By Charles Roques
There are many slang words and terms that have crept into the cannabis lexicon over the years. Many are just street terms or colorful jargon, like the many names for the plant. But there is one very ancient word that has been used quite a bit and perhaps that is appropriate, considering the long history of the plant.
Epiphany, from the Greek “epiphainein” for “manifestation, striking appearance” is an experience of sudden and striking realization. It has been used over the years to describe everything from a religious experience to a drug-induced hallucination. It can even be a literary device, as when all the clues converge in a moment of enlightened awareness.
It has been a flexible word and has several meanings today. Epiphanies are often about making connections between two things in a manner that you never thought of before. Some current usage may stretch the original meaning even further. In some contexts it may mean nothing more than a joke.
The word epiphany is often used to describe some of the many psychoactive responses one has while under the influence of cannabis. Some of the different names for the plant are probably the result of colorful “epiphanyms” for the plant conjured up when high. Epiphany is becoming more of a synonym for inspiration, but the sense is still retained of the realization of something new or unseen. Epiphanies come from within but could be prompted from seeing or learning about external events.
Although much is anecdotal, the cannabis investing sector seems also to have its share of epiphanies. My own personal one about the sector was prompted by a visit to Denver and consequently discovering the medical research, e.g., the ability to isolate the different effects of the cannabis euphoria experience. Wow, you mean they are studying this in the laboratories, and researching its use against cancer as well!? If you have never been, visiting Denver could open your eyes. The state has not descended into chaos and vice, as some may have predicted. It felt more like seeing the beginning of a cultural revolution. It wasn’t so much a discovery of something I never knew before as much as the investigative and scientific validation of something I had known all along.
I also heard and saw others speaking of their own epiphanies while I was attending the Marijuana Investor Summit conference last spring in Denver. The first morning I met a practicing physician from Denver who was dourly dismissive of the future of cannabis and even of the discoveries. His doubts were further compounded by the legal issue, but reluctantly he attended the summit. He expressed doubt that he would stay past the first day. I was surprised to see him on the last day, this time noticeably upbeat. He even smiled and replied that he was going to have to rethink his stance about cannabis.
A surprising number of people there became interested in cannabis after experiencing a personal epiphany, often because of a medical condition being greatly improved or alleviated. I met a couple starting a business because a friend’s medical condition had improved using cannabis. I heard a person speak of abandoning her prescription drugs to exclusively use cannabis to combat fibromyalgia, successfully. Another was spurred by the death of a friend, but they all shared a common thread. Previously all had been non-users and totally dismissive and skeptical about the beneficial properties of the plant, just like the physician.
It was not uncommon, and still isn’t, for many people to consider the effects of cannabis as escapist but benign enough to be harmless. The word escapist seems to be used much less these days in light of the research.
Another definition might be noticing an opportunity. Many businesses start up because of an epiphany that a market may exist for a product that no one else realizes. Company CEOs and founders have epiphanies about the potential of their products, and will frequently tell you in press releases, but running a successful company is about nuts and bolts management to enable the realization of that vision.
One area where you might be cautious in your research is confusing the epiphanies of the press releases, promising new worlds, with real progress. Following the companies carefully in this sector will provide the information needed to make necessary connections that may provide you with your own epiphany, negative or positive. In an industry that is still defining itself, they could be a critical part of making that history. It could be recognizing something in the way the products and services of a company work together, or don’t. Maybe it will be that the corporate executives are a bunch of ne’er-do-well opportunists instead of true visionaries.
Your eureka moment might be recognizing the investment potential but it also might be the realization that the company is doing more preaching than producing. It might be the realization that finances are in disarray. Research and due diligence can produce numbers but making connections between them and the progress of the companies is important.
Epiphanies motivate all types of people including scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and crooks, but they don’t bestow value on their actions and plans—good business principles do. The best epiphany you can have is that you have found a good investment because you recognized real value.