In response to my post on the effects of mood on cognition, which also referenced the possibilities of self-medicating ourselves into the ideal mood, Andrew Sullivan offered up the following anecdote:
I was talking with a fine artist the other day and he was telling me how blocked he was on a piece, and how he then smoked some pot and everything came together.
It unleashed what he wanted to express, by suppressing the analytic portion of his mind that was inhibiting him. I know this is the bleeding obvious to anyone who has a brain and an ounce of human experience but it is a truth we are somehow circumscribed from uttering in public.
There's a reason why jazz would be impossible without weed.
A new paper published in Psychiatry Research sheds some light on this phenomenon, or why smoking weed seems to unleash a stream of loose associations. The study looked at a phenomenon called semantic priming, in which the activation of one word allows us to react more quickly to related words. For instance, the word "dog" might lead to decreased reaction times for "wolf," "pet" and "Lassie," but won't alter how quickly we react to "chair".
Interestingly, marijuana seems to induce a state of hyper-priming, in which the reach of semantic priming extends outwards to distantly related concepts. As a result, we hear "dog" and think of nouns that, in more sober circumstances, would seem to have nothing in common.
Here's Vaughan Bell, lucid as always:
The effect [hyper-priming] has been reported, albeit inconsistently, in people with schizophrenia and some have suggested it might explain why affected people can sometimes make false or unlikely connections or have disjointed thoughts.
As cannabis has been linked to a slight increased risk for psychosis, and certainly causes smokers to have freewheeling thoughts, the researchers decided to test whether stoned participants would show the 'hyper-priming' effect.
Volunteers who were under the influence of cannabis showed a definite 'hyper-priming' tendency where distant concepts were reacted to more quickly. Interestingly, they also showed some of this tendency when straight and sober .
Obviously, you don't want too much hyper-priming, or else everything seems connected; the web of associations becomes a source of delusions. But for many creative tasks it's important to cultivate an expansive associative net, or what psychologists refer to as a "flat associative hierarchy".
Interestingly, there's some speculative evidence that such distant intellectual connections are most likely to be generated in the right hemisphere. There is, for instance, that research on moments of insight that I've written about before. But there's also some interesting data from patients with selective hemispheric damage. When people suffer an injury to their left hemisphere, the side-effects are obvious: they typically lose the ability to speak in coherent sentences, or suffer other dramatic language deficits. They neglect relevant details, miss appointments and struggle to get dressed. People with right hemisphere damage, in contrast, tend to experience much more subtle symptoms, such as an inability to "get" a joke or perceive sarcasm or enjoy a poem. All of these skills require a coarse-grained kind of cognition, an ability to look past the details and see the remote associations.
And this returns us to madness. Several studies have found that people with extremely mild forms of schizophrenia - they're often referred to as "schizotypal"-- perform above average when solving various lab tasks used to measure creativity. What explains this anomaly? Interestingly, schizotypal subjects also have markedly enhanced right hemisphere function, and are more likely to rely on this hemisphere during normal cognitive processing.
Last speculative point: marijuana also enhances brain activity (at least as measured indirectly by cerebral blood flow) in the right hemisphere. The drug, in other words, doesn't just suppress our focus or obliterate our ability to pay attention. Instead, it seems to change the very nature of what we pay attention to, flattening out our hierarchy of associations.
If you're interested in an overview of our distinct hemispheric talents - a fascinating subject that has been obscured by too much bad pop science - I'd recommend this book.
>The study looked at a phenomenon called semantic priming, in which the activation of one word allows us to react more quickly to related words. For instance, the word "dog" might lead to increased reaction times for "wolf," "pet" and "Lassie," but won't alter how quickly we react to "chair".
I think you mean decreased reaction times... : )
Thanks for this post - I just referred students in a Drugs course to your blog. We're discussing marijuana this week and they are very interested in these ideas...
Thanks for the fix!
Schizophrenia is thought to be caused by an over abundance of dopamine receptors, and Marijuana can cause the release of dopamine:
I would be curious to see though, if any other drugs that increase the levels of dopamine have this effect, or if it is a property of Marijuana alone.
There may be a lot to this. Consider legendary comedy.
Alcohol gave us Martin and Lewis.
Marijuana gave us Cheech and Chong.
I don't do marijuana but I find C&C tons funnier than M&L. They come up with stuff I could never have.
Why are you promoting the proposition that smoking cannabis causes schizophrenia? Statistical association isn't causation. It's true that grants are much easier to get if one proposes to demonstrate that pot is eeeeeevil. But it discredits the work in the opinion of people who apply the standard modes of analyzing statistical data and don't agree with the conclusion.
It's also, if you think about it, not nice to tell anyone who has ever smoked weed that they've damaged their brains in a way that could severely limit their life style options. This is ok, I suppose, if one's policy preference is that smokers should be punished by having this anxiety. But wouldn't free showings of "Reefer Madness" do as well?
The hemp plants secret to success has been to evolve a mechanism to protect itself from animals that would otherwise eat it.
The active ingredients in the plant cause hallucinations.
The story goes like this:
1. animal finds plant.
2. animal starts to eat plant.
3. animal can't eat much of the plant before it starts to see stars.
4. animal loses interest in plant and wonders off.
5. animal comes around and has little memory of eating plant.
6. animal can't create mental connections of where it last saw the plant.
7. on average the plant does better than its rivals in the natural selection race.
So the active ingredients of marijuana are designed to cause memory loss and prevent associations that would remind its potential predators where there might be a meal.
