The Spiritual Harmfulness of Marijuana and Other Psychedelic Drugs
Welcome to SpiritualHarmofMarijuana.com
The Spiritual Harmfulness of Marijuana and Other Psychedelic Drugs
Welcome to SpiritualHarmofMarijuana.com
Welcome to SpiritualHarmofMarijuana.com
Welcome to SpiritualHarmofMarijuana.com
Re-posted at http://SpiritualHarmofMarijuana.com with permission of Dr. Mark Toomey
The Ayurvedic View of Marijuana
Posted on July 5, 2012 at http://mapi.com/blog/the-ayurvedic-view-of-marijuana/
Authors – By Mark Toomey, Ph.D., Director of Maharishi Ayurvedic Programs, The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa, Fairfield, Iowa with comments from Jagdish N. Vaidya, former Director of Ayurvedic Programs at the Lancaster Health Center, Lancaster, Massachusetts; Alarik Arenander, Ph.D., Director, The Brain Research Institute, Fairfield, IA; Raju Hajela, M.D., M.P.H., President and Medical Director, and addictions expert, H.U.M. Health Upwardly Mobile Inc., Calgary, AB, Canada, Vaidya Shekhar Annambhotla, Ayurvedic Expert, President of AAPNA (Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America)
The Proper Use of Herbs – Ayurveda’s Caution
It is understandable that some people may think at first that anything that is “natural” and gives a measure of relaxation is a good thing. But with experience, it becomes obvious that not every plant that grows in nature is necessarily safe or without negative side-effects.
Today the hemp plant, or Cannabis sativa L. (cannabis for short), more commonly known as marijuana, is the subject of heated debate in the US. A recent campaign in California attempting to legalize marijuana narrowly failed. Although cannabis, like any drug, may have some health benefits (for example, under proper professional care, the therapeutic treatment of chronic pain and some neurological disorders), it may also have a number of adverse effects, including psychosis. Cannabis use during adolescence interferes with proper brain development, may cause anxiety disorders, and increases the risk of developing psychotic disorders later in life. The past forty years of research on cannabis and its active compounds clearly indicates that cannabis use is not without risks for brain dysfunction.
Marijuana is not a new plant. Its properties were described by ayurvedic physicians thousands of years ago in India. This article is intended to provide readers with an ayurvedic and medical perspective on the facts and risks for recreational and medicinal use of marijuana and its health consequences.
The ayurvedic texts declare that a medicine properly used becomes nectar and improperly used becomes poison.
Medical Research on Marijuana (Cannabis)
Current reviews of the medical research literature suggest that daily consumption of cannabis in teens is associated with depression and anxiety and development of schizophrenia. Studies indicate that its use can have an irreversible, long-term effect on the brain. Imaging studies show significant changes in brain function and, with continued use, the appearance of functional ‘holes’ — vast areas of brain matter that are dysfunctional. There is some evidence that regional structural changes are associated with cannabis use patterns as well as measures of psychopathology. The volume of cortical grey matter is progressively reduced in schizophrenia, with larger grey matter volume decreases associated with cannabis use. A current neurophysiological model indicates cannabis-induced schizophrenia is a distortion of normal late-postnatal brain maturation. Adolescent exposure to cannabis transiently disturbs physiological control of the endogenous cannabinoid system over brain function. As a result, THC (the primary active ingredient in cannabis) may adversely affect adolescent experience-dependent maturation of neural wiring within prefrontal cortical areas. Depending on the amount, time and duration of use, this may ultimately lead to the development of psychosis or schizophrenia. Together, these studies highlight the cannabis-related dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex, the central switchboard of executive control and decision-making. Think of the prefrontal cortex as the highest, most powerful value of the ‘intellect.’ As such and as part of a distributed neural reward system, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for guiding our thinking, emotions and behavior along evolutionary, non-destructive pathways.
Drugs can be used, abused or addictive. Abuse is a behavior that continues to occur in the face of obvious negative consequences because one is uneducated or unaware; however, addiction is a brain disease characterized by impaired behavior control that is evident to others while the individual affected becomes increasingly distorted and dysfunctional in their thinking, feelings and behaviors. Gambling may be exciting, but you end up in financial and family ruin most of the time. THC disrupts prefrontal cortical function communication with other brain regions. If the prefrontal cortex goes offline, then our ability to monitor and respond properly to negative outcomes (think of a variety of brain and behavioral problems) is reduced and eventually lost. One is left with the addiction and increasing difficulties in life. Recent research suggests chronic interference with the endocannabinoid system by marijuana use may facilitate drug dependence and impair the body’s natural homeostatic balancing mechanisms.
The Biochemistry of Cannabis
The primary active ingredient of cannabis is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). This compound is the main psychoactive component of cannabis because it mimics the actions of naturally-occurring chemicals in the nervous and immune systems that are called endocannabinoids. THC does this by activating cannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoid system is involved in a variety of critical brain processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. These same receptors play a major role in drug abuse as well. THC alters the activity of central reward pathways in a manner that is consistent with other abused drugs. Most users have no understanding that current marijuana cultivation is yielding THC levels that are consistently 5-20 times more potent than those found in the 1960s and 70s. Thus, each inhalation can lead to considerably more impact subjectively that must be associated with larger, more disruptive levels in the brain.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group neuromodulatory lipids (fats) and receptors. In recent years, this system has emerged as an important regulator of a wide variety of functions in the central nervous system. It appears to modulate widespread neuronal activities and is responsible for the fine-tuned functioning of the central nervous system, aimed at ensuring balance functioning ─ homeostatic conditions ─ of the brain. Importantly, given its biochemical and physiological features, the ECS appears to act “on demand.” Thus, the system intervenes to maintain the body’s balance only when and where its activity is needed. The key words here are “on demand!”
