4/20 Day: Are You Celebrating?
Today is 4/20, the unofficial national holiday for pot smokers. It’s their birthday, Christmas, anniversary, Hanukkah, and kindergarten recess all “rolled” into one smoke-filled day.
The precise history of how April 20 became widely known as “National Weed Day” is not totally clear (surprising…not really). But the most popular notion is that in the early 1970’s a group of Marin County, Ca. students, known as the Waldos, met every year on 4-20 at 4:20. Next thing you know, 420 was the code word for smoking weed. High Times magazine picked it up and, well, the rest is a bit haaazzzyyyy.
It’s Saturday night, Dark Side of the Moon is on the turntable, and bags of M&M’s and Doritos stand ready for…wait a minute. Before we go any further, to help set the proper mood you absolutely must click on the video and crank up the volume.
Okay, that’s better.
Now, if the previous mention of Pink Floyd and delicious snack foods took you back to the days of black light posters, Janis and Jimi, 8-track tape players, and spilled bong water, well, you already have some understanding of the mechanics of pot smoking. However, it’s a whole new world out there today and, as you know, in some states marijuana is approved to treat certain medical conditions, such as glaucoma, depression, and even cancer.
In other states, recreational use of marijuana is absolutely legal. Well, it’s legal with the tiny exception that the federal government still classifies pot as having no medicinal value, which makes it a Schedule I drug—the worst of the worst along with heroin and LSD. Cocaine, interestingly, is a classification lower, a Schedule II drug. To be clear, this translates into the federal government saying that marijuana is, without a doubt, illegal.
Therefore at any time anyone is caught with marijuana in their possession, even when a state’s law says it is legal to do, federal agents could swoop down from one of those spiffy black helicopters and cart the evil pot smoker off to a secret federal prison where they’d spend the next 100 years working in a prison factory making Kevlar helmets or office furniture.
You, as writers and researchers, should know there are two main types of cannabis (marijuana)—Indica and Sativa.
Sativa plants are tall and loosely branched, with narrow leaves (leaf pictured above). Indica plants are short, densely branched, with wide leaves (the appearance is similar to the above photo, but the leaflets are much broader).
By the way, a marijuana leaf is a compound leaf, a leaf composed of individual leaflets. The top photo of the marijuana leaf shows a single leaf with seven individual leaflets (cannabis leaves will have between 5-9 leaflets with serrated edges).
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main ingredients in the marijuana plant.
THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It’s the component that makes you high. CBD is non-psychoactive (CBD does not make you high) and is the ingredient that’s most attractive as a medicine. Both, however, are used in medical marijuana.
Uses of Medical Cannabis
Sativa is said to be uplifting, therefore it’s used to treat mild depression, social anxiety, ADD, fatigue, and migraines. It’s also thought by some that Sativa helps increase creativity. Sativa is best used during daytime hours.
Indica promises to be relaxing and calming and is used to treat conditions such as, anxiety and panic attacks, pain, glaucoma, muscle cramps, asthma, complications associated with AIDS, epilepsy, gastric disorders, MS, cerebral palsy, Crohn’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, and insomnia. Experts say Indica is best used at night.
There are numerous methods of consuming medical cannabis. For example, smoking, vaporizers, tinctures or tonics, topicals applied directly to the skin as a salve (for joint pain, etc.), and edibles, to name a few.
Since most of you are probably familiar with pot smoking (you’ve at least heard about it…yeah, right), we’ll address edible cannabis and its many forms and products. Remember, cannabis edibles are not the meek and mild pot brownies of days long ago. Edibles today are much more potent.
Sure, it’s said that edibles do a great job of reducing anxiety and helping to induce deep, restful sleep without the medicated feeling that one experiences after consuming pharmaceutical medications. However, dosing of edible cannabis can be a hit or miss situation. The perfect amount for one person may not be right for another. Therefore, a bit of trial and error can come into play before a user/patient finds the correct size “bite/dose” that best suits their needs.
Of course, should you prefer to not purchase your 420 supplies readymade…
…you could always prepare your own.
420 has actually turned into a rather large deal, with big businesses capitalizing on the “holiday.” Companies such as General Mills (Totinos Pizza Rolls) erected huge billboards in Denver where marijuana use is legal (per state law, not federal) that read, “420 is Better on Pizza Rolls.” And another touting the pizza bites- “Stock Up B4/20.”
And let’s not forget Ben and Jerry’s “Half-Baked” ice cream.
Other popular 420 snack favorites include:
- Andy Capps Hot Fries
- Bacon Fried Oreos
- Salt & Vinegar chips
- In-N-Out’s Monkey Style Burger
But the award for totally weird goes to…
- Spaghetti-Os Cupcakes with Velveeta Frosting and Goldfish Sprinkles
Finally, I certainly hope that last night, on 420 Eve, you left out a plate of pot brownies and a glass of milk for jolly old “you know who.”
*Please know that I am not condoning or condemning anything. This article was meant to be both informative as well as a tongue-in-cheek attempt at humor. But, to be totally serious for a moment, if you do celebrate at anytime by consuming any intoxicating substance, please be responsible and DO NOT drive.
For help with substance abuse of any type – www.samhsa.gov/find-help.
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