Weeding Out The Reefer Madness

Weeding Out The Reefer Madness
Posted by CN Staff on June 09, 2004 at 06:13:32 PT
By Beth Kaplan
Source: Globe and Mail 
'You want me to smoke grass with you?" I asked, in disbelief. "Yes, but only if you promise never, ever to call it grass again," replied my daughter. "It'll be a bonding experience," said her best friend.I've been asked before, and have always refused, not because I really disapproved, at least completely, but because disapproval is what my kids wanted to hear. But now my daughter and her friends are in their early twenties; they're at university or working, and they're adults.
Before, when they were teenagers, I knew they smoked weed, as I knew that sometimes they drank too much. My job was to hover, near and yet far, keeping a stern eye on things, letting them know that I was watching, but also giving them a safe place to do what they were going to do anyway. Maybe I was wrong, too lax.In comparison with some parents, however, I was puritanical. The dad of one of my son's friends used to buy dope for his boy, and smoke it with him and his buddies. "He is so cool!" said my son. His young friend did, however, end up dealing in large quantities.Now it's different. I don't need to maintain an abstinent moral pose; now I do want a bonding experience. My daughter is home from university for the summer, but next summer she'll stay down East and work, and then the plan is to go overseas. Our bonding opportunities are growing fewer. And besides -- what can happen?But the drug scares me. Of course I used to smoke as a teen, during the 1960s. In fact, I had the classic Sixties experience, smoking my first joint at 16 while listening to the Beatles' just-released Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for the first time. At one point I met a band of hippie musicians and actors who grew fantastic grass; they sent me a bag in a hollowed-out copy of the British theatre magazine Plays and Players. So groovy! I rolled it up and smoked in my bedroom before going out, blowing smoke out the window.My parents, who were cool, finally said they'd like to try this new thing, and asked to smoke with me and my brother. We all smoked some hash together one night in 1969, while listening to Bob Dylan. My mother had a wonderful time, giggling and weaving around the room as if drunk. My father sneezed several times. "Well, if nothing else," he said, "this stuff certainly stimulates my mucous membranes." But he didn't like it at all. "I have my drug," he said, pouring himself a glass of burgundy.By the early 1970s, I was with him. Dope was starting to make me shake. For some reason, marijuana made me introspective in the most negative way; instead of a glorious sensual experience, getting stoned brought up my failings, my losses, my enormous stupidity. I had to stop smoking, before I stayed in the dark hole into which the drug cast me. I quit, and had not smoked since.Now, 30 years later, here are my daughter, her boyfriend and her best friend, and they are holding one little joint. I can handle one little joint. I puff, hold it in, pass it on. Puff, hold it in, pass it on. Only three puffs, and it hits. And then I remember -- I've heard that the dope these kids smoke is not like ours was. In only a few minutes I am very, very stoned. And suddenly, I am very, very scared. But this time, I can't show anything, must not make a fool of myself in front of my girl and her friends.I am hanging onto the chair arms. Someone says, "Yeah, that's great, put that on." And out scrapes the raucous voice of Janis Joplin. Janis Joplin -- what decade am I in? The room should be filled with incense, and I, sitting on a faded Indian bedspread over an ancient sofa, wearing little round glasses, a curtain of hair, bellbottoms, love beads! Janis Joplin. It hurts to hear her, shredding her vocal chords.I am sick with fright. The pit -- the pit, the deep dark hole is going to open up, and I will fall in. I can feel it there. You hopeless specimen of a human being, the voice begins. I hang onto the chair as the room spins. No, I say to myself. I am not going to fall into that hole. I'm not 23, as I was then, as my companions are today. I am 53, I've lived a good life, I've raised two children, we are sitting in my house, I am accomplished, I am all right. We are all, all right. I will not be pulled into that hole again.My daughter and her friends are laughing, chatting, unaware of the battle going on in me. "This stuff is much stronger than I'm used to," I manage to say, trying to laugh with them. I relax, and see that my daughter is extremely funny when she's stoned. She is proud of me. She tells me that her brother, who's away living with his dad, always wanted to be the one to smoke with me first. He'll be jealous, she says. Through my haze I listen to the kids. They're funny, smart, quick. I hear, for the first time, how bright her best friend is, and lean over to tell her so."Janis was different from the others," I hear myself announcing. "Jimi, Jim Morrison, they didn't have to die, they were careless. But Janis always seemed to be driving towards death.""Wow," they say, blinking at me. This relic, this ancient monument, was actually there."Do you want to hear about it?" I say.Beth Kaplan lives in Toronto. Note: Smoke dope with your adult kids? A question faced by many a baby boomer.Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author: Beth KaplanPublished: Wednesday, June 9, 2004 - Page A24 Copyright: 2004 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: News Canadian Links Canada Archives 
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Comment #28 posted by E_Johnson on June 10, 2004 at 12:44:27 PT
Notice I am not saying
Not everyone has to like sex, just like not everyone has to like pot.But it is true that many people have had bad feelings from sex that were induced through deliberate indoctrination from a source of authority in their youth. This is known.So that means -- not all the things we feel about what we do are our own feelings, some of these feelings we picked up elsewhere and can get rid of them by realizing that and undoing the ties that bind us to those bad feelings.Women in my generation, many of them, were able to let go of the feelings of shame and worthlessness they had when they had sex -- by going through therapy.I am not suggesting that anyone who doesn't like sex or pot NEEDS therapy.BUT I am saying that we cannot understand the emotional reactions to pot without considering the overheated social environment where there actually is a deliberate campaign by the most powerful organization in the world to induce those bad feelings in people.Anecdotal reports of people who feel bad when they use pot are not enough to say -- yes pot makes some people feel bad.Any science on this issue really neds to try to separate feelings caused by marijuana from feelings caused by the massive camapign aghainst marijuana that is impossible to escape in our society.If this science is to be valid science, it has to try to separate these two things to see what is what.
