“Let me tell you how little we know from here on out,” Kotler cautions me at the Saloon. “We don’t know anything about the cannabis combinations; we believe it’s sativa because we need the dopamine, but that’s probably actually about the terpenes,” those marvelous, mysterious chemicals in plants that science has barely begun to catalog. Also: “What kind of caffeine? Does coffee work better than tea? Here’s another substance we use all the time for high performance, and we don’t know shit about it.”
We do have plenty of information on how these three elements work in isolation. Exercise is as close to a silver bullet against ailments as we have found; it’s even linked to lower cancer risk. If it came in pill form, every doctor in the world would prescribe it. The psychoactive chemical caffeine is so effective at sharpening the mind that a famous mathematician once uttered the immortal phrase “a mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems.”
Given that the 18th century’s great leap forward, The Enlightenment, occurred around the same time that coffee houses sprung up everywhere and we stopped drinking beer for breakfast, you could also say that humans are devices for turning coffee into modern civilization. (As little as we understand the why, we do know that it is safe to drink up to 25 cups of coffee a day.)
And cannabis? It isn’t just sports pros who sing its praises. Its effect on musicians is well-documented, from jazz (Louis Armstrong was called “Satchmo” for the little satchel of weed he carried around his neck and consumed every day) through pop and rock (Bob Dylan changed Beatles music forever when he got the Fab Four high in 1964) to hip hop (too many artists to mention).
Famous writers too: not just the obviously high (Hunter S. Thompson) but also literary giants (Thomas Pynchon, Maya Angelou) and thriller masters (Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series, revealed in a 2013 interview that he’d smoked weed 5 nights a week for 44 years).
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