MARIJUANA

COMMON NAMES. a stick, Acapulco Gold, ashes bhang, boo, broccoli, Buddha sticks, bush, butter flower; Colombo, Columbian, Columbian Red, dope, dry high, funny stuff, gage, Gainesville Green, ganja, giggles-smoke, gold Gold Columbian, goof butt, grass, griefo, griffo, has, Hawaiian, hay, hemp, herb, , hooch, Indian hay, J, jay, jive, . joint, Juanita weed, kaif, kauii, kif : locoweed, love weed, mach, mariguana, Mary, Maryjane, Mary Werner, Mauii, Mex, Mexican, mezz, mohasky, mota, mu, muggle, mutah, Panama Red, pod pot, red, reefer, roach, rope, sativa, shit, skinny, smoke, shop, splim, stick, stinkweed, straw, ,sin semilla, spliff: stuff, sweet Lucy, sweet lunch, tea, Texas tea, Thai sticks, twist, viper's weed, weed wheat, yerba.

Marijuana is the least debilitating of all common intoxicants and has never accounted for a substantiated drug death. It does not cause brain damage, sterility, impotence, insanity, or drug addiction. Pharmacologically, aspirin causes more problems. Socially and medically, alcohol and tobacco are considerably more dangerous.

Reliable scientific evidence and the experience of 230 million users worldwide, including over forty-five million Americans, lead to the conclusion that the single greatest danger of marijuana use is possible arrest and imprisonment.

Marijuana comes from the Indian hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, a hardy weed that grows all over the world. Often un cultivated, it can be extremely difficult to eradicate. Street buyers generally see it as a prepared mixture of chopped dried leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds. Ranging in color from gray to green to brown to red to blond in texture it resembles the small granules of oregano or the larger leaves of tea. When smoked, it smelts like sweet, burned rope or dried grasses.

The active ingredient of the plant, found in the gooey, yellow, fragrant resin of the upper leaves and flowers, is the tongue-twisting delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, more familiarly known as THC.

Marijuana gives rise to unique chemical and psychological effects. Different things to different people, it can be alight hallucinogen, relaxant, tranquilizer, appetite stimulant, or intoxicant. Effects depend on the amount smoked and the potency of the grass, as well as on the expectations and perceptions of the user.

Marijuana is usually smoked in pipes or homemade cigarettes called joints. Depending on the quality of the grass, joints average about 4 to 40 mg of THC each.

A joint can produce a luminous haze for one to three hours. First feelings occur a couple of minutes after smoking. If marijuana is eaten alone, or as an ingredient in food dishes, the high can last from four to ten hours. First effects from eating take at least an hour before most people begin to feel them.

When smoked, marijuana comes on like a soft blanket. Don't expect a sunburst in your head. Most first-time and beginning users swear they don't feel a thing after their big experiment, and, in some ways, they may be right. With a -small or moderate dose the high is so gentle, subtle, and understated that many triers don't think anything is happening at all. In time, however, they learn to relax, letting the drug's warm glow suffuse the environment.

The only physical changes that occur are a temporarily increased heartbeat with a rise in blood pressure, slight towering of body temperature, and, for some, a telltale reddening of the eyes.

Mind changes range from the uncomfortable to the glorious, depending upon who is using it, where it is being used, and what the user's expectations are. You may feel alive all over, as if the hairs on your skin were dancing to a beat. Your head swims a gentle backstroke and feels empty and heavy at the same time. For some, the body may calm down to a purr, entering a quiet, introspective euphoria. Others may find themselves in a gregarious mood, engaging in ridiculous, giggly conversation with friends and loved ones.

