‘Giving up the Green Bitch: Reflections on Cannabis, Ayahuasca and the Mystery of Plant Teachers’ By Graham Hancock

Picture: CPT. Muji (CC)

Originally posted here by Graham Hancock. See his website for daily alternative news.

Giving up the Green Bitch: Reflections on Cannabis, Ayahuasca and the Mystery of Plant Teachers.

By Graham Hancock

I have some personal stuff to share here and I intend to do so with complete openness in the hope that my experiences will prove helpful to some, thought-provoking to others, and might stir up discussion around issues of consciousness and cognitive liberty that are often neglected in our society.

I’m going to Brazil on Wednesday and I’ll be there for three weeks during which I’ll have seven sessions with the visionary brew known as Ayahuasca, the “Vine of Souls”, sacred amongst shamanistic cultures of the Amazon for thousands of years.

I’m not doing this for fun, or for recreation. Drinking Ayahuasca is an ordeal. It is, for a start, amongst the most horrible tastes and smells on the planet – a mixture of foot-rot, raw sewage, battery acid, sulfur and just a hint of chocolate. Within about 45 minutes of drinking it you frequently begin to suffer bouts of severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It is not for nothing that it is also known as “the purge” in the Amazon! And then, alongside the light and joy and valuable life lessons that are often part of Ayahuasca journeys, there are the sometimes terrifying psychic challenges including visionary encounters with seemingly malevolent entities in convincingly freestanding parallel realms that can be distressing to say the least.

So… I’m bracing myself. But I don’t feel too much fear because of the deep understanding that has gradually settled on me during the ten years I’ve worked with Ayahuasca that a being of pure and boundless love, who may even be that being recognized by some ancient cultures as the mother goddess of our planet, has harnessed the brew, in the context of time-honoured ceremony, to gain access to human consciousness and to teach us to do the best we can with the precious gift of our life on this earth.

I know how strange this may sound to those who have never drunk the Amazonian brew and never encountered “Mother Ayahuasca” in one of her many forms. Moreover – let me be clear – I am not making any empirical claims about the reality-status of the sorts of experiences I’m talking about here. Perhaps they ARE all “within the brain” as skeptics say. Perhaps they ARE all imaginary (although if so we must explain the transpersonal character of these imaginings). Perhaps they ARE “just hallucinations”. Or perhaps what is going on here is that our brains are transceivers rather than generators of consciousness, in which case could it be that Ayahuasca temporarily “retunes the receiver wavelength of the brain”, giving us fleeting access to other levels or dimensions of reality not normally accessible to our senses? This is a serious question, and one that is taken seriously by increasing numbers of scientists working at the cutting edge of consciousness studies.

But setting aside the unsolved problem of whether Mother Ayahuasca is real or not, what is interesting is that at the level of phenomenology many, many people have undergone encounters with her during Ayahuasca sessions and have had their behavior and their outlook profoundly changed as a result. Those changes are real even if materialist science would like to reduce the entity who inspires them to a mere epiphenomenon of disturbed brain activity.

Very often this entity (who, I repeat, may or may not be real but is experienced as real) gives us profound moral lessons in the depths of the Ayahuasca journey. We may be shown episodes from our lives in which we have behaved unkindly or unjustly to others, or been mean-spirited and unloving, or have failed to live up to our own potential, and we will be shown these things with absolute clarity and transparency, with all illusions and excuses stripped away, so we are confronted with nothing more nor less than the cold, hard truth about ourselves. Such revelations can be very painful. Frequently people cry during Ayahuasca sessions because of them. But they bring insight and give us the chance to change our behavior in the future, to be more nurturing and less toxic, to be more considerate of others and to be more aware than we were before of the incredible privilege the universe has given us by allowing us to be born in a human body – an opportunity for growth and improvement of the soul that we absolutely must not waste.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Ayahuasca has been so very successful in getting people off addictions to harmful hard drugs. For example, Dr Jacques Mabit has for many years been offering heroin and cocaine addicts incredibly effective treatments with Ayahuasca at his Takiwasi clinic in Tarapoto, Peru, where they might typically undergo 12 sessions with Ayahuasca in the space of a month. See here: http://www.takiwasi.com/docs/arti_ing/ayahuasca_in_treatment_addictions.pdf

A very high proportion of participants have such powerful revelations about the roots of their own problems and behavior during the sessions that they leave Takiwasi completely free of addiction, often without withdrawal symptoms, and never resume their habit. The success rate is far better than any of the conventional Western treatments for drug addiction.

Likewise in Canada Dr Gabor Mate was offering phenomenally successful Ayahuasca healing sessions to his drug-addicted patients before the Canadian government stepped in and stopped his work on the grounds that Ayahuasca itself is an illegal drug – see here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/bc-doctor-agrees-to-stop-using-amazonian-plant-to-treat-addictions/article4250579/.

Yes, indeed, Ayahuasca IS an illegal drug, in the narrow Western definition of the term that allows big pharmaceutical companies to make billions out of marketing consciousness-altering substances like Prozac or Ritalin but will send us to prison for exploring our own consciousness with time-honoured sacred plants such as those that go into the Ayahuasca brew.

