Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-11-2016

Major Department or Program

Environmental Humanities


Donald Snow


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?

Page Count


Subject Headings

Marijuana -- Social aspects, Marijuana -- Recreational drug use, Hallucinogenic drug, Cannabis-- Social aspects-- United States, Cannabis -- Recreational use, Hashish., Marijuana in popular culture, Marijuana--Social stigma, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2016 -- Environmental Humanities

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

Terms of Use

If you have questions about permitted uses of this content, please contact the ARMINDA administrator



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).