Light and Smoke: Higher Education?

  Light and Smoke: Higher Education?

Posted by CN Staff on April 16, 2005 at 23:00:46 PT
By Jeremy Schmidt 
Source: Yale Herald 

Connecticut -- Marijuana made its first public appearance at Yale—that is, people knew that some others were smoking—when I was a freshman in Farnham Hall, the fall of 1965," explains Jim Sleeper, DC '69, a lecturer in the Political Science department. "One or two guys were smoking it. I smelled it for the first time then in my entryway once or twice, and we heard rumors." Between 1965 and 1966, pot was becoming increasingly commonplace across the United States, and Yale was no exception to the trend.
Accompanying the progressive changes that were taking place at Yale—such as the discontinuation of mandatory physical education classes and the abolishment of the rule requiring jackets and ties at dinner—was the increasing rate of casual drug use on campus."It wasn't until the following year, when my roommates and I moved into D-Port—a few entryways down from [future president] George W. Bush [DC '68]—that pot use became more well known," he said. "By 1968, we were all mainlining Dylan and the Stones on earphones in our suites, and there was a fair amount of marijuana."Since then, pot has maintained its presence at Yale, cycling through periods of heavier and lighter usage. But while national survey results show that approximately 12 percent of 18-to-25-year-old Americans have used cannabis in the past month, Yale-specific statistics aren't readily available. For this reason, even though everyone recognizes that drugs have been a part of the Yale social scene for decades, some students and most adults around campus—professors, administrators, and researchers—remain in the dark about how pot figures into the demanding schedules of Yale undergraduates. "I don't know a single thing about current drug use at Yale," Sleeper admitted.Dean of Undergraduate Affairs Betty Trachtenberg hypothesized that a crackdown on alcohol abuse has led to a recent increase in pot smoking. "My sense is that over the past few years marijuana use has gone up," she said. Indeed, a poll of 80 randomly selected undergraduates conducted by the Herald suggests that approximately 45 percent of students have used marijuana during their time at Yale, with at least 18 percent using it once a month or more. In an effort to allow this population to speak for itself, I sat down with three different undergraduates who smoke on a daily basis. While our time together resembled neither Confessions of an English Opium Eater nor The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, all three students were surprisingly objective when discussing their marijuana habits. Pot for Pleasure"You picked a pretty boring drug. It's not like coke," remarks Jason, a senior in Saybrook, as he exhales smoke through his nose. "But I think marijuana is pretty important because it's so prevalent." While the frequency with which he uses pot—more than once a day on average—makes Jason a rarity at Yale, he still belongs to the largest category of smokers on campus: those who use the drug to relax and have a good time. As we sit in his off-campus bedroom, he tells me that marijuana, for him, is a simple pleasure. "I don't really believe in that expand-your-mind bullshit. It basically just dulls your senses when you smoke pot," he explains.Like most Yale users, Jason does his best to keep work and play separate. After sitting through a good number of seminars stoned sophomore year, he tries not to smoke before class anymore."I gave a presentation in Claude Rawson's 'Satire' class high one time—I think it was on Dryden," says Jason while hitting a bowl between responses. "As I imagined it, I went off on these crazy tangents and Claude was just staring at me like, 'What a moron.'"Since then, most of Jason's Wednesdays are spent like this one. He wakes up at around 11 a.m., gets through his classes, comes home, and packs a small wooden pipe as soon as he gets in the door. As I sit with him, he spends the next few hours watching a History Channel special on Caligula, strumming an acoustic guitar, smoking more pot, and answering my insipid questions. After the interview, he reads Wordsworth for an hour and smokes again, complaining that he needs to buy more pot soon.Jason purchases an eighth (of an ounce) from a student-dealer every two or three weeks. But he's the first to admit that his habit affects more than his wallet. "I would definitely get a lot more done [at Yale] if I didn't smoke," he says. "It is a problem: it's substance abuse. It takes down the general level of student involvement and student intelligence."That doesn't mean Jason plans on stopping anytime soon. He recognizes the harmful health effects of smoking and chooses to smoke anyway because he greatly enjoys the sensation of being high. Still, he is at least willing to embrace the notion of moderation. "You've got to balance your life: You can't get high all the time—sometimes you have to get drunk," he proclaims before closing the door behind me and heading to bed.Pot for PerspectiveGreg, a junior in berkely—the only heavy smoker I sat down with who