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 An Integral View of Marijuana

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Aaron
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PostSubject: An Integral View of Marijuana   Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:34 am

I thought that this was a cute article...

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Let’s get Edgy…An Integral View of Marijuana
By Elliott Ingersoll

Truth-telling time: I’ve smoked marijuana. I’ve even inhaled. More than that, I’ve held those breaths for Olympian time spans waiting for my favorite herbaceutical to do its thing. Though I’ve practiced yoga and meditation for 25 years my first experiences with marijuana sold me on the value of being a “states” person. It’s also true I live in Ohio and if anyone is at risk for becoming a “states” person, it’s those of us in a state where gubernatorial candidates profess beliefs in Jesus of Nazareth and the good of concealed weapons without a trace of irony (Jesus would’ve carried a .45). It’s also true that I haven’t smoked marijuana for several years. As a licensed psychologist in Ohio that behavior can result in loss of your license. You can drink yourself blind but if you’re suspected of smoking a joint you have to submit to drug testing. Also, when my lovely wife accepted my proposal of marriage she asked only that I refrain from bringing illicit substances into our home. In her view, if the police kick the door in she wants to know we have the makings of a good lawsuit and not be undone by two joints hidden behind the toilet paper. How did we get in the crazy situation where the most powerful government in the world declares war on a plant? As usual, the problem is in partial thinking and a lack of Integral vision.

First a little background. Marijuana is an ancient herbaceutical that apparently has been used since prehistoric times. It is a product of the hemp plant (cannabis sativa - Latin for “planted hemp”); a species that provides a useful fiber, an edible seed, oil, and what many feel is a medicine. Until recent times it has been an important cultivated crop. As recent as 1943, farmers were paid to grow industrial hemp as “hemp for victory” was one of the catch phrases of WWII. Marijuana is derived from the flowers and the tops of the leaves from male and female plants. Cannabis sativa produces a sticky yellowish substance called resin as a defense mechanism. It is in this resin, that the primary psychoactive ingredients of marijuana are found.

Marijuana is one of the few plants that legend says was not discovered by animals. Typically humans learned which plants were safe for ingestion by watching animals eat them (and not drop over dead!). According to an Arab legend, in CE 1155 Haydar, an ascetic monk who founded an order of Sufis discovered the plant dancing in the heat of a summer day. He mixed the plant with wine and found the drink made him laugh – little wonder. Medieval Muslim society disapproved of Haydar’s discovery but alas, the proverbial cat (or herb in this case) was out of the bag. The Sufis became heretics in Arab society but the world was introduced to marijuana, the munchies, the giggles, and the occasional pot-induced mystical vision.

Exploring marijuana from an Integral perspective is fun and educational. There are far more partial lies than partial truths in mainstream society thanks to a government misinformation program funded in large part by pharmaceutical companies who don’t want us growing anything cheaply that might make us feel better than Prozac does (heck, Prozac causes sexual dysfunction and dysentery while pot provides just the opposite). The partial truths about pot are almost exclusively the domain of the upper right quadrant: e.g. we have cannabis receptors in our brain; smoking cannabis irritates the lining in the lungs, increases heart rate and blood pressure, etc. Among the lies, marijuana is misrepresented as a “gateway drug.” A gateway drug is supposed to lead users to “harder” drugs like heroin. This theory has never been supported and any scientist with half-an-inch of forehead knows it mistakes correlation for causation. Just because users of heroin previously used marijuana doesn’t mean the latter caused the former. It is akin to noting that the majority of people with pilot’s licenses had driver’s licenses first and then concluding that getting a driver’s license will cause you to get a pilot’s license. In the same way we could make the argument that diapers are “gateway pants.”

Because altered states of consciousness are taboo in mainstream America (unless you’re putting your life at risk on a roller coaster) many people don’t know that the “high” many marijuana smokers experience (upper left quadrant) includes enhanced sexual experience, a feeling of well-being, laughter, and sometimes what users refer to as mystical insight. True, some users experience anxiety or paranoia but those people rarely continue to use marijuana. As a psychologist with expertise in psychopharmacology and substance use, I know that very few studies are allowed that explore marijuana’s phenomenological effects (you must get government permission to study marijuana) so these issues are never explored in peer-reviewed journals. The most in-depth study was done decades ago by Charlie Tart (reprinted in 2000 as On Being Stoned). It seems that the state of being high gives you access to making more of your self image an object of awareness and that can be a true gateway to self-transcendence if you use the altered state to move into a permanent trait.

From the perspective of the lower left quadrant marijuana prohibition was motivated by racist sentiments in the early 20th century. Marijuana was viewed as part of the dangerous culture of Mexican immigrants and African-Americans. The sentiment is still in evidence today: good, white folks use consciousness constrictors like alcohol and that is that. It is no coincidence that the alcohol lobby also spends a good deal of money on marijuana prohibition.

As far as the lower right quadrant we hear that marijuana use poses great dangers to society because users are more likely to also use drugs like heroin (the unsupported gateway theory). What we know from Dutch studies is that the availability of marijuana has no relationship on heroin use or even on whether people continue to use marijuana. The Rand Drug Policy Research Center has concluded that, from the perspective of the lower right quadrant, the current marijuana laws are far more harmful than the drug itself.

As easy as it is to be enraged at the unjust laws, racist attitudes, and cruelty inherent in marijuana prohibition, the Integral vision also calls us to compassion for even the most evangelical DARE or DEA officers. Developmentally, uninhibited sexuality, taking oneself more sincerely but less seriously, and mystical vision are not on their radar screens. These things don’t exist for them. The idea of self-transcendence is fearful and that fear is projected onto any drug that expands consciousness and those who use such drugs. What to do? The Integral vision makes it easier to abide unjust laws while at the same time acting compassionately to change those laws. Ken Wilber has noted that the lower right quadrant has the most influence on the average consciousness in the upper left. So… responsible political action, education, and studies on things like the medicinal and phenomenological effects of marijuana are all skillful means to address the problem of prohibition. For those of us who enjoy the drug, prohibition provides a type of fast wherein we can reflect on what we have gotten from being high and how we might decrease the fear associated with it. Feeling into the fear of others almost always shows us glimpses of the shadow we harbor in our own hearts. Don’t get me wrong, once we get pot decriminalized I’ll be among the first to light up – shadow and all. But these glimpses of shadow provided by my adversaries on the topic of marijuana use are another vehicle for growth and compassionate embrace, another type of high as it were and I’ll take what I can get.

http://www.kenwilber.com/blog/post/322?page=2

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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: An Integral View of Marijuana   Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:19 pm

Some good points made, for sure.
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PostSubject: Re: An Integral View of Marijuana   Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:43 am

They should relegalize it. My brother recently had a visit to his house by the Department of Fatherland Security because people he talked to online were hackers or something and hackers are "cyber terrorists". When they were there stealing his computer they smelled pot and found three pounds. He was lucky that he got out most of it though because just with the three pounds he was facing 20 years. He got off pretty good though. He has two years house arrest and a year of probation. The newspaper article on him was propaganda. It was titled "Schools neighbor caught dealing pot" or something like that. It gave the impression that since he lived near a school that he was selling pot to everyone's kids and that he deserves to be punished. It was nothing like that. He only sold to adults and people he knew. He never laced his pot(he didn't need to because it was some really good kind bud!) and he never ripped anyone off. He was an honest dealer who dealt fairly with his customers. My brother doesn't deserve this. He is a really good guy. No one could ever honestly say anything bad about him at all. Why is it that in this "free" country people get arrested for living as if they were free?
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PostSubject: Re: An Integral View of Marijuana   Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:06 am

I agree that it should be legalized. I also think that it should be regulated and taxed to make sure the stuff people are smoking isn't laced with anything.

The idea that someone could get 20 years in prison for selling pot is just ridiculous IMHO.

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PostSubject: Re: An Integral View of Marijuana   Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:03 pm

I would deduce that altering the function of the mind is never a profitable situation. foreign substances that alter the genetic processes for any reason other than the medicinal goes against creation. One may say we were created with the ability to do drugs, drugs were created etc etc. But no, it is the value instilled by the choice to live with faith in how we were created and not skewing that with foreign substances. That being said, to determine the true effects of foreign substances one must have substantial scientific proofs. Shoudl they come through as only temporary effects there may be recreational use as an option. Each indevidual withough scientific proof as to how they specifically will react must make his/her own decision. Through its consequences find its posative or negative results and choose what they will do in the future accordingly.
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PostSubject: Re: An Integral View of Marijuana   Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:12 am

"How did we get in the crazy situation where the most powerful government in the world declares war on a plant?"

An excellent question that I have yet to hear a satisfying answer to. Perhaps our government has forgotten why it declared the war in the first place.

It should be decriminalized, but the last thing we need is another tax, and I'm not keen on the idea of corporations dictating the prices of my plants.
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PostSubject: Re: An Integral View of Marijuana   Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:42 pm

I really don't know much about the history of Marijuana in this country or why it was criminalized. It might be interesting to read up on it.

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PostSubject: Re: An Integral View of Marijuana   Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:10 pm

I don't smoke pot. Tried it, didn't get anything out of it, the end. Of course, I was drunk at the time, so I didn't really give it a fair test... I wasn't into conducting a scientific study at the time.

Anyway, I don't have a problem with those who do as long as they are mature about it. Come to think of it, that's the same attitude I have towards alcohol.

But government declared a war on drugs because it got votes. Marijuana was included in the list of "enemies" because someone who did not know what he was talking about declared it a "gateway drug", implying that if one smoked a joint one would be using heroin within a day or two. Yeah, right.

Government will not win the war, because government never -NEVER- solves problems. If it did, the bureacracy that was formed to fight the war would have to disband. Have you ever heard of a government department declaring its mission completed and closing up shop? I didn't think so. Razz
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