Is marijuana legalization maybe a good thing?

     Hare Krishna,

     First I want to say that I gave up smoking marijuana years ago and do not regard it as positive for my spiritual development but as a detriment.  But it is a fact, a sad fact but a fact nonetheless, that if I had not experimented with marijuana some 20 years ago, I would never have had an open mind to appreciate the path of bhakti.  And I don't mean to diminish the accomplishments of Srila Prabhupada but the Hare Krishna explosion of the 1960's and 70's was largely centered around a culture that was heavily invested in dissociative drugs like marijuana and lsd.   Again, I do not mean to diminish or reduce Prabhupada's accomplishments by saying these things.  My motivation is to try to figure out acceptable methods for facilitating radical paradigm shifts in the mind.   Even when you listen to the stories of the original devotees so many of them say that they were using drugs, especially dissociative.   

     I have heard many devotees speak out very aggressively against smoking marijuana.  Obviously once one comes to the path of bhakti they should adhere to a zero tolerance policy.  But it is unfortunately the case for many people that the necessary paradigm shift in the mind would never have taken place without the dissociative influence of marijuana that broke the mind free from its previous conditionings.  Of course marijuana is just substituting one bad set of conditionings for another but it can facilitate change and awakening. 

     Obviously this is a sensitive issue and you cannot risk jeopardizing necessary boundaries that protect one on the path of bhakti.  But an honest inventory of the history of ISKCON has ample evidence that a large percentage of devotees underwent a radical identity change that was facilitated by the use of dissociative drugs.   I just hear so much negativity about marijuana use and I understand it does have many negatives, lots of baggage and degrading of consciousness.  But we cannot deny the fact that the human mind is very stubborn and will generally strongly resists change.  Maybe ISKCON should reevaluate its stance on marijuana use.  Washington and Colorado are both now legal zones for smoking marijuana.  Many people in Colorado are turning to Buddhism and other paths in the pursuit of expanding their consciousness.   There are many minds that are fertile for the planting of the seed of Krishna-consciousness to take place.  They are in search mode, a kind of buffering mode that dissociative drugs tend to produce.  Are the devotees taking advantage of this opportunity as Srila Prabhupada did as he welcomed such people with open arms and love?  Or has ISKCON forgotten where it came from?   I hope these words do not offend.  I only say these things because I do not hear anyone else saying them.  I would just love to see another explosion. 

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  • There are a few fallacies I hear I want to clear up.  Just because Krsna puts a plant on earth does not necessarily make it spiritual.  In the cannabis subculture I also hear this... if God made it must be good.  God also made Hemlock and if we can remember back a few years how was Socrates assassinated?  he was killed by hemlock. 

    A better understanding especially for devotees is personal integrity.  We must always exercise integrity with self, Guru and Krsna.  

    For the medical cannabis user in the process of healing the body I have been challenged in many ways.  As recently as yesterday even was a valuable lesson.  Reminded I am by no means cured yet I had a break thru migraine as a result of the brain lesions, I used to have these 3-4x per week 18-36 hours in duration.  I took the required dosage of cannabis to remove the debilitation.  There is still so much science I need to learn.  The dosage it took a year ago is vastly different then the dose I need today.  unlike Rx medications as the body heals the dosage lessens.  

    Integrity means adjusting the dosage to keep the body and soul together in a state of health.  What used to take say 100 mg only requires about 20 mg.  Do I take the needed 20 mg or do I lie to myself and convince myself I am still better off at 100mg so that I can enjoy the results?  What is my motive?  am I enamored by results?  comes down to Atyahara, taking more than what is needed.

    working with a couple of devotees and even my own experience in the beginning took large amounts that would knock a healthy person on their backs for days of magic carpet rides.  The sick debilitated body works very differently- there is no high.  My grower was stunned beyond belief that I could stand and feel no intoxication at such high levels.  As the body heals over time today I cannot even take a drop of what I used to.  Its about honesty.  

    Paying it forward now I am a grower for persons who are sincerely and genuinely disabled with illness or injury.  A couple of devotees most of my patients however are returning combat veterans, disabled vets with TBI and PTSD. Working with karmi's is very different then devotees, Karmi's are not regulated by initiation vows but I approach it the same way, the threshold of what it takes to keep the body and soul together only taking what is needed.  taking more is motivated by atyahara.  

