Article by Gwendolyn Dundonald, Toronto Life
The first time I smoked weed was in a movie theatre while watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was 13 and had a few tentative puffs I didn’t even inhale. Nothing. Maybe I have a high tolerance for it? Like, maybe I’m just a natural weed smoker?
The second time I smoked weed was on the first day of grade nine with a couple of cool rich kids I’d just met. (Their names were literally Charles and Buffy.) I took one drag (and inhaled) and coughed a lot, and then had another and then, oh sure, thanks, here it is again, another. This time I felt giddy and happy and everything they said was so funny and, man, was this going to be a great year for me or what? Suck it, shitty grade eight! And I can’t stop laughing and oh shit, I am peeing myself, just uncontrollably peeing right in front of the cool, rich kids, watching my navy tights darken down one leg. Welcome to high school, me.
Over the next few years, booze—and its accompanying crying, barfing and screeching terrified me—I actually made it through high school having never gotten drunk. The idea of weed, though, held huge appeal, despite the fact that the reality of my experiences never quite lived up to the hope. I longed to be one of the happy stoners who hung out on the lawns.
But weed, like skateboarding and masturbation and everything else cool, was a thing that belonged to boys. You knew who had it by their skunky smell and the band names drawn on their binders (Led Zeppelin, The Doors). But boys also scared me and not knowing the lingo scared me, so I only partook when someone else had it, even though I never understood what was meant when they said, “Yeah, this is the good shit.” Like, whose definition of good? Good like it will make me feel like I want to feel—calm, happy, and light—or good like the way boys defined it? Super strong? Will it take my regular anxiety and blow it up like a balloon and make me hyperventilate and shake?
I needed girl weed, not boy weed, but the idea of owning my own, of asking questions about its providence or effects, or was it the up-sy kind or the down-sy kind, was unfathomable. Like the rest of teenagerhood, it was all an awkward, sloppy fumble, and you took what you could get, lighting up whatever was in the squished sandwich bag scored from some dude’s backpack and issuing a panicky prayer.
In the decades that followed I didn’t really fare much better. (But hey, let’s just take one minute to celebrate my can-do spirit here.) I didn’t know about different strains or THC levels or terpenes. You just played Russian Roulette and took a few drags and saw what happened. Sometimes the odds were ever in my favour, and I’d laugh and be funny and eat popsicles and skinny dip. Other times I went to the dark side, engulfed by terror, horribly dizzy, urgently cramming salty things into my clammy face-hole to quell the nausea, watching the Weather Network for hours, frantically petting a cat. It never occurred to me that one might have control over this if one was more knowledgeable about cannabis.
Then a few months ago, my weed-savviest friend handed me a slick little vape pen. “Trust me,” she said. “This is what you want.” Reader, I married it.
It was a 4:1 CBD:THC oil. I’d tried CBD oil a while ago, having gotten caught up in the shimmery promise of THC’s saintly little sister twirling around in the wellness spotlight, and felt nothing. But paired with a tiny little kiss of THC? Be still my heart. (Literally. The calming effects of this magic pen are incredible.)