Pubdate: Fri, 11 Mar 2016
Source: Nelson Star (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Black Press
Author: Andre C. Piver


A glaringly missing piece of the public conversation about the 
pending legalization of marijuana is not about the drug, but the 
pattern of use (if highly frequent), which is what makes it most 
commonly harmful. The immediate effects of various drugs are more 
unique in each case but the longer term pattern-of-use effects are 
not. When people regularly use a drug to turn down the discomfort of 
facing life, they are losing the only way we actually tend to 
change.We are less likely to eventually learn from experience, 
problem-solve and grow.

We all naturally moderate stress somewhat with momentary busyness or 
distraction, but using a drug turns it down for many hours and 
usually into sleep. Furthermore tranquilizers, narcotics,or more than 
a small dose of alcohol and marijuana also suppress dream sleep, 
where more critical sorting-out and processing occurs.People who use 
a drug regularly remain stuck,with habitual and emotionally immature 
reactions to the human situation as a learned early coping mechanism.

This pattern gets in the way of developing more effective ones. Who 
we really are is more about our personal and emotional development 
than it is about our level of formal education. This is not the only 
issue about marijuana but the one missing from the conversation. It 
is even more critical with respect to youth, who will self-select 
more often when vulnerable due to difficult brain chemistry and/or 
childhoods. Early use of drugs leads to earlier developmental 
stagnation with unconscious early childhood strategies more likely for life.

My comments are based on my own personal experience as a child of the 
'60s, including watching friends evolve, or not over the years, and 
the privilege of over 20 years of professional experience, in 
outpatient mental health.

Dr. Andre C. Piver, Procter
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