What's all the fuss about...Cannabis
The use of Cannabis in New Zealand is governed by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, which makes unauthorised possession of any amount of Cannabis illegal.
Note: This act was recently amended (2017) to make it legal for New Zealanders who are suffering from ‘terminal illness’ or any debilitating condition to use Cannabis or Cannabis products with the support of a registered medical practitioner.
There are political efforts to remove penalties on its ‘full’ use for those over 18 years of age. (A referendum which was scheduled for 2020 now seems likely to move to 2019). 1,2,3
I may have gotten a little carried away with myself...
You should all know by now that I have more than enough to say for myself… So, it turns out my Cannabis blog-post will be a three-part series!
I’ve briefly talked to a number of my clients on this subject, and their opinions have been polarised — they are either already using this illegal ‘herb’ (or have in the past)4, or they still believe that Cannabis is a demon drug.
So, while I may have gotten a little carried away (below) describing my do-over at a ‘Coffee Shop’ in Amsterdam — I do this for you — the non-believers and for those who have previously had a bad encounter with Cannabis. I really want you to live vicariously through me on this one.
If you’ve read part one of this series, you’ll know that I was super wary about trying this ‘drug’ again. However, from my experience, the only thing that I now fear about this herb – is that we have been missing out, and will continue to miss out!
We’ve not been properly educated about how to use Cannabis safely and effectively. (Because its illegal, obviously.) We’ve also been brain-washed into attributing some seriously negative connotations to this, well, “most-excellent” plant. 😉
Read on to find out about what I now consider was my ‘tour of duty’…
In case you can't remember what I said in part-one of this series...
I told you about my past (negative) experience with ‘weed’ and I also told you that we’d been played for fools when it comes to Cannabis.
When I started ‘digging around’ in its history, I discovered that Marijuana wasn’t outlawed in this country due to the effects of this plant, rather it was made illegal in NZ because the USA said it should be…
America outlawed Cannabis based on propaganda, racism, and political corruption.
To read more: http://lisasaid.so/cannabis-part-one
Again, promise me something...
When reading this blog-post series, will you please try to keep an open-mind about what I have to say about Cannabis?
I know it’s really hard to see things from a new or different perspective when you’re so used to seeing things from, well, the way you’ve always been shown them…
Amsterdam "Coffee Shop" action — revisited
Now, where was I with my little ‘drug’ story then…?
Let me see…
I’d gone to Amsterdam — when I was 25 years old…
I’d eaten ‘the cake’…
It hadn’t ‘gone down’ well…
Said ‘cake’, had put me off all Cannabis until my 40s…
DMF (my ‘Toy Boy’) asked where we should go for his 40th birthday extravaganza, and I exclaimed, ‘Amsterdam!’
Right then: Amsterdam Cannabis experience ‘take two’:
Puff the magic, drag-on...
Rather than race into a ‘Coffee Shop’ the moment we arrived in this liberal city, we waited approx. 1.5 days to sleep off some of the Jet-lag and to ensure we were fully grounded. (We flew into here from Hong Kong, and were only in Amsterdam for three days.)
The first thing that hit me when we walked into the ‘Coffee Shop’ was the smell — it smelled really ‘naughty’.
DMF and I chose the mildest blend that they had and purchased the smallest plastic bag worth. And rather than smoke this stuff, we decided we’d ‘Vape’ it.
Note: I’m super wussy when it comes to smoke — I’m very much of the opinion that you should run from it, rather than sit around inhaling it.
DMF and I cautiously had a go at inhaling from the ‘balloon’ — which still managed to make me cough. Strangely enough, I’m not accustomed to breathing ‘spiked oxygen’. Then, we waited for any effects to become apparent.
Nothing much occurred after a good 5–10 mins, so we partook in another ‘inhale’ and paused again.
This time, I started to get a little giggly — which I tried really had to curtail, as from looking around, we were the only rookies there, and we were also a good 10–15 years older than everyone else. (Must try not to draw attention to one’s self in this sort of situation.)
Note: I couldn’t stop watching two dudes in the Coffee Shop who were lighting up joint after joint (after joint) only to pause for some ‘cake’… It seemed super daft, but I guess it’s no different from guzzling back pint after pint at the pub.
