Saturday June 04, 2016

'It was dulling my brain, it was dulling my senses': Susan Shapiro on the dangers of weed addiction

Susan Shapiro says that smoking pot is not just a fun and healthy thing.

Susan Shapiro says that smoking pot is not just a fun and healthy thing. (Corle Bldgood via Flickr CC 2.0 )

Listen 3:07

Susan Shapiro, professor and bestselling author of the addiction book Unhooked, says she was addicted to weed for 27 years. It was a problem she didn't recognize until an addictions specialist explained how the habit was hurting her life.

"I said, 'It's just this fun cool thing,' and [the doctor] said, 'Well, you're not getting anything you want in your life, what do you think it's because of?'" Susan told Out in the Open in a phone call.

From the age of 13 to 40 Susan was smoking weed almost every day. The concept of weed addiction is a controversial one, but Susan says her dependence on the drug was affecting all aspects of her life: her marriage, her career, and her creativity.

"It was dulling my brain, it was dulling my senses. It made it harder to sit still, it made it harder to focus. It was a whole part of my brain that I couldn't access." Susan explained. "I was just giving up brain cells to get stoned."

Susan's worried legalization will lead to more people at risk of dependence who are exposed to the drug.

"A lot of people like to pretend that weed is just a fun cool thing that's healthy and not addictive and that's not true," Susan said. "I'm not saying that every single person who smokes it gets addicted to it, but it absolutely can be addictive."