An article by Vanessa Waltz on Ladybud.com titled, ” Dear Lady Gaga: YOU SUCK” berates the pop singer for claiming in an interview with Elvis Duran that she was, “addicted to marijuana,” smoking “15 [to] 20 marijuana cigarettes a day with no tobacco.” While the 1999 study cited in the Ladybud article is useful in differentiating addiction from dependency, it’s counterproductive to assume that she doesn’t understand how “medical cannabis has changed a lot of people’s lives for the better.” Of course it has, but she isn’t arguing that it hasn’t. It’s not like she’s fooled herself into believing that she is the reincarnation of Nancy Reagan and is publicly supporting DEA raids on dispensaries, she just doesn’t use it as much anymore.
We can look at Gaga’s story as a personal anecdote of cannabis misuse. While physical addiction is virtually impossible, understanding misuse could shed some light on the 9% of cannabis users who become psychologically dependent. Gaga was self-medicating for her hip injury and depression, which is completely legitimate. Knowing why you’re medicating is tantamount to knowing how much you need. She says that she “didn’t know where the pain was coming from.” If you know that you’re in pain, but are too numb to feel where it’s coming from, it’s time to put the joint out for a second and see a doctor. After you’ve got X rays, a surgery date, or a script for physical therapy, feel free to spark up again.
Sitting around and smoking your brains out because you don’t feel good is useless. You might feel waves of euphoria every now and again, but you can’t sustain that unless you know what you’re doing. The muscle relaxing properties of cannabis mean nothing to me if I don’t stretch, the appetite stimulating properties are worthless if I ignore them and don’t eat, and the anti-anxiety effects don’t last unless I can talk to my therapist about what’s been triggering me. Cannabis can be an integral part of our health, but those of us who self-medicate with it have a responsibility to respect our own needs when we use it. “Addiction” may have been a poor choice of words, tabloid-bait if you will, but there’s a kernel of truth in what Lady Gaga’s saying. We shouldn’t be so quick to discard it.