Do you remember the first time you consumed cannabis? If you ended up loving it, and your memory is strong enough, you can probably recall the moment you first tried it. Maybe you felt a little guilty. Maybe you were scared of getting in trouble.
After I become familiar with cannabis in my free time, I would usually smoke and hang out with other not-quite-stoner youths in my senior year of high school, and also a lot of drama nerds. I loved being in that extracurricular class, and made some of my closest friendships there. There were younger girls in the class who thought my friends and I were pretty cool, I suppose, and one of them flatteringly asked myself and my best friend if we would get her high for the first time. Alyssa was absolutely a good girl in every sense of the word- family went to church, had a strange boyfriend who was pretty controlling over her shy personality.
Naturally my friend, Chanelle, and I felt so honored and wise to be asked by a total newbie to guide her through her first marijuana experience, especially when she was already nervous. That should have been our first hint that this was not going to be a beautiful bonding night, where Alyssa would have her eyes opened to the benefits of cannabis. We were… wrong.
Alyssa came over to Chanelle’s house for a sleepover a weekend shortly after, and we went outside to build a fire. It was a cold night, but we thought it would be a classical experience to have a small bonfire with a bowl. We packed it and instructed her how to hit it, probably lighting it for her multiples times. It only took a few hits for Alyssa to start asking “…am I high yet? Is this it?” and Chanelle and I would urge her to sit and enjoy the fire.
I remember her looking anxious and after pacing around the fire, she eventually hustled back to Chanelle’s room to get her phone. Chanelle and I sat outside and enjoyed the fire a while longer, probably no more than 20 minutes or so, before we decided it had been too long and we needed to check on Alyssa. We probably waited too long, but we had been smoking and didn’t think much of it. When we returned inside, we found Alyssa locked in Chanelle’s bathroom. She was crying on the phone to her this boy who was not her strange boyfriend about how she had smoked, and felt guilty… and was also possibly texting the boyfriend himself as well? It was all highly suspect, and she began to get extremely loud and panicky over the phone.
She claimed we were just making it worse, and to be honest by stressing out over her panic attack, we probably were. We were in Chanelle’s mom’s house, and it was late- her mom knew we smoked weed occasionally, but it wasn’t entirely in the open and talked about, and we felt like we could get in trouble if Alyssa told on us. Specifically, her parents. Naturally, her panic spread to us and we were soon struggling to get her out of the bathroom. I don’t remember how Chanelle coaxed her out, but after close to 2 hours, or possibly more, Alyssa came out. I recall her finally laying down while we turned on Harry Potter and told her to rest.
At this point in my life, I would never peer pressure anyone to an activity they didn’t feel comfortable doing, that just makes me anxious! After this bad experience, I learned that understanding a mindset before delving into any psychoactive drug stimulus is absolutely imperative. I don’t know that I wouldn’t act as a wiser source to assist a friend who was curious about cannabis… but I would make sure I knew how they felt, start out with a very small amount of lower grade indica, and keep a can of Coke on hand to smooth over a panic attack. If I had known some of these tricks before that night with Alyssa, maybe I wouldn’t be so adverse to the weed-inexperienced.
*Names changed to protect privacy