4/20 The Weed Day: Happy Holiday

It’s the holiday folks, that time of the year where a thick haze of marijuana sits heavy in rooms all over the world. A day when everyone says (regardless of their daily usage), lets “burn one down, and get stoned,” because its the day of cannabis. The day the world wakes up and immediately begins smoking pot. Or rather, that’s what would happen in a fictionalized dream land where war doesn’t exist and the goal of society, is not the seeking of money, but the focus of enlightenment. Sadly, that world doesn’t exist. 

Instead, there are millions of people who live to take advantage of others for their own selfish desires. They don’t care about favors, or displacing themselves for another.  They care only about what they can get. And if it’s not about being cynical, then its about enforcing ones belief down another’s throat. As if one person has the right to demand how another thinks and feels.

Unfortunately, this day is synonymous with one of the most famous monsters in history. A man who decimated a population and started a world war based on hate —We will not dignify him with a name.

But on the other-side, the obscure side. There exists a holiday, a celebration of peace takers and enlightened individuals across the globe. Within the counter-culture, exists 4/20.  The day of doobies and blunts, bongs and bowls, rigs and dabs. Its a peaceful day, where peeps hang out in a relaxed environment, listening to good music, and laugh at stupid things while filling a never-ending stomach.

But its not just that, its also known as bicycle day. The day when Albert Hofmann purposefully ingested LSD for the first time. And in doing so, he discovered a doorway unto another reality that was previously only ritualized by tribes. At the time, he produced the strongest concentrated hallucinogenic known to man. In doing so, he freed millions of minds everywhere. 

It’s curious to me that a day which holds so much evil within mainstream society exists in a happy realm within the counter-culture.  You ask, “what do I mean by the counter-culture?” I reference the side of society that exists with an open mind and a free heart. A side that questions the propagated beliefs that seem to stand standardized. A side that listens to music elevated from the radio, who ignores the ignorance of reality television, and pursues a deeper life connection than a white picket fence in suburbia. 

It’s curious because it seems the world wants to ignore the reality of life. A reality in which people exist to spread love, not evil. A place where people displace their own convenience in order to help, not just a friend, but any living being. Not because they’ll be rewarded or recognized for what they’ve done. But because it’s the right thing. This is the real spirit of 4/20, not to just get high. But to pay tribute to the lifestyle that demands an elevated way of life. So please, as you toke it up today, think of the ways you can make a difference. 


Terrific Tune Tuesday – ‘Finally Moving’

Sometimes, it’s not about the content of the lyrics in a song that make it great for smoking pot.  Instead, the perfect song is about the ambience and the mood it sets for the listener.  The realm it takes them to, the disposition it sets.  Although there are thousands of classics that succeed at doing this, Pretty lights’s Finally Moving really sets the tone right.

The melodic echo of the vocals, “I got a feeling,” softly shuffles in at the beginning, stirring the listener into a passionate realm that instantly ensnares.  Soon after, the synth rolls in right before introducing the violin that revives the synths gentle roll into a riding wave.  The piano softly taps in, smoothing the songs current in the same way a haze of dabs will reduce a long stressful day into nothing.  But, it would be boring if the song stayed running so level-ly, and the perfectly laid discordant scratching adds just enough chaos to disrupt, while still maintaining elegance.

The track continues to massage its message of tranquility into listener, reminding them that first, special, blissful moment they experienced.  The repeating, “never never never had before,” induces the memory of that feeling had for the first time.  In doing so, it sucks you away from the turbulence of one’s everyday anxieties. 

By the time the song fades away, the listener has gently left behind a harsher mindset, in the same way that marijuana alleviates an ailment.  When enjoyed together, they create a perfect harmony for relaxation, enjoyment, and ultimately, happiness.  But, rather than creating the happiness anew, they help one remember.  They don’t numb, they don’t harm, they only heal.  And, they get you Finally Moving.

Mary Jane’s History: A Brief Overview

Cannabis has a long and variegated use. The plant is known to be at least 12,000 years old and has yet to be completely understood. In recent years, many rumors have developed in regard to its complex nature. However, very little is actually known by the general population. With that in mind, I decided to assemble an overview of the facts.

The oldest evidence of cannabis as a remedy is dated back to 2700 BC and is attributed to the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, a mythical figure who is considered somewhat of deity in Chinese culture. He’s primarily responsible for passing on holistic and agriculture practices. Unfortunately, writing had yet to become standardized, and Shen Nung’s teachings were taught strictly by word of mouth. The teachings were eventually recorded in the first Chinese medicine book, Shen Nung Pen-ts’ao Ching.

In 1989, archeologist recorded the earliest use of medicinal marijuana when they uncovered the grave of a young girl thought to have died in childbirth around 390 AD. In the grave, the scientist found burnt plant matter that latter tested positive for THC, leaving them to conclude that the girl had been inhaling the vapors during the birthing process.

Marijuana continued to be a popular herbal remedy throughout the next hundreds of years in the central regions of Asia and India. Until British colonization introduced the plant to the western regions. This occurred when Irish physician William Brooke O’Shaughnessy observed its use amongst the locals and began conducting research. He extracted the plant’s essential oils (as hash), and administered them orally as either pressed pills, or as an alcohol-based tincture, which he essentially used to treat Cholera.

Medical research continued to progress for weed until around 1899, when the ability to isolate and synthesize distinct chemicals from plants became standardized. A process that formed the foundation of the modern pharmaceutical medications used today.

Shortly after this, in 1923, New Orleans became the first major American city to place a ban on the plant. This was at the same time that the dispossessed African-Americans began to create jazz music as a release against the confines of a bigoted state. Because of the rampant racism at the time, anything associated with black culture was feared and condemned. Unfortunately, state officials recognized a direct association between the favorable use of weed, jazz, and African-Americans. Therefore, they named it a ‘devil drug’.

During the process of British colonization, an opium epidemic emerged due to the high trade of the crop for Chinese porcelain and silk. In 1925, a bill was proposed amongst the United Nations to regulate and control the distribution of opium in an attempt to subdue its widespread epidemic. In the final stages of the bill’s passing, cannabis was also added unto the legislation. Apparently, it too, was causing a pandemic.

The beginning of marijuana’s modern research starts in 1964 when chemist Raphael Mechoulam isolated the THC compound for the first time.  Initially, Mechoulam had been researching the adverse effects of cannabis consumption. However, this soon changed and its medicinal qualities soon became the focus of research. Eventually, this would lead to the first synthetically produced versions of THC developed as pharmaceutical drugs.

Stay tuned for a closer look at the advent of jazz and the necessary role pot played in its creation. We’ll also take a closer look at the details surrounding the 1925 opium bill and how cannabis was added in its final moments. It is no secret America has a dark history of repression. Sadly, it’s a history still in the making, (as can be seen in North Dakota, with the construction of the oil pipeline on Native-American territory). This is why we need advocates, not only for our ganja, but for the people. Stay tuned, stay informed.


Works Cited: Pain, Stephanie. “A potted history.” Nature, vol. 525, no. 7570, 2015, p. S10+. Health Reference Center Academic



Music, Weed, and Our Body

Music and marijuana go hand in hand, like the intertwined body parts of two lovers tossing in sheets.  The effects of music on weed takes an already deeply sensual experience and electrifies it unto another level, creating a synesthetic effect that has been described as being able to see, or feel harmonies.  A phenomenon, which is not just based on user experience, but is supported by hard, physiological scientific evidence. 

In order to understand how this happens, we must first understand a little bit of anatomy. But, hold on, I promise I’ll make it easy.  All mammal’s physiological functions are controlled by the Endocannabinoid system.  This is what’s responsible for the body’s pain levels, appetite, and temperament (to name a few). 

