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Copyright © 2017 by Geoff Cooper.

 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

 This book is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians or mental health professionals. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.  

 The reader assumes sole responsibility in regards to cannabis use. The author and publisher do not endorse or recommend the use of cannabis in violation of state, provincial, or federal law, or without the advice of a medical professional. The author and publisher hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption related to cannabis use or any other cause.

















 One point I must make clear: this book is not intended to try and convince people that they should use cannabis. I am not a doctor, and any decisions you make in regards to cannabis use are your responsibility (the same goes for any dietary or exercise advice found within).

 This is mostly intended for people who do so already or have made the choice to start, be it for recreational, medical, or spiritual purposes. Having said that, if someone is on the fence looking for an alternative to alcohol, painkillers, antidepressants, or just hates their life, I’m willing to push a little bit. As the great Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj once said, “If the house is on fire, what danger is a matchstick?”

 There’s also been a conscious effort to avoid citing studies and using quotes from “experts” in this book for various reasons, primarily that this is not meant in any way to be a scientific guide to cannabis; it’s simply some ideas and observations I believe can help new and experienced users get more out of their lives.

 The absence of studies is also due to the frustrating amount of contradictory science surrounding cannabis. Whatever your viewpoint, there’s likely a study or an “expert” opinion to support it. I have little interest in cherry-picking to make it seem like I’ve got it all figured out, which is a crucial point— nobody has it all figured out when it comes to this stuff.

 Only you, free from stereotypes and with no expectations, whether positive or negative, can determine what cannabis is or isn’t doing for you. We are all unique, and our experience with cannabis is no different.

 Understanding and dealing with those negative stereotypes is at the core of most of the ideas within. They’ve done far more damage to users than cannabis itself ever could, and being free of them is at the core of being a high-functioning and happy user.

 Stereotypes or not, I hope we can soon reach a place where cannabis use is not such a hot topic. There’s much more pressing concerns in the world and I think we already spend too much time talking about it, often overstating the impacts of cannabis on people, be they positive or negative.

 My favorite analogy compares regular cannabis use to surfing, in that surfing is exhilarating and enjoyable for someone who’s experienced but dangerous and frustrating for a beginner.

 Whatever your reasons for using cannabis, hopefully there’s a helpful nugget or two in here for everyone, or at least something that sparks a revelation of your own.

 Prejudice remains, but we’re rapidly moving into a new era where the traditional definition of what a cannabis user looks like is no longer set in stone. Listen to yourself and create your own definition. I’d love to see you out on the waves.



 “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

 — Confucius



June 28th, 2017

Vancouver, British Columbia





The impact of the stigma surrounding cannabis is more damaging than cannabis could ever be. It’s a good place to start. Understanding how certain stereotypes can shape our attitudes towards cannabis use is crucial to integrating it into a fulfilling life.

 We’re far removed from the “reefer madness” days, but negative associations with cannabis are still the mainstream norm and can have subtle but serious consequences for users.

 The consequences for users arise from a lifetime of being told that they are some type of deviant, doing something that makes them stupid and lazy. These insults can come in a joking, more passive-aggressive way from non-using friends or coworkers, or direct, intense attacks from parents, teachers, police, etc.

 It takes a toll, and a depressing portion of the cannabis community is quite self-loathing, blaming all sorts of problems on relatively minor cannabis consumption, holding back on trying to improve their lives because they think have to “quit smoking weed first.”

 I think even the most dedicated users are not immune to sometimes questioning their path in the face of so much negativity. And worst of all, it cuts off millions of people who might benefit from cannabis because they’ve been told all their lives that it’s “bad” (mmmkay).

 This is not to say that cannabis is for everyone, or that it’s 100% consequence free. Some people hate getting high, and if you use it heavily, there’s going to be a few side effects (although a bargain trade considering the benefits, in this humble author’s opinion). There’s also a tiny portion of the population whose bodies seem to completely reject cannabis and have a total freakout or panic attack from a single milligram for some yet unknown reason.

 I don’t think any rational person would try and convince people that don’t like or want cannabis to use it. As I said in the introduction, this is about hopefully shifting the attitudes of people who are already using, for whatever reason, and are harboring negative feelings. I don’t think many cannabis users realize how these underlying thoughts can contribute to things like anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, or just a bad attitude in general.

