Citation: Gadd. "Inspired Ramblings: An Experience with Cannabis (exp18240)". Erowid.org. Aug 3, 2005. erowid.org/exp/18240
This is not to document any specific experience I have had with marijuana. It is an attempt to reveal what I have learned from marijuana use, how I progressed as a marijuana user, and to vent upon society's grossly misinformed and uneducated views towards cannabis and other drugs in general. Note that when I say 'drugs', I am mostly referring to marijuana and/or psychedelics (LSD, Psilocybin, etc.). I say this because, although I have not experimented with harder drugs (Crack, Meth, Heroin) I do not consider them to have enlightening properties. I feel that their creation was inspired by profit, due to the habit-forming qualities they possess.
Let me begin by expressing my opinion towards drugs in general before I focus specifically on marijuana. I believe that when respect, responsibility, and intellect are used in conjunction with drugs, our potential as humans has the possibility of ascending to whole new heights. What I am expressing is that, in my opinion, naturally occurring psychoactive substances exist on this Earth for a reason; to inspire us, to educate us, and to offer us another perspective of the world around us. It is a shame that today's society fails to see this; labelling drugs as evil substances taken by the weak of mind and character in order to 'escape' reality. This attitude, along with many others that demoralize drugs, are being ingrained within us by society and the media. Is it not getting to the point where people against drug use simply do not even know why they oppose them in the first place?
From personal experience, those who choose to completely shut drugs out of their lives are very misinformed. This just goes to show that many of us are conformists, and that we are unknowingly slaves to the media. Unfortunately, some of us have to become or act like conformists, as being a drug user in today's society means having to either hide one's usage, or choose to be open about it, while running the risk of being labelled a drug user; one who is untrustworthy, unintelligent, and with very little opportunity for employment. Being the society-driven organisms that we are, our general views and stereotypes towards drug use inhibit the upper-class individual from experimenting with drugs. I am sure that when many of us think about drug users, we immediately conjure up the image of a burned-out hippie, lounging around and doing absolutely nothing with his or her life. It only surprises us when we hear about upper-class individuals using drugs.
On the other hand, we are not surprised when the lower-class individuals use drugs, and it has become accepted by us to the point where it has mushroomed into the situation we have now-a-days, where drug use is solely associated with those less successful in life. Not only that, I feel that society's profound impact upon us has an effect on the drug experience itself. Feelings such as paranoia, which do diminish as the user gains experience, would cease to exist in a drug-accepting environment. We need to look past all of this; I feel that exploring alternate facets of consciousness is only human nature. Since ancient times, we have been using psychoactives for insight, or simply for pleasure. Today, our natural interest towards altered consciousness is manifesting itself in the form of alcohol, especially among teenagers; those who are still very curious about what the world has to offer them. If we find the feeling of an altered state to be pleasurable or enlightening, why is it that we deny ourselves these experiences by outlawing the use of drugs? The answer mainly involves one thing, profit. Governments and large corporations alike would love to gain exclusive rights to the means of production of drugs, but at this point in time, this is near impossible.
Consider alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, for instance. Large companies began taking over the distribution of both alcohol and tobacco industries, eliminating the possibility for personal sales of these products; there was never a need for alcohol or tobacco 'dealers' because one could buy these products in a store. In turn, the government imposes taxes upon these substances, and huge profits result. Marijuana's evolution was quite a bit different. Cannabis, from the very get go, was considered to be a 'loose-cannon' of society in the eyes of the money-making industry. Marijuana has the potential to drastically upset many economic endeavors, those being medicine, construction, fuels, etc. I am certain that this economic threat would be overlooked if the government had the ability to control cannabis production, but with all the growing operations around the world, there is no way that this can be accomplished. In an attempt to diminish its popularity around the world, therefore allowing large companies or governments to gain a greater influence over its production, marijuana was made illegal, and the media began working its magic. Until this day, marijuana's production cannot be controlled, and so it continues to be illegal and demonized by the media.
It is obvious that the government has little care for the welfare of the common citizen; that they are solely out for profit. Tobacco's legality displays this perfectly. Despite the fact that tobacco is contributing to poor health among the population, its usage brings in huge revenue for large companies and the government. If the government could somehow seize the heroin trade, I would not be surprised if they began to peddle it to the general public in order to reap the vast rewards, but on the plus side, at least the purity of the drug would be regulated. Making drugs illegal is only rendering them more dangerous, with procedures such as 'cutting' becoming popular with the production of harder drugs. In my mind, there is no way to eliminate drug use, so it only seems logical to take the steps necessary to make them less harmful to the population, that being legalization. Supporters of drug legalization should be viewed as those who support personal freedom and security. I use marijuana, which makes me a drug user, and that does not mean I support illegal activity. In fact, I would rather see an end to the profession of drug dealing. Many of these individuals contribute to the poor reputation of drugs and their users, and legalization would work very effectively to remove these types of people from society. In the eyes of the law, I am a criminal, and it worries me to think that I am risking arrest for something I find to be rewarding and enjoyable.
