Meet our “first-timers” focus group: Madge, age 78, lives at a local senior home. Terry, 54, is a divorced father of two. And Johnny is fresh out of high school.
STRAIGHT DOPE: Let’s start with why you decided to get stoned.
MADGE: Boredom. And trying to spice up my sex life.
JOHNNY: All my friends were getting high, and I wanted to see what the hype was about.
TERRY: My back kills me. And, sometimes, trying to raise two kids gets kind of stressful. I needed an escape.
TERRY: Well, my muscles seemed to relax more, but I probably shouldn’t have indulged on a homework night.
SD: How did that go?
TERRY: We ended up baking cookies.
SD: So, set aside time when you don’t have responsibilities?
MADGE: I definitely agree. I tried it right before my Bridge game.
MADGE: I don’t remember anything about Bridge. Only playing footsie with my beau Conrad.
SD: Has marijuana helped your sex life?
MADGE: My mother always told me not to kiss and tell, but, heck, yeah.
SD: What about you Johnny?
JOHNNY: A buddy of mine and I got high and played video games. Only, I couldn’t focus, so I went outside and stared at the creek for a couple hours.
SD: I highly recommend being out in nature when you get high, rather than being in public, where you might get paranoid. But, a couple hours?
JOHNNY: Yeah. We ate brownies. Apparently too many.
SD: That’s a good warning to first-timers: How much stronger ingesting marijuana is. When you smoke, or vape, you can lighten your load by splashing cold water on your face and/or eating something.
MADGE: That’s all I’ve been doing! I’ve been ordering out a lot of pizzas.
SD: How about you Terry? How did you use it?
TERRY: I bought a pre-rolled joint at a dispensary. They sold me an Indica strain, which they thought was better for pain management.
SD: Yes, an Indica can knock you out. It is typically more powerful than Sativa, which is supposed to be more heady, and maybe better for recreational use.
JOHNNY: I tried a Sativa. It was definitely more heady. I even got inspired to paint.
SD: Marijuana can definitely aid your creative process, and help you let down your inhibitions.
MADGE: Claude would agree. Last week, we got stoned and he danced around to Frank Sinatra in his underwear.
SD: That must’ve been fun.
MADGE: Oh, yes. Marijuana has allowed me to let go of a lot of my fears and just live, for the moment.
SD: Any last comments?
MADGE: Try just a little at a time and see how it affects you. Everyone is different.
JOHNNY: Don’t expect any “miracle cures,” and be on alert for people who try to sell you one.
TERRY: Don’t listen to Jeff Sessions. Many respectable people smoke marijuana. You’re not going to turn into Cheech and Chong with a few puffs.
MADGE: Speak for yourself, Terry.
Rick Cipes has written for more than 40 publications including L.A. Times, Playboy and ESPN Magazine. See his 420 T-Shirt Collection at www.420tsc.com.