The plants concerned, which are simply cooked together with water, are the Ayahuasca vine, Banisteriopsis caapi , and a shrub from the coffee family, Psychotria viridis, called chacruna in the Amazon. (A very few other plants are also known to produce an effective brew, but B. caapi and P. viridis are probably the most widely used).

The illegal element, contained in the leaves of P. viridis, is dimethyltryptamine (DMT), arguably the most powerful hallucinogen known to man. Normally in the West when we encounter DMT it must be smoked – producing a rapid, overwhelming, but short-lived (12-15 mins) alteration of consciousness, with which there is no negotiation. The smoking route has to be taken because there is an enzyme in our gut called monoamine oxidase that switches off DMT on contact. The ancient shamanistic societies of the Amazon, however, have found a workaround for this problem in the form of B.caapi, the vine itself, the other ingredient of the Ayahuasca brew which, it turns out, contains a monamine oxidase inhibitor that switches off that enzyme in our gut and allows the DMT in the chacruna leaves to be absorbed orally. The result is a long, reflective (up to four hour) visionary journey with which a great deal of negotiation is possible and that is very different qualitatively from the intense but brief experience of smoked DMT.

How, thousands of years ago, did shamans manage to select these two plants out of the estimated 150,000 different species found in the Amazon and learn to marry them together with water to produce the extraordinary potion that we know as Ayahuasca? It is a bit of mystery but shamans today claim it was not done by trial and error. Their ancestors, they say, were taught the secret by spirit beings as a gift to mankind.

Certainly those who have experienced the profound healing of harmful addictions that Ayahuasca can bring would agree that the brew is a very special gift. And in this matter I speak not only from my knowledge of the research but also from personal experience.

In my case the addiction was not to heroin or cocaine but took the form of a 24-year cannabis habit that I began in 1987 at the age of 37 and that I stopped abruptly at the age of 61 after five traumatic – but ultimately positive and life-changing – Ayahuasca sessions in Brazil in October 2011.

In what I have to say next I want to make a number of things extremely clear.

(1) I am not putting down or disparaging cannabis or those who choose to use it. The “Green Bitch” in the title of this article is not cannabis itself but the abusive, self-indulgent relationship, entirely my own responsibility, that I had developed with the herb.

(2) I recognize that cannabis can be an immensely helpful plant ally and that it has uniquely beneficial medicinal applications.

(3) Quite apart from these medicinal properties, I recognize that the sensual qualities of cannabis can also be of great value – enhanced appreciation of food, music, the joys of love-making, the wonders of nature, and so on and so forth

(4) I believe absolutely and unconditionally that it is the right of adults – an inalienable and fundamental human right – to make sovereign decisions over their own consciousness, including the right to enjoy the effects of cannabis, and to benefit from its medicinal properties, should they choose to do.

(5) I remain as strongly opposed as I have ever been to that wicked and evil enterprise called “the war on drugs” which only serves to empower criminal gangs on the one hand and the worst and most controlling elements of government on the other. My views on this matter have not changed a jot since I wrote this article, “The War on Consciousness”, in 2009: http://www.grahamhancock.com/features/the-war-on-onsciousness.php.

(6) Last but not least, I fully recognize that I myself benefitted greatly from some aspects of my long relationship with cannabis. It lightened me up a lot in all sorts of ways and encouraged me to explore unusual connections between things that I would not normally have connected. I was a current affairs journalist when I was 37 (that was in 1987 — I was born in 1950) and I had written some non-fiction books on travel and current affairs issues, but I don’t believe I would ever have moved on to writing about ancient mysteries (still non-fiction, although many of my critics would disagree!) if it hadn’t been for the new way of thinking that cannabis drew me into.

My first investigation of an ancient mystery was “The Sign and The Seal: A Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant” (http://bit.ly/WdzHSr)which I began to research seriously in 1987, shortly after getting into cannabis. “The Sign and The Seal” was published in 1992. During the writing of that book it was my habit to smoke cannabis only in the evenings for an hour or two before going to bed, but things changed from 1992 onwards when I began to work on my next non-fiction historical mystery “Fingerprints of the Gods” (http://bit.ly/HLvTqa). This was when I began to smoke cannabis all day long and to experiment with writing while I was stoned. I liked the result and it soon became my practice to light up my first joint (or pipe if it was hash) the moment I sat down at my desk in the morning and then just to carry on smoking all day long until I went to bed – often in the small hours of the morning. This remained my habit thereafter – smoking continuously from morning to night, whether writing or not, and gradually seeking out stronger and stronger strains of the herb.

In 2006 or 2007 I switched from combustion products to a Volcano vaporiser and at the same time began to buy from a grower who has amazing green fingers and produces incredibly powerful varieties of bud, most usually a variety called “Cheese” – I guess because of the smell – but way stronger than anybody else’s product of that name that I have sampled.

