If there were any doubts that 2016 was a low point in the annals of human history then the news of the deaths of both Carrie Fisher and her beloved mother Debbie Reynolds, this week, should lay those doubts to rest.
This mother and daughter tandem, though strained at times, displayed a love and open-mindedness that was truly inspiring. Fisher’s 2008 memoir Wishful Drinking, which documents Fisher’s struggles with drugs and bipolar disorder, gives us glimpses into their bond.
Supportive of Fisher from the start, her mother, concerned about Fisher experimenting with pot at the age of thirteen, told her daughter: "Dear, I thought instead of you going outside and smoking pot where you might get caught and get in trouble – I thought you and I might experiment with it together."
Fisher did, however, continue to use marijuana for another six years until, one day, she tried some really strong weed. Fisher recalled:
"Where at the onset it was all giggles and munchies and floating in a friendly haze – it suddenly became creepy and dark and scary... This was when I was about 19, while I was filming Star Wars."
Turns out this potent uber weed belonged to non-other than her famous co-star Harrison Ford.
In her memoir The Princess Diarist, released earlier this year, Fisher revealed that not only did she and Harrison Ford have a secret love affair on the set of Star Wars, but that Ford’s marijuana had a "brutal strength" which caused her to forget much of the details from 1976.
Ford, for his part, has never publicly admitted to smoking Cannabis sativa, but has hinted at his fondness for other strains of weed.
The book Harrison Ford: Imperfect Hero by Garry Jenkins (1998) discusses an occasion in the 1970’s where Ford is rolling a joint whilst giving an interview to David Litchfield of UK’s Ritz magazine.
Ford asks Litchfield "You want a toke of this all-American reefer?" "Can you work on this stuff?" Litchfield replied. "Nope. I can't even admit it exists," Ford said.
Ford goes on to describe the potent weed he has at his disposal, telling Litchfield "This is not Cannabis indica, or Cannabis sativa, this is Cannabis rutica, a real strong dope."
Ellen Komp writes in her blog post that there is no such thing as Cannabis rutica, though there is such a thing as Nicotiana rustica, a hallucinogenic herb that Moroccan fishermen mix with cannabis to make kif, for the purpose of improving night vision.
Could this be what the actor who played the drug smuggler Han Solo was smoking all along? We may never find out. Carrie Fisher, on the other hand, has been very open about her drug usage.
She recalls how her mother, being worried that Fisher was addicted to LSD, had once enlisted the actor Cary Grant to speak to Fisher about the hallucinogenic drug. Grant himself had personal experience with LSD while under the clinical supervision of one Dr. Hartman.
Fisher's long-term problem, however, wasn't LSD, but rather, opiates and prescription medications. Fisher has bravely chronicled her battles with addiction in her memoirs, books that have inspired people who share a similar struggle.
Another reason to miss the beloved actress.