Stoned Moments — On Becoming LIT-erate About Weed

Examining My Personal History with Marijuana and How My Tastes Have Recently Shifted

Bryce Post
14 min readDec 2, 2023


Every now and then I think of a quote from winemaker and rebel Eric Glomski in the documentary “Blood Into Wine,” where he spoke about how the human senses of taste and smell are rather underdeveloped, saying,

Because we’re such a visually oriented and stimulated culture, our vocabulary and our senses that have to do with taste and smell are really underdeveloped. It’s not that they’re not there; we just don’t have an intellectual kinda of connection, and our mind doesn’t connect to our vocabulary and our ability to describe those things.”

I know he’s talking about wine, but I think the same can be said about marijuana as well. You see, over the past several years, as I immerse myself further into the lit labyrinthian garden of cannabis strains and types, I find myself thinking about this quote more and more. The above observation resonates with me because, when I reflect on my prior interactions with the plant, it’s amazing how far I’ve come and how much language I’ve built up that allows me to have comprehensive and fluent conversations about that plant. To be completely truthful, it also makes me feel a bit embarrassed to see how uniformed I was when first introduced to weed. I’ve enjoyed other drugs over the years, but marijuana has been a near-constant presence for a while now.

The first time I ever smoked marijuana was sometime around my junior year of high school, back in the prehistoric Maryland days of 2004, when recreational use of the green in any state was mostly just a pipe dream (pardon the pun). Mind you, I didn’t smoke often — rather, just occasionally inhaled with a buddy. In some respects, this friend lived in a perfect home to smoke cannabis due to the fact that the scent of cigar and cigarette smoke lingered in the home like a morning fog, and the relative they lived with seemed generally ambivalent to whatever was happening in the house so as long as my friend “wasn’t causin’ trouble.” Needless to say, the odor of a little weed wafting around his home like a faint air freshener was never an issue.

Regardless, this friend is the one who introduced me to “Getting High 101.” Like most good little boys, I first learned about weed through school. We watched videos and did worksheets all about the ‘dangers’ of ‘puffing the marijuana’ thanks to the failed D.A.R.E. program. Through the videos and worksheets, we were ‘taught’ all the different nicknames for this supposedly dangerous plant: ganja, mary jane, lettuce (still don’t get that one), flower, grass, green, tree, and herb, to name a few. My friend simply introduced this ‘gateway drug’ to me as “weed.” To be completely honest, I would not have noticed if we’d been smoking oregano or basil for the first time. I was way too nervous because I couldn’t rid myself of the feeling that my parents might find out and ruin what little of a social life I already had. All I knew about the weed at the time was that my friend would get it from a friend who bought it from a guy in the city, and that was the extent of the research we did.

I had no idea that there were distinct marijuana varieties that classified the plant as either indica or sativa. There’s a chance my friend may have mentioned something about it. I don’t know. Like I said, I was way more concerned about my parents finding out. Somehow they didn’t (or they didn’t care, which would be unlike their helicopter ways at the time).

After that first day came and went without being found out, I was much more chill about the whole experience on the rare occasions we would smoke together. I don’t recall much about our smoking sessions at the time; aside from one day, I remember peering out of a window into his thickly wooded backyard and simply watching the dull brown branches and dark green leaves bounce around a bit during a breeze as we chuckled. It felt a little bit like we were watching cartoons. It was fantastic. At the time, that was the most enamored with nature I’d ever been, despite my parents trying to get me to do more stuff outside instead of “playing that damn N64" and/or getting lost in a book.

Once I got to college, I did smoke some weed, though maybe about as frequently as I did in high school. I had ample opportunity to smoke more. I only didn’t, due once again to the fact that the paranoia surrounding the idea someone in a position of authority might discover my transgression of inhaling still lurked in the back of my brain. This anxiety-ridden voice from my mind insisted that, should I be caught, then the entire burden of becoming the first member of my immediate family to attend college would crash down all over me and the only thing I would be bringing home instead of a diploma would be disgrace to the family and the stench of failure.

But drinking alcohol was okay. I definitely drank much more alcohol than I smoked marijuana, especially in my junior and senior years. Still, I did at least learn the distinction between sativa and indica in college thanks to a fifth-year senior who would go on to become my best friend for seven years. His family, despite being incredibly racist, grew and sold some grass here and there. He didn’t smoke often either, but indulged every now and then. I also bought and enjoyed(?) some salvia from his brother at one point too (but that’s another story altogether).

I began to appreciate the herb a bit more regularly upon opting to move to Atlanta after college (with said fifth year senior friend) and continue my education there for an additional two years. Still, I could not have cared less about the type of weed I was smoking — it might have been indica or sativa. I recognize that my behavior never showed respect for the plant between my high school years and the conclusion of that era in Atlanta. I didn’t even know “respecting the plant” was a thing. Like most white guys, all I wanted was to get blazed out and forget about the stress of living like an adult without any preparation, not to mention the mounting debt I was destined to incur for college. In my mind, at least I knew the “secret code” to ask if what I was smokin’ was a sativa or indica, which, to me, signaled to others in the cannabis community that I held a certain seriousness about what I was smoking, that I wasn’t just some rando being like

I made a promise to myself that I would drink less and smoke more when I relocated to Cincinnati from Atlanta, mostly because several friends had pointed out to me that I developed quite the thirst for boozy stupors. My family history also indicated that if I didn’t take care of my thirst sooner rather than later, it could pose a concern in the future. I also felt like I needed to “get serious” since I was starting my first real life jobby job in Cincy.

Up until then, I don’t recall anyone ever mentioning the name of a strain of weed. But that changed in Cincy when the friend of a friend unveiled a potent nug that wasn’t just “indica,” but rather went by the name “purple diesel.” When he described it, you could tell he cared. At the time, it was one of the best smokes I had experienced. It wasn’t super dry, but plenty sticky. It launched me into what felt like outer and inner space simultaneously on a spaceship made of pillows. However, after that night, things seemingly went back to how they’d been, where whatever weed I bought (or was gifted for house-sitting) simply went back to being known simply as either just indica or sativa.

Still, those were some hazy, blaze-y fun times. However, by the same token, I can’t help but feel a certain amount of embarrassment when I look back at those years because I recognize my impetuousness. I was just a stressed-out white guy looking to get high, needing a way to blow off steam as I struggled to keep up with what I thought was my dream job, pay bills and student debt, and eat a decent meal. Even in my wanderlust travels through Canada in 2014 (those olden days when weed was still illegal in theory), which were saturated with hippie spirit, good vibes, as well as thick plumes of pungent cannabis smoke, I still only cared to know whether I was blazing a sativa or an indica. I was still a white guy, just looking to get high.

Thankfully, the companion I was traveling with, as well as a few of the peace-loving, wanderlusting bohemians I befriended in my journey through Toronto, taught me a little something about honoring the plant so I wasn’t simply consuming it to get hazy. I had to change how I viewed the herb and remind myself that it was a medicine of sorts. Granted, at the time, I didn’t realize just how healing marijuana could potentially be.

But, because of my previous experiences smoking weed, I inherently recognized that it was a medicine due to its effects on me. I understand cannabis affects everyone a little differently, especially depending on the strain, but, for me, weed was (and continues) helping soften that angry voice in the back of my brain, the one that was at first scaring me about my parents finding out, which had evolved into a near constant stream of sewage thoughts about how I wasn’t doing enough or trying hard enough at this whole living life thing in a way that my parents and other relatives might find acceptable despite my misgivings. I was only starting to meditate at the time I was traveling through Canada, so weed was a sort of shortcut to sitting with myself for hours and letting my thoughts and feelings pass through me like a storm. But I think this effect of weed was best described by Bill Hicks when he spoke about how some say smoking weed makes people unmotivated, retorting,

“When you’re high, you can do everything you normally do just as well — you just realize that it’s not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference.”

