“Beer” is never just “Beer”, and “Marijuana” is never just “Marijuana”

I was talking with my Mom and Dad late one evening, watching the sun go down over the mountains as we enjoyed our final night together at the cabin they had rented in Clayton, GA. We were talking about marijuana.

Now you should know that I appreciate marijuana. I love marijuana like I love food. It’s been a tool that’s allowed me to become much more empathetic and self-conscious of the way I impact other people.  I’ve used it as a nootropic to expand my understanding of the things going on around me.

So you know what side of the argument I’m on. But my Mother…

My mother has had uncomfortable experiences with the drug. The very few times she’s tried it (college) made her feel anxious. So she takes an anti-marijuana approach, and I – very, very respectfully – think she’s wrong.

I think she is wrong because she’s making a snap judgement on a small personal sample size, influenced by mass media. I – on the other hand – am blessed with an experimental disposition (thanks Mom and Dad!), and a more informed perspective. My perspective is informed by my experience in the craft beer industry, where I understand that “beer” is never just “beer”, and “alcohol” is never just “alcohol”.

For example, I know how it is to feel horrendous after drinking two month old imperial IPAs from Florida, but also how it is to feel amazing after a couple of pale ales imported fresh from California. Within the category of “craft beer”, there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of differences between products.

Would you take an anti-alcohol stance on alcohol if you don’t like tequila? Maybe tequila doesn’t treat you well, but you like wine, or beer, or vodka, or Mike’s Hard Lemonade. “Alcohol” is not just “alcohol”. Alcohol is beer, wine, spirits, mead, saki, etc. Alcohol is a HUGE umbrella term for many, many products.

Now within each of those groups of beer, wine, spirits, mead, and saki there is a even more differentiation… Let’s just look at beer.

Beer can be divided into (1) ales and (2) lagers and then again into pale ales, IPAs, stouts, porters, pilsners, golden lagers, etc. etc. Each of these things are a biologically active and unique alcoholic product. They can affect each human differently.

Even within each style there is differences in quality. Some brewers are better than others. Sometimes there are production mistakes. Sometimes the beer sits on the shelf too long and when you drink it it tastes terrible so you say “this style of beer sucks” but maybe you didn’t know that you shouldn’t drink an IPA if it’s 4 months old but the proprietor of the bottle shop left the beer on the shelf anyways.

Do you see what I mean? “Alcohol” is not just alcohol. There is an insane amount of differentiation that exists under the “alcohol” umbrella.

This is the essence of what people don’t understand about marijuana. “Marijuana” is not just marijuana.

FIRST you have the classic separation of indica and sativa.

THEN, within each of those classifications, you have a huge variety of different genotypes, pure strains, hybridized strains, etc, etc.

THEN you have to think about the quality of the supply chain when the commodity is mostly illegal and unregulated. When was that marijuana processed? How clean was the processing? Who grew it? Did they use pesticides? How old is the weed? Is there market competition that allows better quality producers to rise to the top of the food chain like in beer and wine?

THEN you have to think about your method of consumption, because they can be wildley different highs: bowl, joint, bong, vaporizer, edible… the list goes on.

You see, like craft beer, Marijuana is pretty complicated. “Marijuana” is not simply marijuana. There’s a ton of differentiation and with each of those differences comes a different physiological affect on the human body. You might get the giggles and laugh all night with your friend because you guys scored a fresh hybrid, OR you might huddle into a corner and bite your finger nails because you smoked an old, moldy strain of indica. You might go give a hug to all your friends because you found a strain that makes you incredibly empathetic, OR you might build a tin-foil hat to keep the government out of your head because you’re getting ultra-anxious-high off of a strain that was genetically modified to be far. too. strong.

So before you make a snap-judgement about a burgeoning industry that could save our government loads of money, keep people out of jail, and cut the legs out from under illegal cartels, think about this: Marijuana is not marijuana. You’re scared of it because you don’t understand it. And you don’t understand it because it’s ILLEGAL, and you’ve had no chance to understand it, and the market has had no chance to educate it’s customers.

In summation, I respectfully request that you reconsider your position. Examine the facts, and let go of the emotional reaction. Let go of the heard mentality and think for yourself.

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