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Comment #27 posted by E_Johnson on June 10, 2004 at 12:27:49 PT
Andf the truth is Commonsense
When the Catholic Church used to hammer into women that consensual sex was bad and shameful- -- guess what -- a lot of women found they could not enjoy consensual sex.How could that be? Maybe consensual sex just wasn't for them.Maybe they just outgrew consensual sex when they got older and learned responsibilities and didn't just center their lives on feeling good?Maybe consensual sex normally makes some people feel bad?No, consensual sex made those women feel bad because they were tauight since they were children to expect bad feelings from consensual sex, and so they had them.A lot of women in my generation and older Commonsense had to go through years of therapy to undo those instructions in their head so they could have a healthy sex life with a spouse of their choosing.I kid you not.And that is why I am adamant on this issue -- we do not know how marijuana makes people feel bad emotionally because the emotional circumstances of marijuana use are being determined by a very powerful organization that is teaching people to feel bad and doing everything they can to create bad feelings.You can speak for your personal experience, but unless you were raised on some other planet where marijuana was never illegal -- I am going to interpret your experience through my experience of seeing women in my generation have to go through therapy to learn to enjoy sex because they were taught as children that all sex was bad.
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Comment #26 posted by E_Johnson on June 10, 2004 at 12:11:50 PT
That "the rest of us" comment really hurt.Don't you think I'd like to join "the rest of you" -- but I need pot and I have to put up with the guns and the lies and the world's most powerful organization telling the planet that I run over small children in fast food lanes and murder Mexican families.I don't even want to listen any more when it's about "the rest of us".The rest of you can take a freaking hike.
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Comment #25 posted by Agog on June 10, 2004 at 11:45:22 PT
Commonsense valid criticisms
You make many of them. My intention was only to share observation based on my own personal experience, albeit limited to a relatively small number of individuals. I was lacking precision in my language in that what I posted was interpreted as excessively judgmental (ie: I must think all people who don't consume cannabis are hiding from life/themselves etc)I don't believe that, nor did I mean to imply that about you or anyone else. If that was the message you received I apologize.Cannabis certainly affects us all differently, as does discussing it... I suppose that is one of the shortfalls of this type of forum, when reducing things to writing we have to be careful to measure our language in order to accurately express our point. Re-reading my post I suppose the tone was perhaps a bit too flippant.You illustrate well that it not only affects different people differently, but affects the same person differently as they age. In my case for example, what was recreational 20+ years ago is now medicinal as a vasodilator and "anti-stress" agent.... thankfully there are some Md's here in California that are willing to look at it favorably as a means of combatting hypertension. Compared to some of the other options available I felt it was a reasonable choice.Choice and the freedom to exercise it appropriately is where I am coming from. It pains me greatly to see what has happened to the Constitution in the name of the drug war, especially because in my other lifetime I took an oath of office to support and protect same, and spent the better part of my adult life in harms way only to find out that it was an illusion. The federalization of law enforcement over the last few decades is truly frightening, and the learned dependence on federal funding in virtually all areas is no better than a pusher hooking some poor soul on whatever terribly addicting substance you may care to name.I'm not trying to establish a minimum RDA for cannabis, I only hope to live to see the day when we can choose to consume it without fear of legal repercussion, and extreme marginalization from the rest of society. Naive, perhaps, but hey, I gotta dream...All the BestAgog
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Comment #24 posted by Commonsense on June 10, 2004 at 10:12:15 PT:
That's not it at all. I was only trying to point out that maybe the fact that this woman didn't like smoking pot anymore didn't result from some character flaw. The reality is that most people who smoke pot do not continue to smoke it later n in life. This is not only true here were pot smokers are persecuted, but also in places like Holland where nobody pays much attention to it. In studies I've seen, from my own personal experiences with marijuana, and from talking to many people around my age who once smoked pot, people who give it up usually say they gave it up because they don't care for it anymore. I wasn't attacking you or anyone else who smokes marijuana, I was defending people who for whatever reason don't like to smoke pot anymore. Their preferences do not make them superior or inferior to people who happen to enjoy smoking marijuana.Why am I posting on this site if I don't like to smoke