 Lack of motivation/laziness is by far the deadliest overstated consequence, and I’ve dedicated the following chapter to that discussion. Cannabis users deal with the age-old, self-fulfilling prophecy that plagues any group of people being negatively stereotyped by mainstream society: The stereotypes themselves marginalize them socially, professionally, legally, etc., leading them to often fulfill the stereotypes placed on them, whether they would have or not. And if you tell people their whole lives that they’re lazy or undesirable, all but the strongest will take it to heart.

 This stigma is revealed in some funny double standards of varying seriousness for users as well.

 Taking a nap

 Ever heard of someone taking a nap? Seems pretty normal. Maybe it was a big weekend, break from the kids, or just because. You don’t hear people beating themselves or others up for catching a quick snooze.

 But, if you use cannabis regularly—weed nap! You’re probably “burnt out” and in urgent need of some adjustment to your cannabis intake. Perhaps that’s true if you’re overdosing yourself, but it’s massively overstated. There’s all sorts of people consuming just as much as you and not having a nap, and people not consuming anything that are having a nap.

 Making a mistake

 A bad one to deal with in any work environment, which I discuss in another chapter. Like with naps, we all know people make mistakes. Weatherpersons, bus drivers, NASA scientists, whatever. “We all make mistakes!” and similar sayings acknowledge their inevitable nature.

 Regular cannabis users are not so lucky. Any mistake you make, whether it be saying something stupid, causing an accident on the road, or forgetting to feed the cat will be immediately attributed to “impairment” from cannabis use. You are not allowed to make mistakes. Kind of sucks.

 And of course, many users internalize this and lament about how past mistakes could have been avoided if they hadn’t been “impaired,” not realizing everybody fucks up now and then. It probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

 “Feeling like shit”

 You hear this all the time from people, whether they use cannabis or not. There’s a million reasons, but it seems like with most people, it’d be easier if they noted the rare times when they felt good. But, if you’re a regular cannabis user and you tell someone that, they’ll usually link it to your dark habit, whether they’re a doctor or just an acquaintance.

 And of course, many users hold this belief internally and think they’re being held back by cannabis; if they just quit, they’d feel fine. This may be so for some people, but a lot of the time, not enough attention is being paid to things like poor diet or lack of exercise. They’re trying to pick what they see as low-hanging fruit before they tackle the real work.

 A lot of “normal” people have the luxury of using this line as a socially acceptable excuse to get out of all sorts of things, but regular cannabis users will be immediately labelled as lazy, unmotivated potheads if they say something like this. You are not allowed to be tired.

 Not “making it” in life

 This is the height of ignorance, stupidity, and cruelty towards cannabis users. On paper, every child born into this world has unlimited potential. And we take that concept literally, especially in the West. Unfortunately, for an infinite number of reasons, many people don’t meet their “potential.” Some very promising people have lives that add up to absolutely nothing. It’s just the nature of our existence and it can be a source of stress for anyone.

 But when someone uses cannabis regularly and they don’t live up to whatever arbitrary idea of “success” has been placed on them by parents or society, they’ll be accused of throwing their lives away on cannabis use. It’s extremely hurtful.

 A lot of this comes from parents, who place massive expectations on their children yet make all sorts of mistakes and set the kid up for failure. When things go wrong, they frantically blame cannabis for corrupting their child while taking no responsibility for their own shortcomings.

 The nanny society we live in also uses cannabis as a scapegoat in this manner. And it’s a trap of logic; no matter what a cannabis user accomplishes, people will imply that they could have done more if they didn’t use. I have no doubt that if a chronic cannabis user set the world record in the 100-meter dash, critics would lament that the time could have been even faster if they weren’t a “pothead.”

 Every human who has ever lived could technically be upset about not doing more, regardless of cannabis use. Every billionaire could have made another billion. One-term presidents get down on themselves for not winning the second time. The most aesthetically immaculate bodybuilders in the world beat themselves up for only winning Mr. Universe once.

 It’s the nature of humans to constantly strive for more, and it’s unfair and damaging to imply that cannabis users have shortchanged themselves. Like everyone else, it’s already a huge source of pressure without a massive guilt trip being put on you.

