“Marijuana destroys brain cells!” This pithy bit of wisdom is the line traditionally uttered to scare people off marijuana, but numerous studies have shown that it holds little weight. If one were to judge marijuana’s effects on the brain by the number of recognized pot smokers, the idea that marijuana destroys brain cells makes even less sense.
Here are just a few of the greatest minds the world has ever known that are also famous pot smokers.
1. Steve Jobs
The man who was the face of Apple Computers for many years was known to have smoked pot in college. Proclaimed the CEO of the Decade by Fortune magazine, and ranked 57 on the Forbes magazine list of World’s Most Powerful People, Steve Jobs is one of the most influential people in history. And all that came with a little pot-smoking.
2. Carl Sagan
You’ve probably seen Cosmos: A Personal Voyage at some point, which was the brain child of Carl Sagan. Noted astronomer, astrophysicist, and cosmologist, Sagan was definitely not the stereotypical stoner. With a Pulitzer Prize, an Emmy award, and a best-selling novel under his belt, Sagan’s accomplishments are even more out of-this-world when you realize that he was a true-blue stoner.
Sagan sure has a way of making a lot of sense: “The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
3. Stephen Jay Gould
Another scientist, Stephen Jay Gould is equally renowned as a paleontologist, a biologist, and a science historian. One of the most respected names in popular science, Gould was convinced of the benefits of medical marijuana after being diagnosed with cancer. He said it had a “most important effect” on his recovery.
4. Francis Crick
Francis Crick is notable for having discovered DNA’s double-helix structure. Stoner legend has it that Crick was tripping on LSD at the time, and he would later found Soma, a pro-legalization organization that served as fertile ground for marijuana experimentation.
5. Margaret Mead
There is no proof that Margaret Mead was actually a stoner, but she definitely supported marijuana legalization. An anthropologist of considerable renown, Mead was one of the most vocal advocates for legalization, even testifying before Congress on the benefits of weed.
6. Andrew Weil
Andrew Weil is one of the world’s foremost experts on medicinal herbs and alternative medicines. In fact, he has even had a mushroom named for him. The author of numerous scientific and health articles, Weil is also a vocal proponent of marijuana use.
7. Kary Mullis
Also a Nobel Prize awardee, Kary Mullis is no stranger to weed, nor LSD. In fact, his greatest discovery – the polymerase chain reaction – was reportedly developed with the help of LSD and possibly the small amount of marijuana that he consumed prior to taking his first trip.
8. Oliver Sacks
A neurologist of no small renown, Oliver Sacks is famous for several books, one of which served as the inspiration of the celebrated film Awakenings. Sacks was especially keen on marijuana, claiming that it could unlock “other minds” as well as “other consciousnesses”.
9. Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman was partly responsible for the development of the atomic bomb, and he was also recognized for his theory of quantum electrodynamics, which won him the Nobel Prize. Feynman was a noted marijuana advocate, who used it to enhance his out-of-body experiences.
10. Sergey Brin
With a BS from the University of Maryland, an MS from Stanford, and preliminary PhD courses before starting up Google with Larry Page, Sergey Brin was a brainiac through and through. Almost equal in renown with Steve Jobs, Brin reportedly enjoyed a toke on occasion.
11. Rick Steves
One of the foremost authorities on world travel, Rick Steves is about as far removed from the typical stoner persona as anyone could be. The head of a hugely profitable venture that centers on his encyclopedic knowledge of the world across the borders, Steves is also a passionate cannabis legalization advocate, who is NORML board member and a frequent speaker at events such as the Hemp Festival at Seattle.
12. Neil deGrasse Tyson
This may seem a bit of a stretch considering that Neil deGrasse Tyson has gone on record to state the negative effects of using mind-altering substances as a means of achieving understanding. Nevertheless, many of Tyson’s statements seem to be right in line with marijuana legalization policies, particularly as they pertain to getting a clearer idea as to what governs life and existence.
13. Seth Green
Getting back into more familiar territory, Seth Green is a celebrity who fits both the nerd and stoner model to a T. The driving force behind one of the highest rated programs on Cartoon Network, Green seems to have a casual relationship with cannabis, although he has stopped short of actually admitting it. Nevertheless, his brand of humor is right up the alley of most stoners, which should be a telling indicator in itself.
14. MC Chris
Nerds and rap music aren’t two things that most people would normally associate with each other, but MC Chris has changed all that. One of the brightest young stars of a genre affectionately known as “nerd-core”, MC Chris follows in the tradition of rappers who make no secret of their affection for the kind bud.