The human body makes its own cannabinoids as a means of maintaining homeostasis. The whole system, like everything in the human body, is very delicate and complicated. Unfortunately, marijuana is like a ‘sledge hammer’, a very potent, crudely-introduced influence that overloads the brain and bodily regulation. Use of marijuana distorts the intelligent functioning of the brain’s endocannabinoid system. Artificial ingestion of cannabinoids in the form of cannabis throws the body out of balance, interfering with an otherwise precise mechanism. Though marijuana may provide some short-term subjective high, its use may induce short- as well as long-term disturbance of the normal equilibrium of the ECS system and may contribute to a variety of different unwanted symptoms and diseases. Research also suggests that marijuana does qualify as a ‘gateway’ drug, increasing the likelihood that the casual user will engage in drugs that are both stronger and more destructive as the disease of addiction progresses — biologically, psychologically, socially and spiritually.
The Ayurvedic Perspective
One of the founders of Ayurveda, Dhanavantari, developed a medical lexicon of the qualities and effects of herbs, including cannabis. According this description, Cannabis is sharp, heating and light in its quality. Being sharp and ‘heating’, it increases humoral bile and removes humoral phlegm. It also stimulates delusions, slows speech, and raises the heat of the digestive fire. Note, these ancient symptoms are all so common to the cannabis user of today: hallucinations, distortion of speech and cognition and the ‘munchies.’
In Ayurveda, cannabis used as a recreational drug is considered toxic to the mind and body. It has been used for thousands of years as a component in various preparations but not as an isolated herb. In Ayurveda, it is not considered an important herb. However, like any botanical, this herb can have some good effects depending on what you are using it to do. When properly prepared in a synergistic formula and used in minute quantities under the care and direction of an expert, it can aid digestion. The use of cannabis is always in a synergy with other herbs and spices and never by itself. (No such products are sold in the United States)
People ask, why would it be that an herb that has medical use in some cases can cause negative side-effects in other cases? According to the Ayurvedic texts, medicine properly used becomes nectar and improperly used become poison. When marijuana is used in ways not prescribed or intended (for example, in doses and for periods of time not prescribed), it can cause a host of imbalances and side-effects including stimulating delusions and slowing speech.
“Recreational use of marijuana creates ama,“ says Jadgish N Vaidya, director of Maharishi Ayurvedic programs at Lancaster Health Center, in Lancaster Massachusetts. “It impairs digestion and intellect, it upsets hormonal balances, and it can be addictive, in the traditional view of Ayurveda.” The classically trained Vaidya, or Ayurvedic expert adds, “It is not a path to enlightenment. Enlightenment is the moment-to-moment awareness of totality; the full inner and full outer value of awareness. Not the loss of awareness.”
Marijuana and the Mistake of the Intellect – The Ayurvedic Source of Disease
Pragya aparadh means the mistaken intellect, which becomes isolated from the rest of the universe. It is considered in Ayurveda to be the root cause of all disease and problems in life. Through the mistake of the intellect our physiology forgets its basis in the unmanifest, unified state of pure consciousness. There are three key elements to Pragya aparadh. All three features of this mistaken intellect are caused and aggravated by continued recreational use of cannabis.
1.) Buddhi Vibrhramsh is the disturbed intellect. In this condition one sees that which is harmful as useful.
2.) Dhriti Bhramsha is disturbed self-control where one cannot be restrained from that which is asatmya (unwholesome), or that which deranges the mind.
3.) Smriti Bhramsha, disturbed memory where the texts say that the Self (sattwa) is covered by rajas and tamas.
Ayurveda states that the ideal mind is Sattwa, or purity. Intake of cannabis aggravates Rajas as seen in the increase of appetite and in long term user’s aggression, and Tamas as seen in the dullness, tiredness, incoherent thinking and memory loss. Using cannabis from an Ayurvedic perspective, for something other than what it is intended, in ways not prescribed or intended, causes imbalance to manas, the mind. Note here that these features are consistent with the loss of prefrontal cortex executive control over thinking, feeling and behavior associated with cannabis use. Increasing dysfunction in this brain region is a prime nexus for extraordinary potent hold of addiction and why overcoming addiction is so difficult.
Cannabis use also interferes with Ojas, the master biochemical which promotes unity, immunity and balance on all levels of mind and body. The physiology reflects Ojas through its balanced self-referral functioning. When Ojas is imbalanced or obstructed, the result is susceptibility to disease, incoherent thought, speech and action, an inclination to laziness, somnolence, and increased sleep. Ojas is also associated with sukra or reproductive tissue. Recent research has shown the immunosuppressive effects of cannabinoids causing the susceptibility of cannabis users to certain cancers and infections. Modern research suggests that heavy marijuana use lowers men’s testosterone levels and sperm count and quality.
