Hopes

My hope is that this will be a blog about cannabis, balance and real life.  My hope is that this will become a place for those who struggle to find a home in most other places (online or otherwise) where one can discuss our personal use and enjoyment of cannabis.  My hope is that writing here will allow me to come to deeper terms with my own relationship to this plant.  My hope is that it will be a place where it’s okay to talk about the good things but also the scary things about consuming weed.  My hope is that this will become a way for me to reach out — to find others like me who wish to cultivate a beneficial relationship with this powerful substance, but also feel slightly alienated by the by turns juvenile and euphoric culture that surrounds it.

I’m a 40 year old American middle class male.  I have a career, a house, a partner, dogs, and a pretty interesting and rich life.  My journey as a cannabis consumer has been both short and interesting.  Though I’d very occasionally smoked pot before the last couple of years (I could probably count the number of times on one hand), I began consuming cannabis regularly about 16 months ago for health reasons related to nerve pain.  Though the condition causing the nerve pain cleared up after a month or two , I’ve continued to use it occasionally for other pain relief, and indeed for other health reasons.  I also enjoy using it recreationally and to relax.  At this point, I consume cannabis one or two times a week, but also experience regular periods of up to five or six weeks in which I consume no cannabis at all (this is often related to when I travel out of the country.)  This has been my regular pattern over the past 16 months.

A few facts about my life have uncomplicated my relationship with pot.  One is that I live in an American state where possession of marijuana, its consumption and indeed its sale are completely legal.  My city is the one in which even the police publish a helpful guide on how to be a legal stoner.  There are at least five sizable dispensaries within a few blocks of my house.  Another un-complicating factor is the fact that I don’t have children, but do have a supportive, understanding partner.  Smoking pot when you have kids to take care of (like most of my friends) seems fraught.  So does having a wife or husband who doesn’t feel comfortable with your choice to consume.  Finally, I have the time and money to be intentional about my consumption of cannabis — I don’t worry about how much the product or the equipment needed to consume it, cost.

But there are complicating factors for me too.  I come from a long line of addicts. My family also has a significant history of mental illness.  Both of my biological brothers have in the past used cannabis in an excessive and harmful way to mitigate symptoms like full-on mania and psychosis.  Therefore, I’m keenly aware of the debates about how cannabis use may worsen or contribute causally to various kinds of mental disorders and changes in brain function.  I know that these issues aren’t settled conclusively, and I want to avoid obsessing about them, but I also want to acknowledge that dependency and the affects of cannabis are valid things to think about carefully.  I hope to write about them here.

I love cannabis.  It makes me feel healthy and on balance has improved my life.  That said, I have no particular love for what I guess you could call “cannabis culture.”  Walking into my local dispensary or head shop often gives me the feeling that I’ve stumbled into the bedroom of the kind of cool teenage kid that I never was (and would have claimed to never want to be.)  Even at so-called upscale shops, engaging the friendly bud-tender at the counter often gives me a sense that I’m probably talking to someone who has no idea what he or she is saying.  This is, to be fair, exactly how I feel about wine snobbery and other kinds of expert connoisseurship.  I’m convinced, in fact, that the famous 2001 experiment of Frederic Brochet in which he invited 54 wine tasters to sample one red and one white wine and offer comments on each (spoiler: the red and white were the same wine — one contained a bit of food coloring) is entirely repeatable with cannabis strains.  Is the divide between sativa and indica strains really so clear or profound as many people who write about cannabis claim?  (also:  who cares.) I think it’s okay to not buy in to all of the puffery involved in talking about weed.  I’d rather spend my time figuring out how it interacts with my body, mind and spirit, and what I can learn from it.

I started this post with a bunch of hopes.  I’ll end it with one more:  I hope that you connect with me here (anonymously if you want) as I write about and explore this topic.  Being open about this part of my life is a way to keep it out of the shadows and integrated with the rest of the normal things I do.  It’s also a way of continuing my ongoing experiment with weed in my normal life.  I intend to continue this journey if and only if it improves my life on balance and makes me a better, more relaxed and integrated person.  Connecting with others on this same open path would be an amazing bonus.

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