Here is our extended interview with cannabis icon Tommy Chong, of the 'Cheech & Chong' franchise.
Tommy Chong is a central figure in the broader cannabis space, who carved his path in the industry in 1978 through his iconic film, 'Up in Smoke,' which launched the Cheech & Chong franchise alongside Marin Cheech.
Born in Alberta, Canada, Tommy made his foray into the artistic realm in the '60s by playing guitar for a soul group called the Shades.
During this period, Tommy met Cheech Marin, who was dodging the draft for the Vietnam War at the time, and shortly after the pair formed a comedic duo. Quickly, the pair found success through musical comedies such as 'Dave's Not Here' and "Sister Mary Elephant."
These successes culminated in the Cheech and Chong films of the '70s and '80s, which paved the way for stoner films for decades to come.
L: Tommy, Thank you for doing this for me. To begin, what is your daily cannabis intake? How much weed do you consume a day?
T: I don't smoke a whole lot. Maybe a joint, maybe half a joint a day because when I started smoking, I was afraid of it, and so I would just take a little toke and put it out and see what happens. That's what rats do. When they're not sure of a food, they'll take a little bite and then they'll crawl off and they'll wait to see if it kills them. And if it doesn't then they go back and get some more. And so I've been doing that all my life. And even though I got more weed than I'll ever smoke in a lifetime, I still treat it like it's rare and less commodity, and so I smoke maybe not quite a joint, about half a joint a day with my one toke.
L: Wow. And did you develop any kind of abusive use of cannabis?
T: No, not at all. I've been bodybuilding since I was 15, and with the bodybuilding comes diet, and with the diet comes the strict, strict diet because if you want to look halfway decent, you have to lose all that fat. And so when I started smoking, I was very health conscious. And the only reason that I felt good about it is because all my bodybuilding heroes, it was the only substance that they would smoke. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for instance. If he took a drink and it had 7-Up or some kind of Coca-Cola or something, he'd spit it out. He would not do any sugar at all in his body, but after he won a contest, he would light up and smoke a joint.
L: I listened to you and Joe Rogan talking about cannabis and sports and Joe said that if you don't know what you're doing, weed isn't very good. But if you're an expert in your craft, with his example being jujitsu, and you have a toke of a joint, suddenly your mind quiets and you just go into this autopilot where you're actually much better because you're not self-conscious.
T: Absolutely. You really have to be honest with yourself about everything. Not just cannabis. With anything. Before cannabis, in the last couple of decades or so, a lot of the athletes would turn to alcohol, because what alcohol does, again like cannabis, it quiets the mind. That's what happens. And when you quiet the mind, then your body memory will kick in and take over. But I found that cannabis calms the mind and it also puts you in touch with your spiritual side. That's the most important thing.
I found that cannabis calms the mind and it also puts you in touch with your spiritual side. That's the most important thing.Tommy Chong, Filmmaker, Director, Actor, Comedian & Musician
L: There was a psychedelic philosopher Terence McKenna who believed that Humans actually evolved through cannabis use and magic mushrooms. What you're saying reminds me of this, that there's almost this remembering of sorts when you use these drugs. You connect to something that perhaps we've become detached from and that maybe we should be connected to. Would you agree with that?
T: Oh, absolutely, because we're eternal beings. In other words, we've always been here in this spiritual side. And this is what I found out. There's a physical world, which we're in now where we can feel pain, we can feel joy, we can feel the cold, we can feel the heat. That's the physical world. The spiritual, it's just pure energy, and all that's in the spiritual world is love, very warm love, and there's no want, need or desire in the …