Parenting, Pot, and the Games We Play!

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Growing up in the 80’s smoking pot was always a risky thing.  At parties, you’re the man, the coolest dude there.  My parents were like drugs are bad, so you’re bad for using them.  The amazing thing is that I got the same reaction from people when I told them I played Dungeons and Dragons.  Most people looked at you like there was something wrong with you, only the precious few thought it was really interesting and wanted to try.  Most parents hated the game, some parents encouraged it, just not mine!

In 2018, both Cannabis and Dungeons and Dragons had their most profitable years to date.  Last year it was stylish to smoke ganja and be into role playing games, really? Now?  I’ll be honest, my two sons and I have always gamed together.  Playing D&D was never a niche interest, it was center stage and fully accepted as a form of Entertainment.  Now my 18-year-old son runs D&D games for his girlfriend.  My younger son enjoys Pokémon and all Mario games, but he still enjoys playing a Dwarf.

Cannabis is another story.  Only recently has public perception changed towards pot.  Most Americans now favor medical and recreational use of cannabis.  I have never lied to my kids, but they never asked if I smoked pot.  As a former science teacher and life long cannabis enthusiast, I have never hid my reverence for the plant.  Hemp is a wonder crop and now that it’s nationally legal, it will start replacing many of the non-biodegradable materials with ones that break down in landfills.

That part was easy to discuss with my kids.  As to my cannabis use, I separated it into my past and now.  I am clear that I smoked pot in my past.  It would be a pretty big lie to tell my kids that I created an amazing smoking boardgame by accident and that I had no idea how I came up with it.  I’m open about what is going on nationally and my support for it.  I share with them the research of Dr. Mechoulam and how cannabis has helped people suffering from cancer, AIDS, and other serious conditions. 

The last conversation has not been had yet.  Do you smoke pot now and why?  I would have to answer yes, I have been a regular smoker since I was 15 years old.  The “why” part is harder to discuss.  My reasons have changed over the years.  I started as a kid because it was cool and forbidden.  It made me feel happy, and in my teenage years I started having problems with depression, so the high was a welcomed feeling and it helped me deal with the crazy situation at home.

In college, my use changed again.  I started smoking daily.  The pot still helped my mood, but it also regulated my sleep.  It was the amazing pain management qualities of cannabis that kept me smoking.  I had a bad back and was still able to be captain of the tennis team.  Somehow I dealt with the pain without opioids and was able to focus on school work and get solid grades.

After college, as a tennis pro, smoking ganja kept me even during those turbulent times.  More than the effects, I started identify as a Pothead and it became part of my identity.  When I met my wife, she didn’t smoke, and still doesn’t, but it doesn’t bother her.  She saw the way I consumed cannabis was different from others she had known.  I smoke out of a bong and do only a few hits at a time, a lot less smelly than smoking joints.  My wife kept my cannabis use a secret from most people.

Now, 22 years later, the world is starting to look at cannabis like my wife does.  It’s a benefit to those using it, and people being able to smoke takes no freedom away from her.  For me, I would like to free my wife from the secret of my cannabis use.  I want to tell everyone that I’ve smoked my whole life and I’m in the best condition I have ever been.  Yes! I smoke Pot and there is nothing to be ashamed of, but like everything, I use it responsibly and in moderation.

Gary Schwartz