Mr. Chronic

Counterintuitive but true: Pot can make you more productive.

One of my favorite things to do is get stoned to the bejesus and clean house. And I’m not just talking about casual dusting, either; I’m talking about down on your belly, shoving the long extension vacuum tool deep under the bed and sucking up dust mites and fur balls, only to discover long-lost socks, exercise equipment, underwear (whose are those?!), and enough change to go out and buy MORE weed to smoke and then Shop-Vac the garage. In this way, stoned cleaning is a sustainable endeavor.

Hyperactive cleaning, you may say—but that’s counterintuitive! The stereotype, of course, is that smoking marijuana puts you on the couch, not wildly vacuuming under it. But like so much Reefer Madness, the clichés are all wrong. Turns out cannabis has been proven to aid in focus and concentration, as the body contains cannabinoid receptors for THC that can stimulate and modulate our brain’s neurotransmitters. In states where medical marijuana is legal, it’s even being used to treat attention-deficit disorders, replacing prescription stimulants like Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta that have nasty side effects and withdrawal symptoms.

“Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine,” noted Dr. David Bearman, who has spent 40 years looking into drug-abuse treatment and uses for medical marijuana. “This then has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin (methylphenidate) and dexedrine amphetamine, which act by binding to the dopamine and interfering with the metabolic breakdown of dopamine.”

I know what the Doc’s talkin’ about! When I smoke weed, the THC gives my often scattered flea-brain laser-focus; I’m like Mr. Clean on steroids—intensely scrubbing the grout, determinedly deodorizing and disinfecting, even fire-hosing the disgusting recycling bins caked with foodstuff, wine splatter, and spaghetti sauce. Two-fisted Cannabis Clean!

“The most accepted theory about ADHD rests on the fact that about 70 percent of the brain’s function is to regulate input to the other 30 percent,” Dr. Bearman corroborates. “Basically the brain is overwhelmed with too much information coming too fast. In ADHD, the brain is cluttered with and too aware of all the nuances of a person’s daily experience.” In essence, pot can drive millions of incoming ideas out of your monkey mind, and allow you to focus on the tasks at hand—like spiderweb removal whilst listening to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

For me, getting baked is like a triple espresso, with a shot of spiritual matcha chai on the side. My attitude is energetic and focused, with a little theatrical whimsy thrown in for good measure. Suddenly an overwhelming task such as organizing the jam-packed kitchen drawers becomes an important NASA mission! Run by Commander Clutter-be-Gone, the vital undertaking will be executed quickly, efficiently, and with a few odd brogue verbal commands uttered randomly throughout the exercise. High on ganja, the steps become crystal-clear: EVERYTHING must be dumped on the counter, and items slowly reintegrated into the newly labelled (and vacuumed!) drawers: Sharp Things, FSK, Expired Coupons, TupperWare, and a Catch-All drawer for rubber bands, pens, matches, odd keys, and those fawking square things you twist around a plastic bread bag. Two hours later I’ve made Martha Stewart look like a disorganized lowbrow street thug. Not only are the new drawers impeccably organized, they’ve been lined beautifully with all that excess wrapping paper I couldn’t find a place for.

Now has marijuana ever derailed my efforts at cleaning? Yes. Certainly. In fact, I once began with a toilet wand in my hand and somehow wound up naked in my living room under one of the most amazing pillow forts ever created.

Stoned cleaning sometimes leads to related but tangential tasks, such as trips to the refrigerator (more for munching than defrosting), getting lost in family photo albums, and cleaning out closets. While conducting a fashion show for my friend Julie (to determine which items needed to be given away), I began to see how truly cluttered my life had become. Who needs five baseball hats and a dozen belts? Getting rid of the weight of 1,000 unworn Tommy Bahama shirts lifted my worldly burden, and I began tossing unwanted paperweights, plastic cups, filing cabinets, and additional tchotchkes that not only were cluttering my overcrowded physical space, but, more important, my mind, man!

Chipping away at the inside of my microwave the other day, I came to another reefer-induced realization: What do I really know about this strange food-warming machine? What is a “micro-wave,” and what are the effects of molecules being radiated in this way? And why did I choose a toothbrush to clean the grit and grime when a chisel or power-washer would have been far more apt? I pulled my head out of the nuclear device, unplugged the thing, and put it on top of the ever-growing Goodwill pile, then began scrubbing the empty space on the counter.

“When it comes to clean, there’s only one Mr.”: Mr. Chronic.

Holy smokes—I think I missed a spot!

About the Author
Michael is a journalist and filmmaker. His award-winning documentary, Sleeping with Siri is playing film festivals across the country. Stusser runs TechTimeout campaigns in high schools across the country, asking teenagers to give up their digital devices (for a little while) in order to find balance, and perhaps even make eye-contact with their parents.