marijuana? Well, normally I don't post here but I do read the news here because I am interested in reforming our drug laws and legalizing marijuana. I'm a criminal defense attorney in an area where we often see several hundred or even thousands of pound loads of pot pulled off the highway. I have at least a thousand or more pounds worth of marijuana mule clients every year, and I also represent quite a few meth cooks and people caught producing, selling, or possessing all sorts of other drugs. I'm also on our local drug court committee and handle quite a few non-drug cases where my clients are actually just addicts just trying to get by and keep their syringes full of whatever it is their lives revolve around. And being in a conservative part of the south, our prosecutors, juries, and judges want to nail these people to the wall. They want to put people in prison here or at least force through our tough drug court program the second time they get caught with a couple of joints. Having smoked piles of pot myself back in the day and having played around with pretty much every other drug I came across, I consider myself lucky not to have been caught or to have gotten addicted to some of the white powder I enjoyed so much. I know that marijuana is no big deal. I know that a lot of the people I represent are good people and it hurts me to see them treated the way they are because of the war on drugs and because we have an ineffective criminal justice system that favors harsh retribution rather than actually dealing with the underlying problems behind much of the crime committed. I want to see the laws change so that they are more fair, humane, and practical. High on the list of changes that need to be made is that marijuana needs to be legalized.
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on June 10, 2004 at 09:20:00 PT
Would you send me an e-mail? I'd like to talk to you! Thanks!
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Comment #22 posted by afterburner on June 10, 2004 at 09:02:21 PT
"Know thyself" is a fundamental of philosophy. If for whatever reason you feel impaired or do not enjoy the cannabis experience, no one here is trying to force you into it or to condemn you because you have a negative experience. The set of expectations that you bring to the cannabis experience influences whether the experience is positive or negative. The War on Some Drugs with its relentless fear-generating propaganda can influence the set, making a negative cannabis experience more likely. The setting, or where and with whom you toke, also influences the experience. One reason for individual differences in experience is differences in diet which effect the functioning of the brain chemistry. Many other factors may apply as brain research is still developing. Inability to focus on complex mental tasks is a common experience among some cannabis experiencers. "Know thyself" indicates not getting "high" if a person needs to focus on complex mental tasks. Thank you for not judging those of us who continue to enjoy the cannabis experience or need its therapeutic relief. Thank you for not wanting to put us in cages.
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Comment #21 posted by ekim on June 10, 2004 at 08:30:12 PT
gee E Diane Rehm show on NPR on shame and fear
talking about how fear and shame affects us all. show on now
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Comment #20 posted by E_Johnson on June 10, 2004 at 03:42:14 PT
Those ads had an effect on me actually
Recently I was having a lot of self doubt and then I realized I was living out in my head the shame that the Bush administration was trying to put on me.That ad with potheads running over small children in the fast food lane -- it was ludicrous but even ludicrous can worm it way into your soul.That is a fear inducing ad because it is so twisted that it approaches a Nazi Germany level of twiestedness.The government keeps trying with all of its might and money to heap shame and self doubt and paralysis and fear and depression on this community.It's pretty hard in such an environment to reliably isolate negative reactions to pot from negative reactions to the climate of fear perpetuated by the War on Pot.Anyone who smokes pot now is stepping into a war zone and has to be ready for the emotional consequences of that struggle.Everywhere around you, you will be surrounded by the message that youi aren't really human, your feelings do not matter, you can be lied about, apprehended, held captive, at any time without warning.Gosh yes of course it stops being FUN for a lot of people when they get older.Gosh yes of course it does, the way Kabul stopped being fun for hippies when the Soviet tanks showed up.
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Comment #19 posted by E_Johnson on June 10, 2004 at 03:21:03 PT
Commonsense hahaha so not a victim here
Oh no you weren't judgmental.No just implying that when people mature of course they give it up."It tends to lose its appeal to the rest of us."You are the precious "us" who get the jobs, the freedom, the lives without pee testing or government scapegoating.Of course you don't like the way it feels any more.It feels like the barrel of a gun, like an ad telling people you run over small children.This is why you use this phrase "the rest of us".Because you have escaped to safety.Good, Enjoy your safety. Why are you here?War tourism? 
