If Weed is Safe, Why Do These Potheads Look Like Zombies?

What is a healthy amount of weed Colorado Dispensary
How much weed is the right amount?
Image credit: nlcannabis.com

Denver, Colorado.  This is my first time at a marijuana dispensary. I’m being assisted by a budtender who checks my ID to assure I’m at least 21. So that she can help me chose a strain, I explain to the budtender that I am coming from an environment that was often aggressive and draining (rural Alaska).  I want to consciously return to the state of mind I was in before my months there – peacefulness, balance, and inspiration.  I will also be painting while using the weed, both as a hobby and as art therapy. She considers what I shared and picks out a strain that she thinks would be the most helpful.

Image credit: sickchirpse.com

I’m not sure how I want to use weed this summer.  I haven’t had the freedom (or interest) to use it at tired red eyes, puffy red cheeks, exhausted slouching.
my discretion since my last time in Denver, almost a year ago.  I know the sort of things it could offer – balance, therapeutic introspection, creativity, inspiration, focus.  But I look around at the people in Denver, many of whom are obviously high. So many of them look like zombies. They look so extinguished, like all of the life force has been smoked out of them –

Many people have taken full advantage of legalization in Denver and I imagine these zombie-like people I am seeing are the permastoned. But where is the line? Does the zombie essence happen only to people who are using several times a day? What about once a day? A few times a week? Or does this eventually happen to everyone who is using weed semi-frequently, but these people have just progressed along the fallout faster?  Maybe not, maybe the human body can bounce back and even derive health benefits from weed as long as a certain moderation is maintained.

Experimentation and research are the ways I’m going to gain insight into this.

The Weed Experiment – A Green Day

Sweet grass cannabis cookies dosage
1 of this little cookies offers about
4 hours of a balanced high.

Not a blazing, balls to the wall green day.  Just two doses of edibles, a small 10mg each, taken 4 hours apart. Nothing to do but paint and reflect.  It wasn’t incredibly intense or mind blowing.  It just gave me a little more focus, more clarity, and more interest in what I was doing.  I was a little foggy as the clarity faded and had relatively tight muscles the next day, but other than that there was no noticeable downside.  If there isn’t anything insidious slowly happening out of my awareness, I feel pretty comfortable with using weed in this way.

I’ve been super high before and those times were perhaps life changing. I saw through greater eyes than the ones I am used to.  I became grounded in a reality realer than the illusory set of beliefs and understanding society offers us.  Those highs were grand, but they seriously drained me.  A few highs that intense back to back and I know I’d be looking like the zombie types roaming Denver.  Those days are over for me.  Plus, I later learned that a meditation retreat could do much more than weed, but it just required much more time and effort.  I still have a few months before going on a meditation retreat again and I felt distant from myself.  So I am now just deciding where to fall between no use to moderate use.

 “a few days of art and yoga probably would have done the same”

Given my green day lite, I could see the benefits but could live without them.  I had felt distant from myself after so long in Alaska, and I feel much closer to and firmer in myself than I did before the green day, but a few days of art and yoga probably would have done the same. I couldn’t see any drawbacks, but wasn’t positive they weren’t there. So I looked to the internet for some research.

The Ancient Perspective on Cannabis

Cannabis Marijuana through ancient Tradition Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
has 5000 years of wisdom.
Let’s see what this system thinks.

It is really difficult to find free unbiased research about weed.  There are tons of organizations that are I’ve gotten cozy with a school of medicine that dates back 5,000 years and has no biased for or against weed. That school of medicine is Traditional Chinese Medicine (where acupuncture, Chinese herbal remedies, and moxibustion come from).
completely for or against weed.  Biased parties should always be discarded when researching.  Fortunately,

Acupuncture Today explains:

“In Chinese medicine, there are the Three Treasures that constitute our life. These are known as Jing, Qi and Shen. The goal of practitioners of the healing arts is to harmonize the Three Treasures. They are generally translated as essence (Jing), vitality (Qi) and spirit (Shen).
Let’s take a look at how cannabis affects the elements of the body. Using cannabis takes Jing and rapidly turns it into Qi and Shen, thus you lose a lot of essence over time, since you’re body is releasing Jing faster than the body can assimilate it. This would be similar to going to college with a large trust fund only to overspend it and find yourself pennyless after a mere two years into your four-year degree. Over spending your allotted Jing makes one understand why people who consume a lot of drugs might look like they are aging faster than is normal.”
The whole article is interesting and I’d recommend reading it here.

Essentially, you are given an allotment of life energy when you are born and you can spend it how you wish.  Weed (and most other drugs, even caffeine and alcohol) is like a withdrawal from your own life energy account.  You get to spend more while you are high but it is not free energy.

A Conscious Way To Use Weed Recreationally

Should I use cannabis marijuana weed to meditate, do yoga

There are alternatives to weed – yoga, meditation, art, gardening, playing music, etc. These all give us a place to connect to ourselves, to let our minds expand, to relax. Isn’t that what we’re usually looking for in weed?  But weed can offer a clearer set of eyes, although we have seen it does have a price.

Yoga and art were both in my schedule in Alaska and Denver, but on my green day I noticed negative thoughts that I carried from Alaska. I was able to catch these thoughts and change them into something positive.  In this way, I think weed can help reshape habitual thought patterns (although so can meditation or cognitive behavioral therapy) that can be carried into sober life. I was also more artistically experimental, but again, that is something I should try to bring into sober life. Ultimately, weed should be the tool that builds new neural pathways rather than the fixed groundwork of the pathways.

Weed should perhaps be only a temporary thing. I am trying to rewire my mind right now and I have the free time and the flexibility to do that.  Weed can help with it.  I will soon travel to Asia and go on a long meditation or yoga retreat and those practices can be the tools for shaping my mind then. They are much healthier and more sustainable. People should have more constructive techniques like these for the long term, but weed can help quickly shift from one mindset to another when an evolution is in order.

So I will rest with the feeling that weed is okay if used in moderation, if used consciously, and if used with the right intention.

“Weed is a tool for your life journey.  However, if it is used as a journey in itself, it can hurt your spirit.”

It’s Important to Have Good Conversations About Drugs

Deciding wether or not to publish this post was difficult for me, but I am posting it for a purpose.  While recreational cannabis use is legal and widely accepted in my current location of Colorado, it is still illegal and heavily stigmatized in many places.  The social and emotional charge around drug use polarizes people into opposing stances. Because of this polarization, the information available to us is usually biased by a group that either wants us to or to not use the drug of concern.  This is problematic for young people who have trouble finding unbiased, grounded information when trying to make decisions about using drugs.

We need to release our charges and open the conversation.  Using a drug does not define a person.  Using a drug is a decision a very complex person in a very complex world makes to progress along their journey.  Some people will let drugs define them, perhaps by doing things like wearing drug-themed apparel (note this applies to coffee as much as it does cannabis), but the drug use itself is not defining.  If we continue to hold these charges rather than having balanced conversations, that charge will damage our children, our culture, our relationships with one another, and inevitably ourselves.  So let’s keep the the conversation open, empathetic, and balanced.

Comment with your thoughts:)