As indicated, used as a recreational drug, Cannabis is toxic. Smoking is a delivery therapy for some herbs for a variety of conditions in Ayurveda. It is not used in any Maharishi Ayurveda treatments in the US. Traditionally, this kind of delivery requires the strict preparation of ingredients in precise formulations for very specific conditions. If used at all, it is prescribed at specific times by trained experts under careful expert guidance. It is further stated in Ayurveda that if one smokes the wrong substance at the wrong time, it will create disease.
Cannabis smoke contains 400 compounds including 60 cannabinoids. However, because of its lower combustibility it contains 50% more carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons including naphthalene, benzanthracene, and benzopyrene, than tobacco smoke. A recent Canadian study found that marijuana smoke caused significantly more damage to cells and DNA than tobacco smoke. There is now convincing evidence that due to this toxicity of cannabis that regular usage damages DNA leaving the possibility of the initiation of cancer development.
Research indicates that loss of mental stability is one significant side-effect from recreational marijuana use. In Ayurveda the Sanskrit term Unmaada means a profound impairment of judgement, perception and clarity.
The cause of Unmaada is multifold:
1.) The aggravation of the doshas
2.) Regimens not conducive to health
3.) Uses of substances or behaviors not conducive to health
These conditions can cause the mind and intellect to lose their state of balance. Unmaada is characterized by perversion of the mind, intellect, consciousness, memory, desire, manners, behavior and conduct.
These traits can be seen in Cannabis users as the different kinds of Unmaad.
Alternatives to Creating Balance
It is understandable that people seek out natural substances like herbs to bring balance to their lives, to relax and to relieve pain and stress. However, from the perspective of modern science and from Maharishi Ayurveda®, the use of marijuana can create serious imbalances in the mind and body, especially when used recreation-ally. The pleasurable effect of a recreational substance is transient at best, with substantial negative side effects with continued use. And, though there are those who hope that marijuana might contribute to their health and enlightenment, it is the opinion of Ayurvedic experts that it does the opposite, contributing to loss of mental balance and integration. Research documents that the evolution of brain function associated with the experience of enlightenment depends upon increased neural coherence or integration. The use of marijuana, regardless of its ability to induce some subjective temporary relief, is incompatible with the path of enlightenment. Introducing disorder has never been an effective source of creating orderliness and balance in brain function.
Well being, happiness and enlightenment are based on creating an integrated state of balance, and wholeness in all the different and complex systems of the body. There are many safe, alternative health promoting modalities that an expert in Maharishi Ayurveda can recommend to help you achieve remarkable stable states of balance, relaxation, connectedness, integration and freedom from pain.
First, they may recommend an array of safe herbal formulations and natural health therapies including massage and sound therapy.
Second, and most importantly, they would recommend the experience of transcendence, through the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique. Research on the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM Sidhi program has demonstrated the beneficial effect from this simple effortless program for the individual including better health and increased happiness, confidence, esteem, IQ and creativity. Research on this practice documents the rapid and continued development of brainwave coherence significantly correlated with increased sense of self, reduction in anxiety, improved self image, improved academic performance, increased more reasoning and higher levels of creativity and intelligence. Research on the recreational use of cannabis has not.
The Transcendental Meditation Program is a time-tested way to eliminate the mistake of the intellect (Pragya aparadh). It offers a direct means to transcend and gain direct experience of the underlying unified pure consciousness which restores balance to both mind and body. During this experience, the prefrontal cortex becomes remarkably more orderly both during the practice and a continued growth in daily life. It enhances the executive control center for decision-making, motivation, sense of self and self-awareness allowing for a more powerful experience of ones self and deep connectedness to the world we are in. Decades of research on TM shows great health benefits to mind and body including significantly less use of recreational and addictive drugs in those who practice.
Third, Maharishi Ayurveda offers a variety of modalities – means – to help those who have damaged their systems through cannabis abuse, including herbal cleanse programs and traditional in-residence ayurvedic purification programs like panchakarma. For more information on panchakarma contact The Raj in Fairfield Iowa.
The basic cause of ill health and lack of happiness is the violation of natural law. Developing increased brain orderliness and higher levels of awareness, allows a person to think with greater clarity and power, and make choices in accord with Natural Law. From this level of awareness, the choices produce more success and happiness.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi revived in its completeness the ancient system of natural health, known as Ayurveda. Maharishi Ayurveda® is the science of naturally maintaining and restoring balance in the mind and physiology. There are many modalities of Maharishi Ayurveda to help restore and maintain balance which includes the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation®, advanced techniques of meditation, self-balance assessment, specialized diets, spices, daily and seasonal routines, herbal preparations and in-depth purification procedures. Additional approaches include Vedic architecture, agriculture, and the science of the Vedic Astrology and Yagya, which assess and engage the influence of the sun, moon and stars on health (Maharishi Jyotishsm).
This article was written to answer the question “What is the Ayurvedic view of marijuana?” Interestingly, most of the ancient Ayurvedic viewpoints, generally parallel what modern research is learning.
Below, are some science citations that may be of interest to readers.
…cannabis, like any drug, may have some health benefits (for example, under proper professional care, the therapeutic treatment of chronic pain and some neurological disorders:
Cannabis use during adolescence interferes with proper brain development, may cause anxiety disorders, and increases the risk of developing psychotic disorders later in life. Psychosis:
The past forty years of research on cannabis and its active compounds clearly indicates that cannabis use is not without risks for brain dysfunction.
