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.

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