by Chaya Grossberg
While half asleep last night I had a strong dreaming sense that the full legalization of marijuana in Colorado (effective 1/1/14) is a huge step and of much importance. I’ve smoked pot only twice in the past 10 years, though before that I smoked a bunch as a teenager. As an adult it hasn’t been my herb of choice and as someone who’s been affected by those close to me smoking all day out of loneliness, there was a time I felt mixed about the question of legalization.
I haven’t felt an affinity with the herb much, at least since I was 18 and stopped smoking it. One of the people close to me who smoked several times a day was also using benzos and some of her behaviors I attributed to pot were actually caused in large part by regular Valium use.
All night last night, after reading about the full legalization of pot in Colorado that is expected to spread to other states, I had this really good feeling. This hope that I never expected an herb I can take or leave (and generally leave) would inspire. It is a matter of comparison. Some of the effects of regular marijuana use annoy me, yet similar is true of excessive use of almost anything-sugar, junk food, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, even raw food! And some of these are far more dangerous to the health than pot. Pot also has health benefits, healing properties and can open the consciousness to certain things. It is an herb after all, not a chemically synthesized drug. What irony that chemically synthesized drugs are called “medicine” and pot, a natural herb, is called a drug.
Many people swear by marijuana for sleep, pain relief, headache relief, mood improvement and more. Some of these people have diagnosable conditions, while others may just have menstrual cramps, occasional headaches or difficulty feeling happy. I wouldn’t close myself off to these possible medicinal benefits if I needed relief and I wouldn’t deny the value of occasional recreational use for consciousness expansion.
Pharmaceutical drugs are far more dangerous and addictive and send the flow of money to insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, not exactly where I want to see it go. Where the revenue from taxable pot sales will end up going is uncertain, but people growing marijuana themselves is now legal in Colorado as well, which lends itself to the gift economy and DIY herbal medicine culture.
Last night the marijuana plant spoke to me and got me high on the success of its legalization. I didn’t smoke it or even have any of it near me, and I don’t live in Colorado. I’m passionate about connecting with Mother Nature for healing though, and I know we can do this with herbs, while pharmaceuticals (good in emergencies) often do the opposite. Pharmaceuticals make us less like nature, less resonant with the vibration of the earth. I still hope folks will use marijuana in a reflective and moderate way, like most herbs and foods, too much can be harmful (and making it illegal does little to prevent excess use). And since pot creates a high, it can be used as an escape. Some people smoke it all day everyday as a constant escape, legal or not. I don’t love this fact and I feel irritated around some of these people, but some use TV, video games, the internet, sugar, psychiatric pharmaceuticals, “work,” gambling, drinking, sex and many other legal things as constant escapes. Marijuana may be one of the least harmful of these.
Any substance or activity used for constant escape can be harmful to ones’ essence, for escape is a repression of ones’ true desires and resistance to authentically expressing ones’ passions. Mindful, moderate use of pot can do the opposite though. I’m surprised the marijuana plant spoke to me as it did.
There are a variety of responses to this herb and each of us deserves to make our own informed decision as an adult. Since it’s a plant medicine with a long history, people have time tested information about what it is and what it does. Pharmaceutical drugs on the other hand are far easier to make up tall tales about, since they are relatively new in human history and seen by much of the public as sophisticated, complex “science” can be sold as “too intellectually advanced for you to understand.” A mystique in the hands of those who go to 6 years of medical school. In reality, even doctors don’t understand them all that well, after all those years, therefore they are dangerous and easy to lie about. Maybe the marijuana plant was telling me how excited it is that we may be turning once again towards the earth for healing, and legalization in Colorado is a big step in that direction. Bigger than I may have thought.