Time and time again, you hear people complaining about the rules and rights associated with marijuana. Teens and young adults that smoke weed are usually stereotyped as being lazy, stupid and even brain-dead. Everyone is given the right to think what they want and say how they feel, but I would like to give a little perspective to all of you that think marijuana is all harm and no good.

I am a 20-year-old female and I’m well into my junior year at a well-known university in Pennsylvania. All four years of my high school career, I was an honor roll student and even managed to gradate in the top 15 percent of my class. Over the years, I’ve accumulated over 300 volunteer hours and have also made the time to hold two jobs and an internship. I’ve made Dean’s List two out of the four semesters I’ve been in college and still make it a priority to work out when I can. I eat relatively healthily, have a fantastic group of friends, joined a nationally recognized sorority and I smoke marijuana every single day.

Not everyone you encounter who smokes marijuana is a delinquent that drops out of school and lives with their parents for the rest of their life, and people have to start pushing that idea out of their heads. As I described above, I am a fully functional human being that has accomplished everything I would like to up to this point in my life. You should also know that I used to HATE people that smoked weed. My high school days consisted of many of my friends smoking and I wanted no part in it whatsoever. I too thought that anyone and everyone that smoked this “terrible drug” was gross and throwing their life away; that was, until I tried it for myself. That day, the day I inhaled smoke into my body for the very first time, was one of the most life-altering moments in all of my existence.

Something I didn’t mention earlier is a bit personal, but necessary for the understanding of my love for this beautiful and gratifying drug. In 2011, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. I weighed a good deal under 100 pounds and had no joy in my life. Nothing mattered except my weight and the food I rarely put into my body. I lost all sense of love, compassion, excitement and even sadness. My emotions disappeared. Recovery wasn’t too pleasant, either. I had done everything…talked to a nutritionist, went to therapy, had check-ups with my physician and was prescribed a number of different antidepressants with different dosages corresponding to how good or bad I was at the time. The worst part…none of it was enough. Yes, I regained the weight, and yes, I was eating again, but no one understands the mental incapacity that an eating disorder pushes you to. I had lost most of my hope, and held on to what little bit I still had with every ounce left in me. I can’t describe much in words, but if I could, I would simply say I just had no desire to live anymore.

By the time I was in college, I was stable, but still not fully healthy mentally which, of course, worried my family, my friends and myself. That was until someone recommended smoking marijuana and seeing if it helps. I thought they were crazy. I knew about weed and was strongly against it. At that point in recovery though, I was willing to try just about anything, and boy, I'm sure as hell happy I did.

The first time is never pretty. There was lots of coughing, lots of confusion, and a distinct taste in my mouth, still unsure of whether or not I took a liking to it. The smell stained my clothing and my mouth was dry for hours. Yet, regardless of all of this, I fell in love and became best friends with good old Mary Jane. I didn’t become an avid smoker at first. I started off smoking maybe once a week, two times tops and was still super hesitant because I was so negatively bias towards it. The more I did it, the more I enjoyed it. I was becoming happy again. Not the fake happy I had been pretending to be for the previous months and not the pity happy I faked for those who were concerned for me. I was truly, astonishingly, brilliantly happy.

It wasn’t strictly when I was high, either…I was a happier person all times of the day, every day of the week. Marijuana was, unknowingly, the light at the end of my tunnel I had been searching for, for what felt like years. My confidence went up, I cared less about what others thought of me, my body image issues slowly dissolved and I wanted to live again. I felt sympathy and love. I got excited for events and looked forward to seeing people. My mood was lifted in every situation possible, and, to top it all off, I was able to wean off of my antidepressants.

Marijuana gave me the desire to live again. It may not be for everyone, but it is for me. Marijuana was my cure; it has made me a joyous person again and has made me appreciate the good and the bad in my life. For all of you haters out there, it’s time to change your views. Let people be happy, let them be fixed, let them be free.