Have you ever consumed cannabis with a relative? Your parents, perhaps grandparents even? Maybe they knew you were a weed-smoker, and they’ve been so curious since the last time they tried it. After all, it’s all over the news, social media, and on billboards in shopfronts. If you’re comfortable sharing that facet of your life with your family, or better yet, have family members blazing their own trails in the industry themselves, chances are good that you’ve been asked to smoke out with some of them. While this can be weird and off-putting for some, many of us relish the opportunity to grow closer with family members taking a keen interest in medicine and recreation that is so important to us. However… it is my firm belief you must make it absolutely clear to your family members that this is a much steeper barrier to entry than their previous experiences with cannabis. The weed we’re smoking today is absolutely not your dad’s weed.
Father’s Day this past month may have given some of us a solid opportunity to hang out with our dads and light up a joint. I know my dad and brother were enjoying The Grass Valley Bluegrass Music Festival, which is most definitely a cannabis-heavy scene. I’m almost certain, however, that my dad and brother were not partaking, mostly because they’re just not huge lovers of getting high. My father is older than a lot of my friends’ dads, and a very cool guy. So when I had just graduated from high school, my parents wanted to partake in a smoke sesh, and my dad got knocked off his ass, literally, by my weed’s strength. After that, all of my dad’s cannabis consumption experiences have been extremely limited to a light puff on a vape pen, set to the lowest level. I personally would never fault or judge him for these limitations because of that semi-recent bad experience. Even that, which occurred almost a decade ago, can be alarming enough to keep away.
It’s not at all crazy that my dad thought he would be easily able to keep up with my best friend at the time – after all, he was not unfamiliar to cannabis. He had grown a few plants himself a few years earlier, and kept a plant as a young man as well. Who would have thought he would be so powerfully affected by the joint I had rolled with a $40 eighth? According to studies that I had heard anecdotally disagreed upon, cannabis has become so much stronger than when it was first introduced to western society. I’ve written in support of lower quality weed, especially if you like to smoke a lot, but even the lower grade products pack a powerful punch.
Between 1995 and 2015, almost 40,000 samples of cannabis were examined in a famous Police Study, where THC levels were as low as only 4%- there’s more to this number than meets the eye as THC degrades over time, and this sample was not tested in the year of 1995. Methodologies used to discern these levels were also known to provide artificially low readings. We can assume that levels of psychoactive ingredients were enough to get high, but we also know that because the general quality and testing of modern cannabis has greatly improved in this age of artisanal finery. Common weed of decades before the year 2000 was not subject to such intense scrutiny and regulation, therefore being more likely to contain far more plant matter with much lower THC. It was also regularly smuggled in from places like Mexico or the Middle East in cheap, large batches known to contain plenty of stems, seeds and junk that we just don’t see when we go to the dispensary today.
I love that older generations want to join the cannabis community, and deeply encourage it- but I definitely condone treating that re-entry into this arena like the first time, because chances are, it might be a whole lot different than that last joint they took a hit from in the early 80s.