Archive for the ‘Read’ Category

Experiencing Highs to Deepen Understanding by Wendy from Australia

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I have been teaching in secondary schools in Australia for 19 years. I have spent much of that time as the head teacher, often undertaking the principal’s role. The head teacher in our school system deals with difficult students when the regular classroom teacher has not been able to cope. Regular evening use of marijuana has helped me consider human beings more deeply and look at various reasons why people act as they do.

I have witnessed parents and teachers lacking compassion and understanding, yelling at children, pointing fingers at them and acting in a confrontational manner. I believe that, because I regularly relax with a pipe with a small mulled bud, I understand more about the children I teach. I can see the other side to every argument. My mind is not a closed vault anymore. I have noticed that when I enjoy my evening departure from tension, I am able to think deeply and fairly, and develop a truly human approach to my teaching job.

During the school day, I remember the evening musings and I am able to deal well with tense situations. I am able to ask insightful questions of teachers and students which helps to ease confrontational situations very quickly, and I encourage individuals to consider each other’s position in the manner they generally have not tried before.

As far as my health is concerned, as I have been one of those unfortunate ones who have had to deal with pain on a regular basis and have suffered side effects from prescription medication, the delicate green leaf has given me constant relief. I will continue to enjoy the highs with knowledge that my memory and awareness of life are only heightened by its use.

Elevating Consciousness by MCLH86

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I am a 19 year old black female from Ocala Florida. I work at a coffee shop, and attend CFCC full time, I plan to major in education . I was browsing the Internet one day and I stumbled upon your website, and I loved it. I felt compelled to write to you because so much of the information I read was the truest I’ve encountered in a long time.

The first time I smoked pot was in Orlando with a childhood friend, I was 16. I took a few hits off her pipe, and felt nothing, so I decided that I would never try it again and nodded off to sleep. A few weeks later, I had a change of heart and decided to give it one more try, and this time, it worked. NEVER in my life have I felt so content and euphoric. We laughed for what seemed like hours, we bonded, we got the munchies and we fell asleep. My first time getting high was an experience I will always remember and cherish.

After that my usage was sporadic, but each time was better than the time before. After I graduated high school in August, I began to smoke more regularly, meaning once a day. I have been a regular user for approximately nine months and I would not take it back for anyone or anything. Here are a few reasons why: Smoking pot elevates my consciousness and awareness. It allows me to think freely and abstractly without limitations. My senses are heightened, leaving me with a feeling of integration with my surroundings. It has allowed me to forge relationships with people I ordinarily would not have, and it helped me connect with a spiritual side of myself that I never knew existed. I have nothing but good things to say about marijuana usage and I encourage everyone I know to smoke, and not just people in my peer group either.

The way pot gets used by many young people I know, is disrespectful to me. Pot is not a drug you use to “get fucked up,” it is, in my opinion, supposed to be used to relax, bond with people, and have some solid conversation. If you want to get messed up, go get drunk, not high.

I take good care of my body, I am a vegetarian and excersize regularly, pot is my only indulgence and it angers me that it gets treated the way it does by the law. Sitting on my back porch, smoking a joint with my brother and having a great conversation with him, is considered a criminal act, and that is beyond my comprehension. The government needs to be spending the taxpayers hard-earned money on something more substantial than putting teenagers in jail for smoking pot. The whole idea is maddening, and perpetuated by ignorance. I would like to do anything in my power to lift the veil and make our government see the error of their ways.

Cannabis through the Years by KNL

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

KNL is 47 years old who first used cannabis at age 14.

Thank you for your website. I’ve been looking for a place to connect with other marijuana users, and your site is a good start.

I first smoked marijuana at fourteen, and I always preferred it to alcohol at parties. During my late teens, I moved to a very rural area because of a relationship. There everybody smoked and I began to smoke daily. I probably smoked too much, and I didn’t have much initiative to move my life along.

When the relationship failed and I returned to “civilization” at the age of nineteen, I went back to school and work. I didn’t have any problem returning to a more goal-oriented lifestyle, but I still smoked frequently, to wind down after work, or focus on homework.

