Cannabis has many names. Throughout the world, an endless list has formed over a millennium of cultural understandings and utilisations of this implicitly illegal substance. According to Aotearoa’s most trusted online resource, The Urban Dictionary, pot can be defined as the following:
God's gift to the world. Brings peace when used wisely.
But what is marijuana and how does it affect your body?
Wacky Tobacky is a psychoactive substance harvested from the Cannabis plant for medical or recreational purposes. Of around 480 naturally occurring chemicals in grass, its main active ingredient is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the ingredient in dope that actively alters the chemical balance in your brain and gives you a high. The stronger the presence of THC in any cannabis, the stronger your high will be should you ingest it.
The chemical structure and activity of THC is very similar to that of a chemical that already exists in your brain: anandamide. Anandamide (aka the ‘bliss’ molecule) plays a largely important role in making you feel happy. It functions as a neurotransmitter, sending out important chemical messages between nerve cells (neurons) that influence how you experience pleasure, memory and movement. Because THC is so similar to anandamide, it’s able to function in the human brain the same way. Once entering your system, it temporarily alters the chemical messages being sent between your brain’s nerve cells (neurons), intensifying your experience of pleasure, memory and movement. This is how weed makes you feel high.
A lot of speculation exists around the health benefits and dangers of weed consumption. Today, it’s hard to separate fact from speculation because of the inconsistencies in available information. Like anything else, weed consumption presents us with both pros and cons. Regardless of what they are, we know if 50% of all New Zealanders have openly used it, our focus should be on understanding how to use safely.
Know your stuff
Learn about how it affects you, what the long-term and short-term effects are, how to find an honest dealer, how much you should be paying, etc. A couple of Google searches or honest friends should do the trick. Let’s face it; it’s better to trust and rely on yourself for accurate information. It’s easy to twist facts when you’re trying to sell anything (although let’s hope you have better friends than that). That way, you’ll understand what’s going on in the moment and enjoy yourself way more.
Try not to mix
Mixing prescription drugs, alcohol or other narcotics with weed might do something you don’t want it to. But it’s really up to you.
Eating and smoking are the most common forms of weed ingestion. If it’s your first time with brownies or cookies, take baby steps. It will take some time for your body to digest and react. And if you ever freak out and change your mind, a quick chunder should do the trick (but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that). You can smoke weed using a bong, pipe, joint or vape. The main thing when using is to understand your body’s limits so you can enjoy yourself.
Stick with people who look out for you
Teamwork is key. Trust is sacred. Communicate with each other and stick together. Figure out a plan for if something goes wrong. Do you need a designated mum and dad? Be nice to yourself, my friend. Surround yourself with whatever and whoever makes you feel safe.
Are you happy?
That’s a big question. Maybe you’re using a little more than you’d like to be or struggling to keep up with life. The most important thing is that you know you’re okay. Weed can’t fix anything - it’s a temporary escape. But it’s okay. Hit Massey Counselling up some time – it’s free!
Don’t freak out
Relax. Nobody dies from getting too high. Think about that as you pop outside for a few deep breaths, slowly in and slowly out. You’re going to be fine. Are you hungry? Help yourself to the kitchen! Eating something (no, not the weed brownies) or drinking some water will help. Squeeze a lemon into a cup, add a little sugar and drink it to sober up. Snorting crushed-up peppercorns will help too. It’s known specifically to combat weed-based paranoia. Or just take a minute to rest. Lie down, get comfortable, close your eyes. Focus on breathing and on the world around you: your bed, your couch, the happy warmth. It’s all okay.
You can do absolutely anything you want to in life, as long as you’re enjoying yourself. If it’s smoking that Gucci ganja, make it Gucci to the nth degree!