Marijuana as Family Medicine and Sacrament by Synonymous
Synonymous is a teacher residing in the Pacific Northwest. This essay is a rare view into third-generation familial use of marijuana in a moderate, supportive, respectful setting. It provides a true counterpoint to reflexive conservative views on the issues of parental guidance, while offering suggestions for proper and controlled employment of what is described as the “breath of God.”
My family is afforded a unique set of circumstances that permit us to use cannabis with relative impunity. For a period of over 20 years, we two parents and our children have maintained an ongoing relationship with the form of cannabis known as marijuana. We regard it as a powerful medicine capable of healing our bodies, illuminating our minds, and raising our spirits. We recognize it as a spiritual sacrament, a part of our family religious practice and experience. For us, marijuana is a gift for which we are thankful and that we handle thoughtfully and respectfully.
While growing up our children were given the opportunity to learn about marijuana in a positive and wholesome setting from adults experienced in its use and knowledgeable about its characteristics, both positive and negative. Accordingly, we established and maintained a respect for the healing properties of marijuana. Each individual family member has been free to choose his or her own path regarding religious, medicinal, or recreational use of marijuana; and varied patterns have been chosen and followed. Personal use of marijuana has ranged from light to an appropriately moderate level, as discussed and agreed upon by the participants. Excessive or frivolous use is frowned upon and regarded as inappropriate for such an important and meaningful gift. Also, we recognize that marijuana use is a private family matter that cannot be openly discussed outside of the family or a small circle of like-minded friends because of potential problems from an external society that is generally uninformed or misinformed about these matters. Out teenage children were free to make their own individual decisions about sharing marijuana with their peers under appropriate and safe circumstances. This tended to occur primarily with friends who have similar views concerning marijuana. In many cases, these were children whose parents are friends of our entire family and share the same general experience with and feelings about marijuana.
Within our family, we learned together of the healing properties of cannabis; and we felt its reflected spiritual vibrations. When a child showed an interest, he or she was permitted to take a puff on a joint or a pipe. In this way, their curiosity was satisfied and they accepted our behavior as natural and good. They also observed the calm and loving demeanor that tends to be manifested by those partaking of the marijuana. Whenever a child wished to participate more fully, which usually occurred in the early teenage years, he or she was permitted to do so with proper guidance. Then, as they grew up, each child formed his or her own patterns of use. Some of their closest friends have been children of our friends who use marijuana. A natural bonding accompanies the sharing of marijuana, whether with a stranger at a rock concert of a life-long friend or a parent or a sibling. Also, within our family, marijuana-sharing has been a form of therapy. It has facilitated open and honest discussion that led to understanding, healing, and growth.
Our motivations for using cannabis have generally blended together as far as various aspects of positive and respectful use are concerned. While much of our sharing of the smoke appears to be casual and recreational, this description is inadequate. A toke on a joint is often accompanied by a gesture or a thought or feeling of gratitude for the gift of the healing herb. The reduction of physical or mental stress due to the marijuana’s effects may call forth a prayer of thanksgiving. An atmosphere of respect is observed by all of the participants. For most family members, this sharing occurs most typically after school or work. If a special dinner is being served and a group has gathered, a joint or pipe may be passed around for appetite enhancement and heightened enjoyment of the food.
As far as our teenagers were concerned, there was a general understanding that it was not cool to go to school stoned. This was never really an issue since they had the freedom and opportunity to have this experience at home among family members and friends. Many teenagers who abuse marijuana by getting high in inappropriate circumstances (including situations where they may be apprehended) do so because it is their only opportunity. They must do it in secrecy and hidden from their parents, and this colors what can be a rewarding and uplifting experience under the right conditions.
Within our family, we recognize the potential for misuse or even abuse of marijuana. We know that it can lead to surrendering inhibitions in unfavorable circumstances. This is a form of losing control, something that may occur with novices who have no understanding or guidelines concerning this powerful and holy medicine. There are settings in which the use of marijuana may cause discomfort among others; this is one of a variety of ways of giving the use of marijuana a bad reputation. Many users often learn about such things by trial and error, often strongly influenced by what their peers or mentors do and say. So, here again, serious proponents of marijuana as medicine or sacrament must take their guiding role seriously and set positive examples. This has proved to be a manageable and worthwhile goal both within our family and within our extended family of pot smokers.
Smoking a joint is our usual means for getting high; although some family members and friends prefer bongs or various types of pipes. Eating it (in brownies or cookies, for example), or mixing it into tea involve more preparations and planning; and a longer time is required before feeling the effects. Many pot smokers would actually prefer not to smoke from the standpoint of health issues. But there is an inclination to rationalize this by observing that only a relatively small amount of smoke is inhaled. With high quality sinsemilla, many veteran smokers will take only one to three “hits” on any one occasion; and they will limit the number of times they smoke to once or twice in the course of an evening. From my experience, it is really a waste of marijuana to smoke while you are already stoned and think that you can get higher and higher by smoking more and more. I believe this is in the mind of the individual more than the reality of the effects of the marijuana. Being high is an art; and experienced users know how to utilize their thoughts and mold the experience in the most affirmative and enjoyable ways. The “breath of God”, as some describe the holy smoke, is a powerful force with positive potentials. And, as with any powerful forces, it is best utilized and realized in positive ways through respect and appreciation.