 This is not meant as some exercise in gaining sympathy for the plight of cannabis users. I’m simply trying to illustrate some of the ways these stereotypes can damage the self-esteem of many users.

 This is already starting to change. More and more, famous and successful cannabis users are “coming out of the closet” as legalization spreads. In the past, many celebrities, noted athletes, and CEOs had to keep their usage quiet for fear of damaging their personal reputations or their brand. Now, as cannabis becomes more socially acceptable, the public will see for the first time how many wildly successful regular cannabis users there really are.

 Some of the negative associations make perfect sense when you look at it this way; for the last 100 years, the media has shown nothing but lazy degenerates as the image of the typical user while the best and brightest of our community have been forced underground.

 This also goes for regular people who aren’t famous. How your perception of cannabis might change when you find out that guy at your office who did double your sales last year actually smokes pot all day, or that the woman who seems to destroy you in every local marathon has a vape pen with her everywhere she goes. When all we see is goofballs smoking ounce joints at 420 rallies, it’s no wonder so many stereotypes exist.

 It’s also a generational thing. A large portion of baby boomers still subscribe to an arbitrary yet rigid set of values and beliefs that constitute “good” or “bad,” and you know what category “dope” is in. There’s simply no rational debate to be had with these people. Cannabis is a drug that’s “bad,” and that’s all you need to know. But we’ve had far too long of this “Father Knows Best” garbage, and fewer and fewer young people are listening. The epidemic of addiction, car crashes, and social harm that “experts” have been warning is right around the corner since the Fifties has never come to fruition.

 The internet has made it a lot easier to figure out when you’re being lied to, and millennials and the Gen-Z crowd are by and large not buying this nonsense.

 I just mentioned the dominant values and beliefs that constitute “good” or “bad.” Also part of this moral judgement is an implied version of what “success” looks like in our society, and this is an important point for cannabis users. If that version of success is what you truly want, cannabis will not stop you. You can become a CEO like George Zimmer and make millions of dollars and have nice cars and houses. But I believe many cannabis users have a different set of values than most people, and I encourage you strongly to pursue your own definition of “success.”

 It’s a generalization, but I like to think most of us value our own health and happiness more than we do material possessions or trying to impress people, or trying to fit into some impossible model of what a “good” person looks like. Happiness is success. Peace of mind is success. A connection with your soul and the environment is success. Don’t get caught up trying to meet some ideal if cannabis makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

 Even if you are flat broke, if you’re happy every day, you’re far more “successful” than a depressed billionaire. Cannabis use is something that will bring you success, not stand in the way of it. You just might not get the phony version of success sold to the public by the government, media, and corporations.

 Listen to your body as the only guide for what amount of cannabis, if any, is healthy for you. Throw out every single negative stereotype you’ve associated with it, and you’ll start to get a better idea of what it may or may not be doing to you.

 Letting these beliefs creep into your mind will make it virtually impossible to have lots of energy and happiness while using regularly. Your negative expectations can create an underlying placebo effect that will actually cause you to feel tired or lazy, or just eat away at your self-esteem.

 We’re slowly moving towards mainstream acceptance of cannabis use, but in the meantime, be vigilant in not letting other people or society at large tell you how cannabis makes you feel. Your attitude will determine your outcome.




You’ll certainly get no shortage of opinions asking this question, usually from two heavily entrenched camps of simply “Yes” or “No.” In the absence of reliable science, the only real answer is “maybe.” But I don’t need a study to tell me how cannabis makes me feel, and I’m sure you can guess what camp I fall into.

 Debates surrounding cannabis and motivation, laziness, etc. inevitably point to conflicting studies and anecdotal evidence we see in our lives. Proponents of usage point to people like Ricky Williams or George Zimmer, while the anti-cannabis crowd has no shortage of the stereotypical, unmotivated “stoners” we’ve all encountered.

 There’s a few things to consider.

 One of the main problems is that such a large number of “regular” people who have never used cannabis have problems with things like motivation, depression, and so on. It’s a big challenge for any study to take every possible factor into account and truly determine the effects cannabis use has.

