Last week, I read an article on Slate.com about how today’s marijuana is too good. According to this piece, Baby Boomers who used to smoke pot back in the day, and who would like to return to the habit now that their kids are gone, are finding that today’s super-hybridized ganja is too powerful for them. They’d like to smoke something a little more akin to the Mexican brick weed they smoked in their dorm rooms (only, perhaps not from a pipe made out of a cardboard toilet-paper tube and a piece of aluminum foil).
Full disclosure: When I was in college I liked to smoke a joint before washing the car, or playing Frisbee, or smoking another joint. But you can’t do that with today’s Mary Jane (does anyone say Mary Jane anymore? Did anyone ever, except for maybe Joe Friday?) And why not? Well, I’ll tell you why not – because today’s pot is too good.
Here’s what changed my mind. I have a nephew from Colorado who’s a card-carrying medical marijuana user. He stayed with us during SXSW and, by way of saying thanks, left me samples of two of his “medicines.” One was called Chernobyl and the other was called AK-47 (I think breeders give their strains name like this in lieu of warning labels).
They should have called this shit Instant Alzheimer’s and Terri Schiavo. I made a bong out of an apple (hey – I remember a few things from college), did two hits of one — I can’t remember which but I doubt that it matters — and there was no way I could have even found the car, much less washed it. All I was ready for was some Cap’n Crunch, a little Pink Floyd, and a nap.
A few days later, after I had regained the use of my extremities, I did a little reading and found out that today’s super-weed is no joke. The stuff we used to smoke by the bag at Donovan concerts contained about 10 percent tetrahydrocannabinol; that’s the stuff that makes you think hacky sack is actually a sport and tempeh is actually food. By comparison, today’s cannabis can approach 20 percent THC. In other words, the returning smoker doing a couple of hits of Blue Dream or Light of Jah is like someone thinking he’s quaffing a nice, cold brewski but actually slamming a schooner of Everclear. Nighty-night!
Apparently, another difference has to do with the type of pot being smoked. Back in the 1960s and ‘70s when boomers started smoking, most of the weed here came from Mexico — and Mexican is typically of the subspecies sativa. Ever been sitting around with your friends, listening to Bad Company and smoking a doobie, and deciding at 2 a.m. that a road trip was a good idea? That was probably a sativa.
Growers today tend toward the indica subspecies; indicas offer higher yields but also produce a smoke that can induce what is called “couch lock.” In direct contrast to an energetic sativa buzz (“Dude, let’s paint your bathroom in blacklight paint!”), an indica high makes you pray the house does not catch fire, since you are far too stoned to get up off the floor and save yourself.
The smart grower will want to tap into this market – and who wouldn’t? There’s a fortune to be made catering to Boomers who want to pretend they’re still in their 20s. (Don’t think I’m right? Start counting Viagra ads; better yet, come count the sneakers in my closet).
To help out, I have a few ideas. First, and most obvious, is rein in the THC. Religious experiences are great but not everyone wants to have visions on the way to HEB. Burning bush is one thing; seeing one is another.
Second, find a good spokesman. Remember Jimmy Williams, the “Rent is Too Damn High!” guy? Hire him as the face of your “Pot is Too Damn Good!” campaign.
Next, come up with some good sativas-for-seniors marketing slogans, like. “Boomers, this bud’s for you! Now with 12 percent less THC! Tastes great – less stupefying!” And if you can figure out a way to work flax seed in there, your fortune is assured.