Are you as tired of it as I am? Tired of the stories, the conversations, the fighting over dispensaries, the people on both sides who justify or vilify? The news reports, the smell, the hopes, the fears, the vape pens, the marijuana-is-the-answer-to-everything people, the marijuana-is-the-end-of-the-world people.


If you are suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Marijuana Disorder, you are not alone.


OCMD is not a real thing of course, but it should be. When I wrote, “Smart kids eventually get it.” It had a powerful impact because it hit a nerve and talked about what is really going on in the brain when one gets high. http://valleytalking.blogs.sonomanews.com/2016/06/27/smart-kids-eventually-get/


That was in June of 2016, now, two plus years later, marijuana is legal and while the biology hasn’t changed, my strategy has. Not only is it legal but also it is still about the least understood drug around. Plus, now it’s more available and less detectable than ever.


Also, there’s a new drug in town that few people are talking about or paying attention to because it is also legal and living right now in your pocket. It is impacting learning, growth and development in a way that will one day have us scratching our heads and saying, “Huh, wish I would have known then.” Yes, OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Phone Disorder) is a thing and you should be very worried, but that’s a whole other sordid story for another time. Let’s keep our focus on weed today (you can sub in phones for pot in this story, the impact is similar).


See, it’s not about the problems with pot (amotivational syndrome, health issues, being stupid, “being a stone” as 4:20 poster boy Elon Musk says) or the benefits (relaxation, medical applications plus it’s kinda fun to be a stone sometimes). It’s about the obsessing that I object to.


We have to think about all the other stuff. Your life is so much more than what it is when you are a stone. Is pot helping you live up to your truest self? Are you more intelligent? Is it helping relationships grow and develop? Exercise plans? Creativity? Engagement in the world? I think most would say not so much.


I remember being a sophomore at UCSB and my roommate was about to wake and bake as I was heading off to class. It was college so I blew off responsibilities and joined. We spent the day watching movies, making taco pizzas (add salsa, sour cream, tomatoes and lettuce to frozen pizza) hanging out, walking to the beach, being a stone in beautiful Isla Vista California. It was fun but by the end of the day I was feeling guilty for missing class and fat (taco pizza is not diet food). Not the end of the world but not what my parents were paying for either.


But that was 30+ years ago, and while I might have missed a few educational tidbits, I graduated in four years, lived, bred, maintained hobbies, kept entertaining myself and others and grew into the responsible father and professional I am today (try to hold your laughter).


And my ex-roommate, last time I saw him he was selling knives at Outdoor World in Santa Cruz. But here’s the thing, he’s happy selling knives at Outdoor World in Santa Cruz, and who am I to say that’s bad? Who am I to yuck his yum?


Pot is sinister and deceptive, it lulls users into believing there are few problems. No hangovers or blackouts (are you listening Mr. Kavanaugh?). Easily accessible and consumable. Legal and undetectable if you use a vape pen. But is being a stone really superior to not being a stone? Again, smart kids eventually get it.


Because, really, being a stone means you aren’t fully engaging in life. Surviving not living. Unless you are one of the rare people who like to do things when stoned, you are limiting your impact on the world and have you been paying attention? The world needs you to have as big an impact as you can, like, right now, like, today.


Sure, there are exceptions, Willie, Woody, Brad, Miley, Snoop, etc. but I would bet that all of them have had times when they’ve contemplated whether their use has helped or hindered them in life. I often have students think back to when things started to go off the rails in their lives and what coincided with that time.


When did you stop playing sports? When did you start fighting with your parents? When did your grades start tanking? When did you lose your interest in girls/boys/life? When did you start feeling like the only fun thing to do in Sonoma is getting stoned? The answer is usually pretty revealing.


But, change is hard. I recommend completing interest profilers (cacareerzone.com), learning sports (the new tennis court lights are on every night at the high school), discovering new hobbies (writing, hiking, painting, reading), maybe even looking at your friends and seeing if they are helping you grow or helping you stagnate. Set some goals and make some plans because without plans nothing changes and you end up selling knives at Outdoor World.


Pot is about checking out and if your life is so painful that you need to check out more than you need to be checked in, something is out of balance. Elon might have a casual attitude about smoking weed but he also works a ton and maintains a very active and entertaining life. He didn’t get where he is from waking and baking and eating taco pizza all day.


It’s a tough time to be a teenager. I hear it every day and my simple response is it’s a tough time to be a human being. All the pressure and disappointment and social media BS and confusion and frustration, it’s amazing we can go on…


But wait, if you love what you do and surround yourself with caring and interesting people and push yourself to try and fail and try again and learn and grow on the daily, it just might balance out all that bad stuff. And if you’re just checking out because pot is the only thing that makes you feel good then you’re missing out on all the other stuff that can make you feel good.


Lets get over ourselves, if you want to smoke weed and work in a knife store, fine but shouldn’t you aim a little higher? Engage just a little more? Check in and care and learn and grow instead of checking out?


Break free of OCMD (and OCPD). Self-awareness is the first step to recovery.












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