Current reviews of the medical research literature suggest that daily consumption of cannabis in teens is associated with depression and anxiety and development of schizophrenia. Studies indicate that its use can have an irreversible, long-term effect on the brain. Imaging studies show significant changes in brain function and, with continued use, the appearance of functional ‘holes’ — vast areas of brain matter that are dysfunctional.
There is some evidence that regional structural changes are associated with cannabis use patterns as well as measures of psychopathology. The volume of cortical grey matter is progressively reduced in schizophrenia, with larger grey matter volume decreases associated with cannabis use.
A current neurophysiological model indicates cannabis-induced schizophrenia is a distortion of normal late-postnatal brain maturation. Adolescent exposure to cannabis transiently disturbs physiological control of the endogenous cannabinoid system over brain function. As a result, THC (the primary active ingredient in cannabis) may adversely affect adolescent experience-dependent maturation of neural wiring within prefrontal cortical areas. Depending on the amount, time and duration of use, this may ultimately lead to the development of psychosis or schizophrenia.
Together, these studies highlight the cannabis-related dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex, the central switchboard of executive control and decision-making.
THC disrupts prefrontal cortical function communication with other brain regions.
Recent research suggests chronic interference with the endocannabinoid system by marijuana use may facilitate drug dependence and impair the body’s natural homeostatic balancing mechanisms.
THC alters the activity of central reward pathways in a manner that is consistent with other abused drugs. Most users have no understanding that current marijuana cultivation is yielding THC levels that are consistently 5-20 times more potent than those found in the 1960s and 70s. Thus, each inhalation can lead to considerably more impact subjectively that must be associated with larger, more disruptive levels in the brain.
Use of marijuana distorts the intelligent functioning of the brain’s endocannabinoid system.
…its use may induce short- as well as long-term disturbance of the normal equilibrium of the ECS system and may contribute to a variety of different unwanted symptoms and diseases.
http://www.calgarycmmc.com/cognativeeffects.htm#733759594 (numerous citations/studies)
Research also suggests that marijuana does qualify as a ‘gateway’ drug, increasing the likelihood that the casual user will engage in drugs that are both stronger and more destructive as the disease of addiction progresses — biologically, psychologically, socially and spiritually.
Cannabis smoke contains 400 compounds including 60 cannabinoids. However, because of its lower combustibility it contains 50% more carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons including naphthalene, benzanthracene, and benzopyrene, than tobacco smoke. A recent Canadian study found that marijuana smoke caused significantly more damage to cells and DNA than tobacco smoke.
There is now convincing evidence that due to this toxicity of cannabis that regular usage damages DNA leaving the possibility of the initiation of cancer development.
Research indicates that loss of mental stability is one significant side-effect from recreational marijuana use.
Additional unmentioned citations:
Attention. memory and learning: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana-abuse/how-does-marijuana-use-affect-school-work-social-life
Fetal Development: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana-abuse/can-marijuana-use-during-pregnancy-harm-baby
NYT on addiction and MJ: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/fashion/19pot.html?pagewanted=all
For permission to reprint, please contact Dr. Mark Toomey at firstname.lastname@example.org
Re-posted from http://jayakula.org/the-karma-of-legalizing-marijuana/
with the permission of Shambhavi Sarasvati
Many people make reasonable arguments in favor of using marijuana and its legalization. But when we investigate marijuana as spiritual practitioners, the View is a little different.
If you are a spiritual practitioner, or someone who wants to decrease your karmic entanglements, please consider these points.
1. The question of legalization is often argued in the context of a comparison to alcohol and the failures of prohibition. But if we are in the process of trying to wake up, marijuana is not very similar to alcohol.
As with every medicinal, ritual or psychotropic herb, cannabis has a unique personality, or way of acting in the world. The signal action of cannabis is to induce a lack of clarity in general, but also a special kind of lack of clarity about the herb itself.
Marijuana’s specific action on the subtle energy body causes people to develop strong attachments to beliefs that the herb is providing them with access to greater creativity, insight, spirituality, and nervous system relaxation.
This process is easier to understand in the context of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space.
In the beginning of someone’s relationship with marijuana, the natural bristling clarity of space element gets stepped down to a vague kind of spaciness lacking in brilliance and precision. Still, there is an echo here of the sense of wonder experienced by realized yogis.
The regulated movement of wind element that, in its most pristine condition can lead to real inspiration, becomes disorganized and hyper. It manifests as disjointed verbal excess and giggling. These wind and space element distortions combined create the illusion of inspired thinking.
Clarity can feel too intense or even painful when our elements are unbalanced. Marijuana shuts down space-element clarity. This feels relaxing. But prana is becoming more unseated and disorganized. Natural relaxation happens when prana is seated. Despite temporary relaxation, long-term, the nervous system is jangled.
Some people also feel that they can focus better when they are high on cannabis. The reason for this is two-fold. Marijuana both steps down the clarity of space element, while stimulating fire element. So there is, until fire element becomes too distorted in its expression, a temporary ability to focus, but narrowly as in a kind of tunnel vision.
Over the long term, quite a bit of exhaustion and stagnation develops. After early excesses, a heavy, tired, cloudy miasma sets in, and sometimes a dull, chronic anger and paranoia. Wind element is exhausted. It’s hard to find the get-up-and-go needed to get on with one’s life. Clarity is further impaired. But you still might think that everything is fine.
Contrast this to alcohol. People who abuse alcohol are shortly subject to a host of physical, emotional, relationship, financial and even spiritual crises. These are often the harbingers of a return to sobriety. While for karmic reasons, a person might make up stories about why it is okay to drink to excess, those stories are not being induced by the substance itself.
