Smoking high THC weed... and how I quit
I used to smoke a lot of weed, and I'm not talking about LOW THC cannabis, I'm talking the mind-altering 20-30% THC strains readily available on most street corners in the UK and mainland Europe. Typically, I smoked 28 grams a week for the last decade. I’ve desperately tried to stop several times – but until recently every attempt failed. Read on to discover how I eventually did it.
Truth be told, I still enjoy weed, but 2 main things have changed:
- The weed I now smoke on a daily basis doesn't get me high, and:
- I no longer have to hit the streets to score my weed.
The black market for illegal high strength THC cannabis is strong in the UK and has been for as long as I can remember. I smoked it for over 14 years, and rarely went without it. It was always easy for me to obtain high quality, professionally grown weed, but ever since the Darknet Markets emerged a few years ago – anyone can get it.
Anyone who smoked cannabis in the 1990s will recall the distinctive smell and flavour of hash or ‘soap bar’ with some nostalgia – it was so prevalent in the UK at the time. I remember my first mouth-watering hit on a joint, aged 13, after my brother - who was a couple years older and light-years cooler than me - scored some Moroccan style hash. I traded him my Snoop Dogg ‘Doggy-Style’ cassette tape for a tiny ball of it. That was my introduction to cannabis – and like Willem Dafoe says to Charlie Sheens character in the hit movie Platoon – the worm had definitely turned for me!
I look back on that time now and wonder what the hell we were thinking, smoking cigarette tobacco – unfiltered – with a little hash or weed rolled in a super-thick Red Rizla! The tar would ooze out of the roach and stain our lips: it was really disgusting! What that did to my lungs, I dread to think – but unlike today where we have so much information at our fingertips – we didn’t know any better and were far less conscious of the risks to both our physical and mental wellbeing.
Then towards the end of the decade, after a few years of smoking hash, weed started to flood the UK market. This was to become a dangerous and defining moment – and not long after the first casualties of cannabis-induced psychosis would make the headlines.
A new era of cannabis in the UK had arrived – and with it a new danger.
Unbelievably, I still see people rolling joints that contain psychosis-inducing strength weed with cigarettes or rolling tobacco. With the availability of safer alternatives to smoking like vaporisers, or CBD weed that can be used to water-down traditional weed or on its own – I have to ask: why take the risk?
The new “Super-Skunk’ of the noughties was much stronger than anything I had previously tried. A friend introduced me to it when we were 16 and students at college – and for the most part it just seemed to make everything better, more chilled and more fun.
It wasn’t all fun and games, however, as it became apparent that the strength of this next generation of weed had a more sinister side. That comfortable and familiar relaxing feeling from the hash sometimes gave way to bouts of severe anxiety, panic attacks and paranoia. I started to worry about my mental health – but all my friends toked up too. I didn’t realise that I was addicted and unable to break the chain.
Worryingly, back then the weed in the UK was still relatively weak compared to its high strength cousin today. While the THC levels back then were perhaps between 3-7% THC (possibly lower), due to the exploitation in breeding it’s reported that some strains now contain up to 30% THC! Not only that, the ratio between CBD content and THC is very different these days. For more information on this please check out this blog post.
Sometime around 2010, weed started being sold in grams rather than the traditional eighths (3.5 grams) and ounces (28 grams). At £10 a gram, smoking weed had become an expensive habit!
Up to that point, you could pick up an ounce and pay between £100-140 depending on the quality, before the big surge in dealers trying to sell it solely by the gram – regardless of the quantity you bought.
I guess if you were not a hard-core stoner, this would be okay, but when you're buying 28 grams a week, it’s a massive 50% price increase. For OG's such as myself, this didn't cause immediate issues with my dealers, although the cost of an ounce has certainly risen since then.
It was twenty years later that I first heard about CBD weed. I'd agreed to help a friend move house, and when I went round to see him at 9:00 am he was sat on the couch with a tea and a fat joint on the go. I noticed that it smelt just like regular weed. I gave him some shit and made a remark that moving all his stuff now that he was a stoned zombie would be 10 times harder. He gave me a crafty smile and went on to explain this was his daytime smoking stash and that it contained virtually no THC; honestly, I didn't believe him and thought he was pulling my leg. After a few hours, I came to realise he wasn't stoned. I became inquisitive as it sure smelt like real weed when he was burning it! After we finished for the day, he gave me a couple of joints worth, and I headed home. I didn’t try it for a while, hitting my usual high THC stuff instead.
