Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Best News I've Heard In I Don't Know How Long...

I smoke a lot of pot. I wouldn't call myself a "constant burner", but I do manage to catch something of a buzz on days that end in "Y". I like pot. It loosens me up and helps me concentrate (though, admittedly, I don't get to pick just what I'm concentrating on). It enhances the experience of watching a movie (theatre or at home) or listening to music (live or recorded) because I hear and/or see little subtleties that I'd missed previously. I love listening to audio plays when I'm stoned, and probably my favorite way to kill an afternoon is to read a little theoretical physics or cosmology, smoke a bowl, and then lay down to think me some tremulous thoughts. And then there's this, which I have, admittedly, stared at for more than an hour.

It's also helped me center myself emotionally. I may've lost some of my "edge" over the last couple years, but I've also jettisoned a whole lot of the anger and rage that had driven me previously. I won't say that's all because of generous toking, but there's no doubt in my mind the sweet leaf helped out a bit. Though I don't know how much of Terrence McKenna's theories I believe, I seriously believe this world would be a much better place if all the seriously pissed-off people stomping around the terra - which seems to be most of them, these days - would fire one up from time to time, turn on a little Roger Miller and, basically, realize that it's not really that big a deal.

It also kicks the shit out of booze. I quit drinking about eight months ago, and decided to make a conscious decision to quit about a month and a half ago. After ten years of drinking to various levels, I don't miss it at all. The only thing I "miss" about booze is that I don't quite enjoy being around large groups of drunken yay-hoos quite as much as I used to, and upon further reflection, I don't miss that much a' tall. I’ve never taken my clothes off in public, got into a fight or damaged property out of anger when stoned. I’ve done all and more drunk on a number of occasions.

Sidenote: if you're reading this and you're someone who I've offended or wronged in the past when I was shit-hammered, I humbly apologize. Drunk people are extremely annoying when you're sober.

On the downside, I freely admit I'm nowhere near as "ambitious" as I once was and I sometimes wonder if I'm not burning away parts of my brain with the noble weed (I can't make cookie dough at work worth a damn to save my life anymore). Like all-day drunks, if I get a chance to do nothing but smoke grass all day, nothing else will get accomplished. It screws up my timing for bass playing (unless I get so stoned I stop thinking about what I'm doing, which I should be doing in the first place). If enough grass is around, I'm bad to get so stoned I can't do anything but grin a rather disturbing looking grin (I'm told).

And, frankly, a solid headfull of THC removes all the blocks I put on just what comes out of my mouth. This may amaze some folks, but there's a whole lot that goes on in my head that I fully recognize most people simply do not want to hear (at least from me, anyway). I've cornered I don't know how many poor bastards at parties while high and spent hours blabbering on about the Cathars or synchronicity or quantum tunneling or the neat shit scientists are finding out in space. God help anyone who gets around me when I’m on mushrooms and wants to maintain the illusion that I’m anything close to sane. Probably the worst thing pot does to me is increase my already strong yen for solitude. In other words, I get stoned and realize that, basically, nothing anyone can say to me is near as interesting as what's going on in my head.

Now there's this. Apparently, some researchers at the University of Saskatchewan are saying research shows that some of the ingredients in marijuana can actually stimulate brain cell growth in lab rats. Furthermore, the findings suggest the growth goes on in the hippocampus area of the brain - which is connected to not only learning and memory, but also anxiety and depression - and controlled doses might help those suffering from anxiety and depression disorders. That's as maybe, but all I'll say is when it comes to my own history of clinical depression, a bagful of good Georgia Polio Weed ran rings around Depakote and...hell, I can't remember the other one I took.

There is, of course, much more study and testing to be done, and it should be noted that the stuff the docs were squirting into the rats was much more potent and pure than what one would find on the streets. And, of course, there are plenty of side effects to regular intake that might negate the benefits. Still, that is some good news to hear and worth of a little celebration, if you'll indulge me.