To sum my ramblings up, drug induced experiences can be pleasurable, and they can also be intellectually stimulating when used in the correct mindframe. They are amazing substances that deserve quite a bit more recognition that they receive. For enlightenment, or enjoyment, their purpose is to aid us in this life some way or another. They allow us to perceive things we normally would not, and to deny us this is to deny us from fully experiencing the sheer mystifying roller-coaster ride that is human life.
Now that I have explained myself somewhat, I will continue by revealing how I first came about the 'societal monster' known as marijuana. I had never really considered drugs until around Grade 8, when a good friend of mine had started using marijuana on occasion. Being the conformist that I was, I believed in what the media had to say about drug use. I was convinced my friend had made a grave decision, that he was destined to a life of disappointment and failure. On top of this, I had been with him whilst he was under the influence and had noted a definite decline in his personality. When it came to the topic of drugs, I wanted no part in it.
Naturally, time progressed, and I grew slightly more open minded throughout grade 10, as drugs became more prominent. This change was still not profound enough to consider using drugs, however. I was always an honor roll student who took pride in his work, and I would laugh to myself at all the typical high school drug users; the ne'er-do-well's who could care less about their future, let alone their education. Yes, I was smart, I knew that drugs were only for those with little to lose and nothing to gain. I continued to feel this way until one specific day, when I mistakenly stumbled upon an internet website devoted to drugs. Never before had I seen drugs portrayed in such a way. The intellectual and informative approach intrigued me, despite my disposition towards psychoactives in general. One such substance stood out above the rest, Cannabis. After extensive research, I had concluded that cannabis was relatively benign in the drug world, and that maybe it had been demonized to some extent. My interest had gotten the better of me; I had never heard of an honor roll student engaging in any such activity before, but I wanted to experience marijuana. There was a need for me to reveal the mystery behind the marijuana high, what made it so desirable among the teenage crowd.
My time had come one fateful day, a few weeks before the year's end. My pot smoking friend along with two other best friends drove out to a secluded spot. Feelings of excitement and anxiousness formed from within me as the joint was lit. The rush one gets from doing something considered anti-establishment was enough to overcome any future thoughts of regret I figured I would have afterwards. I knew I was doing something 'bad', but I was comfortable with it at the time. I watched as my good friend took a few deep inhalations, then finally it was passed to me. My first attempt at smoking was pathetic, dropping the joint then coughing roughly for several seconds. However I quickly got the gist of it, and was confident that I would feel the effects soon enough. Unfortunately, this never occurred. It was only then that I was informed one does not always react to marijuana their first time. I was disappointed, but I would encounter marijuana again shortly afterwards, this time reaching a level of inebriation that to this day, I have not experienced, nor would I want to ever again.
Returning to the same place, about two weeks later, we proceeded to smoke another joint. I sat in the back seat of the car with my smoking friend, the others had gone for a short walk. Nearly twenty minutes had passed, still feeling un-altered as I observed the effects upon my friend. Just then, I felt a spontaneous rush of energy. Caught completely unaware, I sat bolt upright, heart pounding as I grabbed hold of the car seat in front of me and held on for dear life. After quite a bit of coaxing by my friend, I relaxed into my seat somewhat, but sharp twinges of paranoia left me very jittery. I had no idea why I was so paranoid; it would seem that society's subconscious impact upon me had taken its toll. I never wanted anyone to know I was under the influence. I attempted to pin-point all of the changes that had so suddenly occurred within me, but it seemed an impossible feat. I noticed my sense of hearing had altered, my friend's voice seemed to spring into full out stereo as he talked me through the experience. I began to notice just how at ease my friend was with the drug, and I did not notice any decline in his personality, unlike previous observations. I still felt very isolated, and I tried to absorb as much of this 'new found world' as I could. I began explaining various feelings to my friend, most of which he claimed to have experienced himself; dry-mouth, tingling extremities, lack of co-ordination, and the classic paranoia. This had made me feel more comfortable, but at this point the overall experience was far from pleasurable. I had lost all perception of time, and I wondered what was keeping my friends from returning back to the car.