@Zoasterboy - Yes, other drugs that raise dopamine levels are much more strongly associated with psychosis, especially drugs that raise dopamine levels much more highly than cannabis (e.g. amphetamines and cocaine) and dopamine precursors such as L-Dopa, which is used as a treatment for parkinsons.
although this article is not as good as others on Wikipedia, this article is better for an overview:
@Roger Bigod - Yes, you are quite right to say that association is not cause. It is entirely possible that people with psychotic symptoms like smoking cannabis. One study I read suggested that it doubles the chance of psychosis (although it should be pointed out that this is a doubling from approx 1% to approx 2%).
Studies have shown that the effects of THC in cannabis are moderated by the CBD content. CBD is antipsychotic, whereas THC alone can cause psychotic symptoms. It should be recognised that the currently popular strains of very strong skunk type cannabis have much higher THC/CBD ratios than older varieties, and hence could be considered more likely to cause psychosis. I'm talking about the dripping-with-crystals white widow that makes you have auditory hallucinations here.
@Increased imaginative capacity - It is common knowledge amongst cannabis users that it can increase ones imagination, and the increased semantic priming could be an explanation as to how this is working. One thing to remember is that imagination is not the same as creativity. Frank Herbert described cannabis as death to writers - it gives one amazing and incredible ideas, but not the focus or concentration to work hard and actually create something. I've personally seen people with talent waste years of their lives smoking and thinking of great ideas that they never carry through.
Cannabis also has effects on synaptic plasticity which are not fully understood, but recall that synaptic plasticity is the manner in which our brain changes and learns things. Cannabis also cause neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which may explain its antidepressant effects (recall that one of the criticisms Dr Pies levelled at Jonah Lehrers last depression article is that the hippocampus atrophies during depression - cannabis makes it grow new brain cells)
Cannabis works in our brain by mimicking naturally and endogenous occuring cannabinoids, such as Anandamide. Whilst it can increase our creativity and is quite fun to use, we must remember that any drug we take causes our receptors to downregulate their sensitivity to that drug AND to the natural neurotransmitters it mimics. This is commonly known as building up a tolerance to a drug.
Let me ask the readers this question though: Is it a good idea to take something, that in the long term, causes you to build up a tolerance to the naturally occuring chemicals in your brain which cause things like the giggles, creativity and new ideas?
It is entirely possible that people with psychotic symptoms like smoking cannabis.
This is gibberish. Acute psychosis from cannabis isn't the issue. People with acute psychosis smoking isn't the issue.
The proposition that's being marketed is that pot use causes long-term changes that result in schizophrenia, i.e. that it's a "cause". Those who want to believe this respond with "See! See! We knew it all along. It rots your brain. If you smoke it you'll go crazy."
"Hyper-priming" doesn't seem to be an apt term, since priming is inherently focused, rather than diffused, no? "Hyper-priming" sounds in line with "mental set." There's gotta be a better term, like "loose-priming."
I dunno, just seems like the term makes the concept difficult to grasp properly. *shrug*
That free-association analogy sparked a thought: think low doses could aid in classic psychoanalysis (real free-association)? If people are subscribing to the unconscious drives schtick, then loosening the bonds in order to better free associate (and thus get deeper into the unconscious) might better hit the mark.
This reminds me of Carl Sagan's description of the effects of marijuana on his cognitive processes: http://www.marijuana-uses.com/essays/002.html he writes:
"Many but not all my cannabis trips have somewhere in them a symbolism significant to me which I won't attempt to describe here, a kind of mandala embossed on the high. Free-associating to this mandala, both visually and as plays on words, has produced a very rich array of insights.
There is a myth about such highs: the user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that this is an error, and that the devastating insights achieved when high are real insights; the main problem is putting these insights in a form acceptable to the quite different self that we are when we're down the next day."
Of all the marijuana users I've performed with, none of them were better musically than they were when not under the influence.
Of course, at the time, they most certainly thought they were.
Recreational drugs are for the uninspired, much as viagra is for the impotent.
I understand any increase above normal in dopamine (do we have any tools or procedures to exactly measure neurotransmitter levels in the brain, and do we have exact levels which are found to be "normal" to compare these measurements to?) to be rather an effect than a cause. An effect of smoking pot, just as an effect of any other environmental influence on our perception, such as sounds, images and the like that remind us of specific experiences which in their turn are connected to certain emotions. Cannabis influences dopamine levels directly, perception indirectly.
I don't agree in a judgement of associations as "false", "delusional", or just "unlikely". I think no one is capable of associating one thing with another without there actually being a connection. In fact, Eastern philosophy is founded on the idea that everything is connected. Consequently, there isn't any such thing as "false", "delusional", "unlikely" or "loose" associations. The associations people who are labelled with "schizophrenia" make, and that we tend to dismiss as incomprehensible, and that, admittedly, at first sight often are incomprehensible to the extent that they exceed the limits laid down by our culture for what is defined as comprehensible, never fail to become perfectly connected and comprehensible when seen in the light of the individual's life story. There's nothing "rotten" about a labelled individual's brain. On the contrary, I find the quality of the work the brain is capable of doing in order to shape unconscious contents quite impressive.
The problem with associations made by labelled people is not that they would be false, delusional or unlikely. The problem is that they are based on the person's individual experience, not on a culturally determined and conditioned common denominator. The boundaries between what Kristeva termed "poetic language" respectively "psychotic language" are floating, and, as much as we wish to explicitly delimit and safeguard ourselves from such a frightening concept as madness, I don't think we can righteously once and for all define which is correct and which false in regard to association. In one cultural setting a certain association may fully meet the criteria for the respective culture's common denominator, and be comprehensible for most of its members. In another the same association may fall completely outside the limits of the common denominator, and be comprehensible only for the individual him-/herself. Which can make communication difficult, if not impossible.
The question is whether the solution to this problem is to dismiss incomprehensible associations as "delusions" and "thought disorder", a meaningless product of a "rotten" brain, which efficiently prevents any further investigation into these associations' actual connectedness, or whether it is to accept the fact that there can't be associations without any actual connection, and to go on and look for the connection. Usually, it is the former that renders people stuck, chronically ill, and without possibility to find meaning with their being in this world, while it is the latter that allows people to find their own, comprehensible language.
"Interestingly, they also showed some of this tendency when straight and sober " This brings up the annoying question that is always brought up---causation vs correlation
However, my intuition of people tells me there is definitely correlation (which doesn't exclude causation.)
Creative types are drawn to creative types. If cannabis smokers are "more creative", then other "more creative" people will be drawn to them. This would give rise to correlation through positive feedback mechanisms for creative types to be and become smokers.
@Roger Bigod - I'm a little upset that you've suggested something I wrote was gibberish, especially as I was agreeing with you that association is not necessarily cause. There IS an association between heavy cannabis use and psychosis, but I was trying to agree with you, by pointing out that the cannabis use might not actually be causing the psychosis. Another explanation is that people who are at risk of psychosis might actually enjoy the experience of cannabis more than people at lower risk of psychosis, and hence use it more, even though it is not causing the psychosis.
@Spencer - Thank you for the essay on Cannabis by Carl Sagan, I am reading it now :)
@Marian - I agree with you that it can be unfair to label someone as being insane or delusional. Someone may be being paranoid, but they may have good reason to feel that way.
However, let me share a personal anecdote with you about an acquantance of mine who suffered from a psychosis, and was also a heavy cannabis user. This guy was very intelligent (graduated with a 1st class honours degree in physics from a prestigious UK university). He became psychotic during his degree, but went on to graduate. On one occasion, we were having a beer in a local pub, when he told me that the guy at the pool table in the corner was planning to kill him. Not realising that my friend was psychotic, I took him seriously for a few seconds, before it became apparent he was out of touch with reality (the man at the pool table didn't even know him, nor was he looking over at us in any way).
But how can you be sure Tom? You might well ask. Maybe the guy had good reason to be paranoid, and the man at the pool table did want him dead. Well, I can be sure it was delusion, because later my friend insisted that another person was going to kill him, as well as the man at the pool table, and that they were both going to kill him at separate times and in different locations. He was going to be killed TWICE.
So while I have the greatest sympathy for anyone who might be being labelled as being mentally ill or psychotic, and would always check before I make assumptions that someone is being delusional, it IS true to say that some people are delusional, unless you belief it is possible to die twice on two separate occasions that is...
Teaching Tantra Heart for 12 years, I am convinced by observing 1,000's of people involved in the learning that awakened states of consciousness (priming, heightened creativity, brain hemisphere shifts, etc)can be realized rather easily using the Tantra techniques & processes.
A couple of practices that are simple yet profound are ~ alternate nostril breathing, spinal cobra breath, and the channeled uniting of heart sex consciousness. No negative side effects either, unless a person, tightly habituated to problems & drama, feels insecure as they drop away.
Pot can be a flash opener...a teacher plant within ceremony. More prolonged use creates hole like structures in the energy/consciousness field of the user.
I second troy's comment - musically, pot is basically a quality-control killer (as are most drugs.)
Enhanced association v limited association or restricted association.
I am an artist and work much like the classic examples used to describe how jazz musicians free associate or the abstract expressionists mined the unconscious. In a piece that I wrote explaining peoples reactions to the association in the titles of certain fantasy landscapes I paint, I wrote:
The titles are just as free and come after the fact. Hopefully allowing for the same degree of inspiration to arise without questioning why itâs invoked. At an opening to an exhibition of my paintings many years ago, a man there was highly insulted that I would call a painting Nantucket when upon talking with me he discovered Iâd never been there. I tried to explain that Nantucket is also a word, and though I had never been there, I had experienced the word and formed impressions based on stories of Nantucket and sleigh rides and Moby Dick and so on. Why, as a word, I tried to explain, it is full of all kinds of possibilities and stories and emotions and associations. As a place it is somewhat more limited. That's the power of words.
I agree with the Eastern and Native American view of the cosmos that everything is connected. It is not necessarily in some people's ability to grasp this interconnectedness. With cannabis enhanced perception they may be more able than they otherwise would be, but not reliably enough to be used as Andrew suggests. The problem or conflict comes from the lack of focus that is concomitant with the loosening of associative inhibitions. However, with ritual used as a focusing agent, many cultures have used psycho altering drugs to extend conciousness, the drugs effects being used to shake the brain from following the habitual patterns reinforced by cultural consent.
@ Tom Michael I would say, though it's true that the body builds tolerance, there is also a learned pattern that has its own inertia. Sometimes the brain has only to be shown the pathway to be able to access it for itself with the bodies own naturally produced enzymes.
I was afraid this would turn into a Holy War...
Thanks for responding, I don't know why I didn't think of psychosis when related to amphetamines/cocaine, but yes that's definitely more proof. More experiments should be done using these other drugs and testing for the effect, I would even rule drugs in such as caffeine, which causes the release of dopamine.
As for everything else... TL;DR.
I think that marijuana is a surprisingly harmless to beneficial drug for many people who use it in moderation, and that it has a number of significant medical uses.
I think it is ALSO true that heavy use can lead to stereotypical behaviors, although I know some fairly heavy users who are extremely productive.
I think it is ALSO true that there is a reasonable amount of evidence that heavy use may moderately increase the risk of psychosis. Yes, it could well be that pre-psychotic people like marijuana more. Or it could be that heavy use presents some risk.
In this way, in contrast to say, amphetamine or cocaine, marijuana is somewhat like alcohol. Moderate ethanol is beneficial for many people. But no-one would say heavy drinking of hard liquor is beneficial.
My guess is that for people who are predisposed to psychosis cannabis may cause problems, just as it may for people who are predisposed for addiction. But for most people, when used in moderation, its probably less harmful than fast food.
@Tom Michael: I've had people tell me, they were the phone, or a medium at least, and it was quite obvious to everybody that they weren't, at least not the phone. You can either respond by asking the person to take a look in the mirror, and tell you what they see: a human being or a phone (alternatively, you can drug them up, and keep on telling them the phone-idea is a delusion they need to forget all about, until they show "insight"), or you can ask them what they mean by that. The language of the unconscious is not to be understood literally but metaphorically. People who are in an extreme state of mind usually have a hard time figuring this. They aren't helped if their surroundings can't figure it either. The person who told me she was the phone, or a medium, at least, of course wasn't the phone in a literal interpretation. But she certainly was an individual who had not been given the chance to develop a language of her own. Others spoke through her: indeed, the phone, or a medium, at least. The guy at the pool table certainly wasn't out to kill your acquaintance, no. Someone else was/had been, and not necessarily in a literal way either. To deny someone their own thoughts and emotions for instance also is a kind of murder, murdering the self. The body is a metaphor, too.
It isn't that difficult to understand if you really want to. But understanding presupposes that you accept whatever someone says as their truth, and don't judge it to be a meaningless delusion.
*** Let me ask the readers this question though: Is it a good idea to take something, that in the long term, causes you to build up a tolerance to the naturally occuring chemicals in your brain which cause things like the giggles, creativity and new ideas? ***
In other words, "Kids, this stuff rots your nerve cells so you will go through life as an unsmiling zombie."
The irony of it all is that the comment conversation has reached a near psychotic hyper-primed state.
I thought I would add that thought to contribute to the whole effect.
Shorter version: Don't play with that; you'll go blind.
Hyper-priming must be invaluable for creating poetic metaphors!
It's always fun when scientists study stoners.
Interesting post, but I was a little sorry to see the way you kicked it off.
Sullivan's anecdote reinforces a silly stereotype about writing, and especially about jazz. The implication is that writing and improvising are largely a matter of unblocking ourselves. I've spent many years working at writing, and working at improvising at the piano, and anyone who's done similar can affirm that unblocking is the least of it. Sure, we all get stuck now and then, and a joint might help some get unstuck. For others it's a walk in the woods, or a little Mingus or Coltrane on the audio.
I was especially offended by Sullivan's uninformed and unqualified assertion that jazz would be impossible without weed. That comment reveals how little he knows about music.
What is essential for jazz is emphatically not weed, but rather years of study, listening, and practice. Jazz would be impossible without those things; it can move along just fine without drugs. Indeed, if not for drugs, Bird and many other giants might still be with us, unblocked and brilliant.
Great comment by Paul Raeburn. I might add that many great composers were masters of improvisation, including Mozart and Beethoven. Boozers perhaps, but I'd hazard a guess that few were stoners.
Marijuana aids my creativity and problem-solving abilities. I encountered a similar theory based on personal experience:
When sober, we think holistically, i.e. our next thought is not simply based off our last thought. Because of the temporary effects marijuana has on short term memory however, it produces a sort of "linear thinking" effect. Our next thought follows directly from the last one or two thoughts, because we do not have access to any thoughts before that.
For those familiar with graph theory or AI, you can consider holistic vs. linear thinking to be a poly-order system vs. a first-order system (approximately of course).
This linear thinking produces a new way of thinking that can provide new ideas and solutions. Of course, this system is highly vulnerable to error, as one illogical thought will completely derail the whole process. (Explains dumb stoner ideas - this is why I write them down and review them sober).
Many pot smokers will be familiar with this phenomenon, you get sidetracked for one second and have suddenly no recollection of what you were previously thinking about. No doubt many great ideas are lost in the labyrinth of memory somewhere
So, to capt the loose associations the viewer/listener should smoke weed to? Even so, that wouldn't be enough because everyone possesses a mix of loose associations that are inner to their own self; but it is a very interesting possibility to enter another's mind, and even our own.
Roger, I'm not sure whether to laugh or sigh at your comments.
Your knee-jerk reaction to any possible downside to the use of pot is striking. In effect, it silences/erases those of us who believe pot smoking should be at the very least decriminalized--as well as farmed for the other wonderful uses of the plant--and yet who have had absolutely terrible personal experiences with its recreational use. I also know people who self-medicate with it, while not solving their underlying issues. Should we not tell these people's stories for fear that anti-drug forces might sensationalize them?
As for the creativity thing, I've enjoyed Wm. S. Burroughs' line about how drugs are a useful shortcut to a certain "place" (for lack of recalling his quote), but are by no means the only one, or even best one. And what Paul Raeburn said, above.
i du heroin in the circis nd im bettr at Hyper-Priming bexaus more cretivty flows frm my porous undertaking of immense maestro.
Marian: "... understanding presupposes that you accept whatever someone says as their truth, and don't judge it to be a meaningless delusion."
What does "their truth" mean? Does "p is true for them" mean something other than "they believe p"? If it does not, why abuse language this way - it renders you unable to explain what goes on when people have false beliefs. For people surely can have false beliefs, right? And if it does not, what on earth does it mean?
And 'understanding presupposes that you accept whatever someone says as their truth' is just blatantly false. If Jack says 'I believe that Obama is an alien lizard' I understand perfectly well what he is saying. I also know perfectly well what the world would have to be like for the belief to have been true (in fact it is reasonable that understanding consists exactly in this knowledge). Since the world isn't that way, Jack's belief is false. It is not 'true for him' or for anyone else, and I don't have to accept it as true in order to understand what he is saying.
Your rant does come across as a wee bit of Humpty-Dumpty speak, you know.
"Your knee-jerk reaction to any possible downside to the use of pot is striking."
No it isn't; it's nonexistent. I made no comment about the downside, the upside or the sidewaysside. How this "silences/erases" your openions on the subject is a mystery. Whatever, I don't see how it's constructive to make a false statement about what I posted.
@Roger Bigod - It is a very poor way to discuss things to put words into other peoples mouths by saying they have said things they did not. I did not suggest at any point that cannabis rots people's brains.
If you can't have a proper discussion with psychologists about the advantages and disadvantages of the use of a drug such as cannabis, people will not take you seriously, and you harm the cause of those such as myself, who feel it should be decriminalised, by appearing to others as being unreasonable.
One of the active compounds in cannabis, has proven antipsychotic properties: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16612464
Which raises the possibility that CBD might one day be used as a medication for people with diseases such as schizophrenia. However, the extremely high THC/low CBD cannabis varieties presently popular are more likely to cause unwanted side effects, like temporary paranoia, because the CBD/THC ratio is too low.
You MUST have met people who have become paranoid after smoking cannabis, at least on some occasions?
@Waitinforatrain - That is a very good description of how the thought process differs. Having a much smaller working memory capacity focusses ones thoughts on the preceding thoughts alone, as you can't remember what you were considering earlier.
"There is a myth about such highs: the user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning."
Hmm, so how did this myth get its start? I mean, if all those insights were so profound, one might imagine that the myth would die...
Neither indifferent as to which of how many possibilities may best explain, nor yet at a loss to comprehend, why surgeons have, and that so many, quite without discredit, could have exhibited scarcely any interest in what, as a local anesthetic, had been supposed, if not declared, by most so very sure to prove, especially to them, attractive, still I do not think that this circumstance, or some sense of obligation to rescue fragmentary reputation for surgeons rather than the belief that an opportunity existed for assisting others to an appreciable extent, induced induced me, several months ago, to write on the subject in hand the greater part of a somewhat comprehensible paper, which poor health disinclined me to complete.It was the pellets - after reading all those recipes, with arsenic and lead and mercury and gold, who knows WHAT was in there - I asked but all I got was "NO TELLIN' WHAT"'s in those pellets, with the glowing eyebrows of a convicted irrationalist. I found a corpse in a mausoleum on a hill, and I put one of the pellets in the corpse's mouth. He got up, twisted his head, bent both his arms, and started rocking them back and forth in sync together, like he was dancing. Seeing the corpse's reaction, I tried a pellet of my own. I was right, life is fusion, and consciousness is the light hitting a surface. Ignore everything, and yet shine the light, and you hit a wall like a cave that the sun shines within. A corky cave, as I found a hole, climbed up through the gooey layers, and tied a rope so I could leave and come back. (Otherwise this was the scene where I leave humanity behind forever in a big flash of light.)"
"And these caves are controlling "everything" somehow?"
"No, not the cave, the WRITING - the writing is ALIVE somehow. I can talk to it, and it's making people do all the crazy things they do, and it's hard to tell why but it doesn't look good... it watches closely as our collective blood rises and falls like a green tidal ocean, and pumps in all kinds of alternating patterns..."
"And you say you can "talk" to the pictures?"
"Well the thing is I realized I've been talking to them all my life, in my nightmares, since I was a kid. These are the monsters, the monsters that chase me, the ones lurking around the corner when all of a sudden the lights don't work, the ones with the hurricane-like wind in-sucking force, that rearrange the genome when they catch you, and that can sometimes be talked out of an attack, but will sometimes just kill and kill, and they give off their own multicolored light. And because of that light, they've always stood out from "reality", even when they sneak in and try to create a "situation". But now I see them on the cave and I know that's not THIS world, but because of where I see it and what I see it doing, I'm starting to react. To be still. Because of it. Isn't that crazy?"
psychotic stillness, or catatonic sz? don't just STAND there ?!?!?!
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This is WHY Ted showed LOW Statistics like Ted has NO Friends and Other Things and NOT much with these like NO interest or traffic or activity! Ted DID NOTHING with these and was MUCH TOO BUSY and HAVING TOO MANY SECURITY PROBLEMS and TOO MANY INTERUPTIONS and COULD NOT remain On Internet this long! Ted MANY TIMES did QUICK Get On Internet to do an Update then Get Off HOW QUICKLY POSSIBLY MANY TIMES THIS TACTIC! Besides Ted THINKS there is MUCH ROOM to Improve MANY of these Internet Sites On Internet even now! Ted can THINK of Features Ted NEEDS and does not have. Besides Ted NEEDS a COMPLETELY AUTOMATIC MODE for ALL of this including MySpace! Even IF getting TOO MUCH Email this is Ted CANNOT in slightest respond to ALL of them! Ted DID NOT and DOES NOT and IS NOT having ANY Staff or Employees or even Volunteers to DO this even now! Ted at least a year now has NO Office or Home Office or Office/Studio and Other Things now is COMPLETELY Operating On Move and Traveling and Nomadic when REQUIRED to even RAPIDLY FLEEING entire Cities and Entire Counties and Entire States and Entire Areas and even Out of Country or Nation of USA or United States of America a few times a while! Then Ted was getting ACTUALLY Satan's Demons and even Satan DOING THINGS TO what DID and STILL HAVE MANY Computers and Internet and Servers and DID MANY THINGS ON Internet and CONTINUE to DO MANY THINGS ON Internet! What PRETEND to bve Human and Humans including using Different Photos of. Therefore FALSE IDENTITIES including in Photos and Videos. Some use Satanist to WORST Satanist to do some of this or at least a Down of Those Photos and Videos! Motives what to Cause Ted's Things to Look a Down of Evil to WORST EVIL by a Down of Those Quote Subscribing to Channel and Joining and At Space and with Comments and MANY Things were TACTICS to STRATEGIES to DESTROY Ted and This Coming! Also Ted had SOME HACKING Statistics or Altering or Modifying to be LOWER to MUCH LOWER to Virtually NOTHING! This is SOME of these Other Things what Required or Require Ted Doing some to MANY THINGS including HEAVY MANAGEMENT and TOO MUCH and this MUCH TOO MUCH BUSY WORK and INDIVIDUAL ATTENTION and RESPONDING and RESPONSES from Ted and DIRECT ATTENTION from Ted and TOO MANY THINGS REQUIRED by Ted for this to even work enough and Approve of Friends and Do MANY THINGS what are MAINTENANCE and RESPONDING and ANSWERING QUESTIONS did NOT WORK for ENOUGH to DID NOT work for Ted and NOT adequate or suitable enough or work well enough for Ted. These HAVE TO RUN COMPLETELY AUTOMATIC without Ted doing a thing after Set Up and this UNDERSTANDING Ted is MUCH TOO BUSY to DO ALL of this TO MUCH TOO MUCH REQUIRED to even get these working and to keep these working! These CANNOT require Ted having to DO ANYTHIING or a Thing to have working and running and building and increasing! This is WHY Ted showed LOW Statistics like Ted has NO Friends and Other Things and NOT much with these like NO interest or traffic or activity! Ted DID NOTHING with these and was MUCH TOO BUSY and HAVING TOO MANY SECURITY PROBLEMS and TOO MANY INTERUPTIONS and COULD NOT remain On Internet this long! Ted MANY TIMES did QUICK Get On Internet to do an Update then Get Off HOW QUICKLY POSSIBLY MANY TIMES THIS TACTIC! Besides Ted THINKS there is MUCH ROOM to Improve MANY of these Internet Sites On Internet even now! Ted can THINK of Features Ted NEEDS and does not have. Besides Ted NEEDS a COMPLETELY AUTOMATIC MODE for ALL of this including MySpace! Even IF getting TOO MUCH Email this is Ted CANNOT in slightest respond to ALL of them! Ted DID NOT and DOES NOT and IS NOT having ANY Staff or Employees or even Volunteers to DO this even now! Ted at least a year now has NO Office or Home Office or Office/Studio and Other Things now is COMPLETELY Operating On Move and Traveling and Nomadic when REQUIRED to even RAPIDLY FLEEING entire Cities and Entire Counties and Entire States and Entire Areas and even Out of Country or Nation of USA or United States of America a few times a while! Then Ted was getting ACTUALLY Satan's Demons and even Satan DOING THINGS TO what DID and STILL HAVE MANY Computers and Internet and Servers and DID MANY THINGS ON Internet and CONTINUE to DO MANY THINGS ON Internet! What PRETEND to bve Human and Humans including using Different Photos of. Therefore FALSE IDENTITIES including in Photos and Videos. Some use Satanist to WORST Satanist to do some of this or at least a Down of Those Photos and Videos! Motives what to Cause Ted's Things to Look a Down of Evil to WORST EVIL by a Down of Those Quote Subscribing to Channel and Joining and At Space and with Comments and MANY Things were TACTICS to STRATEGIES to DESTROY Ted and This Coming! Also Ted had SOME HACKING Statistics or Altering or Modifying to be LOWER to MUCH LOWER to Virtually NOTHING!Ted does NOT now believe nearly ENTIRELY Hebrews and Jewish what were around Temple and Jerusalem and Israel where SPOKE WITH and COMMUNICATED WITH and HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH Jesus a quote Rabbi and was written to have taught and spoken in and even preached in Temple or Court Yard of Temple and Near Temple and in Jerusalem and in Israel and with Sermon on Mount and Other Things at least WRITTEN this is was ALL in Greek and some Aramaic and NOTHING Original Written in Hebrew! Where ALL of these Scriptures in Scrolls in Temple and in Jerusalem and Israel then were in Hebrew! Therefore WOULD HAVE WRITTEN ALL THINGS to Nearly All Things in Hebrew IF AUTHENTIC and NOT RELIGOIUS FRAUD to actually WORST RELIGIOUS FRAUD in HISTORY of Wevild Earth by this time! By WHAT and or WHOM? Then Roman Emperors to Secret Roman Emperors! From Roman Empire to Secret Roman Empire then to what was NEVER IN SLIGHEST Holy then to Holy Roman Empire! Then to a Vatican and Roman Catholic Church! Then to Catholics MANY then to Spin Offs from with Protestant Reformation! Then to Many Protestant Churches and Other Churches and Christian Orthodox Churches and MANY Christian Churches! Even after this Mormon church using Book of Mormon! Even after this Seventh Day Adventist INSISTING Ellen G. White was ALL INSPIRED and was PROPHETIC and HAD MUCH PROPHECY when could NOT even get straight or correct or accurate this is a God Head and Triune God and Trinity were TERRIBLY FALSE DOCTRINES! Therefore we WERE and ARE and CONTINUE TO TRY TO TELL YOU this is ENTIRE New Testament IS ENTIRELY FALSE! This is NOT even accurate enough and Miracles of Jesus were NOT in slightest accurate or happened! There was NEVER an Ascension therefore NEVER to be a Coming a Second Coming Descending! Humans of Earth you were SO DECIEVED and STILL MANY ARE SO DECIEVED YOU CANNOT even believe it!
O dear, some of you might have taken one too many doobies.
I'm going to provide you with a brief overview of a story (my own) that could be useful, however anecdotal it may be.
At age 18, I was diagnosed with schiotypal personality. It was more than a personality disorder, it seems now, as hallucinations and frank psychotic episodes were there, though the episodes were short lived. Delusions were also a constant. There was also a serious emotional disturbance, the depressive sort, something I'm told and I've read is usually not evident in schizophrenia. My diagnoses was changed to schizoaffective disorder.
Around age 20, I began smoking pot. This did two things. One is, perhaps the semantic hyper-priming. I would be talking to friends I world free associate for hours at a time. I thought I was a virtuoso of improvisational thought, a young Zizek in the lonely midwest. I thought and spoke improvisationally when sober, in part because I was a serious reader and at that age (and still at 26) I was trying out idea after idea. However, this improvisation in thought and speech grew extremely exaggerated when I smoked marijuana.
Here's the great mystery. Marijuana had, in some sense, an antipsychotic function. I was in a relationship until age 20. I'd been in that relationship since age 16. A tragic problem in the relationship was my inability to have sex. When we would have sex I would have auditory hallucinations that were incredibly threatening. Since I enjoyed getting high, as did she, we began having sex high, as many people do. There were no voices when during intercourse if I was high. I became thoroughly involved with the sex and not only did the threats cease, but the past threats during sober intercourse didn't bother me.
I'm not recommending marijuana for the mentally ill
In fact, because marijuana had the strange effect of partially resolving auditory hallucinations, I decided it would be wise to smoke it several days a week. This was a poor decision, though it did not make me more psychotic, it did reinforce my delusions and expand their scope. Probably through this semantic hyper-priming effect.
Sometimes I think how terribly sad it is that researchers can't (or wont) open up my head and watch what happens on their screens. It might be interesting. It might even be valuable. It might even entertain me for a while.
Very interesting study which backs up many theories that have been assumed for years. Marijuana relaxes the brain causing it to flow more creatively.
I think I'll wait for Jonah to put the research together and write it up in his cogent style. The blogs, including mine have become anecdotal opinions expressing the emotional bias of the bloggers for the most part and conclusions based on a sample of one. I'm still interested in the question, but think it would need an inspired experiment to gather any conclusive intrinsic properties and therapies for marijuana. It's interesting that in a recent New Yorker article it was pointed out that behaviors attributed to alcohol consumption are mostly learned, not inevitable induced by the chemical interaction of the substance with the body. The only sure thing is the sclerosis from excessive use. I suspect it's much the same with pot.
Tom Michael @ # 36: You MUST have met people who have become paranoid after smoking cannabis, at least on some occasions?
Most of such people, in my limited experience, have that reaction ("anxiety" might be a better descriptor than "paranoia") quite consistently, to the same pot which others were thoroughly enjoying. Since such persons tend to avoid weed after a few tries, it's hard to get a lot of data points, but it would seem that the variation is more in the subjects than in the substance.
I love pot and being high. Unfortunately it makes me manic and delusional. I'm bi-polar and weed definetely triggers pyschosis for me. So for me, it's not a harmless drug. I get stuck in a state of "hyper-priming" for weeks on end. My doctors and I both suspect I would never have had a severe pyschotic manic episode w/out marijuana
A bi-polar friend of mine had a very similar response to marijuana - experiencing the "high" for something like 72 hours then reeling from that experience for a full week afterward. He was quite justifiably pissed at his friends for equating the drug to a minor alcohol buzz lasting less than two hours. If this is more than a coincidence of two anecdotes, why the hell hasn't there been more interest in this sort of reaction, even if only for its diagnostic utility in establishing that a given patient is bi-polar? (well... I guess the only doctor with the moral flexibility to use such a brutal trip as a diagnostic technique is named House, and he only treats potheads on television)
I've struggled with long-term major depressive disorder myself, and I understand that the prevailing opinion is shifting towards classifying that under the bi-polar umbrella. I recall my experience with weed being wildly more powerful, relative to the amount consumed, than my peers' - though still nothing like my friend's multi-day trip. Correlation, causation, or the irrelevant ramblings of a deranged drug-addled poster with mental illness? Well, we won't know so long as it remains (as it seems to this layman) harder to study marijuana than anthrax.
It's very important, also, for any study that attempts to describe current users of marijuana to recognize that we are criminals. Not only is there self-selection based on whether the effects of the drug seem pleasant to a given user, but also on whether the user is willing to violate the social contract. Even "green card" holders are subject to this; federal law remains nebulous on the subject of medical marijuana despite Obama's admirable instruction to the DEA not to prosecute it.
At least the medical users are shielded from the adulterated pot that scaremongers assert represents infinity percent of the black market. I'm pretty skeptical that sprinkling coke on the stuff as a marketing technique is a thing that actual people ever do, but it's much more believable to me that an amateur grower would fail to properly flush chemical nutrients by supplying plants nothing but water in the last days of growing, or worse yet hit a near-harvest plant with a blast of raid. I've heard horror stories about pine-sol and ground glass to make low-quality herb smell and look like Amsterdam's finest, but even my low expectations of human nature recoil at this idea.
Basically, not only does the proposition that marijuana causes schizophrenia have to overcome the prospect that perhaps schizotypal folk are more likely to use marijuana (aren't they surprisingly more likely to use cigarettes, as well?) but also the fact that users of marijuana are more likely to be exposed to all sorts of godawful substances because of their predilection's legal status.
I definitely do not agree that "jazz would be impossible" without weed. Maybe not all of the same musicians would have gotten into it, but it would still exist, and as someone who got into jazz as a child & who has worked with many jazz musicians, I can confidently say some of the most gifted & passionate ones have never even touched the stuff. SOME. AKA "jazz would be impossible" is a little bit of a ridiculous claim. On more than one level.
