Every garden receives unique care from its gardener. In Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, he emphatically expresses how marijuana growers are the best gardeners because they grow a plant every cannabis user wants. Pollan does not promote or hinder the use; however, he does confirm that marijuana is an extremely powerful mind-altering drug. Furthermore, he asserts that marijuana is a product that allows one to exceed an everyday physical experience and achieve a new unique altered state of mind despite any risks. Cannabis, as seen through the plants’ perspective, reaches a relationship with human’s desires explicitly, evolving from satisfying one’s craving for intoxication and its impact. Nature, in fact, undoubtedly gratifies our human desires.
When used, the cannabis plant, known as marijuana, produces a powerful chemical that alters one’s consciousness, unleashes one’s inhibitions, and influences one’s behavior. The use of this drug can potentially improve, as well as transform one’s consciousness, giving one a new perspective on life and behavior.
As seen in Bryan Lewis Saunders’s self-portraits, he reveals his perception of himself while experimenting with drugs, fulfilling his desire for intoxication, which is evident in his artwork. Saunders, under the influence of marijuana, stimulates a rare kind of ability that sets him in motion. He uses his imagination in an attempt to imitate the natural flow of thought and creativity, enhancing his vision, expression, and inspiration.
Saunders, in his marijuana-induced self-portrait, unveils himself as a multicultural man who wears a rainbow-colored turban placed on top of his head, followed by a second self-portrait displaying a drawing of a large marijuana plant that covers his entire forehead and placed above his brows and red-dazed eyes. It was in these crazed moments that Saunders felt he captured his best perception of himself. In each portrait, Saunders tries to drastically change the circumstances of his surroundings to help influence his ability to express himself artistically. While intoxicated, his creativity is fueled, and he draws himself. Each portrait represents his life; each picture is depicted in another way, reflecting his different ways of drawing expressively. However, this experience has left him lethargic, confused, and eventually, mentally disabled.
Moreover, Saunders attempts to produce the same self-portraits under the influence of different drugs in order to show how his cognitive skills enhance his perception by not allowing his conscious impulses to affect his creativity. Instead, he lets the drug of choice drive his artistic abilities, allowing his preconceived notions from deep within to express themselves in his self-portraits. Furthermore, as Saunders’s motor skills and visual observations are affected by these drugs, his self-portrait attempts to describe his feelings, thoughts, and behaviors at the time. His inspirations come from an altered state of mind.
Similarly, in the chapter, Understanding Cannabis and Brain Science, of Michael Pollan’s book, he discusses consciousness and drug-use along with the rewards and dangers of both. Pollan states marijuana is an overlooked, powerful drug that can help us, delight our senses, calm our nerves, wake us up, and even change the contents of our minds and the experiences of our consciousness. Scientists still do not understand consciousness entirely, but they know that marijuana has the power to gratify our desires. It is through the cannabis plant that one tries to understand the unique relationship between humans and nature. This plant explicitly manipulates one’s brain with a design for self-deception in order to satisfy our desires. This drug can make people believe they have a secondary imagination to recreate new ideas. People like to believe that their minds stand out from others, solidifying that the most magnificent visions are generated by the brightest, most talented minds and not because of the use of marijuana.
Even with proof of Bryan Lewis Saunders’s startling reality of self-portraits, exposing how deceptive drugs can be to the brain, it is surprising how many people continue to use drugs to fuel their creativity. Saunders gives his reasons for experimenting with different drugs during his self-portraits; first, he starts with his curiosity about drugs and then moves to his desire to experiment with them, which then leads to peer pressure and easy access to drugs. Through these drug-induced experiences, Saunders’s objective was to access his subconscious to enhance his behavior during his self-portrait work. Saunders found that staying in his comfort zone gave him the time to focus and work on his skills. However, for Saunders, remaining in his comfort zone, hindered his creativity. Once he stepped out of this comfort zone with the help of cannabis, more things in his environment became new, different, strange, and continued to change, allowing Saunders’s mind to focus, and thus, he became hyper-aware. The further away Saunders got from his comfort zone, the more his mind became alert, and the associations he made, as well as the connections while he was in his hyper-sensitive state, were responsible for his creativity and ideas. Saunders could then further see, from his self-portraits, his hidden fears, motivations, drives, and desires. It was these external pictures that let Saunders see what he was internally feeling by the use of drugs.
Today, marijuana is still considered taboo. The stigma around marijuana is that it induces violence, severs the connection between a person’s actions and the consequences of that action, and unleashes one’s inhibitions, which then endangers society. Science has profoundly proven that a chemical derived from the cannabis plant is responsible for affecting a person’s consciousness. As Jimi Hendricks once stated, he was always under the influence of marijuana when performing; it was his only drug of choice for improvising. He believed that marijuana unlocked the secrets of his consciousness. Even though scientists have proven that receptors in the human brain have responded to cannabis, creating an inner bliss, allows one to choose whether they believe marijuana is a source of creativity or a crutch.
Marijuana may help some people get a creative boost, but there is a negative side to cannabis, which includes aloofness, a loss of focus, and an inability to form cohesive sentences. If the choice is to use cannabis, know that it is a well-known psychotic drug that affects the central nervous system, disrupting signals to the brain. Remember that a body is attached to one’s head, and one’s neurotic behavior is also being affected, as well as other organs in the body, not just the brain’s receptors. It is an individual’s chemical reaction to cannabis that decides how one reacts under the influence of marijuana. By definition, “creativity is the ability to view things differently, by increasing one’s hyper-awareness, and the capacity of wonder and awe.” It does not mean one’s inspiration or vision has to come through the use of cannabis or any other “magical-wonder drug.” It takes a lot of hard work and motivation to become creative, successful, and highly innovative.
Although thousands have confirmed that cannabis is a wonder drug, and primarily, a catalyst to creative thinking, when used, the drug induces an altered state of mind, influencing exaggerated emotions and perspectives, breaking away from the ordinary everyday ways of thinking and generating new innovative, and novel ideas. Although these results seem attractive, a remedy of instant creativity prescribed from a cannabis plant is not a substitute for talent. It is essential to recognize the connection marijuana has with the brain and the creative process before trying to unlock one’s creative inventiveness with drugs. Creativity can be counterproductive if the consequences are not understood.
Ultimately, it is this lengthy connection that people have with nature and the overall focus of human desire that plants have on people’s emotions and consciousness that affects the savvy gardener who produces one of the fastest-growing crops in the country. It is a human desire that emulates the role of nature, which, in essence, allows cannabis to be the coevolutionary partner of humans.