04-19-18: A First Dose.


Oh, high there! 

Thank you SO much for subscribing to mymilligram—you have no idea how honored and excited I am to welcome you here, my first subscribers! You rock, thanks for showing up and joining me. I’ve also been so touched by your helpful feedback on the mymilligram new subscriber survey. Thanks for sharing your experience, your questions, your needs, and your enthusiasm and support for this new venture of mine. We’re on this journey together! 

In today’s first welcome letter, I want to share my cannabis journey with you so you know where I’m coming from—I’m hoping it can help provide some context for you (and maybe some comfort, curiosity, and connection, too). I’m also going to share more about what you can expect from mymilligram each week, with a peek at what’s coming!

So, first, let’s go back to my Proto Pipe–carrying and bong-loading days of my early twenties. Yeah, those were hazy, good times, going on munchies expeditions around Los Angeles with my UCLA college roommate, showing up high for the week we studied William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience in my English class, and hanging out and makin’ friends at the Free Speech podium every week. There were some Dead shows in the mix, too. (And some other things as well, but we’re going to stay on topic here.) 

After I graduated and moved back up to my home turf in Northern California, cannabis continued to be a part of my life (as we do up here!), from hanging out with friends over a bowl, to eating some too-strong brownies from someone in Dolores Park. Oops. (Again.) But along the way, I started noticing I was enjoying cannabis less. It smelled better and looked oh-so-sticky-icky, but it was also really knocking me out. After a couple tokes, I’d be feeling out of body, and finding it hard to communicate, with creeping paranoid thoughts showing up to the party (“Oh, shoot, I don’t think they understood what I meant to say!” and other awkward misinterpretation scenarios)—and as someone who counts on expressing herself through the written word and otherwise, that headspace wasn’t very enjoyable. Connecting with people is so important to me. Where were the easy shared giggles and dreamy thoughts and stony insights? Somewhere along the way, weed had become way too strong for me.

Smoking really became an occasional thing, maybe a small toke at a show, or with a good friend at home watching a movie (controlled environment!). I thought my days with cannabis were mostly done, and just a phase in my life. But let’s flash forward to a couple years ago. My full-time stoner pals started showing me their vapes (vaporizers) and Kiva Terra blueberries (for the record, those can be tooooo strong for me, my head starts spinning with new theorems and elaborate stories), but I noticed new things were happening in the world of cannabis, and I was curious.

And then a friend introduced me to Pot d’Huile cannabis olive oil (full disclosure: I was hired to help with PDH’s private launch event). What blew my mind about this product (besides the fact it tasted incredible for a cannabis olive oil) is that it was completely measurable. One milliliter was one milligram of THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis that makes you feel “high"—I’ll be talking about cannabinoids in more depth next week!). Since psychoactive effects from THC typically kick in for people around 2mg or 2.5mg, I was suddenly able to explore my threshold in a controlled manner. This was groundbreaking stuff. It was the perfect product to start discovering and dialing in my optimal dosage, and I was having fun. 

I started with just a teaspoon of it on my insalata caprese, and about 45 minutes later, felt a pleasant little buzz in my brain. Nice. The next time, I drizzled a little more than a teaspoon on my ice cream, and found the end of my movie that night was extra-funny, and I slept well too. No paranoia, but definitely thinking about things a little differently. 

I played around with my dose for a few weeks, going up to a tablespoon (the equivalent of 15mg), which ended up being quite a bit more buzz than I wanted to feel. I found my sweet spot with PDH to be around 4–5mg (a teaspoon), depending upon how much food I already had in my body, and what I was doing (hanging out with friends at the beach, or chilling at home). 

PDH ended up being a big hit at a bachelor party weekend getaway I attended, and since it was so manageable, I even felt safe to share a taste with some family members so they could try it. Let's just say it found a permanent place on my kitchen counter next to my other olive oils. (Just so you know, Pot d’Huile is going to have their THC version available again for purchase later this summer—I’ll keep you posted.) 

