How Did the Cannabis High Help to Transform our Society?

What is it like to be high on marijuana? Can a cannabis high help to remember long gone events, to fuel your imagination, to work creatively, to come to introspective and other insights, to empathically understand others, and to personally grow? How much did cannabis inspire outstanding thinkers, artists and musicians like Charles Baudelaire, Rudyard Kipling, Walter Benjamin, Billie Holiday, Diego Rivera, John Lennon, Carl Sagan, Hal Ashby, and so many others? And how much did the marijuana high positively transfom our society?

“What Hashish Did To Walter Benjamin – Mind-Altering Essays on Cannabis” is a collection of 20 groundbreaking neurophilosophically inspired essays on the astounding positive potential of the cannabis high. The essays summarize more than ten years of Marincolos research and are written for a wide audience. This deep new exploration of the marijuana high as an altered state of consiousness addresses educated marijuana users and their relatives, medical cannabis professionals and patients, as well as neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers interested in the subject of altered states of consciousness.

“Sebastian Marincolo’s work is terrific and is going to make a big contribution to the field.”
Lester Grinspoon, medical marijuana expert and Harvard Associate Prof. Emer. for Psychiatry

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Marijuana and The Slowdown of Time Perception

Reggae Singer Peter Tosh with Robbie Shakespeare on the Bush Doctor tour, 1978

“Oh! Do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.”

            Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, English novelist (1775 – 1817)

 

Charles Baudelaire, Hurled Away by a Stream of Ideas

The phenomenon of a slowed down perception of time during a high is one of the most well known effects of marijuana – infamous to some, highly valued by others. Of course, those “distortions of time perception” can be seen solely as a risk for users – and it is certainly true that those perceptual distortions during a high can become dangerous, for example, while driving a car. On the other hand, many users appreciate this change of perception in safe situations as one of the most valuable experiences during a marijuana high. We have detailed reports about the slowdown of time already coming from members of the “Club des Hashischins” (“Club of the Hasheesh Eaters). The members of this cannabis club ingested large doses of hash marmalade, so it comes as no surprise that many of them became familiar with this phenomenon that shows especially under stronger doses. Charles Baudelaire, one the founding members of the club, wrote:

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Vipers, Muggles, and The Evolution of Jazz

“I’m the king of everything
Got to get high before I sing
Sky is high, everybody’s high
If you’re a viper…”

‘Viper’s Drag’ (1934), by Fats Waller

 

Without doubt the history of early jazz and the use of marijuana are intimately intertwined. Thousands of Hindu immigrants from India had brought the use of cannabis to the West Indies in the 1870s; where black and Mexican sailors picked up the habit and introduced marijuana use to the harbor of Storyville, the red light district of New Orleans, the city usually considered the birthplace of jazz. At the beginning of the 20th century, countless black jazz musicians performing in the bordellos of Storyville and in other locations in New Orleans smoke what they call ‘gage’, ‘tea’, ‘muggles’, ‘muta’, ‘Mary Jane’. They will later call themselves ‘vipers’ – allegedly named after the hissing sound taking a quick draw at a ‘reefer’.

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