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Comment #18 posted by Commonsense on June 09, 2004 at 22:25:46 PT:
Agog, afterburner, E_Johnson 
I'm a little offended by the way some of you seem to be saying that a person who doesn't like the way pot makes him or her feel must be uptight or have some issues he or she is avoiding dealing with. I think something missing from your analysis is that pot affects different people differently. In my case for instance, I was always a bit of a lightweight when it came to pot. Even when I was smoking daily and had built up some tolerance, it didn't take me much to get stoned. Others wouldn't even feel it yet and I'd already be as high as I wanted to be. And being high to me was in some ways debilitating. I guess I was already a little ADHD and pot just turned me into even more of a scatterbrain who couldn't maintain focus on a thought long enough to finish making whatever point I was trying to make in a conversation. Others could study high. I could read a sentence five times when I was high and still not understand it. Now if I was banging on my guitar, day dreaming, playing video games, paddling a canoe down the river, exercising, doing manual labor, or some other activity that didn't require much complex thought, pot often seemed to enhance the experience. It was just in things that required higher mental functioning and organized thought where being high was an impairment for me. If smoking pot makes your life better, smoke it. If it doesn't make your life better, don't smoke it. Either way, I'm not going to judge you. If you want to judge people for not liking to smoke weed, you are no better than those who judge people for smoking my judgement ;-) 
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Comment #17 posted by Virgil on June 09, 2004 at 16:34:57 PT
One thing often said about Raygun and Busch the Lesser is that they were not introspective. Of course everyone is to some degree.There exist the true nature of a person that might be figured out by a higher being and a person generally tries to figure out who he is for real. That would be two identities for someone- who he is and who he thinks he is.A person also has identity that comes from the way his friends and acquaintances see him and an identity that comes from the way he thinks people perceive him.But let's talk America. When a person is identifying other people it is only the last two identities that apply. There is the real America that has a CIA that trained agents from the late 1940's to the mid 1960's and returned them to Russia to assassinate and blow up bridges and railroads. Then there is the false perception that we are the good guys all the time and we are wonderful.With the drug wars we see the US imposing its will on most of the world through the UN. Most people do not know the reality of this and that is why we are basically fighting ignorance and brainwashing. The prohibitionists have managed to preserve there fraud without even a real explanation of why. They throw stuff around, but where is there a real statement that justifies the horrors and atrocities of this prohibition that is truly a crime against humanity. We do not even hear or see such an argument because it could be immediately shredded with truth. We hear "Marijuana is a dangerous drug" as what must be the justification for all the caging, killing, shooting of dogs, and confiscation of property, ignoring the Constitution, corrupting the NIH and FDA along with the courts, when it is not marijuana, it is not dangerous, and it is not a drug and as if it is justification anyway when alcohol and tobacco are the big killers and evil doers.The train of thought though is that the American people will eventually see that they have lived one big lie. It may be that they found out that we lured the Russians into Afghanistan in the first place when the CIA sent terrorist into Russia. It may come with Michael Moore's movie that may give the timetable that first says 9-11 was let to happen on purpose and that Iraq was all a lie.There will be a Great Awakening in America as people have now seen that we have been the terrorists for half a century. That we kill and overthrow governments whenever it pleases us just like we did in Haiti. The media will show a group of thugs with old World War 1 rifles to show that they fight with what they can when in reality that have the best arms money can buy and can walk in and wipe out any police station there is. And when Haitian law says a president must live there 5 years before he can be president, if it is our puppet we do not care if he was in his $200,000 home in Florida when he was told he would be president. The treason that rules us does not care about any stinking law. They only want to be perceived as caring and lead people away from the true reality.The death of Raygun will awaken many as we see the mass media paint a picture of a great President that brought the Soviets to there knees. Then there is going to be the reality that comes from the chance to be heard like in this article at CounterPunch that says the US owes Nicaragua for the largest penalty ever awarded by the world court for the killing of 50,000 people. This man says that the American people are the most ignorant people in the world when it comes to understanding America and its true role in the world.Reagan did not end the cold war. He prolonged it- I think this article would move most people a little closer to reality.In summary, we are where we are because Americans are ignorant. The rest of the world will tell us so and all we can say is “I did not know that.” I hope you read these two articles and spread the Great Awakening. It will take a Great Awakening to end CP, because some men at a table are going to have to sit down and admit that “The hardest thing in life to say is “I am wrong” and that CP must end. The jig is up.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on June 09, 2004 at 15:30:07 PT
News Article from United Press International
