I am 65-years-old, and I have recently started using cannabis – again. I smoked a lot of pot (and did a few other things) in college back in the 1970’s, but prior to last month I hadn’t been high for 39-years. I haven’t even had a drink in over 30-years. Oh, I should also mention that I live in a “medical only” state, so my “unauthorized” use is technically illegal.
I guess that one Big Question is; Why? Well, I’m retired now, and I feel secure and comfortable in my retirement, but clearly, I ain’t getting’ any younger. I have few responsibilities, I no longer need to worry about getting up and getting out and being productive in the world, and I have no one at home to “set an example for” (thank God). I also recognize that life won’t last forever in any event, and so WTF, If It Feels Good, Do It. Also, as I was reading and researching this beforehand, it is clear that cannabis advocacy-groups consider marijuana to be a virtual “Cure for Old Age”. If all these claims are true (which I admit they may not be), then Medicare should provide all of us old-farts with free marijuana, because it sounds like it is good for pretty-much anything/everything that ails you.
If cannabis is illegal (where I am) and difficult to come by (for me), why wouldn’t I just take up drinking again instead? There are two answers for that. First, the reason why I quit drinking 30-years ago, with a great deal of effort, is that I had a problem controlling my alcohol consumption in a way that I never had with pot. In the Old Days I could smoke weed, or not, and there was never the siren-call “pull” or “hook” in me that alcohol had. Even after 30-years, booze scares-the-crap out of me in a way that cannabis doesn’t.
The other reason why I haven’t – and won’t – start drinking again only became apparent to me after I started getting high again. Even if you don’t get “drunk”, coming down from just a small amount of alcohol, like a beer or two, is at least slightly disagreeable. You’re tired, your brain is sluggish, you may feel a bit achy – it is, essentially, a case of very mild withdrawal symptoms. As I recall, this is part of why I would drink more than I should have in the Bad Old Days. I drank more in order to put-off those unpleasant symptoms, which of course, created a feedback loop and only made it worse. With cannabis (for me) it is really the opposite. The long, golden afterglow of winding down from a cannabis high is actually more pleasant for me than the initial intense rush, and I find that I have no desire to keep doing more and more weed, as I did with alcohol. There is simply no “withdrawal” with cannabis, just a comfortable, friendly relaxation, like curling up under a warm blanket on a chilly morning.
I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it is alcohol that is the dangerous and threatening “gateway drug” that foreshadows addiction and destruction, not marijuana.
So, what was it like after all these years? The advice I would give any other oldster like me considering reentry into the world of cannabis is the same advice I have read in many other sources as well; Be Careful! The stuff that’s out there today ain’t the pot that you remember from the 70’s. I read one article that said that the average THC-content of weed in the 60’s and 70’s was about 1%. By 1990 that had risen to 5%, and nowadays, with (legal) scientific breeding techniques and commercialized processing, the average THC content for “flower” is about 15%, with some strains exceeding 20%. This certainly is not the weed we smoked when “Working Man’s Dead” was a new release. One very small hit is enough to take my head clean-off for several hours, and that wonderful, warm afterglow I mentioned can easily last me for 5-6 hours – from one hit. Of course, over time you develop a THC “tolerance”, but that is just a good reason to give it a rest for a day-or-two once in a while.