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Central to the drug scene is marijuana, the green-flowered cannabis herb that has been turning man on since time immemorial. Virtually every hippie uses itsometimes up to three times a day. Known as khif or hashish in the Middle East, bhang or ganja in India, ma in China, maconha or djama in South America, pot, grass, boo, maryjane and tea in the U.S., it is ubiquitous and easily grown, can be smoked in "joints" (cigarettes), baked into cookies or brewed in tea ("pot likker").
Usually marijuana produces a feeling of euphoria and exaltation; subjective judgments of time, distance, vision and hearing are prolonged. It can also cause paranoid episodes. According to medical experts, the pungent smelling weed does not result in physical dependence, and once the user learns the number of puffs necessary to reach his "high," he rarely takes more. Some medical authorities and federal officials believe that the drug will eventually be legalized. Hippies, who pass a joint like a peace pipe, quote Genesis I"Let the earth bring forth grass"as justification for its use. And, invariably, they argue that marijuana is less deleterious than liquor and does not bring on hangovers. "Juice is a down trip," says a New York hippie. "Grass brings you upup and away."
In The Hashbury, grass can be had for $10 to $15 a "lid" (a one-ounce lot, capable of producing up to 40 joints); the finest variety is "Acapulco Gold" from Mexico, undiluted and selling for $1 a joint ($5 for a matchboxful that can produce about ten joints). Lately, hippie chemists have learned to synthesize THC, which seems to be the active mind changer in marijuana, in a complex 17-step operation. Their formula, says a Government chemist, is "crude but effective."
Intense Perception. If grass is the staple of hippiedom, then lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is its caviar. Derived from a parasitic fungus that grows on rye, lysergic acid is mixed with volatile diethylamine (used in vulcanizing rubber), then frozen; the resulting LSD is extracted by using chloroform or benzine for fractional distillation, or else by means of a simple vacuum evaporator. Now available in pill form, or else as a soluble crystalline powder (the liquid-dunked sugar cubes of yesteryear are out), LSD produces an eight-to-twelve-hour trip highlighted by profound changes in thought, mood and activity. Colors become heightened, sounds take on preternatural shades of meaning or unmeaning; the trip passenger feels he can see into his very brain cells, hear and feel his blood and lymph coursing through their channels. It is this sense of intense perception that stays with most hippies and, in part, sustains their fondness for bright colors, flowers and bells. "Have you ever heard yourself move?" asks Hippie Poet Richard Brautigan..
Yet, for all its reputed ability to make a man aware of his true "nature," LSD has demonstrably damaging qualities as well. Mood changes can range from tears to laughter to intense anxiety, panic, and a psychedelic paranoia that duplicates psychosis to the last dotted shriekand can last indefinitely.
White Light. Though 250 micrograms of LSD can be had for $2.50