Stoned Perspectives – Why The World Desperately Needs Cannabis and Magic Mushrooms Right Now
If you were to judge the state of the world on what’s trending on Twitter, you’d likely see a doom-and-gloom scenario. War in the Ukraine, hashtags calling to “Lock up Trump” again for some other thing he did or did not do – which in most likeliness will result in nothing.
Because setting a precedent to lock up a US president for the types of things that Trump did, would open the flood gates for all politicians. If the highest position in the government is subjected to this kind of scrutiny, all future presidents and senators, and congresspersons could very well be targeted by political opponents with whatever “investments” or actions they have done throughout their lives. They all have some dirt hidden in their past.
Believe me when I tell you that the political class will continue with the theater – but in all likeliness would never do anything against their “own kind” – including putting Trump on the chopping block.
Yet this is just one of the many narratives that will be spammed into your reality via the myriad of social media channels, news stations, and whatever form of gossip-porn that exist. When you’re constantly filling your mind with these kinds of negative narratives – your overall perception of the world around you tend to seek out more negative confirmations.
And so this loop continues, steering society ever more to darker and darker events and unless we do something to shift our awareness away from all of the calamity, we might find ourselves in a situation of inevitable conflict and uncertainty.
However, while the world “officially” is spiraling down the toilet like a sloppy turd, there are also counter-forces rising up. The fact of the matter that even in our darkest timelines – there is always hope for a better way.
One of the narrative shifts that has been most obvious is how we look at drug use and specifically, certain classes of drugs. Cannabis has made its way into the mainstream since Dr. Sanjay Gupta first did his special on CBD. Of course, the shift happened far before that, however it is undeniable that CNNs spot on cannabis and cannabinoid medicines helped facilitate a general shift of perception around the plant.
The Impact of Cannabis-Based Medicine
While cannabis was demonized for close to a century, the fact of the matter is that the medical and spiritual benefits of the plant could not be stifled. I add in the spiritual and emotional benefits to the equation because over the years of writing about the plant and the people that use it – I have seen the internal shift in perception about transpersonal issues in users.
For example, people tend to become more difficult to offend when they consume cannabis regularly. Perhaps this could be because they realize that ultimately whatever someone else says is merely an opinion and that words ultimately cannot “harm” me. It may hurt the ego, but not necessarily cause any significant issues.
Furthermore, when you’re angry at what some dipshit online said about you and smoke some cannabis in retaliation – odds are that you’d let go of the incident and move onto something that is more aligned with what you “enjoy”.
Yet this is only a side effect of its use. The actual medical benefits are still emerging. We have already seen the FDA change their tune on CBD – approving Epiodolex for rare childhood epilepsy. In other words, they didn’t just make a medicine – it was a medicine that was safe enough for children to use.
But this is just one of many cannabinoids. Any good cannabis activist knows that there are hundreds of cannabinoids that work in tandem, which is commonly referred to as the “Net Effect”. In other words, while CBD provides a certain level of health benefits on its own, when combined with the other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant – this effect is amplified.
With the legalization of medical cannabis in the majority of the US states, we can already begin to see the benefits of cannabis-based health emerge. For starters, we can see a drastic reduction in opioid related overdoses. Patients are opting in for cannabis over opioid when it comes to pain. Simply this shift in behavior has already reduced addiction rates, deaths, and increased the overall quality of life of millions of people in the US and the world.
However, if we continue to dig into the related medical benefits cannabis seems to be helping with a vast range of illnesses and conditions.
The beauty of the endocannabinoid system and cannabis
One of the theories I have when it comes to why cannabis-users generally tend to be healthier than their non-smoking counterparts is that most people who don’t consume any cannabis products generally suffer from an endocannabinoid deficiency.
This is because when you turn 25-years old, your natural endocannabinoid production drastically reduces. This is partly why people suggest that you don’t partake in cannabis prior to 25, however, the vast majority of users start far before then.
Nonetheless, at the age of 25, your endocannabinoid production dips quite drastically. Endocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. When you feel pain, these cannabinoids help mitigate the pain, reduce inflammation, and speed up healing. It also helps regulate sleep, appetite, the immune system, mood, and a myriad of other major systems in the body.
When people who have been starved of endocannabinoids suddenly receive a fresh dose of phytocannabinoids – that mimic almost exactly our body’s endocannabinoids – your body suddenly kicks into high gear and begins to regulate the body as efficiently as possible.
This is partly why the elderly seem to receive so much benefit from cannabis. For the most part, Baby Boomers and a few younger generations avoided cannabis their entire lives. Now, suddenly with this fresh boost of phytocannabinoids – they feel alive, their body’s begin healing quicker, their skin becomes tighter…all because they probably suffered from an undiagnosed endocannabinoid deficiency.
And what happens when people’s body is operating at optimal levels? You have a generally “happier” and more “productive” individual. Which is what we’re seeing happen in states with legalized cannabis.
The Social Effect of Cannabis
More people are smoking cannabis. The last time I checked, 1 in 4 Americans have partaken of cannabis in the past. The odds are probably closer to 1 in 3, but we’ll keep it at 25%. When you have a natural way to alleviate your pain that doesn’t get you hooked like opioid medicine, your disposition changes.
Pain is a destroyer of happiness. It makes you look at life through the lens of affliction and in turn taints every experience. When you are suffering, you don’t have the bandwidth to help others. You become focused inwards to your pain, you become more ego-centric.
While it’s not inherently bad to be ego-centric, especially in time of acute pain – the problem with pain is that it tends to become a chronic thing. Ego-centrism helps you to deal with pain. For example, if you have a nail in your foot, your entire awareness shifts towards the pain point in order for you to take action and remedy the problem.
In this instance, putting yourself in the “center” of your world is good. However, when your pain has endured for years, and you look at every action with yourself in the center of the equation – then things can become problematic. Ultimately, you’d be trying to modify or exploit any situation or relationship to provide you benefit due to the chronic discomfort your suffer. This type of behavior can place strain on relationships and make the self, incapable of seeing “opportunities” within their life.
The main symptom that cannabis is used for according to patients is “pain management”. Roughly, half of all medical cannabis patients use cannabis for some sort of pain mitigation. The overall health and wellness benefits of this demographic surely would have some sort of net-positive effect on society.
Perhaps we can already see some of the evidence in the “sick day usage” in states with medical marijuana laws. People are using up to 10% fewer sick days in these states which has a direct impact on the economy. Could it be that by using cannabis you also get a general health boost? Considering that the average cannabis user has a lower Body Mass Index – potentially.
Cannabis on Mental Health
As for mental health, cannabis has also changed the landscape. While it’s true, there are many studies that claim that “cannabis is bad for mental health”, the truth of the matter is that when using it to treat things like depression, anxiety and PTSD – it has provided some significant results in affected patients.
A systemic review of studies involving PTSD and cannabis came to the following conclusion;
Results from unpooled, high RoB studies showed that cannabis was associated with a reduction in overall PTSD symptoms and improved QOL – SOURCE
While this is promising, cannabis isn’t a “one shoe fits all” type of deal. Since every human being is unique in his or her biology, cannabis interacts differently with different people. This is why not everyone in these studies saw a benefit – some actually saw an increase in their symptoms however it’s important to note that they were a small minority.
Generally speaking however, cannabis seems to have a positive effect on anxiety, stress management, PTSD, depression, and similar conditions. While more studies are definitely needed, we can come to the conclusion that compared to any potential risks – the benefits are far more significant.
How Society Will Change Over Time?
We cannot know for sure how society will change with prolonged exposure to cannabis, but over the past twenty years we have seen no real dangers present itself from mass consumption. There have been a few outlier cases – but for the vast majority of consumers, the plant seems to be quite safe.
The larger question is about how the Zeitgeist will change over time. Cannabis alters perception by shifting your awareness a few degrees from its baseline. You experience “reality” in a different shade, you focus in on other factors you typically would be oblivious to. For example, drinking a coffee and tasting a new flavor you haven’t noticed before. This is your perception focusing in on another point within your field of awareness inspired by the shift induced by cannabis.
How would these minor alterations in perception play out over time? Only time will tell – however, as of now it seems that for the most part people become a little more relaxed…and in a time of existential political turmoil – this might not be a bad thing.
However, in the world of medicine, there is another natural remedy that is beginning to make some noise – psilocybin!
The Magic of Mushrooms
Psychedelics have been making a comeback over the past decade. Researchers in prestigious places such as John Hopkins Hospital have been making groundbreaking discoveries and have been looking at the psychedelic experience within the context of mental health. The people being treated with psychedelics seem to have significant progress in few sessions, and some people even claim that it’s like taking “10 sessions in 1”.
One of the more common psychedelics being studied is psilocybin – commonly referred to as Magic Mushrooms. People have been consuming mushrooms since the dawn of history and some of our most common myths are heavily intertwined with mushroom lore.
For example, the whole Christmas Myth, with Santa Clause and the Tree can be traced back to Europe where mushrooms were central to the tradition. After all, Jesus didn’t have pine trees nor red suited fat people flying around on rain deer…that story seems more like from a psychedelic trip than a religious script if you’re being honest.
Even more interestingly, mushrooms and humans share a significant amount of DNA. Paul Stamets, mycologist, claim that we share up to 50% of DNA with mushrooms. And we are in many cases more alike with mushrooms than we are with other animals.
Furthermore, when you consume a psychedelic – incredibly things begin to happen. For example, your entire brain lights up when measured with an MRI scanner and begin to communicate with areas it doesn’t typically interact with.
This sense of hyper plasticity is theorized to be the mechanism for dealing with deep rooted trauma. Stephen Ross, MD., a psychiatrist at NYU Langone, conducted a study on terminally ill cancer patients, and found that one-time treatment with psilocybin very quickly brought relief from distress that had lasted more than 6 months in 80 percent of study subjects. – Source
Similar results are being found with people who are treating PTSD and this type of research also isn’t limited to psilocybin. Ketamine, LSD, DMT, and MDMA have all gained medical attention over the past few years and we’re truly beginning to see a new dawn in the approach to treating mental health issues.
The Politicians are waking up
Probably the most shocking of all is that there is now support for psychedelic legalization/decriminalization in the government. In a recent Politico Article, they talked about how psilocybin could follow in the footsteps of cannabis.
This isn’t to say that it would only be available for medical purposes, but “in the footsteps” of cannabis would mean that it would be available for the public in general – to be used recreationally, spiritually, and medically.
“It’s gone viral and sparked an interest nationwide,” said Democratic Washington state Sen. Jesse Salomon, who is sponsoring a bill that would allow psilocybin use among adults over age 21 under supervision. “I just didn’t know there were so many like-minded people on this.” – Politico
Within the same article, it mentions that the people pushing for legalization mostly are US Veterans. This is because some of the most significant changes can be observed in those who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“For a few hours, it takes the blinders off that keep you focused on the scary painful things that are in front of you,” Eric Gaden, a veteran and nurse, told lawmakers. “Rather than just masking a symptom, it allows you to go and look at the cause of the problem and figure out the best way to address that moving forward.” – Politico
In other words, psilocybin is allowing the sufferer to process and integrate the trauma that they are reliving allowing the individual to become “whole” again. This obviously increases productivity, general wellness and promotes a healthier overall society.
And we are barely scratching the surface….
Why we need a Neo-Psychedelic Revolution TODAY!
Our leaders are inept, our economy is controlled by the corrupt. Our excessive consumerism and addiction to disposable objects have created a world that seems to be barreling out of control. The fact of the matter is that those who are charged with leading us out of this calamity are the ones responsible for it.
With senile presidents and Bond-like villains, with corporate elites participating in sex trafficking and nobody going to prison for it, with banks laundering money for terrorists, with major news networks fabricating stories to remain relevant in a ratings war – we desperately need to evolve beyond this dreary future we are painting.
I’m not claiming that cannabis or psychedelics will solve our problems, but perhaps it can spark enough empathy in the world for us to rethink the way we’re going about things.