Very insightful comment, thank you for sharing. The train of thought is so profoundly different, the inconsistently profound realizations that are made can be refreshing at the least. Your mention of the slightest assumption or fallacy causing the matter to derail is also spot on, I think there's a short-sighted tendency to view the idea through blinders.
I also find marijuana to be effective at evaluating ideas that were constructed sobe to refine and pick holes in them from a different approach.
Wow, such complexity on such simple base topics.
EdSandiego, I disagree. The plant enhances the active scanning processes in the brain, and the animal that might eat the plant, becomes more interested in higher function choices, than the base role of eating. And I might point out, that to ensure that newly distracted animal does not starve, it gives them the munchies. Some thing that does not bode well for your theory. Munchies..hmm, plant...hmmm...munch munch munch...
If you want insight into Pot, look at the various other halucinogenics and their uses. And who used them in the early stages. Picture a higher level intellect, seeing the affects of the herb, and believing it to be an upper stage cognitive connection to their anncestors( I am going back to the beginning here folks).
So these higher aware individuals, experience the high, and the apparent deeper thought. What is their reaction? Well, before our complex societies muddied the waters, these were the shamans of the tribes. They would seperate themselves from the group, then focus intently on what they wanted to learn or know, they would chant or sing themselves into a higher level of focus, then take in some psychodelic and strive and strain to contact those they believe to be in a higher plane of existence. I suggest, that properly interacted with, Many drugs, make better thinkers, and the more focused, the better the results...Does anyone realize, that the individual that created the DNA testing and identification processes in use today, is an active (if still alive) LSD user????
Greg - it's always good to have different views and opinions, its the basis of healthy debate.
Just a couple of things:
1. Have you ever tried a large quantity of Pot? Not just a little sprinkle here and there, but a big mouthful? It causes a real mess. Granted, in small amounts you may have some scope for discussion, but how many animals gingerly pick off dainty quantities of plants as though they were in a fancy restaurant?
2. Is it feasible or even likely that a plant would go to so much evolutionary trouble so that animals or even humans and our evolutionary line could spend an evening with the giggles and wondering when Woodstock would happen?
Thinking about it, this subject could be the basis of an interesting Phd project. Anyone generous enough to provide some funding?
Quit. This world is a sobering trip. Find truth and free your mind. Knowledge is a good hangover and wisdom is the best high. You won't remember some things and you still may vomit on your friends.
I also recommend faith. Ask God to provide things you need like creativity, the ability to speak and success. Leave things you don't control up to Him and remove Earth's masters influence over you and your emotions. You have unlimited potential.
Sadly, the main potential of marijuana often remains understated in the public debate: the potential to enhance various cognitive abilities during a high such as to remember past events, to hyperfocus, to be in the here and now, to recognize patterns, to achieve real self-knowledge through introspection and to empathically understand others. Finally, as Carl Sagan once stated, marijuana can act as a catalyst to obtain real insights. My new book explains how marijuana can positively affect our cognition during a high: "High. Insights on Marijuana." by Sebastian Marincolo (dogearpublishing 2010). Many stunning reports from marijuana users illustrate the interdisciplinary approach and show how many lives have been positively enriched in such a magnificent way by the use - not abuse - of marijuana.
Studies have shown that,Marijuana smoked at moderate doses, produceses a differential impairment of the reaction times of right-handed males to pictorial stimuli presented to the left and right cerebral hemispheres. It has been obserevd that smoking marijuana responses to pictorial stimuli presented to the right hemisphere were slowed significantly less than to the left hemisphere. Responses to verbal stimuli (trigrams) were slowed equally in both hemispheres, preserving an initial left hemisphere superiority for this material.You can say that the type of material being processed may differentially change the processing speed or relative dominance of man's two cerebral hemispheres when marijuana is smoked.
@ comment #1: (Taken from cited paper written on study): "Acute cannabis use increases schizotypyal symptoms and may INCREASE automatic semantic priming in recreational users of this drug." I'm pretty sure he meant to write what he did.
@ comment # 5: It is not atypical for people with schizophrenic tendencies, anxiety, depression, etc, to gravitate toward drug use as a means of self-medicating. Drug use/abuse is another symptom of mental illness (not to say that anyone who tries a drug is mentally ill, but those who do try them and have psychological and emotional issues are usually more likely to enjoy the drug and are at higher risk for dependency).
Observations of my friends lends me to have the opinion long term use of cannabis can trigger schizophrenia without necessarily having a predisposition to the illness - unless predisposition means 33% (3 of 9 in my sample space of heavy users). My friends were mates who came together in junior high - either because they lived down the road from each other, met at the park bmx riding etc, well prior to any experiments with MJ. The last episode of flipping out was when one of the best men jumped out of a moving car in his tux (on the way to my brother's wedding) suddenly convinced everyone in the vehicle was conspiring against him. Suffice to say, much later (ie now) we consider it a given that this is what smoking pot every day for a few years can manifest.
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Carl Sagan first one to come up with the hypothesis that marijuana might affect right brain hemisphere activity (in his view by suppressing left hemisphere activity). In his "Dragons of Eden" (1977) he mentions in a footnote "I wonder if, rather than enhancing anything, the cannabinols (the active ingredients in marijuana) simply suppress the left hemisphere and permit the stars to come out." (in the chapter "lovers and madmen"). In my study "High. Insights on Marijuana" (Dogear Publishing 2010) I scrutinized various cognitive enhancements of marijuana concerning episodic memory, pattern recognition, imagination, empathy, introspection, body image, and insights. Most of them clearly seem to be mostly dependent on right hemisphere activity of the brain.
If you support legalization, visit Potlegalization.com and cast your vote.
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Good article. I previousally to spend alot of my time water skiing and watching games. It was quite possible the most special period of my childhood and your blog somehow reminded me of that period of my life. Cheers
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