It wasn’t until I’d run out of my traditional weed that I found out what I was missing. That CBD Bud gave me all of the things I loved the most that regular weed gave me – but without the negatives (red-eyes, paranoia, munchies, etc.).
In short, CBD bud completely changed my life.
CBD weed is marginally cheaper in the UK at the moment with grams ranging between £5-10 and bigger deals like ounces being available for £100-180. High THC strains carry a premium with a street price of £10-15 a gram and ounces costing upwards of £220!
One of the benefits of CBD weed is that you don’t have to worry so much about scavenger smokers taking a hit on your private stock – so you can get by on your own supply.
Something I never took seriously until I realised I was addicted. It took me ten years to realise I had a cannabis habit. Now I know what you are thinking, nobody ever sucked a dick for weed and its also been proven cannabis isn't physically or mentally addictive. I don't need someone to tell me what I’ve already experienced.
I now only really smoke CBD cannabis: I seem to use far less, and it seems to have a much less addictive hold on me. I think for the first years, I was addicted to the tobacco I used to put in my joints, and then when I began smoking it pure, it was the THC I was addicted to. After cutting the THC out my want for joints has indeed declined, and I smoke between 3-7 grams of CBD flower a week now. It is hard to say if my addiction has naturally slowed down as I grow older and wiser. Socially and financially speaking, I’m far better off now that I only smoke low THC cannabis.
Cannabis and mental health
Traditional cannabis, and high THC weed in particular, have long been associated with mental health problems. It is widely accepted that it can trigger mental illnesses in people already susceptible to those conditions – including anxiety, depression, psychosis, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.
Over the years, five close friends of mine have developed cannabis-induced psychosis. Sadly, one of them developed schizophrenia several years ago which he battled until he passed away recently at the age of 38. I believe if cannabis was regulated by legalisation, or CBD bud had been available 20 years ago – we would have avoided the suffering that plagues thousands upon thousands of people today.
Even though research into the effects of CBD is really only in its infancy – so far it seems that rather than triggering or worsening any mental health condition, it treats those conditions and promotes physical and mental well-being.
In any case, CBD is undeniably safer than its high-THC counterpart.
Negatives of High THC weed (to me!)
- No lab tests
- Available to children / no age limit
- No idea of supply chain
- No real idea of strain
- No tax is paid on sales
- Questionable labour practices
My favourite ways to consume CBD flowers
I like them in joints and occasionally on the volcano vaporizer. I would never recommend mixing your CBD buds with tobacco; avoid this at all costs, the nicotine can be very addictive, and the unfiltered, heavily processed tobacco is terrible for your health.
CBD weed can also be brewed as a tea, can be added to foods or smoothies, or of course can be vaporised. I’d recommend a quality vaporiser if you intend to go that way – as you need one that is capable of a high temperature setting (around 230 degrees).
Benefits of CBD flowers (to me!)
- I wanted the feeling of the CBD, not the THC.
- I didn't really like the feeling of the THC.
- I became far more productive without the THC element.
- I was way more social compared to when I smoked high THC strains.
- Buying weed on the street is a lot more hassle compared to getting it delivered to your home.
- Not to have red-eyes all the time.
- No more paranoia.
If I had to choose one, I'd select CBD buds/flowers every time. If you told me that I could get what I wanted (the relaxing feel-good side of weed without the paranoia, high price or illegal element) before I had tried it – I would never have believed you!
But now the THC levels in regular weed are so high I struggle to hold it down if I'm trying to have a crafty joint in the daytime.
I'm not paranoid either. People know for sure if I've had a THC joint - my eyes go red and my behaviour changes, and not for the better! So these days I stick to the CBD stuff and don't miss the THC. Another benefit I have found is that when I do have some high THC strains, I feel high. I don't need a whole joint to myself anymore, and just a few hits and I'm on edge.
I still think there's a time and a place for both types of weed, both low and high THC varieties. They have a purpose, and I believe in years to come it will become clear THC is essential for medical cannabis users too. But for me right now, I'm taking a break from the potent stuff and enjoying it.
I enjoyed smoking cannabis, and truth be told I still do, but two main things have changed, I only smoke high THC strains once every couple of months whereas before I was a daily, if not hourly, consumer. And now, if I do indulge in a joint or hit on the vaporizer, I use CBD / low THC weed instead.
And don't take my word for it as I'm just a reformed degenerate pothead! Try it for yourself. Seeing is believing!