Psychoactivity As A Magic
Dr. Beverly Potter
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Cannabis is euphorigenic. The prefix eu in "euphoria" is the Greek word for "well"and, euphoria is "a state of well-being." Cannabis helps us remember wellness - a feeling that guides us back to health.
Euphoria HealsWell-being is one of most the characteristic experiences associated with being "high". Feeling good - feeling well - facilitates healing and maintaining health making the euphoria stimulated by cannabis, a very safe, non-addictive healing opportunity unencumbered by the toxicity, complications, and perils connected to the use of many other euphorigenic substances used in medicine.Enhanced SensesOne of the most celebrated aspect of the cannabis high is enhancement of the senses. Every perceptual field becomes enriched. Colors, the contrasts and complementarities between them, become more vivid. Sounds acquire greater depth, texture, and dimension, and the spatial and harmonic relations between them become more pronounced, leading to absorbed fascination. Sensory enhancement results in marked amplification of aesthetic sensitivity, deepened enjoyment of natural beauty and works of art, and appreciation of details in the immediate environment that might usually pass unnotice.Intensified Physical AwarenessThe psychoactivity of cannabis promotes a keener awareness of normally ignored bodily states, physical sensations, and physiological processes. Heightened somatic sensitivity increases the pleasure derived from stretching, exercise, or yoga, from the relaxation and comfort felt in moments of repose, and can infuse with joy an act as simple as breathing.DetachmentCannabisÕ psychoactivity engenders a detached, distanced point of view. While emotions and bodily sensations are perceived with greater clarity and vividness, their grip on oneÕs state of mind is lessened. In this state of "letting go" it becomes easier to disentangle oneself from the unrelenting obsession, compulsive cogitation, and shortsighted viewpoint that characterize our daily lives that bears kinship with the state of objective Òwitness consciousnessÓ encouraged in many spiritual practices, such as the meditative disciplines of Zen Buddhism and the release of karma in Hinduism.Expanded TimeCannabis brings about a distinct alteration in one's sense of time, which seems to proceed more slowly. In a fascinating study, Stanford University social psychologist Dr. Phil Zimbardo discovered that when hypnotized subjects were given suggestions that time was expanded they became childlike, playful, and full of spontaneous laughter. Expanded sense of time that cannabis promites enables us to lighten up, laugh, and feel good.Open MindednessCannabis psychoactivity encourages one thought to lead to another and another in a series of links that are more novel and unpredictable than in the usual course of thought. In synergy with the detached perspective this increased fluidity of thought enhances problem-solving capacities, leading to innovative solutions that may not have otherwise occurred.
Cannabis promotes healing by engendering an optimistic outlook, aesthetic enhancement, a sense of communion with others, body awareness, empowered imagination, increased feelings of control over one's state of mind and oneÕs life in general, appreciation of the moment, and inspiration of transcendental experience.
Optimistic OutlookFluidity of mental processes and optimistic viewpoint can help people form new perspectives on their illness and overall situation, leading them to contemplate and enact new strategies for dealing with problems, discomforts, and inconveniences. Their minds may become open to new, different, and possibly more effective possibilities of treatment. Additionally, optimism and belief in the possibility of a return to wellness have been shown to support health and bolster chances of recovery from illness.Aesthetic EnhancementEnhanced sensory acuity can lead to immersion in appreciation of nature and works of art. Such moments of joy provide pleasant distraction from pain and discomfort, making the course of an uncomfortable disease process easier to endure. It is also likely that such states of enchantment involve the release of endorphins and other neurochemicals that facilitate immunity and physiological healing.Communion and CommunityPeople tend to use cannabis with friends, finding that sharing the state of being high increases its pleasure and encourages sharing itself. Research has confirmed that people who frequently engage in positive contact and communication with supportive others tend to be healthier and stand a better chance of recovery from serious illness.LaughterThe cannabis high is well-known for promoting the giggles. Sense of humor refreshes perspective and keeps our viewpoint balanced. The biochemical and physiological benefits of intense and sustained laughterÑsuch as that which often accompanies getting highÑexercise internal organs while releasing tension. Because illness often challenges oneÕs sense of humor, the capability of cannabis to make you laugh is an especially important healing agent.Body AwarenessEnhanced perception of bodily sensations and physiological processes, combined with the sense of detachment that can make pain or other unpleasant sensations easier to examine with objectivity, can help a person to be more responsive to changes in physical condition, positive or negative.Empowered ImaginationPsychoactivity enhances one's capacity to visualize - to remember being in the well state. This vital quality can be harnessed to increase the intensity and impact of visualization and relaxation techniques used to engage the powers of the mind in healing.Greater Sense of ControlUsing cannabis to alter mood, outlook, and awareness, as well as to ease pain or other symptoms, can give people a sense of greater control over their state of mind and lives. Research has shown that people with a greater sense of control over their treatment stand a better chance of recovery from illness.Transcendental ExperienceCannabis has been used as a sacrament in many religious traditions. The high promotes meditative stillness and contemplative awe. Studies have shown that a feeling of faith is associated with being healthy and recovering from illness.Appreciation of the MomentThe time-expanding quality of the cannabis high bestows a gift of extra time, filling it with small beauties and delights, sprinkling the day with opportunities to "stop and smell the flowers", encouraging us to live more fully in the here and nowÑa tremendous boon to the quality of life of those who are ill.
Smell The FlowersThe Seeker and the Shaman Woman were sitting in a garden on a beautiful day when the Shaman Woman noticed that the Seeker was frowning and staring distractedly into the distance.
"What is troubling you?" asked the Shaman Woman.
"How can I enjoy my life when I know that sooner or later I'm going to die?" the Seeker lamented.
While listening, the Shaman Woman picked a nearby lilac sprig and passed it slowly by the Seeker's nose.
"Ah," the Seeker sighed, his frown dissolving into a smile.
"Uh humm," the Shaman nodded warmly, "always remember to stop and smell the flowers."Getting High Is LearnedPeople using cannabis for the first time usually claim not to be high and must be coached by old-timers because getting high has to be learned. Using cannabis over time, a person learns experientially about the states of mind and changes in mood that it facilitates and as these mental territories become familiar opening of internal doors becomes second nature so that it takes smaller amounts of cannabis - and often no cannabis at all - to pass through them.
Copyright 1998: Beverly A. Potter. To reprint or excerpt, contact Docpotter
All rights Reserved.
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