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Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Cambrian Legacy.

Five hundred and fifty million years ago, a time beyond the reach of human imagination, life decided to boom on our planet. It was warmer. The glaciers,that covered the earth had melted, 'Pannotia', the super continent was breaking up. The land masses were being flooded with warm shallow seas, there was a drastic change in diversity and in the composition of the earth's biosphere, life exploded!
The microbial mats from a previous era, that covered the oceans floors that time, was destroyed by burrowing life forms that emerged during this significant period in the history of life on earth. Yet  life was only found in the oceans, land was barren and resembling huge deserts that stretched from horizon to horizon. This was the Cambrian period.
The Lowly Sea Squirt.
In that breeding grounds, so many eons ago, from the same source all life forms where branched off we see a little creature emerge. It looks like a little tadpole. It swims around wiggling its tail and using a simple and primitive eye it scouts for a place, a home. It then cements itself to that place, and then transforms itself into its true adult form. It has been doing this from the Cambrian age to today. It’s the sea squirt. And despite its humble origins and appearance, this humble creature is a close relative to all vertebrates, including the humans.



Sea squirts are filed in the same Phylum (biological divisions) as humans. That means that humans are more similar to sea squirts than the coral. This little creature had a nervous system and in this neural system where certain cells, certain receptors. These receptors are like a molecular padlock, designed by the forces of evolution or god. The receptors awaited an unknown molecule, for it was created like lock, a molecular Lego block awaiting a specific key, a complementary molecular piece, a yin awaiting a yan, male awaiting a female,  chemical compounds which wouldn’t appear for another vast expanse of time. So the sea squirt and other similar creatures gifted and passed this legacy to generations to come. While evolution spliced and mixed and birthed new creatures, nothing faintly resembling the simple sea squirt, it left these receptors untouched. It was handed down generation to generation awaiting the molecular key. We call these receptor cannabinoid receptors now and it is spread in millions in our body today. It was a legacy from the Cambrian period to us.
Millions of years later, life was teeming everywhere, the earth was nothing like the Cambrian age, life was everywhere. Land was conquered by the plants .the earth would have seen is largest land animals, maybe not. The continents may have been as what we see today. We can't say for sure when this happened. We only know it happened for sure. There was this plant, just like a million other plants. It grew in the foothills of mountains, perfect and green. It wasn't bossy like other plants, it didn’t have any compelling needs to survive, it would grow and thrive among thousands of other plants,  a weed. Like every other plants it needed a defense mechanism, to protect itself, to survive, maybe from the harsh UV rays of the sun, maybe from some predator it hasn't met yet so it synthesized its own defense mechanism just like any other plant. From a long forgotten genetic legacy, of the Cambrian period, it remembered about the sea squirt, about the cannabinoid receptors. Maybe it was genetic memory, maybe evolutionary obligation or maybe the hand of god. Evolution's circle of life was complete. 
This humble plant in the path of evolution created  cannabinoid molecules like THC or CBD. It might have been for self defense, protecting itself from the sun, or making its leaves bitter for an animal. This plant would complete a five hundred million year old legacy of evolution. It did not stop there, it built itself fibrous stems, it synthesized four thousand odd chemical compounds which would be later useful and changes lives of a bipedal creature that would later inherit this planet and rule it as kings. It would provide it food, shelter, clothing, medicine, fiber, paper and pure euphoria. It was the cannabis plan.
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The humble Cannabis.
And finally maybe in an episode of divine luck, the THC molecule would meet the cannabinoid receptor evolved eons ago. It would have been a moment for history to bask in the glory of creation, the first time a THC molecule bonding with cannabinoid receptor, unlocking mental functions that were never perceived before. When a cell in a network is activated by its chemical key, it responds by doing a variety of things: sending a chemical signal to other cells, switching a gene on or off, or becoming more or less active. Depending on the system involved, this process can trigger cognitive, behavioural or psychological changes. For the first time, the existence of a new network in the brain was realized. The human is hardwired for cannabinoids as an evolutionary trait,  that would not be replaced or evolve for millions of years, waiting for a lowly plant to create cannabinoids that would act as a chemical key to unlock this receptors' gate, to an array of functions that would lay otherwise lay dormant, where as most other dormant traits we got from our ancestors were removed or replaced.This was truly destiny.
As anyone who has ever been high knows, few of the main pleasures of human experience with this plant- hearing a song and enjoying the complexity and layers as if for the first time, appreciating textures and colours in all its richness, being empathetically and intimately aware of one's environment, taste food in all its glory, every bite and drop exploding flavor in your senses, experiencing cosmic love and suddenly find yourself in tune with the surroundings. Being one with Creation!
Such experiences might seem like a waste of time and immoral to those who rally against cannabis as the "Evil weed," but evolution found it valuable enough to create an entire neural network for us to enjoy, leaving it untouched for millions of years from the sea squirt to us the human beings.
Or do you still want to argue with GOD?



5 comments:

exwhyzed said...

u are not bullshitting are u? :D

videv said...

does this look like a subject i will bullshit about.... all based on scientific discoveries, gene sequencing of sea squirts, brain scans etc etc ....

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!
This is good
ammo for Hemp support arguments.

Shiv said...

Great!!! make this into a trippy short film.!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Well said Sir, Well Said! :)