Swiss Combat Driving on MarijuanaZurich, Switzerland, Jun. 9 (UPI) -- The Swiss government has launched a campaign to discourage driving after smoking marijuana, which it says is a growing problem.The Swiss Traffic Safety Office began its public information effort after the number of driver urine tests showing marijuana use rose 20 percent in 2003, Swiss news service Swissinfo reports. In 2003, 50 percent of drivers tested in the canton of Bern and 54 percent of those tested in the canton of Waadt had THC, the psychoactive chemical contained in marijuana, in their blood.Only drivers pulled over and showing some signs of intoxication were tested.The campaign, called "The Truth about Smoking Marijuana and Driving," takes aims at popular excuses for driving while high. It will include television advertisements, ads before films, brochures and DVDs distributed at schools.Marijuana use has become a hot-button issue in Swiss politics. Swiss parliament is currently debating proposals to legalize the drug. Copyright: 2004 United Press International
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Comment #15 posted by Agog on June 09, 2004 at 15:07:03 PT
Window to, or Mirror of the Soul
I always believed that cannabis provides a window to or a mirror of the soul. Most of the folks that claimed they disliked it have usually displayed some rather negative characteristics, excessive control behavior, various forms of aggression, simply wrapped toooooo tight. My premise is when cannabis opened the window and allowed them to see within themselves.... they really didn't like what they were seeing, hence didn't like pot. Others were either able to learn and grow from the experience, and others more lucky still were already happy with themselves and it provided great enhancement. That's my story and I'm stickin to it.All the Best
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on June 09, 2004 at 13:02:27 PT
Good Point about Emotions, E_J
I dislike the term "stoned" or worse yet "wrecked." I went through the early part of my life alienated from my own feelings. It was a struggle even after I learned from my wife to start being aware of my feelings and expressing them, to be comfortable with my feelings due to societal pressure to "suck it up, be a man, don't cry," and so on. I believe that most men are emotional cripples due to this pro-military conditioning, or ego destruction. Most of the slang words describing cannabis influence are derived from the alcohol experience where they are more appropriate: blitzed, bombed, pissed, drunk, for example. Alcohol does kill brain cells and impair centers of judgement, making people more selfish ("I'm OK, you're not OK"), less selfless ("I'm not OK, you're OK"). But cannabis influence makes people more "selfful," focused self-existence that acknowledges the self and the other, "I'm OK, you're OK," that the person's best self-interest is served by having both self-esteem and respect for the self of the others in society. Rather than sedating the mind like alcohol, cannabis manifests the mind. Hence, the subtle effects that cause many novices to feel "nothing," and the lack of a frame of reference to those used to alcohol impairment.
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Comment #13 posted by E_Johnson on June 09, 2004 at 12:31:34 PT
Growing old is scary, let's make it illegal!!
I still don't relate to the concept of being "stoned".I have no idea what people mean when they say that. I don't feel that way.Pot makes me feel connected to who I am, rather than who the mass media tells me I need to be or who my husband or any of the people I care about want me to be.If I am sad, I feel sad. Even if the commcercials on TV tell me I need to feel happy because I ama white middle class consuming American.How are we supposed to feel? What is a true feeling?I went through my whole life thinking without feeling and then when I discovered my true feelings, I had to change everything I did because I realized it was all based on not feeling what I was feeling and not being who I was.But if you're visiting your own true feeling then you need some support.Many people in their forties discover life was not what they believed it was supposed to be and feel disappointed in life.I can understand then why they would avoid pot, to avoid feeling their real feelings about their kids and their job and the parents and their government and all of it.Emotional numbing is a valid evolutionary defense mechanism against the existential despair of growing older.But I found it's better to live in the real world with my real feelings. No matter how they may hurt at some times.That's what pot does for me. it doesn't make me artifically happy, it allows me to feel happy when I am happy and feel sad when I am sad.Then it's up to me to deal with those feelings in the real world, and that is how people grow emotionally. By feeling ALL of their feelings and learning to deal with ALL of them at once.
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Comment #12 posted by Commonsense on June 09, 2004 at 12:06:34 PT:
That's about what it does to me.
"For some reason, marijuana made me introspective in the most negative way; instead of a glorious sensual experience, getting stoned brought up my failings, my losses, my enormous stupidity."That's about what it does to me too. It just gives me a creepy feeling and I sit there hoping it wears off soon. It used to make me giggle. I used to smoke it three times a day on average. But as I got older, I had less and less time to smoke pot and I really started liking it less and less. I quarter ounce would last me months and months and those times I did smoke I'd try to only smoke enough to just barely feel it because it had gotten to where the feeling of being really stoned was an unpleasant feeling. I think this is a lot more common than many people realize. I'm nearly forty and most of my friends gave up smoking pot years ago. Most say it got to the point where they didn't like the feeling of being stoned anymore. Some people love it and will probably do it the rest of their lives. It tends to lose its appeal to the rest of us.