I started seeing the man who became my husband when I was 22. Marijuana was an integral part of our time together. We married, and I had our first child a year later. Our second followed three years later.

During the next 20 years, I smoked very little. I was intent on being a good mom, and I found being stoned incompatible with parenthood. For instance, if a friend took the kids swimming, giving my husband and me the rare opportunity to get high, I found the experience marred by paranoia about the kids. I smoked rarely when they were young, though my husband smoked intermittently throughout those years. As they grew old enough to understand, we did share our feelings about marijuana with the children, but they never saw us use it.

As my younger child prepared to leave for college, I began smoking again. It has enhanced my life in many ways. Since I work full-time, I have a lot of housework to do on weekends. Marijuana has helped me enjoy putting my house in order. My husband and I are again enjoying it together, and it has enhanced our appreciation of each other, the life we’ve built, and our cozy home. It has also enhanced our sexual relationship, not as an aphrodisiac so much as an enhancer of openness and relaxation. Life is good.

Both of our kids (now 23 and 20) have tried marijuana. My daughter smokes it regularly, my son, rarely. Both understand and accept our use of marijuana, and both are intelligent, educated young people whose lives have not been adversely affected in any way by our family’s (age-appropriate) openness.

My 71 year-old mother recently had an extremely painful bout of sciatica that sent her home from the hospital on a myriad of pain pills. The meds did not keep her pain-free, and they prevented her from getting a good night’s sleep. I suggested medical marijuana, and brought her some. Not only did it help her sleep, it helped the pain better than the heavy-duty pharmaceuticals she’d been taking. I was delighted to be able to help.

A good friend is a medical marijuana supplier, so he supplies my mom and my husband, who has found marijuana very helpful in reducing the pain and sound distortion loud noises cause him as a result of Meniere’s Disease. My husband has gone to the trouble of getting a doctor’s prescription, so he, at least, is quasi-legal here in California.

When I “come out” to long term friends about my marijuana use, it turns out that many of them use it, too. And yet, in my community use is not open. There must be millions of responsible, hard-working, middle class, middle aged people who smoke. In spite of this, in our culture, the official word is that its awful stuff. I miss the community of marijuana users I had in the seventies. I’d also like reassurance that my level of use (2-3 hits four or five times a week) is not excessive. Where can I find an appropriate discussion group on the internet?

After Two Decades of Just Saying No, I Finally Said Yes! by "Sergio Reyes"

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Sergio is a 35 year old male journalist who lives in Puerto Rico

I first smoked marijuana at 32 years old. I had never smoked cigarettes or tried any drugs (a product of the Just Say No era, and a good, conservative upbringing). I certainly don’t regret not smoking in my teen years. In social situations I would drink moderately. But through reading about music and the way musicians talked about drugs, it became clear to me that maybe marijuana wasn’t as bad as the government said, though cocaine, crack, heroin and other stuff could destroy lives.

After much research on the Internet, reading both pro and against marijuana arguments and with a little help from a friend, I finally inhaled. The first couple of times I did not get high. It was frustrating, so I kept trying until I got it. It was a sublime experience. Fast forward three years later, and I have gone past the experimentation process and now consider myself a wise regular smoker: I know my limit and regulate my habit. I only smoke on weekends, almost always at night, at home or at a concert. My favorite ritual is to smoke and listen to music…and sex is great, too! I have gone through a couple of weeks or a month without smoking and have felt no “cravings” or withdrawal symptoms. I have had a couple of “bad trips;” the accelerated heart rate, the dry mouth, the paranoia, but have been able to remain in control. As a matter of fact, going through bad trips have been good experiences in terms of learning how to cope with unpleasant feelings.

I’m not interested in any hard drugs (though I have some curiosity about natural psychoactives like peyote and such; I’d also like to try hashish). Certainly, the high of marijuana is much better than that of alcohol, and weed can give me a spiritual or introspective experience. Other times it’s just joy and the usual hilarity. Some good ideas for my profession have come while being high, but mostly it’s about enjoying the heightened sensitivity for listening to music and eating a special dish. I can tell that smoking marijuana does not lead to the abuse of addictive drugs when it’s done by a responsible adult who’s not trying to “escape” from troubles or past traumas. It hasn’t affected my working habits, either.

