Those of you who read my last blog post know that I’d experimented with pot in the name of writing research now that it’s legal here in WA state. As such, I recently had my first experience with marijuana edibles. My best buds (ha, no pun intended) had been trying to help me experience being high for the first time, because they knew that I’ve been writing a book where the main characters are stoners. They helped me try smoking at a party, but despite their gentle coaching, I couldn’t figure out the mechanics of inhaling and I coughed out all the ganja goodness. Sadly, I felt nothing afterward. But my buds weren’t going to give up.
Fast forward to another party. Two friends generously gifted everyone a chocolate chip pot cookie. The cookies were beautifully packaged and came from a legal cannabis shop here in the Greater Seattle area. We opened up an Indica cookie and passed it around, making sure to acknowledge the warning label first. (It basically said this: The effects of ingested cannabis are delayed, so don’t go crazy eating a bunch all at once to feel something, because you’ll end up overdoing it and the room might get all spinny and you’ll have the barfs.)
As we passed around the cookie, we all sat at the table, talking and making jokes by candlelight. I heeded the warning and had only two small bites over the course of an hour, the equivalent of a quarter cookie. The semi-medicinal, herbal taste was a little weird at first, but I got used to it.
Over the course of the next hour, I kept checking in with myself. I had already been feeling cozy and relaxed because I was sitting at a candlelit table with friends, eating, drinking, and enjoying everyone’s company. As the night progressed, I became even more relaxed, and I noticed a slight change in my speech. I felt less inhibited about speaking (sometimes in groups I can be a bit shy), but despite my decreased inhibition, I had a little trouble forming complete sentences. I’d manage to get them out, but the words were harder to process. That didn’t stress me out, though; I stayed chillaxed and engaged in whatever was going on, and felt like life was really, really good.
After everyone left, I attempted tidying up the kitchen while examining how I felt as I went along. I noticed becoming very focused on a single detail from my environment. A sound or a source of light would become very vivid to me. Then I’d follow it around—trying to figure out where it came from. At one point, a very particular note in the hum of my fridge had my rapt attention (I swear to you I stood by the fridge with my ear against it for about ten seconds, listening). The flicker of an LED light somewhere in my home also pulled me into its orbit. I became like a blood hound, who might follow a scent with extreme focus. Let’s just say it took me a while to clean up the kitchen because I was so distracted.
I also noticed that if I had a fleeting stressful thought (as all grownups do), it would seem to float away as quickly as it came. It was like my mind was made of something slippery. My normally anxious monkey-mind was refusing to attach to anything that didn’t feel good.
Another thing: I’d make a decision that I was going to do something, for example, “I’m going to wash these dishes,” but then I’d have difficulty processing the next step. I stood in front of the sink, staring at the dish pile for at least a minute. Eventually it sunk in. Yes, I’m really going to wash the dishes! Then I focused long enough to finally finish what I started—cleaning the gosh-darned kitchen. It’s entirely possible that this last cognitive blip could have been the result of exhaustion and not an effect of the pot, as I had been up very late the previous night with a pet health emergency, but I will never know for sure.
On the way to my bedroom afterwards, I became enthralled and distracted by various sounds. I did eventually make it to bed, where I slept soundly, except I’d sort of half wake up every few hours, in some kind of delicious sleep paralysis. I’d struggle to move my body, but I was also very conscious that I was happy and relaxed and knew that I’d fall asleep again. In retrospect, I think I kept waking up because I was worried that I’d forget to give my dog his meds early the next morning.
I woke up at 6:30 the next day, and felt so sleepy that I had to use mental brute force to shove myself out of bed. My dog needed his pills, no excuses. I also felt a wee bit of anxiety, and had to force myself to relax. But I think my anxiousness may have been related to my dog’s health issue, not because I ate a quarter of a pot cookie.
After I gave my dog his meds, I went back to bed, then woke up again later at a more reasonable daylight hour, noting that I didn’t feel hugely different from any other day. The effects of the cannabis had definitely worn off.
In summary, my first experience with marijuana edibles was a positive one. The cookies came from a bakery experienced in cannabis dosing, and since it was my first time, I was careful to not to have more than a couple of bites. I was relaxed, happy, and enjoyed the interesting effect it had on my senses— how I’d become focused on a small visual detail or sound. I wonder if marijuana simply enhances the mood you’re already in. As in, if you’re already feeling good, as I was, does it heighten that experience? Some friends have told me that marijuana can amplify their feelings of paranoia or anxiety, so much that it renders them incapacitated. Some of those friends have sworn off pot for good for exactly that reason. It seems like the mood-amplifying qualities of cannabis might be something to be careful with.
After this experience, we had two more pot cookies left over from the party. I waited a week, then graduated to a half cookie. Look for the next blog post to see what happened. As a teaser, I will say this much: it was so horrible that I never want to touch a pot cookie ever again. 🙂