Back in the 1960s and 1970s, cannabis cultivation was as taboo as it got. No respected book publisher would talk about how to grow marijuana - let alone describe the steps in detail. For the most part, it was one of those topics that was never broached except in closely guarded circles, in hushed voices.
Few movies are as ridiculous as Reefer Madness, a 1936 "documentary" featuring fictionalized characters who, after smoking marijuana once or twice, behave in a manner that would only appear realistic if you've never seen a person get high in your life before. Which, of course, is probably what happened.
Cannabis sativa or Indian hemp although indigenous to Central Asia may now be found in most parts of the world. A hardy marijuana plant flourishing under widely varying climatic conditions, although optimum growth requires a hot dry climate. It has long been used as a commercial crop and he oil extracted from the seed is used to make paint. The seed has been used as a constituent of bird food and also as a form of gruel in times of famine. For as long as medical history has been recorded, cannabis has been used for medicinal and religious purposes and as a euphoriant. With such a broad pedigree, descriptions and opinions have varied.
I was never particularly interested in 19th-century literature. There were so many things our English teachers didn't tell us, especially when it came to the counterculture underground books of the Victorian era. They never mentioned that Charles Dickens, for instance, wrote his last novel stoned. Several key scenes in The Mystery of Edwin Drood were set in an opium den and hash lounge. Or they'd ramble on and on about John Greenleaf Whittier's "Snowbound," never mentioning his interesting little poem "The Haschich." Sometimes we'd get maybe an hour of English class devoted to an excerpt from Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1822), because it was the first great English drug tale and influenced all the Romantic writers. But we never heard about, America's first great drug writer, Fitz Hugh Ludlow.
Gas masks and bongs are two favorite methods that heavy-duty tokers use to elevate themselves to the outer limits of their mind.
An Amazonian Indian paddles a heavy canoe downriver, deep in the hold of South America. The Tunchis, spirits of the dead, call out to him in the medium of bird whistles from the jungle banks. Chullachi, a monster of unequal legs and horrible face, stalks the rain forest in search of victims. Beneath the canoe, in the murky depths, is Yacuruna—the Emperor of the waters and of the Indian dead. He is the devil of Amazonia, an amphibious creature who reigns from an underwater crystal palace. Yacuruna is ensconced in a tortoise Shell throne. He rests in a den of gazelle feathers, protected by a netting of butterfly wings woven by lightning bugs. His servants are a fleet of dolphins which change into human form so they can lure people to the kingdom of the river bed. Yacuruna, himself, often adopts the guise of a Christian spreading sin among the Indians.
The first five minutes of Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider is so perfect that at the end of it you feel like you had watched a whole movie. By the time the music kicks in, "The Pusher" from Steppenwolf, you feel like you are watching a sequel to those first five minutes.
As a poet, Allen Ginsberg was able to relate his feelings on being homosexual and a marijuana smoker in his poetry, achieving the status of an almost mystic figure. He had an intense spiritual life and tried to expedite whatever came to his head, and to explore what his mind wanted to pursue.
It is that time before dawn when the sky is still dark. Awakening to the sense that the sun is coming, feeling the chill of the wind that travels round the earth with the sun, I rise, smelling the scent that says morning is here. The birds outside feel it and sing their songs to it.
People do care about smoking good pot. And the people who can afford it will fork over as much as it costs. These days many of the 16 - 20 year old kids, first time users are learning from parents of second generation weed advocates. Their mommies and daddies remember their own halcyon days They empathize with the possibility of paranoia, parking lot pot parties and searching for a lighter that works.
A first-rate book can also be a letdown when seeds of greatness sprout in the opening leaves only to wither before harvest. Mama Coca is the best on the subject since W. Golden Mortimer's turn-of-the-century Peru: History of Coca—and not just because it's the only full-length study since then. For the most part, the uninomial author anchors his meticulous scholarship with firsthand knowledge and suspicious common sense.
All the witnesses agree: during the last months of his life, Bruce Lee was heading for a crack-up. No matter how you sized him up, the danger signals were unmistakable. The most obvious signal was weight loss. During his best years, Lee—who stood between 5' 6" and 5' 7" and was very lightly boned—built himself up through diet and exercise to a peak of 155 pounds. Now this extra poundage began to melt away. Eventually, he went down to 120. When Danny Inosanto, Lee's principal disciple, saw his master for the last time, he was shocked by the change in his appearance. “You’re too thin!” he warned. “How are you going to get your full power?” "My full power?” hissed Lee, “How about this?” With that he gave Inosanto a shoulder shot that sent the disciple flying 12' across the room. All the same, Lee was concerned about his inexplicable weight loss. His solution was to adopt a particularly nauseating diet: congealed bull's blood mixed with raw hamburger steak.