There is a big misconception about cannabis in this country, and it is due to the overhang of all the negative propaganda that was shoved in people’s faces since the 1940’s. Thing is, what most people don’t seem to know is, marijuana was perfectly legal in this country and was only made illegal so that white police could profile African Americans and Mexicans (sorry, not kidding or being dramatic, this is an historical fact) and once that happened, everything changed.
Gone were the days of people being able to enjoy some cannabis much like everyone else enjoys drinking. It started an age of “shame smokers”, where people had to hide behind dumpsters or sit with a towel shoved under their door so they weren’t persecuted or judged (or jailed). But the reality is, many states have changed their views on cannabis in recent years and are beginning to see it as the miracle medicine it really is.
I, for one, live in one of those states (Taxachusetts, for anyone taking notes) and for the last sixth months (and the first time in my life) I have been medicating properly and legally with regulated cannabis, and it has changed my quality of life 100%.
Medical Marijuana is the Safest Medicine (for Anything)
First off, watch this and try to argue with me about the headline here:
That says it all. I shouldn’t even have to write more, but I will. Foremost, I want to shout out all the states that are woke up and realized cannabis is a medicine that can cure cancer, slow down alzheimer’s, heal bones quicker, and keep the mentally unstable and the anxious balanced, among many other cures. That alone is a massive step, and for us to not stop and be grateful of that is to be taking this movement for granted. Now with places like Colorado and Washington allowing full legalization of the plant, we really are on the doorstep of change and it is a beautiful thing. But let’s not forget the shameful miles we had to crawl to get here, either.
I, myself, have been self-medicating with cannabis for 25 years now, regularly. Keep in mind, I say medicating for a reason. I was one of those weird kids born depressed and who kept to himself for the first 15 years of my life and really had no voice. I came from a broken home and my family life sucked at the time and my early school years were torturous. It was at 15 years old a good friend of mine came back from a trip to New York with some Lamb’s Bread (a particularly awesome strain of cannabis whom Bob Marley himself was a massive fan of) and asked me to try it. He told me it would loosen me up. It took a few tries (cannabis reactors often don’t pick up the THC the first few times you smoke) but once it hit me, the second it hit me, I knew.
I was in love.
I didn’t feel all quiet and insecure anymore. I didn’t feel out of place on the earth anymore. My insomnia was not killing me anymore. From my first true sesh I knew, this plant was not what I was taught it was, and its benefits could change the world, because they had immediately changed me for the better. Again, to reiterate, I was not “out of my mind” stoned. I simply felt normal, a bit happier, and like I fit in here for the first time in all my life. No side effects at all (outside of eating a whole bag of chips).
But there was a big problem:
It was illegal.
The Shame Smoker
I had conservative baby-boomer parents, and it was expensive as hell. So the preceding 20 years after that first “stone”, I was living in a way that unjustifiably made me feel like a criminal. I was meeting people on strange street corners to get herb. I was having to drive off to some far away place to smoke it. I would have to go home or go out and use Visine and breath mints and all these things that hinted that I was doing something I should be ashamed of, when I KNEW I was doing something that was saving my life. Curing my sadness and feeding my creativity. Even after my suicide attempt, they tried throwing pills and shit at me, and all I needed was some good Sativa (quick marijuana 101, there are two main types of strains to pull from. Indica or Sativa. Indica is good for lazy late nights on the couch. Sativa is good for waking up and being creative and euphoric but still having drive to get things done). But, of course, no one knew this and I was thrust back into a life of shame smoking, even though the stuff is no drug and it did more good than harm to anyone who experienced it.
Propaganda vs Medicine
But this was also the time when things started to shift. More and more states were beginning to see marijuana for what it was: a highly medicinal and beneficial plant to many. Thus began the medical marijuana movement, which also helped put a slow end to the (race-driven) propaganda so many had falsely believed for so long. Gone were the time of Reefer Madness:
Replaced by a new kind of thinking. I call it ‘The Pineapple Express’ era, and believe it or not, it was NOT a big step in the right direction, despite what many 14 year old stoners may think. The time when cannabis stopped being demonized and actually became kind of popular, yet was still misinterpreted, even by those endorsing it:
As I stated before, there was (and still is) a problem with the Pineapple Express era. If you watch the clip above, you see the “stoner” archetype has not changed in 50 years. Yes, that may seem like a pro-cannabis movie, but if that is the case, why are stoners ALWAYS represented as lazy, unmotivated, burnt-out shells of actual people? We don’t all wear pajamas outside and giggle at everything. I don’t see how doing a comic impression of Cheech and Chong helps make people take this medicine more seriously. Seems like it undermines it, actually.