Because of this calming medicine that smoking cannabis was providing me, I was in a headspace where it felt only right to ‘give back’ in a sense, because I didn’t want to be just another white guy smoking it just to get high. So I learned about setting intentions with each smoke, saying a little prayer and remembering to share the fun and not take life too seriously. But still, throughout my travels in canada, I don’t recall there being much talk about strains other than asking if what I was smoking was “indica” or “saiva.”

It wasn’t until 2016, once I met a cool dude (and a few other ganja enthusiasts) on my travels through New Mexico, that I was hipped to the subtle distinctions amongst the various strains of cannabis. This guy was somewhat of a renegade grower who planted and cared for ganja plants in various random spots in New Mexico. He was more than happy to share his knowledge and hiding spots, some of which bordered on public lands. You could tell he truly cared about the ganja he grew and shared with others. I wish I could have hung out with him almost exclusively at the place I was staying at the time, but work and other gardening needed to be done so we could earn our keep. But the time I did spend with him and the knowledge he was able to impart upon me made my eyes, nose, and mind blast wide open.

This was all incredibly fascinating to me, and I vaguely regret I wasn’t in this headspace to learn about the various strains of weed, from apple jacks to zookies, when I was first introduced. I know I’m being a little hard on myself since I didn’t have the language or knowledge to speak deeper on this subject. Thanks to this delightful gypsy fire keeper, I was discovering a larger vocabulary to understand what exactly I liked and didn’t like, and potentially why. Thanks to him, I can now say that. one of my favorite strains is Chemdawg, which he introduced me to. I also discovered a Berry White strain that was very enjoyable as well.

Since then, my curiosity about cannabis has only high-tened. Now, I make sure to be discerning about the strains I smoke, ever since I met that cool, traveling dude and a few other growers. I frequently consult apps like Leafly to investigate potential new tree to smoke before I buy them. Definitely have come a long way from getting it from a guy who got it from a guy who bought it from someone else all those many years ago, that’s for sure.

In a way, those boho’s in New Mexico inspired me to do all this research. Thanks to them and the research I’ve done, I now understand how terpenes and other compounds play a more substantial part in the genetics and effects of the herb than merely their growth pattern (which is what indica and sativa usually refer to). Because of this learning, I now also acknowledge that labeling strains as merely “indica” versus “sativa” is largely reductive. While I will never know the names of the strains I smoked prior to 2016, I can at least recall the effects of them and have a general idea of what I was smoking and whether it was indeed an indica, sativa, or hybrid.

I recognize now that I was spoiled by my time living in New Mexico, especially once I moved to Texas in 2018 where herbal pastimes are still no bueno. But, I still do my research when I am looking for tree. However, once I moved to Texas, I began to notice a shift in my habits and tastes.

It was also around that time I was trying a little vaping with carts. After a few months of that, I gotta say, my experience was a bit of a 50/50 coin flip, where sometimes it was an amazing, slow down high while other times it left me a smidge paranoid about the inner workings of my body. Following an uncomfortable vape experience with the indica strain Strawnana in 2019, I began to understand that, like food, my taste for cannabis was transforming. I’m fairly certain I favored strains that were totally indica, or at least predominantly indica, right up until that moment.

I am able to say with 85% accuracy that I often smoked indica strains prior to 2017 because I now understand that many indica strains (or at least the purple types I loved) are usually strong in the terpene called myrcene, which produces a pain-numbing quality and some sedative effects. At the time, I preferred them to sativa strains because they delivered near-instantaneous, total and thorough chillaxation after only a couple hits. After a few puffs on something like nitro cookies, kush mints or the majority of purple strains, the day was over, even if it was only noon. Those strains got me out of my brain and relaxed my incredibly tense body that was drowning me in cortisol (the stress hormone) daily, due, in part, to the stress of shit like advertising jobs, student loan debt, roommate disputes, and just trying to navigate my newly overall complicated, high-pressure life following college. At the time, all I needed was a few puffs on those indica strains and nappy nap time was coming in the next two to four hours or so, which was undoubtedly what I needed at the time.

