Addicted to Weed? Bottomless Bong Hits & the Reality of Weedahaulism
Addicted to Weed? Bottomless Bong Hits & the Reality of Weedahaulism
God is a stoner, too.
On the third day, 20 after 4 in the afternoon, She invented cannabis and bliss, music, melody, and the Here-Ever-After.
Seriously. Cannabis is a gateway wonder plant. It does so much shit, you’d think science was stoned off its gourd.
Your third grade teacher lied. Marijuana is actually good for you in so many ways:
- It protects your brain from brain damage,
- Helps prevent or lessen cirrhosis of the liver,
- Improves lung function and reduces your risk of lung cancer.
There are reports it may even be used to treat lung inflammation in patients suffering from COVID-19.
But here’s the ironed irony of cannabinoid reality: Weed can also be downright bloody addictive, a bottomless Dig Dug hole where the only way out is to stop digging.
I know what you’re thinking: “I smell a D.A.R.E. officer.”
But honest to Betty White, I’m as stoner as they come. I may be a recovering stoner with 6 years of sobriety under my belt, but I’m still a stoner — a Saint of Circumstance.
And I suffer from cannabis use disorder. Go ahead — rip a bong, cough up a lung, blow it right in my face. I swear it’s actually a thing.
Cannabis use disorder is defined in the fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and ICD-10 as the continued use of cannabis despite clinically significant impairment.
It’s basically like alcoholism, but for weed. Plenty of people can drink a little and put it down, no problemo. But for some, it’s an addictive disease. Weed has a similar ring. Most can toke without going broke. But for others, it’s an addictive disability — self-control hitchhikes like a shoeless wook without a dime and no one to call.
Cannabis use disorder affects about 9% of users — and 10 to 20% of daily smokers. Compare that to alcoholism, which affects 12% of adults. And sure, it’s checkers, Hopscotch and freeze tag compared to a serious opiate addiction.
But it’s an addiction nonetheless. And if you suffer from it, your whole world goes up in smoke like a Kool-Aid gravity bong.
Kansas Bong Hits
My friend Max is a cannabis poster child. He eats Weedies for breakfast — his stoner mug is right there on the box like a Michael Phelps wake-n-bake.
But here’s the thing — the guy would quit for a month, just for kicks, just to say he could do it, to prove weed was no more addictive than golf. He barely broke a sweat.
Before sobriety, if I’d try the same thing, I’d eat somebody’s face off. No, not like a Billy Strings’ bluegrass jam. More like Jeffry Dalmher, with some strawberry jam.
For some, cannabis is a helpful herb, a healthy tool for happiness. For me, it was a bottomless bong hit: I was always high, only being high was an infinite hole. I’d only be stoned if the bong was still in my hand — if it wasn’t, I felt absolute nada, my emotions flatter than Kansas.
In the throes of my addiction, I loved and absolutely lived cannabis. In my pocket, I carried a tin of ganja trim and put weed on my hot dog. At the local Chinese joint, I mixed herb into Egg Foo Young, soaked my beer at the bar with a ganja tea-ball. I continually packed a one-hitter with a batting average that smoked Shoeless Joe.
Meanwhile my life was falling apart. The world of traditional journalism tanked — but I was too stoned to make the next pivot in my career. I found myself laid off and unemployed with a family and a baby to boot: no way to make rent or pay bills, a steadily growing I.O.U. to the landlord rocketing towards eventual eviction.
I knew I needed to quit, but could only allow that internal monologue if I was stoned off my gourd. If I was sober, the notion of walking away from weed seemed like a ridiculous idea.
Nothing seemed to take, so I attended a Marijuana Anonymous meeting in Oakland on a Monday in February of 2015 as a last ditch Hail Mary. I toked up on the way, wandered in and pretended to look invisible. But as recovering stoners began to speak, I heard my story coming out of their mouths.
I realized I wasn’t alone; I wasn’t an anomaly. My marijuana addiction was a disease, like cancer, diabetes, or schizophrenia, playing itself out to a rhythm on a steady beat — repeatable, eerily predictable, uncannily universal when I thought I was the only one.
One morning a couple days later, at 7:30 a.m., ripped out of sleep and feeling like a turd, I smoked up for the last time (so far, knock knock knock). I went to my second MA meeting the next day. That chapter had a rule that you could only share if you had been sober for 24 hours. I realized for the first time in a decade that was the case. I shared my story — the tears flowed, and I opened my eyes to a new world of astonished rebirth, like time on rewind, my settings reset, renewed, and amazed.
And then everything hurt — for months, it felt like years of black, tarry resin were being sucked through my pores by leeches.
This wasn’t like an addiction to golf. I felt real physical withdrawals: My body itched all over; I’d sit on the couch and feel cramps in my legs like the end of a 10-hour road trip in the backseat of a Honda Civic. My muscles and my mind ached raw. I felt pissed off, on edge, ready to crawl down everyone’s throat and murder them with my eyes.
But slowly I came out the other side alive and beautiful. I relearned how to feel. My brain reset and became a blooming cannabinoid without the weed. Today, I feel stoned off my gourd off the very high of life. The world’s a blossom of lush green chlorophyll — thriving, awake, and inspired. I feel spiritually higher now, actually happy, than I ever did while I was literally high.
It takes patient persistence, but if you listen closely to your breath beneath the wind, you realize you’re a Buddha Bloom.
Hope’s a Circle
Six years into sobriety and counting, I still enjoy smoking — just not cannabis (I’ve never smoked tobacco). Bear Blend becomes my non-alcoholic “near beer:” a chance to roll up and toke, feel the satisfaction of a smoke without feeding my addiction.
Can you relate? Maybe; maybe not. I’m not here to preach. Cannabis use disorder is a reality for some, an urban myth for others — like the kid who took so much acid he thought he was orange juice and might tip over. You know who you are. Maybe you think I’m orange juice. I don’t really care. I just want to share my story.
You be you. Maybe you’re looking to quit. Or perhaps just step away, cut back and thaw out your mind for a while — like Snoop Dogg turning over a new moon. Or maybe, just maybe, you need to throw another weed key on the fire like Kathleen Turner crashed out in a Colombian airplane. I’m not here to judge.
But every once in a while, it helps to step back, look in the mirror, and have an honest and open conversation with yourself. That face staring back might be ready for a heart-to-heart. It’s been way too long and life’s too short for lame ass excuses.
A freelance writer for hire, Matt Gallagher is the face and voice behind Web Copy Magician. He enjoys Bear Blend as a tea to spiritually reconnect with nature and the therapeutic wonders of chlorophyll.
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