The Endocannabinoid system activates these functions as necessary through a countless number of cells in the brain known as cannabinoid receptors.  These receptors are primarily activated by two distinct natural sources of cannabinoids.  The first, are known as Endocannabinnoids and are produced internally within the mammals (humans) body.  The second, are known as plant cannabinoids, like those found in marijuana.

Example:  Initally, the mammal body recognizes a need for sustenance (food) and begins producing Endocannabinoids.  Then, these will attach to receptors throughout the brain and initiate a feeling of hunger.  Or, a person partakes in ganja and floods their system with external cannabinoids, which will stimulate the entire Endocannabinoid system.

Some of these cannabinoid receptors are located in a part of the brain known as the Corpus Callosum.  A piece of connective tissue that is responsible for communication between the mind’s right and left hemispheres.  Similar to a telephone wire that enables communication between two separate houses.  One of the responsibilities of the cannabinoid receptors located in the Corpus Callosum, is the cognitive recognizance of sound/music.    

Here’s an easy illustration of how it would work –  The brain hears something.  One side is like, “Hey, that’s pretty cool,” and he shouts over to the other side, “What do yah think?”  The other side hears it a split millisecond later and says either, “Yeah, I like that” or, “Nah, what comes next?”  As one can see, the Corpus Callosum creates an analytical dialogue between the two sides of the brain.  One concentrating on what has just passed, while the other is in anticipation of what comes next.

However, when we activate the Corpus Callosum’s receptors with external cannabinoids, we basically make it forget to do it’s job (stimulating the brain as a whole, instead of in pieces).  A job that was created by our natural animalistic instinct of survival, and of predator versus prey.  This enables the listener to become lost within the auditorial soundscape, making each new note and sound a surprise.  Placing an individual in the exact moment of the song.  This permits the pleasure receptors to dominate the experience, in the same way a feather brushing against the back of your neck subtly startles you.

Additionally, there are cannabinoid receptors located in the Ventral Striatum, a part of the brain associated with enjoyment and reward.  Upon the use of ganja, these too become super charged and activated by cannabinoids.  Adding a heightened sense of appreciation for things that were already rewarding.  Meaning, pleasurable experiences like music, sex, food, or any other hedonistic pursuit becomes more enjoyable on Mary Jane. 

Finally, all of this equates to a surge in dopamine levels.  The chemicals in the body synonymous with happiness and enjoyment.  Thereby making everything better, not just music and food.  So sit back, put on some tunes, roll one up, and enjoy the heightened experience of a mind relaxed on marijuana.  It’s like taking a daily vitamin.

Works Cited:

Huxley, Aldous. The Doors of Perception ; &, Heaven and Hell. Place of Publication Not Identified: Important, 2013. Print.
Vannatta, J. Burr. “Why Marijuana Makes Music Sound so Much Better.” Modern Trader Jan. 2017: n. pag. Why Marijuana Makes Music Sound So Much Better. Modern Trader. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.

Weed and Women’s Day

Women make the world go around.  Without them, I doubt there’d be love, and we certainly wouldn’t exist.  Unfortunately, throughout history they’ve rarely had the same privileges as men.  Even though they’ve had countless leaders such as, early civil rights pioneer Ida Wells, or artist Frida Kahlo’s unflinching self-portraits.  That’s why it’s so important to recognize them as the beautiful and wonderful souls they are, and to stop dispossessing them of their natural equality.

Thankfully, women and marijuana go hand in hand, perfectly complimenting the other while showcasing the benefits of each. 

Last summer, Whoopi Goldberg, the famous actress, and cultural icon teamed up with cannabis entrepreneur Maya Elisabeth.  Their goal is to produce medical-marijuana products focused on helping menstrual cramps and period pains.  These will include cannabis-infused bath products such as rubs and soaks.  As well as salves and tinctures that are focused on providing a natural, safe alternative to the processed chemicals of pharmaceutical companies. 

