To your marks …
Get set …
Or whatever it is you think you’ll be doing if you join thousands of Illinoisans by legally indulging in cannabis for the first time in the state’s history.
But keep in mind all of cautions the reasonable experts have been providing as well.
It’s unlikely that the legendary pot-smoking scene from “Animal House” is re-enacted. That’s the scene where naive Pinto, played by Tom Hulce, asks, “I won't go schizo, will I?” and Donald Sutherland’s Professor Jennings replies, “It's a distinct possibility,” while the audience cackles at Pinto’s lack of experience.
All Illinois dispensaries must post signs stating, "Cannabis consumption can impair cognition and driving, is for adult use only, may be habit forming, and should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.”
Even the most pro-pot campaigner should agree about how reasonable that notice is.
In fact, in some ways it may not go far enough. THC is a psychoactive drugs. “Psychoactive” is the word that troubles some folks. Psychoactive is defined as “(chiefly of a drug) affecting the mind.”
That might scare some reading on the surface. But dozens of products – some you can purchase right now, some that need a prescription, some that are decidedly illegal – are psychoactive. The key is how their use affects each individual. And that cannot be predicted.
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of trying a new product, whether your fear is of going “schizo” or something else you find to be a legitimate concern, stay away.
If you’re a veteran of illegal use, keep in mind what you’re consuming. It’s common sense advice, but worth repeating – be aware of the THC content of what you’re using, and remember that a slow build of experience is going to far outpace the regret of using too much too soon.
Everyone has at least one friend who threw up after their first sip of alcohol, who threw up after their first cigar or cigarette, or just doesn’t care for the result of some of the drugs our society has deemed acceptable for recreation.
As is the case with many things we limit to purchase by adults only, some of us won’t see the attraction or have the taste for the item or its effects. And some will inevitably imbibe more than they ought to. Cannabis may help some people deal with physical or mental pain. It won’t help everyone, and inevitably there will be people who over-consume.
Think about the advice you’d give someone who is drinking alcohol for the first time. Then follow it. Remember, there’s not a contest determining who is standing tallest after the most consumption.
The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Thursday