When they finally did, the sight of me seemed to frighten them slightly. They got into the car and when they acknowledged that I was under the influence, their personality seemed to change before my eyes. They never said much to me, and when they did, it was usually very brief. They had informed me that my speech was slightly slurred, and I hadn't noticed this. The rest of the experience was very jagged. Looking back on it, it was almost like going through a series of photographs; only being able to remember specific events, the rest in between forgotten. I recall being driven around the city, the same areas seeming to repeat themselves over and over. We stopped, and I waited in the car as the others bought me a drink and a chocolate bar. The taste sensation I experienced was definitely the highlight of the night. I would savour the chocolate bar, absorbing its sweet flavours, and commenting in amazement more than once. We then proceeded close to my house, all the while I laughed to myself for no apparent reason and occasionally made simple conversation. The effects were definitely letting off somewhat; I could almost sense my sober consciousness taking control once again.
We stopped nearby, and decided to go for a little stroll before I finally returned home. My limbs were still feeling sluggish and un-cooperative as I got out. Paranoia reared its ugly head yet again as we walked. I could hear the voices of other people, and I simply did not want to cross their path. I realized how sheltered I was inside the car, shut off from everyone but my trusted friends. Finishing off the walk, we parked outside my house, my friends had asked me if I was comfortable with a possible confrontation with my parents. I felt enough like my normal self at this time that I considered it to be no trouble at all. I thanked them for helping me through this ordeal; they didn't seem to mind, although I could tell they were quite taken aback from the very beginning. I hopped into bed soon after, and awoke the next day feeling refreshed. Although the experience was mostly negative, I looked back on it as an experience none the less. I had disliked the effect it had upon my memory and co-ordination, but thoroughly enjoyed the changes in my senses. What I hadn't realized until after the experience, was how clear my thought patterns became. I recalled having full mental dialogues of the things I was feeling during my heavy inebriation, and although I would lose track occasionally, I would pick up on something else and continue on. There was something about this that renewed my interest in marijuana, and I had already decided I would try it again, but much later in the future. Further research into what had happened to me that night revealed that some of the undesired effects I had noted would decrease with experience. It was a few months before I smoked again, and during that time I found myself putting my skills to the test, hoping that nothing had permanently changed within me. Indeed, I was still the same person as before; the only difference I could detect at that point was my new found opinions towards drugs and their uses.
I have been using marijuana for over one year, and during this time, I have noticed a definite progression in my response to the drug. My first experience had left me with little control over my mind and body, but I have matured to the point where marijuana intoxication merely changes my personality. I consider the marijuana high to be a profound personality shift. This is what allows us to gain a different perspective of things. At first, this change seems alien, but with time and experience, one becomes very at ease with it, possibly to the point where it becomes an extension of their existing personality. I believe that in order to come to terms with this change, one must simply experiment, and learn from the resulting action. This could mean doing something under the influence that one would not normally do, but it is all part of getting to know this alternate personality. During my inexperienced encounters with marijuana, I would wonder how certain everyday activities would differ while under the influence, anywhere from showering, to going to a movie theatre, and I would carry out these activities for the sole purpose of finding out. I would also enjoy displaying my crazy antics when smoking with others, and I liked the response I received. However, over time, I realized that I liked to make people laugh, but I'd much rather take on a more reserved approach when using marijuana. By no means would I say that the marijuana-induced personality is better than the sober one. From my personal experience, they both have their advantages and drawbacks. I presume that since we humans are so vastly unique, our personality shifts vary to a large extent. With some people, the alternate personality could be a very negative change from the norm. With others, the change could enable one to perform certain tasks with more enjoyment, or with greater ease. The possibilities seem endless. I believe that the great Timothy Leary once hypothesized that drugs could be used to alter one's personal attributes. In my mind, his assumptions do not seem very far-fetched at all.
I am still attempting to make sense of marijuana's affect upon me. When smoking by myself, the experience proceeds in a completely different manner than if I were to smoke with others. It is almost as if marijuana provides me with the means to best enjoy my experience, given the current setting. I tend to find smoking with others more pleasurable than mentally stimulating, and the exact opposite when smoking alone. This is possibly due to the fact that when I am with others, the pleasurable feeling of human interaction is enough for me to have an enjoyable experience. However, when interaction is not present, I feel the need for thought to enjoy myself. Smoking alone has allowed me to mature under the influence because of this largely mental aspect. I have noticed that a good remedy for one who acts immaturely while under the influence is to get him or her to indulge by themselves. With any luck, the individual will show signs of greater maturity during future experiences. With regards to the setting, I find that I am most comfortable with marijuana when the setting changes very little, or not at all. A change in setting requires one to adapt to it, and I personally find this to be unpleasant while under the influence. Setting does play a major role in the marijuana experience; the perfect setting allows one to conduct one's self in any way that they feel at the given time. I certainly would not have nearly as many interesting or creative thoughts while under the influence at a party, than I would in the comfort of my own home, thinking to myself. Some settings are simply a hindrance when one wishes to experience marijuana in a particular way. The relationships we humans have with psychoactives are quite complex, and rightfully so; we are indeed complex beings with complex thought patterns.