Cannabis had always exaggerated paranoid tendencies that I probably have already, but these began to come more and more to the fore from 2007 onwards with very negative effects on my behaviour. The worst was that with absolutely no real-world justification at all I began to become increasingly jealous and suspicious of my beloved partner Santha, who is the most honest and true person I could ever hope to know. We would have increasingly frequent shouting matches, always initiated by me, as I accused her of all sorts of things that she had not done and would never do. And while part of me knew I was behaving in a more and more crazy way I couldn’t stop the behaviour or the feelings that were causing it. We still had happy times but the jealousy and suspicion kept tightening their grip on me and I can honestly say that I made Santha’s life a misery between 2007 and 2011. It is a miracle and a tribute to her goodness of heart, care and love for me that she didn’t simply walk out and leave me, but instead patiently and tolerantly persisted with me and tried to get me to see sense.

So what was it those five sessions of Ayahuasca showed me in October 2011 that led me abruptly, overnight, to end my cannabis habit? After all I had already been smoking cannabis for 16 years when I first began to drink Ayahuasca in 2003, initially as part of the research for my last non-fiction book “Supernatural” (http://bit.ly/IID9NF) but later as a form of regular spiritual work. I drank Ayahuasca at least three times a year every year after that so what changed, what was so different, about those sessions in 2011?

When I look back on the whole process now, I can see that right from the very first session Ayahuasca was giving me messages about the need to moderate my cannabis habit, and showing me how my obsessional relationship with the herb was feeding and empowering negative aspects of my character. What’s more I received those messages loud and clear! But by then I was already so involved with cannabis, so convinced that I could not live my life without its help, and so sure that all my creativity would dry up and wither if I did not continue to smoke it, that I simply ignored and blanked out what Ayahuasca was trying to tell me. Perhaps if I hadn’t done that and had listened carefully instead, I have could have got my relationship with cannabis into some sort of constructive balance and stayed within the boundaries of responsible use rather than self-indulgent abuse, and perhaps then I would never have needed to reject the herb completely as Ayahuasca finally compelled me to do in 2011.

The process began on 30 September 2011 just before Santha and I flew down to Brazil. We were in the United States, at a location I won’t disclose, where I smoked a pipe of pure DMT.

I had smoked DMT before. My first two experiences, in England in 2004, were terrifying (for those who are interested I describe them in my book “Supernatural” [http://bit.ly/IID9NF]). Then in 2009 I had three pipes in one night in the same US location I found myself in in 2011 and had amazing healing experiences. Rotating lights moving all over my body, a sense that I was being scanned and that something was being fixed, some (slightly scary) computer-like circuitry that seemed to be sentient, an encounter with a sorcerer/magician figure who opened a rip in the earth for me and showed me an ancient buried city, etc, etc. It was all great fun and rather exciting. Same thing happened in 2010 – two pipes that time, separated by about an hour – and more beautiful, healing experiences.

So when I found myself back at the same location in the US in 2011 I felt relaxed and welcomed what I expected would be another pleasant healing excursion to the DMT realms. I certainly had no expectation that anything particularly disturbing or terrifying would happen to me.

Turned out I was wrong.

As soon as I took my first long draw I had the unsettling feeling that something intelligent and not necessarily friendly had leapt into my head from the spherical glass pipe. I held in the smoke as long as I could, then took another long draw. By now there was a crackling buzzing sound in my ears and I felt utterly overwhelmed and had to lie back at once (I always lie back; no way can I stay sitting up!). Immediately things were very different (though with some similarities) from all my previous smoked DMT experiences. The first thing I saw was something like a mandala with an ivory background and intricate brick-red geometric lines –like tracks – inside it. Between the lines, or tracks, imposed on the ivory background, were a large number of clock faces with weird hands. I’ve seen something like this before, not under smoked DMT, but under a very strong dose of Ayahuasca. It terrified me then, don’t know why, and it proceeded to terrify me again. Then I realised that the mandala (only an approximation; there was something very like computer circuitry about it as well, or even like one of those toy race-car tracks where little electric cars whizz round and round) was sentient and focussed on me. I got a hint of eyes or feelers. There was something very menacing about the whole scene, and I began to feel uncomfortable and restless in my body and had enough of my everyday consciousness left at that point to wish profoundly that I hadn’t smoked the pipe, and felt myself struggling – uselessly of course – against the effect. Then I heard an ominous voice, filled with a sort of malicious glee, that said very clearly “YOU’RE OURS NOW”. And I thought, shit, yes, I am yours now, not much I can do about it, but it’s only for about ten more minutes and then I’m out of here.

Since it was pointless to struggle I resigned myself to the situation and thought, OK then, get on with it, and immediately the mandala/intelligence and lots of its little helpers (who I felt but cannot describe) were all over me. I had the sense that my body was a huge, fat, bloated cocoon and that these beings were tearing it apart, tearing off lumps of matter and throwing them aside, getting access to the real, hidden me. I was aware that this was a place of absolute truth, like the Hall of Maat in the ancient Egyptian tradition, and that everything about me was known here, every thought, every action, good and bad, throughout my whole life – and the sense that the real hidden me within the cocoon was utterly transparent to these beings and that they were finding me wanting. About as far from being “justified in the judgement” – as the Egyptian texts put it – as it is possible to be, and that therefore I might face annihilation here.  And I heard something like a trumpet blast and a loud voice that announced, as though this were a proclamation at court: “NOW THE GREAT UNFOLDING WILL BEGIN”. Or possibly: “NOW THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION WILL BEGIN.”

