Happy 4/20 Malaysians! (or not….)
Disclaimer: The Cool Bear is not encouraging our readers to consume marijuana. This article is written in light of our Taboo series to share information with fellow Malaysians on this particular topic.
As the month of April befalls us, it’s not only a month for jokes & pranks (April’s Fools) but also a month of red eyes, dry mouths and insatiable appetites.
What is The Cool Bears referring to?
Well, it’s April 2020 (4/20) so obviously we’re referring to the rather controversial and debated subject of…
Weed! (A choir of angels begin to sing)
Also known as marijuana, ganja, cannabis, pot, grass and my personal favourite: devil’s lettuce.
As the legalization of weed becomes more normalized in countries around the world, Woke wants to dive into the history of weed, its benefits and drawbacks. Keeping in mind, weed or ganja is a HIGHLY illegal substance in Malaysia. Being caught with the drug will land you in jail or even a death sentence if exceeding 200 grams.
We’re not saying we’re fellow smokers or that we’re encouraging you to light one up. BUT to keep in theme with our Taboo series, let’s not remain in denial and pretend that the consumption of weed doesn’t exist in Malaysia.
So, go on, maybe light one up and read on. We know you much rather be watching stoner flicks on Netflix but come on, it’s time to appreciate that little bud you’re holding (or brick in Malaysia’s case)! Remember, keep some snacks at hand, the munchies will hit you before you know it.
History of Weed
Many articles will tell you about when weed first came about in human civilization, how its magical & healing properties were discovered and amongst many other cool facts. But this is all garnered towards the Western hemisphere which makes sense considering its growing popularity in those countries.
But did you know the oldest known written record on cannabis use came from China? This was around 2727BC. Guess weed’s older than Jesus huh? The Ancient Greeks and Romans were also familiar with the plant as well as the Islamic Empire in the Middle East! Mainly used as hemp to make rope and paper, weed was also used for its medicinal properties. Kinda like now with medicinal marijuana or also CBD (which doesn’t contain the psychoactive chemical THC which basically doesn’t get you high).
Then the 14th century came, and weed met its first restriction by the Islams. Slowly, it started to become illegal in colonial countries around the 19th century. Then as the world progressed to the 20th century, the views on weed started to regress instead which led to its notoriety today.
Fortunately, the Netherlands realized weed’s benefits and became the first country to legalize the consumption of marijuana. Uruguay soon followed in 2015 and Canada & South Africa in 2018.
History of Weed in Malaysia
The general history of weed is pretty interesting and all but what about its history somewhere closer to home, in fact at home itself? Although weed has been illegal in Malaysia since like, forever, there’s still a ton of history of the plant in our country.
Southeast Asian countries are no strangers to the usage of weed. In fact, its usage might have spanned centuries! Unfortunately due to its increasing notoriety as a bad, bad drug in the 20th century, many documents of the usage disappeared with its prohibition.
However, it’s been noted that weed was used traditionally by the indigenous natives of Malaysia to relieve asthma. Arab merchants trading in Malaya shores used weed as early as the 8th century. In the 19th century, the usage of weed really started to take off thanks to global shipping (Imagine a modernized version of this, air-flown buds).
As the 1970s came about, the Hippie Movement gained traction amongst locals and the recreational use of marijuana became more prominent. My dad once said he used to smoke up when he was younger. Later after this illuminating confession (Damn dad, what a g), he backtracked by saying he never did say such a thing. But come on dad, it was the seventies. You’re not fooling anyone here.
And now in the current era, weed is still classified as an illegal drug in Malaysia. Although recently there have been talks of legalizing it for medicinal purposes, there are still many revolts around that suggestion. Mainly in the name of religion. But whatever it is, ask anyone under the age of 30 and they probably have had an experience with the drug.
Which brings me onto the next part of this article.
The Benefits And Drawbacks of Weed
Benefits of Weed
If you’re a lonely university student who also has social skills of a rock (maybe even that’s being too generous), you’ll find it really hard to make friends in university. A lot of them will just be “class friends”, you know the type: let’s share notes and be in the same groups but outside of class? You don’t exist to me, sorry.
It gets pretty depressing but when you become an avid smoker, you’ll start meeting more people. It sounds more casual when you ask someone to come over to stone VS let’s go for lunch or a movie. Because well, you’re usually sober and weed definitely helps that awkward getting to know someone stage because before you know it you’re both laughing at some nonsensical Youtube video or bonding over “the best songs to listen to while high”.
If you were to Google the symptoms of smoking weed, many websites will state the same thing: an elevated mood and that my friends, is very true. Prepare to be smiling and laughing for no reason. That’s kind of the main reason why marijuana is used medically for mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
It leaves a heavyweight off patients and depending on who you talk to, it seems a more straightforward and healthier alternative to medication. Whichever stance you support, weed really can be your shining beacon in dark times.
Drawbacks of Weed
Ahh, maybe the stereotype of all stoners being lazy is correct after all. When you start your day with a morning hit, you’ll end up doing absolutely nothing the whole day. Unless you count lying on the couch and watching Netflix as something.
You’ll find yourself being extra lazy after smoking up. Plans you’ve made excitedly the day before getting cancelled because you’ll be “too lazy to drive/socialize/get out of bed” and even cooking, something that should be something a stoner would love to do because uhm duh, food becomes a big chore.
Which is also another point, your diet while stoned? Is. So. Unhealthy. All you would wanna snack on is the most processed, greasiest and unhealthiest food around the house. You’ll look at mangoes (which is like the best fruit ever) and feel nauseated. Then proceeded to scarf down a whole bag of chips… covered in… jam and nutella. Yes, a high person’s taste buds truly know no boundaries.
Back to my point, weed seriously makes you lazy. I know some people who can smoke up, go to work and be productive. But that’s not the case for everyone.
Sounds counteractive to my earlier point of weed’s benefits, right? But it happens.
Your thoughts will range from the very mundane (did I leave the stove on?) to the very absurd (oh my god, everyone in my life hates me).
All in all, though marijuana is legalized in some countries overseas, in Malaysia, it is still seen as something illegal and cause bad effects on your health and body.
This article is a part of The Cool Bear’s Taboo Series where we dive deep into topics most Malaysians shy away from. If you like reading this, check out our other Taboo articles on the LGBT community in Malaysia and toxic relationships!