A Peculiar Plant

a brightly colored cannabis leaf

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Let's take a break from story time and dive a little deeper into something real. I don't feel comfortable promoting psychedelics without also promoting responsibility.

Cannabis is becoming more popular, and more accessible than ever, and this is a great thing for a great many people. We still have a long way to go, but the hippies passed my generation the torch and we're blazing trails. There's a lot of people left behind, a lot of damage to whole communities that need to be addressed before we can claim victory, but we're making huge leaps in the right direction all across the country. That also means we have a lot more stoners, and a lot more nervous, anxious smokers who don't have a guide. It doesn't help anyone to get high alone, get scared or confused, and walk away with a bad experience, but once you're out of college and living on your own, it can be a lot harder to find a level minded group to teach you the ropes. I'd like to teach people that there is a skill to getting high, using your high productively, and turning cannabis into as much of a tool as a hobby.

So lesson one is the "Roller Coasters and Cars". The first few times you get high, it feels like your brain hops on a roller coaster and you are rocketing off on a ride. You try to hold on, but your mind is racing all over the place and the high is taking you places. Hopefully some friends are with you to remind you that you'll pull back into the station when it's done, but you walk away dizzy and exhilarated. Over time, if you continue to indulge, the high changes drastically as you develop a tolerance. Your brain learns to adapt to being high, and figures out ways to tamper down some of the perceived effects. This is how medicinal users can smoke every day without being too high to function, they maintain high enough tolerances that the more psychoactive effects are lessened. But it's very easy to feel this change in your high and respond to it the wrong way. If you chase bigger doses and more frequent sessions trying to get that "first-time" high back, you won't. This is the trap that catches far too many people, and leaves them smoking copious amounts wondering why they aren't having any more fun with it.

You might think I'm going to tell you to smoke less, and maybe you should, but this time around I'm going to teach you to reclaim your high, even if you have a big tolerance. The trick to understand is that the high isn't a roller coaster. It's more like a car with the accelerator pressed down. You're going somewhere no matter what, but you have more control than you think. Your early highs, it's like you don't have your hands on the wheel, you veer off the roads, make crazy turns all over the place, and feel like you're out of control. But when your tolerance builds, you being to grip the wheel, resist the wilder turns, and you instinctively try to stick close to the lines on the road. And if you keep driving the same familiar paths, sitting in front of the computer or TV watching the same shows and playing the same games, you're going to keep having the same highs and ending up in the same places. But you don't have to. Understand that your high is under your control, and you can turn that wheel. Want to have an artistic high? Don't sit around waiting to feel artistic, start being artistic and let the high enrich the experience. Want to be productive? Don't wait for the high to give you energy, get started on your project and let the high help. Turning the wheel takes more effort, but you'll enjoy where you go. Your highs will feel fresher, more fulfilling, and at the end of them you'll feel content about how you've turned a fun thing into a useful tool.

Keep revving that engine, but start considering how you hold your wheel.

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Art and Writing: 
Yamen
Fractal rendered with Fractorium.