Marijuana` has a habit of intensifying concentration on the minute core of the moment-whether that be staring at snow falling from the sky or playing the same Same of solitaire over and over again. Whatever activity is chosen, it seems perfect, and the smoker is unlikely to give it up-until forced or cajoled into the next activity, which, to and behold, is also perfect. Awareness of self and the outside world is distorted, yet heightened. Distortion may make problems seem more in tense, but it also adds an extra fillip to pleasures. When Stoned, you can quickly change your thoughts, like flipping over a record, by focusing on a painting; repotting the begonias, or just directing your feet to the sunny side of the street.

Profound revelations can be experienced when stoned. At least they seem profound at the time. The' likelihood, however, is that when morning comes you will see how inane . that great discovery was. That brilliant flash wasn't meant to make the afternoon papers or win a Nobel prize.

The stoned mind operates on many levels at once. One level , may play with another until, sometimes, confusion sets in. Again, you can control your high and take it elsewhere if confusion is not your thing. For some, the confused state is what they look forward to as they smoke themselves into a stupor. Rare of this confusion is simple forgetfulness-the kind that makes you search for your glasses when they are sitting on your nose. You go to the' closet, but by the time you get there you have forgotten why. Keys have a way of disappearing; so - ,do conversations. There usually comes a moment when everyone has forgotten the point. The usual remedy: Start another point, ,'and the conversation returns to its circular path. It doesn't seem to matter very much, though, since everything seems silly and funny. You can always flip the record and go back to staring at that crack in the wall or to endlessly peeling that orange. You stare and stare, maybe for hours, maybe for minutes. Time and space can be misjudged during your high. You can't be trusted to take: the casserole out of the oven in fifteen minutes or to hang that picture over the bed. Just remember to use clocks and -rulers when attempting any time or space computation.

While under the influence, certain compulsions are difficult to deny. Most grass users experience an obsession for food when they are smoking-any food, since it at all looks juicy and tastes great. There are cookie freaks who don't consider it a sight out without their favorite brand. "Meaningful" debates about the virtues of Oreos over Hydrox can ensue. Hamburger fans have been known to trek out in a blinding snowstorm to get their double-beef patties with onions, pickle, and special sauce on a sesame seed bun. People will eat almost anything when high, devouring any table set before them, especially if it includes sweets. Much of the craving for food has to do with an unending desire to chew. The throat, mouth, and lips will feel dry and parched, so soft drinks, beer, wine, and juices-will be equally appreciated.

Another common obsession for many smokers when stoned is music. The industry, has long been aware of the connection between grass and its products. Their cash registers rang up a atronomical sales as the flower children of the sixties bloomed into the affluent, pot-smoking middle class of the: seventies. Music became the magic carpet to stoned-out bliss:. A good band may sound great when the toker has begun to move his shoulders more freely. Live rock music theatrics play to heightened sensibilities. by oversstimulating with flashing , lights, mirrors, and glittering, sequined costumes. Close your eyes and you are last in a trance where you can hear sights and see sounds. That unmistakable sweet odor at any rock correct is only the sign of people having a good tune as they absorb driving rhythms pounding away at ear-splitting. decibel levels.

For many, the doors of sensual .delight are-opened by: a few pulls or tokes on a joint. Although grass is not a clinically proved aphrodisiac, it tends to produce a happy, relaxed mood, setting a comfortable stage for sexual enjoyment. Inhibitions can be washed away by a dreamy wave of joyous freedom. Sensations swirl; everything- feels smooth and glorious-the perfect condition for pleasurable sex.

Psychotics, or users beset with serious problems and anxieties, can experience what is called a "bummer," or bad grass trip a spiraling web of depression or paranoia that may seem overwhelming. In such instances, the help of a friend may be needed to move the tripper's mind away from its fixation on misery, fear, and panic. Talk softly about his bum trip, reminding him it is grass-induced. A change . of scene might also be a good idea, but the most important relief will ultimately come from the passage of time. Problems will lessen as the high wears off- s matter of an hour or two at most--so hang in there, giving your friend as much support and comfort as you can in the meantime.

