Do you remember your first experience with cannabis?

Do you remember your first experience with cannabis?

I do, like it was yesterday. Considering I'm now in the cannabis business, I figure it's a pertinent part of the story of how California Birthday came to be. And believe me, at first I thought hemp and cannabis (the kind with THC) were totally different, but they are the same species.

(Side note for those who don't know: hemp is defined as a cannabis plant that contains 0.3 percent or less THC, while "pot" is a cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3 percent THC.)

I was 15 years old. Most of my friends at the time had already tried pot at that point, and I was a "late bloomer". I grew up in Los Angeles. I didn't drink or smoke. I was pretty straight-laced as they say. Quite frankly, I just wanted to know what all the hype was about. I wasn't interested in smoking, but figured that even though I really disliked the smell, cannabis was way healthier than tobacco, so I decided to give it a go. 

I had been mentally preparing for the experience for months, but always chickened out when the opportunity arose.  I was scared to be high.

One of my friends had a friend who had an apartment in West Hollywood right behind the Ramada hotel on Santa Monica Blvd. The balcony overlooked the pool at the hotel. There were probably 20 kids hanging out in that apartment. After an hour or so, a group of girls that went to a school in Santa Monica arrived. One of the girls brought a huge red bong. Like two and a half feet tall. I'm sure that you can already tell where this is going....

So of course my first time smoking pot was out of this bong.  Not  something "civilized" like a simple joint or a home made bong out of an apple or a can. I just went for it and ripped one, or whatever the jargon is. The point is, I only did one inhale. I felt okay, fine in fact. I thought it must only work if you smoked more.

I went to the bathroom where my friend Willow and this other girl were. All of a sudden, I started cracking up laughing at them. I thought they were so funny. I laughed so hard that I fell to the ground and roller around on the maroon bathroom rug. I laughed and laughed and laughed and then..... I thought that I was on fire.  Like I legitimately thought that I was on fire. I started screaming. "HELP! I'M ON FIRE! I'M ON FIRE!  CALL 911!"  I ran out of the bathroom. I ran to the kitchen and begged everyone to please pour water on me and to please call 911. 

My friends starting pouring water on me and trying to calm me down, assuring me that I was not on fire and that I was just "high." I lied down on the balcony where my friend Scott basically held my hand through the experience.  Bless him. I would have been even more of a mess had he not kept me company. I know that Scott thought that I was nuts, but he politely reassured me that it would all end soon and that I would be fine. As we left the party, I got the ultimate case of paranoia. I put my sunglasses on and hoodie up. I was certain that everyone in public could tell that I was high including the cops on Santa Monica Blvd. I just wanted it to be over. It was not for me.

I gave it another try many many years later with my friend Darren on a road trip from New York City to Delaware.  I remember cuddling up to the side of the door in the passenger's seat with my right side of my face against a window. I recall saying to him, "I hate this. I just want this to end. When will this be over?"

Anyway, my point is it was not for me. I never liked cannabis. 

The irony. 

Please share your first experience with cannabis in the comments below!

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