Is cannabis the answer?

QUESTION: Masters, about 5-7 months ago I tried cannabis for the first time and it completely opened my mind to a higher level. Hazy at first but I was able to get a hold of it with some practice. When I am “high” I get these epiphanies. Brilliant ideas. And everything makes sense to me in a way I cannot describe. I know cannabis has been used in many cultures for spiritual enlightenment. What is this plant and is it an aid to achieve enlightenment? ~Kevin, United States

ANSWER: This plant contains a chemical that is psychoactive – that is, it affects your central nervous system, causing an alteration in your perception. This change makes things look much different from the normal, unenhanced observation. These changes are generally fleeting since the immediate effect also causes a short-term memory disruption.

There are dozens of other substances that can produce the same activity you experienced. Some are common, but with too much consumption, any can become addictive: stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine along with cocaine and methamphetamine; depressants such as alcohol, barbiturates, and chloral hydrate; narcotics such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone; hallucinogens such as LSD, PCP, Ecstasy, and Peyote; and then cannabis in its various forms such as hashish and hash oil.

Any of the above substances can seemingly enhance awareness but have deleterious effects upon the human body with repeated use. They have been associated with the development of schizophrenia, heart disease, and liver problems.

Psychoactive substances have been used for centuries in ritualistic procedures to overcome the conscious mind and allow it to “dream.” It is possible to free the human ego mind using these chemicals, but it is easier to do it with meditation, hypnosis, flotation devices, and music without exposing your body to the dangers.

The term enlightenment refers to the ability to touch the essence of your soul. Your soul is composed of unconditional love and the energy of Source, from whence you came, with all the abilities it contains. If you can separate your conscious mind from the human judgmental ego and exist in the evaluative energy of the loving universe, you will be perpetually in a “high” that also makes you totally aware of the moment and everything around you.