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Cannabis and Open-mindedness: Why Does it Matter?

Recent studies about neuroplasticity and cognitive behavior have demonstrated that it is actually very hard to change perspective.

The brain, in fact, seems to be programmed – or “wired” – to follow the path created by what we already believe to be true. In other words, following the channels traced by the positive and negative reinforcements we encounter during the day, little by little our neurons construct and fortify a web of connections that define how we answer to the messages received by our brain.

Once those connections are in place, it is very, very difficult for our brain to consider any other neuronal path as viable or even valid. Therefore, whatever we see, feel or listen is codified and decoded through whatever channel our brain has already, religiously adopted. Indeed, this neuronal pathways are so strong that people tend to ignore facts that point towards directions that could potentially shake their neuronal certainties.

But why is this important when it comes to cannabis?

Well, first of all, it is important because, even if you offer someone the best marijuana you can buy (and if you want to buy it, here is the website you were looking for that someone will not be able to appreciate it, if marijuana is “just bad” in his mind. In order to be open-minded about a plant like cannabis, someone needs to be in the neuronal condition that allows him/her to be open-minded. And this is not the usual way in which the brain approaches a situation.

Unless you grew up surrounded by people who were open to an idea, you will have to really invest a lot of energy to change your perspective about that idea. In other words, if people think marijuana is bad, unless they are willing to go against and beyond their own mind, they won’t change their perspective… no matter how many facts you throw at them. That’s why religious people tend to keep their faith, no matter how hard you try to convince them that God doesn’t exist (… just an example).

At the same time, however, being “high” offers the chance to create a situation in which people can get out of their mind and access a meditative space, where different perspectives can be perceived and accepted. And if that experience is particularly positive (maybe if you smoke with your friends or with a partner), your brain may decide to reinforce that neuronal path, and you will have the chance to really change your mind. How beautiful that journey would be!