I had my first weed experience when I was about seventeen.
I was staying with this friend who had a strict policy not to do anything mind-altering on school nights, so I went to smoke alone outside by his pool.
Months earlier, someone had given me a puff from what was supposed to have been a joint, but I hadn’t felt anything.
So, standing by the pool that night, I decided to smoke as much as I possibly could.
I wanted to make sure it actually did something just so I could see what all the fuss was about.
I wasn’t sure what to expect.
After inhaling a few times, I was hit by the normal bout of rough, scary coughs and hacks common to all newbies.
I smoked some more.
I remember feeling pretty loose and relaxed as I made my way back in and up the stairs.
It was just a breezy, cool sensation that reminded me of the music I was listening to at the time.
Though this was the late ’90s, I was going through a classic stoner rock phase—bands like Doors, Led Zep, Jefferson Airplane…
Everything changed when my non-high friend asked me a question and I tried to speak.
He asked if I was high or how I was feeling.
I tried to say something like, “Yeah, I’m cool,” but what came out was more along the lines of: “Yyyeeaaaaaaoouuuu knoooowwwww thaaaaat wwheeeen Iiiii taaaalk liiike Jaaaaaaack Nicholson . . . theeeeen Iiii’m coooll…?”
I thought, ‘That was weird…’ as visions of Nicholson’s smiling face (complete with trademark sunglasses) split like a kaleidoscope and began to ping across my inner landscape.
From there, I shuffled to the bathroom and ate handfuls of toothpaste and water.
It tasted amazing.
One sensation I can still vividly remember from that night was this feeling that my whole body was hooked up to some sort of rhythmic, circling machine.
Inner vibrations like waves seemed to punctuate everything, even my thoughts.
I watched as my mind dissected in time to a wash of enchanting colors and sounds.
My friend was drinking and joking around.
He put a movie on, but I didn’t feel like paying attention to anything.
I just wanted to sit back in my big, soft chair and watch the world morph to a dazzling, pulsating swirl.
That night was half my life ago now.
It was a magical experience I know I’ll never forget.
There have been many other magical high experiences since, as well as a few scarier ones.
For the past several years, I’ve been smoking, eating, and vaporizing medical marijuana almost every day.
I know I’m addicted.
An important sign of addiction is tolerance.
That’s when the same amount of something affects you less than it did at first, so you need more to get the same effect.
Before I started putting this story together, I’d often get high before work, at lunch, after work, before dinner, after dinner, and until I fell asleep (every day).
The extreme tolerance I’d built up made magical experiences like my first high feel unreachable.
Yet being addicted, I was always driven to just keep using more and more.
Here’s something I wrote while high a few years ago:
“I should remember the first time I got high and the magic of that experience.
“That’s a reason not to let myself stay addicted, just like it’s a reason not to quit completely.”
If I can get high less often, then the experience will be more special and magical; then I won’t have to quit.
That’s the balance I’m hoping and searching for.
Tomorrow: more on how less can be more.
By the way, I really enjoy hearing stories like people’s first high experiences, or your first experience with whatever you’re trying to balance or control.
How has addiction changed the experience of weed or whatever else it is for you?
P.S. After writing today’s chapter, I got high and read through what I’d written.
“I can still get just as high as I did that first time.
“I’m actually really high right now.
“There just seems to be something special that happens when I use weed less.
“That specialness (not the intensity) is the magic I’m looking for.
“Like I said, I’ll share some of my more negative weed experiences as well.”