Alcohol and Marihuana


I am a fairly healthy man who turned 75 in October last year. I have been familiar with pot since we lived in Tangiers in the 1950s, but it did not become an integral part of my life until 1970. For some time before then I had been concerned with my drinking; my daily intake of alcohol had crept up to around 10 ounces. Alcoholics abound in my family: my father, elder brother, and maternal grandfather among them. I realized that I was skating on thin ice. Someone gave me some pot that autumn and I smoked some before taking my first drink of the evening. I quickly realized that the pot reduced my alcohol intake, which eventually decreased to 2 or 3 ounces daily. Still a cigarette smoker in those days, I noticed that the pot caused my tobacco smoking to increase daily. It was clear I had to choose between pot and tobacco, and I chose pot; since then I have used it daily.

I’ll try to elaborate on the differences between marihuana and alcohol but I’m afraid it will be pretty subjective. Both seem to induce clarity of thought but that of alcohol is short-lived and the price paid would seem to be that whatever clarity is achieved through alcohol (in vino veritas) soon turns to nothing more than a desire for more alcohol. Marihuana, on the other hand, sharpens focus and (at least in my case) does not induce the desire for more, more, more. Alcohol seems to make one’s troubles temporarily disappear (only to reappear with a vengeance), whereas marihuana seems to help put troubles into a manageable perspective. I would sum it up by saying that marihuana helps to solve the problem of staying out of one’s own way while alcohol intensifies it.

As a writer, I have noticed that marihuana is useful in editing whatever work is ongoing, while alcohol is useless and confuses the process. Marihuana is beneficial, I believe, precisely because it increases the focus needed for effective editing. Neither marihuana nor alcohol is helpful in doing the actual writing in my experience.

Hope this is of use. Although God knows there’s nothing scientific about it.