Recovering cannabis user: ‘I was barely even there’

Recovering cannabis users have shared how the drug damaged their lives, countering the myth that the substance is “innocuous”.

Several members of the Marijuana Anonymous rehabilitation programme – formed to support those battling addiction – spoke to US newspaper The Chicago Tribune.

Shelby, 36 years old, said: “It just became so addicting. I just couldn’t be without it. Every single thing I did I needed to do high.”


Shelby smoked cannabis from age 14, but it became “an obsession” when she moved to California as an adult. The state’s legalisation of ‘medical cannabis’ had made it very easy for her to obtain the drug.

Guillermo, another former user, recounted: “I was just stoned all the time, I was barely even there.”

The drug drained his “motivation and alertness so thoroughly that his mother threatened to put him into a mental hospital”.

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Former addict Robb entered a recovery programme to overcome his “intense” withdrawal symptoms after he stopped taking cannabis.

People want to stop using and can’t

He said: “I got headaches, dry heaves, extreme emotions and mood swings”.

Michael Mahoney, Director of Chicago Services at the Hazelden Betty Ford rehabilitation centre, explained: “People want to stop using and can’t. They have to use in greater quantities to get the same effect or just have a feeling of normalcy. Along the way, problems emerge.”


Despite the dangers, pro-drugs campaigners in the UK regularly lobby for the legalisation of cannabis.

However, last month it was revealed that a man with psychosis who stabbed five people in Edmonton, north London in 2019 had been smoking cannabis daily.

Jason Kakaire, 30, said voices in his head told him to kill people to prevent himself from being killed.

Kakaire said he recognised that regular cannabis use may have been the cause of some of the hallucinations.

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