wanted his real name printed in this article—also distinguishes between binge drinking and smoking pot. "People who drink on the weekends are definitely more the type to use it as an excuse for bizarre and destructive behavior," he said. "Potheads who do stupid things while they're high are in the minority."This appears to be a good case for why the administration focuses more on addressing alcohol abuse than marijuana. Yet, Dr. Brent Moore—a researcher at Yale Medical School who is investigating the respiratory effects of marijuana—suggests that marijuana may be insidious in this respect. Because its dangers are not as acute as those associated with other substances, "It lulls people into use for an extended period of time and makes them more willing to go back to it," Moore said.For just this reason, Greg is careful to avoid using marijuana simply as a means of dulling his senses. While he smokes three or four times a week, his marijuana use is more purposeful than that of the average Yalie. Since the club water-polo season is over—Garret was the team's captain this past fall—Greg gets home at around 4 p.m. After classes, a lifting session in the Berkeley gym, and a quick shower, he sits down to roll a joint and explain his habits."My friends and I tend to use pot as a way to see things in a different light. It puts you inside your head a little more, makes your thoughts a little more interesting," he says. "Pot sort of lubricates the conversation a little." Greg enjoys talking with friends, watching movies, and writing while stoned because he's able to approach these activities from a unique perspective. He feels marijuana makes him more creative.Greg is not alone in professing the potential benefits of pot use. Recently, Louis Silverstein, professor of Liberal Education at Columbia College in Chicago, published a book entitled Deep Spirit & Great Heart: Living in Marijuana Consciousness. Silverstein described to me how pot can be "used in a disciplined and respectful manner as an agent of transformation."While Silverstein's views are very much those of an idealistic ex-hippie, they needn't be presumptuously discarded. Perhaps the world of the '60s campus described by Sleeper, in which marijuana was a symbol of both defiance and creativity, is long gone. But at least a portion of Yale pot smokers, including Greg, believe that it's important to understand the reasons behind one's pot habits so as to avoid using it merely as a crutch.Alison, a junior in Jonathan Edwards, smokes on a daily basis and acknowledges that there's a serious risk of becoming emotionally addicted. She approaches this potential pitfall in a similar way to what Greg does: by using pot purposefully. "With my friends, there's often an element of searching for something higher. No pun intended." She laughs while adding, "Not necessarily every time, but you do learn things about yourself."Pot for ProblemsAndrew, a senior in Silliman, is among the students on campus who smoke to manage stress. Certainly, all Yale pot smokers get high because it's a nice break from the routine of academic life, but Andrew emphasizes this aspect of the drug as we sit in his suite. Fingering the carb to a three-foot bong patched with epoxy-resin after a disastrous fall a few semesters back, he's perfectly candid in his explanation of why he smokes pot every day."If I didn't smoke, I'd have a hard time getting through all the bullshit on a given day at Yale," he says. "Yale is an environment that begs for some kind of self-medication, whether it's fro-yo, caffeine, or cigarettes."Andrew questions both the nature of dependence and the rationalizations that people tend to provide for their addictions. Even as he exhales a ring, he insists that he doesn't believe the benefits of smoking necessarily outweigh the harmful effects. More than most heavy smokers, he is well aware that the health concerns raised by marijuana go beyond getting sucked into watching too many dating shows. Last year, one of his closest friends suffered from serious panic attacks related to pot use."[He] had a nervous breakdown," Andrew recalls. "It was pretty messed up for all involved. Basically, I feel like there could be more support at Yale. More rehab rather than just writing him off as a nut-job or whatever."Dr. Marie Baker, the undergraduate substance abuse counselor at University Health Services, defends the current support system. "I think that there is information out there, from Freshman Orientations and online," she says. "Some students definitely do come in concerned about their marijuana use. And sometimes they come in with other concerns and we discover that marijuana is the real issue."Nevertheless, students like Andrew feel that increased support and discussion related to marijuana use couldn't hurt. A dialogue would do more than serve as the first line of defense against situations like the one involving Andrew's friend; it would help community members to better understand the who and the why of marijuana use. Furthermore, it would allow users to feel less marginalized, Greg said. "Putting it out in public makes people feel better, like it's not just their dirty little secret," Greg