That was the point where I lost consciousness of the material realm completely, and indeed of everything else. Feeling utterly helpless, utterly in the power of whatever process I was going through and of the intelligence that was running it, I fell into a darkness that seemed to last forever. I have no conscious recollection of what happened to me in there, only the conviction that it was something massive. When I began to come out of it there were some moments – though this felt much longer than moments – when I was deeply confused and disoriented and had absolutely no idea where I was or why I was there. I could see the room around me but didn’t recognise it, didn’t even know it was a room at first, or even what a room is, and it kept melting back into that other terrifying reality out of which I was emerging. This has never happened to me with DMT before – I’ve always known, even in the depths of the experience, that I was having that experience because I had smoked a pipe of DMT and my body was in a specific place, which I did not forget, at a specific time. This was completely different and very, very scary.

Gradually my eyes began to focus, I remembered I had smoked DMT, and I looked around and saw Santha sitting on the edge of the bed, very calm, and incredibly strong. I was immersed in a wild melting storm of colours and the only clear sure thing in the whole place for me was Santha with her amazing strength and beauty, and lines of light emerging from her body and rising up out of her and surrounding her. I remember falling to my knees on the floor in front of her and telling her “I found you again” or something such (the sense was that I had known her in a past life and had found her again in this one) and also telling her that she is a goddess.  I felt shaken, but basically happy to be back on planet normal and was able to witness the sessions of several other participants without actually falling apart or melting down.

Over the next two days as we left the US and made the journey to Brazil I thought quite a lot about what had happened to me and began to feel very apprehensive. If I had been “theirs” for 10 minutes and it had been so overwhelming, what was it going to be like for me being “theirs” for four hours at a time in the upcoming Ayahuasca sessions (since DMT is, of course, the primary active ingredient of Ayahuasca)???

Accordingly on the night of the first session in Brazil (Monday 3 Oct) I chickened out and had a (for me) small cup of just 80 mililitres. Nothing much happened that night. Just restlessness and annoyance at myself for not taking a bigger dose.

So on the night of the second session – Wednesday 5 Oct – I increased the dose to 140 mililitres. The first two hours passed uneventfully and I was thinking, with some relief, that nothing was going to happen when I became aware of a great serpent looking at me. Just the eye filled with wisdom and compassion. I got the message – I can work with you but you have to surrender to me. So I did surrender and in fact said out loud “I surrender”. Immediately she was inside me – a huge, very warm, almost hot presence inside my chest. I was immobilised, literally pressed down onto the mattress and felt a tremendous vibrating sensation inside my chest and along my arms, and I thought – Wow! This is weird. But I could no longer resist or do anything about it, and the presence (whom I construe as Mother Ayahuasca) worked her way down into my abdomen and then down to my groin, and then back up again all the way up my trunk, up inside my chest, into my neck and finally into my head where she spent a very long time. I felt I was in the hands of a great power that was doing stuff with me whether I liked it or not. I have always trusted Mother Aya so I didn’t feel fear and stayed calm while this was being done to me.

Then suddenly the presence left, and I could move again, and I thought – what an amazing blessing Mother Aya has just given me, to work with me for so long, and I felt sure that I had been healed. But just when I was feeling that, I was suddenly back into the same DMT space again that I had got lost in in the US and the feeling of calm and healing gave way to terror. I was aware once again of an entity (one this time; not many) all over my body, dancing around me, filled with malice, and I spent the next half hour or so in utter terror, and also feeling in some way betrayed by Mother Aya – that she had left me in the hands of this, that she had let me be “theirs” again.

The third session I took a low dose and pretty much escaped under the radar.

The fourth session I increased the dose, and Santha also took a larger dose, and we went through an extraordinary series of traumas together. Santha had the sense of some terrible dark being pulling out her heart and saying to her “I’m going to take you to teach Graham a lesson”. She communicated this to me – and I at this point had the DMT trickster all over me again – and I totally freaked out. I had a massive realisation of all the pain I had caused Santha in recent years, and how this was a black mark on my soul and how I had absolutely got to do something about it and stop living selfishly for me and start being a nurturing, loving, giving and above all trusting presence in her life – otherwise I would be doomed, and I would doom her too. I was filled with grief and terror that she would die right there on the mattress beside me. Both of us were sobbing and crying. Santha grabbed hold of me and said “don’t let them take me” and our shaman came over to help and began singing just an amazingly poignant and beautiful song which in due course helped to ground both of us.

The next morning in the sharing (a common feature of Ayahuasca sessions worldwide) I expressed my intent to change my behaviour and be a better partner to Santha in the future, and I said I was determined to change my relationship with cannabis. I didn’t think it was realistic, after 24 years, to give it up completely but I resolved to go back to my pre-1992 pattern of only smoking at night and never again all day as well.

On the fifth session, after the traumas of the fourth, I took a very small cup of Ayahuasca – less than 50 militres; still I didn’t quite get under the radar. I was approached by entities offering me food and drink but I remembered the rule expressed in many ancient cultures that one should never eat food in the Underworld (witness, for example, the story of Demeter and Persephone) so I refused and opened my eyes to stop the vision.

