I’ve recently discovered one of the most wonderful, fun, uplifting, abused drugs around. No, it’s not cocaine. It’s not speed. It’s tobacco! This “recreational” drug is one of the most commonly used and assuredly one of the most overused and underappreciated drugs in our culture. What was once an indigenous plant used to enlighten, give thanks, pray and connect to spitual energies has been raped by capitalism and turned into a multibillion-dollar industry bent on poisoning our population with harmful chemicals – all so that a profit could be made.

What is a cigarette? A cigarette is not tobacco, though for some reason people like to tell themselves this. A cigarette contains something that was once tobacco but is now full of toxic poisons. Please check out the list of the 599 additives approved by our government for cigarettes. Here are some of the highlights: sodium hydroxide (AKA lye, AKA what Brad Pitt uses to burn Edward Norton in “Fight Club”). There’s also sodium benzoate, ammonia, methyl nicotinate and hundreds of other much more esoteric chemicals, including urea – a waste product excreted in animal’s urine. Is cake still cake if it has carcinogenic poisons added to it? No. So why should tobacco still be considered tobacco after the cigarette corporations are done turning it into their fine products?

Tobacco has long been cherished for its entheogenic properties, or its ability to connect people to the “divinity within.” Unfortunately, many people today are far too addicted to cigarettes to have a meaningful relationship with tobacco. Like anything that is overused, it becomes underappreciated. It doesn’t help that tolerance to tobacco develops quickly compared to other drugs. Foolish people continuously up their doses until they consume almost 20 times what is reasonable to achieve a little buzz. People who respect themselves and the drugs they consume consider the how, the when and the amount used every time they partake. Since tobacco is an incredibly valuable, powerful gift from the earth, it demands respect. If respect is not given there is retribution to be had, namely in the form of cancer, emphysema, heart attacks, etc….

Certainly most of us strive to avoid unnecessary pain in our lives. So how does one respect tobacco? YOU RESPECT TOBACCO BY NOT SMOKING CIGARETTES. Tobacco politely asks you to love yourself by not poisoning yourself with cigarette companies’ shit. Search out additive free tobacco. Natural American Spirit is the most widely available additive-free tobacco. Don’t neglect to search the Internet for other options, including discounts on bulk rolling tobacco. Pre-rolled cigarettes are for lazy asses. If there is not enough time in the day to take three minutes to use a rolling machine to roll your own then there is not enough time to truly appreciate smoking tobacco.

Watch out when rolling those cigarettes. A standard cigarette has enough tobacco in it for three new tobacco smokers to enjoy. Recognize that the standard dose as set by cigarette companies is for profit, not for enjoyment of the drug. There is way more tobacco than necessary in cigarettes so that they are more addictive. New smokers will find that a pinch packed into a bowl is plenty to get high. New tobacco smokers (especially veteran cannabis smokers) will notice the harshness of the smoke. Keep this in mind before anything silly like tobacco bong rips are attempted. The smoking process must be modified for new smoke. Mary Jane in the form of a spliff is a good choice for an easier smoke. One-quarter to one-third ratio of tobacco to cannabis is a fair ration – though heavy tobacco smokers may prefer more.

Tobacco is a drug that connects to spiritual energy. It makes sense to use it when being spiritual. I like to smoke tobacco before making art, music, dancing, praying or just relaxing out in nature to reconnect to earth. The social aspect of smoking is also significant. Smoking with people is always a good time as shared experience lays the foundation for building relationships.

Good luck to those who need to consider modifying their relationship with tobacco. Best wishes to those starting a new relationship with this plant. And please do not forget to show some respect.