testing out cbd gel capsules

Friday

12pm Unboxed Care By Design’s 18:1 ratio CBD:THC capsules. Today is a wfh day (for freelancing and editing). So, while I’m looking forward to potentially relaxing effects, I’m hoping I can also get shit done (like editing, writing, handing out resumes, and building a dresser).

I read the instructions, which say “effects should be noticeable in 15-90 minutes.” Uh, that’s a big range and hoping the .55 mg of THC will not be super noticeable as I’m prone to anxiety (and even sometimes panic attacks) from THC. The package doesn’t include any info about how long the effects will last, but a quick internet search says 6-8 hours for gel caps.

12:20 I take one.

12:23 Get a little nervous remembering my long, long love/fear relationship with being stoned. I used to smoke weed a lot in high school until it started making me paranoid. The paranoia slowly became the most prominent feature of being high, so I stopped smoking. Once weed became recreationally legal in CA, I started experimenting a leeeetle bit with edibles and pre-rolls. TLDR: very mixed results ranging from near panic attack to pleasantly giggling to myself while reading Mindy Kaling’s hysterical memoir. Cannabis became basically my druggie Russian roulette game.

12:40 The random smell of garbage startles me. I start to wonder if cannabis can create weird sensory experiences like that but decide it’s probably nothing. I do feel a little sleepy and perhaps hazy, but at this point it could definitely all be in my head. I did take it on an empty stomach, so maybe that makes the effects take hold more quickly.

12:50 I am noticeably relaxed. I realize how foreign a feeling this has been for me lately, or even perhaps in general in my life. These days I’m balancing a day job as a server with freelance writing work, so if I’m not in a hectic bar/restaurant environment, ever-vigilant about serving drinks and waiting tables, I’m often feeling down on myself for not being productive enough with my writing. But now, I feel relaxed and mostly clearheaded.

I search the internet to see if 10mg of CBD is a high dose. I find this calculator, and figure out that for my weight, a mild dose is 12mg, and a medium 15. I know from extensive experience that I am particularly sensitive to any kind of medication or drug, so if I had done my homework and checked beforehand, I would have chosen this exact dose. Thank you, universe.

1:30 Finished working on a cover letter. I feel like I did a fantastic job and was fully present and focused while working on it.

I feel hungry (not like munchies hungry, just normal hungry.) This is a pleasant surprise because honestly for me most of the time I know I need to eat, but don’t actually feel like I want to taste and savor the food. I remember that—like a rockstar—I cooked food last night for dinner aaaand saved some for today for lunch. I eat yummy ravioli.

2:15 Feel pretty… normal. Definitely a bit more relaxed than usual, but just kinda good.

I walk outside to drop of my resume at a bar I’m courting. Being outside on the street feels a little funny and I stop myself from collecting old giveaway furniture on the sidewalk that I don’t need.

When I drop off my resume, I suddenly get a little anxious and nervous, even though I don’t need this job and all I have to do is say “hi” to a manager there. I stumble through the drop off and move on to visit some friends.

My friends have a newborn and a toddler so their house’s chaos envelopes me. A twenty-minute brief visit and logistics check-in turns into three hours. I feel a little antsy while I’m there knowing that I want to move on, but I also want to support my friends and figure out our logistics together.

I cancel my social plans for the evening to compensate and spend the rest of the night putting together the dresser then hanging out with friends. All feels pretty normal.

 

The next day, Saturday:

12:00 pm I take one gel capsule.

Feel nothing.

1:45 I take a second. By my calculations, two gel capsules should contain 1.1mg of THC, which is still an incredibly small dose. (For reference, 2.5-5mg of THC is often considered a microdose.)

4:20 (not kidding) An intense sleepiness descends, giving way to a stoned feeling. My heart drops as I realize I made the typical newbie mistake of “I don’t feel anything. Let’s take more drugs.” Also, wtf, this took way more than 90 minutes to kick in.