It’s frustrating to have marijuana be illegal, and not be able to smoke it outdoors, or in the presence of people who frown upon it because they’d think of me as a drug addict, and to know that even to go and try to raise awareness of its uses and to have a pro-legalization stand would mean the loss of my job. Puerto Rico has a big crime problem, mostly related to drug trafficking, so there’s not a good climate for the decriminalization of marijuana. . But I believe that legalizing marijuana is the answer, not prohibition. The key is: responsible use of marijuana, alcohol or any other psychoactive drug.

A Scientist Reports on the Contribution of Cannabis to his Work by Anonymous

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

As a scientist I have spent years training the analytical side of my mind. I have learned to be suspicious of my data, to look for ways to test the reasonableness of my results and arrive at the same conclusions by alternative means. It is an active process of mental discipline: idealizing physical situations, making assumptions to formulate a soluble problem, and applying logic to determine the outcome.

What I have sometimes neglected is an awareness of the wider significance of my work and the sense of wonder that led me into the field to begin with. Often I have been unable to see an answer that lies before me. Part of the blame lies in the very training that enables me to do complicated analytical work. To concentrate on the aspects of a problem that I have included in my model, I ignore apparent distractions that sometimes hold the key to a solution. This happens especially when I work with computers, which can do nothing with the mere suggestion or hint that something important has been left out. It is a human habit to go over old ground repeatedly, seeing what you believe to be there rather than what is actually there (the reason people cannot proofread their own writing). I get high for short periods to remedy this problem. It allows me to turn off the rational side of my mind and think creatively (and randomly). It temporarily cancels the limiting effects of my training and allows me to see my work in a different light.

It would be inefficient to follow up these new ideas while high, because I am too easily distracted and my analytical capacity is impaired. Instead I enjoy the relaxation and keep notebooks recording my thoughts in lists and outlines. Both the relaxation and the observation of otherwise overlooked details have been valuable contributions to my work.

A Musician Describes his use of Marijuana for Creative Purposes by Anonymous

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Over the years, marihuana has served as a creative stimulant to my work as a performer and my more occasional inspirations as a composer. Almost all my choral pieces and songs have been composed partly or wholly under the influence: melodic and rhythmic ideas just pop into my head during relaxed and happy moments – “points of creative release” – and these seminal ideas are formed into a whole composition over a period of days to years.

Marihuana has also helped me as a performer to gain insights into the meaning of musical masterpieces. Practicing new repertoire while using marihuana is not a good idea, since the keen mental concentration needed to learn notes is somewhat impaired. But once I have learned a piece fluently, marihuana enhances my understanding of what it means as an entirety.

On an average practice day, I work in the morning after drinking a few cups of coffee. In the late afternoon I often have a little workout in the gym, then come back to the piano, smoke some marihuana, and practice enjoyably and productively for one or two hours. I never try to perform in public while stoned, but I often listen to music after smoking marihuana, as do many other musicians I know.

I recently saw a television special on the life of Louis Armstrong in which his lifelong affection for marihuana was pointed out. He found it both an inspiration for his music and a balm against life’s trials. It works the same way for me; it’s one of my best friends (although I would prefer to take it in another form than smoking).

A Closer Look at Mary Jane by “Sally”

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Sally is a 21 year old female college student who works as a crisis counselor and intends to go to graduate school in biological psychiatry in about a year. She writes:

Dr. Grinspoon,

I understand that what I’ve written here contradicts the message you are trying to send. However, I noticed that you posted “How I Learned I didn’t Have a Head for Ganja” by Jamie Gaffney, which similarly contradicts this message. I know mine is more opposing, but I feel like people deserve to hear different points of view. Thank you for your consideration!

A Closer Look at Mary Jane

I have been a regular smoker for almost two years. I had no interest in it at first, but under the influence of my boyfriend who constantly smoked, I found for a short time that its effects significantly improved not only relations with him but also with myself. It calmed me down tremendously at a point where obsessive compulsiveness as well as anxiety were creeping into my life. I was also introduced to music as I had never been before. I could be entertained for hours listening to my Ipod and basking in deep relaxation and euphoria. I felt more creative and aware. Movies were amazing, food was amazing. I felt enhanced in every respect of the word—for a while.

