The use of marijuana has been correlated to schizophrenia. For those who are unfamiliar with the disease, schizophrenia is a horrible, disabling brain disorder that causes its sufferers to experience psychosis. Typically, people who suffer from schizophrenia hear voices and feel that some group is monitoring them. I knew a schizophrenic man who told me that the Vatican was following him. It would have been pointless to try to reason with him.
Schizophrenia frequently crops up in notorious murder cases. Almost invariably, if the perpetrators turn out to be schizophrenic, they are also heavy marijuana users. For example, Colorado theatre shooter James Holmes and Tucson shooter Jared Loughner were both pot smokers.
I once attended a lecture by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, a psychiatrist who specializes in schizophrenia. Torrey mentioned that if he could do one thing to reduce the incidence of schizophrenia among young people, he would post a huge sign at every rock concert warning users that smoking pot increases your chance of becoming schizophrenic by ten times.
The most recent studies seem to indicate that marijuana can trigger the onset of schizophrenia in people who have a predisposition toward the disease. That is, most people will be able to smoke pot with no risk of ever developing the disease. But is it worth the risk? Are you feeling lucky?
All drugs have side effects, but the popular media would have us believe that pot is an exception. The worst side effect that I have noticed in heavy pot users is loss of motivation. These folks seem to be content with frittering their lives away, achieving nothing, and doing as little as possible except smoking weed. But my evidence is anecdotal.
However, there is some solid research that backs up the observation that using pot takes away your ambition. A 2013 study conducted by scientists at Imperial College London determined that long-term cannabis users produce less dopamine, a chemical linked to motivation. This study led researchers to conclude that: “Long-term cannabis use may blunt the brain’s motivation system.”
The bottom line is that if you are a man who is trying to improve his life, smoking pot is going to take you in the opposite direction.
There is currently a debate in scientific circles of the effect of marijuana on sex. The research is contradictory. In animal studies, cannabis has been found to lower testosterone levels, but the human studies have not been conclusive.
While we are waiting for a future study to definitively settle the question, the prudent course is to avoid using anything that would negatively impact your testosterone levels. The testosterone levels of American men have already been dropping since the 1980s—you already probably have lower T levels than your father or your grandfather. It doesn’t make sense to do things that might lower them even further.
Even if marijuana didn’t carry of risk of triggering schizophrenia, taking away your motivation, or decreasing your testosterone levels, it would still be a bad idea. To become successful takes a lot of work. Numbing yourself, whether that comes from drinking too much alcohol or smoking pot, will take you away from your goal, and it also carries the risk that it can become an addiction that will lead to your downfall.
Truly successful people give their complete focus to achieving their goal. Real estate titan Donald Trump has a strict no drugs/no alcohol ethic that he has passed on to his children. Gene Simmons, leader of the rock band Kiss, also avoided drugs and alcohol even when the band was at its peak of popularity. Even Benjamin Franklin was a teetotaler in his younger days. It was only after he had accomplished great things in business, science, and politics that he started to enjoy the occasional bottle of wine.