I tend to be a rule follower, the teacher’s pet, the know-it-all ‘Lucy’ in the Peanuts cartoons. As a product of Nancy Regan’s ‘Just Say No’ campaign, I never considered doing drugs, until now. At the age of 41, I am a budding pothead.
Even before Prop 64 passed, I began to rethink my assumptions about marijuana. It happened when I saw the relief my mom experienced from chronic pain associated with pinched nerves, arthritis, and a breast cancer battle. After countless trips to Kaiser, online research, and referrals from friends in Rossmoor, we ventured to a cannabis clinic in Oakland. Neither of us could have anticipated the instant relief my mom derived from the grassy tasting tinctures and the tingling ointments. Her pain was alleviated and her sleep was deeper from cannabis, despite the complexity of her illnesses. It became a routine treatment, conveniently purchased online and delivered right to the door.
After the passage of Prop 64, I took the plunge and tried a cannabis-laced edible included as a sample in one of the deliveries. As a rule follower, I appreciated the permission granted from my fellow California voters. On a weekend getaway, I ate a piece of pot-laced chocolate about the size of a quarter and waited for the effect. Thirty minutes passed, nothing happened. An hour later, still nothing. The next thing I knew it was dawn and I had slept better than I had in the 9 years since our child was born.
The self-experimentation piqued my curiosity. I delved into the research and the history of pot and wrote an article for Walnut Creek Magazine about how Prop 64 might affect the community. In November 2016, 61% of Walnut Creek voters favored the legalization of recreational marijuana. Despite clear voter support of legalization, the Walnut Creek City Council debated the issue and decided to enact a moratorium and conduct an additional survey. The survey mimicked the November vote; over 1500 respondents generally approved of personal cultivation and even retail sales. Nevertheless, the City Council decided it was prudent to continue the moratorium for 22 months and make commercialization and outdoor cultivation illegal within the city’s jurisdiction well into 2019. Apparently, I am not going to be able to ‘shop local’ for the new addition to my health regime.
After years of sleep problems from stress and mild anxiety, integrating weed into my nighttime routine has been a source of relief and comfort. Even something as innocuous as a trip to Costco can send my heart racing. On the drive, I anticipate the race for a parking spot, the navigation of the isles in just the right order to hit the freezer section just before the hot rotisserie chicken, followed by check-out, car loading, and unloading.
When my elderly father passed away in March, after a short two-month health crisis, it only took a few nights of insomnia and midnight weeping, to realize melatonin wasn’t going to cut it. I needed something more formidable. One night I tried a few drops of the marijuana tincture my Mom offered after her cancer treatments were joyfully finished. I slept so soundly, I sang in the shower. Used to only bedtime lullabies and occasional radio sing-a-longs, my son was amazed. “Mom, I didn’t know you could sing in the morning!” It took my son happily beaming at me to realize how pleasant our morning was going—and how very different from the usual nagging about toothpaste, shoes, and backpacks. I practically skipped to the car.
Since then, I have used that same tincture a handful of times when restful sleep eluded me. Just a few drops. I figure if best-selling author Ayelet Waldman can micro-dose LSD to get to her happy place, I can be a dabbling pot-head. When I wake up, I feel calm, easy going, and less panicky about the carpool lane. My new definition of pot-head is not the same as the one I had in high school; it’s now synonymous with mindfulness.