Monday, April 05, 2010

My Relationship With The Marijuana Plant

I've had a relationship with the marijuana plant since I was basically 20 years old.

I always heard that pot was pushed on kids, especially since I had an aunt who was a teacher, but never once was it pushed on me. When I was about 15 years old, some friends on my hockey team offered to smoke a joint with me but when I wasn't interested they were content to smoke in the bathroom with a towel at the door. Now I know why but at the time I thought they were just being very respectful of my wish not to take part...and they never bugged me about not joining either. They were part of the rougher crowd, their parents partied, they partied, they listened to ACDC, Quiet Riot and that kind of thing...I don't think my parents would have wanted me hanging around with them outside of hockey but those were some good guys as far as I'm concerned.

In high school I was sort of an outsider, I was friendly with several cliques but not really a part of any of them. My only social activities were sports and school dances, for the most part. And I was pretty set in my mindset that pot was the same thing as magic mushrooms was the same thing as cocaine was the same thing as heroin, etc etc.

Once I moved into town in my second year of college, I finally had the freedom to spend as much time as I wanted with the group of friends I was developing. These friends came from different backgrounds, more or less well off, some professional parents, some more "working class", but most of these friends had been big partiers in high school and continued to do so in college. I hadn't been able to join in in high school, but I could in college. I learned that they had been smoking pot and sometimes eating magic mushrooms in high school, usually at the odd weekend party at someone's house. From what I had been told by those in "authority", I thought these people would all be junkies and skids by now but many of them were honors students who have now become doctors of this and that, or engineers or teachers or various other typically respected careers. I started to think that perhaps things weren't as black and white as I had been told.

So when I told a small group of good friends that I thought I might try mushrooms sometime, I didn't really know what to expect but they all suggested that I expect to laugh a lot. I won't share the whole story but it was a fantastically fun and laughter filled night that I suspect I will remember for the rest of my life. No damage was done, other than some mustard on the walls.

But when this night didn't leave me insane or drooling with madness in the need for my next fix or suddenly aching with the desire to step through the doorway to cocaine or heroin, I started to think that, at the very least, someone had not been telling me the entire truth. As such, when my roommates knocked on my door a few nights later to ask if I wanted to smoke a joint with them...well this time I was willing to give it a try.

I know, I know..."that's the doorway, you idiot" is what some people might say, so at this point just let me say that in all the 16 or 17 years since then, and for all the times that I have had all different sorts of illegal narcotics offered to me simply because of my looks and my profession, I have never been tempted to try any non-naturally occurring narcotic since then. No cocaine (although I cannot even count the times that I have been around it), no heroin, no crystal meth, etc etc.

I suppose nicotine from cigarettes should fit into that category and I did smoke them from around 19 until a year ago, so I should list that in the interests of honesty. And I should also add that I did try LSD twice in that first year. But I didn't like the fact that it was not naturally occurring or the fact that if someone made a mistake in the lab in making it...I and my friends could, realistically if not very likely, go insane.

I liked the fact that nature created these plants and this connection with humanity. Even though I was consuming them solely as "recreation" at the time (an odd term since it generally involved plenty of sitting), I could feel the deeper connection that they offered. I could feel a significant spiritual aspect to these plants. I could feel my mind opening, and not full of holes but really opening in terms of empathetic capacity and things like the ability to better grasp complexity. I was becoming more aware of systems and patterns rather than individuals and moments. Basically, I could feel my consciousness expanding. Granted, experience itself was a part of this...but these plants helped with how I was interacting with this experience, and how I was integrating it.

In retrospect, I am thankful that I was guided away from experiencing "psychedelic" plants until I was more developed as an adult. I still believe that imbibing these chemicals, even though they are natural, before a certain age and without the right kind of guidance, really can be very harmful. I think our personalities need to be more firmly established before we start fine-tuning, as I see psychedelic experience to be.

But my intention is not so much to write about psychedelics but about marijuana itself.

I wanted to know more about the effects of the plant so I took what chances I could find to read or otherwise learn about the plant and its effects. I learned about a whole intricate web of possibilities that the marijuana plant offers, outside of its psychedelic effects. I learned that it is perhaps the most resilient plant on the planet, capable of growing in a great variety of climates. I learned about its nutritive potential, that its seeds are far and away the most nutritious of the cereals. Anyone who spends some time looking into the nutritive qualities of the hemp or marijuana seed will likely soon find themselves thinking that they seem almost ideally designed for our dietary consumption. Then there is the fiber, which many people are starting to learn to be perhaps the strongest natural fiber on the planet. There are literally thousands of potential and significant uses for the marijuana plant, and its non-psychedelically active cousin hemp.

And we haven't really begun to explore the health potential of marijuana. It seems that the two main strains of marijuana, sativa and indica, each have various potentials so that crossbreeding to produce various mixtures can offer different qualities such as pain relief, appetite suppression OR stimulation, anti-depression, etc. In time, I hope to be able to do some research into these possibilities...or at least to see someone else have the chance to do this research.

I really do feel that marijuana offers an awful big part of our salvation, and perhaps that of the planet.

Here's a nice little video on this subject. I have been meaning to share it for quite awhile now. I re-watch it every couple of months.

I could likely blabber on about this for paragraph after paragraph but I think I'll stop here for now.

Peace and comfort, brothers and sisters. And grow more pot!!


Aimee said...

Great post. I haven't smoked pot in many years now but I would certainly take it medicinally if I had the need. Our absurd vilification of this useful plant is really a shame.

Teresa said...

When I moved to my acreage, I had tons of "Iowa ditchweed" growing all over. It was pretty worthless for any type of high, but it grew really well. I'll never forget watching my dad on the good ole' Sears riding lawnmower. He was going a pretty good clip to knock down the eight-foot tall plants growing next to the barn. It stopped him dead. He didn't find it near as funny as I did, but it definitely illustrated the toughness of the fiber. By the way, it is my understanding that a lot of the ditchweed around here is from when marijuana was grown commercially during World War II for it's fibers.

linda said...

Thanks for sharing this post and the Jello talk:) I don't partake but I'd like to see marijuana legalized across the board, not just for medical usage.
I've known people whose life was destroyed by law enforcement over minute amounts (like a joint) and so have steered very clear myself.

Jerry said...

Aimee, thanks. I agree whole-heartedly.

Teresa, that sounds more like industrial hemp. I'm pretty sure that the stuff grown for WW2 was industrial hemp, not marijuana. A whole field of industrial hemp doesn't have enough THC to get anything bigger than a mouse high. That would have been an impressive sight tho. I am very keen on hemp too, and have some ideas for it.

Linda, that is the biggest reason that I could not live in the US. When the drug laws are fixed...maybe.

linda said...

Are you saying the drug laws in Canada are lax or are they non existent (as pertaining to Marijuana that is)?

Jerry said...

Marijuana is still illegal here, BUT, the penalties are far lighter and I would say that the emphasis on eradication of marijuana is even lighter yet.

A few years back the police chief in Vancouver went so far as to announce that Vancouver police would no longer be wasting time on mere possession arrests.

So I should have said when the atmosphere changes, not when the drug laws change.

Also, I want to point out that as much as I support medicinal use, I am uncomfortable with saying that someone can ONLY make use of the plant for medicinal reasons. I think this is merely protection for big pharma and it just doesn't make sense.

linda said...

I have to agree about the limitation to medicinal use. I strongly feel that it should be legalized across the board, no questions asked.