First point of note: I’m now 51, thank you very much. Happy birthday to me!
And, as usual, this is the weekend that “DI Weekend” falls, so my birthday is celebrated amongst Alex’s coworkers and friends in beautiful Glenwood, Alberta. We did all the usual things: camp, sleep poorly the first night, eat around a campfire, drink Baileys with coffee (yes, in that order), sit in the Belly River for hours on end (Choo Choo regrettably snagged a bit of heat stroke, again), and spent hours around the campfire well into the night, laughing ourselves silly.
And this is where this particular topic begins: around the campfire.
Lisa and Di are exceedingly generous people. They love having people down, and DI weekend seems to be a highlight (well, the only highlight I’m personally aware of, anyway, there may be others). To wit: I was presented with a gift for my birthday: a “fun” drink.
Alcohol flows fairly freely in Greenwood, and hilarity normally ensues. But this was not a beer or a cooler, or anything like that. Thanks to our marijuana laws, we now have access to all kinds of marijuana products, including THC-laced beverages.
Tall, thin 355mL can with a plastic ring cover that, for the life of me, I couldn’t get off. (Di watched with amusement before I finally had to ask for help. It was too dark for me to see the ring I need to yank.) And in it was 7.5 mg of THC.
Until this point, I have never done any drugs other than caffeine and alcohol. Both to varying degrees of detriment. So this was going to be new.
I had only a vaguely passing idea of what this might be like. A good friend of mine (who’ll remain nameless) had been a heavier user in his youth (back when legality was only a suggestion in British Columbia, here he lived), so I had vague sense of what might happen.
And, at first, absolutely nothing. It was a strawberry lemonade. I couldn’t even taste anything truly different about it. But at least it didn’t have any artificial sweetener…
The hilarity around the campfire continued as normal. I got up a couple of times, partly to pee, but also to see if there was, in fact, anything different. I didn’t believe I was superhuman and that it wouldn’t affect me, but I was a bit puzzled by why there was seemingly no effect.
A little over an hour later, though, things changed. I caught out of the corner of my eye a fast-moving light in the sky – the ISS. We’d spotted it earlier in the evening, and it was on another pass overhead. It seemed to take far, far longer to make its transit. My mind could not piece together how, at a period of what felt like at least 10 seconds in my head, the bright dot had barely moved.
Then the fuzziness set it. It was like someone had taken a toque and pulled it down to my ears, except I could see perfectly fine. I followed the conversation normally, but it seemed curiously muffled. It was the start of a separation of self from biology that I’ve never felt before, except under extreme inebriation, where my mind is actively trying to get me to walk straight, but my senses are simply unable to keep up.
There was no visual sensation. Everything looked normal. Everything sounded normal and clear, too. Except for this strange muffling, like I had entered some kind of an anechoic chamber, the higher pitches having been clipped.
Now, these campfire sessions tend to be dominated by certain individuals. I’m not one of them, because I’m literally not one of them – I don’t work in the medical field, so I’m an outsider. The campfire tends to deal a lot with either work situations or things at the campground, neither of which I’m particularly privy to nor have much useful input. Owen, Toby, Di, and Karen (with colour from her husband, Lyle) carried much of the conversation, peppered with comments from others. But I was going silent.
Owen said something. I don’t think it was even particularly funny. But I found it hysterical. I caught a case of the severe giggles and couldn’t stop laughing. If anything outed me as having been affected by the THC, that should have been it. There was a comment about “oh, the peanut gallery finally woke up”, though I’m not sure if it was specifically me.
Not long after came the next effect: I felt like I was slowly floating up. It wasn’t a out-of-body thing, it was just … separation? Distortion? I’m not really sure which it was. It wasn’t noticeable and it didn’t last long, but it was enough for me to start serious thought about hitting bed.
When I finally did pack it in (I don’t know how long, my sense of time was still distorted), I noticed some colour patterns in my vision once my eyes were closed.
I think I slept well, though the mattress in our borrowed tent trailer was a bit stiff, as was I when I woke up. And until I had a coffee, I was also a bit foggy. I don’t know if it was a result of the THC or just a less-than-ideal sleep.
In a way, I’m mildly disappointed with my first experience. Having studied Coleridge, Thompson, and Burroughs at university, I was a bit disappointed at the lack of fluidity and vision that seems to come with drug use. I suppose expecting my own Xanadu seemed a bit too expectant. Though I also have to admit that I didn’t actually take that much, certainly nothing like those I’d read.
And no, I’m not suggesting that I’m going to amp it up to find out. As you might recall, I’m 51, this is not the time of my life to try that kind of experimentation. I’m sure 22 year-old me is mildly disappointed in that statement, but hopefully 95 year-old me is relieved.
Still, an interesting experience. 3/5, no recommendation given.