I reached over to my phone to check the time: 8:30am.
I’m a jovial morning person that normally gets up by 8am. I also knew this was an impossibility and I wasn’t getting up anytime soon.
I felt a long-forgotten physical sensation coursing through my body: the sluggish, tired morning-after effects of getting stoned the night before.
Although technically, I hadn’t. I don’t think. Right?
After a years-long abstinence from weed, I smoked a joint . . . a CBD joint. And I swear I got fucking lit.
In 2015, I got back from a tiring vacation to Thailand with 3 friends and decided I needed a break.
A break from drinking. A break from smoking weed. A break from being a gluttonous, hedonistic monster after the typical vacation debauchery.
A month of sobriety turned into a year, turned into indefinitely. I haven’t drank in almost 4 years, and have been free of weed for the entire time as well — save for one dazed afternoon wandering around Amsterdam failing to find the right bus stop after impulsively deciding to eat a coffee shop brownie.
I like to think I was 1-2 years ahead of the hipster sobriety trend that has taken over big-city USA.
I don’t really get a desire to pick back up my former indulgences. CBD, on the other hand, technically-mostly-kinda doesn’t qualify.
I’ve been reading RemedyJourney and hearing stories about ways that CBD alleviates anxiety, improves sleep, provides a burst of energy, and generally makes people feel good — whether they’re seeking to fix an overall problem, or instate a better sense of physical balance.
So I wanted to give it a try.
Hunting for CBD in Barcelona
I work remotely and am spending much of the summer in Barcelona (a topic for another day).
I plugged “cbd” into Google Maps and went searching for the magic cure with a friend of mine.
Weed is kinda legal here, and they sell CBD at marijuana stores. But those are intended for residents only — a distinction neither of us qualify for.
On the other hand, there are stores that sell CBD – and even a few dedicated ones.
We first ended up at one of those weird hippy stores that sells hats with weed leafs on them, some smoking paraphernalia …and also, suspiciously under-labeled CBD. We excitedly bought some oil.
We then found our way to Sensitive CBD, a true mecca to all-things CBD that made us instantly regret our impatience to buy at the first half-ass store. (I’ll do a separate write-up describing the interesting CBD scene in Barcelona.)
My CBD joint experience
The official specs were 21% CBD, 0.2% THC. Less THC than kombucha has alcohol (for the record, I had some strong ass Kombucha in Thailand that gave me a real buzz).
We took a few drops of the weird store oil before going to dinner. Both my friend and I thought we might feel something, but also, maybe not. At best, we had a very mild reaction to the oil.
After the world’s most disappointing dry chicken breast for dinner, we headed home (but first, I grabbed some Ben n Jerry’s on the way home . . . more on that later).
Bringing back memories
When we got back to the apartment, we headed to the balcony to kick off both of our first-ever CBD experiences.
The main theme underlying my entire experience with the CBD pre-roll was how much it reminded me of my old ganja smoking days.
The very act of taking a pre-roll out of a tube reminded me of meeting up with friends in San Francisco after they hit the dispensary.
It smelled like really lame Mexican brick weed. My friend lit it and it smelled . . . like a whack joint, but still a joint nonetheless.
He passed it to me. I looked at the joint for a moment then took a series of staccato drags — the same way I’d been taught as a young padawan weed smoker, to ensure the joint didn’t burn unevenly.
I can’t put into words how strange it was. I felt connected to a version of myself from a past life. I’d smoked weed many times with this same friend. To have him light a joint, pass it to me, smell the herbal essence, and still technically be not getting high . . . it was strange.
I inhaled and remembered the cathartic feeling of relaxing over a joint after a long day. I breathed it in deeply, held the smoke in my lungs, then slooooowly released it from mouth and nostrils.
I remembered that I love the act of smoking. Maybe it’s the amount of rap music I’ve listened to where kush blunts are glorified. Or the bad boy reputation that any type of smoking gets when you’re an adolescent (and plays a crucial role in driving more usage).
We chatted about something (honestly have no recollection) as we passed it back and forth a few times. I was feeling a lil somethin’ somethin’.
Soon, a wave came over my mind and my body. It was kind of a high . . . kind of.