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Comment #11 posted by E_Johnson on June 09, 2004 at 12:00:52 PT
Pot removes emotional numbing
I have comment about this:By the early 1970s, I was with him. Dope was starting to make me shake. For some reason, marijuana made me introspective in the most negative way; instead of a glorious sensual experience, getting stoned brought up my failings, my losses, my enormous stupidity. I had to stop smoking, before I stayed in the dark hole into which the drug cast me. I quit, and had not smoked since.Maybe this is how she really feels about herself inside and pot lifts the veil of dissociation from her true feelings.I had emotional numbing and dissociation from post traumatic stress and I lived a whole life without having my true feelings ever in my conscious mind at any time.Pot changed all that. It connected all the wires in my head so that everything I was, I could be at the same time.Including the part that felt bad that needed to be healed.Which I had treated before my just refusing to feel, by my brain just refusing to hook those feelings into my conscious thought stream.No matter how good I thought my life was back when I couldn't feel anything, it is better now that I feel everything.
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Comment #10 posted by Virgil on June 09, 2004 at 10:24:11 PT
In reeference to comment1
The Crown withdrew the charges against the epileptic that appeared before Judge Phillips. Turmel will have his trial for having 7 pounds of laughing grass on the Capital steps next Thursday in Ottawa. The fact exist that the Section 7 is dead from August 1, 2001. The Crown is going to have some real 'spainin' to do to prove that a court can legislate laws.They did not even try today. We will see what happens next Thursday.
Turmel says the Crown drops the charges
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Comment #9 posted by Jose Melendez on June 09, 2004 at 09:52:37 PT
set and setting, mccaffrey, miller and 
"The concept of the social «set and setting» of drug use, or «the characteristics of the conditions of use, the social conditions that shape such situations and impinge upon the users, and the historically and culturally specific meanings and motives used to interpret drug effects (66)» is a product of American research, and it is a crucial notion in the American «drugs and crime» debate. The concept was first developed by Norman Zinberg, Professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in his 1984 book «Drug, Set, and Setting» (67), but it can be viewed as the latest finding of a tradition in American social science research on drugs inaugurated in the 1940s and 1950s by sociologists Alfred Lindesmith and Howard Becker. Zinberg concluded from a comparative analysis of American and British heroin addicts in the late 1960s that the differences he found between the two groups were «attributable to their different social settings—that is, to the differing social and legal attitudes toward heroin in the two countries (68)""I believe there are more worthy candidates for this award than Barry McCaffrey," said Arnold Trebach, president of the Drug Policy Foundation, "but I would hope that the general learns the lessons that Professor Zinberg taught his students and the world - all scientific views should be utilized in formulating national drug policy, even when those views challenge conventional concepts. If the general expects a passing grade from Norman's intellectual heirs, he had better include them in formulating national drug strategies in the future. Now, Barry McCaffrey excludes Norman's colleagues from participating in policy-making. That is perverse in light of this award." Harvard has been severely criticized for deciding to give the award to the drug czar because he has supported policies directly at odds with Dr. Zinberg's positions. The award so disturbed Dr. Lester Grinspoon that he resigned in protest from the Norman E. Zinberg Center for Addiction Studies at Cambridge Hospital. Trebach noted, "I don't think Norman would appreciate Barry McCaffrey calling medicinal marijuana 'Cheech and Chong medicine,' and refusing to acknowledge the research that shows marijuana is medically beneficial. Nor has he acknowledged the research that shows that needle exchange programs are effective in curbing the spread of HIV among injecting drug users. The general doesn't even distinguish between drug use and drug abuse, the very basis of Norman's research." Norman E. Zinberg, M.D., is the author of Drug, Set, and Setting: The Basis for Controlled Intoxicant Use. He was an advocate for drug decriminalization, and a longtime critic of America's punitive drug policies. In addition, he was instrumental in the formation of the Drug Policy Foundation, which established its own Norman E. Zinberg Award for Achievement in the Field of Medicine and Treatment in 1989. " According to political historian Richard Miller in his book The Case for Legalizing Drugs, marijuana is what many doctors “like to call an ‘active placebo’ that produces trivial physical effects and a psychological reaction which is due to the set and setting and not by pharmacological reactions” (Miller 18). The ‘high’ cannabis gives you is not actually forced upon the user, instead it is due to the thoughts and feelings the user is having at the time. It increases thought capacity and creativity. A perfect example of this would be a graphic artist that has been working all day on an assignment and is consistently having trouble overcoming an aspect of his work. He/She may choose to smoke a bit of cannabis to increase his or her focus on what (s)he is currently working on. In essence, (s)he is choosing to ‘think harder’ on what she needs to by smoking cannabis.
