When I first tried smoking Cannabis…
I remember my first time smoking Cannabis like it like it was yesterday… a new girl had moved into town. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but when you’re one of only 2 teenaged girls in a town with a population of 250, your friend group doubling over night is, in fact a HUGE deal. This new girl was a couple years older than me and my best friend, but again with a lack of variety, she also had no other choice but to befriend, the nerdy 15 year olds that lived down the street.
“Ashley” we’ll call her, was from California, which already was SO cool in the eyes of two girls who grew up in the middle of nowhere British Columbia. She liked cool music, and her dad had TONS of weed just laying around. He was so stoned himself most of the time, he wouldn’t notice if “Ashley” snagged a bud or two off the top of his stash. Well, one day, during a marathon listening party of Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory ( it was 2002) Ashley grabbed this big, beautiful, frosted bud of Blue Dream from a tin on her dresser, and said “Do you guys wanna try some?” My friend and I exchanged unsure, glances, but both almost at the same time said ” yes!”. In our hometown, Cannabis was very, VERY common. Everyone and their dog smoked it. We were only 15, though, and the thought of being seen stoned by literally ANYONE in town, would surely mean our parents finding out. Still, we both wanted to seem cool, and grown up to the new girl, so when the joint was passed to me, i took a toke. Not just a cautious, testing the waters type of toke. No, I jumped right into the deep end of the pool. Head first. Having been around habitual Cannabis smokers my whole life, I was no stranger to the “joint”. I put that thing to my lips, and I HAULED. And then I coughed. I coughed only the way a first time smoker can cough, which hurt. But your first time is supposed hurt, right? I though to myself,” oh man… I’m gonna get so stoned!” Sitting there in my friends dimly bedroom. Her walls covered in posters of Blink 182, Radiohead, and of course Linkin Park, I was preparing myself to have a transformative experience. I waited 10, 15, 30 minutes for it to kick in. My friends were already on the floor giggling, and rolling about, but I felt nothing. Maybe I hadn’t taken a big enough hit? GOD I hope thats not the case. My lungs were still burning, but thats all I really felt. I was disappointed, to say the least. Was this it? All those people sitting around, passing joints? My mom, her friends? My sister, and HER friends? What a waste of time I thought to myself. DEFINITELY not all its cracked up to be.
I left my friends house feeling confused, and, to be honest, a bit disappointed. What was all the hype about? Remember this was 2001. I didn’t have a computer, I couldn’t google things. I thought maybe weed just didn’t work for me. Or maybe I was stoned, and it was just stupid and boring and not for me. This may sound silly, but I was excited for my first time smoking cannabis. I wanted to like it. I wanted to know what it was like to be stoned. And so, as I’m not one to give up easy, I went back and tried again.
And I’m glad I did.
This time around, I got it. I understood. I was in outer space, And it was fantastic.
What the Heck Happened?
If Google was a more accessible tool in the early months of 2002, I maybe would have googled ” Why didn’t I get stoned the first time I smoked Cannabis?”. Since this wasn’t the case for me, unfortunately, I just had to give it another go. The second time smoking was way different. I got VERY stoned, which left me with even more questions. Why didn’t I feel it the first time? I smoked the same amount, the same strain, and in the same way ( a very badly rolled joint) the second time, but I ended up on the moon. I remember feeling like my legs were gonna float away.
Well it turns out, theres a very specific reason for this. It all has to do with our Endocannabinoid system.
Throughout our brain, liver, intestines, etc. exist these beautiful little portals, or keyholes.This is our Endocannabinoid System. They are responsible for functions such as stress management, metabolism, and pain. These sensations, and feelings are transmitted from one receptor to another in the form of neurons. If the receptor is like the keyhole, the neuron would be the key. These receptors are also pretty much made to accept the molecule known as THC. The problem with this, however, is that the first time you smoke weed, those portals or receptors might not know what to do with the THC. In order for us to feel the psychoactive effects of Cannabis, the connection between the two has to be made. The THC has to bind with the CB1 receptors. The more you smoke, the more THC will enter into your blood stream, cross the blood/brain barrier, and bind with those receptors. Its basically like teaching your brian to get stoned. Thank the gods for my stubborn, can do attitude, or i would have given up the first time I tried smoking Cannabis.
My Thoughts 18 years Later?
Yes I still smoke Cannabis. I have gotten way better at it since my first time. It has always been a part of my life, and has become an even bigger focus of my life as I start this journey of writing about my experience with Cannabis. Looking back at that first time, tho, often I think about what my life would have been like if I had waited? What would the benefits have been to my brain if I waited until after high school at least? I know there were some benefits to my life back then. One being the fact that I still to this day swear I have ADHD. Smoking a strong sativa before any big homework assignment always seems to help me stay on task.
I am in now way advocating for teenage use of Cannabis. Studies have shown that when someone starts smoking between the ages of 13 and 19 they are at increased risk of developing issues later in life. These issues can range from poor anxiety management, to problems in the reward centre or dopamine release in your brain. And as is with anything you’re smoking, there is always a risk of diseases like lung cancer.
While it may seem like a super cool thing to do at the time, it is really the best thing for you to wait. At least until your brain has fully developed, which is usually around age 18 0r 19. Convenient, since the legal age in Canada is 19 anyways. Make good choices, kids.