points out.Beyond the ArchetypesNearly everyone I spoke with—smokers and non-smokers alike—expressed a genuine belief in the need for a wider dialogue about marijuana use on campus. According to the Herald's poll, the general undergraduate population seems to agree. Fifty-one percent of students surveyed said that Yale should work harder to promote a dialogue concerning marijuana use; 65 percent said they would be somewhat interested or very interested in attending lectures about research involving marijuana and discussions about marijuana use.If that's so, why aren't more people talking about pot?William Corbin, a professor of psychology who teaches "Addictive Behaviors," points out that these kinds of things are cyclical in nature. "Part of the increase in marijuana use is due to all the attention on cocaine and ecstasy," he says, cautioning that focusing too heavily on marijuana would likely result in an increase in the use of other substances.However, Corbin acknowledges that the primary reason that marijuana is rarely discussed is the focus already placed on the binge-drinking problem. Alcohol, of course, remains the drug of choice on campus and is the center of an ongoing dialogue. In contrast, marijuana may be prevalent enough to warrant more attention, but mostly fosters silence. "We don't do much in terms of education and talking [about marijuana use]," Trachtenberg confessed.But that might finally be changing. Corbin has begun collecting data on alcohol and drug use at Yale. When the results are made available, they will provide the administration with information that will be useful in designing and implementing marijuana-related education and health services.Meanwhile, Moore recently gave a lecture in Linsly Chittenden concerning his respiratory research. While attendance was slim and a few students even walked out—apparently disappointed that the lecturer wasn't discussing the benefits of pot smoking—Moore remains hopeful. "I'd certainly be happy to talk about it more broadly," he said. "I would provide a perspective."If we were more open about the role that marijuana plays in the lives of a portion of undergraduates, perhaps non-users would be more willing to contemplate the reasons why some students smoke, and users more willing to listen to people like Moore when they explain the drawbacks of marijuana dependence. Encouraging understanding among non-smokers and restraint among smokers seems to be a path the administration is prepared to pursue. When asked if she'd ever smoked marijuana, Trachtenberg declined to comment. When asked if she'd ever consumed marijuana in the form of brownies or cookies or cake, Trachtenberg again declined to comment. But when confronted about the need for a dialogue concerning pot at Yale, she replied, "We should do that. We can't do it this second, but we'll do it next year."Chart: names are fictional unless otherwise noted.Note: Whether for pleasure, for perspective, or for problems, Yalies are hitting the bong. Source: Yale Herald, The (CT Edu)Author: Jeremy SchmidtPublished: April 15, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Yale HeraldContact: opinion yaleherald.comWebsite: News -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #51 posted by afterburner on April 19, 2005 at 20:45:52 PT
Sample of handouts from Hwy420 Cannabis Conference
Information Literature.
Sample of the information handouts that were available at the Hwy420 Cannabis Conference: How many more studies are needed? (36k)
A listing of 12 reports on cannabis, with quotes.
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Comment #50 posted by FoM on April 19, 2005 at 15:45:51 PT
John Tyler 
I decided to turn down the volume on the news because we know who the new pope is and that's all that they are talking about. I'm listening to On The Threshold of a Dream. Much better then the news! LOL! Thanks for giving me the idea.
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Comment #49 posted by FoM on April 19, 2005 at 12:20:23 PT
I'm sorry to read about your computer problems but I'm glad you are back up and running. 
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Comment #48 posted by jose melendez on April 19, 2005 at 04:42:54 PT
Holy recreation: All use is medical
Health Canada: Sativex (Cannabis extract) APPROVED, data demonstrates efficacy.
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Comment #47 posted by Toker00 on April 19, 2005 at 04:12:16 PT
Loooong term use.
Sorry to jump in here so late, but had to. I'm just back up after a 'puter prob. I'm 51. Toker for 34 years. The familiarity in everyones post is wonderful. Corrupted my body with alcohol in young adulthood. Repaired it with Cannabis. Enlightened my mind and spitit, too. I have a flexability reach of 18 inches. That's where you sit on the floor and push a lever on a box beyond the bottom of your feet. No pains. Seldom have a cold. Worked very hard all my life. Carpenter for 28 years. I have eight fingers. And two thumbs! LOL! Peace. Legalize, then Revolutionize! (medicine)(energy)(nutrition) 
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Comment #46 posted by FoM on April 18, 2005 at 22:52:46 PT