     The false idea that cannabis, when ingested, hinders the immune system is simply based on the studies where animals are given near lethal does of cannbinoids. These such circumstances are nearly impossible to replicate in humans. However two studies done in the late 70’s and early 80’s shows that ”marijuana may have actually stimulated the immune system in the people studied” (Hager 2)." Norman E. Zinberg, M.D., was a pioneering investigator into the        effects of drugs, and particularly the way attitudes, expectations,        and social setting affect their use. He was a critic of American        drug laws, and a key member of the Massachusetts branch of the        National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).       Instead of receiving an award in Zinberg's name, McCaffrey should        be learning what drug abuse and sensible drug policy are by studying        Norman's writings, which he has obviously neglected to do. We therefore        offer the General the benefit of Norman's words, as culled principally        from Drug, Set, and Setting and Drugs and the Public (with        John Robertson).             McCaffrey:
 We must acknowledge that drugs are wrong. They're          not wrong simply because they're illegal; they're wrong because          they destroy you physically, mentally, and morally. So we're          going to have our law enforcement authorities uphold the law. Zinberg:
 Are the limitations on liberty that present          drug laws impose essential to an overriding social purpose?          In our view, not only are they not essential, but present laws          do not even deal with the harm that undoubtedly flows from          drug use. In fact, we suggest that the law itself imposes social          as well as legal costs much graver than those of the drug use          it seeks to prevent.          McCaffrey:
 McCaffrey's view on legalization: "Nonsense!" Zinberg:
 Certainly decriminilization of marijuana should          be extended beyond those few states which have adopted it,          and federal penalties for use should be dropped.          McCaffrey:
 There is no question that we will move ruthlessly          to attack this threat to the American people. Zinberg:
 The overinclusive, punitive, and other condemnatory          features of the law conflict with existing knowledge about          drugs and, more importantly, conflict with the practice of          millions of users who find drugs to be something less than          the monolithic horror defined by the law.          McCaffrey:
 There is no reason why we can't return America          to a 1960's level, a pre-Vietnam-era level of drug use. Zinberg:
 Society must learn to tolerate a reasonable          amount of drug use by those members willing and able to make          that decision. McCaffrey:
 Over 20,000 Americans die from illicit drug          use each year. Zinberg:
 The addict who is a "walking death" has          been brought to that condition by the present state of the          law. McCaffrey:
 Two-thirds of the 100,000 people in the federal          prison system are there for drug-related offenses. Zinberg:
 We have a vast self-fulfilling prophecy: by          defining a huge number of people as antisocial (criminal),          we change their motives and create hatred, disruption, and          true rebellion. McCaffrey:
 One-and-a-half million Americans are incarcerated,          many for drug violations. No nation in the world has a higher          incarceration rate. Zinberg:
 Failing to take into account the problems created          by the law causes the situation to deteriorate; this in turn          leads to the call for more and stronger laws. This is the vicious          cycle that we must break. McCaffrey:
 Dealing with the problem of illegal drug abuse          is more akin to dealing with cancer. Zinberg:
 The hopes people place in policemen and doctors          have a basis in reality when it comes to a crime like a holdup          or a disease like cancer. But when we come to a crime whose          victim is thought to be society, and a medical problem which          consists in otherwise normal, law-abiding people ingesting          a substance thought to be harmful, are we not asking policemen          and doctors to do things that fall outside their professional          role? McCaffrey:
 We have made $1 million available to the Institute          of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences to ask physicians          and scientists for all that is known about smoked pot, and          what questions need to be asked about it. Zinberg:
 The misconception is that we must be able to          give a drug a clean bill of health — a "final verdict" — before          we stop criminalizing people who use it, and further that research          can technically provide that answer.       This "debate" was prepared with        the help of Archie Brodsky, a research associate at the Harvard        Medical School's Department of Psychiatry.
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Comment #8 posted by Max Flowers on June 09, 2004 at 09:47:52 PT
A few factoids on strains and effects
Generally speaking, sativa strains (classically that would be Hawaiian, Thai, the rare Mexican that has not been degraded by bad harvesting practices, Jamaican, etc.) have much greater potential for making people feel on egde or a bit paranoid. Indica dominant strains--what we far more commonly in the form of roundish bright green bud that often has a skunky type smell--tends to impart a much more physically relaxing and less mentally stimulating effect. Medical users with a need for anti-spasmodic, pain relief or sleep-inducing effects will usually seek out Indica strains. This is not difficult since they dominate in the pot market, due to the fact that they (Indicas) usually require far fewer weeks of flowering time to finish (ripen).Half and half hybrid strains--50% Indica genes, 50% sativa genes--are very popular also as they tend to offer the best of both worlds and can often ripen in the shorter time frame. For example I just picked up some of a strain called "Bonano" which has a nice sweet flavor and a great happy, introspective sativa high, but finishes in about 8 weeks like an Indica.
