@The Dude phil phil,
Hey there "The_Dude"
It sounds like you are a sensible, careful person, just as I was at your age. I was perhaps even more "sensible" (I was definitely more boring
), and I never really even bothered to drink alcohol more than once a year until I was nearly 30, and even then I "did my research" as you put it, to do my best to ensure I was making an informed decision. Now, since then I've taken alcohol more regularly, and fortunately here in Europe there are places where it's legal to use marijuana, which I have also now tried. I've also tried a fair few of the "legal drugs" manufactured by legit pharmaceutical companies - you probably know the sort - each claims to have the effects of a popular controlled substance like LSD or Mushrooms or whatever, and I am told by people who use those substances that sometimes the effects are close, and sometimes nowhere near.
Again tho, even when doing drugs legally, I did my research first: I read a load of the "anti drugs" websites, and listened to all the concerns before making my decision to try it, and took many precautions. Things like being sure of the exact dosage of what I was taking, and the known risks of that dosage, and drinking plenty of fluids etc along with it (or whatever other precautions are advised). And now that I have tried such things, I can tell you from experience that sure, they do have some advantages, but (like everything in life) also their disadvantages.
These are too numerous to list, but the following generally holds true: for every high there is a low, and because of the high, the normal state you had before you ever tried drugs eventually SEEMS like a low.
One of the "high" effects I experienced from marijuana is that my thinking was more free - less structured. . . but again this is sort of debatable whether that was "better" - I would not advise (for example) watching horror movies whilst stoned. That would most likely lead to a "bad trip" - there is no true safe place and there's no truly safe drug, but if you're set on doing it, you can at least minimise the risk: have someone who is not stoned who can watch out for you, and do it in a safe, comfortable environment, and not out on the town like some people do. Whenever I have ever taken anything the first dose has been a fraction of what they say the usual dose is (to be safe) and I only slowly build up to what is usually considered a single normal dose if there are no ill effects. And to do it safely, you're probably best to set aside a whole day where you're sure you have no other commitments - just like if you were drinking alcohol you wouldn't go out driving - since you can't know how long it will take to get the drug (whatever it is) truly out of your system, and you're judgment will probably be impaired (mine was) it's best to stay home etc. So, yes, there are some effects that can "feel good" but really, the precautions necessary to minimise the risk can be quite elaborate. . .
For example: they ARE addictive. And these addictions CAN creep up on you just when you least expect it even IF you are taking all sensible precautions as I was. Even with alcohol for instance, within the limits that my country's government says is safe (no more than 30-40ml per day of alcohol. To put this into perspective, 40ml of alcohol is the amount that is in 100ml of Jack Daniels (or any spirit which is 40% Alcohol By Volume). And it's also the same as in one pint of strong beer or cider here in the UK. . . so, even drinking only the UK's recommended maximum of 7 pints of beer per week (at most 1 per day) I realised after a while that if I STOPPED drinking for 2-3 days, I developed a headache. . . a physical pain caused by the small amount of "dependence" that had developed to the drug (alcohol). So, of course, I stopped for a while to give my system a chance to get "clean" again. And then I tried again, because I liked some of the good effects. But of course since your body does get used to any drug (even alcohol), each time you take it, you have to accept the fact that you're either going to need MORE of it to recapture the high, or simply accept that the first high is probably going to be the best, and you'll never recapture that high, otherwise what you're doing is called "chasing" - attempting to recapture that first high, which without ever more dangerous amounts, cannot be done. This is just scientific fact, and having tried the drugs in question I can fully attest that it is true.
No matter how small an amount of any drug you have, you are developing a little bit of tolerance, a little bit of dependence, and therefore, you are at risk of falling into the trap that everyone thinks they can avoid, and IF you ever allow yourself to increase the dosage at all (even on legal drugs like alcohol) you have to accept that you are increasing your risks of becoming addicted. And you also have to accept, that yes, you have will power, but for everyone there is always a level of addiction that will be beyond their will power to handle, and therefore, drugs CAN "ruin your life" even if you take all the necessary precautions. There is no way to be "safe."
And then there's a million other factors: like the fact that with any illegal drug, you are trusting your life to someone who is willing to commit criminal acts: you are ingesting (or inhaling, or whatever) something that contains not only the known risks of the drug itself, but all the risks of whatever it's been contaminated with. And since they're illegal, there is no system of checks and balances in place like there is with your average food product. There have been reported cases of people doing bad things even to stuff like marijuana, simply to increase their profits because they are hooked on the stuff. Stuff like spraying it with glass-grit to make it appear whiter (as some people associate paler strains with a better effect, although this isn't necessarily true).
So, taking legal drugs is risky, but taking illegal drugs has a whole other lot of less measurable risks attached to it. Even smart sensible people like you or I can fall into the traps.
Granted some drugs (like alcohol) can have good effects if used responsibly, but the truth is using them responsibly seems beyond a large proportion of users, even for drugs deemed relatively safe like alcohol. It's only natural that if you enjoy something, you'll want to do it more and more. Nobody is immune to this risk, no matter how careful. I'm not saying DON'T use drugs (legal or otherwise) I'm just saying accept that you are taking risks with your very life, and maybe even the lives of others if you later get stoned (or drunk) enough to think you can drive fine etc. . . I mean sure everything in life is a risk, and we weigh these risks up, but if you take illegal drugs you have to accept that the risks are even harder to weigh up since there is no "health and safety" department in the average drug-lord's mansion - they usually care more for their own profit than your health. Do you really want to be putting their stuff inside you?
So, yes, I've had good experiences and bad experiences, but I KNOW I'd have had far more bad experiences if I hadn't took all the precautions I did, even tho to many users they will seem excessive. And I know some people (perfectly sensible, ordinary people like yourself) who thought they could handle it, and ended up doing something daft whilst on drugs that they regretted. Remember how I said some of them "free" your mind a little. It all sounds great and very "Matrix" until your mind is so free you decide to pour boiling water on yourself. Believe me, it happens. . . So yes, drugs can be fun but they can also be dangerous. Like fire or electricity, it's something most people steer clear of for a reason.
Whether or not I (or another person) takes drugs is a completely different matter: they're risking their own life, but as for your own life, well, that's "yours" to some extent. Of course you also have to factor in the pain it will cause to loved ones if you become a junky, so it's not just your risk, heck, it's all a big risk. I can tell you more if you need but I hope that helps.