National and Global Health Challenges:

The Spiritual Harm of Marijuana & Other Psychedelic Drugs

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Excerpts from “God in a Pill?” by Meher Baba

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Marijuana Facts: All so-called spiritual experiences generated by taking "mind-changing" drugs such as LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin [including ganja or marijuana] are superficial and add enormously to one's addiction to the deceptions of illusion, which is but the shadow of reality.

No drug, whatever its great promise, can help one to attain the spiritual goal. There is no shortcut to the goal except through the grace of the Perfect Master, and drugs, LSD more than others, give only a semblance of "spiritual experience," a glimpse of a false Reality.

The experience of a semblance of freedom that these drugs may temporarily give to one is in actuality a millstone around the aspirant's neck in his efforts towards emancipation from the rounds of birth and death.

The experience is as far removed from Reality as is a mirage from water…

...Although LSD is not an addiction-forming drug one can become attached to the experiences arising from its use and one gets tempted to use it in increasing doses, again and again, in the hope of deeper and deeper experiences. But eventually, this causes madness or death…

An individual may feel LSD has made a "better" man of him socially and personally. But one will be a better man through Love than one can ever be through drugs or any other artificial aid…

As for the possible use of the drug, [including ganja or marijuana] by an enlightened society for spiritual purposes — an enlightened society would never dream of using it!


© Sufism Reoriented, Inc.

A Must-See Video Exchange

Between Dr. Nora Volkow and the Dalai Lama About Addiction and the Brain and

and the Possibility of Regaining One’s Health and Authentic Self

A statue of buddha holding a flower in it's lap.

In this video filmed in India in 2013, Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute for Drug Abuse shows the Dalai Lama brain scans of users and recovering addicts. The exchange provides great insight and understanding concerning the effects that the use of psychoactive drugs, including marijuana can have on the brain, on the pre-frontal cortex, and on personal agency, initiative, and willpower. The exchange explains the process of addiction and yet provides hope concerning ways in which addiction can be overcome. Dr. Volkow and the Dalai Lama both speak of the need for those involved in drug use to stop using drugs and work to restore their sense of personal agency, initiative, and willpower and to do this by restoring their sense of humanity and their care and concern for others and to do this through serving others and through constructive and creative involvement in life.

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Views of a Theosophist

Will power is soul power. Using drugs leads to the abeyance of willpower and hence the surrender of soul power.

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The Ayurvedic View of Marijuana Posted with permission of Dr. Mark Toomey

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 indicate 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 of the 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 the 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 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. SNIP

For additional information, contact Dr. Mark Toomey at [email protected]

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Excerpt from The Karma of Legalizing Marijuana

By Shambhavi Sarasvati
Reposted with permission

Many people make reasonable arguments in favor of using marijuana and its legalization. But when we investigate marijuana as a spiritual practitioner, 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.

At 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 elements 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 the space element, while stimulating the fire element. So, there is, until the 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 wave of dull, chronic anger and paranoia. The 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...

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 a greater awakening.


[email protected]

Quotes from “Kabbalistic Insights into the Dangers of Drug Use” by Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok

….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 sefirot 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 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 sidestep 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 kippah (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, and therefore condemned. There is no place for drug use in the life of a Jew walking the path of the Torah….

© 1993 - 2003 by Ariel Bar Tzadok

A white flower with green leaves and yellow flowers.

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 phenomena known 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.

Excerpt from Consciousness Expanding Drugs
Catalysts or Corrosives?
New Views on Psychedelics

By Anonymous

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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-discovery, self-realization, or God-realization; also with those presently involved in 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 Meher 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. [Note: Meher Baba passed away January 31,1969.]

Meher Baba’s most definitive work on this subject is God Speaks. Meher's messages regarding drugs were recently printed in a leaflet called “The Spiritual View on Psychedelics”. Baba has offered his views on this subject to any who cares to listen. He likens the states that are induced through taking psychedelics, including marijuana, to a dream within a dream, delusion within the 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.”

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