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With actress Lake Bell gracing the cover and cannabis-infused cooking recipes inside, the second issue of cannabis and culture journal EMBER will be at select MedMen stores starting today.
Published by MedMen Enterprises Inc., EMBER turns the spotlight on the ubiquity of marijuana in our culture by focusing on some of its disruptors and innovators, beginning with the publication’s first celebrity cover. Bell is an actress, author, director and trailblazer. She opens up about the accessibility of cannabis and why, as a mom, it’s her preferred method of relaxation.
Its the simple things. Take care of those and the big things work out. Stay in the moment and live one day at a time. That’s what I’m trying to do: take pleasure and satisfaction from attention to detail and be mindful of exactly what I’m doing and what I’m trying to achieve. To help yourself, help other people. A win-win situation, and that’s what you’ve got to do.
In 1996 my 16 year old nephew was dumped in my lap. I got a call at 1 AM to drive out in the middle of nowhere and pick him up because the family he was living with was throwing him out. I remember driving along a country road, full of muddy potholes, that was quickly narrowing to a goat path. I picked him up and took him back to my place. He was a mess: taking lots of drugs and about to drop out of high school. I had no choice really, but I wasn’t mad at my brother for leaving me with his child. He did what he did and taking up the slack was something that had to be done. To cut to the chase my nephew stayed in school, eventually got his PhD and is now drug free and a professor at a major university making pretty good money. But I can see in him mistakes I made that I don’t want to make again.
Now I have another child to help: my 8 year old grandniece. Her parents are too busy swilling beer and watching reality TV to really pay attention to her. They ignore her and the fact children just want to know that someone cares about them. All humans do. A lot of parents don’t realize how much effect they have on young minds. So I’ve taken the job of being her answer man, and this job is very important. I’ve learned to just stick to the basics: give her a solid framework to build on. Universal truths and not opinions. The circle of life and how things run in cycles. And have fun fishing salamanders and crayfish out of creeks, looking at how they work, and returning them. Making sure she knows to avoid the claws. I’ve set up an aquarium and stocked it with several types of fish and snails. She can see the snail eggs appear, the tiny embryos develop, the babies hatch out, start their lives and grow into adult snails. And the inevitable empty shell at the bottom of the tank that slowly dissolves to provide calcium for the living snails to build their shells.I also have a place where I pile up all the grass clippings and it is filled with earth worms. I thought she’d think worms were gross, but she loves them. So we go out and dig up worms. We are also doing some experiments like making rock candy. She can see the crystals grow, and at the end they’ll make a tasty treat. And regular trips to the park so that she can play with other children, get some exercise, and perhaps make some new friends along the way. Mind and body-another universal truth.
That’s what’s going on with me. Just trying to get better, do better and feel better. Its working one day at a time.
It began while I was in graduate school. I was bored. I’d been in school so long, and had finished all my course work, now it was time to finish my research, but I was more interested in experimenting on myself. Its weird looking back on it, but I was actually on the ground floor in eximer laser technology. Our laser was the size of a small car, and no one used them very much, but today eximer lasers are used in applications from cleaning teeth to heart surgery. And we were working on LEDs because at that time there were only red ones. We talked dreamily that one day we’d develop a blue laser diode and make data storage much more compact. Well what do you know! BluRay eventually became the standard. I don’t know, maybe my self destructive tenancies kicked in and I sensed success was a few short years away.
It started with a tank of nitrous oxide. A student had gotten his PhD and had left some nitrous oxide behind. A friend, who was in the computer stem, had been bugging me to get him some nitrous, but I wasn’t too interested. Then one day in the lab I noticed the tank gathering dust in the corner. So to show I had some pull I told him I could get him some nitrous. We had to get the tank up to my apartment which was on the second floor, and it was so heavy I could barely carry it. We didn’t want anyone to see us, so we waited until 2 AM, and he was the lookout while I heaved the tank on my back. He said the coast was clear and I started the arduous journey up the steps. Suddenly I heard a door open and close. Crap! I was almost to the landing, so I just pretended that carrying a gas tank to your apartment at 2 AM was the most natural thing in the world. I passed my neighbor and nodded my head and said ‘how’s it going?’. He just stood there and watched me struggle under my burden and into my apartment. It was kind of exhilarating to not give a damn. My friend was so paranoid about being seen that he was already hiding inside.
We got so hammered that I left the valve open, and when I woke up the nitrous was gone and the tank was frozen to my rug. Now I needed more nitrous. I asked the lab tech to order a tank of medical grade nitrous and he did it no questions asked. There was no way I could carry the new tank as it was much larger and must have weight over 500 lbs, so I rigged up a system using liquid nitrogen to condense the nitrous in a smaller tank. It was crazy and I was on my way to wasting my life. Over the next few years I tried chloroform, alcohol, and even mushrooms, but weed was my favorite. Oh and of course I dropped out of school. I stopped everything else, and began to smoke quite a bit. At this time weed was pretty tame: just green leaves. But occasionally I get a hold of some sappy buds and blast off for Pluto. Even had hallucinations where’s I see a beautiful green naked lady, and the next minute she’d morph into a terrifying green skull. I don’t know what they were putting in the stuff. This went on and the weed got stronger and stronger. And I smoked more and more. I remembered when I’d run out it was hell. I’d get severely depressed, and agitated. I didn’t connect it to withdrawals.
Fast forward 24 years and it got to the point that weed was no longer fun. I don’t know why: maybe because I’m older, and the weed’s stronger. Whatever. I came to the conclusion 4 years ago, that I had to quit. At 52 I didn’t have that much time left, and maybe instead of doing all this crazy stuff, it might be good to try the sober life. Besides I felt horrible: agitated and edgy. My revulsion for weed was growing every day. One day the thought of smoking made me sick and I quit cold turkey. Two weeks of the worst hell followed before things calmed down. I told myself I wanted to know who I really was. And I changed every day, mostly for the better. I was much more calm and felt much better. But compared to the roller coaster I had been on, things seemed flat.. After 8 months I had just gotten through an intensive period of work and figured it was ok to smoke some. Soon I was right back where I was. I hadn’t come to terms with the fact I couldn’t handle weed. I just didn’t want to admit it.
Now many quits and relapses later here I am sober for 6 weeks, the 2nd longest I’ve ever gone. By now I’ d already gotten intense cravings and relapsed, but this time it hasn’t happen yet. The strongest craving I got was 2 weeks ago when some one showed me a clip from the movie ‘Up in Smoke’. It quickly passed. So maybe this time is for real. So that’s my background and later I’ll go over what I’m doing now.