At the final sharing I once more expressed my intent to rid my life of all jealousy and suspicion towards my wonderful Santha, and to get my relationship with cannabis under tight control, smoking only at night, not all day.

We flew home on 14 October arriving 15 October. Very tiring and uncomfortable journey with no legroom and the fasten-seat-belts sign on almost all night. I naturally wanted to comfort myself with a little cannabis when we got back so I fired up my vaporiser and filled a nice fat bag. But as soon as I started to smoke it I began to feel really awful – as though I had a poisonous fog inside my head. Immediate massive paranoia set in and I felt I was on the edge of going completely insane. I persevered and took a few more puffs but the feeling of madness just got worse and worse. Panic and total self-revulsion seized me. Something I have never felt before with the herb. The upshot was that I squeezed out the rest of the vapor in the bag to get rid of it without smoking it and put the vaporiser away. As I walked upstairs from my office, shuddering with paranoia, convinced I was going crazy, and disgusted at myself, I suddenly realised that my stated intention in Brazil “to change my relationship with cannabis and use less of it” just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t good enough just to use it less. It hit me with the force of a revelation. I could never smoke cannabis again or I would be doomed. I had become a complete slave to my abusive, seductive relationship with the herb, it had exacerbated the worst aspects of my personality, and my only hope was to give it up completely. Sure, I reasoned, it might be difficult for me to write without it (since for so long it had been inextricably interlinked with my writing life) but I was just going to have to deal with that.

So I have not smoked any more, well over a year has passed, and I remain resolutely determined never to smoke again. I feel free now. Liberated. As though a whole new chapter of my life has opened up in front of me. I find myself enjoying little things I didn’t enjoy before, appreciating every moment that I am not stoned and that my head is clear. It feels GREAT to have a clear head! My concerns about the effect on my writing have also turned out to be completely groundless. I had feared I would loose my inspiration without the herb as my muse but quite the opposite has turned out to be the case. I am buzzing with new ideas and creativity. Also I’m MUCH more efficient – writing between three and five times as many words a day as I did before.

Last but not least my crazy jealousy and suspicion of Santha have evaporated like a bad dream. I simply don’t have those feelings any more, or the toxic behaviour that used to go with them. We’re having lots of fun together and have rediscovered the positive and beautiful basis for our love.

As to my soul, I think I’ve been given another chance – a chance not to be found wanting in the judgement when death finally comes. I am grabbing that chance with both hands.

Graham Hancock, January 2013

 

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  • Bo

    Thanks to Graham for writing this. There is a paucity of pieces out there that detail changing relationships with cannabis in a way that is neither judgmental nor amnesiac, i.e., something that is critical of what cannabis is currently doing to them while still acknowledging the benefits that it once brought to the writer. His experience of cannabis as something akin to a shitty romantic partner hits home for me – not quite life-destroying, but energy-sapping.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001265934140 Dven Hologram

    A very thought provoking article on many levels. Thanks for sharing this!!

  • MoralDrift

    There is no substance, which will give one eternal peace…It has to come from inside. The substances just help you realize this

  • echar

    Thank you

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I’ve gained spiritual insights from drinking alcohol. I realized that part of me never gets drunk. There is a silent witness that seems to be observing everything.
    I’ve gained insights from smoking weed. I’ve gained insights from experiencing pain. So yeah I think these are just tools, just medicines and most medicines can be or are poisons in other contexts.

    Also people can have shamanic journeys with drumming.

  • lazy_friend

    If pot is not habitual to you, all you need is a tiny hit for it to be an amazing party helper. But if you abuse it, the green goddess will come back and bite you. Its all about the dose and frequency. Your normal consciousness should feel good, the drugs are just to tweak it a little, like the tuner on the radio, the substance is the act of tuning but not the stations, nor the music. And of course its medicine, if you are in need of a crutch, and from time to time we all do, but stimulants are for short term use only, or else they lose all their therapeutic qualities. Heck most of these guys that are depressed and smoking to feel happy all the time, especially the older ones, can be a case of low Testosterone. I’m not saying go to the doctor and get that gel, there are mild T boosters for bodybuilding that cost 10 bucks for 60 pills that can help. Just a theory.

    • InfvoCuernos

      An old user of various substances once told me that the second you decide that you need any drug the second you wake up-whether tobacco, coffee, weed, heroin or whatever-is the second you stop driving and let the monkey on your back take over. Even actions, like jumping on the internet can be addictive. If you have a “smart phone” and see someone else looking at theirs, and you have the same urge to check your phone, then you might be addicted to that little device. Its like smokers who see someone light up on T.V. and suddenly have the urge to smoke.

