Discreetly Dank: ‘I had to stop using weed as an emotional crutch’

Volume 5

Discreetly Dank is a recurring column dedicated to giving voice to those who dare to be danks. Each installment will come from a different writer who needs a safe space to document what it’s really like to be a weed lover in a world that still hasn’t normalized cannabis.

“I know what I went through for a few years with weed was an addiction or something.

There was a time in my life—those hazy, hissing years of my 20s—when I attributed everything I loved about life to cannabis. I was working at a pharmacy in California making more money than I ever had. I fell in love with a fellow stoner who introduced me to the world of secret sesh and the allure of the gray market. And I felt that through my work I was helping people relieve their ailments and improving their lives.

As an aspiring writer still in college, I dreaded my impending graduation and how I would find work among so many other journalists who I felt were hungrier, braver, and more persistent than I was. I never felt like I knew enough to cover crime or the education system, but suddenly everyone had questions about weed and where the industry was going.

Plus degree handwritten in white chalk on a blackboard with a blurred rubber texture

I had always dreamed of writing for a living, and the growing popularity of the plant gave me a rhythm that my professors knew next to nothing about, yet encouraged me to pursue.

I can not lie. It felt pretty damn good to at least have some answers. Using my network of people I knew in the industry, I made and leveraged connections that no one else I knew had, and I carved out a path as a writer where I felt uniquely equipped to cover this topic.

There was just one problem, though.

I didn’t feel confident writing about weed without weed. I didn’t believe I could get outside of the cannabis niche as a writer without immersing myself in cannabis culture.

Any progress I made or triumph I experienced I attributed to the grass and began to think of it as my lightsaber, my sword in stone, and my golden fleece all rolled into one. It opened so many doors for me and it felt right to consume as much as I could.


Using Cannabis to Conquer 2023: 60 Stoners Share Their New Year’s Resolutions

Learning limits the hard way

“When I smoked weed, I was less anxious. I was able to get through my assignments and I was able to hide all the things that made me feel insecure.”

Weed first entered my life when I started smoking casually at my California high school. It was sometimes thing, mainly at home or at parties, subsisting on the occasional small bag and snooping on my sisters. I didn’t go to school or extracurriculars in high school and I didn’t like doing homework like a zoo. But then came college.

My first years of college felt like an eternal preparation for disaster. None of my actions seemed to have the results I wanted. I was less anxious when I smoked weed. I was able to get through my assignments and I was able to hide all the things I felt insecure about.

Then there was also the part where it was my job to know everything about weed to help others. How could I convince patients to try this edible strain or that strain if I couldn’t share a personal anecdote? How could I report on a topic if I didn’t know it inside and out?


Is cannabis addictive?

Soon after I entered the world of weed professionally, I was smoking, puffing 30% THC Bruce Banner joints every day and trying to find my edible sweet spot. My partner was a great voice actor, so of course I was also a great voice artist.

I even talked to a counselor my sophomore year of college because I thought smoking weed every day and trying to write all my essays high wasn’t the best option for me. When I told my counselor that I was feeling lethargic, unfocused, and a little depressed, she said I was smoking too much weed. But I didn’t really care enough to stop.

The pros of smoking weed still outweighed the cons for me. Although the cons were growing in ways I didn’t see coming.

What is Cannabis Use Disorder?

Set of crutches on dirty white background

In the days of Harry J. Aslinger’s Reefer Madness, cannabis was considered the gateway to hell. But the job of cannabis activists for the last few generations has been to help people realize that weed is actually pretty normal and boring.

Much of my own weed activism has been based on the idea that weed is non-addictive because it contributes to far fewer deaths and illnesses than alcohol or cigarettes, and because it doesn’t lead to fatal overdoses or the addictive addiction that can come with opioid use or amphetamines.

But I know what I went through for a few years with weed was an addiction or something. In fact, the term “cannabis use disorder” is used for this today.


Is it weight loss from smoking weed?

According to the CDC, cannabis use disorder means someone is “unable to stop using marijuana, even if it causes health and social problems in their life.” Some research estimates that about 1.5% of the US adult population has a cannabis use disorder, but these numbers are not static.

Outlets like the New York Times have reported on the escalation of cannabis use among teenagers, claiming that their addiction to high-THC cannabis products can affect their brain development, memory, motivation and physical health. I can’t really say if it was the same for me as a teenager, but the negative aspects for me in college were definitely emotional and social.

Additionally, my classwork began to suffer because it was easy to justify not doing an assignment when I was high, or caught myself doing THC-inspired activities on a deadline. And when my relationship ended, I turned to my dab rig and hash gummies to quell the volatility I felt instead of seeking social or therapeutic support.

These were all signs that I was smoking too much, but it still took a lot of thinking to figure out why weed turned from a helper to a hindrance.

An exercise in intention and moderation

The effect of smoking marijuana cannabis on the human brain, nervous system, mental activity and function

For me and many others, cannabis can be so many things – including a crutch.

It took me so long to realize that I was no longer using weed to improve my life and help me seek new knowledge. I became numb. Being high as often as I was in those days was a weapon against me instead of inspiring my growth.


4 Mental Health Tips for Weed Lovers

Don’t get me wrong. Cannabis’ medicinal value and growing list of benefits has incredible potential in our society. But I guess I’m skirting the reality of how people can potentially to suffer due to excessive consumption of cannabis would be dishonest of me.

I will never stop fighting for people to enjoy weed safely and however they want, and I still use cannabis regularly. But the old me could smoke the new me under the table and I’m glad for that.

Now that I know (and believe in the existence of) cannabis use disorders, I also know that I am better for my awareness.

Discreetly Danko's biography

Discreetly Dank

Discreetly Dank is a recurring column dedicated to highlighting the stories and perspectives of cannabis enthusiasts who are navigating the stigma surrounding cannabis in all aspects of life. From microaggressions to genuine health and safety concerns, Discreetly Dank contributors dare to be stale in a world that hasn’t yet caught up with their elevated lifestyles.

View articles by Discreetly Danka

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *