Tag Archives: cannabis

With a huge bag of weed in Nepali customs

In Nepal I met a Swedish backpacker that had bought a huge bag of weed. He was taking a domestic flight and it never occurred to him that they might check his luggage there also, so he had casually packed the weed at the very top of his carry-on luggage. He landed in Kathmandu and was singled out for inspection.

The inspector opened his carry-on and took out the huge bag of weed. He then continued to empty out the guy’s pullover, t-shirt, sunglasses, guide book and water bottle. At the very bottom of the bag he found a neatly tied plastic bag with a couple of used batteries. The inspector took the bag, turned to the guy, demonstratively waved the batteries at him and scolded him:
– Certainly you know that you are not allowed to have batteries on the plane? You can’t just have them lying around like that!
– They were worn out and I couldn’t find a recycling station, the Swede excused himself.
– That makes absolutely no difference! You never, ever fly with batteries. I never want to see you do something that stupid again! Got it?
The irritated inspector confiscated the batteries and then packed the guys bag again. The water bottle, guide book, sunglasses, t-shirt, pullover and last the huge bag of weed. He zipped up the carry-on and with a frown pushed it over to the Swede.
– Go. Just go.

Photo: Favourite Flight by Sam Hawley on Flickr

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My first out of body experience

When I was 17 I happened to get hold of a bag of weed. I knew nothing about cannabis and had no one to show me so I thought about dosage for a long time. In the end I rolled up a joint that was so weak that I’m surprised that I felt anything at all.

I smoked it and lay down on my bed to meditate, unsure what to expect. After a while I opened my eyes… and looked down at myself. I was hovering just below the ceiling looking down at my body which was still in bed.

I hovered there for a few minutes and just watched. Amazed. Light.
– I wonder if I can move about, I then thought.
So I floated over into the living room and then out onto the porch. A car passed by. A dog barked.

Then I became a little worried about being apart from my body and went back to my bedroom. I sank down into my body and at once I felt my physical self again. Flesh. Weight.

Photo: 2016-01-03 strolling among the forget-me-nots of the angels by Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr

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Last wishes

I’m going to need some really bad-ass children and grandchildren, because my last wishes aren’t for whimps. My first one isn’t really one of my absolute last. It’s on the way there – at the last stop, so to say.

  1. I want a steady supply of the good drugs at the retirement home. Please don’t pump me full of antidepressants and other pharmaceutical shit. Give grandpa the good stuff! Smuggle me in LSD, shrooms and cannabis. Let me leave this world in a mash-up of Huxley’s LSD death and the Boom main stage dance floor.

…and when I do go…

  1. Kidnap my corpse and bury me in the forest. I want my body to go back to nature properly. Let me be food for worms, mushrooms and trees. I don’t want to be burnt or stuck in grave yard as fertilizer of a bizarre belief system. Please, please, please – kidnap my body and bury it in the woods where it belongs, somewhere no one will ever find me.

Those are my last wishes.
Honour them if you dare.

Photo: When Floods Drown Your Unborn by Surian Soosay on Flickr

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A New Year resolution to be true to

You can only control what you are aware of.
What you aren’t aware of controls you.

 

We often find ourselves being pushed around by such things like old habits that we are unaware of, past programming that is no longer relevant or blockages that we have managed to forget about. The only way we can change these old patterns is by first becoming aware of them. That is why raising awareness is at the very core of handling any change you need to do in your life. It is at the very beginning of the process and nothing can be done without it.

If you need to raise your awareness in order to work with change it therefore goes without saying that you should avoid drugs and medicines that numb you and lower your awareness. Common drugs that should be avoided are alcohol, opiates and pharmaceutical antidepressants. Caffeine, nicotine and cannabis are also numbing when used on a daily or close to daily basis. Junk food and sugar are also really bad for awareness.

Things that will raise your awareness include meditation, exercise, mindful sex, good food cooked from scratch, herbs, hugs and playing. This is of course also why psychedelic medicines are such powerful agents of change, because they drastically raise our awareness.

So do you want a tip for a New Year resolution that will help you immensely and that you can always find new ways of being true to? Promise yourself to be more aware this coming year. Instead of focusing in on one specific, such as exercise, see the bigger picture. It all comes down to awareness and you can become more aware in so many different ways. Give yourself a bigger promise this year, and at the same time make it one that you can keep.

Make 2016 all about awareness.

Photo: amber us by Shannon Kringen on Flickr

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Don’t confuse what’s legal with what’s moral

Slavery was legal.
Apartheid was legal.
The inquisition was legal.

It is legal to poison children with sugar and fat.
Cutting down vast forests, eradicating whole species and threatening life on earth is legal.
Testing nukes, supplying dictatorships with weapons and bombing the shit out of people seems to be legal.

In some cultures it’s legal to stone homosexuals.
Where I live homosexuality used to be illegal.
Then for a long while it was ‘only’ considered to be a sickness.
Only recently has it become legal for homosexuals to marry here.

It is legal to make laws that discriminate and hinder people from living a full life.
And it is legal to use the laws to harass and persecute groups of people.
We don’t want to admit it, but we have plenty of laws that are racist, sexist and in other ways discriminating.

IMG_8649At the same time it is illegal to heal in ways that aren’t state approved.
It is illegal for you to smoke a joint for your pain or take LSD to release trauma.
And if your spiritual practice involves psychedelics you can still get in trouble in many countries.

The law does not grant you the right to your own body.
It does not grant you the right to your own healing and growth.
Your life is only yours within the limits of the law and if you deviate you can be fined, end up in prison for however long someone else thinks is reasonable or even be killed.

Do not confuse legal with moral. And do not imagine that you can claim a moral high ground because you follow the law. You can be immoral to the core, a liar, a cheat and an oppressor and still be a law abiding citizen. In fact, if you are a law abiding citizen your morals probably have quite a few weak spots. If you are high up enough in the political hierarchy you can legally get away with mass murder. The rest of us can wash our hands of blood and clear our conscience by simply voting for someone else to make the nasty decisions.

This is saying quite a lot about the legal system and our moral obligation to follow the law. If your moral compass is working you have no moral obligation to follow the law. Your obligation is to follow your conscience. The law is primarily for people who do not have a working moral compass.

If you put law before morals you are weak. If you are weak you should not try to claim the moral high ground, because it is not yours to claim. Lions like Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr get to claim the moral high ground. You are a sheep. Your place is with the law abiding herd. Baa.

Photo: Bomb by _Gavroche_ on Flickr

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A liar claiming the moral high ground

Before I ever came into contact with psychedelics I applied for a job as a prison officer at the Swedish prison Kumla. Before the interview I googled the place and found a freshly released report from the major labour union there. It told of an incredibly stressful workplace with remarkably high and prolonged sick leave rates, of staff being badly treated and not being given the support they needed. It was apparent that the work place was facing real problems and that the workers were deeply discontent with the administration and HR department. I printed a copy to read on my way there.

The interview went well until the HR person asked:
– Have you ever tried any drugs?
– Yes, I smoked some weed when I was travelling in Asia, I answered truthfully.
– Oh dear, he said, shaking his head seriously.
Then he gave me a short but harsh lecture on how it was morally reprehensible to have tried something that was illegal under Swedish law, how this reflected badly on me as a person and how the Swedish prison system must maintain very high morals. He really took his time to emphasize the immorality of my actions versus the high morals of the Swedish prison system.

After that it was my turn to ask questions.
– Is the staff here happy with their work situation? I asked.
– Oh yes, everyone loves it here. It is a great place to work. We are like one big family.
– Are there any complaints among the staff?
– None. Here we really care for each other.
He was committed to telling me what a splendid work place Kumla was and avoided every chance I gave him to acknowledge the problems I had read about and tell me what they were doing to turn things around. After having given him far more than a fair amount of chances I reached into my backpack, pulled out the report and without saying a word placed it on the desk in front of him. I then just looked at the man as he sunk through the floor, embarrassed beyond words. No lecture was needed.

Photo: Prison Window by Derek Key on Flickr

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In the gateway

The metaphors we use often help us unlock new understandings, but it is important to also be aware of the barriers they can place on how we understand things. If I for example say that the human body is like a machine then that might be a great way of gaining new perspectives on how my body works. But if I cling to the metaphor I might forget all the ways in which my body doesn’t work like a machine. Some people go as far as confusing what they are talking about with the metaphor, so they end up thinking that their body IS a machine.

There is a theory called “gateway drug theory” that links use of lighter drugs to the use of heavier drugs later on. The theory is based on the very simple metaphor of a gateway or door. Once you try something it opens up the door to something else. One reason that the theory is so popular is that it is very easy to understand and communicate, because people have a general understanding that something comes first and then other things follow.

Gateway drugs

Most people I hear arguing along the lines of “gateway drugs” are talking about cannabis as a gateway drug that leads on to heavier drugs. There are definitely people who get introduced to other drugs by using cannabis first, but I think cannabis is not the best example of a gateway drug.

There is little inherent to cannabis to lure people to try other substances. It is possible to use cannabis to try to escape or dampen reality, so if one is looking for that experience cannabis might lead you further in exploring drugs such as opiates, alcohol and amphetamine. It is also possible to use cannabis to explore ones inner working, so people who seek tools to heal and grow might go on to try psychedelics.

But in itself cannabis isn’t a plant which urges you to try other plants or substances. One major reason that people go from cannabis to other illegal plants or substances is that they are often in contact with dealers who offer more than cannabis. In that case it isn’t really the cannabis which is the gateway, but rather the person selling or the criminal setting.

There are other drugs which are much more fitting to describe as gateway drugs and the three most common are ALCOHOL, NICOTINE and PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION. These are often used as an escape from reality, so people who are looking for such an outlet can be attracted to other substances that do the same.

The two legal substances ALCOHOL and NICOTINE have a similar aura to them which often expresses itself as I DON’T GIVE A SHIT. People who drink are commonly much more aggressively risk taking and self-destructive than people who use cannabis and people who try illegal substances are often drunk the first times they do so. Smokers and drinkers alike are already in the habit of poisoning themselves, so the step to other harmful substances is shorter. Since alcohol and nicotine effectively shut us down it is less likely that heavy drinkers and nicotine addicts turn to psychedelics, other than to heal from substance abuse. To stay in their own energy they will rather go to amphetamines, opiates and prescription medications.

This is of course why the concept of gateway drugs often implodes, because the people who most fiercely adopt the theory are often unwilling to link it to legal substances which are much more common gateway drugs than cannabis has ever been.

Light and heavy drugs

It should be noted when talking about the gateway from light to heavy drugs that alcohol is a heavy drug. Since alcohol is legal we often think of it as light, if we think of it as a drug at all. But the fact of the matter is that alcohol is one of the heaviest drugs out there, in many ways comparable to heroin. Nicotine is likewise a much heavier drug than we give it credit for. It has an extreme addictive potential, which is also comparable to heroin.

Gateway experiences

The metaphor of the gateway can be valid, but I don’t feel that it is correctly applied. It isn’t the drug which is the gateway – it is the user’s history.

Who becomes an addict? Who faces issues of substance abuse?

There are root causes to these things. People who are traumatized, who have been bullied or neglected, people who have been abused, used and hurt. People who have never felt loved, who have low self-esteem, who have a history of mental illness. These are the people who stand the greatest chance of ending up in addiction and substance abuse.

It didn’t start with the drug. It started long before with the person being mistreated and the following drug use, if it is destructive, is mainly self-medication or a try to flee from the situation. With that understanding a “gateway experience theory” would be much more true, since it shows what really opened up the door in the first place.

This is however quite provocative for many, because that gives an explanation that focuses in on all the things that have hurt that person in the first place. That opens up the understanding that other people have traumatized the person, which is very uncomfortable for many to own up to. It is often easier to focus on the person with a drug problem, rather than the many ways that primary others and society as a whole has traumatized that person.

Gateway people

So let’s follow that line of reasoning. Who are the “gateway people”?

Some would have you think that the gateway people are others. They are the bad company that the person just happened to run into, or such. That is seldom true. The most common gateway people are our parents and other significant others. Addiction is often passed on to one’s children and that addiction can look very different in the parent compared to the child. The parent might be a work-o-holic or sex-o-holic, while the child might become an alcoholic or drug user.

But we don’t only pass on our addictions. We pass on our insecurities, emotional blocks and instabilities, our frustrations and angers. All of these are what people later go on to abuse drugs to avoid facing.

As you can imagine this is also problematic if you as a parent are looking for someone else to blame. In that case it is so much simpler to focus on the one thing that it doesn’t look as if you have anything to do with – THE DRUG.

The gateway reexamined

The gateway is a good metaphor, but applying it only to a drug misses the point by a mile. One major problem to the “gateway drug theory” is that it has the word “drug” in there. So many other factors are more important than which plant or substance one uses first. Gateway experiences and people are much more important.

The metaphor also misses the point because it is linear; you are in one room and then simply cross over into another. Addiction and substance abuse is seldom that easy. B doesn’t always follow A, because it gets mixed up with C, gets triggered by H and also leads to X. Thinking that there is a direct link between, for example, smoking cannabis and later on shooting heroin, is so overly simplified that it becomes nonsense. Unfortunately many people can’t make sense of all this, so they are easily seduced by simple nonsense, but it is nonsense none the less.

Another drawback to the gateway drug reasoning is that the metaphor has us looking away from where the problems are being created. If we let ourselves confront the actual problems we would be obligated to solve them, which is hard for individuals and society alike. So we keep avoiding the actual problem and keep pointing fingers away from ourselves. Seeing the drug as the gateway is just another way of laying blame outside ourselves, when the true solution lies within.

Photo: Gateway by Georgie Pauwels on Flickr

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Mixing psychedelics and cannabis

Two of my all-time favourite psychonauts, Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna, were keen on mixing cannabis with psychedelics. While I agree with them on very much, that is one point where I don’t.

I have often mixed them and if you are mainly looking for the wackiness of the psychedelic experience they certainly fit well together. Cannabis jump starts the psychedelics, which understandably makes smoking a favourite past time for psychonauts that don’t want to land from the experience. Instead of a controlled landing they will smoke joint after joint to keep in the buzz.

While in the middle of the trip I find that cannabis very much confuses the situation. It twists things around and makes for trippy effects, but you lose clarity and direction and it severely reduces your ability to communicate with yourself, the plant, the spirit world and others.

If you are working with master plants you should also keep in mind that the spirit of the two plants might not want to meet at all. In fact, they might be quite offended by being ignorantly forced together. If you want to use both, then you should introduce them and ask permission before you mix them. If you have a strong connection and respect for both plants it might work out very well, but most people who mix them seem to be quite clueless and don’t take the time to ask the plants what they want.

While I don’t want to say how other people should conduct their business, I am surprised when I hear about retreats with master plants where guides and participants smoke cannabis. For me that seems as out of place in that setting as if they had served alcohol and pork. I would have a hard time trusting such organisers.

Photo: Lighting Joint by Heath Alseike on Flickr

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Looking for sympathy in all the wrong places

My friend threw a party with people from all stages of his life. Parents, siblings, childhood friends and study mates. Quite a few from his times abroad flew in.

Alcohol was the weekend’s main drug but since it was quite a continental party there was a lot of cannabis being smoked also. It wasn’t a problem until his mother found his little brother in an intimate circle behind the barn. She was horrified, disgusted, appalled and shocked. She was disappointed and angry and sad. As the anxious mother she is, she went around and complained to anyone who would listen. Unfortunately she didn’t get the sympathy she sought.

First she went to my friend.
– Oh, do not worry, mom. It’s no big deal.
– What? How can you say that? Don’t you realize how serious it is?
– It isn’t that dangerous. Let it be. Talk to him tomorrow.
Angrily she went in search of a more understanding person.

– It’s awful, she said to me. I caught him smoking marijuana behind the house.
– It’s better than him getting totally wasted on alcohol.
– What?
– He won’t get up to a lot of shit and although his brain might function a little slower in the morning, he won’t have a mass extinction of brain cells to deal with.
– You watch it, young man! If I hear anything more from you I’ll call your parents, she abruptly ended the conversation and hurried off to find a better person.

She found an Italian girl who wasn’t all that good at English.
– I found him smoking pot behind the house, she explained.
– You want smoke?
– I am so worried.
– I can roll. How strong you want? asked the girl and brought out a big bag of weed.

Photo: I sat on da joint by Alaska Carter on Flickr

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It all begins when I stop

I once channelled an angel that was very clear on what I needed to do. Before I had even said hello it stepped forward to tell me:
– Daniel. You must stop smoking cannabis.
I was a bit surprised and wanted to dodge what it was telling me.
– Yes, yes, I know, but that isn’t what I want to talk about.
– But that is what you need to do. You must stop smoking cannabis.
– Yes, I understand that now, but let’s talk about something else.
– No, Daniel, you need to stop smoking cannabis.
– Okay, I get it. But surely there must be other things that deserve attention?
– First, you must stop smoking cannabis.
– I get it. But what happens after I have stopped?
– Everything.

It all begins when I stop.

Photo: Touching an angel by Pixle on Flickr

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