Gallery C

It Wasn't Pot
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Dowd's "Bad" Marijuana Trip

By James Donahue

The Internet is abuzz this week over a story in the New York Times by columnist Maureen Dowd about her "bad trip" after going to Colorado and sampling a marijuana candy bar.

Anyone who has used marijuana knows that there is nothing frightening about the TCP experience. Dowd wrote about a "scary shudder" ripping through her body, then stumbling to her bed, lying there "panting and paranoid" and feeling disoriented and thinking perhaps she was dead.

Either somebody slipped Dowd some candy laced with LSD, or she made the whole thing up. LSD, if tried by a novice without supervision, might create these kinds of sensations. But a little pot is a whole different kind of experience.

Marijuana brings on a general feeling of comfort and well-being. A heavy dose of TCP causes a "stoned" sensation where users find themselves babbling on about things and then forgetting, sometimes in the middle of a sentence, what they were talking about. Time appears to slow down. The body relaxes. Body pains dissipate. In general, pot creates a pleasant state of mind.

My personal feeling is that marijuana is a far nicer and safer recreational substance than alcohol. A few years ago my wife and I attended a Grateful Dead concert at the Pontiac Silver Dome where nearly everybody in the auditorium was high on either pot or LSD. There was so much smoke in the room you couldn't be there without feeling the effects of being "high." I was struck by the fact that everybody was having a good time and there was not a single fight.

A few years earlier I attended a boxing event in the Silver Dome where people were consuming a lot of alcohol. Fights were breaking out among the fans all over the stadium. Even though I was working in the press box, I had difficulty getting out of the place that night without someone challenging me after I accidentally bumped into the guy.

While I find marijuana to be a good medicine for my aging achy joints and an excellent sleep aid, I don't like to use it when I am writing or doing creative things during the day. It seems to scramble my brain. And I don't recommend trying to drive a car after taking a hit. Outside of that, I believe a person can function just fine under the influence of a puff or two of weed.

I look upon Dowd's written "experience" with that marijuana candy in Colorado as a propaganda piece, stirred on by one of Rupert Murdock's corporate-controlled "news" outlets. The story was obviously designed to generate fear and try to put some brakes on what appears to be a national slide toward the general legalization of marijuana as a medical and recreational substance.

Those who have tried marijuana in one form or another over the years know that whatever Dowd consumed that day, if she was writing about a real experience, it was not weed.