My exploration of dosage via milligrams unlocked an exciting adventure for me. Armed with my medical card, I started visiting dispensaries all over the city, learning about the latest products, and looking for anything that was measurable, low-dose (sorry, 50mg cookies, I have no interest in you), well-made, and responsibly sourced. I’m so fortunate to live in the Bay Area—there’s a bounty of innovative and beautiful products being made by some incredibly smart and cool and creative people, using some of the finest plants in the world. 

But what was funny is I’d go into a dispensary, and ask about vapes (vaporizers) and other products, and time and time again, I’d have a well-meaning budtender try to introduce me to their high-dose chocolates or vapes with the highest THC level. I’d say, “Thanks so much, but I’m actually looking for your vape with the lowest THC percentage. What’s your weakest one?” They’d look at me, so puzzled and confused: “Why do you want that?”

Just try talking to a budtender about high-CBD/low-THC ratio tinctures was challenging (more on what that is soon!) *, and I found myself having to look up everything I wanted to know about Care By Design’s CBD tincture line before going into the dispensary, especially because everyone else at the counter was busy buying 10mg Cheeba Chews and Korova cookies. (As I said to a friend, “I don’t trust anything with a cow with a third eye on the packaging!” As Korova’s tagline says, “Unrivaled potency.” I’ll just take your word for it.). Yup, I was a low-dose girl lost in a high-octane world.

But I kept navigating. I flew to Seattle to see what Washington was offering in their many dispensaries (they are a bit ahead of us since they were the first state to legalize cannabis in 2012) and got so inspired about what I saw (shout-out to Vela for their top-notch dispensary). It was also a blast to visit my cousin’s husband’s grow in Eastern Washington. 

I went to the Emerald Cup (THAT was an experience), and in the sea of canna bros hittin’ the dab rigs and buying pounds of chronic, I found more cool products and even dug up some low-dose options (and met some incredible people). I flew to LA before the New Year, and visited around eight dispensaries, checking out what the LA market was making (let’s just say they have many more CBD waters than we do up here). I’ve also been attending all kinds of dinners and events and seminars and gatherings, from multi-course, underground, infused cannabis dinners to Ganja Yoga (I have a funny oops story about that). 

Cannabis is an explosive category—and there are some downright fantastic cannabis products being released. (And some, not so much.) Budtenders and dispensaries are much more knowledgeable about CBD products now, and adding low-dose products to their shelves (especially with their booming customer base of newbies coming in lately). And there are all these hemp-derived CBD products coming out, showing up in matcha tea and your massage. It’s a lot to navigate and learn about, and that’s why mymilligram is here. I’ve been writing about restaurants (in tablehopper.com) and freelance writing about food and beverages for the past 15 years, and I’m going to take everything I’ve learned about how I assess food and drink and apply that to cannabis.

But there’s an added layer here: how it makes you feel. Just like you have different reasons for your canna-curiosity and why you’re here reading this, everyone also has a different body, with unique wiring, chemistry, comfort levels, likes, and dislikes. Interacting with cannabis can take many individuated forms—it’s a custom experience, and uniquely yours. What may be an uplifting experience for one person could be paranoia-inducing for another. (I think we can all agree: no one wants to feel paranoid.) 

Which is why we’re going to go low and slow here. And guess what? You can enjoy and benefit from many of the healing properties of this magical plant at a very low dose. More is not necessarily better, and it can actually have diminishing returns at a higher level. This is potent medicine, and we’re going to discover your MED: minimum effective dose.

Fortunately, there are scientists and makers and companies who are realizing that heavy-dose users are only one part of the population. The days of only having access to completely unmeasured wacky brownies and high-THC strains that knock you out in one toke are in the rearview mirror. Now we’re exploring things like cannabinoids and terpenes and the Entourage Effect and it’s high time for a new relationship with the plant. 