Paranoia would creep in every now and again, but I felt that the good outweighed the bad and continued to smoke. After a while, I started to get the feeling that perhaps my experience on pot bordered on illusion. What I have realized after much research and observation into this drug is that just like other drugs, it can cause psychological dependence. This idea is frightening if you really think about what it implies. In a normal state, we perceive the world, think, relate to others, etc. in certain ways that come naturally to us. When THC disrupts the very delicate chemical balance in our brains, it effects our perceptions, thoughts, memory, and various other aspects controlled by the nervous system. Of course, not all of us are heavy smokers. Some of us smoke on weekends or take a hit every now and then. But my question is, why risk it? Why disrupt the balance at all?

Marijuana appeals to people who are smart. Most of the people who have written on this website are intellectuals who are trying to pursue a way of life that is rewarding and enhancing. I am that way as well. It certainly infuriates me that the medicinal value of marijuana is overlooked and research into it is restricted. However, its recreational use is what concerns me. It concerns me to the point that I flushed a 60 dollar eighth of KB (“kind bud”) at the moment I decided to quit. I’ve had a therapist for years who I believe to be very wise, and she has known about my use of the drug. In one of our sessions together, we were debating over marijuana use. Obviously I was for it and she was against. I asked her, “If someone told you that if you took this substance, it would open you up spiritually and make you more creative, etc., wouldn’t you be interested?” The thing is, we are all we need to be. We don’t need this substance to make us more.

What I like about Marijuana by “Mackenzie Cross”

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

The author is a 55 year-old Canadian male who works in the technology sector with a specialization in data communications and project management. He has been smoking marijuana for the better part of 40 years, while at the same time raising a family, working hard, and writing the occasional piece of poor erotica. Life is good.

I don’t mind, I really don’t. After smoking pot for the last forty years or so (I only started when I was eighteen), I have grown used to the name calling: pot-head, doper, stoner, freak, etc. I have grown used to the stereotypical image of the marijuana user as a lazy, laid-back, un-productive, long-haired, caricature of either Cheech, or Chong, not to mention the more recent attempts on the part of some who would have me viewed as a terrorist. Terrorist for goodness sake!

Segue: Hey, you-dere, Mr. DrugCzarMan. You want to stop terrorism? Easy as pie, get more people high, fewer will die, and that ain’t no lie. Is that simple enough for you, frackhead?

I don’t mind, I really don’t. I don’t mind being viewed by my society as a criminal, someone on equal footing as a thief, a pimp, and a murderer. I don’t mind the risk of a jail sentence, the social stigma, the sideways glances. I don’t mind people telling me to “grow up and act my age,” or wondering at my lack of ambition to consume more, own more, and get on board with the system, join the establishment, tune out, drop in, and turn off, and all the other platitudes and diatribes that have been heaped on me down through the years.

You see, I really don’t mind, because I really like marijuana.

As I look back over my forty years of involvement with Herb I feel that it has in no way had a negative impact on my life. I have two university degrees in a highly technical field, raised two families, sent children through university, met my child support payments, had a pretty decent and responsible career, and made enough money to afford, if not the finest things in life, anything that I have really felt I needed (and then some). I have had loving relationships, and am happily married to the most wonderful person I know (who never gets high, but likes it when I do), volunteered for charitable work (and given money to the charities of my choice), and paid my taxes. In short, I think it has been a pretty good, average sort of life, the sort which any healthy Canadian has a right to expect with hard work, a good attitude, and moderate ambition.

And during this entire time I have toked-up on a regular basis, a couple of times a week, and sometimes more than that.

Now, at age 55, I am feeling pretty healthy, looking still young, my blood pressure is low, my heart seems in pretty good shape, my cholesterol is high (but it’s the good cholesterol, so they tell me), and most importantly, I don’t have too much in the way of stress in my life. Sure, sometimes I wonder how the bills are going to get paid, or if my kids will be able to look after themselves, or how I will look after my mother who suffers from dementia, but even these things never stress me too much.

