Across communities, domestic and foreign, we are becoming increasingly aware of the expanding interest – by both adults and teenagers alike, connected to the recreational use of Cannabis. It has been stigmatised, a victim of stereotypical prejudice and vehemently opposed, most notably by corporate fascist who seem to “know” it is a deterrent to society. This being the result of illegitimate claims and false advertisement fabricated by pharmaceutical companies, governing bodies, and lobbyists combined, which has lead to backed campaigns of censorship and the enforcement of the prohibition act 1937 (later to become known as the controlled substances act 1970), unfavourable publications and disinformation which lead to the incarceration of the innocent for harmless, petty crimes associated with what is known to be an innocuous medicinal relaxant.
So besides what we have been lead to believe, what do we really know about cannabis?
Cannabis, known as má and dàmá in Chinese has reportedly been used in Taiwan for approximately 10,000 years essentially for its fibre purposes. Hui-lin Li, a Chinese botanist wrote:
The use of Cannabis in medicine was probably a very early development. Since ancient humans used hemp seed as food, it was quite natural for them to also discover the medicinal properties of the plant.
From this point in human history it was managed and utilised for a range of benefits due to its unrivalled resourceful nature. Cannabis can also be cultivated to become Hemp. Hemp is historically understood to be one of the most biodegradable, robust materials that has been used since ancient times. Along with this, the material, and derivatives of it, can be used to make over 20,000 resources for building purposes, fabric, lighting oil, medicines, paper and fibres to name a few. History shows us that it is not only an ancient crop in Taiwan, but India, Kemut (Egypt), Greece, Netherlands and are a said few lands who yield the benefits from integrating this magnificent plant into their way of life. I share this in hope of providing further insight into this extraordinary phenomenon, in 1619, Jamestown County, Virginia, America the first ‘law’ established in conjunction with marijuana was one that demanded farmers to grow hemp. Not to destroy it or prohibit its commercial value but the absolute opposite.
Aside from the uses of Cannabis and its sister plant Hemp in the forms mentioned above, the area I wish to discuss is the affects when induced, and in so doing present the mental, psychological and physiological implications that go hand and hand with this.
“If the words life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness then the declaration of independence isn’t worth the hemp paper it is written on.” Terrance McKenna, mystic psychonaut and ethnobotanist.
There are three major constituents to be found in Cannabis – one is Tetrahydrocannabinol commonly referred to as THC, the other two are Cannabinoids and Cannabidiol. THC primarily affects the cannabinoid receptors that naturally develop in our brain. These receptors are known as CB1 receptors – fascinating that this is not publicised to the degree that the pseudo-adversities are isn’t it? These are the receptors that are associated with short-term memory, co-ordination and problem solving giving rise to the stereotypical consensus that one becomes incapable, forgetful or lacking ordinary sharpness when under the influence of cannabis. There is compelling evidence, which suggests that beyond the supposed “intellectual drawbacks” of consumption, it actively enhances the intuitive faculties, which lay dormant in the brain due to calcification, imbalanced diets and adverse lifestyle patterns that restrict an advancement of the human condition.
“I think marijuana should not only be legal, I think it should be a cottage industry. It would be wonderful for the state of Maine. There’s some pretty good homegrown dope. I’m sure it would be even better if you could grow it with fertilizer and have greenhouses.” Stephen King, renowned author.
It would be wise to point out that the body through its own cycle produces a cannabinoid substance, and through over stimulating the body undergoes a reaction, wherein a rush of this substance is transported to the brain causing what is believed to be short-term, reversible brain damage. When THC enters the body a liquid substance called dopamine is released. Many understand dopamine to be a happy stimulus, again relating to the common stereotype that “stoners” are always laughing due to a false sense of happiness. THC is said to also bind to the receptors in the hypothalamus, the main control centre for the autonomic nervous system, which is directly connected to the appetite – hence the urban legend of the munchies. But beyond the common knowledge circling around cannabis the question is; is there any truth behind the rumours of the mental and psychotic disorders connected to usage?
“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilisation of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world”. Carl Sagan, cosmologist and astrophysicist.
There has been reason to believe that this could be a possibility, however, contrasting to this is evidence that highlights the exact opposite. It has been scientifically examined and theorised that the intoxication of Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, in unequal amounts to its counterpart, Cannabinoids can bring forth episodes of paranoia, schizophrenia, anxiety and young brain syndrome to name a handful of mental disorders. In seldom cases one is said to be able to develop chronic psychotic behaviour from excessively abusing marijuana. But this, in my opinion, is not only circumstantial and subjective but artful deception for it is ungainly to subjugate a generalisation of such a kind when the like is inaccurate. Not to mention impotent when one studies the records of authentic, genuine examinations conducted by impartial doctors and botanists alike. The records do not lie. The exact opposite of these such cases being that it has been proven by many accredited sources that cannabis is a reliever to suffers of extremely adverse conditions, and that Tetrahydrocannabinol is an alleviator – amongst many other things – of the most harmful diseases known to our species – most notably, cancer.
“The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS.” Joycelyn Elders, paediatrician, public health administrator.
In short, instead of buying into drug propaganda campaigns in the form of Reefer Madness, 1936, Subject Narcotics, 1951 and untenable compilations of research, I find it to be more empowering to investigate established beliefs using the empirical approach, which over a short period of time produce results that challenge the dogma, the status quo of mainstream broadcasting and brings to surface answers that hitherto are either unpublicised, unknown or simply ignored. On the topic of ignorance; in 1972 when marijuana was judged as being a substance partial to the most restrictive category under the CSA (controlled substance act) schedule 1 as a placeholder, while then president Nixon commissioned a report to confirm its deserved place. The Schafer Commission, including a republican governor, conducted that specific investigation and reported that not only was marijuana doubted as a schedule 1 substance, but they also questioned its designation as an illicit substance. Nixon discounted the recommendations of the commission, fronted the ‘war on drugs’ and marijuana today still stands in schedule 1 under the controlled substance act along with the likes of heroin and ecstasy.
In London, around the same time the misuse of drug act 1971 was imposed. It is a statue, described as a law, that deems it illegal to possess, use or sell marijuana. The governing body on the issue takes an unambiguous stance with regards to all acts relating to marijuana. But here again lies another act of misleading and ignorance. In the UK a drug deriving from T.H.C and Cannabidiol is prescribed to patients who are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, this prescription drug is called Sativex. There are actually another nine prescription drugs that contain CBD and THC. A list from the CDC (centres for disease control and prevention) related to annual deaths in US in 2013 ascertained there being no medical proof of any deaths directly relating to cannabis, marijuana. On the same list alcoholic induced deaths tolled at 29,001, drug induced at 46,471, diabetes 75,578 and Alzheimer’s 84,767. You decide what that means to you.
In closing, my known intention was not fulfilled in this blog post. I foresaw I would disclose knowledge, truth and principles centred on the esoteric and unseen, interconnected threads attached to cannabis, but in fact I have been confronted with the desire to release the webbings surrounding this topic and as a result, develop my appreciation of cannabis even more. I am determined to reopen this dissection of marijuana for reason solely to reposition my point of view and take heed from a fellow ethnobotanist and psychonaut!
Be well my friend. Be mindful.
I Am Master. I am Able. I am Noble.