There are tinctures, and sublingual tablets, and strips that dissolve on your tongue. And best of all: they’re precisely dosed—in milligrams. So you can have complete control of your consumption, and as you carefully experiment, you can gauge how you feel at various milligram levels. And guess what? You don’t have to even feel any psychoactivity at all. It’s up to you. 

Cannabis can help with a multitude of things, from unwinding after a busy day to dialing down some anxiety or pain or aches or inflammation, to helping with sleep, and it also can offer such a creative spark, and laughter, and insight, and heightened appreciation for everything that surrounds us. And yes, the intersection between food and cannabis is a special one, but so is music, and nature, and connecting with others. Venn diagrams galore! 

An important thing to keep in mind is cannabis offers a meandering journey, not a direct destination. There’s no magic bullet, and everyone’s chemistry (and experience) is their own. If you have a specific thing you are trying to treat, it will take time, and experimentation, and adjustments. There can be some happy discoveries, but curiosity and patience will be your trusted friends. 

Speaking of friends, see who wants to join you on your cannabis journey. Some may already have a lot of experience under their belt and can share their insights and tips. You can also try and share products together—while our current access to cannabis products is a great thing, it can also be expensive. Maybe a product didn’t work for you or you don’t like the flavor—pass it on to a friend to try. Cannabis is best when shared. 

But for now, I’m going to be your friend, sharing my personal stash with you. Next Thursday 4/26, in the first mymilligram feature, I’m going to be writing in-depth about one of my very favorite products, one that I highly (ha-ha) recommend for exploring dosage. Each week, I’ll be writing about one product I believe in and enjoy and trust—it has to be a product that makes me confident you can control it, measure it, and explore with it. No surprises here. No oops. Low and slow.

In the future, I’ll discuss smoking and vaping and other consumption means and methods, but for now, I’m sticking with featuring highly measurable, low-dose products—mostly edibles and sublinguals. (I’ll recommend some topicals down the road, too.) 

One of the things I’m most excited about is offering you a couple different boxes of mymilligram-approved products I’ve curated for you that you can use to explore your optimal dosage, from CBD to light THC to combinations thereof. I’ll also be including support materials with these mymilligram boxes, with info on how to use the products, plus tips and more. 

I’ll be releasing the mymilligram boxes next week (on 4/26) via my partnership with Sava, a fantastic and female-run Bay Area cannabis delivery and fulfillment company. We have shared values and ethics on featuring high-quality products that are well-sourced, and I’m so lucky to partner with them on mymilligram. Bay Area friends, they’ll be able to deliver products and the mymilligram boxes right to you. Monthly subscription boxes will be coming soon as well! 

I will also be hosting some mymilligram introductory events to walk you through these products—we’re going to hang out and discuss the low-dose life. I’ll be getting that started in May! 

Okay, this was quite a first missive, and I haven’t even scratched the surface. (You can also take a peek at my letter in tablehopper last week if you want to read even more.) 

Here’s wishing you all a happy 4/19. We can explore and embrace the low-dose lifestyle and feel great about it—canna curiosity and caution is welcome here! No shame about being sensitive to cannabis, no stigma for being careful, and no judgement for being cautious. Low and slow is the mymilligram way! 

I also wish you a happy 4/20, Northern California’s very special high holiday (its roots are in Marin County!). There is going to be a huge smoke plume over California tomorrow. The cannabis community is one of the most incredible and tight-knit groups of people I have ever encountered: so giving, and supportive, and friendly. Yeah, and fun too. (Thanks to all for the warm welcome.) 

So many people have done so much (and lost so much) to get us to the legalized state we currently get to enjoy now. Let’s give thanks and gratitude—and commit to fixing the wrongs that we can try to correct as well, like through supporting cannabis equity programs and continuing to clear criminal records for marijuana possession. The War on Drugs has unfairly targeted people of color and destroyed lives and families for years. While we get to enjoy convenient cannabis delivery to our front door, some lost their life to years in prison. Just something to think about. We’ve come a long way, and we have a long way to go. 

Enjoying this journey with you,