Citation: Das. "O' Bitter Sweet Canna: An Experience with Cannabis (exp62658)". Erowid.org. Dec 25, 2009. erowid.org/exp/62658
Marijuana, all things considered, is a wonderful drug. Used properly, it relaxes and relieves stress like no other psychoactive. It can spur creativity, inspire powerful emotions, and attune me to the beauty of the world around me. It’s nature is inherently playful, benign, kind. It has that remarkable capacity to be used rather frequently without adversely affecting me. And these traits, I feel, amount to a bitter-sweet affair. Marijuana has a dark side. Oh yes, it certainly does, as does any mind-altering compound. This, however, was never realized until I clearly sensed it for myself. It is because marijuana is so benign that it is treated so casually. Many people develop the attitude that “it isn’t even a drug.” My friends, yes it is. It can be a serious drug, too.
I have been smoking for, oh, perhaps three years. I would say that I’m fairly experienced, having gone through everything from the lightest consumption to daily use to half-daily use. I offer this piece of writing as a documentation of my own experience in the hope that I can help others maintain a positive relationship with this drug. First and foremost, I do not discourage use of this drug. I myself still use it quite happily, but there was a period of time at which I “dipped” down into the recesses of abuse.
My initial encounters with marijuana were uneventful. I was not particularly fond of the drug and much preferred the venerable alcohol. Gradually, however, I became attuned to its effects, and I absolutely -loved- it! I am convinced that enjoying marijuana is not an instantaneous process for some people, so it does not surprise me when I hear the ever-common “I tried it, it wasn’t interesting.” It takes time, and experience also leads to buds of higher quality, real kind bud. The experiences I began to have were ethereal. For those unfamiliar with the effects of cannabis, I will relate them here before continuing. Note, of course, that this my own subjective experience:
The mental effects of marijuana begin with the sensation of the brain “peeling” back a sort of outer covering. When sober, the focal point of my mind resides precisely in the dead center of my forehead. Imagine it as a sort of ring. Marijuana first expands this ring and slowly moves it to the back of the brain, expanding as it traverses the thick middle section of the brain and finally contracting to its original size at the exact rear of the brain--a rather fanciful description, I know. My brain now feels naked, and I believe this is part of the reason that marijuana causes social anxiety when in public. My brain then begins to feel warm, and that is when I know the effects are really starting to kick in. I become relaxed and peaceful. If I was restless before, I will find it easy to simply remain calm. Bliss covers me like a warm blanket, enshrouds me in a state of perfect tranquility.
One of the primary effects of marijuana is enhancement of my senses, perceptible even at low dosages. Touch becomes more entertaining and far more acute. My ears are more sensitive, sounds become full bodied and subtleties become easier to distinguish. Music takes on another dimension, it flows from the air, from the walls, the ceiling, from within. Taste, well, I need not say much about that--we all know about the munchies. In short, I become a creature adept at -feeling- everything to its full capacity. This is undoubtedly one of the most valuable traits of marijuana. In certain cases, I am able to perceive sounds that I had never heard before in the music that I love. Listening to these songs again in a sober state allows me to once again hear the subtleties I could not before.
Marijuana also often induces an introspective state of mind. To someone sober, it may not look like a lot is going on inside a cannabis intoxicated person’s head, but that could not be farther from the truth. There is an explosion of mental activity. Thoughts will sprout wings and fly. This, however, has the capacity to turn nasty, for the same applies to paranoid or depressing thoughts. Marijuana will exaggerate everything. I want to emphasize that marijuana is a piss-poor escape from reality. If I have problems or worries, they -will- surface and will do so with a tenfold increase in extremity. It is a very powerful feeling of anxiety and is very difficult to suppress. I will discuss this later.
In terms of physical impairment, there is hardly any. I can drive much easier than with alcohol intoxication. My eyes become a little a red, nothing a bottle of clear-eyes does not fix, and I feel comfortable simply staying still. You could interpret that as laziness, but I do not understand why one should be lambasted for wanting to maintain the perpetual calm and comfort that my body adopts. Short term memory suffers during the plateau of the experience, though long term memory is unaffected. It is also very easy to remember what occurred during the intoxication afterwards. Anyway, continuing onwards:
I will not relate the process of going from casual use to frequent use, but I am most certain it occurred during the summer vacation between senior year and college. I began using the drug daily, usually at night. This, in all honesty, was not so bad. I did not lose any motivation, did not have any trouble -not- smoking when the situation wasn’t ideal, did not lose interest in my ambitions, and, in short, did not let it become a problem. Everything was fine. Summer was coming to an end, and I made the decision to quit smoking for the first semester of my freshman year in college. This I did with the most casual ease. I remember only suffering one sleepless night as a result of withdrawal (one of the more pronounced effects of cannabis withdrawal is restlessness). I successfully stuck with my plan, smoking only once with a friend when I returned to my hometown during Thanksgiving (I thanked God for cannabis). I went back and finished the rest of the semester. Winter break arrived, I went home again.
