good job and was self-sufficient), I my social life was non-existent and I was quite unhappy.

I got a roommate (this was around 1972), and only after he moved in did I discover he was a marijuana user. I discovered other people I worked with, seemingly very "normal" people, some of them extremely intelligent people, used marijuana. Of course I still believed marijuana was the "killer weed," but it certainly didn't seem to be turning any of those people into babbling criminal vegetables.

One day I asked my roommate if I could get stoned with him. Unlike some people who report no effect the first few times, I got VERY stoned. I saw the world and myself in a new way. It was a release of 29 years of anxiety, fearfulness, and basically unhealthy ways of thinking about myself and the world.

From that I began to develop a real social life, thanks in part to marijuana letting me see things in a new way, thanks in part to the social rituals surrounding shared marijuana smoking.

I kept smoking marijuana for about 4 years; then I decided I had gotten about all I was going to get from the experience. It was now hindering more than helping, so I stopped. Now, some 20 or so years later, I think my life is pretty good.

I don't want to credit my improved socialization entirely to marijuana. At about the same time I started both speech therapy and psychotherapy, and I worked really hard in other ways to improve my life for the better. But I think getting stoned was what really jump-started the process.