More than half the country says they think pot should be legalized. This is due in part to a brilliant PR campaign that frames cannabis as a valuable medicinal herb instead of a party drug. “[T]he medical marijuana movement has refurbished cannabis’s image,” says a recent cover story in Fortune, “properly reorienting connotations away from intoxication and irresponsibility and toward wellness and spirituality.”
However, a funny thing happened on the way to the courthouse. As the talk of decriminalization became more mainstream, the drug itself became more hardcore. The cannabis they’re talking about legalizing today feels more like magic mushrooms than the joints people were smoking when the discussion began.
A Slate article from last month entitled “Not That High: Today’s Marijuana is Too Strong, and That’s Bad for New Business” claims the technology has become so advanced, THC levels are now running at 25%.
I quit smoking weed because when you have kids, you need to be on call in case someone has a nightmare. You can’t tell your daughter monsters don’t exist when you’re starting to think that maybe they do.
I spoke to some young pot-smokers, and they all agree things have gotten out of hand. An intern named Dan told me he has to dilute his joints with 75% tobacco. Another said that she had to give up joints and that even one small puff of a one hitter can be too intense.
That’s all fine and dandy, but to really understand how intense marijuana has become I can’t merely harass kids all day. I need to try it. So I had a friend of a friend hook me up with a very strong strain called “Master Kush,” and I’m going to smoke it right now.
(The remainder of this article was written—and published unedited—after half a toke of today’s weed.)
A half hour has gone by and this is what happened. First of all. It’s very hard to type. I don’t think I could write with a pen. I had a big rip off a bong (I sound like a narc) and had a huge coughing fit that got so intense I honestly thought about calling 911. It was totally involuntary and it kept going on and on and on. People were laughing at first but then I could see them get concerned and that got me concerned. It was one of those coughs where you start thinking you’re going to barf but you never quite barf. Man, just thinking about it makes me want to barf.
I felt like I was going to throw up or maybe just have diarrhea so I went to the bathroom but nothing happened. I was still coughing at that point. The guy in the stall next to me must have thought I had the plague. I was acting like a guy in one of those virus outbreak movies where you see the first few people dying.
So, I come back to the couch and then things get really bad. I was panting and having a slow tortuous panic attack that made both my hands go numb with pins and needles. I took my shirt off and lay on the cold floor to cool down but then my feet went numb too. It was hell. And it kept getting worse. I was writhing around on the floor trying to find a position that didn’t feel like the world was going to end. The room was spinning and every time I opened my eyes, it felt like I was looking through someone else’s glasses. My friend said, “I’ve never seen pot do that to anyone before” and I could sort of laugh but it was hard work. I vascialted [sic] from panting panic attacks on the couch to lying on the floor to cool down. I started thinking about calling 911 again but the thought of being in a loud ambulance seemed too scary.
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