Cannabis

Over the past year and a half I have been very vocal about not smoking weed and have gotten a lot of questions like “Tori why did you stop” or “How did you stop” and I want to take you on a journey through my personal experience with the flower. Also, It’s been brought to my attention that using the term “Marajuana” to describe cannabis is actually racist. In the past it was used to discriminate against POC so I’ve done some research and I’m going to share my findings with you later in this post.

The first time I ever smoked weed…

But first, I want to start by telling you about the first time that I ever smoked weed. I won’t divulge my exact age because I know my mom listens to my podcast and I don’t want her to be pissed, so let’s just say I was in school. I remember being over at one of  my friends’ houses one weekend after a long, stressful, school week. This friend was throwing a party at her house and I think there might have been a bottle of hypnotic there. Those types of drinks were the only things we could get our hands on at the time. So I’m at the party and there’s like eight of us all sharing one bottle of 15% liquor and one of our friends pulls out a little bag. It was a tiny little dime sized, crusty, dried-out bud of weed in a button bag. Me, being the fearless challenger I am, was like, “Hell yeah I’m gonna take a hit! I love Bob Marley!” So I did.

About 10 minutes go by and I’m like asking myself “Do I feel anything” and sure enough the moment you say that to yourself, you start feeling it. I could not stop laughing. Everything was hysterical! Our friends were busting out laughing. I swore the dog was laughing. The trees were happy. It was lovely.

All of the sudden I got this terrible “cotton mouth” and if you havent smoked weed before it just basically feels like your mouth turns from a rainforest into a desert. So, I decided to get up and walk to the kitchen and grab a drink. As I’m walking over to the refrigerator I’m laughing at everything, the toaster is funny, the trash is hysterical, I mean I felt like I was on a safari walking through the kitchen. I put my hand on the refrigerator and am about to fill up my cup, when I realize I don’t have one. Sure enough I laugh, and just as I’m about to walk over to the glass cabinet I realize something is terribly wrong. I can’t figure out how to walk. I don’t know what actually happened but something in that moment made me overthink walking so much that I thought my foot stopped working.

Immediately I felt a rush of anxiety. I was like, “Holy shit, I smoked weed, just a tiny little hit, and now I can’t walk.” And now all of the irrational thoughts start to bubble to the surface “What if I smoked a horse tranquilizer? What if I’m paralyzed for life?” I mean the list went on.

Not knowing what to do I gripped the refrigerator for dear life to alleviate some of the pressure off my foot. I probably look like the rock climber from free solo. I mean I was hanging on to the fridge for dear life. I don’t actually know how long I was holding on for but I can tell you it felt like ages. I just hung there, from the fridge, trying to keep weight off my feet, while still needing a drink really bad. I wish I could have had the vantage point of my friend who walked in for a water after me, because all of the sudden I just heard someone burst out laughing. Sure enough they helped me realize that my foot worked and that I was just hanging on to the refrigerator for absolutely no reason. I tried to laugh it off too but it’s safe to say that I didn’t smoke weed for a little while after that. I truly was afraid. 

When I moved to LA…

All through college, and even after, I smoked weed and when I moved to LA I really smoked. I smoked in the morning, while I was creating, and before bed. I mean I was high all the time. It was mostly because I was around Jordan and not to throw him under the bus but he totally mellows out when he smokes a little bit, so every time he has a joint I just take a little hit.

I’m already a really mellow person, so smoking weed that much actually had the opposite effect on me. It just triggered terribly anxiety in me. It was like I was in a vicious cycle of waking up, being clear minded with a list of things that I wanted to do, and then I would smoke weed, and just stress my entire to do list. I know some people feel so productive when they smoke, but for me the only thing I produced when I got high was anxiety.

Breaking up with cannabis…

There is definitely a stigma around weed that it cures anxiety, and that it helps to relax you, but I am living proof that it doesn’t work for everyone that way.

I realized that it had the opposite effect on me. It made me overthink everything. And yet, I still smoked it. I couldn’t break the cycle. Until one morning I woke up and realized that I liked being fully aware. I didn’t want to fog my mind up. I didn’t want to try to float through life. I wanted to be in it. I wanted to think clearly and get a lot of work done. I wanted to be productive outside of just creating! It all just clicked and that was the day that I stopped smoking weed. I wasn’t sure how long I was going to stop for at the time but I ended going about a year and half with no weed. 

I was afraid of it. I was afraid that if I took a hit I would have an anxiety attack and I would feel out of control. It was like all of the sudden, my brave “I’m done smoking weed” attitude turned into me avoiding it like the plague. If I even smelled weed it would trigger an anxiety attack. My relationship with it was very unhealthy. 

Overcoming my fear

So I decided to dive in and do some research. Maybe if I looked up the true benefits of cannabis I’d be able to conquer my fear of it. 

After reading through WebMb I felt really reassured. There are plenty of people who smoke weed and have more anxiety. Weed may alleviate chronic pain and help some people relax, but for others the effects are truthfully different. 

So, what was I going to do about my fear? Well I wanted to face. About two weeks ago I decided it was time to smoke weed again. I consciously made sure I had everything on my to do list done. I told myself that I had Sunday afternoon all to me. I put a blanket down in my backyard and laid in the sun. I got the tiniest little bowl, and took the smallest hit of weed ever and was ready to see how I felt. 

