To know your foods is to know your moods – Siddha Somanomah
I would like to give some insight into what I have found through empirical use of the marijuana plant through my studies of Ayurveda and Shamanism, which may possibly shine a light on the ongoing effects of Marijuana and its damaging effects on the lifestyle of its users.
Just recently Marijuana has been legalized in some of the US states; which is great and possibly give some well welcomed relief for people who actually require it for health reasons. Like most plants; when used under professional care and guidance Marijuana can be used for health benefits such as the therapeutic treatment of chronic pain and some neurological disorders these are just some of its medicinal values; though outside of therapeutical usage Marijuana may be very destructive for ones state of mind and well-being in general.
Within the past few years I have experienced and learnt about the ongoing effects of the ‘Marijuana plant’ and I have some doubt as to whether the new decision to legalize it is such a grand idea. My personal experience with the daily usage of marijuana plant started when I was 16 years of age and it’s not until last year that it has totally left my physical, subtle and energetic body even though I have not used it for roughly 8 years.
In regards to this I would like to give my own perspective alongside the Ayurvedic view on the use of this plant; that may help you make an educated decision when considering Marijuana.
In Ayurveda the governing energies or Prakṛti (universal nature) are these 3; which influence all that is in the cosmos and determine our will, physical health and spiritual development.
Sattvic – Balance, Order, Wholeness or Purity.
Rajas – Change, movement or dynamism.
Tamas – “too inactive” or “inertia”, negative, lethargic, dull, or slow, delusion, or ignorance.
In my experience and with my knowledge of Ayurvedic herbs I believe that there are much higher ‘resonance’ and less detrimental ‘legal’ herbs/plants out there, that have a more holistic effect on your health short term and long term. The use of specific herbs also enables a more Sattvic state of mind to unfold which help develop virtuous states of being such as patience, acceptance; creativity, kindness and wisdom to name a few. This would be better not just for the individual but society as a whole than a Tamasic state of being which is related to depression, laziness, greed; possessive personality traits and lack of empathy towards others. When I use the term holistic I am referring to the herbs that can balance the mind, body, spirit and create a more Sattvic inclined individual and creates the substance also known as ‘Ojas or ‘Sap or elixir of Life’. These Ojas govern our ability to learn, adapt and fend off disease and also help our mind become clear, stable and open our heart centred emotions.
When Tamas – (Darkness) is present Ojas become imbalanced or obstructed, the result being susceptibility to disease, incoherent thought patterns, loss of higher cognitive ability, speech and action, an inclination to laziness, and increased sleep ‘Tamas’. The functionality of our Sukra or Reproductive Tissue is also reliant on these ‘Ojas’ and recent research has shown the immunosuppressive effects of Cannabinoids; causing the susceptibility of cannabis users to certain cancers and infections which may directly related to the absence of Oja’s.
Marijuana is used worldwide for a variety of reasons many of which are seen to be negative and positive, so I would like to briefly examine why people may feel inclined to smoke Marijuana? There are a lot of claims that Marijuana does this and that,whether it be for creativity or to simply relax though underlying all this maybe a desire to have freedom to what we want- as we all know what’s best for our health or do we?
Some of the possible reasons I have observed for use or abuse are as follows.
1. Marijuana as medicine
Yes marijuana ‘oil’ has some very unique compounds and when used properly can help people with specific afflictions have respite – I am not indicating that it does not have healing qualities when used correctly.
2. To get high
So what is getting ‘high’ is it just another term for escapism for which will only give short term relief. Does this in the long term have a downside, well I think the answer is pretty obvious.