Stoned feeling continues (and sorry, this is where I stop keeping track of time or making notes). I realize I have two hours until an OK Cupid friend date with a new person. I don’t even want to be around my super BFFs when I am stoned. Over the next hour, two of my BFFs call for separate reasons, and I muddle my way through logistical conversations. I remember while on the phone with one of them that there is an antidote! I read about it in another bud.com magazine piece. It’s black peppercorns, which supposedly calm you down when you have gotten “too high.” My friend balks but I find an article, which suggests that even a whiff of peppercorn smell can bring you down, but you can also chew on a few corns for a stronger effect. I find a few peppercorns in our spice cabinet and chew them. The spiciness and paranoia combine to make me wonder if the burning spicy sensation could actually cause my throat to close and for me to stop breathing. I calm myself down, eat a few more and find that the peppercorns do not work. I decide to go for a run to help ease my anxiety.

The run is super lovely and it’s nice to be able to just focus on moving my body without having to interact with anyone. I decide that if anyone tries to talk to me, I’ll just pretend I don't see them to avoid interacting. But even though the run feels good, afterwards I still feel stoned and a little anxious.

My roommates advise me not to start out meeting this new person by explaining that I took too much THC and now feel super stoned and I’m sorry. Instead, I try to act normal and am super grateful he drives us to a brewery and feel it out for a good half hour before I explain my day. Luckily, he’s super nonplussed and we have a pretty normal hangout aside from the fact that my memory is a little splotchy afterwards, maybe the result of mixing cbd, thc, and alcohol.  Ready for breakfast and weed delivery.

After writing all this, I realize I made one ~*deadly*~ mistake. I wanted to *feel something* from the CBD. But the real blessing of CBD is not to feel anything in particular, but a reprieve from anxiety, stress, or pain.

TLDR: One pill of Care By Design's 18:1 formula is a nice, smallish CBD dose. Two capsules is maybe too much for sensitive people like me unless you don’t mind being stoned. The gel capsule format is convenient, but it also means you can’t split the capsules in half. As always, YMMV.

 

Rainbow Heartface discovered the pleasures of cannabis at age 14, the dangers of cannabis at age 18, and re-discovered its pleasures at age 35. She will likely go back and forth between these two phases forever. 

 

 

 

 

 


trying cannabis and yoga

I stopped using cannabis recreationally around the same time I became a yoga teacher, which was in late 2005. I’d only ever been an occasional user, and yoga’s classical recommendation for purity and clarity of mind influenced me in the direction of abstinence.

But that changed with recreational legalization in California at the beginning of this year. Now that I’m a parent, legal status absolutely matters to me. And I particularly appreciated the increasing availability of precise doses, and the proliferation of science-based explanations for the effects cannabis has on body and mind. As I began replacing a weekly glass or two of wine with a hit or two from a vape pen, I found myself relaxed while under the influence, but functional. I wouldn’t drive or go to work in that state, but I would cook dinner or watch a movie with my family. It felt like an easy—and healthy—addition.

But along with the increasing visibility of cannabis in our culture, classes and retreats like those offered by Dee Dussault of Ganja Yoga and Yogi D of 420 Yoga Retreats, are proliferating. What would happen, I wondered, if I brought yoga and cannabis together?

There is in fact another stream in the yoga tradition: the use of mind-altering substances, including cannabis and hashish, to open a window into spirit. Lord Shiva is sometimes depicted smoking a chillum. Some early yogic sects used cannabis as a sacrament, and there are sadhus (or wandering, ascetic spiritual seekers) in India today, who still do.

I consider myself an open-minded person. What is yoga, if not continual discovery? Yogis are experimenters, inventors, people who probe the depths of consciousness. So, in the comfort of my own living room, on a day with few responsibilities and at a time when my kids weren’t home, I gave it a try.

Here’s what happened:

I laid out my mat, powered off the laptop, silenced my phone. With some peaceful Indian instrumental music playing in the background, I took a hit from my vape pen.

A few minutes of sitting meditation segued into a flow of spinal undulations. I languorously moved my spine in the six directions: left and right side bends, forward bends, backbends, and twists. A particularly satisfying sensation arose when alternating between organic movements and longer holds. Vocalizations and sighs escaped my lips. Normally, my good old American inhibitions prevent this kind of release. But I was alone, and it felt good.

