The Theater of the Brain

The play of consciousness.


Marijuana is a psychedelic drug that alters the consciousness of habitual users and damages the brains of children and adolescents. Getting ‘high’ affects the limbic feeling centers of the brain and alters the very play of consciousness itself. It not only alters and damages motivation and thinking, but most importantly, it removes the user from the feeling of his Being. Read More

Easy for you to say

Who'd buy my tennis ball cans of potato chips if they weren't smoking weed? I have to make a living too, you know. Not all of us can work in a profitable scam like psychiatry.


Pot makes my nonsensical lyrics sound profound and heavy. Take away pot and nobody would buy my records. I got bills to pay, dude.

"Today’s ‘weed’ is anywhere

"Today’s ‘weed’ is anywhere from fifty to a thousand times stronger than your father’s ‘grass’."

Not true at all. Today's weed has up to ~15% THC which was the case in the 1960ties as well. Please refer to prof. Rafi Meshoulam work.

I'm a high school teacher in

I'm a high school teacher in Colorado. In the past week alone we have caught 12 boys at different times smoking pot on our campus (plus found GIANT stashes in their backpacks). That never happened before. Occasionally we'd suspect a few individuals were stoned at school, but now it's a daily occurrence. And some of these kids have (or had...) great potential. They are smart, not just the usual flunkies one would suspect.

Colorado, we get what we deserve. If you think there are no effects of pot, just try teaching users. And the best part is teacher evaluations are tied to student performance now. Great...our job depends on high students who are killing their brain cells because society tells them it's no different than having some candy.

I really hope other states don't follow our lead.

You are on the front line.

You are on the front line. Your communication is very important. Thanks for the comment.


You do realize that millions of people smoke pot everyday who have stable and high-functioning jobs and are JUST FINE and have been so for years and years and years? They're not demotivated and they have normal lives? Personally, I know engineers, bankers, and people in many highly technical jobs who smoke regularly. And they could never be mistaken for the old Hollywood cliche stereotype of "stoners". What an insult to all those hard working people.

Did it ever occur to you, Dr. Berizin that you only see patients who are smoking pot and not a well-functioning people, so your assessment is actually quite biased? Also, I know there are a lot of people who feel deeply their "authentic being" who smoke pot and have no problem being real and emotionally stable and highly developed relationships and family.

And your research is the same research that anti-pot proponents have put out for years and been debunked again and again. It's funny, but there is a HUGE amount of research that shows the opposite, but I don't hear people like you ever considering really discussing it. You do know, of course, of the extensive research that shows marijuana is possibly very helpful in stemming Alzheimers? Perhaps, it is YOU who could be more authentic and honest? And perhaps we could all be more "authentic" in our being, if we could develop our self-agency and make our own choice of smoking or not smoking pot based on looking at ALL the research and having the freedom to make our own choice, instead having the choice made for us like children? I think research shows that given the opportunity, people will often choose what is best for themselves when self-agency and self-control are promoted.

And destructive? The only thing destructive about pot is that this country keeps pot illegal so that the drug war can justify the billions that is spent to keep it going and incarcerating and destroying the lives of people who get caught with or selling marijuana, sometimes for longer than we put people in jail for child sexual abuse. Now THAT's destructive.

It's not to say that marijuana is all good with no negative side effects, etc. That would be stupid. And will there be people who abuse it? Of course. But they already do and keeping it illegal isn't going to stop them. But compared to alcohol and other hard drugs, marijuana is a mild relaxing high that often does people a lot of good. It's time we changed the laws and made it legal and, be assured, that is coming. Soon.

what's his motivation?

I wonder whether Dr. Berizin owns stock in the for-profit prison system?

shame on you

You should be ashamed of yourself for spewing this misinformation.

The "today's pot is stronger" myth. Look, people only want to get a certain amount high. They don't want to get as high as possible. This means that, if marijuana has a higher THC concentration, people simply smoke less in order to get the same effect.

The "pot damages brains" myth. An MRI study found that people who smoke marijuana have differences in certain brain regions compared to people who don't. It was a snap-shot, correlational study. Nothing about this study showed that the differences were CAUSED by smoking marijuana. It's just as likely that those particular brain differences cause people to choose to smoke marijuana, as the converse. There also was no indication that the differences were detrimental, so it's false and misleading to refer to the differences as "damage."

Misleading studies

Yeah, I read an article once that cited a study in which pot showed to kill off brain cells. The study involved chimpanzees with gas masks being filled only with marijuana smoke. Any type of smoke isn't good for you, and not receiving enough oxygen and being flooded completely with smoke is going to kill plenty of brain cells. So yeah, there is "evidence" out there that smoking marijuana kills brain cells. There is a lot of funny "evidence" out there suggesting things that aren't true.

Now, of course smoking pot probably isn't necessarily good for you, and certainly it can be abused. So can ADHD stimulants. And they are, and that is dangerous. So is alcohol, and cigarettes. I live in a wealthier town, per capita income here is at least double the nation's average (and many moms are stay at home), and I know from experience that a huge population of our high school smokes marijuana. In my grade alone there were 2-3 professional athletes kids, plenty of children from successful entrepreneurial families, and many other kids from highly intelligent and "successful" families. Our school system is one of the highest rated public schools in the state. Our test scores are way above average. Yet so so many smoke pot and do just fine. Actually, last year our town lost a freshman in college because she drank too much, and 2 years before that another high school boy died from alcohol poisoning.

25.8 million people have smoked marijuana in the last year, and no reported deaths from those who were smoking marijuana and on marijuana alone. But ~50,000 people die every year from alcohol poisoning, and ~400,000 people die from tobacco caused illness. Our economy can benefit greatly off of a safer recreational drug, another option that would surely become more popular if it was legalized, probably even decreasing alcohol or cigarette usage, so of course it's one of those "might as well" situations. I don't see anything wrong with that. Looking at those statistics, would you rather find out your kid had been out drinking, smoking cigarettes, or smoking pot? Again not that it's a good thing to do, but that people do use drugs (of all kinds) to relieve themselves of stress and pressure of society, work, etc... issues, and marijuana is without a doubt the safest option. If we could whisk it all away and people would be happy without these drugs, then great, but that will never happen.

It takes many shots of alcohol, or several beers to get people as drunk as they want. It's expensive and the hangover is bad. Tobacco kills and people know that. Some people smoke 2 packs a day. Expensive. With marijuana most people are satisfied with a joint in the afternoon and it will last all evening. Alcohol and tobacco companies fund poor studies such as the chimpanzee one and then release the information to the public knowing that the majority won't look into how exactly the study was conducted and what it really means. You know the biggest lobbyists against marijuana? Alcohol and tobacco companies, simply because they don't want to lose money.

You do know the origin of why it was banned in the first place, don't you? Read it, it's not based on accurate clinical studies proving it was bad for you.

I beg you to fact check me. This is not a bunch of wayward information and studies funded and performed by a bunch of hippies.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Robert Berezin, M.D., is the author of Psychotherapy of Character. He taught psychiatry at Cambridge Hospital, Harvard Medical School for thirty years.


Subscribe to The Theater of the Brain

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.