Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Psychotic Fugue: Reefer Madness in Today's World

I don't remember graduatin'.
And my first sexual experience--
l don't remember that either.

- But, man, l will never forget
the first time l smoked...

that sweet, sweet chiva.

- Half Baked

The first recorded human usage of cannabis took place in the twenty-eighth century B.C.,
when the Emperor Shen - Nung taught the cultivation of hemp for fiber, but its use goes back much farther then that. Archaelogical digs at the Non Nak Tha site in Thailand have yielded pipes made of animal bones, used by guys just like us to get high at 4:20 in the afternoon at least as early as 15,000 B.C. I had a buddy in high school who made a bowl out of a deer antler. Tasted like bacon when we used it. Gross.

The Latin names of what most of us just call weed are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis
indica. Cannabis ruderalis, or ditch- weed, has also been known on occasion to produce
strains with some potency. The cannabis family has been a part of human culture for many centuries, as mentioned earlier, as both an intoxicant and a medicine. It has been called by as many names as can be expected for something that old, including bhang, ganja, kif, asa, dagga, muggles, tea, loveweed, Mary Jane, and reefer. All of them refer to the same thing, an extremely pleasant and safe high that has proven a blessing to people all over the world, and all throughout history.

The chemical responsible for most of the psychoactive effects of cannabis is called THC, an abbreviation for Delta - 9 - tetrahydrocannabinol. THC exerts its effects on the human brain by imitating an endogenous neurotransmitter named anandamide, which is a Sanskrit word meaning "eternal bliss". This neurotransmitter was actually discovered in the process of conducting research on the effects of cannabis of the human brain. THC belongs to a family of chemicals known as cannabinoids, of which more then 400 can be found in Cannabis sativa. They are not considered similar to any other family of drugs, as they target their own neurotransmitter, but their effects have been compared anecdotally to both depressants and hallucinogens.

In today's world, the use of cannabis is a contentious topic, especially for those of us who
live in the United States. Cannabis has been off - limits for American consumers since the
year 1937, when the first commissioner of the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics,
Harry Anslinger, succeeded in passing the Marijuana Tax Act. This bill was the culmination
of an attempt on the part of the federal government to increase its own power, using the
demonization of cannabis to spearhead a smear campaign of unusual vigor and savagery.
Movies like Reefer Madness and High on the Range portrayed cannabis as the worst
menace currently facing the American populace. Newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst once published an article claiming that "if the hideous monster Frankenstein ever came face to face with the monster marijuana, he would drop dead of fright". Even racism got involved, as cannabis was first introduced to the US by Mexican migrant workers in the late 19th century. These new immigrants were not very popular, and neither was their new drug. It was believed that cannabis gave the Mexicans an "unholy strength, and a bloodthirsty nature. The term "marijuana" was introduced as an attempt to link public perceptions of the drug to the dark - skinned underclass, a perception strengthened exponentially by the use of cannabis by black jazz musicians of the 1930's. We are still suffering today from the results of the public buying into these lies and false assumptions.

In my own life, I have been smoking cannabis from the age of 14 onwards, and I plan to
continue until the day I die.

In my next blog, I will be discussing what in my opinion is the second most influential entheogen of all time, LSD - 25. Feel free to offer feedback or enter into dialogue. Untill next time.

Renaissance of the Paleolithic - An Introduction

Terence McKenna said in Food of the Gods that the study of ethnobotany was to him, the quest for the original Tree of Knowledge.  The magical plant that bequeathed unto man the Promethean gift of self awareness.  This is an idea that has held a fascination to me my whole life.

     I remember the first time I ever came across LSD in a book, S.E. Hinton's That Was Then, This Is Now.  The character who takes it, a 14 year old hippie kid named M&M, has this terrible hallucination where he envisions himself inside his own stomach, being devoured by carnivorous colors.  Sounds awful, right? It was obviously meant as a warning.  A description of something no sane kid, of course, would ever want to put himself through.  But I just remember being very curious.  I was reminded of the NeverEnding Story, when Atreyu had to face the mirror test.  I felt that if you could go through an experience like that and NOT be driven insane, that ultimately you would be better for it.

    At the age of 12, I was starting to become a real person, and I felt inside me a need for a ritual that would allow me to grasp my adulthood.  Native American cultures have used combinations of plant based concoctions and fasting to send their young warriors on Vision Quests of manhood for thousands of years.  They provided personal and powerful rites of passage for the young, a solitary talk with God that gave them something I believe we are lacking in American culture today- a sense of communion with the natural world and an understanding of one's place in it.  And the question remains.  What is today's young warrior to do, when he feels the need for vision quest stirring within him?  In today's fear driven and highly propagandized world, there is currently no safe outlet for him to pursue vis-a-vis hallucinogenic ritual.  My contention is that there should be.

    I took a very reckless approach with using entheogens in my youth, primarily because there was no trusted and informed source of guidance available to me.  Which is not to say that many of the most beautiful and life changing experiences of my life were not induced by these compounds.  Undoubtedly they have been.  But I was fortunate to be strong enough. Some of my experiences were, in fact, as terrifying or worse then anything fictional written by S.E. Hinton, or anyone else for that matter.  It is my intention, on this site, to make them available to others.  My hope is that they will prove valuable as a source of vicarious knowledge.

    Since my first hallucinogenic experience, with Datura stramonium at the age of 14, I have had literally thousands of trips.  I have taken them with the help of every ally I could find.  By now this includes absolutely every commonly used entheogen, as well as some that are quite strange and obscure.  I have decided to start with the most common of all, Cannabis sativa(and indica).  It will be the subject of my next post.  If you've made it this far, thanks for reading.  Come back anytime.        

Monday, March 28, 2011


This is the first post.  This blog's purpose is to educate about botany and to be a place to speak my mind.

Over and Out