I again give thanks to the research I’ve done and the people I met in 2016 because now I have the vocabulary to understand and express two factors that are now crucial for me whenever I prepare for various smoke sessions, either by myself or with others.

The first factor relates to my reservations about vaping. Now I know that vaping with carts probably isn’t for me. But that doesn’t mean I need to give up vaping completely. Instead, through my research, I’ve learned to have the best of both worlds with dry-herb vaping, as long as the device I’m using incorporates convection heating. All that is a rather technical way of revealing that I want to smoke something a little healthier but with a milder effect.

My selection of strains for smoking is the second factor. In essence, ever since the pandemic, my palate has been inclined toward partaking in hybrid or sativa strains, particularly those with names that indicate a potentially fruitier and/or more citrus-like flavor. Strains like mango kush, mimosa, fruity pebbles, lemon haze, or pineapple kush are now more my speed. They’re not gonna knock me out in a few hours or launch my mind into a temporary outer (and inner) space. Instead, these strains act as something of a temporary shield surrounding my brain, restoring me to a realm that is similar to how I feel when I meditate. I appreciate the fact that I can still do minor chores around the house, and the stress of life doesn’t really creep into my mind when I smoke those fruitier strains. These strains allow me to maintain my focus, enjoyment, and carefree attitude about life, just without any of its jagged, barb-wire-wrapped edges. Even though that sad, frustrated voice in the back of my head is still there after all these years, it’s much more faint now, thanks to meditation and being in a healthier mindset overall. However, I will say, since the pandemic, those anxiety riddled voices have grown slightly louder again, but thankfully, these sativa strains drown it out completely.

If indica strains are like blasting off into a planet made entirely of bean bags, feathers, and memory foam, then smoking hybrid or sativa strains feels a lot like powering up a smoky shield of electric energy around myself to ward off any coming unpleasantness while I continue about my day, hoping nobody will notice that I’m a poet disguised as a human.

While that’s all well and good, I also see that simply smoking weed, however intentionally, is no longer enough. That’s why I often do my best to advocate for certain groups like Last Prisoner Project, Cage Free Cannabis and the Drug Policy Alliance on social media and in other ways so more people hear about their work and potentially donate. Everyone reading this should definitely consider donating to one of these nonprofits or others that focus on marijuana criminal justice reform and/or record expungement due to the damage done by the war on drugs, especially to minority communities.

I recognize my thoughts and tastes will continue to evolve over time. But now I am thankful to have the language that enables me to communicate what these changes mean for me and future smoke sessions. Having the language also enables me to make informed and safer decisions regarding my frequently infrequent past-time, so I at least have a better understanding of what I am putting in my body and how it may affect me in the future.

Free-flowing and frequently amusing thoughts often percolate through my brain after I smoke, vape, or nosh on a creative-inducing strain of cannabis. Sometimes I decide to jot down these stoned moments. Then, after a nap (and occasionally forgetting I even wrote anything until checking my notes), I go back and do a little sober editing. But I’ve never shared these thoughts with anyone. After a good deal of thought, I believe it’s time I began sharing these thoughts as a unique way to normalize the herb while also showcasing its creative capability. Maybe these toughtgasms will merely blow some minds and/or provide a few laughs along the way, thereby reducing the stigma that certain artistic and creative individuals may have about the plant. PLEASE NOTE: I am in no way encouraging anyone under the age of 21 to consume cannabis for any reason. I simply aim to show a fresh facet of my writing while advocating for something I believe will be beneficial to others.



Bryce Post

is a writer that always seems to be working on at least five different projects while attempting to share musings and revelations on a regular-ish basis.