You see, I like marijuana.

I like all sorts of things about marijuana. I like the way it tastes going down in my favourite bong, all sweet and dank. I like the first rush when time turns slow and liquid, and my hearing goes acute, and my focus intensifies. I like the way food tastes, the way country air smells, and the way water goes down my throat cool and clean. Cause its true that if you smoke, you will want water. The two go hand in hand.

I like the way a fine single malt scotch tastes when there is a nice coating of herb on my tongue, like velvet fire. I like marijuana because of the enhancement it brings when I make love to a fine woman, the way she tastes when I lick her, the way she smells, the way our bodies move together. I like listening to my favourite tunes, from Bach to Bad Religion, always finding something new and different to hear. I like watching great old movies, even the ones I have seen before, and I still laugh my head off watching episodes of Faulty Towers though I have seen them more times than I can count.

I like playing computer games when I am high, racing games in particular. Being high allows a suspension of belief, puts you in the zone. And, on long cold winter nights, it is most enjoyable to get online with your buddies, take your well-setup cars out onto Monza, or Spa, and go head to head for hours.

And I like marijuana when I read. I slow down, take my time, reading every word, enjoying the visuals of the whole experience. Go ahead, read Titus Groan by M. Peake the next time you are high and tell me what you think.

What I like about marijuana is that I don’t even have to be a farmer to grow it. Anyone can grow it. If you have 10 sq meters somewhere in your back yard, you can grow as much of the stuff as you will ever need (feed your head baby!). Just add water and sun, and you are done. In fact you can probably do it with less than 2 square meters in your basement if that is all the space you have.

I like the way marijuana makes me creative. Stupidly creative at times, but without a doubt I have had some of my best ideas while high. Not only that, but I like the whole creative process when I get together with Herb. I like writing music, writing stories, designing games, playing with Lego and building a model roller coaster (and if you have never had a set of Ban Dai’s Space Warp I am so sorry for you, brother; one of the finest stoner toys ever created).

I like marijuana when I am out in the woods, digging the trees, and the birds, and the sound of the wind through the leaves, and the joyful abandon which is mother nature. Sometimes I move faster, sometimes slower, and I feel my body alive and energized and grooving the whole thing, and I say to myself, “Who needs TV when the whole world is my tube?”

BubblesI like marijuana because it reminds to be a child every now and then, to become light and happy and filled with wonder at the world. In fact, I rather pity all those people who have never had a chance to blow soap bubbles while under the influence of premium sativa. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be primo. It could even be the what-is-dat-shit variety and you can still have a great time. I should know, and I’ve got the pictures to prove it.

And while I don’t want to get too spiritual or metaphysical or cosmic or anything, I gotta admit that one of the things I like about marijuana is the way I enjoy hanging out with other people who like marijuana as well. Maybe not all of them, but lots of them. The way people mellow out when they are high, or get infused with a rich positive energy. You laugh, you talk, you become friends. I am not sure if this is because of their character or the influence of Herb, or some combination of the two, but when you are sitting around the table, doing some tokes, listening to tunes, catching some rays, whatever, you always seem to connect, solid and tight. The vibe is good, the energy is flowing, and you have a good time. You become a lover, not a fighter, somehow realizing that negativity is just a zero-sum game. You find you have more in common with others than you ever suspected.

Though of course every now and then it is possible to meet a member of the tribe who operates somewhat outside the norm but is tolerated and accepted nonetheless. Like Freaky Fred (who I wrote a song about) who could talk your head off for hours at a time, non-stop, never repeating himself in a cascading torrent of words of which even Niagra herself might have been jealous. Of course, FF was the only guy I ever met who used pot to come down from a high. He did a lot of acid. I mean a lot of acid. He said that pot would mellow him out when the trip got a bit frantic.

Sorry for that diversion. Can you guess who recently had a hit?

What I like about marijuana is the energy it gives you. If you’re tired it can lift you up, give you a nice burst of energy, get you going again. And if you really should be going to sleep, there is nothing like a small bit of something sweet and heavy to put you to bed and make sure you get a good night sleep.