In fact, I have known quite a few active alcoholics and even heroin addicts who had absolute clarity about their condition. I can’t think of a single chronic pot smoker who was able to maintain clarity while still actively using. And I’ve known a lot of them.
Despite what some sadhus claim, smoking pot is not a path to enlightenment. Lack of clarity breeds fantasy, and fantasy is the death knell of any authentic spiritual practice. If you want to wake up, you won’t use cannabis recreationally, and you won’t incur the karma of supporting others to use it.
2. In my Ayurveda training, I learned several protocols for detoxification. We learned that the effects of marijuana linger, sometimes for years. A person who has been addicted to alcohol, and who wants to embark on a consistent spiritual practice can count on regaining ordinary clarity in a relatively short time. Of course, organ damage also has to be taken into account and treated. A person who chronically smokes pot will need to take herbs, even without any organ damage, sometimes for a couple of years.
Even if you are a casual user, the effects of marijuana accumulate and cause imbalances in your subtle body that tend to stick around and impact your clarity.
3. Even though most legalization schemes only allow folks to grow a limited number of plants for their own use, the fact that a single plant can fetch 5-20k is driving more people into the business of selling cannabis illegally. This creates stress for those people and more karmic entanglements. If you are a practitioner who sells marijuana, the situation is even worse. The simple fact is, you cannot build a life of waking up on the backs of people you are helping to put to sleep.
4. The legalization of cannabis and its subsequent regulation and taxation by the government creates more karmic entanglement for us as a nation. In a more enlightened society, the government would not allow itself to become financially dependent on drug-dependent people.
5. With legalization, the recreational use of cannabis is likely to become more accepted socially. Parents who understand the deleterious effects of cannabis will have a harder time convincing their children not to use it.
Marijuana does have legitimate medicinal and ritual uses. As a practitioner, I would personally never use marijuana for pain relief, but I can understand why others would choose it over opiates or synthetics.
The criminalization of marijuana has resulted in the incarceration of many people. It is not compassionate to incarcerate people simply for using drugs, or for the possession of a personal stash of drugs.
However, as practitioners, we should also consider a larger View. In a more enlightened society, punishment for punishment’s sake would be a non-issue, regardless of the “crime.” The notion of punishing a sentient being for having karmic tensions is nonsensical. We would only want to protect and care for each other. No one would be an outcast for any reason.
If you are a spiritual practitioner, or want to be, my advice to you is to not use cannabis in any form. The compassionate way is to understand the specificity of the karma (activity) of cannabis and to educate our children and others so that they can have more clarity and move forward toward greater awakening.
Shambhavi Sarasvati, the author of this statement on The Karma of Legalizing Marijuana, may be reached at email@example.com
Quotes from “Kabbalistic Insights into the Dangers of Drug Use”
by Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok
( http://www.koshertorah.com/PDF/drug-use.pdf )
….I have known my Rabbis specifically to not initiate anyone who has a history of hallucinogenic drug use. I was told, and have seen with my own eyes, that when one approaches the true spiritual courts wherein which G-d resides, one must be both, physically and psychologically grounded in the objective reality of that experience.
The astral, spiritual and sefirotic plans all have objective reality to them, as does our physical plane. One can artificially alter all the consciousness that one perceives. Yet,the experiences therein are nothing but subjective, and thus only a shadowy reflections of the truth. For example, if when in an altered state of consciousness, you decide to stand in front of a speeding train, thinking yourself to be Superman, you will very quickly realize that you are not.
Many people experimenting with mind-altering drugs feel themselves to be spiritual supermen. They believe that they can side step the long, ardent details of spiritual discipline. What they do not know is that what they are experiencing is not an objective reality, but a subjective one. Such subjective truths are of no concern for the Kabbalist,for such immature experiences are nothing but klipah (the glow that surrounds the true light). Bluntly put, such experiences are lies.
….chemical usage can sabotage this progression of learning.
According to the Torah, drug use for the purpose of spiritual gain or for any other kind of recreational use is wrong, misdirected, dangerous to both body and soul is and therefore condemned. There is no place for drug use in the life of a Jew walking the path of the Torah….
Copyright © 1993 - 2003 by Ariel Bar Tzadok.
A Communication in 2009 by an Anonymous Writer Concerning
Some Seldom Acknowledged and Little Understood Effects of Marijuana:
There are aspects of marijuana use that few people know about and fewer dare to talk about. I am sharing with you the widely known fact among persons who are psychically sensitive that the use of marijuana attracts to the user the lowest and darkest of influences. I realize that you will likely think me some kind of nut for saying this, but it is something that is well known to persons who are psychically sensitive. Even more problematic is the fact that it can take years after one has last used marijuana for the users to be rid of its influence. One spiritual teacher of my acquaintance has stated that it can take seven years to be rid of the effects of marijuana. Another spiritual teacher has said that the effects may continue even more than seven years after the last time that marijuana was used. The use of marijuana significantly handicaps a person spiritually, aside from the mental and physical harm that it can do. This is all very far out I know, but that is the way it is. These matters are rarely spoken of for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact that people may well think that the person who talks about such effects is somewhat, if not totally loony.