Let me tell you some people who are or were famous for being daily cannabis users. Keep in mind, NONE OF THESE PEOPLE are anything like the folks represented in the above films.
Carl Sagan was the fucking man, straight up. And he could not have realized what he did or changed the world the way he did without the aid of cannabis.
Hunter S. Thompson
And maybe, just maybe, Motherfucking Shakespeare (look it up).
Speaking for myself, I have published over 10,000 articles on most of the major sites on the web, I am an artist, a musician, I have almost a thousand fans for no reason (I love you, REMlins) and on top of that, I co-hosted a radio show for two years, worked with Adult Swim and Warner Bros, worked on an unfinished art exhibit that had three pieces of multimedia that would interact at once (music, sight, touch), and have traveled the world and interviewed some of the coolest celebrities in modern pop culture, and I did that ALL on my own, no help, no nepotism, and stoned. I am also working on a play that a particular theater group has expressed interest in. And this is all when I am not painting or making music or learning how to speak cat. So does marijuana cause a lack of ambition?
Do people USE it as an excuse and crutch for being lazy fucks and procrastinators themselves?
Sure as shit.
But that falls back on them and not the plant, period.
But if you are the type to listen to them, you are also probably the type to agree with a rapist who says “she had it coming because of her outfit”, so that says all I need to know about you. Naive people who choose to believe the propaganda of assholes are just assholes themselves. By now, the world has spoken and recognized this plant as the miracle “drug” (god I hate using that word about cannabis, but it fits here because it truly is medicine) and if people still want to undermine it, that is a reflection of them. Not the plant.
A Cure-All That Otherwise Wouldn’t Exist
But to say my quality of life improved once I received my medical marijuana card is a brazen understatement. The big problem with smokers who smoke because it helps is, because of the legal issues, we were always forced whatever marijuana strain was available from our dealers at the time.This means, whereas an uplifting Sativa strain might be PERFECT for you (*stimulated appetite, helps ease social anxiety and make you more euphoric), you may have been getting an Indica (which is better for insomnia, stress, restless leg, ADHD etc).
In that sense, because of stupid, archaic laws, a great deal of us, though medicating, were medicating wrong and it was affecting us. What changes once the plant is legal (even for medicinal value), you go to a dispensary (shout out to Neta in Brookline. The place is filled with amazingly kind and insightful people, and their product is beyond the best you have ever experienced), you can actually get a menu that tells you what strain is best for what condition, what the THC and CBD levels are (CBD is important, changes the world, but it will make my word count way too high so read about it here), you can find out if it is a Sativa or Indica, and which strain of it is best for you, specifically. Hell, they are professionals, so you tell them what ails you, they will tell you what heals or helps that. And once you start medicating properly (as in right doses of right strains at right time) your life changes completely. For the better, of course.
The SAD part is, most of the world is still uninformed. This plant could help everyone, from people with physical ailments to people with PTSD, alzheimer’s, or something as minor as insomnia (which most people now suffer from as a result of the sickening pace we are meant to keep as adults). But so many states are still behind and have no idea because they have been spoonfed lies and misnomers about cannabis for the entirety of their lives.
I guess I can’t blame them, though. They just need to be brave enough to step outside of themselves for a moment and try it. Movies and mass media have convinced them it will make them into, well, this:
When in fact, it can make you into this:
Just please be careful with edibles. Them shits is no joke. I have heard people tell me they don’t smoke but they would eat a weed cookie or two. To all cannabis noobs, THAT IS THE STUPIDEST THING YOU CAN DO. These are NOT the same pot brownies from the 70’s. Edibles are for the advanced only who understand milligrams and their bodily dose, or else you end you doing shit like this:
So don’t ever be THAT guy. Like, ever. But also, don’t get too scared by that. That was marijuana karma biting the cop in the ass. You don’t steal someone’s herb and get away with it. The universe is way too smart for that. And rarely can anyone smoke themselves that high. That was a case of non-smokers learning a valuable life lesson. Don’t steal and take shit you know nothing about.
This is Just the Beginning, Cannabis Will Reign
So to all who understand this scene and treat it with respect, thank you and let’s continue to do that so more people than just me and few thousand others can medicate properly (and without actual nasty, deadly, FDA meds). This is a gift I am lucky enough to get, but am also smart enough to know the whole world deserves it, too.
Also, massive shout out to NORML who have been fighting this fight for longer than most of us have been alive.
To me, they are heroes.
Related: For info on CBD oils and edibles click here.