DMF asked how I was feeling.
“Well, the first millimetre of my face has gone fizzy… and ditto with my shins”.
He replied, “Hmm, that’s weird”.
I concurred, “Yup”.
A little while later, I asked DMF how he was feeling.
He replied, “Fine”.
I responded, “Kool”.
I decided to try a little bit more. At which point I declared that I wasn’t really a fan of this whole thing — the Cannabis was making me feel ‘funny’, inhaling wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as drinking booze, I didn’t dig the atmosphere, and the Gangsta/Rasta/Rapper music that they were playing was just so ‘Stoner’. So, we decided to leave it there… and we (embarrassingly) returned the bag with some ‘air’ still left in inside it.
Note: We’d only used about 1/3 of our stash in this balloon – which we shared.
When we left the Coffee Shop, I felt much better about the whole thing. Outside, I felt that I was feeling much calmer — more relaxed. Or perhaps I was just relieved that I hadn’t OD’d on the bloody stuff like I had done all those years ago in Amsterdam!
Hmm. I wasn’t sure — but DMF and I did go on a desperate mission to find some fries…🤔
It's not so much smoking Marijuana as it is as steaming it.
Vaping, or vaporizing, is the process of heating up raw plant matter or extracts, without combustion.
Instead of burning Cannabis, vaping gently heats up these substances to limit the release of harmful chemicals and maximize the release of the active ingredients of this plant.
We can't go on together
With suspicious minds (suspicious minds)
We decided to give it another go the next day. This was because: we still had plenty of Cannabis left; I didn’t think I’d given Cannabis a fair chance the previous day; and I did have a blog-post to write for my readers! (The things I do for you guys! 😉)
This time, I’d had a couple of puffs of ‘vape’ when I noticed that this guy at the bar kept staring at me, suspiciously making eye contact, and then looking away… which I found disconcerting to say the least.
My brain then started going into overdrive…
Oh, silly Lisa! He’s here doing ‘weed’ and apparently Cannabis can make you paranoid… that’s why he keeps staring at you…
Unless of course… I’m the one who’s paranoid…because I’m here doing ‘weed’… Am I the one who keeps staring at him?!
Unless of course we’re BOTH paranoid because we’re BOTH here doing ‘weed’… and we BOTH keep staring at each other?!
DMF and I left not long after this as I needed to get some fresh air — some that wasn’t laced with ‘Ganja’. Again, I wasn’t enjoying the feeling particularly, and I really wasn’t digging ‘the vibe’ of the place. Everyone there was so serious — so intense… so, so paranoid… 😉
It didn’t seem fun at all.
While I’d had a few more puffs than the first time, we still didn’t complete the balloon between us.
Note: We actually left the remainder of our stash for the maid in our hotel. (Shh – don’t tell anyone, or I will be forced to deny all knowledge of having not consumed the entirety of our wee baggie of ‘green’!)
I didn't get stoned as such...
It was more like being 'pebbled'.
Once everything was all out in the open
Well, well, well…
Once I got outside, boy did my perception of (and from) Cannabis change! Suddenly, the world seemed more ‘alive’ to me — all my senses had been tweaked-up a notch, and my thoughts had been dialled back significantly.
Unlike my first disastrous effort back when I was 25 years old (where I was totally distracted by the thought of dying needlessly in a foreign land), my 42 year old experience was something spectacularly different.
I couldn’t believe how it made me feel more engaged with my environment. I was literally in wonder of it all. And, I felt really safe as I was with my trusted DMF — who is the best ‘looker-afterer’. (He ensured he didn’t have as much as me.)
I felt a calmness and a connectedness that I’d only ever remembered experiencing as a kid. I felt like I was fully there; that I was in the elusive ‘now’ — which for me, with my busy brain, was like being on another (stress-free) planet!
And, I can honestly say, that it made me see the world clearly for the first time. Everything that I’d ever read about how the world actually works — and that I’d hoped was true, and that I only knew in my heart — all revealed itself to me that day. (Call me a Hippy if you want!)
Note: It turns out that I don’t like to speak when I’m ‘high’- which is ‘highly’ atypical. I was silent for what felt like hours. DMF was excited to have found a miracle cure for me! Cheeky bastard 😉
When I finally started talking about my experience, in the second park we visited that afternoon, I began with asking DMF, if he knew what an epiphany was?
He replied, “Yeah – of course.”
“But, are you actually sure that you know what an epiphany really is?”, I pressed.
To which he said, “Well, I AM sure you’re going to enlighten me…”
“Dean, I said (I never usually call Dean – Dean),
an epiphany is a symphony of the brain…” 🤩
And, as we sat on the grass in that park, I set-to, telling him all that I’d seen and discovered on that glorious, surprising, ‘eye opening’ afternoon xox
Here are some of my more practical insights for you
When in Amsterdam…
01—Don't even think about it, unless:
You’re reasonably robust
Are you an ‘adult’, are you well rested, are you in a good head-space?
(I don’t advise using Cannabis and alcohol together.)
Note: If you are being medicated for a mental health condition, or if you have a family history of severe mental illness, it would not be wise to imbibe this herb.
You’re with your ‘person’ or your ‘people’
And someone is acting as the ‘sober driver’… just in case.
You’re in a safe environment
Do you know the name of the place you’re staying in Amsterdam…? Do you know how to get back to your accommodation?!
Note: Some of us did not know these vital pieces of information on their first time around…
02—Don't go crazy
Get your Cannabis through a (somewhat) reputable ‘Coffee Shop’.
Select the mildest blend.
Take it slowly — gently introduce this herb into your system.
Don’t eat the cake!
You have no control over the effect.
And you’re just asking for trouble.
03—Don't get messy
Pause to see the effect the Cannabis is having on you. (If it makes you feel anxious or paranoid in any way — then stop.)
You don’t have to use it all!
You’re not aiming to get stoned — getting ‘pebbled’ is more than sufficient.
Note: ‘Pebbled’ (which I coined myself😉) is where your state/reality is only slightly modified. And you can easily transition between this and being lucid.
The setting in which this herb is used is everything.
If you have a nice time, let it just be that, you don’t have to make it a regular occurrence, and you certainly don’t have to get totally f*@!ed up!
Anything, done in excess, is not good for you.
You'll be pleased to know that my 'doing' Cannabis has not lead to a penchant for Heroin and Cocaine...
That gate (way) remains firmly shut.
It turns out that I have a lot to say for myself about this topic
Yeah, yeah, yeah — I know!
Unfortunately I got a bit carried away with my ‘drug story’, now, didn’t I?
Here’s what I’ll be talking about next time — in the final instalment of this series.
01—WHAT I BELIEVE THE LEGAL STANCE OF CANNABIS SHOULD BE IN NZ — AND WHY
I’ll tell you if I think it should be decriminalised, made legal, kept illegal… or if a tolerant stance should be taken.
02—IS MARIJUANA REALLY PUBLIC ENEMY NUMERO UNO?
Is Cannabis really a scourge on society? Or is it just fear-mongering?
And, on the flip-side, is Cannabis as safe as its proponents would have us believe?
We’ll also compare the side effects of taking this ‘drug’ to well — not taking it…
And, knowing me, I’ll probably include a bunch of other things that I think of between now and then… 😉
Freetown Christiana, Copenhagen, Denmark
When DMF and I were in Copenhagen (directly after we left Amsterdam) we thought we’d bike across the bridge to Christiana — where cannabis trade is tolerated by the authorities.
We went there because we were nosey, and also to see if we couldn’t procure some more of this lovely herb.
Well, it was not to be.
DMF and I literally got through the gates of this community, biked a little way down the street, saw (and felt) what was occurring there, and then quickly found the closest exit route and got the hell out of dodge!
I’m not joking! We spent all of five minutes in this place. It was bloody awful — it just felt ‘bad’. Everywhere people were lined up to purchase Cannabis from what were clearly, scary, scary, gang affiliated drug dealers.
DMF takes photos of everything. (Everything I tell you!) And, we do not possess one single photo of this place.
That’s saying a lot.
It was an utterly heinous little dive.
I do not recommend going there.
Ew. Ew. Ew. And, ew — again!
Note: Since 2018 Danish police officers are in place to disallow the use or trade of other drugs like cocaine and heroin.