Views of a Psychic Who Passed Away in the 1980s
A well known psychic had warned individuals of her acquaintance of the dangers of psychedelic drugs. She had particularly warned of the dangers of using marijuana. She viewed it as being a drug of extremely low vibrations that attracted the lowest of entities from the astral realm. Those using marijuana risked opening themselves up to these extremely negative, malevolent, and mischievous influences.
Other psychics have explained that allowing oneself to become open to such outside "spirits" or "astral" influences or cultivating such experiences can result in what has been called "unwilling mediumship" or "spirit possession." Such psychics have further explained that persons who open themselves up to malevolent and/or mischievous outside influences, whether inadvertently or on purpose, may even mistakenly interpret such "channeling" and extra-sensory phenomenon as "benign" when it can in truth be anything but benign. Some may regard psychic phenomenon know as "astral journeying" as benign. No authentic spiritual master in this day and age would advocate the cultivation of any of these kinds of experiences. In addition, not all spiritual teachers may be able to undo the damage that can be done to an individual who has or continues to cultivate such experiences. This includes individuals who have "opened" themselves accidentally or on purpose with or without the use of drugs.
Views of a Theosophist
Will power is soul power. Using drugs leads to the abeyance of will power and hence the surrender of soul power.
Consciousness Expanding Drugs
Catalysts or Corrosives?
New Views on Psychedelics
Note: This article was originally distributed in pamphlet form in Berkeley, California and the San Francisco Bay Area in 1966, including at meetings and conferences attended by the then leading proponents of psychedelic drug experimentation. The present version of the article has been only slightly edited. The author had been involved in minimal experimentation and use of psychedelic drugs in 1963 and 1964 and was a first hand observer of their resulting widespread harmfulness and damage. The article is reprinted with the permission of the author.
The purpose of this pamphlet is to discuss certain aspects of the use of psychedelics with those who became interested in drugs primarily as a means of “liberation” and consciousness expansion to aid self-discover, self-realization or God-realization; also with those presently involved research with psychedelics. We are all responsible for informing ourselves about what we are doing and for honestly weighing the risks against the possible gains.
An acknowledged authority on the expansion and reorientation of consciousness is Maher Baba, a non-sectarian spiritual master living in India, who is regarded by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world as the leading spiritual luminary living today.  His most definitive work on this subject is God Speaks. Meher Baba’s messages regarding drugs were recently printed in a leaflet call “The Spiritual View on Psychedelics”. Baba has offered his views o this subject to any who care to listen. He likens the states that are induced through taking psychedelics, including marijuana, to a dream within a dream, delusion within illusion. He says, “For whatever reason the drugs are taken, in the long run the individual is harmed, spiritually, mentally, and physically. This is irrespective of whether this use is motivated by spiritual aspirations or otherwise.”
Psychedelics seem to offer a way out – a way that seems to make sense and that seems to cast everything in a new light. But this can lead to a false sense of security; you may feel you have arrived when, in truth, you have barely begun to scratch the surface.
There are two recent quotes regarding the enticing features of drugs that are especially pertinent here. One appeared in the April 20, 1966 issue of Manas. The writer of an article about the psychedelic drug movement observed that “the appeal of spiritual delights climaxed by a chemical ‘illumination’ that will dispense with long years of personal striving is likely to be persuasive to anybody able to believe that the universe is constructed for his effortless ease and translation.” He ended his article with a reference to the enlightenment that the Buddha achieved. He said I “involved neither a proprietor nor a proprietary: and that “Buddha was his own man:; he relied on no outer agent.
The second related quote is from Professor Abraham Maslow. Regarding the “wild use of LSD by unselected people: he said, “…even if the drugs were not harmful psychologically, I think they can be harmful spiritually, characterologically, etc. I think it’s clearly better to work for your blessings, instead of to buy them. I think an unearned Paradise become worthless.”
The statements in Manas and from Professor Maslow point to one of the most beguiling attributes of the drugs: psychedelics appear to hold an answer to dailyness of our lives and to the frustrations, distrust and meaninglessness that permeate so many lives. But psychedelics not only do not hold the answer, they delay our finding an abiding understanding and finding an answer to the question: What am I doing here?
Though taking psychedelics your way is inevitably made more difficult. The unnatural stimulation of certain faculties and the speeding up of certain insights, can create an imbalance which, while not always immediately apparent, can result in years of needless struggle to get one’s feet back on the ground again.
What you are convinced is “up” by taking psychedelics is actually “over and out”. Psychedelics have more to do with psychic phenomena and extrasensory perception than with spirituality. But it is a peculiarly western habit to associate anything that passes for the supernatural with the spiritual. This is not the case. Psychic phenomena and the occult in general are discussed by Meher Baba in many places in his published writings. A lengthy discussion appears in his Discourses. Other insights can be found in Beams from Meher Baba on the Spiritual Panorama. In Beams, Meher Baba says,
……The curious might very well occupy their minds with these things, but they are best relegated to the background as insignificant. The real lover of Truth passes by these things without becoming entangled with any of them. He cannot afford to be distracted or diverted from his real objective, viz., attaining union with God and releasing the radiance of His purity and love.
Psychedelics create distraction and also disorient the senses. S.I. Hayakawa has said in the December 1965 issue of ETC., “Perhaps my basic reason for distrusting the dependence on ‘mind-expanding’ drugs is that most people haven’t learned to use the senses they possess….I say, why disorient your beautiful senses with drugs and poisons before you have half discovered what (your senses) can do for you?”
