Rather than addressing any of the usual topics of debate, I prefer to focus on one particular question, one that is so often left out the discussion: WHY do people crave the use of such a potent drug? The answer is that people are extremely anxious.
What we know from Wilhelm Reich is that a major cause of this anxiety is lack of a fulfilling sexual life. Reich was not referring here to the opportunity to have intercourse or to its frequency, but rather whether there is periodic discharge of excess biologic energy through full and complete orgasm. Reich maintained this is impossible given the presence of “armor”—chronic muscular contractions in the body that deaden feelings and emotions. Only when armor is removed through therapy can the free flow of energy be restored and with it the potential for a truly satisfying sexual life.
Anxiety is especially high in adolescents and young adults who are at the peak of their sexual drive. With this understanding, it is no surprise that marijuana use is so high among this group. Apart from the sexual aspect, life is difficult, as it has always been, and the pressures of daily life in themselves produce anxiety.
However, anxiety and fearfulness are best reduced by head-on confrontation and by marshaling one’s drive and determination. Life’s problems are gotten the better of through action, not by deadening the anxious feelings through passively retreating into a fog of smoke. This point is crucial: marijuana causes decreased motivation in the face of anxiety when precisely the opposite is required to overcome anxiety and to function in a healthy manner.
From an energetic perspective, marijuana produces an initial energetic excitation, largely confined to the ocular segment which encompasses the brain. The drug brings about an energetic expansion, and with it a feeling of well-being. Brain armor is temporarily loosened and sensation is increased. Perceptions are altered and distorted.
However, expansions are always followed by contractions, and dullness and lethargy follow the high. Marijuana decreases one’s contact with emotions and, at the same time, the ability to connect with the feelings of others also decreases. The individual goes internal. Drive and perseverance–the will to make one’s life better–declines. With the loss of will, necessity loses its imperative force. Those who use marijuana on a regular basis become passive and lose their sense of responsibility for themselves and for society. Reich said that the well-springs of our life are love, work and knowledge, and all are severely compromised with marijuana use.
Apart from this energetic and orgonomic understanding, the dangers of marijuana are many and well-documented in the medical literature, but are often completely denied by those in favor of legalization. To name a few, it lowers testosterone and sperm counts in men and raises testosterone levels in women. It affects the developing fetus and causes developmental problems in children. It has an effect on normal maturation in preadolescent and adolescent users. In those who are vulnerable, hallucinations, delusional thought and full-blown paranoia are not uncommon. It also causes lung damage.
Easing restrictions on marijuana will likely result in more availability and usage generally (not just for “medical” reasons) and my concern is that this powerful and damaging drug will surely find its way more readily to adolescents and young children.
Marijuana, like alcohol and anti-anxiety medications, does relieve inner tension. In this age where these interventions have become accepted ways to deal with the stress of life, anxiety is not withstood. Anxiety should be viewed as something to be conquered, not quelled with drugs.
During the process of orgone therapy, as armor is broken down, anxiety most usually surfaces. What I tell my patients is to withstand what they are feeling and continue to function without resorting to illegal drugs and to avoid prescription anti-anxiety agents, unless absolutely needed. There are orgonomic “first aid” means of handling anxiety. These include exercise (which burns up energy), building muscle mass (which binds energy) and showers turned slowly to all cold. This latter intervention produces a rapid and strong biophysical contraction that reduces anxiety, often dramatically, for hours or even a few days.