Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Husband Says I’m Annoying When I Take My Medical Marijuana”

I’ve been married for ten years, and I have a pretty open and good relationship with my husband, “Ted.” He supports everything I can do to feel better since car accidents have rendered me in constant pain. Plus, I have PTSD, depression, and anxiety, and I have had a lifetime of therapy. I’m 56. I have had five surgeries including, most recently, a lumbar spinal cord stimulator implant, and I’ve now started on NJ’s medical marijuana program through my pain doctor. Even though my husband understands the benefits and is not concerned with the legality or expense, he gets pissed off over smelling it even when I use filters like smoke buddy, and if it’s not the smell, it’s the giggles and how I get very talkative when high. I like edibles for their duration and effect so the “problem” can last for a few hours. I don’t partake nightly because of his negativity and how often he mentions how annoying I am when high.

What advice would you give me to help the situation calm down? It’s been since mid-November of last year, so only a few months. — Pain Needs Pot

It doesn’t sound like Ted really is “supporting everything you can do” to feel better if he often mentions how “annoying” you are when you partake in what sounds like the one thing that has worked to manage your pain. Frankly, he sounds like the opposite of supportive. He sounds like a jerk. Instead of asking me what would “calm the situation,” you should ask him. What does he suggest you do? Does he prefer you be in constant pain instead of annoying him with your giggles? Because if that’s the case, I have a suggestion: dump the selfish motherfucker.

Some other ideas: You “partake” earlier in the day — maybe as you’re leaving work (assuming you work during the day), instead of later in the evening, so that the side-effects of being high wear off a little before you and Ted have quality time together in the evening. You could also experiment with different strains. Talk to the staff at the dispensary about what side-effects you’d most like to avoid and which ones are more tolerant. Make sure that the strains you experiment with are all known for their pain-management benefits, of course.

Finally, you say that your husband “understands the benefits” of your managing your pain with medical marijuana, but maybe he doesn’t. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt by suggesting this because if he truly does understand and he’s still giving you a hard time — often mentioning how annoying you are — without suggesting some ways you can make this work, then he really truly is a selfish motherfucker. So, giving him that benefit of the doubt that he doesn’t understand, you could try explaining to him the difference in your pain before “partaking” and during/after. You could explain with a pain scale of 1-10 or with metaphors he might be able to relate to. Are there normal activities most pain-free people take for granted — like walking up a flight of stairs — that you are unable to do normally without raging pain but can manage fine with the support of medical marijuana? Explain to him as best you can how beneficial this particular form of pain management has been for you and what that means for your well-being.

If he still doesn’t get the picture, and if you can’t find a solution that works for you both, and he continues you nag you, you need to weigh what is more important: living a life with some relief from debilitating pain, or staying married to a selfish motherfucker who doesn’t care about you. I know which one I would choose.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

37 comments… add one
  • avatar

    wobster109 March 30, 2017, 9:25 am

    I’m really sympathetic to Ted on this one. When I’m tired after a workday, I like some quiet time to read or watch TV and wind down. I would not call someone selfish if they wanted an hour of quiet time after a workday. It sounds like when LW is very talkative, that is draining for Ted.

    The communication is not good though. Instead of faulting you by calling you annoying, Ted should focus on his own feelings such as “hey talking a bunch at night is tiring for me”. Then you two can brainstorm as a team instead of pitting against each other. Here are my thoughts:
    – You two could pick some nights where you partake at home, and Ted mentally prepares himself for those nights.
    – You could arrange to spend one or two evenings a week with chatty friends, so Ted gets some quiet nights.
    – You could use edibles at home so the house doesn’t smell.
    – Ted should read a book such as Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love, so he learns to talk about problems without blaming you.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo March 30, 2017, 10:02 am

      I have to say i am not that sympathetic to Ted. I would not call someone selfish if they wanted an hour of quiet time after a long workday. i would also not cal someone selfish if they wanted to be chatty for a long after a day alone. My wife is off work right now, and by the time I get home, she is dying for a bit of chat. When you consider the spinal implant and other very serious medical interventions to keep the LW functional, I think having her chatty versus doped up on opioids is a very easy choice to make. It’s not that you don’t make some good suggestions, Wobster, but minor annoyance versus major pain is not a hard “lesser of evils” to choose between. LW, have you considered a vape to keep the smell down? They also allow a low slow constant dose that might allow you to get what you need without making you too effusive. I feel for you – your situation sounds very difficult.

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      • avatar

        wobster109 March 30, 2017, 12:37 pm

        I don’t think either of them is selfish. I am also not asking her to use opioids instead of pot, nor am I asking her to stop being chatty. I am asking her to brainstorm for ways to use pot, and to chat, that also consider Ted’s needs.

