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

Buy the book here

Happy Birthday, Lester Grinspoon!

My mentor and friend Lester Grinspoon just turned 89 yesterday! Happy birthday, Lester! You have been such an inspiration for all of us – a brilliant scientist tryly pursuing the truth agains all odds!

Lester and I have been in contact since 2008 and we had countless discussions about the potential of the marijuana high to enhance various human cognitive abilities. His book “Marijuana Reconsidered” (first published 1971 by Harvard University Press) is a milestone in the marijuana literature and I recommend it to anyone interested in the subject. What an amazing work!

Lester later started two websites, rx-marijuana.com (a large collection of anecdotes on the medical uses of marijuana) as well as marijuana-uses.com, a brilliant collection of essays and reports on the marijuana high and its potential for various enhancements, including the enhancement for episodic memory retrieval, a better focus of attention, an enhanced pattern recognition, an intensified imagination, spontaneous insights, and the magnificent enhancement of empathic understanding.

My own research heavily draws on Lester’s work and I feel blessed to have had the ability to talk to Lester for many years and to work with him on a book project as a co-editor (sadly, we could never publish the manuscript). Hopefully, we’ll be able to continue our conversations for many years to come.

Lester wrote the forework to my German book “HIGH. Das positive Potential von Marijuana” (Klett-Cotta/Tropen, 2013) and helped me a lot with his endorsement and his advice.

A few years ago, I started to think about an artistic visual approach to make misinformed and frightened people look at cannabis again as what it is: a plant. And, as I wrote in my own preface to the book: a plant is a plant is a plant. I created a macro art series of cannabis to go with a collection of essays to illustrate my scientific perspectives. Since then, many collectors around the word have bought large prints of my art edition mounted on alucobond and I have consulted many organizations and companies about how to show cannabis from a new perspective to undermine the negative and false associations connected to typical negative cannbis imagery coming from past disinfomation campaigns.

I would now like to introduce a new art photo to you; I dedicated it to my dear friend Lester Grinspoon. It was created under the influence of my favourite cannabis strain, Dr. Grinspoon, a pure sativa which procuces an amazing, calm, chrystal clear and blissful high. The art edition of this image will be limited to 5 pieces. One is reserved to Lester. For those of you who are interested to obtain one of these pieces, please write me a mail. And here it is. For Lester, with much admiration:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indiegogo Campaign For My New Book Now Online!

To all my blog readers:

I have just started an Indiegogo crowdfunding project for my new book “What Hashish Did To Walter Benjamin”. The book will contain 20 of my essays (some of which are already featured here on this blog). If you like the project, please support me on Indiegogo,  http://igg.me/at/what-hashish-did-to-walter-benjamin

You can also help me spread the word by sharing the following text on your facebook page:

Worldwide, people are beginning to acknowledge the positive potential of cannabis. Philosopher and writer Sebastian Marincolo has written a new book “What Hashish Did To Walter Benjamin” in which he explains how a cannabis high can help to remember long gone events, to fuel your imagination, to work creatively, to come to insights, and to better empathically understand others. His book also sheds light on how cannabis has helped writers, philosophers, musicians, and artists like Walter Benjamin, Carl Sagan, or Billie Holiday in their work. Help him spread the word and support his Indiegogo campaign: http://igg.me/at/what-hashish-did-to-walter-benjamin

It is time that we make a difference and take this to the next level together! Thank you so much in advance for your support!

Yours, Sebastian Marincolo

Sebastian Marincolo

 

 

 

Marijuana and Creativity – A Love Story

The Irish Poet William Butler Yeats, 1865-1939

“O! For a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.”

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

In a good relationship, a loving partner can inspire you and help your creative output in many ways. She (or he) may simply inspire you day-by-day with a beautiful smile, encourage you to compose your music or help you to relax and refresh your energy. Your beloved partner could also help you to discipline yourself, to keep focussed on a writing a book, drag you to a movie she finds interesting for you to help collecting ideas for a movie project, or provide valuable feedback during the creation process of your new musical composition. There are many ways a lover can help you to be creative.

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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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Marijuana, Pattern Recognition, and What it Means to be ‘High’

houses

“To understand is to perceive patterns.”

Isaiah Berlin, philosopher, 1909-1997

“As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.”

Henry van Dyke, short story writer and essayist, 1852-1933

 

The Importance of Pattern Recognition

When we talk about patterns or pattern recognition, we tend to think of simple visual patterns like a striped blanket. But our pattern recognition abilities are way more sophisticated than just recognizing basic designs like that. We can visually recognize and distinguish types of trees, cars, or the different painting styles of particular artists. And we perceive not only visual patterns in our environment, but also hear patterns in sounds or music; we perceive the tactile pattern of a wooden surface, the gustatory pattern of the taste of a mango and we can intellectually “recognize” patterns such as the pattern of a certain defensive tactic used by an opponent in a chess game.

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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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Nightmare Prohibition. Why the Prohibition Against Marijuana Has to End

The infamous mobster Al Capone profited immensely from the black market during the alcohol prohibition in the U.S.

Watanuga Lahele is radiating. His glassy eyes peep out under a large, conical straw hat, his movements slightly erratic. He has been chewing on a dark-greenish kalangi root and the drug tetralin it contains now clearly shows its euphoric and mind-altering effects. Lahele sits at a huge wooden table, as he does every in May, at the kalangi root festival in Bomaki, the capital of the Republic of West Africa. Hundreds of thousands of visitors have come here again to get collectively intoxicated at the festival. Lahele does not quite manage to get up from the table, he stumbles and falls sideways onto some other visitors. Soon, several people get in a brawl. The kalangi root is not only highly addictive, but also makes many of its consumers more aggressive. In the Republic of West Africa tetralin is completely legal, despite its mind-altering effects and various dangerous side effects.

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Addiction and Marijuana

Fotolia_35097172They really make me nervous sometimes. And they seem to be everywhere. Frantically, they move around in circles, slaves to implemented passions – addicts, manipulated, betrayed, and in self-denial. At six in the morning, the first type of addicts run to get their daily fixes: the classic workaholics. They swarm out of their houses to go and work like maniacs. Some are craving for more power, suppressing the persistent feeling of having slowly turned into corporate marionettes. Others work excessively to satisfy their shopping addiction and buy whatever they have been told makes them better, more happy, or more valuable people.

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Marijuana Insights: Myth or Reality?

Countless users of marijuana have claimed that marijuana can act as a catalyst to obtain real insights. Are these reports just exaggerations of users justifying their smoking habit? Or is it true that a marijuana high can lead to profound insights?

In his legendary essay “Mr. X” published in Lester Grinspoon’s study “Marijuana Reconsidered (1971),” an anonymous author stated:

There is a myth about such highs: the user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that this is an error, and that the devastating insights achieved when high are real insights; the main problem is putting these insights in a form acceptable to the quite different self that we are when we’re down the next day.” 37

With the permission of the author, Harvard psychiatry professor Lester Grinspoon would reveal the identity only posthumously.

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