John Tyler
Your comment is what the Moody Blues does for each person who has ever really listened to their music. The Moody Blues takes us to a place far away from our normal everyday life. Enjoy!
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Comment #45 posted by John Tyler on April 18, 2005 at 22:40:50 PT

Speaking the same language
Of course, you are right. (I hope this doesn't sound pretentious, but...) We have all been there. We have experienced the joy of cannabis. We have seen the clear light of the void. No, wait, we have become the clear light. Our consciousness has been expanded. Although we have never met, we are one. We are sublime. 
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Comment #44 posted by FoM on April 18, 2005 at 22:30:51 PT

John Tyler 
You're welcome. We are seriously thinking about going to the concert. Enjoy your listening to the Moody Blues. They are great.
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Comment #43 posted by John Tyler on April 18, 2005 at 22:04:45 PT

The Moodys
Thanks for the tips about the concert tour and the DVD. I’ve been checking the discount record bins and yardsales for Moody CDs. I bought “Threshold of a Dream” for $2.25 at a yeardsale a couple of weeks ago. Even as I type I’m listening to The Moody Blues “A Night at Red Rocks.”

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Comment #42 posted by FoM on April 18, 2005 at 13:40:53 PT

It sounds like you had a really great time! I'm happy for you!
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Comment #41 posted by afterburner on April 18, 2005 at 10:52:42 PT

The Highway 420 Cannabis Conference&Protest Update
The Highway 420 Cannabis Conference and Protest was a big success! Summary now. Event Reports, Photo Gallery and Information Literature (downloads) soon come.
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Comment #40 posted by afterburner on April 18, 2005 at 10:23:26 PT

FoM re 420
It was brilliant, mind-expanding, hope-building and a hoot to boot! A motivated glimpse into the probable future."At The Hundredth Meridian" by TRAGICALLY HIP
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Comment #39 posted by unkat27 on April 18, 2005 at 09:21:23 PT

Pot has many uses
Of the three pot-users interviewed in this article, Jason is obviously the one that does it just to kill time, without really appreciating it. He reminds me of the spoiled college brat who just needs to fill a little patch of boring down-time with something to do with his hands.Greg is the man, he knows the true value of mj and he knows how to appreciate it without wasting his life abusing it. I can empathize with Andrew, cuz I use pot for stress, but what he doesn't understand is that every now and then a little stress isn't so bad, and that turning to pot to alleviate it constantly is no different than turning to other drugs every time you get a headache, it leads to either physical or psychological addiction. Becuz the tolerance level increases with such regular use, the need for more also tends to increase. It's actually good to go cold-turkey and stay off of pot now and then, for a week or two or more, to lower the tolerance-level (even if it is painful).
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Comment #38 posted by potpal on April 18, 2005 at 08:46:56 PT

My road...
51, started partaking at 16, I remember hearing American Woman by the Guess Who that evening. Pretty much a daily user since, had a month or two, here and there where I stopped, like my first backpack trip to Europe (1980). Took a month to get the lay of the land and score! Spent a month in Amsterdam one week. Discovered the Bull Dog then and fell in love with the Dutch.Since, 2 (associate) degrees via night school. Been employed all my life. Progressed from a data entry operator to a Senior Programmer Analyst. As of late, I've been denied a security clearance (busted in 1996/false alarm fire/firemen forced entry and discovered a Phototron, therefore I'm going to lose my job with this defense contractor who is awash in the homeland security dollars. Doubtful whether I'll find suitable employment, I live at the beach/OCMD. Guess its back to the marina/tackle shop. I feel good, quit tobacco at 26 (started at 9!), a jogger for 27 years, paid artist/muzzician/photographer on the side. Never needed presciption drugs aside from antibiotics now and then and its doubtful whether I needed them, most times they were to head off a strep throat that later turned out not to be. And so it goes.Give pot a chance.
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Comment #37 posted by Kozmo on April 18, 2005 at 08:29:51 PT

44 years young
I just wanted to add my stats to this great thread.
44 years young. Introduced to Gods greenery when I was 16. Started smoking regularly at 18. Never went to school or to work under the influence. Just thought it a waste of a good buzz to do so. Stopped drinking many years ago but from my first toke I knew I would never quit partaking in the sweet leaf.
I wish to thank everyone who works to get the stupid prohib laws overturned.
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Comment #36 posted by FoM on April 17, 2005 at 21:10:10 PT

 I believe we have a person here a little older then you so I guess you don't win the lollipop! LOL!
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Comment #35 posted by FoM on April 17, 2005 at 21:06:30 PT

I hope that you had a great day!
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Comment #34 posted by afterburner on April 17, 2005 at 20:51:10 PT

