“None of Dr. Leary's most important studies have either suffered refutation or enjoyed confirmation, because enacted law, statues enacted after and because of Dr. Leary's research - makes it a crime for any other psychologists or psychiatrists to replicate such research. I know you've heard that the Inquisition ended in 1819, but in many areas of psychotherapy and medicine, the U.S. government has taken up where the Vatican left off.” - Robert Anton Wilson
The tides, however, are turning. With the federal government stating that they will not interfere with the legalization of cannabis in Washington State and Colorado, and corporate shills like John McCain and mainstream pundits like Dr. Sanjay Gupta favoring legalization of cannabis, we might well be on our way towards an age of enlightenment.
click to enlarge - Source: “Legality of cannabis by country”
Below you will find some relevant information regarding this topic; from where we’ve been, to how far we’ve come, and what we have to look forward to:
I. UN’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs
In 1961, on behest of the United States of America, the United Nations passed the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (full text), an international treaty signed, at the time, by 73 nations - 184 at present - to “prohibit production and supply of specific (nominally narcotic) drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under licence for specific purposes.” As of March 2005, 116 drugs (full list - pdf) were controlled under this Convention:
“Earlier treaties had only controlled opium, coca, and derivatives such as morphine, heroin and cocaine. The Single Convention, adopted in 1961, consolidated those treaties and broadened their scope to include cannabis and drugs whose effects are similar to those of the drugs specified….Even though the Preamble of the Single Convention affirmed the importance of the medical use of these controlled substances, stating that “narcotic drugs continue to be indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering”, very few scientists or medical practitioners have been given authorization to conduct research into the beneficial properties of these drugs. This has resulted in decades of lost opportunity to study these substances, causing a tremendous amount of anguish for those who suffer the most in our societies.
“This treaty has since been supplemented by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances , which controls LSD, MDMA, and other psychoactive pharmaceuticals, and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances , which strengthens provisions against money laundering and other drug-related offenses.….
“The Single Convention has been extremely influential in standardizing national drug control laws. In particular, the United States' Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and the United Kingdom's Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 were designed to fulfill treaty obligations.”
II. Parkinson's and Cannabis
For example, the stranglehold that these international treaties and national prohibition laws have had on the world’s scientific community have been so powerful that one of the first studies into the benefits of cannabis for Parkinson’s patients was only just recently published in 2004. The study conducted in the Czech Republic entitled “Survey on Cannabis Use in Parkinson’s Disease: Subjective Improvement of Motor Symptoms” (pdf) reported:
“An anonymous questionnaire sent to all patients attending the Prague Movement Disorder Centre revealed that 25% of 339 respondents had taken cannabis and 45.9% of these described some form of benefit….
“We realized that after this public information, some of our patients spontaneously started to take cannabis to alleviate their PD symptoms. The aim of this study therefore is to evaluate their possible experience with cannabis….
“Due to the illegal status of cannabis in the Czech Republic, it was impossible to run a proper clinical trial and we had to use an anonymous retrospective questionnaire-based study; we are well aware of its limitations. Questionnaires are used quite commonly in clinical research because they enable obtaining data from a large group of patients; however, results from this type of study cannot be conclusive and should rather serve as a baseline for future research.”
The restrictions put on the scientific community due to the illegality of cannabis and other substances are appalling. Not just because these drugs have the ability to alleviate suffering for “more than 52% of people over the age of 85” that suffer from Parkinson's, but because these drugs are known to have multiple other benefits, such as dealing with “pain, depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder” – and those are just some of the benefits of cannabis, which is only one of the “five categories of illicit drugs - narcotics, stimulants, depressants (sedatives), hallucinogens, and cannabis” – listed in the CIA’s World Factbook.
III. Psychedelic Science: Psilocybin, Ayahuasca, LSD, DMT, and Ibogaine
Many across the globe are discovering the benefits of cannabis and other psychoactive drugs; in large part due to the compassion they feel for their loved ones forcing them to seek both cure and relief outside of the conventional medical community. This has proven to be a very wise choice since many that have incorporated these substances and plants into their lives have indicated that their quality of life has drastically improved:
“Giffiths’ study involved 18 healthy adults, average age 46, who participated in five eight-hour drug sessions with either psilocybin — at varying doses — or placebo. Nearly all the volunteers were college graduates and 78% participated regularly in religious activities; all were interested in spiritual experience.Hopefully scientific research into this field will grow as the influence of prohibitionists lessens on the world stage. Maybe then our medical knowledge will evolve in the same manner as many other fields have evolved, thanks in large part to the use of psychedelics.
“Fourteen months after participating in the study, 94% of those who received the drug said the experiment was one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39% said it was the single most meaningful experience.”
As Gabor Maté, “a Hungarian-born Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction”, pointed out in a speech delivered of 20 April 2013 entitled, “Psychedelics and Unlocking the Unconscious; From Cancer to Addiction":
“What if we actually got that human beings are bio-psycho-social creatures by nature, and actually bio-psycho-spiritual creatures by nature—which is to say that our biology is inseparable from our psychological emotional and spiritual existence—and therefore what manifests in the body is not some isolated and unique event or misfortune, but a manifestation of what my life has been in interaction with my psychological and social and spiritual environment?
“Well, if we had that kind of understanding then we would approach illness and health in a completely different fashion.