And unlike any other mind/body altering substance I have ever tried (including cigs which don’t do jack shit but it took me thirty years of being stupid at a pack a day to figure that out 10 years ago) MJ does not seem to ask for much of anything in return. If I don’t toke for a week or so I feel no ill affects at all, even a month, even 6 months (though I really don’t like to do that). And as an added bonus, when I have not smoked in a bit, I know that my first hit will be a wonderful bitchin’ piece of work. Woof!

The flip side, which is to say trying to abuse Herb by smoking too much, doesn’t really seem possible, at least not in my case. I know there is a limit to how blasted I can get, after that, smoking more really doesn’t do much, except maintain me at that same level of blastness (not a word), and no matter how much I smoke, not much more is going to happen. Almost as if there is some sort of self-regulator built right in to the way Herb was put together.

Which reminds me, another thing I like about marijuana is all the wonderful words and trivia of the Tribe of Herb. Who else would ever think of 420 as a rallying cry for a global movement? BTW – my own take on the thing is in keeping with those who have read Douglas Adams. Its not “420” dude, its 42-0. Deep, eh?

Segue: You know, I suppose this means I will also have to write about the things I don’t like about marijuana, just to be fair. But not today.

If I had to try and summarize it all, to just one thing to try and explain it to others, I would say that what I like about marijuana, and again without going all organic on you, is that it gives me hope. I agree with Jack Herer and others, that we could solve a whole lot of problems if we could just get the other 99% of the world to understand the potential of the plant. All sorts of problems could be quickly, easily, effectively, and cleanly dealt with by the widespread cultivation and commercialization of this plant. And I am convinced with decriminalization would also come the funding required for the full-on research projects needed to really understand the total potential of Herb.

I could of course rant on about the other benefits of decriminalization, but you’ve heard them before. Hell, even the cops agree with the Tribe of Herb nowadays. The men in blue know that the Tribe ain’t no threat.

Of course, to be fair, an added benefit of decriminalization would be that everyone could grow their own. Now wouldn’t that be righteous? I’ve never liked the whole idea of selling weed. I know, I’ve paid for it a lot down through the years, but it always somehow seemed to tarnish the whole experience. Why pay for something that you should be able to grow in your back yard, or the basement? It is such a simple and easy thing to do, especially once you don’t have to hide it! Dats de way god planned it, methinks. And really, if you could, if it was legal, wouldn’t you want to share your seeds and clones with your friends and loved ones? Spread the wealth? Why should anyone have to pay to become a member of the Tribe of Herb? In the words of the ME: Overgrow the planet!

I think I’m winding down now, though I could probably still name a few. Did I tell you that one of the things I like about marijuana is when I dip my tongue into a succulent, steaming, sort of ever-widening… yeah, I’m sure I did. (NB: Thanks to FrankZ for giving me permission from the afterlife to rip off his words).

If you’re still here, I’m impressed. Thanks dude.

In the immortal words of Bill and Ted, “Be excellent to one another, and party on dude!”

Peace and balance.

What Marijuana has Done for Me by Steven

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Steven is a 19-year-old computer programmer who has lived most of his life in northeastern Oklahoma. He uncovers the life of the mind, tolerance for others, and the gracious memory of honeysuckles.

The first time I smoked pot, I felt nothing peculiar or foreign. I wasn’t really disappointed because I knew almost nothing of what to expect so I just thought “so what’s the big deal about pot?” I tried it a second time several months afterwards and I felt a little relaxed but that was the extent of my intoxication. Several months later I tried it a third time, whoooaaa!!! I wasn’t sure if I just had to warm up to it or if the stuff I had used prior to that encounter was just poor quality but what I was sure of was that this gear was indeed potent. The time on the digital clock seemed to fly by but the basic sense of time created by the environment around me (moving my arms, walking, watching the sun set, trying to cook ramen noodles [believe me no easy task], watching people talk, hearing myself talk) almost halted to a stand still.

