There are over 400 different chemicals that can be found within the plant Marijuana, occasionally referred to as Cannabis. [*1] Only a few of these drugs are exclusive to the this flowering plant, and of these, only a small amount have the potential to cause intoxication. Some of these chemicals are the most powerful antibiotic known to humanity. [*2] Other chemicals in the plant have proven unbeatable to destroying cancers and tumors. [*3] [*4] And still, the other compounds found in Marijuana have offered endless services to our civilization. Researchers have found that it is efficient in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, [*5] as well as working effectively in fighting Depression and dependence on hard drugs. [*6]
All these things are important to many, Marijuana users, even though they may be only aware of a few of the drug's capabilities. For the millions who are arrested, though, the benefits of the plant as a medicine aren't the most important thing. There certainly are many arrests of those using it to treat their cancer and other terminal diseases. For instance, one medical grower, Eddy Lepp, has been sentenced to ten years in prison. [*7] He was charged with growing 32,500 Marijuana plants -- far more than what would be necessary to treat every cancer patient in the United States. [*8] But for the 15 million Americans arrested in a single year for drug use, [*9] there's something else that brings them to the drug: they want to get high.
As a substance, one can use Marijuana in an endless amount of ways. It can be chewed, like tobacco, or swallowed, like pills. But for the most part, recreational use of Cannabis has come in the form of smoking. The use of pipes, water bongs, and joints have become standard among those who have been made into criminals by their lifestyle.
When you inhale the burning substance, it can feel like the burst of hot air from some factory furnace. You'll feel the smoke particles ramming against the insides of your lungs -- the vaporized drugs begin entering your bloodstream. Users will try to keep the air inside their lungs for as long as possible. They'll be holding their sides, letting out a few gasps, and finally, a complete release. The room is filled with the substance, and then, it's smells push twice as far.
And what a smell! It is completely unlike anything you've taken into your nostrils in your entire life. There's the scent of nature mixed into it, the tartness of mustard and the sweetness of fruit, all combined into this gray, cloudy aura of smoke. And when buying from the street, smart users will verify that they're buying Cannabis by its smell; the stronger it is and the further it stretches, the greater the quality. Its aroma, and its effects, are absolutely unique in the scope of the world's plants and flowers.
Once the individual releases the pressure on their lungs, and gives some taste to the air, they start to feel the effects. A mild and uplifting optimism hits the mind, soothing calmness spreads throughout every part of the body, and you become free. Your pulse picks up, sending sedatives and stimulants throughout your physical form. And, for a moment, you feel displaced. You feel like you've been moved, pushed, and pulled out of your standard of reality. Tension falls, and you gain understanding and peace with your surroundings. The first feeling that comes from your mind is simply things feel different, out of place. And once you're riding high on the steady stream of Marijuana, you'll feel a deep connection to your world.
The ability to communicate and exchange with others requires more focus and attention. And in examining and looking at the ideas in your palms, you'll realize that you've never been able to see things quite like this before -- you've never been able to reach such a state of focus and awareness. Except for high levels of intoxication, or rare individuals, there are no hallucinations with Marijuana. But when you look at trees mashing against the wind and growing despite its worldly constraints, you'll swear that you think stars and colors were about to burst forth. You'd be able to make out the faint tips of thoughts trying to enter your conscious state -- some of them bright purple, others neon green, some of them morphing into each other, and others disappearing as soon as they appeared. It is under the surface, though, and their sensation comes to just as you become aware of yourself.
In connecting you to your environment and society, you'll feel and understand others in remarkable ways. Simply the way someone is sitting or how they use their voice in talking indicates what they feel. But when you're high, you pass the social barriers, and understanding other people becomes as easy as talking with them. When listening, you'll understand and interpret what you're told on more levels; your mind won't lead you to absolute conclusions, but it will bring you through layers of thought and passion. People often report feeling "uncomfortable," or "anxious," or they feel "social pressure and stress" much more. It is the flower of sympathy blossoming, and the reason why it makes us feel uncomfortable at first is because we're so used to living without feeling.
At first, you're pulled out into a new world, a new sensation; and then you're forced to feel every bit of your interactions with this world. You wake up, you notice others, and then finally... you notice yourself. It's as though life has been a long journey to changing places and fitting into molds -- and for just a few seconds, Marijuana stops you, and says, "Please... Just take a rest, and look at where you've been, and where you intend to go." It is the same spirit visiting you that has been helping travelers for over five thousand years. [*10] Perhaps, your willingness to sit and listen to what it has to say will help you see farther; and if it doesn't, at least it will help you understand and appreciate the distance you've come.
Using Marijuana will begin with intoxication, but it'll ultimately land on a self-analysis and self-examination. Addicts of other drugs, alcohol and heroin, pills and poppies, always reach a type of self-reflection. But it comes in the forming of crying in the street, desperate and late-night phone calls to old friends, and other hazardous attempts of trying to really capture your own meaning. But the Marijuana user is not made into a brash, unthinking person. They are already overly conscious of their intoxication and the people around them. It would be intensely difficult to feel so much for others, and then at the same time to put them through some difficult experiences.
The Cannabis user will choose more delicate, sensitive ways to express themselves; their new willingness to reflect and examine themselves is toned and refined by their increased feeling for other people. A poem or a painting, a song or a a story -- these are the works of art of those who smoke Marijuana. To use Marijuana is to understand others and yourself, to forge a real connection to earth's experience of life, and to be lifted and carried away like you're in love. All of the ingredients for passionate creativity are there. The only missing piece to this exploding genius is the individual: barred by law, threatened by prisons, and hated by the government.
With all of this goodness, why must we have such a miserable, social situation? Why must we have a state that wants to invade our homes, to seize our belongings, and to throw us into forced labor behind bars? For today, it is part of the experience of Marijuana. Just as Galileo and Keppler's ideas about the universe were banned, so are the ideas of Marijuana. Even though they banished science, they couldn't have destroyed its heart and humanity; they tried to execute every scientist, putting their church donations and tax dollars to work.
Those who hated science occupied the heights of thrones and empires. And with the triumph of scientific thought, they are the most powerless and pathetic figures of our human past. If anyone remembers any of their names, its a testament to how much the governments and laws of the past were despised by their own people. But these governments are still cruel and vicious; they still make an enemy out of innocence and a friend out of torture.
When the individual approaches a plant that has been speaking to their people for centuries, why should they close their minds, and turn away from civilization? It is far better for the individual to want the truth -- to approach it for themselves.
*1. "Cannabis and cannabinoids: pharmacology, toxicology, and therapeutic potential," by Franjo Grotenhermen and Ethan Russo.