No one in his right mind would want to be mad. Yet hundreds of persons, many with a pioneering spirit, are risking just such a fate because of the lure of the psychedelic bonanza.
Meher Baba has never been known to say that drugs cannot be administered by properly qualified medical doctors for treating physical ailments. The question arises in the case of legitimate experimentation with LSD and other psychedelics: Are health people being used as guinea pigs and for no good reason?
Through the observations of those who take psychedelics, one may well conclude that the drugs can trigger an opening-up process whereby the psychic propensities may be turned on. Continued use of psychedelics may seem to open them even more. When once opened, exciting events, stressful experiences, hysterical outbursts, may of themselves cause these potentially dangerous psychic attributes to develop. While some people enjoy uncanny psychic states, others find them maddening. Uncanny experience can cause unreasoning fears. When a person is up, he may feel that he may never come down. Of course, some don’t. Many have committed suicide and many are in artificially-induced schizophrenic states today. In a recently published stated, Dr. William A. Frosch, a psychiatrist at New York University Medical School, says in essence that LSD reaction can recur without taking the drug a second time, that these recurrences are usually transient and that they seem to occur during times of stress.
Self-help and helping others is a far more subtle affair than most of us have ever imagined. Psychedelics can disorient your life because no one can know you well enough, and know how the drug will work on you to be able to gauge the immediate and long-range effects, or to help you recover from a bad experience or even to assimilate a good experience. The psychedelic guru assumes that a few hours or even a few days of preliminary instructions will adequately prepare most subjects for a “smooth trip” or an experience free from panic. It is a major fallacy to think that someone who is himself searching for the truth, and presumes that he is finding it, can necessarily help another person with any degree of safety for himself or the person he is presumably helping. Meher Baba has explained that only a person on the fifth plane of consciousness can help another attain spiritual development without risk of spiritual harm to himself or the person being “helped”. When you come to realize that most of us are not even on the inner planes, let alone standing in any relationship to the beginning of the planes, then you begin to see that those who can help you in a natural manner are few and far between. Those who can help you in the way the psychedelic guru think he is helping you, are the most misguided of souls and are endangering their own progress in ways they cannot imagine.
Some people get so disoriented from using psychedelics that they go on for years unaware of some of the distressing changes in themselves. It is as if they lose all sense of discernment, all natural sense of the fitness of behavior. The psychedelic game is rapidly developing into both a generative and reactionary game. This is especially ironic since many psychedelic users think they are escaping from outmoded conventionality. Through taking psychedelics they have surrendered the management of their minds to the strongest artificial mind-changing agents ever known. Some have done this through the urging of others, or under the tutelage of a “psychedelic guru”. But the result is always the same: the person who should be at the controls, and who needs to be at the controls if there is to be any true progress, has given over the controls in a child-like belief that somehow everything will be all right, even though neither he nor anyone else can ultimately govern what happens during or as a result of a psychedelic drug experience.
Taking psychedelics can lead a person to become impervious to all human values. Their use can also lead to self-righteousness and a deepening blindness to what is worthwhile in life. In a statement made by Edward J. Bloustein, President of Bennington College, this relevant thought is made:
The self-righteousness and obtuseness of those who are committed to revolt and defiance, on principle and instinct, is no less objectionable than that of those who are unswervingly committed to habit, custom, and tradition. Likewise those who are impervious to all human values, who are detached from all the restraints of social life, are as convention-ridden and morally myopic in their way as the pillars of social respectability are in theirs.
These drugs are affecting the lives of thousands of people. The suffering and the anguish that is being experience because of them, not only by the users, but by friends, family and innocent bystanders, are not calculable. A sociologist at the University of California wrote that he concurred with Meher Baba's views “that true understanding is not to be found through this route,” and he added that “it seemed exceedingly difficult to convince young people that the problem is not merely in the minds of squares.”
The further-out one gets with drugs, the more dissociated from reality, the more deeply one becomes enmeshed in what Meher Baba called “the drug net of illusion.” The psychedelic experience has acted to reinforce certain attitudes and misconceptions. Loudon Wainwright makes the following point regarding “the young people who are embracing the LSD craze” in his column in Life:
By envisioning power in themselves that does not exist, by wiping out limits that are there, by taking the quick, free ride to what feels like everything, they might not find out what they really are.
Not only does the psychedelic experience obscure real limitations, it also creates new ones by reinforcing isolation through thought, behavior and a strange kind of drug user’s snobbishness. By feeding distrust, hatred, brashness, hypocrisy, arrogance and lack of compassion for others into society, the drug user is nurturing many of the qualities that he himself hates. The psychedelic cultist is in effect making his own life and the lives of all of us more difficult. This comes about through the disharmony and the destructive elements that the movement is fostering. Meher Baba says that it is not physical wars that constitute the greatest threat and do the most destruction to humanity, it is the mental warring that foes on between people in their thinking, and subtly wishing ill of others, and greedily wanting all the best for themselves. Physical wars are simply symptomatic of this more elemental discontent and disharmony.
Meher Baba has recently warned that if the drug use in this country continues to increase, especially among college students, that half of the people in this country could soon become deranged. Some say that they do not believe this. Some others might say that they feel that most people are already mad.
