« Dr. O'Connell's Statement to Medical Board of California | Main | Drug Policy 102: How Nixon's Drug War has expanded a prohibition into a repression. »

September 28, 2005

v Tee Shirt Responses

Back in the Spring of 2001, when I finally began to realize what had probably
impelled the medical cannabis applicants I was then interviewing to behave
as they had during  adolescence- and the critical links between their
frequent initiations of other drugs, their school and family experiences
and their chronic adult pot use- I had an inspiration for a Tee shirt illustrating
at least one of the specific symptom clusters I was also beginning to recognize.
At about the same time, I began half-seriously opining privately that ADD
could easily stand for "Absent Daddy Disorder."

It wasn't until 2004 that one of my patients- Dustin Costa
-  who would soon become a colleague and inspiration, took my Tee shirt
idea a long step further by soliciting and purchasing an attractive design.
Since then, several hundred have been distributed and I have started to receive
informal feed-back from those who have worn or distributed them. They generally
fall into four categories:

1) Blacks living in a poor, predominantly black neighborhoods report that outspoken
support for the message is almost universal.

2) In a Central Valley town which is narrowly split over support for the
idea of medical marijuana, the shirt frequently provoke discussions by 
its  implied endorsement of youthful pot use.

3) An activist who had worn his to a rally on behalf of medical marijuana
told me that pot smoking male activists, who had never themselves applied
for patient status, also disagreed with what they saw as the implied message
that "kids" should smoke pot.

4) In my own experience- wearing it to supermarkets and other venues in a
liberal, upper middle-class suburb, most people simply pretend not to notice.

18 months ago, the negative response from mmj supporters would have surprised
and irritated me; now it doesn't. I also now understand that the same human
emotional needs which impel some people to try pot, and several other drugs
during adolescence probably induce others to treat similar symptoms by working
to punish drug use and many other behaviors they consider objectionable (sinful).

 Other behavioral responses to the same symptoms may be a variety of
repetitive behaviors such as yoga, meditation, religion, gambling, hobbies,
athletics, and overeating.  In other words, my recent experience, has
enlarged my perspective; I now regard  any repetitive drug use as but
one of several ways we humans may find relief from the emotional symptoms
generated in so many of us by having to survive in an increasingly crowded
and relentlessly competitive world.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at September 28, 2005 12:31 AM