I love Tom Huth's paean to the benefits of daily marijuana smoking in his New York Times piece, "How Getting High Made Me a Better Caregiver."
I've ordered his soon-to-be-released book: Forty Years Stoned: A Journalist's Romance. Huth clearly is both an excellent writer and an astute communicator of the joys that cannabis brings.
Here are some excerpts from his NYT essay.
I enjoyed how, right off the bat, he speaks about something marijuana users don't say often enough: experiencing the world while high often (or usually) brings people MORE in touch with reality, not less.
Santa Barbara, Calif. — I’M 74 years old, and I have smoked marijuana almost every day since dinosaurs roamed the earth in the early ’70s. When my awareness is heightened, I’m on my game — the best I can be at thinking creatively, making decisions, focusing on my work, seeing the big picture ... and caregiving.
For 20 years my wife, Anne, has struggled gallantly against the physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual depredations of Parkinson’s disease. For the first 15, I took care of her myself. Now I have lots of help. Either way, enjoying a hit or two on the pipe every couple of hours has granted me tens of thousands of sweet clemencies that keep me from burning out as a caregiver.
Pot is my refresh button. It restores my innocence, makes the familiar look fascinating. Not all of the time, no. But enough of the time. I’m a sunnier companion when I’m high. I have more to say even when Anne can’t muster a reply.
I also really liked the passages below.
I started using marijuana and psychedelics like LSD and mescaline when I was a student at San Jose State College from 1966-71. Back then, and maybe still now, San Jose was known as the armpit of the San Francisco Bay Area. Yet like Huth, I found that getting high made the ugly look beautiful.
Or at least, awesome. Huth writes:
Often I took Anne on road trips, to stimulate our aging brains. In the mornings, while she meditated in our motel room, I hiked around the neighborhood, through the parking lots of strip-mall America. The terrain was always shockingly disabused of its natural character.
But I took those walks stoned. So one setting was just as compelling as the next: marching through the shadows of the KFC bucket and the Arby’s hat, then back into sunshine again, through the Toyota dealer’s lot — the Camrys posing with their doors flung open like a chorus line — past a payday-loan shop, a Cracker Barrel, an abandoned Kmart, a pawnshop, a Petco, their parking spaces separated by paltry no-man’s-lands of spoiled grass.
Before Anne got sick, I was a travel writer who got sent away on expeditions to New Guinea and Madagascar. Now, working the seams between one mall and the next, I didn’t have to go to the ends of the earth to have experiences that would open my eyes. Marijuana excels at helping the wanderer see beauty in the ordinary.
Huth ends with some wise words.
As marijuana moves toward legalization, advocates are rebranding it as a medicine. Esoteric cannabinoids are isolated in labs to treat specific ailments. Investors are debating the venture-capital opportunities. Our old hippie habit is being turned into a medicinal-industrial complex.
Only one subject is missing from the conversation: the marijuana high. That’s strange, because it’s still why most tokers toke — not to cure anything worse than boredom, but to wake themselves up, to feel inspired and transported and elevated by glimpses of an all-consuming all-is-wellness.
The real healer, to me, isn’t some compound extracted in a laboratory. It’s the stoned state itself: that lyrical disorientation, that rush of wonder and possibility.