I am a white trans boy (even though I pass more easily as a sunbear) who uses he/his pronouns. I am an abuse survivor/ptsd haver/lover of dolly parton/friend to cats/live in seattle/hamburger fiend/formerly homeless/easily startled fab fag femme fran drescher boy.
• Ask me anything Starz 4evr.
tl;dr i could care less about how weed ‘fucks up your brain’ in any context esp. when we are just talking about how fucking fabulous normal brains and normal amygdalas are and how precious and safe our brains should be kept
but i am really really down to talk about alternatives to pharmaceuticals and the genius decisions that poor people/traumatized people make to help themselves
disclaimer i am not like ‘4/20 party all night long’ nor am i pro legalized weed, i would not consider myself an advocate for weed or try to coerce people who don’t want to smoke to smoke ever, for any reason
“The scientists examined two key parts of the brain — the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala, which together help control whether people judge things to be rewarding or aversive and, in turn, whether they experience pleasure or pain from them…
“This is a part of the brain that you absolutely never ever want to touch,” Breiter asserts. “I don’t want to say that these are magical parts of the brain — they are all important. But these are fundamental in terms of what people find pleasurable in the world and assessing that against the bad things.””
last night i was chilling with my friend lydia (who does not smoke weed) and she was like ‘this new study came out that says that weed changes parts of your brain’ and i go ‘really?? YES, I KNEW IT’. She goes on to read the study, which is being picked up by a couple news outlets [time, fox news, the huffington post].
basically, this study shows that casual smoking causes changes in size, density and volume in areas in the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens.
amygdala: ’In complex vertebrates, including humans, the amygdalae perform primary roles in the formation and storage of memories associated with emotional events’ (wikipedia, obvi). the amygdala is sort of the trauma center of your brain- it is responsible for the way in which you process an event, and it also controls how the memory of that event is stored and accessed. it’s also responsible for fear conditioning. It contains the proteins that respond to fear hormones, like norepinephrine
norepinephrine: is the hormone associated with ‘fight or flight’ response. it is responsible for increasing oxygen to the brain, as well as increased heart rate. it’s a stress hormone that affects the amygdala, where it also controls attention and responses. it’s also associated with the hyperarousal aspect of ptsd- affected individuals consistently show abnormally high ratios of norepinephrine and cortisol (another stress hormone) than the ‘average’ population
5HT1A receptors: exist in the hippocampus (which is associated with the brain’s control over inhibition, memory and space) and the amygdala. 5HT1A receptors effect stress on the body, like increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, etc. Drugs that agonise 5HT1A receptors show efficacy in relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. 5HT1A receptors are also responsible for regulating the levels of norepinephrine present in the body. 5HT1A receptors are associated with positive effects of most major anti-depressants. Manipulation to either desensitize or activate these receptors is a ‘major mediator in the therapeutic benefits of most mainstream antidepressantsupplements and pharmaceuticals’, including SSRIs.
nucleus accumbens: ’ The nucleus accumbens is selectively activated during the perception of pleasant, emotionally arousing pictures and during mental imagery of pleasant, emotional scenes’. ‘[A study based on rats who pressed a lever to stimulate that area, preferring it over food or sleep] suggests that the area is the “pleasure center” of the brain and is involved in reinforcement learning’.
The study suggests that frequent marijuana use affects those two areas, and that in a ‘normal’ human population (as opposed to an abnormal one) that those effects would have a very dangerous impact on your emotional landscape. but i have been saying for yearsnow that i make a preference, an informed choice based on my own experiences, to smoke weed instead of using pharmaceuticals because it affords me the greatest personal efficacy, and thus represents an informed economic decision, i.e. “utility”.based on my social location, weed makes sense. i definitely don’t think that it’s better per se than any other drug, but my point is that the way that drug use is viewed by the psychological community is bullshit, the addiction framework that’s used isn’t grounded in concern or efficacy for addicts. the use of drugs as a rational choice is considered outlandish.
but what i’m saying is, my brain is already messed up!! really messed up. ptsd directly functions through biological actors like the amygdala, the levels of stress hormones released, perceptions of memory and pleasure, etc. those poor parts of my brain never had a chance. so if i try big pharma and it doesn’t work, it’s okay for me to create habits based off of my own experiences with a workable solution. even if that habit is considered ‘abnormal’ or seems bad, destructive or dangerous to other people, that doesn’t affect the fact that it’s a great solution for me. you do the things you do because you have the greatest knowledge of the myriad, complex ways your brain is messed up. if weed just fucked me up and was bad for me, i wouldn’t smoke it!!! just because you don’t understand the means or ends involved does not mean that i am not a rational actor, just because i make choices you disagree with it doesn’t make them ‘bad choices’.
anyways my point is that i truly believe that smoking weed has had deeply restorative effects on my ability to cope with ptsd. it is a huge relief that knowledge cultivated by scouring wikipedia basically confirms some of my scientific suspicions, it makes me feel really smart and good at caring for myself and a lot less like a dumb dirty drug addict
ahhhh idk. i am having just a touch of roommate drama right now. my roommate is suuuuper on edge since the accident, and is really sensitive and like, clearly needs a lot of attention/nurturing right now. however, i have a sharp exoskeleton, and this accident made me feel weak which makes me insecure, which means that my defenses are totally up right now. care or affection or taking care of somebody are all really trigger-y for me right now and i just stop talking and turn into a mean stone wall. but i just can’t feel like emotionally connected right now! and i cannot cannot be in the role of trauma caretaker, i am exhausted and to be blunt it’s totally not my job. soooo i don’t know what to do because i keep just shutting her down when she is having an anxiety spiral about stuff, and i know that’s not helpful but right now i also feel like i really need to watch my own boundaries, which clearly say no emotional caretaking. i feel super bad but also like i’m not about to start falling down the rabbit hole, and i have a right to disengage when her trying to process her shit is triggering and uncomfortable for me