      • lazy_friend

        I agree. I am very much addicted to the internet when I am at home, Even more addicted to audio stimuli. I need music when doing anything I find remotely boring. These are the gates I need to open. I am hoping to beat my addiction to auditory stimulation so I can read more. I have this OCD thing when it comes to tarot, which I study. Any question I have, I pull a card, for questions big or small. At times its hard to interpret for myself, but when I am asked for a reading, all that constant study of the meanings of the cards comes back instantly. I came to the same realization as Graham did about cannabis, but without DMT. Pot just started making feel bad, paranoid, lazy to the point of virtual paralysis, repeating suicidal thoughts, hopelessness and the same shouting matches with loved ones. I was also fed up with having to chase after pot from unreliable dealers and spending all my disposable income on pot. The signs from the universe were clear, I needed to drop the habit. DMT is just so hard to get, not my path, but all roads lead to Rome. Yesterday I was organizing my room and found a ten milligram spec. I smoked it, that tiny spec, got instantly super happy high, senses enhanced and all the good things that get one addicted. But that was it, didnt have the craving to smoke more, that was it, got the munchies and went to sleep. Its all about the dose and frequency when it comes to substances. With some, less is more, especially with concentrated strains of the plant. Cannabinoid receptors shrinking in the brain is one of the physical signs that Cannabis has become detrimental, you need those for regular brain function, smoking all the time puts way too much pressure in that part of the neurological system. Just like with food, you don’t want to be eating the same thing all the time, it gets boring and boredom can be very very dangerous.

        • InfvoCuernos

          Funny you say you want to read more. Maybe your solution is getting audiobooks and listening to them during those boring times. I just listened to “DMT:The Spirit Molecule” on the way in to work. I agree completely about moderation being the key. A glass of wine every now and then is ok, but if you’re going blackout drunk every night, things are going to start breaking down.

          • lazy_friend

            Thats a good idea. I have some audio books I downloaded but never touched. maybe its time to use the ROM in my Iphone for something besides fruit ninja and pictures I take but never look at.

  • Alan Morse Davies

    I don’t read this as anti-cannabis, I think the title overstates the content. It’s about a changing mindset through experience.

    I’m still confused about why it seems apologetic, I guess the fear of being shunned by a developed sub-culture around cannabis. I haven’t met many smokers who are not generous of heart though.

    In my personal experience through meditation I have encountered beings that do not exist in this spacetime.

    There’s no way to measure or compare subjective experiences, I guess the things you believe to be true got the sub-conscious stamp of approval.

    This is really a question about the overlap between our consciousness and an objective reality (which we could never measure because we operate in our consciousness).

    Religions have been built on this overlap, applying simple structure to fantastic complexity.

    That’s not what’s happening here, it’s one persons experience, for now.

    So imagine if Graham’s words sparked something in people, they form a group, it spreads?

    Is it about the fundamental truth of the idea? Or is it about the numbers of people agreeing with each other? One person’s truth becomes many peoples reality.

    What if people when grouped together decide badly?

    I’m with Graham, I believe in the truth of what he says, that new truth is part of how I will think.

  • Alan Morse Davies

    I’m with you, experienced the same thing, it’s the other voice. My other voice was 10 year old me.

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      Interesting. Have you ever practiced soul retrieval?

  • http://www.sacredgeometryinternational.com/ Camron Wiltshire

    Beautifully shared!

  • DrDavidKelly

    With the recent quasi-legal status of pot in places like the US I’m wondering if we aren’t getting a little complacent with the drug. I have seen pot ruin people. What once started out with some peeps as a fun, even helpful drug, I’ve seen it become a crushing addiction that offers nothing but a vapid mindset and a depressing outlook. Make no mistake pot is a strong drug and should be used in sparing amounts. Ayahuasca may have shown Graham the uselessness of his addiction but I also think it would be helpful to explore the reasons as to why he became so reliant on pot in the first place. Great article though. We need more balanced accounts such as this in our education on drugs.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.bauer.5 Alexander Bauer

      you have NOT seen pot ruin people. that’s like saying coffee ruins people. those people were going to be loosers if they ate too much, smoked too much weed, worked too much etc.

      • Calypso_1

        Coffee can indeed, like any stimulant, cause significant problems. Caffeine is highly addictive with a painful withdrawal process and can produce psychosis & major cardiac chronotropic irregularities.

      • DrDavidKelly

        I have seen people ruined by pot. I don’t understand what you are trying to say? I’m not claiming marijuana harms people to the exclusivity of all other substances?

  • echar

    This feels like the right place to post this

    Carlos Nakai & Nawang Khechog – Sentient Beings
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-r_xA7FPCQ

    • teachpeace

      Chills!

      • echar

        The whole album is amazing, as well as all music I have heard from R. Carlos Nakai. I am glad you like it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.powell.54584 David Powell

    aha! this is why your nonsense books are so jammed with paranoid ideation and silly pseudoscience!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003693688554 E.f. Herne

    Although I agree with this author on the use of mind-expanding homeopathics, I must disagree with this authors assumption that his experience with the Green Bitch was a “self-indulgent relationship” ~ leading himself to believe it was human frailty or weakness that triggered addictive use. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

    I’ve written an article titled “The Source of ALL Disease” based upon a Doctor’s eyes only book I stumbled upon in my research for answers for my son’s Autism. It was printed by the U.S. Government in 1939. What I discovered through this book is nothing short of astonishing: that ALL disease, including mental illness, can be tracked back to parasites.