        Personally, hours of chatting would be very draining for me! I think it’s unwise to throw aside something that bothers someone else and say “that’s minor, deal with it”. Who am I to decide that how serious it is to someone else? Both people have needs, and no relationship can thrive when one person’s needs are ignored. Even if they are less serious, they still matter.

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  • avatar

    JBK86 March 30, 2017, 10:04 am

    There’s actually a technical solution to this. As marijuana is becoming genetically engineered in different ways (some for a stronger high, some for better pain relief), there are starting to be options to take it as a remedy without getting high. It sounds like the high is what’s bothering your husband, and you can shop around for strains that will suit both your needs and his desire to spend time with you when you’re not acting impaired. Here’s a WaPo article on this topic: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/a-powerful-new-form-of-medical-marijuana-without-the-high/2016/12/29/81bbf7c0-b5b2-11e6-b8df-600bd9d38a02_story.html?utm_term=.079bac30421b

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  • avatar

    Northern Star March 30, 2017, 10:28 am

    Well, if he doesn’t like the smell of the smoke (who would?)—don’t smoke. Ingest the drug another way.

    This is tough for both of you. Obviously you can’t live in pain, and if marijuana is the only solution, there you go. I disagree with Wendy that Ted is a selfish mofo, though. I think being around people who are high is not all that pleasant, and I wonder if this is going to be a longterm solution (?).

    I think you need to sit down with him and talk about what’s going on. If it’s as simple as “you are incoherent and babbling when you’re high so we can’t have a real conversation,” then maybe spending less time together when you’re high is the answer.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 30, 2017, 10:30 am

    I sympathize with both sides here. You need pain management and have found something that helps you. The giggles and talkativeness are probably like a nervous tic. Even though the person doing them can’t help them they become annoying and then distracting to everything you do. It’s like the person who clears their throat every minute all day long or the person who tells you about their dog all day long day after day after day and you tense when you see them because you know it will all be going on and there is nothing you can do about it.

    I also wouldn’t like the smell. I’d talk to the people who sell you your medical marijuana and tell them what your problems are with and see if they have any suggestions.

    You and your husband need to discuss the problems and see if you can come up with a compromise you both can live with in peaceful harmony. Maybe the two of you could have an hour together before you take your marijuana and then the two of you spend the rest of the evening in different rooms.

    I could see this destroying your relationship because you need pain relief but he needs a home that he doesn’t find nonstop annoying.

    How long does the pain relief last when you use medical marijuana and when do you most need that pain relief? I think you need to identify your time of greatest need and then the two of you figure out how you can have that time alone.

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    • avatar

      bondgirl March 30, 2017, 12:48 pm

      I can also sympathize with both sides, and wouldn’t be quick to call Ted a selfish mofo either. On one hand, pain management can be a slippery slope and marijuana is a great alternative to addictive pain meds…which by the way, are becoming more difficult to attain prescriptions for, thanks to governor Christie’s limited opiod prescription legislation that he signed last month.

      On the other hand though, I can sympathize with also wanting peace and quiet before bedtime every night as well as understand the hatred for the smell. Perhaps Ted can join LW for doctor appointments as part of an effort to open the line of communication here. I’m not suggesting the doctor act as a marriage counselor by any means, but based on the complaints from both sides, the doctor may be able to suggest alternatives for treatment that can satisfy everyone involved.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros March 30, 2017, 10:37 am

    I think there are a lot of other possibilities about this situation other than Ted just being a terrible person. Health problems can be difficult on loved ones, too, especially if he served as a caretaker at some point. I think it’s natural to be frustrated that your partner’s emotions and behavior are going to be different because of a substance, even if you know that it’s helping them. I am never around high people, but I know that I didn’t like it when I was younger, and it would be a huge adjustment to be around someone who was potentially going to be high every day. Essentially, your partner is being a different person during those hours. Imagine if she were taking a needed medication that made her irritable all the time. Sure, marijuana is seen as

    So, I get it. She’s in pain and this helps, and so in the end, Ted does need to just deal with it if they are to stay together. I think the LW’s idea of maybe consuming it at other times of day, if that still provides the same effect, might be nice. But I don’t really want buy into the concept that if he’s having difficulty handling this transition, he’s a bad person. Perhaps them not being together WILL end up being the best option if preferred lifestyles are not compatible.