Except for such rare bum trips, the physiological and psychological effects of marijuana' are considered minor in the world of psychoactive drugs. Most experienced users are capable of performing almost any task, responding to any stimuli, or coping with any emergency as if they :were not high. Scientists call this the compensation factor. Laboratory tests have shown -that many marijuana users can compensate 100 percent when stoned.

It seems safe to recommend that an inexperienced pot user should not drive, or at least should abstain from driving until he gets used to the drug's effects. There is no doubt that marijuana alters perceptions and reflexes, and both are needed to drive safely. Some claim that experienced drivers can, however, call upon their compensation factor and drive confidently, without noticeable impairment. But, your best bet is to avoid all intoxicants, if possible, when getting behind the wheel. If the thought of driving stoned makes you feel uncomfortable, listen to your head and give the car keys to a friend.

Grass is usually marketed by a loose network of informal entrepreneurs known as "connections." These dealers usually turn out to be friends, .co-workers,, and students, rather than the sinister types who sell "hard" drugs. They usually deal only in cannabis products and buy their metric kilos (2.2 pounds) or pounds in tightly compressed bricks from wholesalers who bring it into the country by small aircraft or, boats at border locations, usually around Mexico or Florida. Local dealers generally sell grass to the consumer in ounces (an ounce will make thirty to forty joints), lids (usually a little less than an ounce), dime bags (about 1 /a to '/z ounce), nickel bags (enough to get one high for a night or two), or individual joints. Prices' currently range from a low of about $15 per ounce-to a high of $90 per ounce for premium quality. Individual joints can bring about $1 each.

Some legendary potent strains of grass such as Acapulco . Gold, Columbian, Jamaican, Lebanon Red, and Panama Red are named for the regions where they grow. Except for a small number of experienced connoisseurs, most people cant tell the difference, by sight or smell, between these exotic species. One can easily be fooled into paying a premium price for not so-premium marijuana: The common way for the consumer to rate his purchase is by "tasting" (smoking) the offered grass before buying.

After one purchases his Baggie full of marijuana leaves, buds, stems, twigs, and seeds,. he goes about cleaning removing everything but the leaves and buds by pushing them through a strainer or any of the many commercial grass cleaners sold in head shops (marijuana paraphernalia stores) or through counterculture magazines. Those with a grew thumb or limited budget save their -seeds for future home growing, and stems and twigs for brewing test. If grass is not cleaned, when smoked the seeds have a tendency to burst like firecrackers, causing mini-fires or little holes in your cloth2s, furniture, and bedding.

Grass destined for cooking should be strained to a fine powder so it won't taste like chalky talc or a dusty road in the spice cake. Use it in highly flavored foods to avoid its unappetizing gritty taste. Marijuana must be cooked before it is eaten or used as a recipe ingredient. Raw grass is abrasive to the stomach and can cause nausea and/or painful ulcers.

If you are not eating it you are smoking it, and that can be done in many ways, too. Joints can be made by rolling grass by hand or, in commercially available rolling machines. Rolling papers are available in a variety of colors and flavors, with a gummed edge for easy licking and sealing, They can be found at your local supermarket; general store, drugstore, or 'head shop. They are the same papers used legally by cowboys and money-savers to roll tobacco cigarettes from bulk. In an effort to reduce throat irritation, some smoke grass in water pipes, filled with wine or water., Many other types of pipes are available, some, made of metal, wood, or stone. One current favorite is a glass air-pressure contraption called a carburetor, or bhong. These come in a dizzying variety of shapes and sixes, many of which resemble museum sculpture pieces.

Most "heads" (frequent users) smoke communally, passing a joint or pipe from mouth to mouth in a ritual manner. As the joint burns down to a very short length it becomes hard to handle, unless one likes the feeling of singed fingertips. You are then left with the "roach." Roach clips of different sizes and shapers are sold in head shops. Homemade versions can be fashioned from tweezers, a hemostat, or even a used paper match, split open to hold the roach (called a Jefferson Airplane).

