Natural feelings of expansion that correspond to favorable perceptions, such as a sense of accomplishment, are experiences
common to us all, What makes marijuana unique and beneficial is its ability to summon these states of well-being at will.
We might suggest that those hundreds of millions of people around the world who face marijuana to experience higher levels
of life, do so specifically because of the great import they ascribe to being “ high,” i.e., feeling better,
happier, more expansive, and therefore more tolerant and compassionate.
Whereas marijuana results in an “altered
state of consciousness,” the depressant drugs have been described as producing “altered states of unconsciousness”
(Sugerman and Tarter), allowing for relaxation without awareness.
Marijuana exposes things. When used
over a period of time, it allows us to witness our many subtle motives which, under normal consciousness, are usually not
It was just this catalytic effect of
marijuana to expose the unconscious and increase the patient’s vulnerability, while maintaining awareness and understanding
that prompted psychologists (in the 1960s and 1970s) to utilize marijuana extensively in the therapeutic studies before the
With the expansiveness that occurs
with marijuana, the subject may begin to notice infinite possibilities to raise the quality of his/her life that would otherwise
have remained hidden from normal, defensive consciousness. And feelings of health and happiness naturally lead to hope, which
of itself can be curative.
Marijuana can act as the loosening
agent, so that whatever has been banned from consciousness may come cascading forth. To uncover our deceptions without our
usual rationalizations can be unpleasant, an experience that has turned many psychologically fragile individuals away from
marijuana despite its therapeutic catharsis.
Regardless of the model used, marijuana
resolves conflict by de-emphasizing extreme aggressiveness and stroking the receptive sides of human nature. This unification
or balance, however, may be responsible for changes in goals and values. It Is the healthy balancing nature of marijuana that
is most beneficial to the individual and most threatening to modern society.
When it first became popular in the
West, marijuana was imported mainly from tropical zones, where the sativa strain of cannabis is indigenous. This type of marijuana
is known for its “cerebral high,” having little noticeable body participation. No studies concerning the different
effects of sativa vs. indica have been done, but from the lack of physical sensation, it is reasonable to assume more Sympathetic
or stimulant qualities in sativa than indica (a cooler climate type). This is compatible with the notion that in hotter climates,
less calming is desirable from a recreational substance, since hot climates in themselves cause lethargy. Many connoisseurs
of marijuana prefer the sativa high, although in the last decade it has become very scarce due to domestic cultivation of
strains that thrive in temperate zones (and indoors). “Cerebral highs” are experienced as lightness of thought
beyond usual concern with self esteem. In relationships, a cerebral high attunes the participants to a less separate sense
of themselves. Conversation is animated and a general feeling of camaraderie is in the air.
The indica strain of cannabis offers
more of the “body high.” Depth rather than height best describes the subjective experience. Rather than
freedom in the mind, the felt sensation is freedom of the body. This state more closely mimics deep relaxation. Thought patterns
do not approach the clarity of thought of a “cerebral high.” In contrast, the “body high” is similar
to the reverie that precedes sleep. While thinking may be diminished, more sensitivity to nonverbal experiences, such as music
and color, comes into play. Physiologically, a true “body high” probably is the result of more Parasympathetic
input. Participants ofen become quieter, since internal silence predominates.
Indica thrives in temperate areas,
and as such it has become more popular with the American marijuana farmer. It is a shorter variety, thus it is more suited
for the limits of indoor gardens and comes to fruition earlier in outdoor gardens. In less tropical zones, recreational substances
are compatible with tempering the bustle usual to cooler climate cultures. As horticultural interest has grown, a cross between
the indica and sativa species of cannabis has given the modern marijuana user the subtleties of both strains. Nowadays quality
marijuana, grown in the US, is usually a hybrid of the indica and sativa varieties.
Marijuana will not tolerate repression.
Tranquilizers and depressants relax the body and release tension, but the state of mind associated with these drugs is “unconsciousness”
whereby we escape rather than resolve our dilemmas. Alcoholism is an extreme need of both the body and personality periodically
to release the nervousness that has accumulated and continues to accumulate to an unbearable degree. It serves the same function
for the collective personality for the society, as well A culture in which alcohol and tranquilizers are the prevalent form
of release prefers not to witness internal confusion and actually choose to act without conscious participation, maintaining
a semi-numb condition.