I exhibited all the classic physical signs of intoxication: Red eyes; a serious case of the giggles (note to first time users: DO NOT watch South Park the movie if it is your first time to smoke pot, you will end up feeling like you have done 40,000 sit-ups by the time the show is over, trust me, I know from experience). But besides that, I just plain liked the way it made me feel: Relaxed; introspective; ebullient. There was a creative ease about the concomitant euphoria that I found irresistible. Music that I absolutely thought I would have no business listening to (rap, punk rock, and jazz) suddenly just made sense to me, almost as if I could tell where the artist was coming from. I lost all my stereotypes, all my judgmental attitudes toward certain minorities and individuals. It truly was an awakening. I had a new appreciation and respect for things that I once irrationally dismissed as “beneath” me.

Memories seemed to force themselves upon me, very vivid but very gentle. I started to remember things in my childhood that made me truly happy and joyful. Things I had either forgotten or just simply didn’t give the time of day to. I remembered raising my hands up as a signal for my mother that I wanted to be carried and the utter joy I felt when she would reach down and pull me up to her chest. I realized how much she really did, in fact, love me when I remembered how I longed for her goodnight kisses, of which never ran dry. I remembered the very simple joys of my very simple existence and marijuana helped me relive them all over again. Playing cowboys and Indians with my cousins at our grandpa’s, walking with my grandpa through the pastures behind his house where he would stop and reach up into a persimmon tree to pick one of the luscious fruit for me to indulge myself on, how my sister, my brother, and I would spend hours at the honey suckle bushes extracting that oh-so-prized drop of nectar that we couldn’t seem to get enough of while avoiding the “mean” bumble bees.

The list goes on and on but the point is, this plant made me realize that there is something to live for; the day to day simple pleasures of life that our society has ignored, neglected, trampled under its feet, raped and basically destroyed. It made me realize that life isn’t all about being numero uno, acceptable to the majority’s point of view, being the sexiest, smartest, richest or what have you. Now, sometimes I just sit there and open and close my fingers and think, “Isn’t that amazing? My fingers are moving just because my brain is telling them to.” Some people may think, “Man! He’s just been smokin’ way too much pot!”, but they’re probably just envious of the fact that I can genuinely and honestly appreciate the intricacies of life. I never thought I would genuinely and honestly ever find solace in anything but when it happened, believe me, I almost cried.

Cannabis has had a profound impact on my life to the point where I no longer walk down the street and see a guy with a green Mohawk and think to myself, “****ing punk, I bet he don’t even have a job,” or see a man sitting on the curb with a cup full of change sitting in front of him and think “get a job, you dirty, worthless bastard.” Yeah, I know it sounds bad, and that is why I am so glad to be rid of that mentality. It motivated me to learn more about how I can help people that want to be helped and how to live in peace and total acceptance of those that don’t. It motivated me to study philosophy, algebra, chemistry, and history on my OWN time. And as I stated before, the list goes on and on. But most of all, take it or leave it, it serves as a means of enlightenment. I am much more open-minded and unbiased. And I’m not going to deny it, getting high makes me feel good, and isn’t that what life is all about?

We're Not Bluffing Anymore by "E. Cleaves"

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

A materialistic couple with a hidden past awaken to the memory of their true selves. They shed their masks, yet remain at the dance.

Turns out we both like nude beaches. Who could’ve guessed it? Now I know her secret. She knows mine. We have marijuana to thank for it. For as long as I can remember, my wife and I cultivated images of innocence and sweetness, each of us thinking that that’s what the other wanted. Not so hard to believe if you consider the kinds of pre-cast molds this society expects people to slip into. We wiggled and stuffed ourselves into the All-American form, stamped ourselves pure with Laura Ashley and Brooks Brothers, and moved to Peoria. Fear of betrayal didn’t crop up because we lived a thousand miles from anyone who’d known either of us back when. Careers and money formed the focus of our lives. We scaled ladders quickly, gained notice from people at the top of our professions, and moved to larger and larger cities. Brighter lights, famous restaurants, bigger names, larger houses, and newer cars. We knew how to act happy, did so, and were good at it, but what bubbled to the surface didn’t come from very deep. We talked a lot about IRA’s and vacation homes, wallpaper and antiques, dogs and Porsches because that’s what we thought we were supposed to do.