Don'tStep on the Grass&Falls touted as pot capital
Artist: Steppenwolf Lyrics 
Song: 'Don't Step on the Grass, Sam' Lyrics Words and music by John Kay{Starin' at the boob tube, turnin' on the big knob
Tryin' to find some life in the waste land
Fin'ly found a program, gonna deal with Mary Jane
Ready for a trip into hate land
Obnoxious Joe comes on the screen
Along with his guest self-righteous Sam
And one more guy who doesn't count
His hair and clothes are too far out{While pushin' back his glasses Sam is sayin' casually
"I was elected by the masses"
And with that in mind he starts to unwind
A vicious attack on the finest of grasses{Well it's evil, wicked, mean and nasty
(Don't step on the grass, Sam)
And it will ruin our fair country
(Don't be such an ass, Sam)
Well, it will hook your Sue and Johnny
(You're so full of bull, Sam)
All will pay that disagree with me
(Please give up you already lost the fight, alright){Misinformation Sam and Joe
Are feeding to the nation
But the one who didn't count counted them out
By exposing all their false quotations
Faced by a very awkward situation
This is all he'd say to save the day{Well it's evil, wicked, mean and nasty
(Don't step on the grass, Sam)
And it will ruin our fair country
(Don't be such an ass, Sam)
Well, it will hook your Sue and Johnny
(You're so full of bull, Sam)
All will pay that disagree with me
(Please give up you already lost the fight alright){You waste my coin Sam, all you can
To jail my fellow man
For smoking all the noble weed
You need much more than him
You've been telling lies so long
Some believe they're true
So they close their eyes to things
You have no right to do
Just as soon as you are gone
Hope will start to climb
Please don't stay around too long
You're wasting precious time{Repeat Chorus}
 --Don't Step on the Grass, Sam Lyrics - Steppenwolf't%20Step%20on%20the%20Grass,%20Sam%20Lyrics.htmlFalls touted as pot capital
Toronto Sun, Canada - 16 Apr 2005
... off marijuana.". Mernagh, 31, will stress that point during today's Hwy. 420 Cannabis Conference in Niagara Falls. The activist expects ..., I was the oldest protester at the Highway 420 Protest.

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Comment #33 posted by JustGetnBy on April 17, 2005 at 19:00:22 PT

How Old ????

  I think I may win the lolipop for the oldest, 64, been cannabis enhanced for four years. First tried in my thirties, and it was love at first puff. Jobs and life in general made me abstain until I retired four years ago. I would do it different if I had it to do again.
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Comment #32 posted by FoM on April 17, 2005 at 18:54:08 PT

Off Topic: Oops Forgot Important Info
FDA Orders Bayer, Glaxo to Pull Levitra AdMarketWatch, US - 4/17/2005 Bayer Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline have been ordered by US Food and Drug Administration to pull a television ad for their impotence drug, Levitra, because it made an unsubstantiated claim and failed to include information about side effects. FDA has said the My Man ad fails to address Levitra‘s side effects, including a warning that taking alpha-blockers in addition to Levitra can produce hypotension. GlaxoSmithKline with Schering-Plough markets Levitra for Bayer.§ion=Pharma

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Comment #31 posted by FoM on April 17, 2005 at 18:27:24 PT

I thought I should post your comment here. My husband really liked reading it. If anyone wants to post their comment from another article just post the article and add # then the number of your comment like here on this link. I wasn't sure if everyone knew that could be done.
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Comment #30 posted by runruff on April 17, 2005 at 17:55:52 PT:

My 2 cents.
Posted my age and history in an earier artical 4-13-05 "Cannabis Bill Must answer Key Concerns", post #13.Interesting to hear from you all. It's like we speak the same languge.Namaste
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Comment #29 posted by BGreen on April 17, 2005 at 17:54:49 PT

On a related note
Check out this AP article that came out in papers across the country today.I've included some choice paragraphs that contradict a lot of the BS that gets thrown at the medical cannabis movement each day.The Reverend Bud Green************************************************************The number of prescriptions has swelled by two-thirds over the past decade to 3.5 billion yearly, according to IMS Health, a pharmaceutical consulting company. Americans devour even more nonprescription drugs, polling suggests.************************************************************Well over 125,000 Americans die from drug reactions and mistakes each year, according to Associated Press projections from landmark medical studies of the 1990s. That could make pharmaceuticals the fourth-leading national cause of death after heart disease, cancer and stroke.The pharmaceutical industry served up more than $250 billion worth of sales last year, the vast majority in prescriptions, according to industry consultants. That roughly equaled sales at all the country's gasoline stations put together, or an $850 pharmaceutical fill-up for every American.************************************************************"We are taking way too many drugs for dubious or exaggerated ailments," says Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and author of "The Truth About the Drug Companies.""What the drug companies are doing now is promoting drugs for long-term use to essentially healthy people. Why? Because it's the biggest market."************************************************************In fact, relatively few pharmaceutical newcomers greatly improve the health of patients over older drugs or advance the march of medicine. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classified about three-quarters of newly approved drugs as similar to existing ones.Confronted with mounting costs, drug makers churn out and promote uninspired sequels like Hollywood: drugs with the same ingredients in a different form for a different disease.************************************************************However, the nation also overindulges far too often, the critics say, and violates the classic proscription of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates: "First, do no harm."Drug safety researcher Dr. James Kaye, of Boston University, remembers a medical school teacher telling the class: "All drugs are poisonous!"
Experts Warn on Expense of U.S. Drugs
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Comment #28 posted by BGreen on April 17, 2005 at 16:26:48 PT