Psychedelic users have rejected games that they see others playing and they have not been able to evolve a game that works to replace the ones that they have rejected. Meher Baba says that the only game worth playing has to do with deepening one’s perceptions and striving to become a better person. He says in the Discourses:
To penetrate into the essence of all being and significance and to release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others, by expressing, in the world of forms, truth, love, purity and beauty – this is the sole game which has any intrinsic and absolute worth. All other happenings, incidents and attainments can, in themselves, have no lasting importance.
One of the reasons so many people hang on with such reverence to their psychedelic experience is that this experience has decreased their inhibitions in such a way that for the first time they feel a sense of freeness with others and a feeling that is often equated in their minds with pure love. If you are convinced through taking psychedelic that this is the only way to reach this elusive experience of “real” love, you will not be easily persuaded that the artificial route is not only not necessary, it is not authentic.
The way to real love is not easy. It cannot come about through taking drugs. In response to an inquiry, Meher Baba has assured one of the well-known popularizers of the drug movement that although that individual felt that drugs had made him a better man, “Love will make one a better man than drugs or any other artificial aid ever will.”
The proselytizers even the legitimate researchers, are forgetting a most obvious question: Who needs these drugs? Why take such risks when the results are obviously so entirely incalculable to anyone who takes a look around.
 Meher Baba lived from February 25, 1894 to January 31, 1969.
 Published by Dodd, Mead & Co., 1955. Also see What Am I Doing Here? by Ivy O. Duce, Sufism Reoriented, Inc., Walnut Creek, CA, 1966.
 In a letter from Abraham Maslow to the author in 1966.
 Sufism Reoriented, Inc., Walnut Creek, CA, 1967.
 Sufism Reoriented, Inc. Walnut Creek, CA, initially published in 1958; also see Ivy O. Duce, What Am I Doing Here?, ob. cit.., see especially pp. 31 – 36.
 Beams, op. cit, page 37.
 For a discussion of the seven planes of consciousness, see God Speaks, op. cit.
 In a letter to the author.
 March 25, 1966
 Meher Baba, Discourses, Sufism Reoriented, Inc., Walnut Creek, CA, 1967. See Volume II, Part III of Section 8 on “The Place of Occultism in Spiritual Life,” p. 110.
 Also see Meher Baba, “God in a Pill? at http://www.avatarmeherbaba.org/erics/godpill.html
Money Won’t Buy You Love and Neither Will Drugs
(This article by a short-term experimenter with psilocybin, LSD, and marijuana has been reprised from the 1960s.)
Posted at http://SpiritualHarmofMarijuana.com
Reprinted with the permission of the author. )
“Selfishness inevitably leads to dissatisfaction and disappointment, because desires are endless” (Meher Baba). If one would find satisfaction in living, selfish tendencies must give way to selflessness. It is love that facilitates this transition, pure unadulterated love that finds its expression in caring for others, extending them a helping hand, adding happiness to their lives, spiritually enriching the lives of others.
The great souls throughout history have manifested such love in their lives. Following their example may seem deceptively easy, for it is not external appearances that count or temporary internal changes. Spirituality has to do with the complete transformation of the tenor of one’s life.
It is not difficult to be beguiled by the false promises of instant spirituality held by such drugs as LSD and other hallucinogens, including marijuana. But the question that must be asked is this: Can the use of such drugs truly help anyone become more loving? Can real love ever be a forced or a chemically induced affair? A real and abiding love such as the love that is manifest in the lives of great souls would seem to have come from the nurturing and full and spontaneous expression of heart qualities. Such love would seem to be sustained without resorting to external stimuli. The love that is naturally brought to fruition in the life of a great soul has staying power. By contrast, the attitude that may pass for love that can sometimes seem to be induced through the use of drugs wears off sooner or later and can never be regarded as one’s own attainment. Sooner or later those who honestly seek to spiritualize their lives realize that they have been taken in, even made fools of. There may even be crippling side effects from attempts to artificially transform or induce changes in one’s life. These side effects may linger, impeding efforts to find satisfaction and happiness in life.
How can the tenor of life be transformed in a significant and lasting way? It would seem to be through the cultivation of the kind of love that is manifest in the lives of great souls. The pure and unadulterated love that emanates from such souls is said to spring from a source that is within, “a source which is independent of stimuli.” (Meher Baba). All human beings would seem to have already within out own grasp the means for realizing this love. By an effort of will it is possible to begin the process of abolishing selfishness and supplanting selfish tendencies with selflessness, clearing the way for the release of the love latent in each of us.
Experiences that are artificially induced through the use of drugs can have effects that can seriously jeopardize the progress of those aspiring to realize their essential humanity and spirituality. This is owing to the fact that such experience end to rob users and experimenters of their will power, delaying the day that they begin to come to terms with selfish tendencies and begin to work toward a real transformation of their lives. The use of drugs can impede or delay the release of the unadulterated, selfless love that might one day flow spontaneously from the user or experimenter.
Meher Baba has written that “the birth of love is facilitated by the death of selfishness. Being is dying by loving.” This is the process in which the spiritual aspirant eventually becomes involved.
If one would truly help others, one must begin to spiritual one’s own life, and not just for the time, and not in a superficial and haphazard way, but in a way that leads to the fruition and expression of the essence of the soul. In this way those who are honestly seeking bring realize and help others realize and experience that which is latent, that which is divine in each soul, love.
For Meher Baba’s views on the spiritual, mental, and physical harmfulness of the use of marijuana and other psychedelic drugs, see “God in a Pill?” excerpts posted at
Spiritual Harmfulness of Marijuana
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