In the absence of excessive thought and analysis, I followed my body’s impulse to recline on my mat, soon finding myself engrossed in a fascia-releasing sequence for legs and hips. Again, through a series of movements and longer holds, I stretched my hamstrings, glutes, piriformis, adductors, groins, quadriceps, and psoas. My lower body felt alive and glowing.

I didn’t want to get up for a long while.

But the urge to stand did eventually come, so I practiced sun salutations, lunges, warrior poses, and plenty of squatting variations, like malasana. I found the same satisfying alternation between organically moving in and out of postures and holding them. Holds anywhere between thirty seconds and two minutes challenged my stamina and elevated my heart rate.

Even as my legs began to shake in horse pose, I didn’t feel the need to stop; instead, I enjoyed what felt like a powerful movement of energy. In Kripalu Yoga, teachers are known to say, “your issues are in your tissues,” and at that moment the connection between my body, heart and mind felt clear and palpable.

For a little while, I felt like a goddess having a deeply embodied yoga experience.

Things got a bit funny as I attempted headstand, sirsana, because the moment I went upside down, my dog bounded over to cover my face in sloppy kisses. I giggled and lost the posture. But instead of stressing about it, I let it go.

I then practiced some pranayama, or breath work, and melted into a blissful savasana. To the extent that I remember thinking, my thoughts flowed somewhere along the lines of: I should seriously do this more often.

The timer that I had set at the beginning sounded and I emerged from the practice, feeling deeply relaxed but a little less altered. The whole experience lasted about 90 minutes, the duration of a long yoga class. I ate lunch (which tasted delicious), returned some emails, and went about my day feeling pretty great.

Benefits:

I found sensations heightened, pleasure magnified. I also felt less goal-oriented in my practice than usual, and more willing to meet my body as it was. While experiencing less inhibition and self-consciousness, I felt increased self-awareness. From the spread of each toe, to the workings of individual muscles as I lengthened and contracted according to what the postures required, I truly inhabited my body.

While I can’t report any deep insights during the practice, I can say that I felt more of the sense of connection so many of us who practice yoga hope to receive. For me, it was both a spiritual moment and a physical one.

At a certain point, I found myself becoming preoccupied with planning the postures to come next, as well as with the list of to-dos that awaited the end of practice. But I felt easily able to recognize these thoughts and consciously set them aside. I kept a yellow pad next to me during practice, and during it jotted the notes: NOW. THIS. THAT’S ALL. And it felt true.

In addition, I felt no soreness or stiffness the next day, which substantiates my experience of paying close attention to my body.

Drawbacks:

For me, strength-building postures felt much more challenging than sensuous stretches. Peaceful, languorous energy can slip quickly into tiredness. While my physical and spiritual senses were heightened, I felt diminished mental acuity.

Conclusion:

I had a deeply-embodied, deeply-enjoyable experience combining cannabis and yoga. For those people who tend to get stuck in their heads, or to become pushy with themselves in an overly goal-oriented practice, my intuition says cannabis can help. However, those who are already well-grounded in the body might find it too sedating.

I plan to try it again, and possibly to incorporate it in my home practice once in a while. Though I won’t partake and practice often, I am now much more open to discussing cannabis and yoga, and to attending a class guided by a skilled teacher.

Om, shantih, shantih, shantih. Peace out.


My First Time Getting High

Editor’s Note: bud.com in no way coerced Juanita to try getting high for the first time, but we are honored to have provided her with the means (and perhaps motivation) to pop her cannabis cherry.

 

I am not just a square; I am the princess of parallelograms. I made it from kindergarten to high school without a single detention. I’ve had exactly one speeding ticket in almost two decades of driving. I didn’t start drinking until after I’d turned 21. I don’t even jaywalk because it makes me nervous. All this is to explain how I made it to the age of 33 without ever having tried the devil’s lettuce.

Part of the reason for this squareness is a longstanding history of anxiety. I’ve had panic attacks since I was five years old. What should be a nice evening out will at some point leave me struggling to breathe or swallow normally, and things that would give someone else an adrenaline rush just make me throw up. I can’t even get into a roller coaster line without gagging. I limp along on a combination of antidepressants, sedatives, and predictability, which generally works if I’m dealing with a normal amount of stress. But politically things have been anything but normal. And I’m planning my wedding. My default state in 2018 so far has been a raw and jangled mess, and it’s still January. Something had to change.

