Last 4/20, I decided to try making pot brownies for the first time. My friend brought over a giant freezer-size bag full of marijuana trimmings (leaves that grow close to the buds, which are high in THC but are not smoked). Both of us had never attempted to make edibles or cannabutter before, so we scanned Google to find a reliable recipe. The recipes online called for a wide range of trimmings, but worse, called for weighted measurements, which to us seemed as boggling as reading Chinese characters. We melted down the chocolate and the butter in a large pot over the stove top and began to debate how much of the trimmings we should add. Finally, my friend said, “Let’s just pour the whole bag in. We want to make sure they really feel it! Who knows how much THC is really in each ounce?” Hesitant but without any better ideas, I agreed and let the dusty trimmings rain into the bubbling mixture.
I started stirring, and that’s when we ran into our next issue – the weed soaked up all of the butter like a sponge. How the hell would we strain out the trimmings if there was no liquid left? We decided to spoon the globby mess into a cheesecloth, snap on latex gloves, and start wringing the chocolate-butter out. We took turns smushing and pounding and squeezing until finally we had about two cups of melted fat to work with. At this point, I thought it would be a good idea to lick the spoon – I mean, what did cocoa cannabutter taste like, anyway? As the bitter mixture hit my tongue, I quickly understood how potent we had made our batch. “I think we’ve successfully made it!” I enthusiastically cried. Little did I know what situational irony I had just thrown myself into.
After baking the most luscious, fudgiest brownies, it was excruciating to limit ourselves to one experimental bite. We knew that if we snacked on more, we would run the risk of spiraling into a paranoid high. So after slaving in the kitchen for hours to make these pot brownies, my friend and I savored our bite slowly and intentionally before making our way to a concert to meet our respective boyfriends. As soon as we entered the concert venue, the cannabis fog rolled in. It was actually more like a tidal wave – a tsunami, to be more specific. I responded as if I was in the middle of a sudden natural disaster. My heart leaped out of my chest. My mouth and throat felt as if I had just stuffed a bunch of cotton balls down them. I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t sure which tragic and embarrassing act I would commit first: barf everywhere in front of everyone or have a heart attack and die of weed poisoning. I turned to my friend: “Can we please go outside so I can get some fresh air. I’m really feeling it.”
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My friend, on the other hand, looked zen-ed out, like a sleepy ’60s hippie, swaying to the ambient music. She said lovely, reassuring things to me, like, “Roll with it. Enjoy the high. Experience it to the fullest. Let it be.” Meanwhile, a group of traveling musicians heard about our pot brownies and gulped down as many as two or three each. An hour later, they became rambunctious and ran around the venue woohooing and giving strangers high-fives. I was so jealous of all the conviviality around me. I just wanted to stop my body from shaking uncontrollably and to slow my pulse to a reasonable level. Water and fresh air weren’t cutting it, and the heightened ruckus made me more paranoid. Finally, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “I need you to drive me home immediately. I licked the cannabutter spoon, and I’m freaking out!” In a sympathetic tone (with a dash of what-the-f*ck-were-you-thinking), he responded, “You licked the spoon?!” I didn’t have to do any more explaining. He whisked us out of the venue.
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That night, I shivered and jerked my way into a deep stoned slumber and the next morning woke up with remarkable energy and clarity as if I had undergone a peyote ritual. My friend texted me later that evening saying her boyfriend ate a brownie, got the munchies, and ended up eating half a dozen more before passing out until 5 p.m. the next day. Talk about potent! We laughed at the stupidity of our terrible trimmings-to-butter ratio, my uncontrollable spoon-licking reflux, and our ability to inebriate many, many people with our brownies. Though this year’s 4/20 celebrations are so close I can smell them, I think I’ll be toasting to those who can handle their weed with grace. I’m going to stick to wearing beer goggles.