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on June 09, 2004 at 09:37:16 PT
Set and Setting Are Important
We need to keep in mind that cannabis is a mild psychedelic. As Timothy Leary recommended, the mental "set" of expectations and the "setting" of the turning-on experience influence the kind of trip a person will have. The antis' propaganda of mis-classifying cannabis as a narcotic, or even a psychotropic (too general), side-steps and ignores the importance of set and setting. Potent hydroponic cannabis is more psychedelic than seedy Mexican, but not necessarily of good sinsemilla (which was available at ridiculously low "premium" prices during the 1970's). Novice recreational cannabis partakers prepare yourselves: read up on the effects of psychedelics; make sure you have a relaxing and safe setting; think positive thoughts about the universe and your place in it (your set); have a guide, in case the trip turns into a bummer, to help talk you down. "Am I my brother's keeper?" asked Cain. --Genesis 4:8-10 ( Bible Gateway ). Yes, if you wish to be part of cannabis culture, you are. Take a page out of the Ann Arbor experience and be "psychedelic rangers." Be on the lookout for cannabis novices and their possible paranoia, and help each other.
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Comment #6 posted by JoeCitizen on June 09, 2004 at 09:02:47 PT
Paranoid Highs
I have experienced paranoia/extreme anxiety while stoned, although it is by far the exception rather than the rule. I have also noticed that certain strains/subtypes of cannabis are far more likely to provoke this state. There was one type of plant that was grown in my area that we called "paranoid bud" because it was so likely to put one into this state.The experience isn't just fear of being busted (althought that fear can be magnified to the point of shaking anxiety) but of feeling generaly afraid, anxious, disturbed. It is pretty much the opposite of the general feeling of relaxation and good will that smoking usually induces. I think it makes sense to me that if cannabis can chemically alter a certain bodily system to produce a given physiological/psychological state, it can (at least possibly) have a different, even opposite effect on that system in certain situations, or given a certain combination of the cannabinoids within the smoke. Just as alcohol can produce either an excess of good will or hostility in a drunk person.Question: cannabis usually settles my stomach when I smoke it, but occasionally when I smoke too much it has made me feel sick and queasy. Has anyone else ever felt this? JC
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Comment #5 posted by OverwhelmSam on June 09, 2004 at 07:17:32 PT
This Story Is So Funny
This woman seems a little obsessive compulsive or paranoid. Perhaps she needs more exercise or sex to relieve her self-inflicted stress. People talk about being paranoid when they use marijuana, but I never have experienced this kind of paranoia while I'm high. In fact, quite the opposite - secure and relaxed. I plan the place and time of my use to ensure security and minimize risk. And I don't use often enough to worry about excessive use, or chronic abuse.I will admit to being extremely cautious when I'm sober and traveling with weed in my possession though, but that's only due to the fear of being caught. This type of fear is not paranoia, this type of fear is real and has sound justification.Paranoia is an unreasonable fear of something with no real basis in fact. The potential for being busted is real, and gives rise for one to adopt an element of caution within one's activities. Maybe one day this caution will no longer be needed.
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Comment #4 posted by Jose Melendez on June 09, 2004 at 07:11:06 PT
bears repeating . . .
here is the boondocks cartoon, for those who might have missed it:
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Comment #3 posted by darwin on June 09, 2004 at 06:39:57 PT
Already mentioned
Oops, I see it was already mentioned in a previous post.
(With a link)
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Comment #2 posted by darwin on June 09, 2004 at 06:37:52 PT
Anyone catch Boondocks comic this morning? It's priceless.
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Comment #1 posted by Virgil on June 09, 2004 at 06:33:30 PT
Something to watch for
In 1997 in Canada, a Judge Sheppard ruled that the laws were a danger to the life of an epileptic named Terry Parker. Today on this June 9th, this same Judge Sheppard will hear from another epileptic that has filed as fact that the laws in section 7 of the drug code were declared to be of no force or effect. The prosecution is going to have to explain under what laws this epileptic is to be charged when the fact is that those laws were declared dead going back to August 1, 2001, with July 31, 2001 being the true Terry Parker Day.Judge Phillips is well aware of the showdown today. The decision could come at any time, although I would think that John Turmel will give his account of the trial today with the message after this one-
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