Should writers smoke pot? I suppose that’s a question every writer who smokes pot might ask themselves. Is this helping or hindering me? My own torrid affair with the intoxicating herb began back in college. I tried a little back in high school, but never felt anything except a slight headache. When I first attended college, a roommate of mine introduced me to some Montezuma indica. At the time, it was top grade shit. After smoking it for several minutes, I finally realized what the big deal was. It was amazing!
I began smoking it on a regular basis-probably too much. During my third year in college, I smoked it every single day, without exception. In fact, I think I may have been stoned the entire year. My grades suffered somewhat, but I still maintained close to a 3.0. I also began to experiment with other drugs-ecstasy, methamphetamine, acid, peyote, cocaine, hashish, heroine, mescaline, PCP, bath salts and of course alcohol. Tons of alcohol use.
Fortunately, this was not the beginning of a downward spiral which would eventually lead to a life in and out of rehab and the devastation of countless relationships. My life is not some cautionary tale fit for a lifetime movie. I was experimenting, trying nearly everything- and for most of these drugs, it was a single event.
I am not prone to drug addiction (except perhaps for caffeine-got to have my cup of coffee every day!) And I do not have a genetic proclivity to alcohol or drug addiction. Few, if any members of my family even use alcohol. Most of my ultra-conservative, piously prudish family members consider alcohol use to be a sin (even when I point out that Jesus Christ drank wine).
The one drug that I did always come back to though, was marijuana. Back then, I wasn’t educated about marijuana. I didn’t even know there were different strains of the wonderful bud and it was still illegal. Today, I am much more educated about it and about how my own biochemistry reacts to the different strains. And of course, marijuana is legal in California as long as you have a medical marijuana card. They are ridiculously easy to get. I’ve never encountered anyone who couldn’t get one.
For those of you who don’t know a lot about strains, there are three main strains of marijuana- indica, sativa and ruderalis. Indica is a strain that relaxes you and gives you a body high(that couch-like effect that contributes to the myth that all pot users are lazy and unproductive). It is generally higher in cbd than thc (both are active cannabinoids that contribute to the effects of marijuana) and has been used to treat insomnia, fibromyalgia, pain and anxiety.
For the purposes of this article, you can forget about ruderalis. It is not a commercially grown strain and is extremely low in potency. In fact, it is only slightly more potent than hemp.
Sativa is on the other end of the spectrum and it gives you a head high. Sex on a sativa strain is mind blowing as it induces hyper-sexuality(at least for me). It can also be a highly cerebral experience where the altered mind races like some distracted five year old and explores its creative side without limits. It is highly uplifting, energizing and euphoric, inducing you into deeper levels of critical thinking. As a writer, one may be tempted to write their masterpiece, but unfortunately all your thoughts are less cohesive than you think. Sometimes they are completely ambiguous.
My feelings on whether or not you should smoke sativa and write are simply that you should not sit down and write for a length of time. Sativa is great for brainstorming ideas, but you may want to postpone elaborating on those great ideas. Save elaborating for when you’re sober. Sobriety is really key for serious writing, or any art form for that matter. Creativity is not stored in any drug- it’s inherent in the artist.
Sativa can be used to treat ADD, depression, nervousness, impotency and even social awkwardness as it lowers inhibitions significantly. And for many, myself included, nothing else alleviates pain quite like a sativa strain. When I tore my rotator cuff and didn’t have medical insurance, the only substance that relieved my excruciating pain was a sativa strain. Anyone who has ever torn a rotator cuff will tell you the pain is monstrous.
Unfortunately, there is a negative side to smoking sativa-especially with my unusual medical condition. Sativa can cause panic attacks, paranoia, insomnia, restlessness, hallucinations and even heart palpitations. For those suffering from heart problems-you may want to pass on this euphoric strain. I, myself, have been known to call 911 because I was convinced the panic attack I was having was a heart attack (more on this in Part 2). I’m certainly not the first person this has happened to and I won’t be the last. For those suffering from mental disorders like schizophrenia, I would advise against smoking a sativa strain because it seems it would only exacerbate your condition.
Indica remains my strain of choice. It calms me, relieves pain and anxiety and it helps me to decompress and realign. As I am just starting out in my writing career, I still have my own window cleaning business to run. The job, though mentally and creatively stifling, is physically demanding. After nearly 17 years of doing this, it has taken its toll on my body. Though the pain-relieving effects of indica strains are not as pronounced as sativa, it still does provide much needed relief. Most importantly, I don’t have to worry about the negative side effects of sativa-paranoia, heart palpitations and insomnia.
If you’re a writer, I would certainly recommend experimenting with marijuana. If your heart is healthy enough and you’re not prone to heart palpitations, etc, I would recommend experimenting with sativa and indica. A good rule of thumb for pot users is to use sativa during the day and indica at night. That way, you can get a good night’s rest.
So, to answer that burning question-should writers smoke pot? Hell yeah, they should. But do so with caution. Marijuana is one of the safest medical and recreational compounds around, but it has evolved. Users should understand their own biochemistry and medical issues before using and how they react to different strains. Sativa may be a great tool for brainstorming ideas for that masterpiece novel, but for God’s sake, don’t try to write all of it while you’re stoned out of your mind. Do yourself a favor and just get yourself a cup of coffee when you sit down to write. When you’re done for the day, THEN YOU CAN reward yourself with a big blunt!
In Part 2 of this blog, I will discuss my own experiences with marijuana (both good and bad) and also delve into edibles and why you need to be even more cautious when ingesting them. What are your opinions of marijuana? If you’re a writer, do you use it? I would love to hear your opinions.