42-years-old and a daily user for 29 years
I'm healthy and doing much better physically than most people my age.The doctor has never found any irregularities when listening to my respiratory function and I'm on NO prescription meds.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #27 posted by AgaetisByrjun on April 17, 2005 at 16:12:59 PT

No topic in particular
It's just that it's a nice day and a few things came to mind:1) About music: I've been listening to Abba for about two hours straight (I feel so ashamed of myself). I swear, that group is like Prozac: it just puts you in a cheap, artifical good mood that's great for writing essays when it's a nice spring day out. I never got to live through the cocaine era, but it's no wonder they came from it.2) I came across a quotation that really struck a chord with me:"In the same manner, as some children always remain pigmies, whose infant limbs have been too closely confined; thus our tender minds, fettered by the prejudices and habits of a just servitude, are unable to expand themselves, or to attain that well-proportioned greatness which we admire in the ancients; who living under a popular government, wrote with the same freedom as they acted."- Longinus, "On the Sublime"
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on April 17, 2005 at 15:10:31 PT

You were a cat in a penguin suit! That's really cool to read. I can visualize it too! LOL! The Moody Blues music takes you on a mind trip like no other group that I've ever enjoyed. Pink Floyd is special that way too. Neil Young is my everyday favorite musician because I can relate to his music. 
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Comment #25 posted by Greenjoy on April 17, 2005 at 14:55:41 PT

Moody Blues
 Isn't life strayyay yay yay yay yay yay yay yange? I've played for them, twice believe it or not. I was a cat in a penguin suit. (orchestra) They're great! There wasn't any incense burning though. If you can catch them with a real orchestra it adds a nice realism. The Moody Blues may have outlasted your local orchestra though. I'll try and check out the song you mentioned John.
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Comment #24 posted by global_warming on April 17, 2005 at 14:55:01 PT

Hope all is well with you all,..
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Comment #23 posted by jfrolang on April 17, 2005 at 14:02:07 PT

Re: age
I guess I'm in the minority here too, being just 21.
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Comment #22 posted by afterburner on April 17, 2005 at 13:34:01 PT

Hey Hey Ho Ho, Anne McLellan Has Got to Go
We came, we saw we spoke we listened we passed the pipe the joint the chonger. We discussed the proposal to turn the Niagara region into a medical and social cannabis growing region rivaling the wine growing industry. We cheered each other's stories: the compassion clubs, the political activists. We won prizes befitting such an event, The Highway 420 Conference and Protest. All the hotels in town submitted proposals to host the event. Visions of Niagara greenhouses full of the blessed sacrament were seriously discussed and entertained. Dignitaries included organizer, Matt Mernagh; Loretta Nall, USMJ Party; David Malmo-Levine, BCMP; Puff Mama; Anthony C. Brucato; Ian Levine, Pardons Canada; Curt Robbins; Chris Goodwin; Alison Myrden; Dustin Fineout (Rochester Cannabis Coalition). After the intellectual stimulation, we marched to the Highway 420 parkette, down the carnival streets of downtown Nigara Falls accompanied by a police escort to the park overlooking the Horseshoe Falls. As the speakers led the countdown to 4:20, David Malmo-Levine called for dignity for cannabis smokers, for recognizing smoke as a therapeutic delivery method for the good medicine, promising to send a smoke signal across the border and the falls to the other Niagara Falls, the New York, USA one.At 4:20 the sparkage increased, the fattie was ignited and passed through the crowd. The joints and pipes circulated freely. People were smiling in the sun, gazing lovingly at one another and at the falls. In summary David called for cannabis parity with the coffee culture. And Matt's vision of a peaceful assembly was accomplished. The breaking open of the Anne McLellan pinata was the only aggressive outburst; she was filled with goodies.420, Highway, HWY, 420, Cannabis, Marijuana, Conference, Protest, Forum, Legalize, Regulate, Niagara, Falls
420, Highway, HWY, 420, Cannabis, Marijuana, Conference, Protest, Forum, Legali
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Comment #21 posted by CorvallisEric on April 17, 2005 at 12:34:45 PT

