Pubdate: Sat, 14 Jun 2014
Source: Guelph Mercury (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Rob O'Flanagan
Page: A6


In a city such as Guelph it would be considered sacrilege and of the 
highest order of judgment to castigate the sacred herb, the magical marijuana.

The blessed substance is in wide use in these parts, and is 
considered wholesome, harmless and beneficial. It is capable of 
curing-or at least soothing-everything from arthritis to depression, 
and helps the mind solve the greatest of the impenetrable mysteries.

This may all be nonsense, a result of the drug's influence on the way 
the brain thinks about the drug. Drugs influence how one thinks.

How many pot smokers have I heard pontificate at length-at great, 
stuck-in-a-mental-hamster-wheel length-about the mind-altering 
capabilities of chemtrails, or the god-honest truth about alien 
abductions, or the spiritual nature of sun circles in photographs, or 
any of a number of other far-out subjects?

I always want to say, "Dude, you need to clear some of that excess 
cannabinoid out of the old cranial cavity and start thinking for 
yourself again."

There's a wonderful world of chemistry in the body that seems to have 
a life all of its own, independent of choice or free will. There is 
choice in what we put into the body, but once it's in there, there is 
very little choice over how it reacts to the body's systems.

You can choose to smoke weed, inject heroin, or drink single-malt 
scotch, but once it is in the blood stream the drug tends to take 
over the thought processes.

A brain under the influence of drugs can make fairly stupid choices, 
and the drug can motivate the vocal chords to express fairly 
ridiculous ideas. We would most likely not make these choices nor 
have these ideas when stone-cold sober. Drugs have an enormous 
influence on our biology. They seduce the brain and manipulate how we 
think and what we think about, how we act and feel.

The body that just wolfed down a Snickers bar is quite a different 
body from one that ate, say, a large hunk of raw cabbage. A brain 
under the influence of heroin reacts somewhat differently from one 
that just drank a cup of dark roast coffee with a double shot of 
espresso, my 'shot in the dark' addictive substance of choice.

I have no experience using elicit drugs, but I do have a brain and 
I'm beginning to see how it gets tricked and tripped up by the intake 
of different food stuffs, beverages, or more intangibles such as 
sexual attraction or negative self-talk. The brain is always under 
the influence of something.

Drugs, I can deduce through observation, hearsay evidence, and some 
drug-like experiential learning, affects the chemistry of the body, 
changes the way one thinks about many things, including the way the 
drug itself is thought of. That must be why so many pot smokers 
believe, mistakenly, that pot is harmless.

Committed pot smokers don't care for evidence that the substance is 
actually quite damaging. They may be quick to reject the evidence of 
mainstream medicine but, nevertheless, reputable agencies such as the 
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto or the National 
Academy of Sciences are coming up with clear evidence that pot can 
accelerate heart disease, trigger psychosis, depression and mood 
disorders-especially in teenagers-and lead to cognitive impairments 
in habituated users. Cannabis smoke also contains carcinogenic 
toxins. And pot is actually addictive.

So, it just might be that pot smokers think pot is harmless because 
that is what cannabis tells the mind.

The mind has natural occurring cannabinoids-those 85 chemical 
compounds that perform vital functions in the body, including pain 
suppression. The body is already wired to feel good about cannabis, 
and so when it is introduced into the body, the mind feels good about 
it and says, 'Something this good can't be bad.'

Oh, the seductive stories drugs tell.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom