As far back as most of us can recall, cannabis has often been considered counterculture.
Counterculture is a funny word. It sounds as though it’s almost anti-culture, but more accurately it’s the blossoming of greater depth and diversity – a glimpse into the mainstream of the future. Just about everything begins small – whether it’s video games, psychedelics, personal computers, veganism, you name it.
They all have their histories and their pioneers.
As the cannabis laws open up, and a thriving industry emerges around this plant, its influence on society becomes more and more prevalent. Because the green medicine calms the nervous system (when used responsibly), there is a striking effect on the attitude and behavior of those who consume it. Because of its calming effect, it would likely be much safer to bump into a group of cannabis enthusiasts in a dark alley than people who have just binged on alcohol. The calming empathy and feelings of connection cannabis promotes are very real. Let’s take a look at how these effects spreading around the globe at such a quick rate will make a tangible impact on society over the next five years.
Imagine the “high” experience to be akin to a piece of music making its way around the various channels and weaving in and out of a broad range of communities. In this way, cannabis has actually (and will further) become a social meme – bringing a very specific and relatable flavor of experience all along the range of classes from the affluent to the impoverished.
As this calming experience spreads alongside legalization throughout our culture – and is truly optimized and deepened through the use of intentional calming practices such as yoga, meditation, sensory deprivation tanks, etc. – this calm state will move closer and closer to settling into the majority of our populous.
Cannabis then graduates from the counterculture to pop culture.
Malcolm Gladwell writes in The Tipping Point that it takes only 10% of a population to be onboard with a trend before it officially becomes fully integrated into the mainstream.
Our culture today is heavily influenced by fear. Fear of not having enough, fear of other countries, fear of missing out, fear of our own habits and addictions. This is heavily reflected in our television programming, our education systems, our ways of doing business and truly almost every aspect of life.
Cannabis brings in the opposite of fear: the state which we know as love.
To be clear, love is not some ambiguous notion to blindly strive for. Love is simply the opposite of fear, and cannabis is helping us to move in this direction. Love encapsulates all of humanity, which feels good, from empathy to trust to play – from generosity to humor to creativity. An excess of fear makes these qualities challenging to experience, and cannabis is here to help us to mitigate that issue.
As we collectively move out of this tense and fearful state, our actions and our creativity represent vastly different possibilities. The technology industry in particular has become more and more infused with cannabis. Considering the Virtual Reality revolution, neurohacking, and gamification trends, modern high-tech inventions are appearing to be specimens straight out of a 2035 sci-fi film, seemingly far ahead of their time.
This is the importance that cannabis is providing us with now.
The one issue between here and five years from now is the psychological education empowering cannabis aficionados to fully understand what the plant is doing for them and what trajectory they are on. The empowerment that comes along with knowing (to some degree) where a path is leading creates a much deeper relationship and experience with the plant, which results in more effective activism and change.
The scientific name for the natural and undistorted state of the human body is called homeostasis. This is a state most people have not experienced since we were newborns, if even then. Cannabis is helping us as a species to return to that state, bit by bit, as its song is heard and sung from the lips of a blossoming fanbase.
The next five years will be pivotal in cementing this trajectory into the hearts and minds of cannabis allies around the world, in order for our voices to be heard and to convene onto the same page. No matter which type of language is used, be it scientific terminologies, feeling words or even spiritual mechanics – the most important thing is that we understand that we are all on the same team in this evolutionary process.