This “scientific” position in the 19th century was typical for educated consumers of opium and hashish. Usually, researchers turned to these substances in order to “ignite the creative imagination” or for the sake of vaguely defined “inspiration”. Similar motifs were behind the use of marijuana by beat writers, as well as jazz artists before them, and rock performers after them. Some myths of the underground culture are scornful of the popular belief that cannabis could make some kind of contribution to the creative lifestyle. And nevertheless, a certain part of the cannabis-consuming community continues to use it for this very purpose.
The pharmacological profile of a psychoactive substance determines only some of its parameters; the context of its consumption (or, according to the successful expression of Leary and Metzner, “furnishing”) is no less important. The context “recreational”, as it is understood today in the United States, is an atmosphere that lands the cognitive effect of the substance being consumed. Small doses of most psychoactive substances affecting the central nervous system are perceived by the body as artificial stimulation or as energy that can be directed outward in the form of physical activity in order to somehow express this energy and extinguish it. This pharmacological fact lies behind most of the “recreational” insanity against psychoactive substances – legal or illegal. Wednesday, teeming with social cues,supersaturated with noises and distracting visual impressions (a nightclub, for example) is a typical culturally-embraced context of consumption of means for relaxing.
In our culture, private consumption of psychoactive substances is considered as something dubious; their solitary consumption looks like something unhealthy, and in fact all introspection is also considered. The archaic model of consumption of psychoactive plants, including cannabis, is quite the opposite. Ritual, solitude and disconnection of the senses are the methods used by the shaman of Archaic, who intends to go on a journey through the world of spirits and ancestors. Undoubtedly, hemp is “used up” in terms of consumer product and understated, defining it as a means for “relaxing”, but it is also certain that consumed periodically in the context of ritual and cultured expectations that this experience will transform consciousness, cannabis is capable of almost the full range psychedelic effects associated with hallucinogens.