Producing home-grown grass has become a widespread cottage industry, with the amateur gardener becoming his own supplier. A wide selection of grower's guides is available in bookstores and head shops across the country.

Marijuana has a long and colorful history. As far back as the year 2737 B.c., the then-reigning Chinese. emperor taught his subjects to use cannabis variants as medicinal preparations. Since ancient records are very rare, it is difficult to accurately follow the trail of grass across the continents, but it seems to have traveled through many countries and was used both medically and for religious purposes. There are ew references to cannabis in the Old Testament: The writings of Marco Polo and others all demonstrate that marijuana was grown in Asia and the Near East not only for use of the plant's hemp fibers, but also because of its psychoactive properties.

Marijuana was introduced to the New World by the Spaniards, who planted it in Chile in the late sixteenth century. Later, King James I. of England commanded the first American settlers to grow the hemp plant to provide the British fleet with fiber needed for making rope. After 1860, marijuana's. value as a basic cash crop diminished when hemp was no longer in such demand. Much later, the Department of Agriculture encouraged increased growing in an effort to supply our troops with fiber for rope during the shortage of imported hemp caused by World War 11.

Recreational use of marijuana got a shot in the arm from rhapsodic descriptions of grass provided by European writers and intellectuals in the nineteenth century. All the rage among the smart set in Paris, it was reputed to be a creative stimulus: Prior to alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, recreational use of pot in the United States was limited and temporary. Smokers were mainly Mexican immigrants, black cavalry soldiers, and the social elite. Hashish houses existed, much like bars, for an evening's pleasure. At one time, New York City alone was estimated to have over five hundred of - these late-night smokeries.

Ten years later the lid clamped down and the weed was outlawed. Pot use was continued by small groups such as the black jazz musicians of the thirties who wrote and sang many a song about the pleasures of pot in a colloquial code that left the straight world wondering what their smiles were all about.

Nationwide, popular use of grass in America accelerated during the 1960s when beatniks passed on what they had learned, from their black musician friends to their white, middle-class cousins. It didn't take long for this educational effort to reach epidemic proportions. The generation raised on Timothy Leary, communes, Vietnam, and rock 'n' roll was by no coincidence, also raised on grass. Marijuana was a major cultural influence during the sixties as thousands of stoned-flower children poured into San Francisco, or fought in faraway Asian trenches with heads buzzing from strong native weed. The drug revolution went hand in hand with the political and social revolutions, of the sixties, as marijuana became the symbol of youth in revolt.

In the seventies, marijuana use has spread from the young collegians and soldiers of the sixties to a broad range of otherwise respectable, law-abiding, middle-class users of all age.

While the world turns on to relax or giggle, medicine into and scientists throughout history have been prescribing marijuana for a host of ailments. It was used as an anesthetic in China almost four thousand years ago and there is evidence Egyptians recommended soothing sore eyes with cannabis fluids thousands of years ago. Modern scientists today are experimenting along :similar lines for the treatment of glaucoma, Asian and African cultures used cannabis as a ' medication as well as an intoxicant. A Common folk medicine; it has been used to treat coughs, headaches, and menstrual - cramps. Queen Victoria's personal physician, after thirty years-of research, concluded that marijuana was useful for the treatment of migraines, cramps, senile insomnia, epileptoid. states, depressions, and asthma-attacks.

During the mid-1800s it was recommended in medical tests for everything from gout to insanity to impotence. In 1860 the Ohio Medical Society found hemp to be useful for tetanus, rheumatic pain, asthma, post-partum psychoses, convulsions, gonorrhea, and chronic bronchitis. They. found it produced a more natural sleep, without interfering with the action of internal organs, and was therefore preferable to the stronger opium compounds then available for such purposes. Hundreds of scholarly articles were written on cannabis' medical properties between 1839 and 1900, and various cannabis' preparations were available in the United States., without prescription. Listed in the official U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1850 until 1942, it was sold in fluid extracts by such reputable companies as Parke-Davis, 'Squibb, and Lilly: One drug company marketed ready-made marijuana cigarettes as an asthma remedy.

