Cannabis and Cthulhu: Dr. Sanjay Gupta wakes the Old Ones with his marijuana metanoia

    Cannabis photos by Cannabis Training University (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Cannabis photos by Cannabis Training University (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, please pardon the ludicrously sensationalistic title. But seriously, is there anybody who hasn’t heard about this yet? On the slim chance that there is, here you go. This is Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaking, who, as we all surely recall, is not just a media personality but someone whose medical opinion carries political clout, as seen in the fact that he was offered (but he refused) the position of U.S. Surgeon General by President Obama.

Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called “Weed.” The title “Weed” may sound cavalier, but the content is not. I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning. Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive.

Well, I am here to apologize. I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis. Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”

They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works.

[. . .] I have. . . come to the realization that it is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana. We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.

– “Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Why I changed my mind on marijuana,” CNN, August 9, 2013

Also see Gupta’s appearance on a recent CNN program devoted to the question of medicine, marijuana, and the legal restrictions on certain substances:

Did you hear all of that? And did you really listen and consider its implications? Methinks this development could prove to represent an authentic sea change in the marijuana legalization wars. When a person of Gupta’s public status and visibility puts himself and his reputation on the line over something like this, the ramifications are immense.

Nor are they limited to the matter of medicine and marijuana as such. Notice that a statement like Gupta’s carries implications far exceeding its nominal topic. We in America have been “systematically” lied to by our government, he says. As in, deliberately and strategically. This naturally leads to further questions.

Such as, most obviously: By whom, pray tell? Who exactly has been doing the deceiving? And what for? Which powerful people and interests have been lying to us, and what has motivated them to do so, especially in an area like this, whose impact encompasses not just physical health but mental health, and also — what’s most pointedly important — the accessing of states of consciousness outside the “official” norm of the mainstream mindset? Are the reasons for this official (mis)management of the body and psyche economic? Are they political?  Are they psychological? Are they some combination of all these and more?

Is there maybe something really substantial and valid to the claim, which goes at least as far back as the 1960s, that our government has, or thinks it has, a vested interest in legislating access to substances that have an impact not just on physical health but on states of consciousness among the general populace? Is there something inherently threatening about marijuana — and, by extension, about other psychedelic, i.e., mind-manifesting, substances — to current systems of political, economic, and other types of power?

The tone I’ve invested in these questions makes my own suspicions clear. This can of worms is huge. And to draw the point out even further, I think the worms themselves may well be more than just worms. I think they may be a nest of tentacular appendages writhing on the face and around the ravening maw of a great Old One that has been beaming transformative dreams into the collective unconscious of the human race, and that is now beginning to wake from its sleep of aeons to send ripples of seismic-apocalyptic transformation and redemptive catastrophe across the cultural landscape.

Or at least, you know, that’s my Lovecraft-inspired suspicion, which I toss off perhaps too loosely, and which is perhaps influenced by Palmer Eldritch’s recent and lovely two-part essay on the way the works of Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith and Co. anticipated the psychedelic revolution:

(That’s from the blog A Few Years in the Absolute Elsewhere, by the way — formerly known as The 2012 Diaries — which has been one of my absolute favorites for five years now, and which I heartily endorse and commend to your attention.)

So what do you think about all this? And if you do, in fact, choose think about it, I urge you to remain cognizant of the fact that your very ability and motivation to consider it at all may well be subject to attempted management, manipulation, misdirection, and sharp limitation by the worldly Powers That Be, which either want you to ignore it entirely or else to think along clearly defined lines.

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD and GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES.

Posted on August 14, 2013, in Government & Politics, Health & Medicine, Psychology & Consciousness and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Brilliant, Matt.

    Why Drugs Are Illegal – Terence McKenna:

  2. Full circle, ha !

    Cannabis use in a Swiss male prison: Qualitative study exploring detainees’ and staffs’ perspectives

    http://www.ijdp.org/article/S0955-3959(13)00075-3/abstract

    Detainees estimated the current use of cannabis use to be as high as 80%, and staff 50%. Participants showed similar opinions on effects of cannabis use that were described both at individual and institutional levels: analgesic, calming, self-help to go through the prison experience, relieve stress, facilitate sleep, prevent violence, and social pacifier.

  3. Brilliant indeed. I came looking for a little funny business, but this essay is seriously superb. In the immortal words of The Kids In The Hall (probably paraphrased): “The Man doesn’t want the weed on the streets because the weed promotes peace.”

  4. I’m not a marijuana user nor am I against it but I think all this talk about it in the news in the U.S. recently might be a campaign to litmus test americans on the issue following the revelation that guaranteed Canadians will elect Justin Trudeau and he has been campaigning on legalizing marijuana, taxing and regulating it. When I heard the announcement I strongly suspected that the U.S. would be pressured to likely follow suit. Thank Canada for this I think.

  5. I have a good friend who was an Air Force, let’s say, cyber-spy. He was commissioned to research the effects of the drug wars and present his findings to top brass and the White House. He traveled all over, interviewed the relevant people (cartels, military, users, dealers, police, economists, policy makers, etc.), spent tons of time and money, and wrote an “inconvenient” report. His conclusion: The drug war benefits two groups of people – cartels and the military. It has increased the crime rate and drained untold resources, etc. His proposal was some form of legalization. His report was not well received.

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