The Winter of 2006-7 is the first time that I experienced effects I was unfamiliar with. On one occasion, I was sitting in the passenger seat of my friend’s car. We were parked in a dark space. I have been repeatedly told that I am incredibly cautious and so, I assume, am a good judge of a “straight place.” This was a straight place. My friend and I had just smoked some of the usual kind bud around that area, decent enough stuff. Suddenly, I began to feel a disturbance in my heart. I felt each beat, I felt it too much. Normally, I do not feel my heart. I became convinced that it was slowing down, and I noticed a rather odd sensation running up and down my spine--totally indescribable. My heart began to hurt, and I was sure that it was about to stop altogether. I began desperately gasping for breath, holding my hand to my chest--I went pale. This went on for what seemed like ten minutes, though I’m sure it lasted a much shorter time.
There were no odd occurrences throughout the rest of the night, but this experience left me puzzled. I had never felt this before and was deeply concerned. Could this wonderful drug be turning on me? I explained that it must be my significantly lowered tolerance to the drug. However, over the course of winter break, I was able to build up my tolerance, but I was still getting this sensation approximately every other instance of usage. That explanation was out the window. On one fine day towards the end of winter break, I solved the problem, though I am still unable to explain its origin. We had smoked again and I again noticed the same feeling returning. Internally, I said to myself “listen, you’re just freaking out--the feeling is imaginary--stop worrying about it--stop thinking about it.” This solution worked -instantly- and -fully-, so simple. It was paranoia! Paranoia! Every time I began to think about my heart, I got the sensation. Once I learned to stop thinking about it, the feeling vanished. I do not know if this will work for everyone, but it worked perfectly for me. Remember, you have to -really- convince yourself that the problem is paranoia.
Around this same time, I noticed that my friend was having difficult experiences as well. He would occasionally become hopelessly depressed and become concerned over the most trivial issues while high. It seems that marijuana produces this trend in anyone who has been using it for a long time. Could it be psychosis? I doubt that, it is very controllable. Controlling it, however, is a learned ability. I too noticed that my thoughts were becoming overly emotional in regard to any sort of minor detail of life that wasn’t going my way. I had learned to control the heart issue--it no longer resurfaces--but I was unable to deal with the dark thoughts that would flood my mind and ruin the usually euphoric experience. My mind became saturated with anxiety and paranoia while on the drug.
The method for handling this issue is the same as the heart method, but to actually apply the process is more difficult. There have been times that, no matter how much I tried, I could not stop thinking about a certain problem. It requires mastery of my own thought processes. Paranoia is an affair of multiplication. If I let it start, it -feeds- on itself and consumes me. It seems intuitively natural to let it run freely, and this is why it so difficult to stop. There’s no trick, I have to -try- and -try-. Repeatedly uttering a phrase helps. In my case, “chill out” works wonders. Lately, I believe I have mastered this technique, and I no longer become paranoid unless I suspect danger from some outside source--cops, neighbors, etc.
That is all well and good, but there was another problem, one that I have only recently vowed to tackle in earnest. Until two weeks ago, I had developed a real habit of smoking three or four times per day--far too much. Of course, my schoolwork suffered, and my motivation suffered. How could it not when being awake inevitably meant being high? Two weeks ago, I ran out of kind bud and realized “shit, I’m addicted!” By this I mean psychologically, as there is very little or no physical addiction. There was, however, a noticeable withdrawal. I decided to quit for three weeks and then resume usage in a controlled fashion. I have yet to see if I will be able to do it, but I’m convinced it will not be too hard.
Part of the motivation not to smoke every damn day is to avoid building tolerance and to avoid withdrawal should I need to quit again. The withdrawal after quitting two weeks ago was unbearable. I did not sleep at all the first night, barely slept the entire week. It felt as though my nerves were vibrating constantly. I was very edgy, had little appetite, and frequently went from shivering cold to sweating hot in waves that coursed up and down my body. The withdrawal symptoms faded after about a week, and I am now perfectly normal (I think). I find it very easy to resist any urge to smoke marijuana, it is again a matter of will power. Every time I start thinking about how nice a smoke would be, I remind myself of what I had to go through and any desire to smoke instantly vanishes. I remind myself that I don’t -need- to smoke. It’s simple, and it works.
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