I’ve smoked weed almost every night for a half decade. It began as a way to ride out hangovers and grew into a nightly routine. As an “always-on,” work-from-home type, it’s become my means of formally ending the workday.
But sometime in 2019, I lost my way. I was smoking more than ever when something changed inside me, forever altering my relationship with weed. I once looked forward to a packed bong, but now I find myself wondering why I even bother. The weed that made me laugh now makes me anxious. The bud that made me motivated now makes me emotionless. The ganja that made my heart beat faster now makes me wonder whether my favorite plant loves me back.
Still, I continue smoking, hoping for the elated buzz that once was. But I consistently end up high and dry, stuck in a stoned headspace that’s sad and somber.
And so, I decided to give weed one final test. I gathered an assortment of strains (and other weed products) and documented my experience on each in a stoner journal. The goal was to identify one strain that consistently worked for me, or at least to develop a more meaningful relationship with cannabis. It’s a method used by exploratory stoners around the world, and there are even a number of apps, like Releaf, that serve to help smokers track their experiences to better understand how different strains affect them.
I had been slowly tapering my weed consumption beforehand in order to have a somewhat unclouded journaling experience, but I’d still been smoking pretty much nightly. For a more thorough analysis, I tried each product for three consecutive days, then documented my thoughts and experience while high on the final day. The next day, I moved on to the next product.
Day 1, August 3rd: New Beginnings
It’s the tail end of a workday. I’m unmotivated. I can’t concentrate. I have a headache. So, I’m smoking one of Edie Parker’s CBD/CBG pre-rolls, and I’m surprised at how much better I feel — I’ve had many CBD products and usually don’t feel much of anything. This is different, though: I’m buzzing. My headache is gone. My creative juices are replenished. All in all, it’s relieving the pain of having to work for another half hour. I can get used to this.
Day 2, August 6th: Zonked
It’s late, and I’m worn down. I’ve been going nonstop all day. It’s times like these that should theoretically lend themselves to Canndescent’s Calm, an indica-dominant strain made to promote relaxation. And yeah, I’m more relaxed after smoking some, but I’m also almost completely non-functional — I’m watching Forensic Files, and I have no clue what’s going on. I don’t even know what I’ve been thinking about for the past 20 minutes, and I don’t love that feeling. I don’t want to lose my nights to weed; I want to enhance my nights with weed.
Day 3, August 9th: An Involuntary Chill
I’ve been doing chores, and now I’m smoking goodbrand’s “Focus & Inspiration” strain, but it’s not making me feel focused or inspired. Instead, my body and mind feel heavier and diminished. It’s like forced relaxation — I no longer have the mental sharpness or physical ambition to do anything whatsoever, which could be useful for someone like me, who’s constantly “go, go, go.” But in the end, I mostly just feel trapped in a high that’s left me incapacitated.
Day 4, August 12th: Making Friends With My Plants
I’m amped, sweaty and sore, and I have a couple more chores to do. But first, I’m indulging in High Life Farm’s Stuffed French Toast, a potent indica. I’m feeling cloudy but functional, which can’t be said for many of my recent smoke sessions. I’m able to follow the comedy podcast I’m listening to. I’m laughing. I’m successfully watering my plants and folding my laundry. I like this.
Day 5, August 15th: A Single Smoke
I’ve come to realize that one smoke session per night is more than enough. I’ve long smoked throughout the night, from the moment I stop work to when I go to sleep. But there’s something special about maintaining the preciousness of my high by allowing myself to sober up before bed. Not to mention, I don’t need to be stoned all night every night, do I?
Day 6, August 18th: Clean and Clear
I’ve been pet sitting my parents’ two pugs, which means there are three dogs in my small apartment, and I’m sleep deprived. The good news is, I’m smoking Rythm’s Energize, and I can actually focus while high for once. I feel boosted and possibly more clear-headed than before I smoked. Is that even possible?
Day 7, August 21st: Not Better
Tonight, I’m smoking Connected’s Lemonatti, another hybrid, and it has me utterly stoned. My eyelids are heavy. I’m wobbling around while walking through my apartment. I may even feel a tinge of anxiety. I’ve been meditating, and the experience is almost shroom-like — my mind is untethered, relaying all of today’s events. It does feel therapeutic to face everything, though.
A common theme I’m sensing as I continue to journal is that while weed changes my reality, it doesn’t necessarily make it better. I smoke because I want to feel enhanced, but that’s not really what weed does. It slows you down. It reminds you to stop and smell the roses (or appreciate your couch cushions). Maybe all this time I’ve been searching for something that weed can’t provide.
Day 8, August 24th: A Not-So-High High
I’m sitting here watching Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo and smoking Baker’s Premium Jack, a clearheaded sativa. I can actually follow along with the show, which can’t be said of all the strains I’ve smoked while watching TV. It’s not overly strong. I don’t feel anxious. It’s a high that doesn’t make you excessively aware that you’re high, which is a good thing in my opinion.
Day 9, August 27th: Vape Hate
I’ve never been much of a vape guy, because all the flavors remind me of Jolly Ranchers, and the whole process feels icky. But I wanted to try Delta 8 THC, a newly popular cannabinoid that’s known as “marijuana-lite” due to its allegedly milder high, so here I am smoking Delta 8 Living’s Pineapple Express vape cartridge.
Now that I’ve coughed a million times and almost died, I feel more up than down. I’m definitely high. I’m spacing out but equally wired. It’s hard to explain, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’ll likely stick to pipes and bongs.
Day 10, August 30th: In Other Worlds
On the menu tonight is High Life Farm’s Kush Mints, a hybrid with a high THC content. While many strains drag me into my head, which isn’t where I want to be, Kush Mints feels more like it spread a blanket over my apartment. I’m watering my plants. I’m cooking up some dinner. And I’m not worrying about anything going on outside the walls of my building, which isn’t normally the case. I feel safe in my own space, and I appreciate that.
Days 1-10, August 1st-August 30th: Is It Working?
Through this whole process, I’ve been dosing my morning coffees with Papa & Barkley’s CBD Releaf Drops and moisturizing my body using their suite of skincare products. Overall, I have no clue if the CBD has actually been doing anything. Don’t get me wrong — my skin feels nice, and I enjoy the routine of my CBD coffee, but I don’t necessarily feel more at ease than I do sans CBD.
I started smoking weed as a means of escape. I used it as a tool, which reduced the bad times (gnarly hangovers) to spacey but bearable moments on the couch. But after years of smoking myself into a nightly daze, I’m having more and more trouble justifying my highs. I know I want to feel better, but documenting my experience has only made me more aware that even the products I like most aren’t magical potions. I don’t just smoke and automatically feel good. I feel high, which in many cases means merely putting the brakes on my body and mind.
All of which is to say, it’s telling that my favorite product is Edie Parker’s CBD/CBG pre-rolls, which are by far the least potent. There’s a time and place for stronger strains, but not to the point where I get lost in smoke and do nothing every night.
I guess that means weed and I will be just friends with benefits from now on.