Thoughts of outer space often come to mind while smoking. There’s something cosmic about your mind being transported to a new plane of thought; the euphoric feelings, the stress of the day magically melting away. Is there a reason for this? Could cannabis and the universe be somehow linked in a deeper, more significant way?
*adjusts tin foil hat* Let’s begin, shall we?
Brands like Lil Mayo, everyone’s favorite alien, and Seattle-based Dawg Star have invited the astral connection. The name “Dawg Star” comes from the history of the stars Sirius A and B, and the supposed connection to ancient aliens. Yes, those ancient aliens. According to legend, the Dogon tribe of West Africa called cannabis the “two-dog plant,” as they believed it was brought to Earth by a goddess descended from the brightest stars in the sky, Sirius A and B, the “two-dog star.” Only Sirius A can be seen with the naked eye, however, leading to multiple theories that the isolated Dogon tribe could only have known about the existence of Sirius B if they had, in fact, been visited by aliens.
In his 1986 work Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science, Carl Sagan dispelled the myth of ancient visitors by arguing that although the Dogon’s knowledge of Sirius B, as well as their knowledge of other planetary goings-on, could simply be through observation and clear skies—after all, the Greeks did not have the technology we have today, yet noted extraordinary cosmic phenomena—or perhaps was imparted by European visitors.
However, Native American author Hyapatia Lee has also written extensively about the idea that pot was a gift from extraterrestrials, stating that “[m]any tribes across the Americas have legends of aliens, or Star People, bringing cannabis to this planet. The Cherokee say that the Star People came from a planet with the same name as the Cherokee word for pot, gatunlati.”
Contact with aliens seems too far-fetched to believe. Yet even pioneering scientist Nikola Tesla concluded that a “series of beeps” picked up during a 1899 experiment, originally intended to determine if information “could be transmitted over long distances using high-altitude stations,” was proof of contact. He concluded that “[w]e have a message from another world, unknown and remote. It reads: one…two…three…” Later replications of Tesla’s experiment showed that “the signal was in fact caused by the moon Io passing through Jupiter’s magnetic field,” but scientifically-minded Tesla’s acceptance of alien contact is significant.
Theories of ancient aliens coming down from the heavens to bring us the gift of pot are possibly nothing more than a half-baked notion, based in wishful thinking and pseudoscience. That said—sorry, I need to adjust my tin foil hat—theeere we go. Ok, I’m back. That said, if aliens gave Earthlings anything, why wouldn’t it be pot? And if they did bestow their celestial cannabis upon on us, what was their end goal?
The idea of supreme beings watching us from afar isn’t new. The theory of deism reigned supreme among intellectuals during the period of Enlightenment in the 18thcentury, a philosophical idea that suggests God created the universe and then stepped back to observe his creation. Deists believe that a supreme being does exist, but has no interest in our day-to-day matters. The watchmaker analogy, which posits that any sort of design, such as the universe, must imply a designer, paints a similar portrait of an impersonal God—one who sets the wheels in motion, but retains no control after the mechanism begins ticking.
Just as deists believe that God created the universe only to become an impartial observer, perhaps aliens imparted the gift of weed on us merely to witness the consequences, both positive and negative. After all, who wouldn’t love to watch history unfold, a new society change and grow throughout the ages? The idea has been explored countless times, most famously with the 1962 Twilight Zone episode “The Little People,” which was then parodied by both The Simpsons and South Park. Tiny microcosms of society rapidly evolve before the main characters’ eyes, with the less-than-cheery message that even in these new societies, history repeats itself.
South Park similarly explores the idea of aliens observing humans in “Cancelled,” the first episode of the show’s seventh season. The boys meet with alien TV executives, who rather dispassionately declare that they’re going to “cancel” (i.e. destroy) their media project—Earth—because it became too boring. If something like that were real—being observed as part of a Truman Show-esque reality experiment—could cannabis have been introduced to Earth to “spice things up”? Or did they hope cannabis would calm our violent ways and promote peace, love and introspection?
If cannabis was a gift from our alien friends, I imagine they’re discouraged that the plant hasn’t been legalized across the globe. After all, it’s just a plant. They must be wondering if we even appreciate their generous offering. If we legalized it, would they finally come down and congratulate us—would we crack the code they’ve been waiting for, like Roy playing the correct notes at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Would the sky open up, and aliens come down to take a hit with us?
For further reading on the subject—because, let’s face it, I know you’re formulating your own theories—check out Robert K. G. Temple’s The Sirius Mystery, binge watch some Ancient Aliens, or look up at the sky the next time you smoke, and allow your own theories to unfold.
Who knows, you may receive a visit from above. And don’t forget to puff puff pass with your new alien friend—after all, dealer’s choice.