Well, o.k., I finally did it. I smoked some dope here in Spain.
I had always wanted to. It’s been on my bucket list. But the opportunity never really presented itself – not in all my nearly 83 years of life.
That’s all changed now that I’m in Granada where recreational marijuana is legal and easy to get.
Besides that (as I’ve written in recent posts) I’ve fallen in with a group of Albaycin street musicians. They routinely smoke marijuana mixed with tobacco. They’re always rolling joints, and nobody bats an eye.
As a matter of fact, smoking in general seems very popular here. And down in the gritty Plaza Larga, where I usually meet my troglydite friends, people constantly roll cigarettes.
One reason is because Lucky Strikes and Marlboros are now so expensive. They’re nearly five Euros a pack. Taken together, loose tobacco along with filters and paper (often sold in the same plastic pouch) are much cheaper.
Nonetheless, my friends tell me that the people of all ages I see in restaurants rolling cigarettes for an after-dinner smoke are probably doing a joint. Again, nobody bats an eye.
Anyway, let me tell you about my recent experience, how it arose, its particulars, and resulting advice from smoking experts.
The Idea Occurs
As I was saying, my musician friends smoke all the time. But they’ve never offered me even a drag. I suppose that has something to do with my age. Also, they know I was a professor in some U.S. college, and a former priest. I think in some weird way, all that related to their never offering. But it made me wonder all the same.
Anyway, head shops are plentiful here in Granada – especially if you count the omnipresent “Tabacs” where they sell lottery tickets, bus passes, cigarettes, loose tobacco, pipes, bongs, hash grinders, rolling machines, and other cannabis paraphernalia.
So, when I was walking down Calle Puentezuelas a week or so ago, I found myself amid tiendas like those. In fact, there were lots of interesting stores there – especially in the light of my practice with Tarot cards over the last few months. (I’m trying hard to become what they call here a “Tarotista.” I practice every day with readings exploring my own psyche and spiritual state.)
For example, one store not only sells cards, incense, crystals, etc., it also offers Tarot card readings (25 Euros), along with shell divinations, and cigar smoke interpretations (40 Euros). Another store offers similar services for twice the price.
For me, the most interesting shop is a rather large one that has a Buddhist orientation. It sells things like statues, medals, pulseras, fountains, meditation cushions and clothes, prayer flags, and those incense sticks and crystals I mentioned. I often go in there just walking around and looking. Very interesting and somehow calming.
On one of my most recent visits to Puentezuelas, I saw for the first time a shop specializing in legal marijuana. I went in and inspected.
“Just looking,” I said when the clerk asked if he might help. Later, I added, “What would you recommend for a beginner like me?” He showed me a node of “Wedding Cake.”
“This might be a good start,” he said. “It’s pretty mild.”
On impulse, I bought a packet for five euros. Later, I visited a Tabac on the Gran Via Colon and added a plastic grinder along with some paper, filters, and a butane lighter.
I went home, rolled a joint, and lit up.
My First Time
Well, to tell the truth, it wasn’t that smooth.
First, I had a hard time rolling the thing. Yes, I watched a video on YouTube. But that didn’t help much. Eventually though I did get it together — kinda.
Also, before smoking, I watched a well-done cartoon video about a college student’s first experience of marijuana. It was quite entertaining and raised my anticipation level. The student reported:
- A non-stop laughing fit.
- Disappearance of time-consciousness.
- Seeing the colors of everything like trees, flowers, billboards, cars, and clothes with greatly enhanced hues and degrees of intensity.
- Experiencing his feet and hands growing by meters in extension.
- But being able nonetheless to walk with delight and exhilaration.
- Having such a good time that he smoked another joint immediately afterwards.
- With similar effect.
So, with all that in mind, as I said, I lit up.
At first nothing happened. After my first couple of drags, I started coughing. But I finished the joint anyway.
In a few minutes, I could feel my perceptions changing. It was like I was getting drunk. So, I went to my room and stretched out in bed.
Then I realized:
- I had no urge to laugh.
- My mouth was extremely dry.
- My tongue felt swollen.
- I couldn’t get out of bed.
- If I were to try, I I’d fall down for sure.
- I was immobile.
- I felt completely drunk.
- For about an hour.
Expert Advice (from Three)
1. Matteo’s Counsel
The next day, while doing my daily walk down the Gran Via Colon in Granada’s center, I came across Matteo, a young musician friend from Italy. As usual, he was carrying his guitar uncovered despite the season’s slight drizzle.
We stopped and talked. I told him of my experience with “Wedding Cake.”
“Oh, that’s no good,” he said. “That’ll never get you high. Here, let me share what I smoke.”
So, then and there on the Gran Via, in front of the Cathedral, in that slight shower, he rolled me a joint all the while giving me step-by-step instructions about doing it right.
“Try that,” he said.
I went home and did.
Same effect as described above.
2. Simon Knew Better
The next day, I spoke with my closest street smart friend, Simon. He’s the busker I first met in the Plaza Larga – the 60-year-old Chilean who’s helping me with my Spanish (with my “Castellano,” he insists on calling it).
Simon had already heard from Matteo about my experimentation and experience. He was laughing about it.
“The problem is,” Simon advised between chuckles, “you’re smoking alone. Also, even the stuff Matteo gave you probably isn’t strong enough for you. Give me ten euros and I’ll buy you some good stuff and we can smoke it together. It’ll get you laughing in no time.”
I gave Simon ten euros.
The next day, we met. We walked to Simon’s favorite haunt near the Plaza Larga, sat on a bench and lit up alternating drags and just talking.
Then it hit me. But it was the same experience I shared earlier. I soon felt completely drunk and unable to walk. My tongue was thick. My mouth was dry. And I was slurring my words. It was an hour before I dared to get up from that bench. The weed hadn’t produced even a smile.
I resolved that my experimentation was over. I don’t like that drunk feeling.
3. Mauricio’s and Filson’s Guidance:
Nevertheless, the next day, when I went up to our roof patio overlooking the Alhambra’s environs, I found Mauricio, a 60-something next-door neighbor, smoking weed on the adjoining patio. He was talking and toking with Filson, a young African woman from London. Mauricio is a pianist from the Netherlands. Filson is a writer and lives in a cave not far from Simon’s. I had met her previously in the Plaza Larga, where we had talked about mushrooms.
Anyway, I had gone up to the patio for my morning coffee and tostada. I noticed the two smoking, so I interrupted. I told them of my two recent experiences with marijuana.
A suddenly interested Mauricio said, “Oh, that’s because the weed you smoked wasn’t the best. Here, let me give you some of mine. No, I insist. Take it. It’s great. See if it makes a difference.”
Mauricio went inside and returned with a handful of the stuff he was recommending.
“Anyway,” he added, “weed isn’t for achieving those changed perceptions that YouTube video described. It’s just about relaxing. Lots of times, when I can’t sleep because of some worries I might be having, I just light up. It relaxes me, and my worries disappear. The other stuff about colors and limb extension is a myth – at least in my experience.” Filson agreed.
Later, when I told Simon about Mauricio and Filson, he just smiled. He knew of my resolution to smoke no more.
“Well,” he said, “why don’t you just let me roll you a joint with Mauricio’s stuff? And then when and if you might feel ready for another go sometime in the future, we can smoke it together.”
He rolled and gave me the joint. I put it in a safe place.
I’m still thinking about the matter.