That ain't oregano

An alert reader sends this story, based on a leaked study from Washington State, about how potent weed has become these days. Those of us who smoked weak street stuff in the '70s and '80s can testify to this. (Oops, I think I just ruined my chances of being appointed to the United States Supreme Court. Ah, well.) 

Back then, the dealers would cut it with oregano. You could consume many lungfuls and still need a couple of cups of coffee to get jolly. The stuff that's around nowadays, both legally and on the black market, packs an absolute cosmic wallop compared to the "shake" in those old nickel bags.

And in the modern environment, more than a few people have taken too much and gotten in trouble. 

Novice cannabis users have been known to start out on such powerful concentrates, often called 'dabs', and experience paranoia or panic attacks from a mind-bending hit equivalent to 190-proof alcohol, said Carlini.

Many end up calling poison-control hotlines or in hospital emergency rooms, she added. 

Even in the old days, every once in a while somebody would misjudge. Including yours truly. I remember one episode in particular, quite unpleasant, going on 40 years ago. My friend walked me around and talked me down, but I found out the hard way that yes, you can o.d. on pot.

On the other end of the spectrum, I once was in criminal possession of an ounce of an exquisite brown weed that made everybody who smoked it smile from ear to ear and have a hell of a good time.  I stashed it in a baggie in a tennis ball can. When it was gone, that was that. I moved away from the source, God rest him, and I've never experienced anything like it, before or since.

Anyway, if you're not accustomed to the potency of today's cannabis, go slow. Especially on the edible stuff, which takes a while to hit and can sneak up on you. You will have no trouble getting to where it sends you. Take it a little at a time.


  1. I started in the 70’s, when a “lid” was $10. After a half of an hour of cleaning, you were left with maybe half of the original quantity. There were stronger varieties around, but nothing like the sort that is prevalent today. My favorite back then was the chocolate Thai or hashish, and both gave you more of a sleepy, dazed feeling once consumed.

    I had to finally give it up by about 1989 because the stuff had just gotten......well it was just different. I had numerous panic attacks before I even knew what that term even meant. One night I even slept in the bowels of OHSU as I was so worried that I might die that I wanted to be close to a hospital just in case.

    When I finally figured out what was up I gave up on the wacky weed. And never looked back.

  2. Still not inhaling.

  3. I didn't touch it until it became legal here. I decided my first foray would involve making my own brownies. I went down to the local shop, bought some quantity of the stuff, brought it home, made butter, and add it to Alton Brown's brownie recipe.

    I had my first brownie as I say down to watch a Sunday night football game. Ninety minutes later, I was asleep. I woke the next morning and made my way down to the park and ride. While on the train, I figured out I was still high. Like REALLY high. I called my boss, told him I was sick, and went home. What a day.

    These days, I'm a gummy man. There are a ton of different varieties out there. Most multi-location shops have their own house brands. They're quite good. They've got versions that will take you from the giggles all the way to wondering who's knocking on the inside of the refrigerator.

    The great state of Oregon recently doubled the allowable dosage per package, so you have to be careful. What was a 5mg piece might be a 10 mg piece. Take two or three and suddenly what was planned as a pleasant afternoon can turn into an endless stream of Dominoes, Door Dash, and Rick and Morty. Or, in my case, a transformative weekend with Bob Weir, Don Was, and a light show that rivals anything OMSI ever came up with. Now that I mention it, I went to laser Dark Side of the Moon a few weeks back. The edible made it about perfect.

    All this to say, don't be afraid of it but careful. It ain't for kids.

    1. That is odd that you didn’t start until it was legal here. I literally spent every waking hour of my teens and twenties either smoking it, or looking for it. Now that it is legal I could care less about it, and have only used once since that time just because I wanted to see how those shops actually worked.

      And I don’t believe the lie saying that a person builds up tolerance to it, and therefore is immune to panic attacks and such. I was the first commenter here, and I was a 24/7 consumer of it for 15 years. No occasion was too small for an excuse to use it, and I remember once some friends and I even drove some 25 miles just to smoke some on a particular road. Just because we found the name of the road amusing (Heiple).

      When something stops becoming merely amusing and time-wasting, and begins to be frightening, well you know that something has changed.

  4. If you lived or hung out around NW or parts of SE Portland in the 70s we probably had some mutual friends. I'm the same, I stopped in the 90s and voted against legalization I had two kids and one of them worked for awhile at a dispensary in Eugene. I buy some gummies every once and awhile because I like a little buzz when I am doing any yardwork that doesn't involve using my lawn mower or chainssaw.

  5. Pretty much every intoxicant needs prudence. Far more people get totally wasted on booze. Then you have all the mental health drugs- that don't help other than numb you out- and have serious side effects, especially trying to stop taking them.

    I like the higher potency stuff- I don't need to smoke as much to get the same buzz.


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