The Functionalism of Marijuana

I am an honor society student, named to presidents list last semester, member of 2 honor societies, with a 3.8 GPA in my major, & will be graduating Magna Cum Laude in 4 years with a BA this coming May. And I believe marijuana is a functional part of society.

a negative mind will never give you a positive life

I study the social sciences almost exclusively. I am infatuated with learning how and why people interact with others, how their behaviors were formed and why they respond to different stimuli in different ways.  Human’s are so complex, with no two exactly the same, kind of like snowflakes. Two twins who live essentially the same lives, look about the same and go every place hand in hand together, still can divert from their paralleled lives due to just one situation that ticked them the wrong way, and their brain never let them forget it.

So in this sense, I look at a lot of problems people bring about in a social setting to see where the starting point was. The question of” who fired first?” is essentially asked. To then track how the ripple affect psychologically transmitted itself into the behaviors associated with the people and situation at hand. In my senior capstone research paper, I’m writing about how just gosh darn stressed out these poor students in America are. (i’m biased, i’m one of them) But what isn’t biased is the facts. Our youth culture is statistically more intoxicated than that of other counties. Whether it be abuse or misuse of illicit substances, HARD CORE medications for every condition under the sun, or absurd amounts of alcohol and even caffeine ingested daily and often in unhealthy amounts. Just this past week I thought I may have to go to the hospital because of the extreme chest pains and difficulty breathing I had while stressed out beyond measure. However, I’m certainly not the only one who experiences the physical and mental obstacles anxiety and distress associated to universities present. School course work, outside actual work, social life, remembering to try to eat healthy, respond to people in a reasonable amount of time, and never mind all the other crap that life throws your way either! Car problems, boyfriend problems, family problems, bills upon bills and more bills, and god forbid you catch a cold and miss a day! It’s so much, too much, and there are literally millions of college kids across the country in the same type of perpetual anxiety and stressed mental state as myself.

Now that the legalization of marijuana is becoming more normalized in society on the east coast, yeah, I smoke pot. I also am graduating Magna Cum Laude, a member of 2 honor societies and hold a 3.8 GPA within my major. I’m not lazy, not unmotivated, not a drop out and I would say aside from my debilitating anxiety, I’m in relatively good health. I wouldn’t label myself any of the kind of prehistoric stigmas that people labeled marijuana user’s as in the 70’s, and D.A.R.E carried on uselessly for years. We took the D.A.R.E training when we were all younger, we all still smoked pot by freshman year of high school. Telling people no in this country when the desire and feasibly of the prohibited substance is still regularly available, never went well in regards to lessening the use of said substance.  I don’t know, exhibit A… prohibition of booze??

But, before we get into the drugs, let’s get into more of what people other than 21, year old college students want to read about. Functionalism theory comes out of sociology and was derived by good ole Émile Durkheim back in the second half of the 19th century. It essentially sees society as a series of connected parts, kind of like how all of the parts in a cars engine need to work well together in order for it to function. If a society were to be functionalist, everyone would see his or her contribution as systemic, part of a bigger picture, and it would breed functional environment within all segments.

But let’s talk about another taboo topic before delving into this marijuana business. Prostitution, would you say prostitution is a functional segment of society? Probably not. But according to Kingsley Davis in his article “The Sociology of Prostitution” published in 1981. Davis believes that prostitution is an imperative segment to Korean society because it kept families together. Now you’re probably thinking I’ve absolutely lost my mind, but there is a method to all this madness. Korean wives didn’t mind their husbands going to prostitutes for extra-martial sex, because there is less of a chance in their husbands leaving them for another girlfriend. If the men are cheating with sex workers, apparently thats less disheartening than men cheating with a second wife, or girlfriend. Due to this understanding that married couples in Korea adhered to, the family was kept together and the man still brought home the bacon to the children and the mother took care of them. Functional, and practical! Now of course, the status women has risen by a considerable amount in Korea since this article was published in the American Sociological Association Journal in 1981. Now women don’t have to be dependent on men and can raise their families on their own if they choose if they have cheating husbands. Prostitution these days may not play a direct role in the functioning of society, but prior to the 1980’s, it played an imperative role in securing the familial structure.

Functionalism on this wide scale, can be minimized down to the personal level. All parts of my life are vastly multifaceted, my body and brain somehow must accomplish or at least merely attempt 2/3rds of things thrown my way. I need something to keep me FUNCTIONING at this high frequency. You may feel that marijuana like prostitution is not a functional segment of society, but for many students I’m sure it truly is. The act of “smoking weed” was not presented to kids as a way for us to actively continue to function in society as a normal human. It was a cool thing to do with your pals, and then things shifted and we became these work horses in college and our relationship with marijuana was forever changed . An article from 2015 by US News tells about a University of Michigan study, they found 1 in 17 kids on campus were using marijuana on a daily to near daily basis.   So the situation begs, what the heck are all these kids smoking marijuana for all day every day? I’ll tell you, anxiety and depression.  I know that the attitudes about marijuana use are becoming to be more normalized on the east coast, so I don’t feel uncomfortable staying this. As a Massachusetts resident over the age of 21 it is completely legal for me to consume marijuana for personal matters. And from a personal standpoint if I do not smoke marijuana I cannot function normally in society under all the stress and anxiety I’m currently under. Just last night I had to be sent home from work because my chest was so tight from my anxiety I was having trouble breathing, and no Mom, my chest is not tight from the smoking. So, I can’t partake in finishing all my school, can’t finish a shift at work and can’t even take a bloody deep breath unless I’m stoned and my body is relaxed. Can you begin to understand why marijuana is functional to college students suffering from anxiety? I feel my sober self is so erratic and overwhelmed that my stoned self, which is able to partake in society and get my work done is actually the real sober me. Life without marijuana is something I couldn’t imagine at his point in my life and I am so grateful to have an outlet which allows me to be this  This is also why marijuana is a fantastic prescription for people with chronic pain or anxiety rather than hardcore opiates or anti-anxiety drugs! It’s natural, practical, functional and TAXABLE, HELLO! To American law makers who can’t see the proposed lucrative explosion of the marijuana market, I question you.

Anyways, I don’t want to rant and rave about all the great things marijuana can help you with medicinally speaking because the evidence is just that, EVIDENT! It is not the “devil’s lettuce”, but often it is my only moment of solace a day. Because my capstone research paper is about how stressed, depressed and anxious our student body is country wide, I thought this would be an interesting post to include. Not telling anyone to go out and become a marijuana user if you have chronic anxiety, please do what is best for you in dealing with course load stressors, but hey, it might help!

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