My edible days stretch, hazily back to the seeds and stems years of the 1970s, where we’d cook down an entire ounce of weak-ass weed in a couple of cubes of butter. Strictly for medicinal purposes, of course: I had tight knees, and I needed to make them buckle. Tight hips too, and I needed to make them wobble. Actually, the point was to make our bodies as buttery as the rendered canna oil, and we had success.

Bad Brownie Illustration by Vincent Tocco

But I fell away from brownie bliss, after a couple of episodes of “Whoa! Why are my pajama bottoms on my head at 4:30 in the  afternoon?” The dosages were too inconsistent in measure and effect, and the high unpredictable in its longevity and impact.

Fast forward to today’s weed, a marvel of science and engineering. And also available in Gummy Bear form. This is not your daddy’s Maui Wowie. I was curious how edibles had progressed from my smoky, smelly kitchen days to a time of infused blueberries with catchy packaging.

A friend gave me a chocolate bar from a medical dispensary, this being a short while before recreational dispensaries became like Starbucks in California. The recommended dose was a quarter of the bar, but I didn’t pay attention to the THC levels. He’d given me a half-bar, I ate half of that, and was in pillowy mush for a few hours. Fine. But I took the other half to a house in Oahu with my girlfriend, and ate it maybe an hour before I went to bed. Poor planning, Sherlock. I woke in disoriented discomfort: what is WRONG? Oh, right, it’s the chocolate. But I’m not high, I’m hyperventilating.

Who knows why the effects were so dramatically different, but here I was, crazed, paranoid, groggy, and manic at the same time. I woke my girlfriend: “Alice, Alice, this is bad, I’m too high, I need to talk!” She was deep under the covers of Morpheus, and even the shrill desperation in my tone could only muster a “Oh, uhhh, OK, wait a minute,” before she fell back asleep. The next few hours were reminiscent of a bad acid trip: I scrutinized the entirety of my life in detail, and found it all—my family relationships, my love life, my finances, my hair—despicable and wrong. I was a loser, on a titanic scale. Luckily, having had the experience of talking myself down from a bad acid trip, I did just that: you can indeed tell yourself, “it will be OK,” ten thousand times. I finally slept, and in the morning, I was human.

But, I’m sticking with regular chocolate from now on.


Tom Bentley
Tom Bentley is still trying to figure out what flavor of writer he is, but so far he is a short story writer, novelist, essayist, travel writer, journalist, and business copywriter. Bentley edits all that stuff too. His singing has been known to frighten the horses. See his lurid website confessions and blog at
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