OK, can't resist
I'm 59, first time at 20 - remember more details of that day than almost any other of my entire life. Always used sparingly and almost none since 1990, but want the option to try it again sometime, by means other than smoking. Found it interesting and exhilarating rather than relaxing or pain-relieving and always tried to keep it that way (like not using when tired or anxious, etc). Other drugs: never used tobacco, got seriously drunk once at 21 and learned my lesson once and for all, tried cocaine a couple times in the Reagan years to little affect, mildly addicted to caffeine.So, it seems that I would have little personal interest in drug policy, in addition to being a hard-boiled engineering type who doesn't buy some of the pro-cannabis and pro-hemp arguments on this forum and elsewhere. Quite the contrary, I believe current drug (especially cannabis) policy is one of the most counterproductive long-term government stupidities. 
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on April 17, 2005 at 12:28:15 PT

John Tyler
The Moody Blues are touring the U.S. this summer!
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on April 17, 2005 at 11:51:48 PT

John Tyler 
In Search of The Lost Chord is one of my favorites but I just love all of The Moody Blues music.The DVD of The Moody Blues at Royal Albert Hall is great too.
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Comment #18 posted by John Tyler on April 17, 2005 at 11:45:21 PT

On being In Tune
That's the spiritual effect. You get in tune with the universe. You become one with the universe. The universe is a manifestation of God, etc., etc. If you like that feeling, put on some incense, get your head in the right place, and give a listen to The Moody Blues “In Search of the Lost Chord.”  

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Comment #17 posted by AgaetisByrjun on April 17, 2005 at 11:26:01 PT

I'm probably the youngest one here (20, been smoking for four years).
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Comment #16 posted by AgaetisByrjun on April 17, 2005 at 11:25:03 PT

2 + 2 = 5
[[Yet, Dr. Brent Moore—a researcher at Yale Medical School who is investigating the respiratory effects of marijuana—suggests that marijuana may be insidious in this respect. Because its dangers are not as acute as those associated with other substances, "It lulls people into use for an extended period of time and makes them more willing to go back to it," Moore said.]]In other words, it's very dangerous because it's not very dangerous.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on April 17, 2005 at 11:11:14 PT

A Space in Time
This thread as made me do a lot of thinking. Cannabis is universal and no time in history seems to have been passed over. Cultural issues like bongs versus joints or pipes are different but still it is all the same. Language differences don't mean anything either. Cannabis is very unique and worth fighting for.
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Comment #14 posted by Treeanna on April 17, 2005 at 10:00:07 PT

plastic bongs
The thing about plastic is that it is volatile and gives off chemicals.How much and what sort depends on the type of plastic, and the environment it is subjected to. Heat will certainly cause it to give off more.All that being said, very hard, rigid plastics are the most stable.Undoubtedly, thanks to people like Bush and all the big chem companies, we are exposed to a lot of this sort of crap every day. Think of how your food is packaged, for instance.
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Comment #13 posted by VitaminT on April 17, 2005 at 09:57:04 PT

31-derful years
I'm 42 and I started smoking the Blessed Herb when I was in the 6th grade (11 y.o.) I don't recommend that young people get started at such an early age, but doing so has hardly ruined my life! At 42 I'm married with two beautiful offspring; I'm well employed and have been blessed with good health.Things worth saying:
My wife and I have never hidden our pot smoking from our kids - now ages 20 and 14. Neither has shown much interest in smoking, but both know where to come if they become curious about it. I'm much more comfortable being involved with their early experiences with pot than I would be letting the guy on the corner handle it for me.
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Comment #12 posted by Patrick on April 17, 2005 at 09:20:48 PT

27 years
I'm 45 and started when I was 18. Most days I'll smoke a bowl or two in the evening as I unwind from my day. Still love life, have plenty of motivation, and when I have gone through periods without any smoke I have yet to ever notice any type of withdrawl symptons. It is a wonder plant and its prohibition is a crime.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on April 17, 2005 at 09:19:59 PT

I wasn't aware of plastic bongs not being good. I don't think I've ever even seen one other then on TV.
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Comment #10 posted by goneposthole on April 17, 2005 at 09:12:42 PT

plastic bongs are no good and I refuse to use them. 
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Comment #9 posted by Greenjoy on April 17, 2005 at 09:02:57 PT