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    • avatar

      Essie March 30, 2017, 11:58 am

      I agree. Being a caregiver is terrifically hard. Not as hard as having all of the health problems the LW has, of course. But it’s stressful and upsetting and frustrating and for the most part, you keep your stress to yourself because what are you gonna do, blame the person for having health issues? And sometimes the frustration just comes boiling out.

      I was going to suggest that Ted have a night out with his friends when the LW has to partake, but it sounds like she’d prefer to do it nightly. Along with looking into ways to reduce the smell, how about setting up some kind of “man cave” at home for Ted? A room (or garage, or basement) where he can go hang out when he needs some peace and quiet? With a comfy chair and a TV or computer.

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  • avatar

    csp March 30, 2017, 10:53 am

    LW, for the smell stuff. I think it can be not just smoke but it just being in the house. I think if you store things in tupperware, even edibles, that can go a long way. I would look at air fresheners as well. I had a roommate in college that smelled and I bough Ozium (not sure of the spelling) but they sell it in car washes and it was great at getting rid of the smell. I think with this, a little sensitivity to your husband will go a long way. It is important that you get the help you need but I can sympathize with not wanting to live in a house that smells like a Grateful Dead Concert.

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  • avatar

    ktfran March 30, 2017, 11:05 am

    Ok, first of all, I dated a fellow years ago who smoked pot regularly. As in daily and more on weekends. His house hardly smelled like a Dead concert. And this LW says she’s using filters to ease the smell.

    Frankly, I’m in agreement with Wendy on this. “Ted” doesn’t like the, what is most likely, minimal smell. So she switched to edibles. Now that she switched to edibles, he doesn’t like the way she giggles and talks. She’s damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t.

    WWS in talking to Ted. Also talking to the place you get medical marijuana and hopefully you two can come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 30, 2017, 11:23 am

      It’s hard to judge how smelly something is. Each of us has a different sense of smell and some people are far more sensitive than others. My daughter can smell things well before the rest of us do but we’ve come to understand that she does smell things that we can’t until they become much stronger. When she complains that something smells we investigate because we’ve found out the hard way that if she’s complaining about it something is happening. I personally find too much scent in the air annoying. I hate air fresheners because they have to be pretty strong to cover whatever it is they are used to cover. I find them distracting from what I’m trying to do and for the most part I don’t like the scents that are used.

      If the smell bugs him it bugs him. If the giggles bug him they bug him. That doesn’t make him a bad person. It may make them incompatible at this point but neither of them is a bad person. Everyone needs to feel comfortable in their own home. Everyone needs a place to go to unwind and relax. He can’t change who he is and she can’t change the fact that she needs pain relief.

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      • avatar

        ktfran March 30, 2017, 12:07 pm

        I do think he’s being a bit of a jerk. His solution is to complain, whereas she’s trying to accommodate him and right now, everything she does isn’t enough, short of stopping with the pain relief. He should be helping her find an appropriate, compromising solution.

        So perhaps you’re right in that they are no longer compatible.

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      • avatar

        csp March 30, 2017, 1:16 pm

        I agree about the smell. Frankly, enough smoke over enough time can leave a dingy quality over a whole room. I think of pot filled college apartments and I am glad I do not live in that space anymore. Even edibles I can smell when I enter a room.

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    • avatar

      K March 30, 2017, 11:51 am

      It makes me wonder if he just has a stigma against pot, since it was illegal for a long time (and still is, recreationally, in NJ). I can see the smell being an annoyance, but you’d think he would be okay with the giggles if he doesn’t have to see her depressed and in pain.

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    • avatar

      shakeourtree March 31, 2017, 12:36 pm

      The Smoke Buddy she references is one of the most effective filters out there, ime.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant March 30, 2017, 11:46 am

    Urgh…this is hard, and I’m not sure I 100% cosign Wendy’s opinion of Ted.

    On the one hand, I can’t imagine a lifetime of living with chronic pain, and if the LW has finally found something that helps, she should use it.

    But I also understand where Ted is coming from. I find it difficult to be around people who are high for the very same reasons he does. I, particularly at the end of a long day, am not a chatty person. It almost provokes a physical reaction from me if someone jumps on me at the end of the day wanting conversation, I feel like I’m being literally ambushed and get somewhat cagey and panicky. It is a challenge, I’m trying to work on it, but if Ted is like me, he may, particularly in moments where the LW is particularly chatty and I, not respond from knee-jerk, less than ideal way. He may be somewhat panicked that this is the rest of his life, and that while he wants his wife to get pain relief he doesn’t know if he can handle her personality while high.

    And personally, I think it smells awful. Way worse than tobacco smoke.