In an article for The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Whoopi says, “This was all inspired by my own experience from a lifetime of difficult periods and the fact that cannabis was literally the only thing that gave me relief.”  In other words, she recognizes the beneficial attributes of pot, and wants to alter the misconception surrounding it.

Regrettably, there is a lack of historical evidence proving these assertions correct.  However, the weed advocacy of recent years has produced numerous studies and journals confirming the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of using pot.  Recently, one such study on the effects of ganja and menstrual cramps was released by the peer-reviewed science journal Contraception.

In it, 192 questionnaires were received from women regarding pain and symptoms associated with the period cycle.  Of those 192 questionnaires, 88.5% (170) of them had corroborated using marijuana during this time, and of these, about 90% confirmed positive results saying it had helped.  Meaning, there’s no guarantee it will help, but there is an overwhelming majority of people propagating its proactive benefits and contesting traditionally westernized medicine. 

Take it as you like, but don’t deny that people find relief through marijuana.  Additionally, the fact that it is natural, has no long term cognitive effects, and is impossible to die from, makes it sound like a miracle cure the mystical fountain of youth was inspired by.  And indeed, many old-timers do retain a certain amount of youth after a lifetime of partaking.  So next time your girl friend is going through a little bit of pain, be a pal and pass her some Mary Jane. 

Terrific Tune Tuesday: Ben Harper – Burn One Down

One of the most rewarding things a person can do after a long, hard, stress filled day is to partake in a bit of ganja.  It slowly lifts you up and makes everything better, as it melts away anxieties, and transitions a frantic mind into a calmer state.  Making marijuana the perfect Yin to almost any Yang.

Ben Harper skillfully captures this transition in his classic song Burn One Down on his incredible ‘Fight For Your Mind’ album.  It begins with the sober, soft echo of hand drums steadily  building a beat until Harper’s guitar rings in notes reminiscent of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.  The instruments stay there for a moment, setting a familiar worn out tone, which gives a low rise of anticipation for Harper’s conflicted voice. 

The quiet, restrained passion held captive in his vocals is one of the most magnetizing qualities the artist holds.  They smoothly float over, seeping into the listener, confiding in them a depth of emotion similar to being plunged into an icy ocean.  (The cold is too shocking to feel entirely while warmth is an animalistic instinct thrashing wildly, and hope floats dubiously in the illusion of either reality, or dreams.)  And this is exactly how he greets you in the first lines of Burn One Down, gently hitting high notes that are too soft to shock, but which captivate with an invitation to light one up and possibly make things better.

The song trudges on in this jaded manner until coming to the chorus for the first time, where Harper sings, “If you don’t like my fire / Then don’t come around / ‘Cause I’m gonna burn one down.”  A full drum set then swings into play, along with a back-up guitar that transforms the song from tired to elated with the lyrical rallying cry of individuality.  His lyrics only grow more meaningful in the first lines following the chorus, “My choice is what I choose to do / And if I’m causing no harm / It shouldn’t bother you.”  They express (what should be) a golden rule of life.  An interesting theory that heavily conflicts with modern religious and cultural values. 

Burn One Down continues to progress in a mellow, positive manner which harmoniously embodies the essence of cannabis culture, until slowly fading out to the soft strumming of guitar and padding of drums.  But before it does, the listener is privileged to one last bit of marijuana acumen when we’re told, “Herb the gift from the Earth / And what’s from the Earth / Is of the greatest worth.”  A warning that tells us to appreciate and recognize mother nature’s offerings as the source of positive energy they are.  An insurmountable task, still, for many. 

After nearly 25 years, the relevance of his lyrics stands testament to the timelessness of the song.  Showcasing it as an instant classic that epitomizes the cultural shift of the 60s, of love, of acceptance, and of peace.  That calms and soothes the listener.  This is why it was chosen as the first Terrific Tune Tuesday.  It’s a song to lay back and share a spliff with a friend.