The Tricks of Crow

OR: a Road Story & a Challenge to You

(If you know the name of the intentional community in this story, please don’t mention it in the comments. they value their privacy)

Coffee, candles & cannabis – that’s Crow’s recipe for health and happiness.

In this shipshape room, the thick dark coffee sits in large Mason jars. Crow sips from them constantly – even when he wakes in the middle of the night. He uses the candle between us to spark another doob and begins rolling more joints from his stash – always wanting to have at least three ready in case of visitors.

Crow’s door is always open – an Amsterdam coffee shop complete with Gary Snyder’s poetry and Louis Armstrong’s trumpet. He’s the Stoned Santa – a jolly wordsmith with a bowl of doobies. Crow lives with gusto despite the arthritis that barely allows him to crawl into his loft every night. He leans forward with a happily crazed grin, “It’s much better than the alternative. At least my brain still works so I can keep on jabbering at you guys. That’s A fucking plus in my book!” Punctuating the air with his constant doobie – thrusting joints towards new arrivals – crooning to the blues – pulling bits of poetry off the evening air. A wise old Wanderer who toys with Words.


Crow asks me to help make a small adjustment in his room. Our project is to move a faded sepia photograph in a flower gilded frame. It shows a confused infant – the great-grandfather of Crow “who would one day make great changes as Commissioner of Baseball!” We pass a joint back and forth, judiciously considering where to hang the photo and discuss the steps necessary to accomplish that task. The photograph moves over a dusty wine bottle filled with dried chrysanthemum. A tremendously fat, jolly Buddha sits on a shelf below (a gift from the Dalai Lama to Crow’s Buddhist father for “the creative resolution of some tax difficulties”) The Buddha always holds a magic doobie to be smoked on special occasions and when the spirit moves.

Crow hands me the worn transcript from his trial – busted for growing 1,254 cannabis plants. He represented himself and for his closing statement, he memorized only one phrase: “Your Honor, I am not a troublesome individual.” He went on to share that he had taught the most psychologically challenged kids and doubled their previous record for high school equivalency exams – that he only grew the pot to finance his move into nursing after so many years of teaching – that although he was part of a large operation, nobody coerced him into the business.  He ended it with “I am a strong individual. I made the decision of my own free will. I would never make that decision again…”

Here he interrupts with a laugh. “Now if you asked me? I would make the same decision. I liked growing lots of pot and it just made financial sense at the time. And with that sentence – who was I to complain?” After Crow’s spirited speech, the judge let him off with probation plus time served.  Afterwards, the DA found Crow in the lobby and told him, “Don’t quote me on this but that was the finest defense I’ve ever heard.”

Crow and cannabis have gone together ever since he gave himself the name Crow as a young man on the road – his real name now lost to everyone but the tax man. When his brother handed him the First Joint , he said, ‘you’re going to dig this stuff for the rest of your life.’ Crow guffaws, “and he was just fucking right.” Crow danced with Mary Jane through the heart of the 60s -“We knew that we were on the crest of the wave – but hell, it gets better every day. Uruguay just stepped across the line [and legalized cannabis]. Tits to them!”

Crow credits his health to the potent mix of coffee, cannabis and candles. The candle calms – the caffeine excites – the cannabis smooths. His string of doobies lessen the inflammation of the arthritis that would otherwise cripple him. The constant smoking gives him a small cough but because of the antitumor effects of cannabis, he is actually at slightly less risk for lung cancer than someone who smokes nothing at all. When they found a growth in his urinary tract, Crow decided to “put my money where my bladder is.” He concocted homemade alcohol extracts of cannabis and knocked back a shot every morning until the mass disappeared.

“My doctor knows all about my doobies and she loves it – sez that I’m healthy as a pup. She runs the teaching college – she tells everybody about it.” As an oncologist, Crow’s doctor speaks to an unusually supportive branch of physicians. A 1991 Harvard survey of cancer doctors found that if cannabis was legal medicine – 80% would prescribe it for the easing the pain of chemotherapy. Almost half the doctors indicated that they recommend it anyway – putting their license at risk for even uttering the word cannabis.

After a year and a half of research for this graphic novel and with a focus on the biochemistry and medical studies, I finally realized the huge scope of this medicine: cannabis is the closest thing humans have to a panacea against the myriad problems of aging. The greatest crime in the War on Weed is against our grandparents – all of them are dying earlier and in more pain because we are ignoring the mountains of scientific evidence about this plant. In a similar fashion, the early medical establishment refused to heed the evidence about washing hands between childbirths – a simple procedure that would have saved ten of thousands of mothers. Future generations will look back on us now with that same befuddlement at how we refuse to study and use one of mankind’s oldest medicines.

So, Gentle Reader, here’s my Challenge to you:
In the comments, give me the name of a disease that afflicts an older person you love.
I’ll look for peer-reviewed evidence to see if cannabis might help. Of course, it won’t work for everything but I’ll prove it works for a hell of a lot more than you ever imagined. This also allows me to add to my research as I dig into your answers so thanks to any respondents.

I’ll post my findings to your FB wall (if you don’t mind) and onto this thread.


2 Responses to “The Tricks of Crow”

  1. 1 pelger January 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Here’s some additional explanation of why cannabis is such a widely effective medicine. I happen to think this is the most exciting part so I’m never sure why it makes eyes glaze when I sermonize at parties:
    If Western medicine tells us anything about cannabis it’s that it cures, prevents & treats cancer. There’s abundant evidence in human trials across a wide range of cancer types that THC and CBD induce apoptosis in cancer cells. The cancer cells shut down their mitochondrial engines as the tumor shrinks and perhaps dies.

    I’m not recommending cannabis as a solo treatment to anyone with cancer but it is simply foolhardy to not consider it in conjunction with conventional treatments because cannabis also helps ease most of the symptoms of chemotherapy. In addition, CBD (perhaps the true healing molecule in the cannabis plant) was recently shown in mice to be the first drug we ever discovered that works against chemotherapy-induced pain.

    In fact, it takes me two pages just to list all of the diseases that have human and animal studies proving cannabis to be helpful. It’s easier to name a few of the diseases where cannabis is the ONLY drug found to help:

    ALS (Lou Gerhig’s disease) – an awful disease where your mind stays clear but your muscles slowly refuse to obey. Death comes in about five years once the lungs stop responding. Although this is the most common adult neurodegenerative disease, there is only one approved medication and it’s universally deemed worthless . Animal studies make it clear that cannabis is a promising treatment for restoring muscle control and anecdotal evidence has patients living up to 20 years.

    Gliomas – the rapidly spreading brain cancers that kill in 6 months. For these fast & fierce monstrosities, only cannabis slows the tumor growth. A Spanish group even hit upon the novel delivery system of microparticle capsules of cannabinoids injected directly into the cancer.

    MRSA – this dreaded superbug is immune to all antibiotics and kills more people than HIV. It causes a horrible death of rotting sepsis and amputating limbs in a bid to stop the advance. But all five of the major cannabinoids in the plant were shown to kill MRSA in a petri dish. As an author pointed out, we only learned of one new class of antibacterial drugs in the last 30 years and here we are ignoring another one that comes out of one of our oldest medicines.

    Just like the discovery of morphine in the opium plant led to the discovery of our own endorphin system for pain control, the discovery of THC – the active ingredient in cannabis – led to the discovery of our own endocannabinoid system. Every person produces chemicals almost identical to THC that the body uses to lower inflammation and maintain general homeostasis. The most well known of our human cannabinoids is called anandamide, a neurotransmitter as important and widespread as serotonin or dopamine. In short hand, if serotonin is your happiness molecule and dopamine is your addiction molecule, anadamide is the molecule of balance.

    That’s why cannabis is effective at treating such a wide swathe of diseases. Most illness comes from imbalance and anandamide is widely spread and has switches all over the body for calming things down. I can’t think of any other class of drugs that are effective against half of what is proven for cannabis. The best suggestions I’ve heard for competition is the immunosupressants like Prednisone or the SSRI’s like Prozac. Both of these drug classes have many significant side effects and they still don’t work on nearly as much diseases as cannabis (though I’m happy to hear other suggestions)

  2. 2 damske ure March 13, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    You should take part in a contest for one of the highest quality websites online. I am going to highly recommend this blog!

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Lex Pelger

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