    I’m not saying she shouldn’t use pot if it’s working for her, ultimately I think her getting pain relief and being able to live like a normal human being is the top priority, but I think him struggling with it doesn’t make him a selfish POS and I think they should be able to work together to figure it out.

    Maybe it is her ingesting it way earlier in the day. Maybe if she needs to take it later in the day, they separate for the first hour or so until she gets past the worst of her chattiness and he has time to ready himself for more engagement.

    I dunno.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark March 30, 2017, 12:23 pm

    Eh. To me the LW screams hypochondriac (how many ailments does she have? and a lifetime of therapy has proven useless? Yikes.) and Ted is simply at his wits end.
    .
    I enjoy weed. But it REEKS. Smoke outside or do edibles…

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    • avatar

      ele4phant March 30, 2017, 12:29 pm

      Eh, back surgery doesn’t sound hypochondriac to me. It’s no joke from what I’ve heard.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark March 30, 2017, 12:36 pm

        I was referring to the endless laundey list of stress disorders…

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      • avatar

        ele4phant March 30, 2017, 1:08 pm

        All the same, I buy that her need for pain relief is real based on the back surgery alone.

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      • avatar

        Rebecca March 30, 2017, 5:05 pm

        PTSD can have components of depression and anxiety, and doesn’t just get cured through therapy, but we’re so glad to have had the benefit of your years of training in mental health that has given you better insight into her problems than her doctors and allowed you to diagnose her through the internet, Mark…

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark March 30, 2017, 9:01 pm

        Oh please, Rebecca. Everybody here is armchair quarterbacking these letters. NEWSFLASH!! That’s the fucking point.
        .
        The LW’s tone strikes me as tiresome and like several people I used to work with… It all just sounds…. suspect.

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  • FireStar

    Firestar March 30, 2017, 12:57 pm

    I have sympathy for Ted. Someone high giggling and chatty all the time is annoying. Especially if you are sober.
    But you need pain management…and he needs a little peace. Exploring strains and dosages to limit aide effects while maintaining pain management is a great option Wendy mentioned. There are other compromises to be had here. Edibles over smoking takes care of the smell. How big is your home? Must you be in the same room while you are high and he is annoyed? Can’t you be in the living room and he in the den or something? Can’t you chat on the phone to a girlfriend and leave him with a little solace until the side effect subsides a little. Find out from him what he sees as potential solutions. I’m sure you guys can find a solution.

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  • avatar

    haggith March 30, 2017, 1:01 pm

    I vape CBD only for pain control and: 1) it smell way, way less than just smoking it; and 2) I never have the giggles. I don’t smoke regular mj because I don’t like the giggles, the clumsiness, etc.. What about tinctures? I’ve never tried that but my friend uses that for cancer treatment. I wonder what kind of mmj you were prescribed

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  • kmtthat

    kmtthat March 30, 2017, 2:25 pm

    Yeah, maybe it’s my inner Californian, but I definitely wondering if she can use CBD oil or something similar that doesn’t give much or any of a high. I have a feeling even if she could switch to that, if she has anxiety she probably LIKES feeling high. The feeling of being high dulls the anxiety and let’s you have an escape, and I’ve known plenty of people who use it as a crutch to dealing with anxiety and avoid feelings, like any substance. When it gets to that point, I think it’s fair to say “I want to be around you, not the doped up version of you, all the time.”
    .
    FWIW, I have zero issue with marijuana, but just as I would’t want to be with someone who was a tobaccos smoker or daily-to-get-at-least-buzzed drinker, I wouldn’t want to be with someone who was not sober, and for most days. If it’s between that and pain, fine, but I’d hope that they’d explore options that leave them more sober. LW, I’m glad you found something to manage your pain and I’m hopeful you can find options that leave you comfortable managing your pain on a daily basis rather than get in a fight or berated.
    .
    And if it turns out your husband just sucks, as Wendy think he may, keep in mind having options that manage your pain and leave you a bit more sober can be useful for things like: work, family emergencies, etc.

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  • avatar

    Lucy March 30, 2017, 4:33 pm

    I live in the PNW now and so know nothing about NJs program. But out here, there are hundreds of strains to choose from, a huge variety of edibles, oils, etc. So if you can, it sounds like you might need to try a bunch of different ones, to find one that manages your pain effectively without making you super annoying. I am a person who has been “forbidden” by my friends to partake in certain substances around them, because it makes them want to stab me. So I am obvs a little sympathetic to Ted. If he’s pretty introverted, for example, he probably is dying for some low interaction downtime at the end of his day. He has no excuse to be mean and insulting, tho. He needs to cut that shit out.