 I’m wading into a rant on the overall effectiveness of “studies” in general, which I having no business doing, but either way, they’re not much use to you at this point.

 The anecdotal evidence we see is even more confusing. Spend a little time in a dispensary and you’ll see a bizarre mix of people. Yes, the slight majority fulfill the “stoner” stereotype to varying degrees, but you’ll also see some serious ass-kickers; I’ve seen everything from marathon runners to self-made millionaires to people working 80 hours a week.

 So, what the hell is going on?

 I’ve already covered this in the first chapter, but I’ll mention again that there’s still a huge amount of stigma surrounding cannabis use. It’s absolutely embedded in the majority of the public’s mind that cannabis use is directly linked to being lazy, stupid, etc.

 This stigma may also cause people who are inclined towards laziness and irresponsibility to gravitate towards cannabis use as an excuse for their behavior, further skewing studies. People love having something to blame other than themselves for their failures, and often use cannabis as an excuse to stay on the sidelines of life. And when things go wrong for a teenager, parents rarely take any responsibility. Cannabis use then serves as an easy scapegoat, perpetuating stigma.

 The expectation of feeling tired and lazy is so high it’s almost certain you’ll end up feeling that way regardless of whether or not cannabis actually had anything to do with it.

 Another reason is one I touched on in the first chapter, but again, the stigma is so powerful that you can hear people who drink alcohol, eat like shit, and haven’t worked out in years talking about how “weed makes them tired.” (True story—I once had a friend who was an intravenous heroin user tell me he hated pot because it “sucked the life right out of him.”)

 Well, maybe, but if you haven’t eliminated everything else, how would you know? Don’t eat a bag of Doritos and pound a liter of Pepsi and talk to me about being “burnt out.” Drink lots of water, eat healthy, get some bloody exercise and then you’ll really find out what cannabis may or may not be doing for you.

 And a lot of people are just overdosing themselves. Whether it’s bad advice from a budtender or just plain gluttony, in many cases, it’s simply a dosage issue.

 As legalization moves along, I think this problem will largely be solved by more sophisticated and accurate delivery methods. Like with diet, don’t start smoking Death Bubba 10 minutes after you wake up and then lament that “weed is ruining your life.” If I had to wager, I’d bet weed probably isn’t ruining your life; you are.

 As mentioned, many long-time cannabis users are convinced cannabis is making them lazy. So, like the placebo effect in reverse, when people stop using, there’s a slingshot effect that causes them to proclaim quitting cannabis as the sole reason for their feeling better. It’s possible. But more likely is that they simply have such an embedded expectation of feeling better that they inevitably do feel better and become more productive, at least in the short term.

 I’m quite confident that one day, we’ll have a true understanding of how cannabis affects people, and it’s going to reveal that for a small percentage of the population, cannabis is beneficial; for a small percentage, it’s harmful; and that for the vast majority, it’s mostly a sideways move, with harm or benefit dependent on how they use.

 If you interact with thousands of cannabis users, you’ll start to see this play out. It’s the only way to explain the paradoxical energy levels of some users in the face of so many “stoners.” Some people smoke heavy kush all day and climb mountains, while some people have a panic attack just thinking about a bong hit. There has to be an explanation, but we’re not there yet.

 When I started turning my life around, I certainly questioned my cannabis use. How could you not, when your life is a train wreck? But I loved it. I had been addicted to other drugs, and I knew this was different. So, I decided to try and change my life without changing how I used cannabis, and guess what? I found it was everything else sapping my energy and making me unhappy. It was junk food, antidepressants, video games, masturbation, zero exercise, and a million other things doing it.

 On the flipside, I do actually enjoy purposely overdosing myself in certain situations. It’s good to be motivated and on the go, but sometimes it’s best for our bodies to take a day off from the gym or a demanding project, and it can be difficult for high-functioning individuals to decompress and just relax. A higher than normal dose to slow down the mind and body can be very beneficial if you’re run down.

 So, is cannabis making you lazy? It’s possible, but I’m willing to bet otherwise. Unfortunately, right now, neither myself, nor any study can tell you for sure. Try doing your best while using cannabis, and if that doesn’t work, then maybe it’s time to get serious about walking away. Tune out the noise, listen to your body, and you’ll figure it out.