Pubdate: Wed, 19 Aug 2015
Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Column: Higher Ground
Copyright: 2015 C.E.G.W./Times-Shamrock
Author: Larry Gabriel


Back when I was in college, I walked into a friend's dorm room one 
night to find a bunch of weed scattered on a table with a bunch of 
ripped up papers. I could tell these guys were buggin' because their 
eyes were all bugged out as they stared at me.

"Can you roll a joint?" one of them implored.

Apparently these guys were using something else and needed to chill 
out. I coolly slipped into a seat, grabbed some papers, and commenced 
to rolling. These guys were really grateful as they sucked the sweet 
smoke into their lungs.

My good deed done, I headed out into the night in search of more 
stoners in need ...

When I look back on it, I think that their use of marijuana at that 
moment was medicinal. They needed to chill out from whatever they 
were using, take the edge off, and relax.

Some folks think medical marijuana should be reserved for those who 
are on the verge of death, a last resort before you plunge into 
darkness. Then there are those who claim that any use of marijuana is 

I was having a friendly argument with a friend recently. He is not 
friendly toward marijuana and made the assertion that 95 percent of 
the people who have medical marijuana certification really don't need 
it. He said that the vast majority of certified patients have the 
qualifying condition of "severe and chronic pain," which anyone can 
claim to suffer from.

During the course of the argument, I decided to take the position 
that any use of marijuana is medicinal. If people just want to chill 
out and relax, isn't that medicinal? Isn't it good both physically 
and psychologically to be relaxed?

It might be better to be able to achieve relaxation without needing 
to use some substance, but that's not going to work in our current 
instant-results society. There are plenty of people who get out of 
work and head straight for a drink to relax. Heck, when I worked in 
downtown offices I was amazed at how many folks had drinks for lunch. 
As far as I was concerned, they were medicating themselves to make it 
through their day.

When you think about it, why not use a substance that is benevolent 
and doesn't destroy your body the way alcohol does. Long-term use of 
alcohol compromises the immune system, increases your risk of 
developing cancer, and screws with your pancreas, liver, heart, and 
brain. Marijuana strengthens your immune system and is known to help 
fight cancer and numerous other ailments.

And when you come right down to it, what's so bad about being high? 
This stuff is so good that despite trillions spent and a worldwide 
campaign to stomp it out, people just keep using it. The market is so 
lucrative, it has funded international cartels that have challenged 
Latin American governments.

Getting high is probably nothing at all like what someone who has 
never given it a try imagines it to be. Anyone who drinks alcohol 
probably thinks of it as somehow like drinking. It isn't. It doesn't 
make things look different, taste different, or sound different. But 
it sometimes makes all of these experiences extremely fascinating, or 
funny. It helps to open your portals of perception. Suddenly you find 
intricacies in your favorite song that you never noticed before. And 
the beat is so slamming that you can feel it to the depth of your being.

You look at a painting and you discover details of the brush stroke 
and modulations of color. And after seemingly having examined the 
painting for an hour, you realize it only took 30 seconds to find an 
entirely new way of looking at the art.

It's sort of like that dress thing: Is it white and gold, or is it 
blue and black? Except with marijuana, it might be all of the above - 
and more. And then you might find the entire thing hilarious and fall 
into paroxysms of laughter.

And things can taste so good, you can't believe that you've never 
really appreciated the texture of creme brule, or the crispy crust of 
mom's fried chicken. You might need to practice discipline when it 
comes to the munchies. It can have deleterious effects on your 
pocketbook and your waistline.

Still, this whole opposition to people getting high is ridiculous. 
Your brain will do it to you naturally when it floods your system 
with endorphins. That's why people report feeling relaxed or at peace 
after exercising.

But there's that thing against getting high. Here's a snippet of a 
conversation between comedian and TV host Art Linkletter with 
President Richard Nixon:

"When people smoke marijuana," Linkletter explains, "they smoke it to 
get high. In every case, when most people drink, they drink to be sociable."

"That's right, that's right," Nixon says. "A person does not drink to 
get drunk. ... A person drinks to have fun."

Well, Tricky Dick, I have fun when I get high.

This whole paranoia thing that some people experience can be a 
problem, although most of it comes from feeling different than usual 
and somehow channeling into the antidrug propaganda you've heard all 
your life. It can also come from the very real chance that you could 
be arrested and sent to jail. However, that guy who just came around 
the corner is probably just a guy who came around the corner.

But even then, just remember that you're high and laugh at yourself. 
Marijuana will help you do that, and as so many people say, laughter 
is the best medicine.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom