Part I of a short seriesA friend of ours told me a tale not long ago of his reunion with cannabis after a couple decades-long break. “Chris”, he said, “this isn’t the same old grass (my favorite name for it, by the way) we used to smoke,” as he recounted his evening at what began as a lovely outdoor evening concert and ended with him transmuting into a puddle. “I didn’t know what to do with myself. The stuff hit me and I was ... Whoosh! ... I was just ... gone.”
He got himself Too High.
Then, there was the incident from this Fourth of July in which I left what I described as a “very strong” homemade cannabis chocolate chip cookie with one of my favorite living humans. The decision was made, following my departure, to eat the whole edible before leaving the safe confines of his front porch to attend an Independence Day barbecue. A short while after his arrival at the party, the THC hit, an Irish exit was executed, and the 10-minute walk home has been described as the “Bataan Death March.”
The edible got him Too High.
So, I have been sitting here today trying to figure out where the boundary for “Too High” lies and what can be done when that condition lands on a cannabis consumer like a boulder descending upon Wile E. Coyote. I have been there myself – I distinctly remember a green room upstairs from a music venue in Beverly, Massachusetts, where my boy Danny the Drummer rolled a joint of God Bud that left me talking to myself and hugging a tiny plastic cup of water as if it were the only available flotation device in the middle of the Too High Sea.
Once you find yourself in that Too High state, things fall apart quickly. A flood of cotton takes over your mouth, expanding by way of some horrible magic to your throat and threatening to take over your entire ventilation and irrigation systems; your heartbeat raises its volume and intensity to a level that you are certain will soon vault your tragic human experience to then next phase of existence where you will meet the angels and/or demons that you have karmically self-selected to inhabit whatever heaven or hell that you are rushing toward; and then there is the chatter of the mind – the most horrifying element of this nightmarish experience, for my two cents – akin to the “Ghostbusters” scene in which the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is conjured from the depths of Ray’s psyche to serve as the embodiment of a Sumerian god bent on destroying the physical realm.
Too High is a very difficult place to be and it is a place from which it can be difficult to return. Most of the remedy needs to come before consumption, in the form of cautious testing of boundaries with new strains, preparations, and products in order to understand your personal limits. Because once the horse is out of the barn, that horse may indeed drag you through some rough terrain before it decides to give you a rest. Next week, we will examine a few of the substances and practices that may mitigate a Too High experience. Take things slow til then, DGO.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.