Being stoned can be quite an exhilarating experience for those green to the Green. But how can the new pot smoker judge whether or not they are intoxicated? There are a multitude of effects that marijuana causes, depending on dosage and potency. As a rule, though, the less you smoke, the less you feel the effects.

Early on:

Many regular bud smokers report that they feel rolling stages of being high: first comes euphoria and giddiness, and with that the Giggles sometimes. Early on in the high, a surprising sensation called cottonmouth or dry mouth almost always comes into play. Cottonmouth feels like a persistent dry mouth, making the pot smoker want something, anything to drink. Saliva dries out and becomes more viscous. After about 15 minutes, the feeling subsides. During this time slight hallucinations may occur, usually in the form of ethereal things like non-existent puffs of smoke and feeling droplets of water hitting skin. Inexperienced users and smokers of odd varieties may also feel an unusual very slight dull pain in the extremities. I'm not sure where this comes from. It might be from evil additives, which concerns me.

Riding the high:

Oftentimes, after 15 minutes or so, a sense of happiness, tranquility and sedation sets in. Depending on the potency of the weed smoked, this time can last from 20 minutes to a few hours. In large enough doses, the user may become confused, and possibly paranoid. Perceptions of reality may become somewhat warped. It is well-known that smoking weed can temporarily impair depth perception. The senses seem elevated. Memory may become fuzzy, and holding a linear train of thought gets very difficult. In particular it may be difficult to recall the time when one was stoned.

Some believe that weed makes you horny, but in fact, it seems to strip down inhibitions to things that already existed, perhaps making people truer to themselves. This may make first-time users nervous, as a loss of self-control can be very uncomfortable. Many people feel more creative and imaginative when high, though from the outside they may be saying silly non sequiturs while trying to sound profound. Heavy users, in particular, may appear to have bloodshot, irritated eyes while stoned. Virtually anyone who has tried weed more than a handful of times has experienced the munchies, a craving usually for snack food.

Bad stuff:

Some people have experienced nausea, possibly vomiting, panic, depression, rapid heart beat and high blood pressure. This sort of thing has been observed in laboratories, but in Real World Experience (TM) I have not yet seen serious problems with this.

Schwag:

Lastly, if you are smoking schwag (inferior marijuana) you may barely experience any of the interesting effects above, and may simply get really tired, which can be an annoying waste of money. Your mileage may vary, moderate and you'll probably be OK.

The second best theory I have been exposed to for the adverse reactions to cannabis use in laboratory conditions dealt with the conditions themselves. The user's mindset and surroundings are extremely important when using any neuroreagent. Being in a situation where you are undergoing laboratory tests, perhaps along with the knowledge that you are officially being recorded doing something "wrong" (even though, of course, test subjects can't get in trouble for participating in an authorized test) could feasibly ruin the cannabis experience, and cause discomfort. Compare this to cannabis use in a pleasant social setting. I think introducing this as a variable control would show noticeable differences in the way in which THC effects people.

The best theory I have been exposed to, of course, is that those "results" are routinely fabricated to dissuade people from using cannabis, or heavily distorted by the media (as they routinely are with MDMA and LSD).

After reading the description of "Shwag", I thought it important to mention another rare but serious possibility as to the quality of pot:

It is not unknown for someone to combine "Angel Dust" (PCP and Formaldehyde) or straight PCP with Marijuana. Your chances of being SOLD weed like this without your knowledge are fairly small, since PCP is expensive. However, I have had the unfortunate experience of encountering someone who gave a girl friend (as opposed to "girlfriend") of mine a hit of the weed/Dust combo without her knowledge just to "fuck her up". I liken this to slipping Rohypnol ("Roofies") into a drink. This is an extremely reprehensible action, and not to be condoned for any reason. PCP is an extremely powerful disassociative (similar to DXM, Ketamine and Torbutrol, but much more potent), and its effects can be extremely disorienting and frightening if you don't know you have been exposed to it. Fortunately, I was there to calm her down and talk her through the experience (I won't even say what I did to the guy who gave her the hit).

The way to keep yourself and your friends safe from this sort of thing is to follow the same brand of common sense you would at a bar. Know the people you're partying with, have a reasonable idea of where your drug of choice (be it beer or otherwise) is coming from, and keep an eye on your glass (or pipe, etc.).

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