As an avid listener of Howard Stern I can recall numerous times when Howard said he doesn’t smoke pot because “it makes him paranoid”. It’s time to delve into this claim to better understand whether it’s the chicken or the egg that makes Howard so Paranoid. Having traveled the world visiting many exotic drug cultures throughout my travels and adventures I have come to understand a fundamental truth of humanity, paranoia is a cultural demon. In America we have all been brought up to believe that Marijuana is bad and/or evil, but worse yet, if we catch you with it you will go to jail and we can take everything you own. That’s a very serious statement and its true or at least in some parts of the United States. Which brings me back to other cultures, lets look at the Dutch for a first comparison. Many of you may not know this but right in the center of Copenhagen Denmark is a decades old open air drug market in a self proclaimed autonomous anarchist district of about 1000 residents known as Christiana. This unique community was founded in an old military base which protected Copenhagen during WWII. In 1971 when the “creator” of Freetown, Jacob Ludvigsen said of Christiana “Buildings for the stoners who are too paranoid and weak to participate in the race” was printed, a new way of life was created. Forty five years later I found myself in Christiana hanging with locals and residents learning about the history and culture of the town and it’s people.
Yes, I bought some beautiful Hashish right there on the street in Christiana with my friends and boy was I paranoid! The point is I hadn’t had any THC and I was paranoid. So was it the THC or the fear that lived inside me, placed there by decades of “threats” by the government that they would take my freedom over the plant I loved so much. I sat down at the outdoor tables with my friends and we participated in the rolling and mixing of a Hashish and Tobacco joint. It was then that we fired it up, right there in public, sitting at our table with tables all around us. Sure everybody else was smoking too but they weren’t Americans, filed with fear and anxiety placed there by generations of lies and threats. It amazed me as I asked my friend from Christiana if he was paranoid and he asked me, of what? I had a huge breakthrough that day in my understanding of the human condition. It was obvious it wasn’t the pot or the THC that makes people paranoid it was something deeper, something within, then I realized it was placed there, the paranoia.
I got scared as I realized I had been brainwashed to live in fear.
It wasn’t long after that when I found myself in a cave in the mountains of Jordan, Petra to be exact, where I was befriended by locals. The Nabateans as they are known are the guardians of Petra and when I was caught there after dark doing photography I was asked to share dinner and spend the night in the caves with the locals, I could return in the morning. My paranoia was different that night, instead of worrying about being arrested for smoking hashish in that cave I was worried that one of the ten Muslim man that I was locked into a cave with would kill me. That didn’t happen and as I was taken down the mountain on a donkey back to Petra, the Nabatean told me my heart was filled with fear placed there by my family, my country and my culture. He was right, the ten men in the cave that night didn’t want to harm me, they shared a meal and their home with me, they shared their Hashish with me, yet I was still paranoid. Why, I asked myself why did they take me to a cave to show me my fears were unfounded and make me question why I believed things that were not true. Simple givens ingrained by society and culture, like Marijuana is bad for you or everyone in the middle east dislikes Americans. Turns out neither is true, I learned a great deal that night beside the fact that it was super cool to hang with Nabataeans smoking hash in a cave.
Did we learn anything here or did I just confuse you more?
- THC makes you Paranoid, doubtful.
- Our upbringing and culture creates Paranoia, probably reality.
- Not everyone in the middle east dislikes Americans, thats true.
I have a ton more thoughts and anecdotal tales for this story and I bet you have a few too. I think we all have experienced a self induced paranoia as a result of something we have been taught which simply isn’t true. If we could just change the understanding of the Cannabis plant and begin to eliminate some of the lies, misconceptions and fears surrounding it we would all be better off. Until then just remember your not paranoid, there just out to get you.
As always, I would love your comments, questions or stories as well. This is a subject that most readers who have tried Marijuana can relate to so relate to us, tell us your stories of paranoia or fear, it just might help you to understand a little better that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” well, that, and anything the authority tells us to fear.