Friday, May 11, 2012

I’m just saying…

It took me years to get to appreciate the taste of marijuana. The smoke alone nearly killed me. I still don’t like it a whole lot, except that I’ve developed a pavlovian response to it.

In my experience, that’s unique. All those other popular drugs—coffee, alcohol, tobacco, chocolate—all depend, to a large extent, on taste. Think of alcohol alone. The varieties of flavored alcohols must be in the hundreds of thousands: beers, wines, booze, aperitifs, sakes, kumisses. Still, a drunk is a drunk; doesn’t matter which kind of rotgut he (or she) swills, the effect is the same. Alcohol is alcohol. There are claims that some alcohols, like, say, absinthe or champagne, produce highs of differing qualities; but, for the most part, how drunk one gets depends on how much alcohol one consumes. The source is immaterial; a bottle of Oregon pinot noir will get you as snockered as a bottle of Ripple.
The same is true of tobacco. The flavors and strength vary considerably, but the ultimate effect, stupefaction, is the same.

For all I know, that’s true of heroin and cocaine and oxycodone and whatever: how high you get depends on how much you consume.

Not so with marijuana. Indeed, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of varieties of marijuana on the market, and none is quite the same as the other; not just in taste, but in the nature of the high they produce. It’s not simply a matter of quantity. It’s not that each variety of marijuana has X amount of THC and that if you smoke the same amount of THC, regardless of brand, you’ll get the same high. Not so. Each brand, each variety, has its own unique experience.

What you can’t do is smoke a large amount of inferior marijuana to get as high as smoking any amount of a quality marijuana. It just doesn’t work that way. If you want to get high, you have to smoke good reefer; smoking twice as much bad reefer won’t do it. Smoking four times as much won’t do it. Smoke till it’s all gone and it won’t do it. Quantity doesn’t count with marijuana, it’s quality all the way. There is no substitute. Trust me, there are marijuanas out there that I wouldn’t let my dog walk home.

It’s interesting to listen to wine aficionados versus eavesdropping on knowledgeable marijuana smokers. They both use glowing floral, intimate phrases in caressing their passions, but one camp is entirely devoted to the experience of the palate while the other concentrates solely on effects. To be sure, marijuana smokers softly sniff their product and note its its bouquet, and that’s part of the overall experience, but the ultimate test of a marijuana comes, not in the consumption, but in the few seconds afterwards when the combination of resins sneaks into your brain. It’s what marijuana does to you that really matters, not its taste.
Because, truth to tell, tastes can be deceiving. There are marijuanas out there that smell exquisite and burn like heaven but leave you flat as a flitter. Likewise, there are marijuanas out there that smell as dead as a button but have you crawling on your hands and knees looking for the chocolate factory. (“I know I left it here somewhere, God damn it.”)
What we’re seeing in the market now, is a trailer for what’s coming. The rush to legalization through the channel of medical marijuana has already created sea changes in the marijuana business. Not only are prices falling, but quality is stabilizing. Competition in evidenced in the market for the first time on a broad scale. Most marijuana now comes with a name. I’m told that in the clinics the THC percentage is listed (though heed the warning above about THC being only a part of the total package). Expect the push to quality to continue.
Expect that there will be two levels to the legal market: mass and boutique. Expect that it will be regulated like beer: yes, you can grow your own; but if you want to sell it, you’ll have to have a license, pay tax, etc. Expect that the price will fall into a range that won’t make it worthwhile for most people to grow their own dope anymore than to brew their own beer; most people won’t. Expect quality local brands. Expect decent regional/national brands.
God, it would be nice to see this happen before I die. (Hey, don’t laugh!)

Cannabis rex.

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