I believe that I will continue to use cannabis until I notice any negative effects. Up until this point, I have not detected any sort of problems associated with my usage, although I am sure my lung function has been hampered to some extent. I do not think I will simply 'outgrow' my drug use, which seems to be the common belief among many people. Using drugs should not be considered an immature activity associated with wild, irresponsible teens looking for kicks. It is much more than that. I have learned the importance of responsible usage; from personal experience, I do not feel comfortable while heavily under the influence. It can be pleasurable, but also overwhelming at times. Drugs are certainly not toys, they are powerful, and with great power comes great responsibility. Some degree of caution and judgment should always be used when experimenting, regardless of experience level. This is often overlooked by many users, I should know. There have been times where I have indulged more than I should have, but I have learned from this. If I continue to exhibit this attitude and behavior, I am confident that no physical or mental harm will result, therefore I see no need to cease my usage. In the future, I will have to be selective of who I choose to reveal my activities to; an encounter with the law is something that frightens me, but I will not let that alter my choice to use marijuana, or any other drug. Martin Luther King Jr. once said 'One has a moral right to disobey unjust laws.' and I will embrace this viewpoint whenever I make the decision to experience a drug.
Take what you will from this writing. I am merely trying to display the mental impact that marijuana has bestowed upon me. It has taken nearly one year of smoking, and a fair amount of experimentation to come to the conclusion that marijuana is not just a substance we use for pleasure, but a substance we can use for intellectual purposes. No longer do I view marijuana as being one of the more benign drugs in existence; its effect upon my mind presents a complexity that I will never fully understand, nor will anyone else. There is so much encapsulated within the marijuana high that it seems plausible to me that when some people use marijuana, they tend to associate with its more obvious pleasurable effects, and not so much its intellectual effects. I hope others will attempt to extract the mental benefits from cannabis; it is not an easy process, and one cannot be taught to do so, they must pave the way to enlightenment all by themselves.
It may seem strange at first, but when one begins to fully accept the fact that there is much more to marijuana intoxication than the pleasurable aspect, things really start to get interesting. I am surprised that there are so few people who feel this way about marijuana. Carl Sagan is one who comes to mind. His analysis of the marijuana high fascinates me, and his ability to access the many 'hidden' attributes that marijuana possesses was unrivaled, with the possible exception of William Shakespeare, a man whose literal genius remains unsurpassed to this day. There is no doubt in my mind that he used cannabis to inspire his works. It seems that very few of us are able to use marijuana intellectually, but I mostly attribute this to be the lack of experimentation and insight among users. I am positive that most people can realize the full spectrum of effects that marijuana has to offer with a little time and effort. I tend to feel the same way towards psychedelics, although I have not had much exposure to them personally. There are of course exceptions, those of us who respond negatively to drug use, and this is to be expected. On the other hand, I feel that there are many of us who have the ability to use marijuana or other psychoactives in a useful manner, and some of these individuals will never use drugs in their life time, and to me, this is truly saddening. Some of the world's greatest masterpieces in the fields of music, art, and literature were created by drug users; imagine how their works would differ had they abstained from drug use entirely. Obviously, we will never know, but it would most certainly prove to be very interesting. I want to stress that drug use, in combination with the right mind, is what has the possibility of producing such amazing results. One who is not imaginative or insightful in the first place will not simply spontaneously develop these characteristics through drug use.
There are times where I wonder why I am writing this; it seems unlikely to me that a mere high school student such as myself would have any chance at changing the way we look at psychoactives. In fact, I am positive that by myself, I can accomplish nothing concerning this matter. However, together it is possible, and it will occur at some point in the future. Already, I have noted an increase in drug-related articles within the media, especially marijuana. Even on popular shows such as Jay Leno, I see the topic of marijuana is often mentioned. Word is slowly getting out; more and more people are realizing just how draconian the current drug laws are, and the extent to which drugs are demoralized, so it is only a matter of time before drug supporters will become the majority. Until that point, however long it may be, I will continue to explore alternate personalities and conscious levels through responsible and intellectual drug use, keeping in mind that some day, psychoactives will be successfully integrated into our society by means of proper education regarding usage, and greater awareness of what drugs truly have to offer us as human beings.
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