I’m gonna brag for a second. I’m going to be a rising senior in college. I’m double majoring and am planning to write an honors thesis in Political Science. My GPA is above a 4.0. I’m good at school.
I also smoke weed almost every day.
I say this with three main caveats: one, my relationship to weed is my own and the way my body reacts to it may be different than yours. Two, my academic success and my weed use are both upheld by a lot of privileges. I can smoke weed (illegally) pretty openly and write this article because there are no real repercussions to my consumption. And three, I have no idea what my relationship with weed would look like if it weren’t for COVID.
In high school and my freshman year of college, I didn’t smoke a lot, because I was in a dorm and my days and nights were filled with random frat parties in grimy houses, going to meetings for thousands of student clubs, and sitting in my friend's rooms passing around the two Bud Lights we found in a parking garage. I was surrounded by people.
Sophomore year my friends and I moved into our own house and one of my old roommates began to smoke a lot of weed with a gaggle of stoner mountain climber boys. I also started to date a guy, a real “I did acid once so now I’m gonna pretend that I’m emotionally intelligent but I’m actually not” kinda guy, who smoked a lot of weed. I began to as well, mostly with him because he wanted to and I didn’t want to be sober if he wasn’t.
I felt like I had to be high to engage with him or the people around me, and I didn’t like that. This was also when my academic performance was the worst.
That relationship abruptly ended and a month later everything shut down to do COVID. I felt so alone. I would sneak hits of my roommate's bong when she was gone and sit in the 20-minute tailspin, which was that high to try to feel better. When my roommate, and her weed, moved out at the end of the semester, it felt like my entire routine got messed up. My mental health for the first few months of quarantine was not great as I got over a breakup and was forced to sit in my loneliness.
I also didn’t like my relationship with weed, that it was so intertwined with wanting to be loved and belonging with others.
I knew that I liked it and it melted away my anxiety but I didn’t like how contingent it was on others that had left. So, I said “fuck it” and bought my own weed from a random guy off of Tinder and learned to roll by myself and smoked weed by myself.
And it was great. It is an obvious fact that this pandemic has been stressful and lonely for most. For me, I really struggled with the lack of structure to my day as I sat and did school from my bedroom. Smoking weed has almost become an invisible structure for me, separating my productive times from my nonproductive times. I would wake up, log on to Zoom and do class and work all day, and then when I was done, I would roll a joint (usually with lavender) and smoke. I was able to enjoy the night to myself in a state of relaxation.
The key to a successful relationship with cannabis is being intentional with it and how you use it. For me, smoking weed is an act of self-care and self-indulgence that I use to get myself through school and quarantine. Most importantly, it’s a reclamation of space in my brain that I really like– a ritual for myself.