Thursday, November 17, 2011
It's Not A Crime, It's 420 Time
It's marginally more difficult to get a weed card/green card/MMJ Recommendation in Washington, but not by much. Now that I am a legal pot user, I figured I'd document a bit of my experiences here for those curious.
1. Why am I approved for MMJ?
Back/neck pain. Not making it up just to get this, either - some of you may recall that I started visiting a chiropractor in the summer of 2010 because the pain was so awful. I was missing days of work because I was useless. It's not as bad now as it was then, but I do still have some really bad days, especially with my neck. Standing for long periods of time is agony on my lower back. It's just not cool.
That's the WA-approved legal reason I am able to get weed. The other reasons, which are not qualifiable (that's apparently not a word, but I'm leaving it) here but are in CA from what I know, and are reasons the doctor touched on in our consultation, are the anxiety and depression that I've talked about here before.
2. How can weed treat depression and anxiety? It seems to be counter-intuitive with the paranoia and the sleepies.
There are two types of weed: indica and sativa. Indica makes you sleepy, and sativa stimulates you. The doctor recommended I take indica at night for sleep problems, because it will help relax my stressed and sore neck/back muscles and allow me to rest. I might even get to sleep a whole night through. I'm pretty thrilled about that. The sativa, he explained, can be used in very very small doses to stimulate focus and reduce anxiety/depression. In higher doses, it can cause anxiety, so he told me he's not even kidding: like half a puff of this stuff should do me. In fact, he recommended a tincture, which is a liquid form you can apply under your tongue, so I could do a single drop at a time to even more closely regulate how much I'm getting and not go overboard on accident.
3. Admit it: you just want to get high on the cheap.
Uh, no. First of all, getting the recommendation? Not cheap. Second, I don't like being high. If you know me, you've probably noticed I don't drink much. I claim to be "drunk" after just a couple, when really I'm just tipsy. I don't like the feeling of being out of control. I honestly just want to treat my issues. All that said, the lady at the doctor's office even commented to me how they don't often get patients who are genuinely interested in getting better, so it's exciting to her when they do. I thought that was sad. I've never really been into smoking pot... tried it a few times over the years, but I didn't see it as anything I needed to keep doing.
4. What was the process like to get approved?
I made an appointment at a place after looking up several online and reading as much as I could about them. I chose one that I felt was legit (and would be happy to recommend them if you're looking, although don't expect to see anyone at your actual appt time... I waited almost an hour past before I saw the doctor). I was asked questions about the pain - frequency, duration, severity - and then he poked and prodded my back and neck, had me show him my range of motion, and asked what sorts of things I'd already done to try to make life better. He went into detail about muscles and crap, and talked to me for a good half hour about remedies before even mentioning the word "cannabis." As a result, I am now also taking fish oil, evening primrose, and something called "spasm-gen," plus using castor oil on sore spots (sounds freaky and is a mess, but holy crap it works! who knew?) and epsom salts in my baths. I also have extensive notes on dietary change suggestions (I write this as I chow down on a Nestle Crunch bar, which I am pretty sure was nowhere near being on the doctor's list of things I should eat).
After all this, I went into another room with a nice woman also about my age, who grabbed all the stuff for me (oils and such, not pot) and gave me a discount for buying it all right then. Again: not a cheap visit. Then she printed out for me a sheet of paper making me legal on some kind of special tamper-proof paper. She advised me on how to travel with my pot (because you can still get a DUI if it's in your car) (also I totally just typed "in your cat" at first, which is hilarious to me), suggested a few dispensaries that they had personal experience with, and told me what to look for at one to tell if it's above-board and good quality, or sketchy and possibly illegalish. Overall, super nice folks working there, and I left with loads of good information.
5. Does the doctor look/smell like Bob Marley?
Nope! He was a slim, neat guy probably around my age. His fingernails were a bit long but he was funny and personable, and at one point he was so into explaining something to me that when he gestured, he touched my boob for a good couple of seconds, and I honestly don't think he even realized it.
6. What's it like at the dispensary?
I've only been to one so far, which has only been open for a couple of weeks, but it's down the street from me. They had a lobby with a little window manned by a big beefy security dude. He took my ID and my MMJ rec paper, and after doing the verification and stuff, I was let behind the locked door into a bigger room. Since they're so new, they didn't have much, but along the counter was a line of glass jars with weed in them, separated by jars of coffee beans. The lady explained the separations were based on price. They also had some "edibles," which were chocolate chip cookies and rice krispie treats, and some pre-rolled joints. I explained to her that I was new to the whole process, so she went through all the types, answered my questions about different strains, and recommended I start with the less expensive ones since I won't know the difference in taste yet anyway. She then gave me a free cookie (which is actually four "doses" because they tell you to only eat 1/4 of it for happy sleeping), and when it came time to pay and she said they weren't set up for credit cards yet, I told her how much cash I had (which wasn't quite enough) and she said, "that's fine! We'll just throw in the other edible for free." Again: would TOTALLY recommend this place, especially once they get more product and options in.
7. What type of container does your weed come in?
Tiny adorable little plastic ziploc bags, with stickers on them indicating the strain. These are put into a paper bag which is stapled shut, and according to the rules I cannot open the paper bag until I am well off the premises.
8. Do they also sell "accessories"?
I believe the larger collectives do, but again, this one was new. Lucky for me, there's a cigar/smoke shop across the street, so I just popped in there afterward to pick up a grinder. I already had the pipe, which I bought at a street fair from a local artist.
9. Ah-ha! You ARE a pothead!
Nope! I bought the pipe when I wanted to give weed a chance because I was having trouble sleeping. A friend of mine recommended it. Unfortunately, the stuff I was able to buy was fairly crappy, plus I had no idea what I was doing, so the whole experience was less than worthwhile. I'm definitely going to be leaning more toward the edibles and tinctures for my pot use. Smoke just hurts my throat and makes me cough and feel like barfing. Nooooo thank you.
10. Will you buy me some since it's so cheap for you?
11. Why aren't you funny anymore?
Sorry. Maybe I'll try another post after MEDICATING.
To come: my stupid-newbie questions for seasoned pot users; review on another dispensary; results of use. In the meantime, if you're in the same boat as me, feel free to throw out advice/recommendations/whatever (anonymous commenting is turned on), or discuss whether or not you think MJ should just be flat out legalized like alcohol. Also maybe let's discuss how awkward it is to be typing this and have your boss walk up behind you. OH GOD DON'T LOOK AT MY SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEN.