Consumption of or exposure to marijuana mostly just makes people happy and relaxed, and then it makes them want to eat. (Or take a nap. Or eat and then take a nap. We’re not talking about complex results here.)
And yet the drug has been demonized in America for almost as long as it has been available and publicly discussed. In 2017, the conversation continues to hinge on the same time-honored talking points: Pot is dangerous, pot fosters crime and dependence on harder drugs, pot is not smoked or ingested by ordinary, law-abiding people.
Maybe you know someone who has smoked or ingested pot. Maybe you’ve smoked or ingested it yourself. Maybe the idea of pot as social dismantler seems a little ridiculous, and maybe you also know what it feels like to hold down a job and be a responsible adult and also just absolutely annihilate an entire tub of ice cream after a long day of work and a joint because seriously an entire tub why stop it just sounds so so gooood.
This March, as part of remarks to law enforcement in Richmond, Virginia, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that marijuana “dependency” is “only slightly less awful” than heroin. Sessions has long opposed marijuana legalization, but after this speech and his recent appointment as A.G., we figured it was time to remind you what the stuff feels like in extreme doses. That maybe it isn’t a devil drug.
I live in Washington State, one of just eight states where marijuana is currently legal for nonmedicinal use. Pot was legalized here in December of 2012, one month after Colorado’s pioneering vote to legalize the substance. You can walk into a store here and buy pot all day long, no license or medical card needed. I have used marijuana before and will again.
Yesterday, I bought a small bag of sour-tangerine hard pot candies and a small box of Cannabees-brand pot honey. Each candy contains 10 mg of THC—the standard dosage for recreational ingestibles—and the honey comes in 10-mg packets, roughly an ounce each. (For reference, one medium-sized joint rolled on ordinary cigarette paper typically contains around 25 mg. Note that, in old-school pot culture, joints are usually shared among multiple people.)
I weigh 180 pounds and am five feet, ten inches tall; I occasionally smoke or ingest pot but wouldn’t call myself a regular user. My tolerance is fairly close to what most people would have if they’ve never taken the drug.
Over the course of an hour last night, I ate three candies and two packets of honey. An hour later, I ate one more candy.
That was almost certainly maybe possibly definitely way too much.
You can’t really overdose on pot—you just sort of go goofy and then fall asleep—but it’s common for people to overdo it on edibles. Digestion time varies from person to person, but on average, you get one to three hours, after eating, before you feel anything. So people sit there in the first hour, a dose or two in and not yet feeling it. And they keep eating. And then it hits them like a freight train—none of the long, slow build-up you get from smoking.
The science is below. Or rather, a total lack of science, and instead an as-it happens diary, organized by elapsed time since dosage. The words below were actually written as I got stoned. The final line is the only bit added after the fact.
If you’ve never been high, maybe this will illuminate something. If you have, well, hey, there’s probably not much new here. But I can tell you this: That honey was amazing.
10 minutes after dosage (AD): I feel nothing. Sober as a nun on Sunday. Candies were good. Honey was better. The candies tasted like the ones my grandmother used to keep in a bowl on the kitchen counter. Kind of musty.
0:20 AD: Still feel nothing. Now kind of bored. I always get bored at this point. Tried to watch TV; that didn’t take. Tried to read—a three-dollar copy of The Martian that I bought at a local used bookstore. Didn’t take, either. I usually have things to do; tonight, I have nothing to do.
Wife is upstairs reading. Kids are in bed. I walk out into the garage and start cleaning.
I hate cleaning. Bored bored bored. This was a dumb idea. I should be doing something productive, but that would mean leaving the house. Seems important to be contained inside for this.
The garage isn’t even that dirty.
0:30 AD: Ponder having a beer. Decide not to contaminate experiment. Shame. Beer sounds nice. Still feel nothing.
0:40 AD: Feel about like I’ve had a single beer. Nice buzz. Nothing special, just a light-hearted, airy sense of Relax. I’m sitting in our living room. The dog is lying at my feet.
0:50 AD: The dog is still lying at my feet. She feels really heavy, all of a sudden. I spend about five minutes looking at her feet. I don’t understand her feet.
I rummage around in the freezer and find a frozen chile relleno from Trader Joe’s. I make the chile relleno. The chile relleno is fine, but not great—mostly just melted goo and some lackluster, chunky salsa. I leave half of it on the counter, covered up, assuming I’ll come back to it later.
1:00 (one hour) AD: Read The Martian for a bit. Lot of numbers in that book. He’s talking about oxygen reclamation. Takes me a few passes to get through some of the more complex passages. I started reading this book yesterday, while sober. It reminded me of a comic book, and it wasn’t a difficult read. It now seems entirely too difficult.
1:20 AD: I feel entirely sober.
1:40 AD: I feel entirely sober and am curled on the couch, or is it under the couch, I feel like I’m under the couch, on a blanket feeling the fuzzy blanket edges against my face. It’s one of those tacky fake-fur things. I think we got it as a gift. The edges are wispy, like yak hair.
I have never seen a yak. Just kind of free-associating here.
So very fuzzy.
Kind of want to eat the fuzzy.
Try gnawing it a bit. Tastes like old clothes. Ropa vieja, in Spanish. I took several years of Spanish in college. I am still not fluent in Spanish. Dog is now eyeing me oddly.
Wife walks downstairs, gives me a funny look. “You okay?”
“Fine,” I say. “Just tired.” I didn’t tell her I was doing this. Maybe I should have? Then, secretly, to myself: Lies! Lies! Lies! You aren’t fine! You are making out with a blanket and it is SO SO GOOD.
2:00 AD: This is nice. Whole body feels warm and loose. Limber. I should stay here, in this place. Maybe pet the dog a bit. This is how I got stoned in college—the same level. Functional, but also just floating on a sea of DGAF.
That’s a dumb phrase. Why did you type it? Do ships sail on seas of DGAF? What would those ships be named?
RMS Queen Fuckit
I spend five minutes thinking up more ship names. I come up with a great one, the most creative and wittiest thing that has ever left my brain. By the time I get up and walk to the computer, I can’t remember what it was. So I eat a half-pint of raspberry sorbet and then rummage around in the fridge. Half the condiments come out. Every mustard I own goes on a plate. (Side note: Why do I have five different kinds of mustard?) I am going to dip tortilla chips in these mustards.
These chips are amazing. Crackly.
Mustard is totally an overrated condiment. I should tell more people about mustard.
2:20 AD: Oh God, we’re still moving up. It’s getting . . . more. More high. I don’t need to be more high. Not bad. Just good. How do I tell my stomach that I’m good? Does my stomach even care? Stomach DGAF. This is going on. Why is it going on? Why did I commit to this? Why does my underwear suddenly feel too loose?
2:25 AD: Goooooooooooooooooooooo it’s fun to type words har
2:45 AD: Got sucked into Netflix for 20 minutes. Just looked around the menus, listening to the “tuhk!” sound the TV makes when you click on an entry. Not sure these timestamps are right. Brain can’t do math now. Math seems made for hard people. I am soft. Try to walk back to kitchen. End up getting distracted in the hallway, standing there, staring at picture of me and my wife standing on a beach somewhere. I think I remember that picture being taken. The water felt nice.
Nice like that blanket kinda wanna curl up again.
Don’t make it to the kitchen. Curl up for ten minutes. Blanket on my face.
I love you, blanket.
3:00 AD: I have not been this high in a while. Like, a long while. You ever wonder how people drive while stoned? Never tried it. Don’t want to, never will. I could not drive right now. I could not even walk out to the curb and hail a taxi. Cabs are too yellow. Just too yellow to mess with right now.
3:30 AD: Fuck help I’m getting even more high than I was. It just keeps going. Compounding. Multiplying. Multipounding. Complying. Multicomplounding.
3:33 AD: I’m not sure what time it is, but I think I lost track somewhere? I just watched two episodes of Futurama. It is probably not 3:33 after dose. It is probably later. Whatever. Sticking with that number because I don’t care.
3:45 AD: I curl up in bed and decide to write the last few entries in this diary on my phone. Head on the pillow.
4:00 AD: I am going to find the office of Jeff Sessions and mail that motherfucker a fucking pallet of that fucking honey that shit was so good I bet it tastes amazing on ice cream he’ll never know maybe I should just take the rest of it and apply it to my fucking face. Directly. Like some kind of stupid-ass expensive face cream. Facehoney.
4:15 AD: This pillow is the best thing that has ever been a thing. I am going to apply it directly to my face. Like some kind of stupid-ass expensive face cream. Facepillow.
4:19 AD: I am going to bed arf arf arf there is a dog barking outside
He sounds like
4:25 AD: So tired arf arf hello dog I am your friend I bet you are fuzzy
I would like to meet you
Maybe I could name you Mister Fuzzles
God I forgot the periods up there those last few sentences too late not going back to fix it LEAVE THEM THERE IS NO TIME BATTLEFIELD TACTICS WE HAVE TO KEEP MOVING
4:28 AD: Wife has come to bed. Is propped up on a pillow, reading a book by her bedside light. I hide under the covers. She notices.
“Did you remember to let the dog out one last time? Before coming to bed?”
I am sleeping she must not notice be silent be silent be silent
Wife gets up, presumably to let the dog out. Room goes silent.
Feel kind of guilty.
Okay, not that guilty.
I bet Mister Fuzzles never feels guilty.
My toes feel like snausages I bet I can wiggle them in time with my heartbeat.
I can feel my heartbeat! My own heart! Beating!
I HAVE TOEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES I LOVE MY TOES
Kind of want to murder someone now and then do a bunch of violent-crime heroin
No wait just kidding
Really just want more ice cream
4:30 AD: [Giggles softly for 30 minutes, falls asleep.]
Sam Smith Sam Smith is R&T's Editor-at-Large.
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