The Western medical establishment lost enthusiasm for medical use of cannabis around 1900 when research produced synthesized morphine and barbiturates, which were- much easier to administer and permitted closer dosage control.

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, while not prohibiting its use as a medicant or denying its value as such, made it difficult and` unpopular to prescribe. Removed from the lexicon of American: pharmacology in .1942, the drug can now be legally obtained only by a limited number of closely supervised researchers. These scientists have found that marijuana may have potential use as a treatment for glaucoma, loss of appetite, anorexia nervosa, heart attack, migraine headache, hypertension, epileptic seizure, and insomnia. Medically, marijuana- appears to be remarkably safe, with addiction and toxicity potential well below that of aspirin.

One might logically ask, if grass is so helpful and harmless, why is it still illegal and, in many corners, despised? This question can be answered only by looking at the history of misinformation and hysteria-that has always surrounded cannabis.

American repression of marijuana gained momentum in the 1920s when sensational, exaggerated reports about its effects appeared in the New Orleans daily newspapers. Screaming headlines proclaimed that schoolchildren were buying joints, marauding about the city, shooting and maiming anything that moved.' By 1927, Louisiana had made grass illegal. Many other newspapers then took up the battle against this purported danger to society, They were joined in this war against the weed by Harry J. Anslinger, commissioner of the newly formed Bureau of Narcotics. In an apparent effort to justify its existence, this spanking-new segment of the bureaucracy led the holy crusade through the various state legislatures.

By 1946, almost every state in the union had restrained the "creeping menace" of marijuana, either by-adopting the Uniform Anti-Narcotics Actor by passing its own ill-formed laws. Hundreds of anti-grass articles were fed to the public, with the covert or overt assistance of Mr: Anslinger. The Federal Marijuana Tax'` Act of 1937 totally outlawed nonmedical, untaxed possession or sale. Anslinger tried to drive marijuana out of legitimate medical practice and, sure bough, its listing was ultimately dropped from the_ U.S. Pharmacopoeia. There was no proof to support Mr. Anstinger's charges about the drug, but the public had been - so assaulted with tales of addiction and violent crime that the facts no longer seemed to matter. In 3938, New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia financed a marijuana study that found no proof of addiction, no link to aggressive or anti--social behavior, and no sign of tolerance or withdrawal symptoms. Its findings were ignored, however, and marijuana retained its unjust association with hard drugs and hardened criminals.

Although scare stories about deranged potheads no longer make the rounds, new ones about purported` medical dangers are now circulating. The only significant verified danger related to grass smoking is the smoke itself. As with any other smokable substance, marijuana has a high carbon-monoxide . yield, comparable to that of stale nonfiltered cigarettes. Those with pre-existing bronchitis or respiratory problems may - suffer acutely from marijuana-smoke inhalation, just as they would from tobacco.

One of the scarier allegations is that marijuana causes permanent brain damage, premature aging of the brain, and a type, of mental lethargy scientists refer to as the antimotivational syndrome. This charge emanated from a highly questionable, biased study of only ten participants, all of whom were multiple drug users or had prior brain damage! Other similar reports have resulted from tests done on rhesus monkeys given the equivalent of thirty joints, three times a day, for six months. If you-are not a monkey smoking every minute every day, you need not worry.

A major study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health was conducted in 1972 using a group of Jamaicans who had smoked an average of seven joints a day for more than seventeen years. Much: of today's reliable information about marijuana comes from this study, since extensive medical arid: psychiatric tests were administered to this` carefully controlled group. Findings showed no difference in: brain dysfunction between chronic users and nonusers.

