Using Cannabis with Intent Pt1 – My Grad School Years

Sometimes when I browse Massroots @ night, I see younger stoner selfies proudly exclaiming they are “High AF”, a colorful way to say ‘I’m over the line”.

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I’ve been thinking lately about my earlier stoner years in college and then in graduate school. For the 1st 5 years or so I was an occasional Cannabis user along with other substances that were popular at the time. Through my undergrad years we smoked in cars listening to Bill Cosby and other comic tracks from a local radio station. We picked up girls on Collins Ave or retreated for music and munchies when we failed in our adolescent girl hunting.

In most cases, Cannabis quickly became our substance of choice. As an aside, tendencies toward fighting and other aggressive acts decreased and my crew was in general a little more laid back after herb replaced alcohol as our primary option. Once over a summer drought, I got very drunk on Gin, had serious case of dry heaves and to this day the smell of Gin makes me nauseous. That was my last alcohol OD. Once the drought was over that year, I re-upped a larger stash than normal. A glass or wine or a beer or two works, but no more hard liquor!

Fast forward to my 2nd year of Graduate School @ U of Miami. I was in the Experimental Psychology program and had just missed a scholarship award from my rank in class (#3) in year one. That first year had been very hectic as I got married over the summer and the stress of school plus post honeymoon adjustment curtailed my Cannabis consumption a lot. In Oct of year 2 I began to hang out with several older grad students where were also doing their research at the Psychology Department office and labs. One Clinical student from the mid-west, D I’ll call me for short, looked like a textbook hippie, long haired, bearded with his saddle bag over his shoulder, and in fact he was. D was also very competent. We did a small research project together during the 1st semester, became friends and began to smoke together after work was done.

D had a very organized style and carried a date book with an active to do list that helped him stay focused. We did not smoke ever when there were work tasks to complete. When a new task came up, D would either add it the the “C List” or say “Let’s do this now!” Soon I had my own date book which I carried for a many years until smartphones made them obsolete. Most importantly, I learned that I could enjoy Cannabis daily with no ill effects on my learning as long as I put the work tasks “before the lift” so to speak.

During my last three years in Graduate school, our closet hippy group expanded to some of the Physiological Psychology students who worked in the lab section separated from the offices by the main stairwell. The experimental chambers had their own AC and outlet vents so they made a fine place for the 3:30 lift. This was before 4:20 came to be folks. We used Ozium to cover the dank smell. I still use it today!

The work environments were very sterile with no windows in the office cubicles or the labs. After lifting, we’d do outside things like

  • Taking a bike ride
  • Going for a swim @ the student union pool
  • Playing Frisbee catch (if only 2 or 3)
  • Playing Frizball (w larger group)
  • Simple campus walkabout on a nice day
  • Just finding a nice space to sit and chill out in

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I see several takeaways from my transition from simple recreational use to beginning to use Cannabis with intent.

  1. Daily Cannabis use can be beneficial if used as a reward for “getting stuff done”.
  2. Even in our 20s, my student buds and I began to use Cannabis with the intent of helping us find balance, in other words for wellness