The Basics

When I start talking about weed with other adults, three issues always come up.

First of all, I don’t know what the hell to call it anymore.  Cannabis sounds too square, marijuana sounds too racist, weed sounds too stoner-y, grass sounds too hippie-y, pot sounds too 8th grade-y.  I find myself flopping between grass, weed, and pot, but I don’t think any of these words are helping my cause of trying to normalize adult use.  So that issue is about 20 years into a lack of resolution for me personally.

Second of all, (which is also third of all) people tell me “weed makes me paranoid” or “weed makes me fall asleep”.  Now this is something I can speak to with authority as a user and as a weed nerd.

There are two subspecies of the cannabis plant: Cannabis sativa sativa and Cannabis sativa indica.  The short hand for these two types of cannabis are sativa and indica and becoming familiar with them is how regular users predict their effects.

The quick explanation: Sativa makes you feel high, but can make you feel paranoid.  Indica makes you feel stoned, but can make you fall asleep.  As a kid, you might have liked sativa to go to a concert, and indica to hang out on your friend’s basement couch and eat chips.  As an adult, you might like sativa to clean out the garage, and indica to stop obsessing about what an asshole your boss is.

In this wonderful epoch of cannabis we’re in, there’s a huge variety of sativa and indica.  You don’t have to be cis normative when it comes to your cannabis preference; in fact most people enjoy the two subspecies at different times for different reasons. And the very best development in modern cannabis cultivation: the blend!  In fact blends are so prolific and specific you can get sativa or indica dominant blends, or just a full on half and half.  It’s a glorious time to be alive!

It’s important to note that many adults don’t like smoking weed anymore because they only think of it when they’ve already been drinking.  Getting high when you’re already on alcohol is a party gamble with few rewards.  If you’re really lucky – you’ll feel a little drunker.  If you’re like the rest of us…you’ll get the spins and puke. It’s not very fun to have to face that toilet as a 40 year old moaning “but I only had four glasses of pinot noir”….although it’s one of those lessons you may just have to learn once a year.

As cannabis becomes more common in social settings, more users have familiarity with what strains they have.  It’s perfectly acceptable to ask before you partake and not bad manners to pass based on the answer.

If you have suggestions or opinions on what to call grass, please comment below!  And as always, feel free to ask questions in the comments, or email me at


The First Time

The first time I got high I was 16 years old and George Clinton and the PFunk Allstars had just stepped out on stage. I was with my best friend and her sister, who wasn’t supposed to know we had snuck off to smoke weed.  We had huddled around a little metal bowl and held lit cigarettes between our fingers as cover as we burned a little pile of brown buds and took turns sucking in the smoke.

The first few amplified notes surged over the crowd and we rushed back to our seats.   After 6 or 7 tries at getting high in the past nothing had happened, so I had no expectations that this would be any different.  I shuffled sideways past a row of adults and sank into my plastic chair.  I avoided eye contact with the sister.

The stage exploded in sound and color and light and smoke and deep thumping base that entered my lungs and beat my heart.  I struggled to remember everything I had to do to keep functioning: breath in AND out.  Keep eye lids open.  Blink occasionally, not too fast.  Lift my arms to push my hair out of my face.  After ten long minutes – ten decades of minutes – ten centuries of minutes – I stood up.

I was standing on my own planet, watching P-Funk by myself, inhaling my own oxygen that the trees fed me and exhaling CO2 to feed them back.  I wasn’t self-conscious because I had no self.  Eventually I looked over to my friend, and the sister, and the thousands of other people at the show.  And we were having a god damn good time.

Getting high was like finally learning to speak the language after 16 years of living in a foreign country*.  It didn’t make everything perfect, but it helped things make sense.  And as I grew into my teenage years and watched other kids use alcohol to fit in, I knew why they felt so weird.  Alcohol makes time speed up, imbues you with a false sense of entitlement and amplifies your urges.  Grass makes everything slow down and uncovers the false veneer that everyone is working so hard on.  Nothing matters other than what’s right in front of you.

Four weeks after the Parliament show I was a committed stoner.  Years went by before I tried drinking again – I just didn’t need it the way the other teenagers did.  When I began searching for a college to go to, I bought a huge book and dog-eared all the schools that listed “pot culture”.  As I got older and had no interest in limiting my weed smoking, I had to come to terms with how people would think of me.  A 20 year old female stoner.  A stoner waitress.  A stoner failure at my first career.  A 30 year old female stoner.  A middle aged stoner.

It made me feel less embarrassed to just tell people.  I usually give a new person about 40 minutes before I find a way to work it into the conversation.  Sometimes there’s a hesitation, an are-you-for-real look, maybe a dumb joke…but for the most part no one gives a good god damn.

I own a successful business and raise a funny, precocious daughter.  I don’t take xanax.  I exercise regularly.  I set goals and I achieve them.  And I smoke weed every day.

Now I’m going to tell you about it.


*this was particularly poignant when I continued getting high while living in Italy, but never actually learning how to speak Italian.



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