There is some evidence that chronic users of extremely high daily doses are more likely to exhibit abnormal behavior or suffer greater mental deterioration than the general population. This finding has not been confirmed, though, since it is difficult to ascertain whether constant high-dosage pot use is the cause or the symptom of mental and emotional disturbance. Among the Jamaicans studied, there was no difference in rate of employment, Job stability, or academic achievement between smokers and nonsmokers. Apparently, marijuana will not turn you into a vegetable, unless you planted those seeds yourself many ears before your first high.

Another "fact" often quoted about marijuana is that it lowers the body's resistance to infectious disease and cancer. The unconfirmed test from which this supposed result came has been contradicted by the Jamaican study, which showed disease and mortality rates of users to be no different from those of nonusers.

Some claim frequent marijuana use increases the likelihood of birth defects and other genetic diseases. This chromosome damage charge has been hurled at every pleasure-giving substance since manna. One study indicated such a possibility, but its findings must be seriously questioned because participants were all multi-drug users. Five other studies have subsequently failed to sustain that finding. One even found a higher rate of chromosome damage in nonsmokers.

Marijuana has also been accused of causing precancerous responses in the lung cells, as well as other lung ailments. As previously noted, there is no doubt that any type of inhaled smoke is bad for the lungs, but with the limited number 'of joints smoked, even by heavy users, damage is imperceptible. Comparisons of lung X-rays between users and nonusers have shown no difference.

It has been suggested that marijuana use may lead to sterility or impotence in men. Again, no determinative causal link has been documented. In fact, the Jamaican study and other major research efforts found that after two weeks of grass abstinence the subjects' hormonal levels were in the up per range of normal. When the users returned to heavy smoking these levels did not diminish.

With regard to pregnancy, research has indicated that even at quantities ten to a hundred times the effective human dose, marijuana appears to cause no damaging effects to the fetus, the , mother, or the newborn chill. However, all non prescribed drugs should be avoided during pregnancy.

Marijuana is easy and inexpensive to grow, doesn't hurt you, won't kill you, and may even help you. But it is illegal, and that is its primary danger at the moment. Since 1970, nearly two million people have been arrested for offenses related to marijuana. This accounts for almost 70;percent,of all drug arrests and costs the taxpayer over 5600 million annually. This figure alone should be decisive in the continuing push for decriminalization of grass.

Some states, including Oregon, Maine, South Dakota, New York, Mississippi, Colorado, California, Ohio, Minnesota, and Alaska, now have arrest-free procedures- that requite payment of a fine upon the issuance of a citation for minor marijuana offenses. This procedure applies to possession of small amounts of grass and does not include sale or importation. Every state has reduced the seriousness of the offense from a felony to a misdemeanor, with the exception of Nevada. The maximum federal penalty for simple possession is presently one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Increasingly, people are questioning the morality of condemning marijuana users to lives burdened by the stigma of a criminal record, as evidenced by the push for some form of decriminalization or legalization in every state.

Several groups have organized to promote the legalization effort. The foremost lobby for repeal of our antiquated marijuana laws is NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Members of NORML's advisory, board include such prominent Americans as Ramsey Clark, Senator Jacob Javits, Dr. Benjamin Spock, and the Reverend Canon Walter D. Denis.

Legalization would result in governmentally controlled use, sale, and distribution of marijuana, like alcohol. No state has yet proceeded on this course.

Decriminalization would eliminate all criminal penalties for minor marijuana offenses, using the citation/fine method instead. Decriminalization has been recommended by, among others, the American Bar Association, Consumers Union, the American Public Health Association, B'nai B'rith, - the National Council of Churches, the Governing Board of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, William F. Buckley, Jr., Art Linkletter, Ann Landers, the National Education Association, and the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse.

In fact, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse issued a report at the President's request which verified the safety of marijuana and urged repeal of our unrealistic laws. This report was soundly rejected by then-President Nixon prior to publication.

No effort to suppress the use of marijuana - and there have been many - has been successful. True eradication of the marijuana "problem" lies in decriminalization or legalization.