Me, A Cannabis User
The article where I talk about talking about drugs
I wanted to start by clarifying that this article wasn't initially going to be about cannabis. The more I think about that, I would probably be lying if I started things out that way, so I'm just going to not do that. It's kind of difficult to pin down exactly what this is about from the outset, actually. Even with a handy outline at the ready, it is far easier to let this become something more like a stream of consciousness than a rigid essay on the merits and risks of cannabis use. The thing is I kind of just want to start writing about pot. I already write about comic books as a day job, and the writing challenges on this platform have been a great way to get the creative juices flowing towards working on my own fiction again. But I could write so much more.
For as long as I can remember, if there was something I really enjoyed, I wanted to learn as much about it as possible. I had the drive to be genuinely good at whatever it was, and if it wasn't competitive then I just wanted to consume every last piece of related information available. While this broadly applies to my various career paths and the wealth of knowledge I've accumulated regarding them, I've also consumed a lot of knowledge regarding weed. Because I've consumed a lot of weed. I like weed, is what I'm saying. I also like being a reasonably responsible and healthy adult.
All things considered, it feels as though I'd be doing both myself and readers a disservice if there weren't some sort of entry-level breakdown of who I am and why my opinion on the subject should even be considered. I'd also like to clarify that this isn't an endorsement for first-time cannabis use. I'm not a doctor, and the decision to begin using any drug is not one to make based on the ramblings of an unqualified cishet white man on the internet. I assure you, even though the previous statement could really be applied to anything, it is especially true for drugs. In fact, that brings me to the first thing I'd really like to cover here...
Who Am I?
I'm just some guy, really. I was born and raised in a suburb north of Houston, went to college in Louisiana, went back to Houston, and now I'm in Montreal. I've spent plenty of time all over the States, and I didn't expect Canada to be much different. Realistically, it wouldn't have been if I hadn't moved to Quebec, where the official language is French and everything is either totally unfettered or overly bureaucratic. I started using cannabis as a teenager (which I don't recommend), and pretty much never stopped. There were a couple of years that I quit after getting in trouble with the law, but I've never stopped using cannabis for extended periods of time because I wanted to. On that same note, I don't consider myself anywhere close to an addict even though I do use cannabis on a near-daily basis. I've never had problems quitting when I needed to, and I take regular breaks from it (which I highly recommend) for multiple reasons. I'm not any recognized authority on the subject, but I know a lot about it, and I want to share what I know and what I learn with everyone out there. Knowledge is power, and if you're going to do something, you should know as much about it as possible. You also need to know why you're doing it.
Why I Use Cannabis
There are a lot of reasons I use cannabis. Primarily, it relaxes me in a way that leaves me most often functioning better than I would without it. I have incredibly high anxiety on a near-constant basis. Cannabis alleviates that. It also helps me maintain a headspace that is conducive to working long hours, multitasking, and maintaining focus throughout arduous processes. I've also used cannabis for pain relief, though I don't suffer from any notable chronic pain of my own. All in all, cannabis just makes my life better. There are most certainly risks, and they should not be taken lightly nor disregarded, but there are risks with all forms of medication and all drugs. I know that using cannabis is better for me than using pharmaceuticals, just as I know that sober living is not the life for me. Healthy living is, though, or at least the healthiest I can reasonably accomplish, which brings me to my next point.
I don't smoke all the time. I usually smoke, no question about it, but that isn't the only way I consume cannabis and it isn't always the best way to consume cannabis. There are all sorts of products available. Depending on where you are, you may even have access to any and every possible consumable imaginable, all of them packed full of canna-goodness. I don't smoke when I have a sore throat, I don't smoke when I've got the flu, I don't smoke when I feel worse than any other day. It's that simple. If cannabis is needed and smoking isn't an option, then edibles, capsules, oral sprays, inhalers, drinks, bath bombs, and lotions become the solution. Unfortunately, I have a very limited range of products that are legally available to me in Quebec, but I'm still able to get ahold of plenty of smoking alternatives. Staying healthy isn't just about not smoking all the time, though, it's about being conscious of what your body needs. As someone who doesn't need cannabis for pain management, I try to take a solid break of anywhere from a few days to a week in order to reset my tolerance and get a firm grasp on just how my body is doing without anything clouding those signals. Usually, I'm pretty good. Other times I realize that I've been treating myself like garbage and that my regular cannabis use has been masking the effects of it. I won't preach about diet or exercise because again, I'm not a doctor, but I will say that just because cannabis is a drug/medicine doesn't make it a cure-all. You've got to stay on top of your health beyond staying on top of the trees. Another thing to stay on top of is...
I've been to jail a few times. It sucks. It is boring and expensive and if you didn't get arrested in comfortable shoes then your only option for a pillow will be the underside of your forearm or the best stack you can muster with the knock-off Birkenstock sandals you decided to wear out while getting weed. Just do things legally. If you're underage, don't buy or do drugs. If you can't get weed from a legal dispensary, don't get weed. Know what the laws in your area are, and stick to them. In Quebec, all of the legal cannabis is purchased at the SQDC or through shops specifically for medical cannabis, or you can grow your own, though there is currently an ongoing case regarding the legality of homegrown weed. I can also buy basically anything if I go to one of the reservations out here, which is nice, though there are no quality control assurances in doing so. Either way, I'm doing everything I can to make sure I don't break any laws or put myself at risk of doing so. That's a road I'm pretty much done traveling, and I can guarantee that the sights aren't worth the trip.
When it comes to weed, there isn't much I haven't seen or done. I'm confident in my ability to discuss and dissect the subject on a professional level. At the same time, I don't want this hopefully ongoing series of articles regarding cannabis to become overwhelmed by pedantry, while at the same time I don't want it to devolve into a list of lists of tchotchke bullshit to impress your friends with. As much as I love cannabis, I have a deep disdain for the sort of hippy-turned-hipster culture that has been prevalent surrounding weed and drugs in general for decades. Let's not try to prescribe anything a deeper meaning than what I'm presenting it to have. If you want that, I'll be writing about Beetleborgs soon, and there is plenty of surveying that can be dedicated to that particularly asinine well rather than the one I keep my hash in. As far as weed goes, I just want to provide the subjectively unique perspective that I have in as straightforward of a way as possible.
Assuming all of that sounds good to you, check back here soon for the next article. I'm hoping to publish a cannabis-related article somewhere between every seven or ten days, but to supplement this new venture's infancy I have a few that will be released within a few days of this introductory piece. Expect lots of terrible photos and decent-at-worst writing in the near future, and thanks for sticking around until the end.
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