As a member of the "baby-boomer" generation, I, like at least half of my cohort, have experimented with marijuana in my youth. Many people, like me, even inhaled it and found it quite enjoyable. But, these days we are being warned that marijuana is "more dangerous" than ever, and that our youth is in grave danger because todayís weed is "up to 30 times more powerful" than weed in the 60ís and 70ís. Weíre being told that we must "protect the children" and that we should join the chorus of voices pounding it into our childrenís heads that "drugs are bad."
First, I reviewed some of the available "literature" about marijuana. I found that marijuana contains over 400 chemicals. That was interesting, but not really useful, as I also have discovered that a single coffee bean contains some 1,200 chemicals, while common tea contains a whopping 4,000. Clearly, this was not the real issue.
I learned, and of course remembered, that smoking marijuana caused your eyes to get bloodshot, your mouth to get dry, and your appetite to become insatiable. Could the modern super-weed make your eyes even redder, or your "cotton-mouth" 30 times as dry? Was it possible to get an even more pronounced case of the munchies? Curious minds need to know.
Being curious by nature, I knew there was only one way to get to the bottom of the issue: find out for myself. Since Iím now a balding middle-aged guy with a beer belly, I knew that getting some marijuana might be quite difficult. Kids would likely think I was a "narc" or worse yet, I might get caught. There was only one logical thing to do: go to the marijuana Mecca -- Amsterdam. I knew that in Amsterdam people could walk into a "coffee shop" and buy marijuana just like any other commodity, and by gosh thatís exactly what I found. Upon arriving and checking into my hotel, I walked a few blocks and went into one of the shops. At the counter I found a menu listing various kinds of weed and hashish that were available. I told the counter person that I was interested in trying something really strong, and he recommended I try the "White Widow." I bought some and sat at a nearby table to smoke it.
The first thing I noticed was that the weed was soft and sticky and gave off an incredible smell. This was indeed much different than the weed we smoked in the past, which was dry and brown and smelled not much better than dried lawn clippings. By looks alone, I knew this weed must be "better." In the past, the weed we smoked was mostly stems and seeds with a bit of stringy vegetation attached to it, but this weed was devoid of seeds and had virtually no leaf material attached.
I put a little into a pipe and lit it. I took two or three hits then waited to see what happened. Holy smokes, this was indeed some very powerful weed! Way better than anything I had smoked in my past. Back then, the weed was so crappy, we would often glue several rolling papers together and make a "joint" the size of a cigar just to get high. No way I was going to try that trick with this weed. I sat in the coffee shop for a good hour in a state that can only be described as "totally baked."
After a short while, I left to walk about in the city and stopped in several other shops sampling the wares along the way. I spent three days in the pot capital of the world and tried many varieties of weed and hashish. The conclusion I draw from the experience was much the same as the one I drew from my first experience with smoking marijuana: no way this should be illegal.
If you find yourself getting worried about todayís weed and the "harm" in store for todayís youth, think back to the days when you were told the same. Todayís weed is more powerful, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not smoke myself unconscious. Donít lie to your kids and donít swallow the propaganda -- find out for yourself and tell your kids the truth. The most dangerous thing about todayís super-weed is the same one we faced in our youth: getting caught.
Written Dec 10, 2002
A version of this was published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Dec 12, 2002. Archive link
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