The Ayurvedic high on Cannabis

by Sandra Radja

There was that time in India when I drank bhang, which was cannabis leaves boiled in masala chai.  I was so stoned I crawled on my hands and knees to the communal bathhouse and took a shower in my clothes.  I lost an entire day.  The day was Christmas 2003.

This was the era before Ayurveda, before realizing that there is a domino effect to decision making.  The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.  As a young pup, we have the ojas to melt.  As we get older, we hopefully become more discerning and refined in our measure of good times. 

I’m working on it.

When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself
— Mr Bob Marley

Well, Mr Bob Marley may have known that the qualities in cannabis are Sukshma or subtle.   As I trawl through the good points and bad points of the “herb” in myriad articles, I want to simplify the issue.  So let’s take the quality of Subtle and its revelatory aspect and think it through a different way.

But first, as a general overview, cannabis is known to increase Vata (via the astringent, dry, and light qualities) and Pitta (via the sharp, hot and light qualities).   So now that we are versed in Ayurveda enough to know ourselves, we know that if there is an excess of Vata/Pitta dosha, don’t smoke pot.    For serious pain and lack of appetite, maybe do smoke it but also try and work on your root cause of disease.  If you see an Ayurvedic practitioner, they will most likely mix it with other herbs to counteract the not good points. In that way, poison becomes medicine.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it?  There is that subtle quality of distorted consciousness that allures us to an imagined higher way of being, where we’re cool and non- attached; non-attached to pain and non-attached to feeling lonely and fitting into society.  And the subtle quality is the hardest to self-manage because its home base is the mind. 

Here's a tip fellow revelers of India.  Do make sure to take it easy or you may end up seeing blue men with flutes or elephant heads on human bodies before you're ready for it.  The Indians will believe you but your family will have you committed.

Here's a tip fellow revelers of India.  Do make sure to take it easy or you may end up seeing blue men with flutes or elephant heads on human bodies before you're ready for it.  The Indians will believe you but your family will have you committed.

Cannabis is a seductress. She beguiles your discerning self to always choose the numb way home and skip over the truth that pain can reveal.  In true homeostasis, the effect of dilation that induces relaxation must have an equal and opposite effect, per our laws of nature, by encouraging a balancing constrictive after effect.  Due to this effect, we restrict oxygen to the blood, and therefore demand more of the drug to get the same “high”.

Prana, the life giver of vitality, is imbued with this high naturally, and when you master the control of prana through breath work, the expansion of consciousness comes naturally, with no after effects.  The true work is in non suppression and allowing freedom to your thoughts, feelings and emotions.  It doesn't feel good when someone cuts you off mid-sentence.  Don’t do it to yourself.

So unfortunately, Mr Bob Marley, I can’t be in complete agreement with you.  I like how Dr Lad puts it “It does expand consciousness, but that expansion is a limited, temporary affair.  It looks like increased awareness, a spiritual experience, but it is not the same thing.  It is like dim glimpses through a semi-transparent window at marvelously beautiful scenery.  But when the window is opened, and there is no glass screen, there is direct experience…..  The root cause of disease is not listening to the body.  A sensitive body is the abode of God.  With a sensitive body, life becomes a ceremony, because it is the action of awareness.”