    And IME, vapes eliminate smoke but still produce a fair amount of odor, even the best ones.

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  • avatar

    Kate March 30, 2017, 5:54 pm

    Ok, you probably are annoying when you’re on the edibles and he’s not. I mean, for sure. We have some of that medical stuff in chocolate bar form, and I don’t love it. It definitely makes me weird, and once my husband – who never does drugs – randomly decided to take some like 2 hours before bed. For me, it takes 45 mins to kick in, but for him it for some reason took two hours. So then we’re in bed and he’s totally out of his mind, laughing-crying, and saying he could feel every thread in the sheets. He couldn’t be quiet, and it was honestly very annoying. Not a big deal, he never tried it again, it was just an experiment, but omg. I don’t take it anymore either.

    BUT, my god, if that’s truly the only option besides opiates, to manage your pain, I think he needs to be more understanding. I’m just saying I can see both sides. Yes, it’s annoying to be sober with someone who’s high on edibles, but you also don’t want your partner in pain.

    Anyway, WWS.

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    • avatar

      Rebecca March 30, 2017, 6:06 pm

      Yeah, I think we’ve all had partner experiences that epitomized the idea of “stop that or I’m going to tranquilize your face.” It’s how we deal with afterwards that really gives the relationship staying power or not.

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    • avatar

      Ange March 30, 2017, 7:19 pm

      Back in the day my dad used to ring me for a chat every time he’d paid a sneaky visit to his backyard greenhouse. SO IRRITATING. He’d be barely coherent, laughing his arse off and having a great old time while I would be sitting there bored and making the odd ‘mmhmm’ noise. Not my idea of a great time. I could see how that would wear thin every night but my dad was just doing it to relive the 70s, it’s a bit different when it’s pain management. Also it’s legal there so there must be some great options to pick a good strain.

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    • avatar

      carolann March 30, 2017, 9:19 pm

      Your comment reminds me of the scene in “Refer Madness” where the guy was in the chair laughing hysterically.
      I have never seen anyone react to it that way in real life though.
      Now shrooms on the other hand—That was the early 1990s, but I still remember laughing so hard my face hurt.

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      • avatar

        Kate March 30, 2017, 9:34 pm

        I remember smoking in high school/college and laughing hysterically at anything. Like I was crawling around in a soccer field at night with green jeans on, and thinking it was so damn funny that the grass stains wouldn’t show up. But as an adult, I just get really hungry if I smoke, or that weird full-body feeling from the edibles. Nothing great. I agree with people upthread who suggested looking into something that doesn’t make you high, just handles pain.

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  • avatar

    carolann March 30, 2017, 9:14 pm

    I love the smell of marijuana smoke. I have the most ridiculously sensitive sense of smell. Most smells trigger my allergies or give me a headache, but mj I don’t mind. I used to smoke regularly to help my insomnia. (Everyone is different, and it isn’t his fault if he doesn’t like it)
    Cigarette smoke on the other hand…makes me want to upchuck. If someone smokes I can smell it on them from 10 ft away. Smells dirty and gross.
    Why doesn’t LW call one of her most chatty friends or family members and let her husband get some time to chillax?

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  • avatar

    Nicole March 31, 2017, 9:38 am

    I’m one of those that are fairly anti-weed. I had a boyfriend that smoked all the time. He was constantly in this dopey, half asleep state. It felt like it dumbed him down and I couldn’t help but first d it extremely unattractive. He also drank a lot as well, so he was always this way, one way or another. I couldn’t stand it. The effects just made him appear so unintelligent. People like weed, because it numbs the senses.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy March 31, 2017, 10:53 am

      It’s kind of ridiculous to proclaim why people like a particular vice because you had a dopey boyfriend once who smoked all the time and behaved a certain way so now you’re an expert. Here are a few reasons someone might enjoy/use marijuana that aren’t because “it numbs the senses”: pain management; anxiety management; sleep aid; increase appetite and enhance flavors; make tedious tasks – like cleaning house — more enjoyable; intensify creative expression; relax; enhance and stimulate the senses (rather than numb them). There are numerous kinds of marijuana, they don’t have the same effect on one person let alone all the people, and not everyone has the same reason for partaking in pot. I can understand being “anti-weed,” but have a better reason than its effect on one person you knew.

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    • avatar

      Janelle March 31, 2017, 11:34 am

      Thinking he needed to numb himself from your judgemental attitude. I just read one paragraph and I already feel the need to get high to avoid hearing you.

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  • avatar

    Lele April 2, 2017, 11:05 am

    Tell him how annoying he is when you don’t somke pot.

    Reply Link

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