Then I saw a call for writers for this weed delivery culture magazine. I knew almost nothing about the subject, aside that it was freshly legal in California and gives people the munchies, but figured I could do some research and write a profile about growers or weedtrepreneurs or something. I happened to mention that I’d never ingested the stuff. After clarifying that I’ve never tried edibles or smoked pot in any form, the editor called to grill me about my experience with illicit substances.

“...so you’ve never tried anything?” she asked.

I thought of the time I accidentally took too many puffs from my inhaler as a small child and hallucinated Camille Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre being played by a circus calliope, and decided that wasn’t what she’d meant.

“Nope,” I replied.

“Perfect!”

View from the author's apartment window. Image courtesy of the author.
View from the author's apartment window. Image courtesy of the author.

I hate the smell of pot, so I decided to start with edibles. I also didn’t want to try anything too delicious, in case I ended up eating the whole thing by mistake and being glued to the couch inhaling every snackable item in a 2-mile radius, so I went with Stokes Micros mints. Well, half of one. Okay, half of a half. Everyone I consulted said I could always take more later, but to start out with as small a dose as I possibly could. Since drinking a Coke Zero virtually guarantees that I’ll be awake until 4 in the morning, I decided this was probably sound advice.

I settled into my giant armchair with War and Peace and waited for something interesting to happen. After a few chapters, I felt the urge to pull out my work laptop and start editing grant reports. This was definitely not normal “me” behavior, especially in the middle of a long weekend. Tolstoy was not to blame for this, nor for the irrepressible grin that kept creeping up my face, but it seemed like too much of a change to pin on such a tiny first dose.

Until my thoughts started shifting forward in my head.

It felt like the center of my brain had scooted all the way into my forehead, and my ideas dangled like my legs do when I’m sitting on a sofa. The center of me felt a few inches higher in my chest than it usually does. Is this what it means to be high? I thought. I started to giggle, and then I decided to take a nap. Thus ended phase 1 of my experiment. (Experi-mint?)

I slept for a couple of hours, then decided to get tickets for a musical comedy show we’d wanted to see that night. Making plans at the last minute stresses me out, so I tend to fill in my calendar well in advance. My partner and I had all but decided to stay home, since I’d had a panic attack the day before. I tend to hunker down and burrow the day after an attack. But I was feeling good and wanted to see if the show felt any funnier in an altered state.

I ate another tiny piece of a mint, then said fuck it and downed the remaining three-quarters. I was up to one whole mint, or 5 mg. We called a ride and made our way to the theater.

The ride started out as most do, with quick verbal confirmation that we’d gotten into the right car, followed by relative silence. I noticed that the driver was singing along quietly to the music, a selection of late 90’s rock. I smiled and found myself humming along, too.

Somebody once told me/ the world is gonna roll me. Steve Harwell’s voice suddenly transcended the boundaries of the car stereo to speak directly into my soul. No music had ever sounded so sublime. Every piece of instrumentation was PERFECT. So naturally I sang along, every word of “All Star” resonating with a poignancy I’d never found before in Smash Mouth. And by the time we reached the venue, all three of us were shouting along to “Semi-Charmed Life.”

The show was amazing. I couldn’t stop smiling, and I sang along to every song I knew (and even the ones I didn’t). But even better was knowing that I’d made it outside in the first place. This was a far cry from my typical post-panic attack tendencies. Not only had I found something that helped me recuperate and want to go places, but I didn’t have any panic attacks that night. I went to a show at the last minute, at a venue I’d never been to before, and even went out to eat afterward. Any one of those things could have set me off on a normal day. But I was fine. And that was its own miracle.

I asked my partner later if he noticed anything when I conducted my experiments.

“You seemed happier,” he said, “and more relaxed.” He paused. “And more present. And less overwhelmed.”

I don’t know how often I’ll end up dosing in the future, but I’m definitely keeping a couple of my special mints in the pocket of my wedding dress, just in case.

 

Juanita is a grant writer in San Francisco. You can usually find her reading, playing video games, and not jaywalking.


my first time microdosing on cannabis

I used to think “microdosing” meant taking a single hit of a joint and then putting it in a plastic bag. So when I heard of Stokes Mint Micros, I wondered if it might fit the microdose-shaped hole in my heart. The container looks more like a film canister than a pill bottle and the mints themselves look like the missing link between Tic-tacs and Altoids.

They’re dosed at 5 milligrams THC per mint with twenty mints per bottle and they cost $14. One of the benefits of micro dosing is you regulate your high to stay functional throughout your day. But I tried my new minty friends on a Saturday night to see how many mints it took for me to go from functional to not functional.

I convinced my partner, Jake, to join the experiment, and we took our first mint at 8 pm, right after dinner. I should note that at the time, Jake and I were on a nutritional cleanse during which we were eating like hunter gatherers. We couldn’t have sugar or booze, or smoke anything, so you can imagine how geared up we were to try some sugar-free cannabis mints.

Test 1: How did it taste? Good. It was a traditional minty mint, as in not Wintergreen or Spearmint or any other poser mint. It found the faintest cannabis aftertaste, but Jake couldn’t detect it at all.

Test 2: Did the mint actually freshen our breath? We breathed into each other’s faces to check. We’d eaten a garlic-veggie thing for dinner and the mint masked the garlic smell entirely.

Test 3: Dosage: Different for each of us. Test 3 took place over the course of the entire night.

After we took our mints, we walked a mile to the movie theater near our house to see The Shape of Water, Guillermo Del Toro’s new movie. On the walk, I didn’t feel high the way I do after smoking a joint, but I did begin to notice things. This was about twenty minutes in. We passed a building whose purpose I’d been puzzling over for years. I cupped my hands over the glass to peer into the window. I could see bunk beds in each room. And by staring through the glass doors at a bulletin board in the foyer, I deduced that it was a college dorm.

“You’re high,” Jake said.

“Am I?” I didn’t feel high, I just really wanted to figure out what went on in that building. The tingly body high I almost always get when smoking weed wasn’t there, just a fun curiosity.

“Yup,” he said. We’ve been together for four years, so by now Jake knows what high me looks like.

By the time we got to the movie theater I’d been laughing at the same joke for five minutes and Jake hadn’t felt anything. We both took another mint as the trailers rolled at 8:45 pm (45 minutes after the first mint). Many edibles take longer to work but the mints’ packaging claimed they worked quickly.

Here I will pause to say that The Shape of Water is a lovely film. Whether I have the microdose or Guillermo Del Toro to thank, I don’t know, but I was riveted. The movie was colorful and dazzling and dealt with important themes like love and trust and identity.

I felt the corners of my mouth creep up and stay up the way they normally do when I smoke sativas (The Stokes Micros are made with sativa), I yelled at the screen like it was a horror movie, and I cheered at the end (which I will not spoil for you).

“What did you think?” I asked Jake as we left.

“It was alright,” he said.

“What?! Just alright?” I couldn’t believe he was saying this about what was now my favorite movie.

“I could tell you liked it,” he said. “But I think I could have used another mint.”

Looking back on our night, I would recommend Stokes Mint Micros to anyone interested in controlling their high carefully. It took about twenty minutes for me to notice the first cannabis in my system, and Jake didn’t feel anything until he was two mints in. He reported a tingling sensation that eased into a gentle body high. Meanwhile, I was blazed on two mints.

I’d recommend getting to know what dosage is right for you by starting small and ramping up. If you’re extra sensitive, try starting with half a mint and seeing how that goes before you take more. If you’re less sensitive start with one, wait 45 minutes and if you haven’t felt anything, try another. You can simply rinse and repeat until you’re just the right amount of high and, of course, minty fresh.

 

Viola Selby is a writer and Journalist living in Oakland, CA. She left the rolling green hills of Asheville North Carolina, for the slightly less green hills of Northern California. But it was only here, in the Sunshine State, that she found exactly the kind of green she was looking for.