The Creativity Cure

A do-it-yourself prescription for happiness

"Could Smoking Pot Change My Friend's Personality?"

Recent research suggests that chronic pot smoking over a long period of time can lead to alterations in the brain. Brain changes can have an impact on personality. In this case, one woman was heartbroken over a dear friend who, after years of cannabis, became a frightened, accusing person. She wondered if the drug or something else caused the change in her friend. Read More

I may not be the pot

I'm old, and have lots of friends. I've experienced some wonderful happy upbeat friends who have grown angry, sullen and paranoid over the years, and have never smoked pot, drank or did any other drug.

People change, and sometimes not for the better.

Where's the control?

To what extent would her personaility have changed over the same period given the same life expereinces in the absence of marijuana? And could you control for the same person substituting marijuana for alcohol, diazepam or membership of a religious cult in response to life events?

This looks suspiciously like an anecdote, rather than a data point. Even if it agrees with other sets of data, it isn't part of that data set, and shouldn't be treated as such.

mood-altering substances: with hard facts come reasoned judgements

Long-term, frequent (daily, multiple times a day) use of ANY mood-altering substance: caffeine, cocaine and other stimulants, or alcohol, cannabis and other depressants, or opioids and other relaxants/pain-killers, or psychotropic/hallucinogenic substances like LSD, will eventually have a permanently negative impact on brain chemistry and possibly even the brain's structure.

However, each adult has the responsibility and in my opinion the right to judge whether the pleasant short-term effects of mood-altering/pain-controlling/hallucinogenic substances are worth the guaranteed negative impact of long-term brain damage in their own, personal life.

(And of course, the short-term risks are obvious; its not safe to drive or operate machinery or care for a child while drunk, stoned, wired, high, or partially sedated. And for pregnant women an absolute NO.)

However, I think its important for the facts to be freely available.

Studies SHOULD indicate at what dosages and duration of use does brain damage occur (probably calibrated by age, sex, weight, gender, etc.); what type of damage to what part(s) of the brain does each substance target, what are the symptoms to look for that indicate impaired brain functioning that is temporary vs long-term, etc.

Dear Annie, Thanks for your

Dear Annie,
Thanks for your thorough thought process, measured advice and for contributing.

I have read and seen a tv

I have read and seen a tv programme which state that studies carried out prove that smoking pot can permanently reduce IQ in teens up to 8 points. Has this been established as fact and if yes, why isn't it been highlighted more?

Dear Leo, While there is

Dear Leo,
While there is controversy about the long term effects of cannabis, some studies are consistent with your comment. NPR highlights this in an interesting piece on the subject.

Thanks for your thoughts,

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Carrie Barron, M.D., is a psychiatrist and co-author of The Creativity Cure: A Do-It Yourself Prescription for Happiness, which she wrote with her husband, Alton Barron.


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