    Another fallacy I hear often is that its only the CBD that is medicinal, this is so far from the truth.  That THC is the demon, another lie.  Yes THC the whole plant is required, depending on the injury THC may be required even required at very high levels especially in cancers massive doses may be needed.  A person whose body is overcome by cancer versus a healthy person the effects will be very different.  The extremely ill person taking a high dose of THC in the mix will not feel any intoxication.  "If" the cancer reduces the dosage will also reduce. 

    Trying to define a measure of some sort what is okay or not okay cannot be done, each body and each illness is unique.

    Better to define that measurement thru personal integrity and honesty with self, guru and Krsna. 

    • thanks. 

  • its a very different approach when there is legitimate medical need.  "we are not these bodies" is easy to say for those who are not ill or debilitated.  Just chant Hare Krishna will not reverse a spinal injury no matter how much faith I had or how hard I chanted, what sinful action have I deserved this suffering?  my karma?  better to sever the spinal cord and live as a paraplegic then to live in constant pain wasting down to 78 pounds a very slow and painful death if I would be so lucky on top of brain lesions with MS like symptoms. 

    12 hours after my first dose of medical cannabis for the first time in 3 years I could walk again without a walker, cane or assistance-no wheelchair needed.  I actually fell asleep that night and woke up the next day picking up my japa beads.  nothing short of a miracle even my neurologist has recommended I stay on this medical cannabis for at least 2 years and continue monitoring the improvements with MRI. 

    This is not your typical deadhead pot... (which does not work) but rather a high grade strain by the name of Harlequin which mine has tested as a 2:1 ratio CBD/THC that taken as directed will not cause any intoxication.  Today I grow several strains the Harlequin being 75% of my crops- what I am allowed to grow by law as a Colorado resident.  I prepare oils I do not smoke it, smoking it is probably one of the most least effective ways to consume as a medicine with the exception of extreme nausea as it relates to cancer treatment which vaping (like an inhaler) would be more therapeutic then smoking it.  I am not a fan of synthetic versions that scientifically have failed over and over again that cannot compare to whole plant.  man made plastics pale in comparison. 

    Bottom line.... devotee integrity and personal responsibility.  The morality police cannot instil values or honesty in a person.  Intoxication or any sense gratification intent as a motive leads to entanglement.  If one cannot find enlightenment thru chanting the Holy Name possibly the chanting is offensive?  or any of the offenses will cause a devotee to loose taste that intoxication cannot substitute for purity of heart.  THC is not the evil monster either!  although I do not require a high level of THC and do better leaning more towards THCa or v its not to say some illnesses will require THC.  I grow one strain for a man that requires higher levels of THC that still do not get him stoned because of the severity of his illness.  It would not be right for me to take his medicine nor mine for him.

    Devotees going this route, do all the research first!  and the same applies the reason we do not eat foodstuffs cooked by non-devotees is the consciousness of the cook is infused into the meal by fire.  I have purchased the exact same strain as what I grow from a legal dispensary and its not the same!  I don't know if its a proven fact or intuition but the consciousness of the grower is taken on by the plants and it shows!  The last two months of growth when they are in flower the plants get recorded bhajana's playing during their 12 hour dark cycle each day.  They love hearing the Holy Name, grow better and cleaner the end result is an oil far superior to anything that can be sold retail.

    I can only help others who are in Colorado... sorry will not send anything cross State lines cause I am unwilling to go to jail for anybody cause in jail they will not be serving me prasadam.  one needs to come to Colorado is the only option I am willing to consider.

    • Hello Mataji,

      I am planning to be in Colorado in April. Are you still growing for sick devotees? Do you make vape products? I have an illness called Ehlers danlos and pretty much my entire body is failing. I've felt horrible about my reliance on marijuana. I am not a fan of the intoxicated feeling it gives me.  So generally I stick to use about once a week. However, sometimes I feel guilty that I'm giving in to the senses by trying to avoid the pain when it is overwhelming. Marijuana is the only pain medication I can take because all the others affect my various illnesses. I've thought about eventually taking sanyasi, but the idea of giving up marijuana scares me too much so sanyasi seemed impossible for me. It seems like people consider it ok as long as it is only medicinal which it definitely is for me. 
      thank you!

    • Glad to hear you are doing well.  I've heard from other people that have had similar experiences.  It's unfortunate that the so-called healthcare industry has become so deranged by greed that they are not making these oils more available to people while they continue to flood the world with opiates, unnecessarily destroying so many lives.  Anyhow, thanks for sharing your experience and advice.  Haribol.