That’s what parent pleasers do. They live lives subject to someone else’s expectations. Thirteen years into this, we’d had enough. We realized that we were walking on a volcano and our marriage could explode at any time. What opened our eyes to this we still don’t know. Probably just plain old fatigue. Tired of the chase. But we knew enough to change directions and accepted an offer to move to a small coastal California town.

First impression of our new environment: time stopped in about May of 1969. Environmentalists dominate local politics. Old VW Buses outnumber luxury cars. Sandals, no wing tips. Natural, no make-up. Organic, no pesticides. Bob Marley, not Garth Brooks. We didn’t know the land and couldn’t peg any of the faces yet all was well understood, if not familiar. The people in our new community marched and protested their way out here several decades ago. They brought with them new beliefs and value systems; and, some of them brought along a good supply of cannabis seeds. New friends began telling us that they’d been growing and smoking marijuana for more than 30 years. It had become a part of their lifestyle. They asked me if I liked getting stoned. I laughed, looked at my wife, and navigated my way out of the conversation.

My wife and I hardly talked about it. The next time at our friends’ house, however, I smoked their home grown herb as the joints passed from one person to the next. My wife’s reaction was guarded and it would take her a bit longer to decide to try it. Being stoned opened my mind and heightened my senses to such a degree that I saw in detail the path to shedding the actor’s costume I’d been wearing and letting the original copy of myself show through. For the first time in my recent memory I had followed my own instincts, laid myself open to the judgment or indifference of others, and found within myself a chance to be better. I had relearned what happiness feels like.

My use of marijuana became more frequent until I was smoking about every other day. Now a year in our new home, my wife was still reluctant to try it, although I’m convinced that she’d experienced some contact highs. In fact, it was she who correctly noted that the reason we seemed so comfortable with our new friends lay in their sense of peace, simplicity, honesty, and openness. As it happened, she told me this on a night when I’d enjoyed a particularly smooth and pleasing joint. We explored what she’d said and, with inhibitions removed, I was willing to talk openly and candidly about it all and concluded that we were not the what-you-see-is-what-you-get people our friends were and that it was time that we smoked our way out of our old, established ways and out of the kind of thinking that had come with us from our past. My wife decided to try it.

Marijuana induced conversations, the likes of which we’d never had in all our years of marriage, followed. I confessed that, far from being a novice with the sacred herb, I had eaten ganja brownies at concerts as far back as high school and college and loved every bite. I told of my roommate who was a grower and how I rode with him to get his seeds and cultivating equipment. We’ve had good laughs about it, real laughs, for the first time since we’ve known each other.

We learned that each of us had experienced deep intimacy with other people before we’d met, something we’d each long denied and always avoided discussing. We found that we both wanted to go for a romp on a hedonistic nude beach, and we discovered that neither of us had ever found much satisfaction in the bigness and richness of our previous life. We both confessed to problems and dysfunctions in our families and a lack of good marital role models.

Interestingly, none of this hurt. Marijuana, instead of leading us to confrontations about hiding secrets or lying all these years, filled us with a desire to discuss these things all the more. Nor did we accept all these revelations as just minor aggravations. We received them as if they were expected. We saw each other, for the first time, as flawed as everyone else and found in that a kind of relief that dropped the weight of stainlessness and conformity forever. Our use of the herb continues and we find out more about ourselves all the time. But far from being stoner dropouts, we use marijuana prudently and we find that, just as our home life improves, so our work continues to improve because, we believe, we’re more relaxed in our approach to it.

It’s a state of being we realize others may find hard to accept. That’s fine with us. We had to break free, though. We’re both the products of a destructive, conservative way of thinking that leads people to fear that if they set one foot out of line they’ll have to face society’s meanness. I’m convinced that this contributed to the behavior of our early years.

But in the end, we’ve discovered that what we both really want is contentment with what we have rather than the perfectionism of accumulation and put-ons. Marijuana has landed us solidly into a groove of change; it’s broken down barriers between us, and probably saved our marriage and family. We have a heightened sense of what we’re all about as a couple, we’re better parents, and more compassionate people, and now know that at our core is a need for plain talk and self-content. Most important, we’re no longer bluffing our way through life. The moment is real for us now.