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Weed
Carlos Santolalla

Is weed good or bad for your mental health?

In honour of 420, we asked what you think…

There’s always been conflicting stories about the effects of weed – one minute it’s fucking up your sperm and making you paranoid, and the next it’s actually good for you. There’s a plethora of information out there, and if you look hard enough you could find every worry you’ve ever had confirmed – or find those same worries refuted.

Arguments about legalisation and the health effects of weed go round and round in circles, with laws varying hugely across the world. Everyone’s heard of how ‘one time my friend’s friend had a bad reaction’, but everyone’s also heard: ‘I smoke all the time and it’s never affected me.’

So, as stoners across the world take to the streets to celebrate 420 today, we wanted to find out what you, our readers, really thought about weed’s effect on your mental health – so we asked you in our Dazed Group Chat

IT’S BETTER IN MODERATION

“I don’t smoke as much as I used to, only because it increased my anxiety tenfold, and would then be worse for weeks. Now that I’ve cut back I’ve been able to enjoy it so much more in comparison to when I was younger. For me personally, I can enjoy recreational drugs when I do them in moderation.”

Maudie Osborne via Dazed Group Chat on Facebook

IT’S ADDICTIVE AND CAUSES DEPRESSION

“For me it got really bad; I smoked for eight months every day and night before bed, and had used it for years a little less heavily before that. I was in denial about the harm it was doing to me, I depended on it and couldn’t get to sleep without it. I couldn’t focus on anything and started to feel depressed. Finally I had to bite the bullet and stop smoking a couple of months ago, now I wish I’d seen sense earlier – some people can manage to use it and get on with their lives, but personally I couldn’t.”

Jack Carleton via Dazed Group Chat on Facebook

“If you already have mental health issues I definitely think weed can exacerbate them” – Rik Clarke

IT DEPENDS ON THE TYPE OF WEED

“It depends on your mental health, what you’re smoking and at what age. Sativa makes my anxiety worse, indica grounds me, and smoking CBD-rich weed helps kill pain but still keeps me functional.”

Britleaf Carpenter via Dazed Group Chat on Facebook

UK LAWS HAVE DRIVEN PEOPLE TO STRONGER SKUNK

“We’re not all the same and will have different reactions to the same substances. Prohibition in the UK led to the rarity of the mild hashish and grass variants available, which was replaced by the stronger skunk type varieties which is where most of the problems lie.”

@ArfMole

WEED IS NO WORSE FOR MENTAL HEALTH THAN ANYTHING ELSE

“I smoked a lot of hydro from the time I was 18 until I was 30. I had a bong next to my bed, I smoked weed during work – I was literally stoned for 12 years. One day I woke up and thought ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’, and haven’t had weed since. Saying that I never once had any mental health issues, I never stopped myself from living an active and full life. Some people have no problems, some people fall down a wormhole, but I don’t think weed is any worse or better for mental health than anything we face in daily life.”

Lance Nichols via Dazed Group Chat on Facebook

IT CAN BE RELAXING

“I’m a bit on the fence as it’s made me less tense and anxious and actually relaxes me, but once it wears off I can get a little paranoid. I haven’t really smoked consistently for a specific amount of time to really know how it’s affecting me though.”

Clamae Vizcawa via Dazed Group Chat on Facebook

SMOKING IS CONNECTED TO ANXIETY AND PARANOIA

“In my personal experience I needed to quit smoking; every time I smoked, I started to feel anxious, paranoid and a bit introverted. Depression, insecurities, and self-doubt also tended to come out too.”

Felipe Cassaniga via Dazed Group Chat on Facebook

WEED HELPS CREATIVITY

“It has changed my creativity in a positive way – it boots my inner expression and will to act. When I don’t smoke, I’m lazier and lack enthusiasm. If it was possible, I’d prefer to be high all the time but without needing to smoke, as too many doubts and mental health issues block my mind (when sober).”

Jāzeps Podnieks via Dazed Group Chat on Facebook

“I don’t think weed is any worse or better for mental health than anything we face in daily life” – Lance Nichols

IT DEPENDS WHAT MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES YOU HAVE

“It really depends from strain to strain, and your own mental health circumstances when smoking. If you already have mental health issues I definitely think weed can exacerbate them, but it will depend specifically on what you have. It’s certainly helped me when I’ve been depressed, but I can’t imagine it would be good if I suffered from anxiety. In my experience just stay away from skunk strains as they do nobody any good.”

Rik Clarke via Dazed Group Chat on Facebook

IT'S ALL DOWN TO THE INDIVIDUAL

“Weed can be bad for an individual’s mental health, but it depends on the individual. A far more valid question would be: ‘Is weed bad for society’s health?’ In which case I think the answer is no, not especially.”

@simonliddiard

Comments have been edited and condensed.