Friday, February 25, 2011

If You Remember The 60s...

"If you remember the 60s, then you weren't really there..." This quote has been attributed to a few people, two of whom are Grace Slick and Robin Williams, and both of whom -- shall we say -- dabbled in a few mind-altering substances.  I have never been able to understand why people take drugs.  A nice glass of red wine, a cold gin and tonic on a hot summer's day -- yes.  But drugs?  I could never understand it.  What is going through a person's mind when they pop that first pill, or have that first toke of BC Bud?  Are they thinking, "Oh, good, now I am going to destroy millions of brain cells, and alter my grey matter irrevocably and forever..."?

Alcohol is a drug too, I know it's far from harmless, and it has caused destruction in people's lives. But a glass of red wine is actually good for you, did you know that? Yes it is... Wine reduces the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, and slows the progression Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. What do drugs do except make people stupid, sometimes permanently?

Recently the 16 year-old daughter of a friend of mine decided to "experiment" with marijuana.  All her friends were doing it, and she felt the peer pressure.  Fortunately, her older sister spilled the beans, and the 16 year-old girl realized it was a really dumb thing to do, and she was embarrassed. Over the course of my lifetime, I have seen scores (no pun intended) of people whose lives were ruined by drugs.  Talented, intelligent, well-adjusted people were turned into bumbling, psychotic wrecks.  One of my high school friends was a wonderfully talented artist but he fried his brains once too often, and at the age of 30 he ended up in a long-term care facility and has been there ever since.

Some Canadians want to legalize marijuana.  Well, it's practically legal here now.   It's almost impossible not to smell the pungent odor of pot as you walk along any street in Vancouver.  But it's not harmless.  In Margaret Trudeau's biography "Changing My Mind", she reflects on her struggle with mental illness, and how much pot exacerbated it.  She said, "It is not uncommon for mental health sufferers to self-medicate with alcohol or marijuana. Marijuana can trigger psychosis, and every time I was hospitalized it was preceded by heavy use of marijuana."

The marijuana of the 21st Century is nothing like the marijuana of the 1960s. The pot grown today is a really potent cannabis, it's a $6 billion dollar business here in British Columbia, and it's not harmless. I'd rather have a glass of wine. "... a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." ~~ the Apostle Paul


Nicholas & Ellie's Daddy said...

interesting post!

Jeanie said...

Oh yes, I remember the 60s, which probably means I missed out on (or wisely avoided) a lot of the things that defined the 60s.
Medical marijuana is the huge thing here now. In Boulder there are more marijauna dispensaries than there are Starbucks.

Linda Myers said...

I remember the 60s. I was at the University of California at Santa Barbara the night the Bank of American burned to the ground. But I was also the daughter of a military officer, straightlaced and obedient.

Now I'm IN my 60s! I, too, have seen the mess caused by drugs - one of my grandchildren is motherless due to an overdose.

However, I've also seen messes created by alcohol abuse. I did some of that myself. So I say, let's hear it for clear heads and undamaged brains!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

When I was a very young adult in the 60's -- (Grace Slick and I were college friends,) everyone my age was doing drugs. They sat in a circle and passed around "bennies" and weed, and they automatically passed it around me every time because they thought I was too innocent. I guess I was secretly relieved as I didn't protest much, and never did get into drugs. I also don't drink because I'm allergic to wine and really dislike hard liquor and beer. So I do remember the 60's well. I remember all the things others have forgotten because they were stoned.

DJan said...

Whether or not I used pot, I would never admit it in public because doing so can backfire and cause you much grief.

I certainly appreciate my glass of red wine every night, but having been married to a violent alcoholic who detested any other drugs, I often wonder about the tendency of the person rather than the drug being to blame.

Bruce Coltin said...

I think that everyone who lived through the 60s had friends, neighbors, or family members who lost their future to drugs. We tend to look back at drug use during that era as being an essential part of the experience, and we often laugh about it. It's good to be reminded of the dark side.

DUTA said...

I'm afraid the glass of red wine is a myth because of the alcohol it contains. It is the red grapes and grapes in general in their natural form that are beneficial.

I should know that as I consider myself a grapes addict. I eat them even now in winter when their price is very high.

The powder supplement of grapes' seed extract could also be helpful when the natural grapes are not available.

June said...

What is going through a person's mind when they pop that first pill, or have that first toke of BC Bud?
They're thinking, "This will feel so good!"
That's all.

Charles Gramlich said...

Those are really cool images.

Jo said...

I couldn't agree more, Jo...this post could have been written by me.

I thought I was the only person from our generation to never have had the slightest desire to tinker with the brain cells by taking anything stronger than a Tylenol.

It wasn't until my forties that I even began to drink wine with any regularity.

You are correct in stating that it's a completely different drug today. It's nothing to experiment with.

Thanks for opening this dialogue. Well done!

Land of shimp said...

Oh...great. I'm going to be the one person to admit to this, aren't I? Well, here goes: I smoked a lot of pot in college.

Why did I do it? Eh. I thought it was fun, at the time. Looking back, I still remember it as being fun. Then I stopped doing everything, including drinking for a variety of reasons at the time. Mainly that after school my responsibilities were such that I needed to be mentally present. Gone were the days of hanging out in dorm rooms and being irresponsible because I could.

Then I had a child at 23 and I really, really needed to be mentally present. It wasn't until he was seventeen that I even began drinking socially.

Escapism exists in all forms and that's what pot is to most people. What are they thinking? I'd like to feel better, or not feel much, or relax, or "Hey, fun!" but like all forms of escapism, the fact is, you can lose control of it. Whether it's over-eating for comfort, or shopping, or watching TV, or drinking, or smoking pot...there is a point at which it can become the thing you use to constantly retreat from reality. Problems only get solved when you are present in your reality. Lots of life's funner things only get lived when you are fully present for them.

But it's a choice and the peril exists in the point where it stops being a choice. Starts controlling you.

I live in Colorado, Jo. You know that. Big bud culture out here, so I've known people who smoked most of their lives. I've never known a person whose life went off the rails due to pot, but I've seen lives ruined by alcohol abuse. Prescription drug addiction is actually the one I've seen fell the most people.

There's peril in any substance that alters the mind and peril in things we allow to alter our reality.
But I'll tell you something interesting (I think). My son was approved for Medical Marijuana due to a shoulder problem. I was iffy, but since I know too many people who became addicted to their prescription pain-killers, I accepted it as the lesser of two evils. Pot rarely takes out your liver, pill abuse can.

And as thrilled as I wasn't, I accepted that he did need some relief and I hoped I'd taught him well enough about the perils of drugs that he'd monitor himself well.

So it came as no great shock to me when he decided four months ago that he didn't want to smoke pot any longer. The reason? He told me he realized he'd started smoking when his shoulder wasn't hurting. That it had an impact on his grades, his friendships.

What's the point here? Full legalization is perilous because in any altering substance there is peril. But I grew up with a drunk and I've lived around stoners most of my adult life. I can tell you which I prefer but I do know that either substance can take over a life. One is legal, one isn't. I don't think the legality determines the peril.

Also, in case you were wondering, I don't smoke pot. I remember it fondly as being a silly thing I did, but my reality, my life, is usually pretty pleasant as it is.

I think it's going to be individual. I do think that alcohol has a lot peril in it too...but adults choose responsible usage with both.

Land of shimp said...

Also, I'm glad that the sixteen-year-old decided against smoking pot...but I'd say the same thing about a sixteen-year-old drinking. Adult choices are meant for the adult world.

Heh, well, now that I've outed myself as the college druggie of the bunch...


Kathryn said...

Well, red wine is not good for me!

I've had a migraine each of the last 3 Sundays, each exponentially worse than the previous. I finally realized it has to be communion wine. How 1 tablespoon of anything can have such an impact i don't know, but no more wine for me.

I've long known that sulfites cause major problems for me & i react to them wherever i encounter them.

I did drugs for a long time, but legally prescribed ones; i've never once taken a street drug. This is the best article i've ever seen on dealing with depression and other long term, chronic illness: I'm fortunate, once i identified the causation of most of the things for which i was on drugs, i was able to resolve the issues without resorting to medicines.

These days i'm pretty careful about what i take, and many of the things that are added to processed foods are just as dangerous as the drugs, i think.

All that said, i do think marijuana should be legalized. If folks can make decisions about alcohol (not that their decisions are always responsible), i think they can make the same decisions about MJ.

Mia said...

Bill Cosby has a joke: drugs enhance your personality. But what if you're an asshole?

Wolynski said...

Alcohol is a lot more harmful than weed - you never see pot fueled domestic disturbances. And alcohol can damage the liver, as well as lives

You enjoy your glass of wine, others enjoy their joints. What's wrong with that? Does Willie Nelson appear to be insane?

And don't get me started on "legal" pills - these painkillers are lethal.

Unknown said...

Pot is much more harmless than alcohol in fact. A lot of people we regard as geniuses, in music or in science for example, did or do a load of it. Oh! Americans and their puritanism...

Anonymous said...

I've known many who were harmed by pot. Maybe it isn't as destructive as LDS but it does effect memory in a way alcohol doesn't. It isn't so much that it changes people as that people don't change. I meet an old friend and after 40 years the conversation isn't much different.

I find it very hard to explain this to people who insist pot is harmless. The best I can do is to say it is like you met Beethoven after 40 years and he was still writing the first symphony, and had never progressed to the ninth.