It turned into a nightmare when my husband and I went looking for pot

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Advertisement One man I met told me he was having dinner at a country club with friends during Dry January.
My husband and I went looking for pot, but this hunt wasn’t like the ones I went on as a teenager.
However, I quickly learned that it was illegal to dispense to anyone who was not a resident of the state.
My husband gallantly offered to do a test drive of the oil for me, which meant dabbing it on a joint.
During the teenage wasteland of the ’70s and ’80s, I loved that fun-house feeling and the ritual of smoking pot with my friends.
A frequent contributor to, she is an Alabama Library Association Nonfiction Award recipient and a 2023 Alabama State Council on the Arts fellow.
A blue dot in a red state, she lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband and three dogs, and has a college-aged daughter and grown son.


Almost every middle-aged person I’ve recently met in a social setting has a story to tell about how they tried a THC gummy bear because they couldn’t sleep and ended up in the ER or on the verge of calling 911.

The cannabis strains that are currently available are far more potent than the strains that my friends and I used to smoke. Additionally, taking a hit, a slice, or a pill can have the same effect as taking acid in the 1970s. I think this is a fair assessment based on my limited experience. ).

While on vacation, a friend of mine told me that she took a gummy to help her relax and keep from getting seasick on a boat. Rather than that, her teeth felt thick, she was having trouble keeping up with the conversation going on around her, and she was afraid she was having a stroke.

She said, “I just went to bed and slept for ten hours because I had a two-minute delayed response to everything.”.

I met a man who told me that in Dry January, he was dining with friends at a country club. As he declined a drink, his waiter persuaded him to sample the club’s latest craft extract, dubbed “THC for the people” and featuring an author quote from Frank Herbert on its website: “Caution is the path to mediocrity.”. Before his wife turned to him and asked what he was doing when he stopped at a green light on the way home, he had no idea how high he was or that he shouldn’t be driving a car.

“I am clueless,” he uttered.

Marijuana use among middle-aged adults has increased compared to past years. As cannabis, whether legal or not, becomes more widely available in many parts of the United States, poison control centers are receiving an increase in calls, and states are reporting an increase in emergency room visits as a result of people passing out, experiencing hallucinations, or experiencing other problems. S.

Before the drug was made legal for recreational use in California seven years ago, when I was there for breast cancer treatment from Alabama, I had my own misadventure with it. Unlike my teen years, my husband and I did not go on the same kind of hunt for pot. The night before I was going to be hooked up to the “red devil” for the first time, I needed cannabis to help kill any nausea I might have from chemotherapy and to help calm down.

We learned about a medical marijuana store in Santa Ana from another patient. I joined the dispensary’s club there under the name “Lanier Insomnia” in order to have a doctor from a distance “prescribe” me something. It was a big, slick metal building hidden discretely behind a sparkly shopping center. All too soon, though, I found out that dispensing to non-residents of the state was prohibited.

That’s how my spouse and I ended up stuck in late-afternoon traffic on the six-lane highway on our way to a “church” of “cannabis ministries” located in a low-rise structure next to a hotel and a tattoo shop. In the strip center, there was not a single sign, but there were multiple doors with darkened windows.

We were trying to locate the church on the sidewalk as it was getting dark when a man in a black SUV pulled up, asked if we needed assistance, and led the way to the correct door.

I filled out a membership form for my new church, where I became a believer in cannabis and pot was a sacrament, inside a small waiting room with a receptionist behind a glass panel. I waited while a TV played a program about waltzing black holes. I was persuaded that all cancer patients required “Ricky (or Rick) Simpson oil,” or RSO, by a young man behind a glass counter stocked with pipes and other accessories once I was buzzed into the next room.

Knowing now that Rick Simpson was a patient with skin cancer and had read of a study where THC killed cancer cells in mice, he devised a method to extract as many cannabinoids as possible from the cannabis plant, resulting in a highly potent and THC-rich substance. The first dosage should not be more than half the size of a grain of rice, the glazed-eyed man failed to mention.

That evening, a weather map of California blazed a fiery red on the TV in the hotel where we had been staying for several weeks, the kind with red curtains and a rough carpet. Rather than just putting the oil on a cigarette, my husband bravely offered to give it a test drive for me. I insisted that it was my turn after he added more RSO after a while when he didn’t feel anything.