    As they chew through our cells they urinate and defecate inside us breaking down our organs, tissues, brain matter and bone, and they steal all of our Vitamins and H2O. All of this leaves us a barron wasteland of acidic health. How do addictions play into this? Alcohol kills parasites, as does the naturally occurring Cyanide in Marijuana, as does the medicinal qualities of Ayahuasca. Our bodies end up serving 2 ‘masters’ in this mess with parasites:

    1. To serve our bodies by naturally craving the foods and substances that kill parasites plaguing it….
    2. The PARASITES can actually alter your brain chemistry compelling us to crave foods that harm us and help THEM like Carbs!!!

    These brain chemistry ‘changes’ are what shrinks tell us is “mental illness” easily eradicated through proper diet and supplements. Ayahuasca, I’m sure, is one of these supplements. Read more here on the source of all disease: http://efherne.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/100/

    • jnana

      Interesting. I don’t think I ever heard anywhere else that parasites could alter brain chem. to crave carbs, but I had that revelation a few years ago. Not sure if I read it somewhere in passing, prior, though I think it was inspired by learning how parasites effect mice’s brains. I also had a revelation that entheogenic cactus and certain other entheogens kill the parasites, physical and spiritual. I am a firm believer that parasites are a cause of most mental and physical problems and I think everyone should take Wormwood, Cloves, and Black Walnut Tincture, as well as lots of Garlic.

  • Thad McKraken

    Quite fascinating and should be noted by the anti-pot faction that Graham just admitted he wrote his best stuff under the influence of cannabis. Will be interesting to see if this development makes his writing better or worse.

    On that note. I went through something similar with alcohol in the last year. Being a musician (for those who don’t know, you basically get invited to play shows to sell booze to your friends/fans, that’s the way the game works) I had cultivated a relationship with booze that made me quite productive while drinking. I was getting drunk at least 3 times a week. My writing both musically and otherwise was the best it’s been, and I was doing the meat space networking necessary to facilitate things like playing shows and what not.

    But my magickal practice stepped in and told me: no more. It took years. First they gave me headaches that wouldn’t go away. They literally explained this to me in my dreams: we’re giving you those headaches to try and communicate to you that you need to stop drinking so much. Didn’t work. I could get acetaminophen/codeine from Canada that made them go away. So then my spirit guides stepped in with a different tactic. All of a sudden (and this just started last year) – every time I drank too much I would literally feel my face aging. Yep, weird. Sort of worked, but not entirely. I then had a very bizarre spiritual experience where I was shown how weakening my immune system with booze gave daemonic forms of intelligence control over me, and that this was going to lead to some serious problems if I didn’t get it under control. I was seriously fucking up my brain chemistry according to them. This was communicated in no uncertain terms (long story).

    So, I finally cleaned it up. One of the hardest things I ever had to do (should be noted that nearly everyone I’ve ever known or hung out with drinks heavily), and I was severely depressed for at least an entire month before it subsided. Even then, there was a five month period where I was barely going out or anything. Without booze I just wanted to sit at home. Didn’t really feel like going to shows or parties. I finally worked through this for the most part. I didn’t quit drinking, just quit getting drunk and I now drink less than a 1/4 what I was less than a year ago. The reason I did this was because the spirits told me to in no uncertain terms. I wanted to be like a Hunter S. Thompson or a Robert Pollard. No dice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kromm.farenborn Michael Catania

      Very interesting. VERY. I have had similar experiences. I would like to know the details of the (long story).

  • http://www.facebook.com/wingedson Mateo Harriass

    Amazing and poignant brother! Thank you!!!! Cannabis became my Aenima replacement at 15, such a healer for my “OCD”, “ADHD”, and all the other bullshit that was placed upon me as a youth….I knew after smoking her for years that I didn’t need that Gift anymore, and now I could give…..I could not make that leap without a teacher, and she showed me so much. I feel that you are right, she needs to be put down at some point. I feel that I will still use tincture and CBD rich oils to benefit my body. It’s the chasing the Dragon that needs to stop IMHO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/devon.roger.3 Devon Roger

    this is an interesting article but it should really be edited down, it`s way too long for a blog post

  • zombieslapper

    Totally about to wake and bake.

  • Lygeia

    It is more than a little disingenuous to claim you “like” or “value” cannabis and then refer to it disparagingly. Just replace “cannabis” with “wife” or “girlfriend” and re-read the article. It’s really not a good idea to refer to cannabis as “The Green Bitch.”