Well I cried. I looked around my backyard and the walls around me turned into the walls of my bedroom from when I was a young girl. For some reason that hit brought me back to a place of loneliness and sadness. I remembered the pain of my parents’ divorce, I remembered the sadness that felt growing up, I sat with myself. I sat with little Tori and I cried for her. And after we were done crying we put on music and we danced around the yard. And cried some more and danced, and got thirsty and laughed on the way to the fridge thinking about the first time I ever got high. 

Beginning to heal…

I can’t tell you how long I was burying some of those sad feelings inside of me, but I can tell you they were buried very deep. I realized that day that I was walking around with anxiety from my past and carrying it with me into my future. I needed to release the pain. I needed to cry with little Tori. I needed to be by myself. 

After that experience I see weed completely differently. I didn’t abuse it, I used it in a way in which I brought healing. I wasn’t using it to cloud my mind or run from my reality. I used it to face it. It was therapy. 

Now, I still don’t smoke weed that often but when I do I make sure that I’m in a setting in which I feel totally safe at first. Do I trust the people I’m around? If I have a panic attack, is there somewhere safe for me to relax? Do I have everything done on my do list? I use it responsibly or I don’t use it at all.

Changing my perspective…

It’s so interesting growing up and hearing about how weed is a terrible drug but then watch it transform into medicine over time. 

As a kid I was always taught it was terrible but would hear it glorified in pop culture. As a country our relationship with cannabis is actually more messed up than my personal relationship was. 

Think about the fact that some states have made it legal for the recreational use of weed and how some people are still in federal jail for either buying or selling it! It’s so hypocritical! 

In our society today we’re dealing with all of the negative ways weed was portrayed by the government and the media in the past. 

As I’ve said earlier the term “marijuana” is actually rooted in racism and I got all of my information from the media company “Now this”.

In the late 1800 the elite American class would smoke weed for pleasure. It was a delicacy that only the rich had access to. The upper class even sold it over-the-counter to treat insomnia and migraines. But once millions of Mexicans started to migrate to the US in the 1900’s the term was used by American prohibitionists to exploit racism and xenophobia. So basically, weed was being smoked in Mexico just like it was being smoked in America, but god forbid someone come into America and bring it with them it turns into a big deal. In the 1930’s Harry Anslinger, the director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, believed that marijuana influenced only black and brown people into being violent and committing murders. We all know that that’s absurd because all I want to do when I smoke is either eat a box of poptarts or cry. But, Anslinger launched a vicious propaganda campaign and associated it with the minority. Anslinger then did a whole tour around the country to convince people that this drug invaded the US and scare people. He finally convinced congress to pass the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 which made marijuana illegal on a federal level.

Today cannabis has definitely been more normalized but there are still people out there today trying to demonize the plant, such as Jeff Sessions and Steve Alford. So, if you don’t smoke weed no big deal, but if you’re referring to the plant, let’s call it by a name that wasn’t used in a racially charged propaganda campaign. 

The biggest lesson I can share about using any mind or body altering substance is to use it responsibly.

Yes, I smoke weed now if I want to but i definitely don’t abuse it. Also, it’s so interesting because as I’ve reintroduced weed into my life I’ve simultaneously kicked alcohol out. I’m currently on a sober summer mission and I’m not drinking at all. But, that’s a whole different story and could basically be an entirely different post. To sum it up, if you feel like the substance is controlling you as opposed to you controlling it you should probably take a break. 

4 thoughts on “Cannabis

  1. Julia Matthews

    Loved this one. I’m smoking a wee little bowl right now, but my feet are working pretty well!👍🏼 Would love to hear about your sober kick. I quit drinking for 7. Yes 7. Years. I was only 22 when I quit. I attended meetings, went through the 12 Steps, the whole nine. I could not believe how many young people there are in sobriety. I made so many close friends just from those meetings. I think alcohol is something that should have been way more aggressively spoken about as kids, like our parents and teachers did with weed. If I’m being honest, alcohol is so, so much worse than weed. Granted, everything (food too) should be done in moderation. However, I’ve seen alcohol take people’s spirits right out of their body. And then I’ve seen the most BEAUTIFUL thing: their spirit coming back after X amount of time without alcohol. So if you’re willing to share more about your experiences with alcohol, I would love to hear!

  2. MJ

    I really enjoyed reading your post thank you. I have a similar relationship with cannabis and alcohol. I now work as an executive for a cannabis company in Los Angeles and have been slowly figuring out how it plays a part in my life outside of work. We all look at life through different lenses that change our perspective based on our experiences. Thank you for your vulnerability and sharing this with us. I really appreciate your candor and honesty. Your self awareness is inspiring.

  3. JoAnna L

    I am scared, actually terrified of weed because I panic or like my brother says “tweek.” Everything from “remember to breath,” or “my heart feels like it will explode,” to “take me to the hospital our weed was mixed with something” kind of panicking. I never had the laughing, relaxing, munchies feeling. Yet, every time I seen everyone else having a good time being high, I had always hoped it would be my first great experience when I took that hit. Sadly, it never happened. Not the first time, or last time. I’ve stopped smoking weed, because the fear isn’t worth it. I am relieved to read that you overcame that, and hope to have the same courage one day.

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