We need more authentic anecdotes about psychosis in mainstream media. At no point prior to trying cannabis had I heard anything other than untrustworthy horror stories equating cannabis to heroin. Similar to abstinence-only sexual education, once you invite the idea that there will be idle curiosity, you can talk about responsible drug use. If there had been some character in some sitcom that had any semblance of reality, maybe, I would have heard about psychosis.
I’ve talked with two people that have experienced psychosis.
Both of those individuals pass as normal. They could be your neighbors, employers, or even friends! They opened up to me after I admitted that I’d experienced some pretty freaky stuff that I couldn’t explain to the over two dozen people I’d asked. I didn’t have a term for it then. The closest I had was “schizophrenic,” which has a special stigma reserved for ideas like “actively carrying a deadly contagious disease” in mainstream media.
Why is there such a cliché that cannabis is harmless?
Maybe it’s a defense mechanism? My guess is that people are trying to disarm the notion that “cannabis is on the same league as heroin” within mainstream media by promoting it as harmless. I can agree that cannabis is less harmful than substances like heroin or even alcohol. I just don’t think it’s tolerable to swing the debate so far in the other direction to call cannabis “harmless.” Maybe temporarily losing your mind isn’t harmful?
Let’s be honest when we portray and discuss drug use.
Disarming stigma will help, along with not glamorizing stories of psychosis, if it’s really that rare. I don’t want to turn experiences from my life into public service announcements, though mild cautionary tales are fine. Remember those over two dozen people I’ve chatted with that safely consume cannabis? They work in many disciplines. Their open secret is “it’s not like I’m working with patients.” They’re no more affected by cannabis than working with a hangover.
That’s where my handy chart comes in.
The circle represents the sum of all human experiences. I theorize that we’ve only discovered about a quarter of those experiences, represented in yellow, or “what is known.” Each scientific experiment, research study, or even thought piece chips away at “what is not yet known,” represented in purple. Culture – encompassing compulsory education, popular entertainment, and small talk – is only a sliver of our experiences, represented in pink, and may be highly subjective.
My inebriated experiences are not yet known to popular culture.
I haven’t found a character, even within unpopular “what is known” territory outside of societal norms, as a reference point like the narrative of an alcoholic’s life. Even if there were, most likely, that character would be a villain to continue a drug-abstinence narrative that any substances still considered illegal are only used by criminals. Perhaps that would even be a representational start?
Documenting my experiences will be ostracizing.
If I can help, then surely it’s worth submitting my anecdotes.