The first time I smoked I was 18. It was a week away from my high school graduation, and as an avid good girl and athlete, I was terrified of the legal ramifications of getting caught with weed or getting drug tested. But just days before walking across the stage to receive my diploma, I smoked with my best friends Jake and B, with weed given to me from my older, more popular, college, party boy, and pot-head brother.
I don’t remember the exact details of the evening in Jake’s backyard, just two doors down from my own childhood home. But I remember feeling relaxed, having fun, and thinking, Man, why did I wait so long to do this?
Cannabis, marjiuana, mary jane, pot, green, weed—it’s that pretty, psychoactive flowering plant that’s known for munchies, uncontrollable laughter, relaxation, and a generally good time. Medically, it’s been successful in relieving pain, nausea, PTSD, and even lessening tremors from Parkinson’s. But it’s also caused much social, racial, political, and criminal injustices. Even with it being legal in 29 states, federally it’s still prosecutable. And although state legalization is slowly helping ease the general public into the idea of toking up, and CBD’s surge to popularity is helping reduce the drug’s stigma, we still have a long way to go to right wrongs and ensure the use of the drug is regulated properly, safely, and fairly.
It’s complicated; and like many multi-faceted things in this life, there are negatives and also many positives. Simply, and personally, I love weed. It’s easy for me to be impacted positively by it, and a lot of that is based on the color of my skin being white. It helps with my anxiety, relieves pms and period symptoms, and makes me feel more at home in my own body. I love the ritual of packing a pipe, rolling a j, passing to a friend—and as someone who internalizes so much shame, grief, guilt, and worry, it’s allowed me to see past myself, see into myself, and show me that life, the world, while challenging, is a beautiful adventure I’m grateful to experience.