True Love
 Hello everyone. I'm 42. I started when I was 15. I went to an Arts school to study music. It was fairly prevalent there. I always found it to be very helpful with the long hours of practicing. You get to the point where its hard to stay at it... a few bongs and I would feel reinspired and refreshed. When I started writing music 15 years ago it became a true Godsend. I've been without for over a year and it has not been an improvement in any sense. I think it affects people in different ways. Maybe Jason's stuff spent too much time in the hold of some ship. I rarely felt dulled by it myself. I remember a time when I made muffins with a wonderful Sativa. A few hours later I felt so "in tune" I was right where I was supposed to be right when I was supposed to be there...closer to God. Very gentle and natural. Anyone else feel this way? Having been without for this time has been an eye opener in the sense that I realize just how much of an enhancement it has been in my life...not to mention painreliever. Its a bit like I was running on 87 octane at first and then for a wonderful period of time I was blessed with plenty of 94 octane and now I've been knocked back to 87 octane. Knock knock ping ping.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on April 17, 2005 at 08:16:55 PT

How nice to read this thread! Thanks everyone for your honesty.
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Comment #7 posted by JSM on April 17, 2005 at 07:20:29 PT:

Currently 56, I started at age 19 and stopped for almost 30 years while raising a family. Now I have been smoking on weekends and such for the last 5 or 6 years. Hey, it is fun. 
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Comment #6 posted by OverwhelmSam on April 17, 2005 at 07:13:52 PT

47 Feeling Like 27, Lighting Up Since 16.
I like to use moderately - once or twice a week. When I go for prolonged periods (a month or more) without lighting up, I feel tired and have the typical aches associated with age. Physiologically, it makes me feel younger, and of course, happier. I just wish it were legal so people could start to let go of their prejudice against marijuana users.Overwhelm Uncle Sam 
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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on April 17, 2005 at 07:07:50 PT

37 years
I’m 56. I have been with the program for 37 years. In medical checks never once has a doctor mentioned any kind of respiratory irregularity or health problem (unlike some of my drinking coworkers). I’ve been in my current profession for 25 years and also I teach college classes. I don’t smoke everyday, or even every week, or maybe even every month. But when things are quiet and I have some time, I like to relax with a bowl or two and listen to some music, or read, or watch a movie. It’s fast acting, it’s predictable, and I really like its’ spiritual and mind expanding qualities. It’s funny, but sometimes in conservation with people that I know from different places some little phrase or key word will be mentioned and then we will both know that we are experienced. For example, one time back on April 20th I was working with another guy on some project and I took a chance and said, “Do you know it’s 4/20?” He said. “Yes, I do,” and we both laughed. My point is, if I may borrow and alter a phrase from the Moody Blues “We are all around if we could but perceive.”Keep on thinking free.P.S. Wouldn’t it be something if we all got into the same old folks home! Sorry this was so long.

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Comment #4 posted by goneposthole on April 17, 2005 at 06:24:35 PT

53 years old
but... I am going to be 54. 54 -19 = 35 years of smoking bud. At first, I didn't smoke a lot, but as time went by, I didn't smoke that much. Now, after 34 years and counting, I really don't smoke that much. I smoke for enjoyment and the mind-expanding 'high' that it offers. I ate some brownies on Friday for the first time in a long time.Of course, had I been prescribed Vioxx or Celebrex, I might be dead. I think I'll stick to pot.Robert Parrish, former Boston Celtic, enjoys cannabis. Louis Armstrong liked cannabis. Carl Sagan smoked it often. You don't have to attend Yale to smoke cannabis.Bueller? Bueller?

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Comment #3 posted by BUDSNAXZ on April 17, 2005 at 05:51:17 PT

I just recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of my 20th birthday : )
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Comment #2 posted by Dave in Florida on April 17, 2005 at 05:42:25 PT

long term
I think a lot of posters here are long term smokers. I too, am 51 and have smoked pot for 36 years. There were years that I did not smoke much and years where I smoked a lot. I am successful in my work, my hobbies and my being. I smoke for enjoyment and relaxation after work. I have never in all of my life been high at work. Some people come home after work and enjoy a martini, some enjoy a beer but many of us enjoy a bowl. I have many friends that are in the same catagory. My 25 year old son came over yesterday and helping me on a project and was complaing about a hangover from friday night. I have not had one of those in 25 or more years. You always wake up refreshed. 
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Comment #1 posted by potpal on April 17, 2005 at 04:27:42 PT

long term
I'd like to see one of the interviews with those who have used cannabis for 25 plus years. Anyone care to dive in?I'm sometimes curious as to the ages of cnews young are you?I'm only 51.Enjoy the day.
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