My obsession with the transitions of age has turned into an almost morbid curiosity: I know I won’t like what I find either way, and at a certain point it becomes self-destructive to keep thinking about it. The funny thing is, for the past several years I have felt very secure in myself, but now, during the summer before my first year of college, I think this transition away from what I know, combined with a general sense of slow, Band-Aid–peeling disconnection, has knocked me out of my groove. Appearance-wise, I think I look rather young (I do feel as though my hair is thinning, but that’s a whole other can of worms.) And I wonder if I come off young, as well. In last month’s issue I wrote about feeling much older than I was for most of my life. Now I feel as though my progress has slowed to a halt. I feel like I have just as much worldly insight as every other 18-year-old out there — no more and no less. So, in honor of my teenager-ness, I’m devoting this month’s column to one of the most teenage subjects of all: weed.
I still vividly recall the first time I discovered someone close to me smoked weed. I was in an eighth-grade algebra class, scrolling through the primitive version of Instagram (don’t worry, I was already done with my school work), when I came across a friend’s page splattered with pictures of that friend lighting up joints, blunts, bowls, bongs, you name it.
I don’t think I had ever been more concerned. I rounded up my friends and we considered holding an intervention. One of them loudly proclaimed: “If any of you ever do that, we won’t be friends anymore!”
The following year, I was at the Common Ground Fair talking to a friend’s mother about how people live their lives high these days. “You used to just smoke a skinny joint on a Friday night, and it was far less potent,” she said. “Now kids go out every day high off their asses.”
My friend group hit our weed peak sophomore year. But even then, my friends weren’t pot heads. It was still a once-or-so-a-week thing. At a certain point, everyone’s gotta tap out. It’s funny to see the kids who used to be considered the weed-smokers now, because they’ve mostly stopped smoking it or dramatically cut back, and the kids who never smoked are just now starting. At a certain point, some people just decide they can’t do it anymore.
I used to be a much bigger supporter of weed than I am now. I still feel, to some extent, that if it’s good for you, do it, but it ain’t for me. I know all the hype about medicinal benefits, and I believe it, but the people I know who smoke are kids. There is a very fine line between recreational smoking or self-medicating and abusing the drug. So many kids I know that still smoke are among the latter.
As narc-y and soccer-mommy as this sounds even to me, what worries me most are dab pens. When my friends were starting out, even just a couple years ago, that shit wasn’t around, or at least not readily accessible. Now dab pens are easier to get than bud. Plus, you don’t have to grind it, roll it, light it or, best of all, hide the smell. But that means these kids who have never smoked before are starting on incredibly high-potent stuff, and then getting used to that high potency. From there, you just have to go up and up in dosage. Also, with dab pens, it’s almost lazy. It’s like subconscious snacking. You don’t even have to think, Do I want to be high right now?You just have to hit it.
I’m sure I’m ignoring a lot of the good. I know a lot of kids who don’t abuse weed, or dab pens, and just use it as a catalyst for a good time. I know my own person-stuff taints my views of the subject a tad. I can’t decide if it has enough of a good impact to outweigh the bad. I know I’d rather be in a car with a high person than a drunk one. I know it does much less harm to your body than alcohol. But I also know kids who have struggled hard to overcome the grip it had on their life.
Be good, and be safe.