“Go, go, hit it,” were the last sober words I was to hear that night.

It was 4/20 and the Barbary Coast lounge in SOMA was bumpin’. Vendors set up to impart the differentiated knowledge unique to their brand crowded the room. Customers held overstuffed paper bags, ripping along the seams to spill out 2-for-1 prerolls and other irresistible 4/20 offers. 

This was like free dabs at the bar, manned by the same honey-peddling dab-vendor telling me to “Get it all! Yeaah!” or some other canna-bro encouragement. 

We’d had a full conversation before, introduced by my new favorite Barbary Coast budtender, Tesha. That conversation is over now. The top-gear glass rig worth thousands of dollars sits with its now empty bowl cooling from the 603 degree blast I just hit. Thankfully Tesha had made sure I was sitting down.

When a barstool is required for a single shot of something, it makes me reflect. After all, one of the things I prefer about weed over alcohol is that I never have to lean on a barstool to steady myself. One the other hand, alcohol doesn’t give you the burning hack, and I have it. Even if I could think straight enough for a chat, I can’t get the words out. I cough some half-pleasantries before swinging back to my buddy, who has cleverly grabbed the table just behind us.

Sit down, wait it out, here we go. Sitting here, watching my buddy sipping at one bud then another to taste all he had bought, I just sat somewhere. I don’t know where, but it wasn’t here. I mean there. I don’t know what I mean. Just that it is heavy. [Hmm, better wait to sober up to finish this column.]

At some point, I steady myself somewhat unsuccessfully on my buddy’s arm and we head out into the night. This was all predictable. 

Over the month of April, I had systematically reduced my tolerance in preparation for this moment. I wanted to see what a dab would do to someone starting from scratch. There is so much THC in products these days, I thought, could this be a future standard concentration?

It is easy to forget how uncontrolled dosing has been in cannabis until very recently. Nowadays it’s 5 mg gummies at cocktail hour, switching out the morning sativa cart for the afternoon hybrid, keep the indica cart at home for after dinner.

One of the most beautiful things about cannabis is its flexibility. With today’s precision of dosing and refined terpene profiles, several use cases come to mind where cannabis can take the place of other substances. There is the clear, light sativa to replace your second cup of caffeine. There is the social bud, for us non-drinkers. Then there are all the medical uses, salves for sore muscles. Well the closest use case I can connect this dab business with is opiates.

I remember my buddy at some point saying, as I swerved a bit along the piss and weed smelling city sidewalk, “This is the part in your column when we go on some misadventure.” Which was funny and meta, and if there was a misadventure, it can’t wait till he tells me about it. I remember the lounge and then settling in to watch The Batman. I know there was time in between, but what happened during that time is lost to me.

No doubt most of it was spent feeling too hot in my skin, wandering closely behind my friend, head down, having lost all sense of the passing of time, reminding him how fucked up I was. 

Frankly, it felt uncomfortably like a shot of heroine, only less euphoric. My buddy even got a picture of me nodding out waiting for the movie to start. A true friend, he stayed with me for a bite and then drove me to my hastily booked hotel room.

So what did I learn from this adventure? Dear reader, be smart, know your tolerances, plan ahead when you can, and if you ever hit a dab administered by a shaky-hand hash-scientist with a name tag that reads “Jerry Garcia,” have a friend nearby.

Originally posted on EastBayExpress.com