Video Games and Weed: What Are You Addicted to More? - Health | MERRY JANE
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Video Games and Weed: What Are You Addicted to More?

Cannabis has the power to distort both space and time and so do video games.

by Ben Adams

With the Electronic Entertainment Expo quickly approaching, it's important to acknowledge the inherent danger of video game “addiction.” Triggers can include, but are not limited to: long-anticipated game releases, new game consoles, and mystery announcements. The first step is admitting that you are an addict and powerless on your own. As a cannabis smoker, you've probably been accused of being an addict before — but before you turn yourself into Gamers Anonymous, here are a few warning signs to consider.

How you spend your time affects your relationships with your family and friends. Recovering gamers have reported the destructive effects of gaming addiction. Young adults who play video games everyday report smoking marijuana at almost twice the rate as non-gamers. There's an amazingly large body of evidence to compare gaming addiction with just about any other type of addiction possible—and the statistics are alarming.

Video game addiction rate reportedly falls somewhere between 3 and 12 percent. With cannabis addiction rate at about 9 percent, video games could potentially be more addicting than cannabis. The strange thing is, cannabis may actually help focus on activities like gaming—you probably already know this. Researchers used a joystick-driven video game simulation to test the effects of cannabis on motor skills. “Cannabis increases… self-oriented mental activity,” wrote researchers. “Subjects are more attracted by intrapersonal stimuli (‘self’) and fail to attend to task performance...” The purpose of the study was to learn more about how cannabis impairs driving.

Cannabis has the power to distort both space and time. First-person shooter games become virtual reality. There have been attempts to imply that using any substance while gaming becomes linked to the experience of gaming. Almost anyone who has played video games high has noticed the ability to become absorbed in the events of the game.

“The anti-video game crowd will fashion a noose out of whatever evidence they can by which to hang our industry, at which point the ease with which we can find a plethora of pot smokers playing video games online might not be so funny anymore,” wrote Dennis Scimeca. These factors “reflect what was already in the player when they sat down and put the controller in their hands, for better or worse.”

Dr. Gary Wenk explored the effects of cannabis in a TED Talk. Wenk argued that cannabis may help restart neurogenesis in older brains. This, he believes, improves the ability to remember and learn overall. “In fact, there are numerous examples of such apparently contradictory actions of drugs,” Wenk told VICE Motherboard. “With regard to marijuana, the effects vary according to the age of the person using the drug, their gender, past drug use, and genetic differences. Some drugs produce quite different effects depending upon the dose or the time of day when the drug is taken. This is why it is so difficult to predict how each person will respond to any given drug.”

Habit-forming activities, like smoking marijuana and playing video games, may not be as addicting as people say, but it's always important to apply moderation in all things.

Let's all be honest — it's hard to differentiate between emotional attachment and actual physical addiction.


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Benjamin Adams is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a slew of publications including CULTURE, Cannabis Now Magazine and The 420 Book and Vice. Follow Ben on Twitter @BenBot11 and Facebook @byBenBot.



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