When I ate that brownie in Amsterdam, the weed consumed my entire consciousness. I was years sober and wasn’t used to being blitzed to my skull.
The CBD joint was not to be mistaken with a Dutch Dessert, but it was also more than nothing. I felt relaxed to the point where my mind wasn’t sharp. I couldn’t articulate my thoughts perfectly, but I wasn’t “stoned”.
As we continued to pass the joint back and forth, I became convinced I was high.
This very site compared CBD to “a bit like hearing someone try to describe the characteristics of empty space”. If that is indeed true, then empty space is a lot more interesting than I remember.
It was more than a mild background buzz. It was also far from a head-consuming inebriation that made my thoughts wander at a mile a minute, with paranoia looming around every cerebral corner.
Then I remembered I had ice cream.
The ice cream test
I went to the kitchen and carefully doled out a few generous spoonfuls into a bowl — daring myself to not crush all of it.
This was the ultimate test. Back in the day, a California medical-grade joint with a pint of ice cream was a recipe for annihilation. It was like the famous Dream Team obliteration of Angola in 1992: the outcome was determined by virtue of the circumstances.
I slowly ate the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, savoring every molecule of sugar in my somewhat-dry mouth. It was amazing. Not the same as when you bust into a sweet delight after blowing through a kush blunt, but my senses felt more elevated than normal.
I put the bowl down and told myself a story of how I didn’t need more ice cream.
By some miracle of self-restraint, I managed to leave the pint alone.
Straight to bed
At some point, the joint went out. I was having a hard time staying awake. It could have been a number of factors: I played basketball that day in the Barcelona summer sun. I had just eaten a decent sized meal. It was after midnight.
And I’d just smoked a CBD joint. Who knows which factor principally drove the fatigue. But man, was I tired.
I went to sleep and found an article in my Pocket app — a years-old Fast Company behind-the-scenes profile of how Amazon’s Fire Phone famously failed. I was way too excited to read it, reminding me of enthusiastically gobbling up obscure information while in the midst of a weed-induced day-coma.
I got about two paragraphs in before I had to shut it down for the night.
The next morning.
I felt foggy and tired when I woke up. I felt half asleep after I first woke up around 8:30am. Before I knew it, the clock read 10:03am.
After I got moving, though, I was back on track.
Back in my serial bong ripping days, I tried to have a balanced perspective on weed. I was never the one to say IT’S PERFECT FIXES EVERYTHING AND THERE ARE NO DOWNSIDES — even when I smoked daily. In particular, I knew the notion of no hangovers was definitively false. After a midnight pipe sesh, I would feel kinda high in the morning.
I did not feel that the morning after my CBD joint adventure . . . but I also didn’t feel nothing.
So how did it feel?
There are a few factors here:
- I used to smoke a LOT of weed
- Other than one edible in Amsterdam a year ago, I haven’t consumed any weed in almost 4 years
- I no longer consume any mind-altering substances, excluding caffeine
I mention all that because I’m intimately familiar with weed, have a physiological history with the cannabis plant, and also have no mental tolerance for getting turnt up since I quit drinking and smoking. Each factor influences my perception.
I swear I felt pretty high, and my friend agrees. He is not strictly sober like me, but has greatly dialed back his alcohol and weed consumption in the past year. We both agreed that the CBD joint got us kinda high . . . more than nothing, but less than crunk.
Here’s the thing: I’m not saying it was the same as smoking weed. It was milder in many respects, but still quite noticeable. I feel very truthful and authentic (given my experience) saying I got lit — to even a minor extent.
Was it psychosomatic? If I smoked an oregano joint, would muscle memory kick in and convince my gullible brain I was getting high? I honestly don’t know.
We actually didn’t finish the joint the first night and completed the job the next night. I felt similar feelings, but to a lesser degree. Not sure if it’s because we smoked less, whatever psychosomatic placebo effect had worn off, or one night of familiarity with the substance mentally prepared me to be less affected.
I’ll continue to dabble in CBD products — God knows I’ve got my work cut out for me (see below) — and see how it impacts other aspects of my life with varied use over:
- Times of day
- Different activities
- Different product