“What if, furthermore, we understood something in the West which has been the underlying core insight of Eastern spiritual pathways and aboriginal shamanic pathways around the world, which is that human beings are not their personalities, we’re not our thoughts, we’re not our emotions, we are not our dysfunctional or functional dynamics, but that at the core there is a true self that is somehow connected to—in fact not connected to but part of—nature and creation.
“An illness from that perspective represents a loss of that connection, a loss of that unity, a loss of that belonging to a much larger entity. And therefore, to treat the illness or the symptom as the problem is actually to ignore the real possibility that the symptom and the illness are themselves symptoms, rather than the fundamental problems.”
“It’s in that perspective then, that I’ve come to understand, quite before my acquaintance with ayahuasca, but that's how I’ve come to understand human illness and dysfunction. Which is to say that illness and dysfunction represent the products or the consequences of a lifelong interaction with our environment, particularly our psychological and social environment, and that they represent a deep disconnection from our true selves.”
The following 1997 BBC Horizon documentary, “Psychedelic Science” by Bill Eagles, is an excellent introduction to some of the benefits of some of these substances:
“In the late 1960s, human experiments with psychedelic drugs were brought to a halt. Government reacted to the anarchy of the hippy counter-culture. The drug-crazed Charles Manson slayings came to symbolise public fear of the street use of LSD. Funding ceased, and the few researchers who battled on were ostracised. But lost in the blanket ban were remarkable research projects in the field of psychiatry that held out new hope for the treatment of schizophrenia and alcoholism. Bill Eagles' extraordinary film tells the story of a handful of dedicated scientists who have struggled to make psychedelic research respectable again.”
IV. The Five Stages of Destruction
Fear of persecution has resulted in tens of millions of people suffering needlessly to appease those that rule us in their attempts to maintain control and to prolong a war on drugs that they profit from. This is why Robert Anton Wilson stated that “Voltaire announced the Age of Reason two centuries too soon. We are still in the Dark Ages.”
At approximately 1:27:00 into the following amazing documentary, “The House I Live In”, reflecting on the work of Raul Hilberg, Richard Lawrence Miller provides a summary of the step-by-step process of destruction as it relates to the war on drugs (relevant video segment follows the full documentary):
1. Identification – a group of people is identified as the cause of the problems in that society. People begin to perceive their fellow citizens as bad or evil. Their lives become worthless.
2. Ostracism - we learn how to hate these people, how to take their jobs away, how to make it harder for them to survive. People lose their place to live and are often forced into ghettos where they are physically isolated, separated from the rest of society.
3. Confiscation - people lose their rights, they lose civil liberties. The laws change so that it becomes easier for people to be searched and for their property to be confiscated, and once you start taking people’s property away, it makes it easier to start taking people away.
4. Concentration - the State begins to concentrate undesirables into facilities such as prisons and camps. People lose their rights. People can’t vote any more. They can’t have children any more. Often their labor is exploited in a systematic form.
5. Annihilation - this might be indirect, by withholding medical care, by withholding food, or by preventing further births. Or it may be direct, where death is inflicted, where people are deliberately killed.
V. Freedom Over Consciousness
So while dinosaurs like Canada’s Stephen Harper spew garbage trying to justify their stance on prohibition by getting lost in their own circular argument, due to the liberation of information that has come about thanks to the advent of the internet, people are beginning to challenge long standing dogmas and are demanding the freedom to choose their own path.
As our centralized corporate governments try to enforce archaic agendas by desperately waging war on science, we should keep in mind that there are countless benefits associated with prohibited substances. By developing a symbiotic relationship with psychedelics, illicit drugs if you wish, we have benefited for much of human history, and this fact is well known in the scientific community. Some of the greatest thinkers of our time have been bold enough to point out the obvious, that the war on drugs is a war on consciousness:
“I stand here invoking the hard-won right of freedom of speech to call for and demand another right to be recognised and that is the right of adult sovereignty over consciousness. There’s a war on consciousness in our society, and if we as adults are not allowed to make sovereign decisions about what to experience with our own consciousness while doing no harm to others, including the decision to use responsibly ancient and sacred visionary plants, then we cannot claim to be free in any way and it’s useless for our society to go around the world imposing our form of democracy on others while we nourish this rot at the heart of society and we do not allow individual freedom over consciousness.” - Graham Hancock, 12 January 2013, TEDx conference in Whitechapel, London
VI. How to End Prohibition
As for what we, personally, can do to help end America’s war on drugs? Our best option is to support grassroots organizations that are working towards repealing prohibition, they did, after all, get the ball rolling on this.
“In 1973 Oregon became the first state to modify its law and decriminalize marijuana use, which meant possession became a civil offense punishable by a fine. A key reason for this legislative change was pressure exerted by the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), a private citizens group founded in 1971 that believed drug laws were unfair to recreational users."Below you will find the names and websites of some of the more prominent groups spearheading the battle to end prohibition in the United States and Canada. They are trying to bring sanity back into our lives and I’m sure they would appreciate our support as much as we appreciate their efforts.
Organizations Working Towards Ending Prohibition
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
Moms for Marijuana
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
Educators For Sensible Drug Policy (EFSDP)
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (USA) and NORML Canada
The November Coalition
Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER)
Drug Policy Alliance (DPA Network)