  • Renee Patton

    Thank you! Very interesting article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BohemianGroove Alistair Huxley

    Wonderful article and insight, sir – I read and enjoyed every word. I love you Graham. You are one of my favourite people currently walking the face of this wonderfully fucked up planet. :D

    ..my OCD compels me to let you know that you used ‘loose’ in place of ‘lose’ in the third paragraph from the bottom. heh

    • http://www.facebook.com/BohemianGroove Alistair Huxley

      However, the article in its totality is an excellent motivating factor in my current reconsideration of my love affair with ganja
      and that’s what truly matters.
      I feel like an ass for pointing it out,
      but then again.
      do I?
      3:)

  • amerikagulag

    Very inspirational. I have tried salvia divinorum and found it to be certainly not for the amateur and by no means recreational. I was aware of being in the presence of an ‘entity’. Many say it is distinctly female. I didn’t get that impression but it was a powerful and wise entity. I felt unworthy or unprepared to be in its presence. ‘Dirty’ was my immediate feeling. There was a psychic connection – we both knew I had no business being there. I also felt the presence of numerous smaller entities pulling me toward the light. I thought, I’m not ready to go toward the light yet. It was my first encounter with an invisible reality and it left a deep impression on me. I have the utmost respect for these substances now, pot included, although the latter, to me, falls into the category of a temporary escape hatch like alcohol. The more potent shamanic tools are best left to those more qualified than myself to use properly. Under proper guidance, they can be very useful, however recreation is not guidance.

  • mulchman

    Vaping can give you too much THC and not enough cannabidiol:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2cAFRAX3Gs

    That’s why medical patients use specific means of ingestion (I use whole plant cannabis extract, or Rick Simpson Oil) and specific strains to achieve the desired effects. Be an informed consumer of what ever drug you choose to consume.

  • mulchman

    Have you looked into Cannabinol- By vaping,you get primarily THC, which is what is triggering your paranoia See this video from the BBC for details:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2cAFRAX3Gs

    Its good to be an informed consumer of drugs. Whole Plant Cannabis extracts are more balanced and can be used safely into advancing age. Cannabis can be a wonderful health giving plant, if treated properly.

  • Slersk

    I think you should note that any addiction to marijuana is purely psychological. It is scientifically impossible(this has been proven multiple times) to become physically addicted to the drug. The dependence and “addiction” that people claim comes from their own lack of self control and willingness to give in to the distraction/euphoria of the drug rather than deal with life the way it is. This can lead to more problems as usually those who allow themselves to be completely distracted from dealing with life’s problems/daily routine end up getting behind, losing out or amplifying their existing problems. The key to most things in life is moderation and responsibility…. With other drugs, you become physically addicted and crave the drug even if you know or have the will power to avoid it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shaman4u Pete McDonald

    Thank you for your honest sharing Graham. Your experiences with Cannabis and DMT were very illuminating. I can only speak for myself but I am sure glad you have been around these 60odd years. Keep doing what you do please – seems to be working out pretty well so far. :-)

  • jeffision

    RIght on! Our ancient ancestors used mind-altering substances ritually, not habitually. Used ritually, these substances expand our perception, used habitually they contract our perception (even cannabis). I use cannabis 4 times a year at solstice and equinox.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.mcnamara.3762 John McNamara

    I have just recently been introduced to the ability of cannabis to raise melatonin levels and prevent cancer. Melatonin levels themselves, coupled with the circadian rhythms they synchronize, apparently determine how long your natural lifespan will be. The book that talked about all this also mentions DMT, which is interesting – the book is called “How to Heal Your Pineal Gland to Facilitate Enlightenment, Optimize
    Melatonin and Live Longer.” As the book says “If you use cannabis just to get high, you will get high. If you use cannabis to get epiphanies you will get epiphanies.” Great article by Graham here – wow!

  • Ådne Aschehoug Aadnesen

    Plants can be very jealous,like people and animals.This is one thing to remember when taking spirit plants and being in serious relationships.Its not just a plant.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=belrNpqqA2g Phaerisee

    I definitely support legalizing marijuana to treat PTSD. People with PTSD go through hell.

    http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

  • http://www.facebook.com/sinclairian Ian Sinclair

    Thank you Graham for this .As you said it is not the substance that is the problem , but the use of it. From food to cough mixture, never mind medical drugs, which are ‘ prescribed’ for many for their whole lifetime. sic.Anyway, I have experienced the life changing effect of the Mother of all plants, Ayahuasca and it was a sacred experience. Let others say what they want – the connection with spirit for me was transforming. My advice – do not do this with expectations or a feeling of fear or apprehension.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sinclairian Ian Sinclair

    Thank you Graham for this .As you said it is not the substance that is the problem , but the use of it. From food to cough mixture, never mind medical drugs, which are ‘ prescribed’ for many for their whole lifetime. sic.Anyway, I have experienced the life changing effect of the Mother of all plants, Ayahuasca and it was a sacred experience. Let others say what they want – the connection with spirit for me was transforming. My advice – do not do this with expectations or a feeling of fear or apprehension.

  • Druid404

    With the advent of med mar, a lot of us in California went from smoking low-intensity brick weed to sledge hammer-like designer strains and I learned for the first time that I don’t really like the heavier indica strains.

    THC isn’t all fun and games. In bigger doses the party can turn ugly. You get paranoid and afraid to really interact with the rest of the world. Sure, couch-lock can be fun, but when it becomes an everyday thing, it’s tragic.

    I’ve found the mellower, middle-of-the-road sativa strains work best for me and allow me to get my work done (I’m a writer) and stay on top of things.

    A previous commenter made a really relevant point that if you have imagination, you don’t really need to smoke a lot to have a great experience and that’s kind of where I’m at now.

    Glad we’re having this conversation. I’ve seen a few people fall victim to the green lady…

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