I was a thousand raw nerve endings the next thing I knew. Everything started to seem cartoonish. The walls were breathing, so the only thing to do was try to go to sleep. I did fall asleep, but when I woke up my husband was pacing the floor and shouting into the phone, “Hey, Siri, can you overdose on Ricky Simpson oil?”.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times he yelled at Siri when I was still convinced that there were armed men in the parking lot ready to break into our room. Siri remained silent. (For the record, according to the website of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “there are no reports of teens or adults dying from marijuana alone.”. “).

The next day we were both jiggly. The cancer center’s refrigerator contained someone else’s lunch, which I unintentionally ate. Despite my worst condition, I was managing the chemotherapy well. I could only sputter some nonsense and thank Ricky for putting me in this situation when the hungry woman demanded to know why I had eaten her lunch. Later, when I started crying, all I could say to the confused nurse was, “I’m from the South.”. It is a place of tears. “.

The doctor asked me why I hadn’t said anything, even though I could have given you a less strong prescription, after I told her what had happened. “.

Research has indicated that cannabis can reduce inflammation, reduce pain, stress, nausea, and help with specific medical conditions like epilepsy. But, you should be aware that things have changed since the days of Cheech and Chong, when smoking a whole joint was necessary to get high, whether you plan to partake for medicinal purposes or just for fun.

These days, launching into orbit doesn’t even require RSO. Over the past 50 years, the average amount of THC in cannabis products has increased — sometimes tenfold — so you can get fully baked with just a few hits or a tiny piece of cannabis candy. While what’s sold now is more akin to fancy feta cheese, smoking a bowl of brown sticks and stems was once like eating Kraft cheese. Getting more value for your money is a wonderful thing, but you should be aware of how much value you’re actually receiving.

Knowing your state’s laws is important if you want to purchase edibles, consume cannabis-infused beverages, or smoke marijuana from one of the thousands of dispensaries around the nation. As you visit another state, familiarize yourself with its legal system as well. To ensure low toxicity and quality control, make sure the product you purchase has a certificate of analysis. Check out companies owned by Black people. (In 2021, less than 2% of cannabis businesses were owned by Black entrepreneurs—all the more reason to support them—despite the disproportionate number of marijuana-related arrests that Black people have historically faced. ] Next, do some research to find out about product types and potency levels, look for additional ingredients and additives, and proceed cautiously.

The increased variety and the fact that most products indicate the amount of THC per serving are two fantastic things about purchasing cannabis today. So you can tailor your high however it feels best, whether you cut that gummy in half or just take a few puffs. Finally, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before using cannabis, particularly if you also take any medications that may interact with the drug.

I tried using cannabis gummy bears a few times as an anxiety treatment after my terrible stay in that hotel, but I didn’t enjoy how lost I felt. I cherished the high I got from smoking pot with my friends and the carefree teen years of the 1970s and 1980s. There was weed everywhere, and it was not unusual to see my brother growing marijuana in our suburban backyard or in a friend’s basement using a device he ordered from the back of High Times to make hashish.

I now understand that my smoking in my twenties was just a coping mechanism for my stress. By the time I became a mother, I felt that the bottom of a bong could no longer truly relieve me; it simply stopped being beneficial to me, so I learned to cope in other ways. Nonetheless, it’s a good thing for a lot of people, especially those my age. Living & letting live is one thing, but if you’re going to do it, be as prepared as you can and maybe forego the Ricky Simpson oil.

Co-author of the acclaimed memoir “Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond,” Lanier Isom is a journalist. Preproduction is currently underway on the Patricia Clarkson-starring movie “Lilly,” which is based on her novel. She has had pieces published in Scalawag, Salvation South, The Bitter Southerner, The Los Angeles Times, The Lily, and Al Jazeera. She is a regular contributor to AL . com, the recipient of the Alabama Library Association Nonfiction Award, and a fellow of the Alabama State Council on the Arts for 2023. She is presently working on a project about environmental racism in a small Alabama town in addition to finishing her memoir about growing up in the South in the 1970s before MeToo. She resides in Birmingham, Alabama, a blue . in a red state, with her husband, three dogs, and two grown sons and a college-age daughter. She loves dogs, loves Peloton bikes, and is addicted to psychics. Visit Lanier’s website,, and her Instagram account, @lanierisom, for more information.

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