  • Its not that it is good to use. But that is not the responsibility of the government. Truth is, the only thing any drug law does is create an underground market. It funds cartels. Legalizing all drugs would in fact, reduce stigma, grant people more help for addiction that need it. Remove cartels and underground organizations powers. And offer jobs to those that could live with themselves marketing these products. It would not increase or decrease addiction rates. Everything we do has a higher purpose if we see and learn from it, less it repeat until we do. I went through multiple hardcore detoxes from various substances. Experienced the depths of this life, and yet were it not for that I would not have found love in God. And you will find that most addicts are only relieved and sometimes "cured" by spiritual means. hmm, some times a curse is a quick gift. The problem lies not in the drugs but truly in the impressions formed. You should abstain fully because anyone runs the risk of creating an impression or impulse to seek the pleasure of that substance which increases with use. Through non-attachment it is possible to use substances without issue, but it is ill advised. Most marijuana advocates smoke on a daily basis you will notice, and what they do not notice because they have not tried is that it has a withdrawal. Anything you attach to will come with atleast a mental withdrawal, which often times is accompanied by a physical withdrawal. From a new car that gets totaled all the way to heroin. When you lose a girlfriend....withdrawal. Manage possible withdrawals with care, what truly makes your heart sing and supports that? At least for you guys.....God literally makes you sing :) It makes my heart sing.

    • Thanks for your input Adam.   I am just curious about your situation Adam.  Did you gain an interest in spiritual life while you were using or was it more when you were trying to stop?  I have struggled with addiction for most of my life so I can relate to what you are saying.  I have been secure in my sobriety for a good amount of time now and I am trying to become an addictions counselor but oddly enough their is not much direct training in the U.S. mostly because punishment rather than treatment has been the focus.  Actually in Portugal they legalized all drugs and they have found that heroin addiction has decreased by 50%.  And instead of punishing addicts and putting most of their budget money into policing and jails they are putting their money into treatment, job training and even jobs.   Anyhow, everyone in the U.S. is pushing hard for a revolution in how the government handles this issue and the new drug czar is an advocate of treatment over punishment, so I am hopeful. 


      • i found it when i had under went back to back...maybe 6 o r 7 full home detoxes from opiates, copious amounts. Through various painful experiences and negative activities. All culminating in a soup of hell...pretty much. Pandora is correct that pot is not conducive. Yes pot can certainly make u find something, but when it dissapears, that something is usually gone too. Called "state dependent learning" I too am in school for the same thing as you. Its really very personal though. I dont smoke because it makes me unable to do literally anything lol. Some people do for various kinds of physical or mental pain. If you are on this particular path, probably good to just follow what they say. I personally like to put myself through sheer torture in order to experience the truth...not sure if that's a preference or just stubbornness lol. I had to experiment in every way when i was younger, basically learning how to be a full fledged human. Spirituality was not just a necessity..which it was, but too many things were happening around me that the statistical chance of them happening were nill...and they still continue to this day...everyday...all day lol. Buddhism caught my attention because of its explanation of temporary nature. Gita explains that too but I didn't read it till much later. I started seeing how it wasn't just the drugs that were the issue. It seemed to be everything. When a girlfriend left I hurt. When my computer broke i was terribly bored....i usually then used more heavily, when the drugs wore off i felt sick or dissapointed. All forms of pleasure were ultimately unsatisfactory, when I saw that truth I knew I had to start digging. One thing leads to another and suddenly your pretty much a different person. Its a wonderfully surreal life we live. Pleasure is indeed now satisfactory because I know not to cling to it...its impermanent which makes it literally foolish to chase something that always gets away. I can center myself in myself and continue to unfold as a person. Everything is changing, everything is always changing. Its a new age friend, sit back and watch the fireworks, or partake in the play for a little if you like. Be good to yourself.

        • The important thing is that you kept fighting to live another day.  I have seen first hand how difficult opiate addiction can be to overcome.  Good luck with your schooling.    

      • Maybe ISKCON should re-evaluate it's stance on marijuana use? No, I don't think so. Marijuana is an intoxicant. One of the four regulative principles, clearly states "No intoxication". Devotees should not be using marijuana or telling "new people" that it is OK to use pot. That being said, my personal opinion is that marijuana should be legalized for many reasons. Marijuana has been  proven to ease pain and lessen symptoms for numerous illnesses. Many sick people complain of nausea and having "no appetite". Marijuana eases nausea and increases the appetite in addition to easing pain. So if someone is seriously ill and or is in severe pain and is taking marijuana, that is not intoxication. That is a pain pill.

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