Reopening the doors of perception : an examination of cannabis, fear, and altered states of consciousness
Carolyn Kristine Erving
May 11, 2016
Department or Program
While socially sanctioned methods of "getting high" exist, namely through the consumption of alcohol, cannabis continues to carry a stigma which bars its social acceptability and legalization across most of the United States. This thesis analyzes cannabis in relation to certain aspects of U.S. political and racial debates that have placed restraints on altered states of consciousness. The analysis leads to a deeper exploration of the lived experience of the cannabis-altered state of consciousness and how it comes into conflict with certain foundations of Western thought. This thesis centers on two questions: Why is "getting high," specifically through the consumption of cannabis, so problematic and terrifying for much of the U.S. population? And, what is it about the specific nature of the marijuana high that is so forbidding to certain U.S. societal factions?