Hiding something away or trying to mask any issue will reveal itself again in a myriad of ways, this may be the reason they call it a gateway drug as people may require something else in the long term to give them relief. Go for a run, learn to kitesurf or meditate. If you cannot think of anything else or don’t feel motivated this is ‘Tamas’ (inertia) in action. To alleviate this Tamasic energy one must incorporate some ‘Rajas’ (movement/fire) energies into ones diet or lifestyle alongside sattvic foods. Some Rajastic foods are coffee, sweet foods (Not candy) heavily spiced items (As these have the quality of fire which is transformation), Onions, Eggs and Fish. Sattvic foods are ones which are wholesome, pure, and organic freshly cooked among these are cereals, Wholemeal bread, Fresh fruit and vegetables, pure fruit juices, Organic Milk and Ghee, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, Honey and Some Herbal teas. Once these energies start to arise and Tamas is eliminated the individual will begin to feel more motivated, less fearful or indecisive and more driven thus eliminating the desire to escape as they will feel more embodied.
3. To relieve stress, anxiety, fear, pain or anger which tend to relate to personal or psychological issues many of which have deeper roots that some like to acknowledge or have the awareness to acknowledge.
In these cases the use of herbal medicines that have no addictive nature is the key and ones that are also Sattvic in nature are even better.
So let’s start with ‘stress’ which can be alleviated through the use of adaptagenic herbs such as Withania also known as Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is one of the most vital herbs in Ayurvedic healing and has been used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions. In Sanskrit Ashwagandha means “the strength of a horse,” indicating that the herb imparts the vigour and strength. Traditionally it been prescribed to help people strengthen their immune system after an illness and people who suffer from stress.
Anxiety is a product of the nervous system being imbalanced by exterior or dietary influences thus affecting the adrenal functionality which can be helped and in my own experience completely healed through the use of Bacopa aka Brahmi. Brahmi reveals its sattvic quality by helping to give up bad habits and all types of addictions. Brahmi also aids in recovery from alcoholism or drug abuse, and also helps to kick the sugar habit and is also valued as a ‘Rasayana’.
The onset of anxiety can also be related to excessive sugar intake which in the Ayurvedic system is considered ‘Tamasic’ and creates a dullness to ones state of being or psychological state that are also related to fear and anger. Many users seek out sugars when they are high, but what goes up must come down lending its hand to the downward spiral of lifestyle choices. This also effects their ability to choose natural or more sattvic inclined foods like fresh fruit as they become conditioned to that quick hit our refined sugars of today offers.
As a species we are such a curious bunch and seek out new experiences but this has harsh consequences as a race. We will munch on that new brand of cereal or take that new age Yogic style without really researching it in order to be perceived as being a part of the crowd, but why is it that we require to be part of something and often lose ourselves in the quest to be accepted. We tend to look to our peers for wisdom but is this positive if they are lack true awareness themselves. Marijuana in this context is seen to be cool, but who really knows or understands and truly acknowledges the sacredness of this ‘herb’ which is glorified all over the world especially in the entertainment industry.
I have been on the shamanic path now for a few years and one thing I have been taught through the use of plants such as the blue lotus is that for an individual to inhale this plant one must 1st meditate with the plant for 5 years then diet with it for a number a years before ones even puts the joint to ones lips. This is very likely because it’s a very high frequency plant and in my view is an alluring spirit and can make the user have a very pronounced Vata imbalance which causes delusion and irrational thought processes – There may be a reason people call it getting stoned. To use such high frequency plants one must first defy all there lower emotions because if there is any split in one’s mind or personality these plants only amplifies these traits.
Over the course of our curiosity we tend to throw ourselves into something without knowing its full effect till years later and this is why the legalisation of this plant is not really the issue, the issue here is education and that people have full knowledge and understanding of its effects in the long term.
In the presence of knowledge is the absence of ignorance – Siddha Somanomah
Some other of the adverse effects are not just psychosis or what I have included above but also Marijuana use during adolescence interferes with proper brain development and can increase the risk of chemical imbalance in later life and according to Jadgish N Vaidya, director of Maharishi Ayurvedic programs at Lancaster Health Center, in Lancaster Massachusetts.. “Recreational use of marijuana creates Ama, which in Ayurvedic terms is toxic and in any cases detrimental to our health.
5. Helps with appetite
Yes the munchies. Just recently some researchers have been able to get a better understanding of how marijuana alters appetite. The compounds in Marijuana effects the sections of the hypothalamus and hind brain that regulate food intake and trigger the reward centre of the brain – helping food make us feel better. So yes it’s been researched that Marijuana increases appetite which for people who have wasting syndrome or are ill and don’t crave food naturally Marijuana can help them have some actual nourishment from food instead of synthetic drugs etc. But what about us who have no real problem with appetite or physically eating food? In my view that is aligned with the Ayurvedic model this is a serious issue. Not only is it effecting our natural urges but it also has a detrimental effect on our organic palette and natural constitution. This impact of eating when you’re not actually requiring nourishment causes toxins ‘Ama’ in the system, which if not attended to early on lead to disease, cancer, reproductive issues, bone degeneration and malnutrition; as the digestive fire ‘Agni’ is constrained our ability to assimilate any nutrients is greatly impaired.
So if you don’t see this as cause for alarm, what does one reach for when one has the munchies? Is it a bowl of veggies? Is fresh fruit? Is it a seasonal salad? No I thought not. Usually stoners reach for food that give instant gratification such as sugary foods, food with preservatives/colours or food with excess salt all of which are ‘Tamasic’ in nature. The excess use of sugary foods have an adverse effect on the nervous system leading to fear and anxiety. Excess salt dulls the taste buds which make us crave increasingly saltier foods in order to actually taste them and when it comes to foods with preservatives you can draw your own conclusion on their nature and the intention put into them by the companies spewing them out.
Dark and dull. A Tamasic diet benefits neither the mind nor the body. Energy (prana) is withdrawn, powers of reasoning become clouded and a sense of inertia and stagnancy sets in. The body’s resistance to disease is destroyed and the mind is gripped with darker emotions like I stated above.
Some Tamasic foods include Red Meat, avocado, mushrooms, garlic, lamb, pork, alcohol, non-ceremonial inorganic tobacco, onions, garlic, fermented foods, such as vinegar, stale and left over food, contaminated or overripe substances and all fast food and other intoxicants including drugs. Basically all food that is over-processed, no longer fresh, and/or difficult to digest are all Tamasic. Also foods that are prepared unconsciously or while the preparer is angry or in a negative mood are also considered Tamasic. If you are interested in vital health and spiritual growth it is best to avoid these foods which is considered the Yogic diet.
Also in relation to being ‘stoned’ or ‘out of it’ when we have the munchies the combination of certain foods also have an impact on our digestive system and overall health.
Below is a simple outline of bad combination foods.
Basically the consumption of heavy foods with light foods, the intake of frozen with hot is not advised and drinking water with a meal also diminishes our digestive fire ‘Agni’ (always wait ½ an hour after a meal before taking liquids)
Some basic concepts of an Ayurvedic Food Combining program include the following:
Avoid taking dairy with meat, sour or citrus fruits, eating fruits with potatoes or other starchy foods. Never cook with honey! – Uncooked honey is nectar; cooked honey is poison. Do not eat meat protein and milk protein together. Meat is heating and milk is cooling so they counteract one another, disturb Agni and produce Ama. Ayurveda also advises against taking milk with sour fruits, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, and fish.
In closing the recreational use of Marijuana on the mind, body and subtle body is very regressive and can lead to bad lifestyle choices and dysfunction of the 13 bodily humors (strotas) many of which are usually not detected till it’s too late; with the diagnosis at these later stages being quite difficult as it could be a number factors that may determine the source of the illness.
I would like to end on something that is a bit reflective. I pointed to the foods people crave when they are high which I will call ‘Bad mood food’, in the ancient Hindu texts the sages state that there are two gates to each human being one being the higher (mouth) and lower being the genitals. If one cannot tame there food intake one cannot and will not tame there sexual impulses. This begs the question how moral and true is our sexual drive when the food we are consuming is generating Tamas ‘Darkness’ – Food for thought.