There are probably a dozen different draft posts that I've written where I talk much more in-depth about cannabis. As of the last incarnation of though, it has never seemed to be the right topic to bring up or talk about, ever. I have a lot of things to say about the plant, I just feel that a lot of people tend to think of marijuana as being a juvenile and lazy drug that people indulge in. But the plant is sort of from two different worlds, and it always has been. With legalization happening across the country, I feel that we're finally getting to a place of reconciling the two plants; the herbaceous flowering annual, and the psychotropic drug—a near perfect propaganda dichotomy. The truth is obviously much more nuanced than evil weed or a miracle plant. Nothing is ever just black and white, it's Joseph's amazing technicolor dreamcoat with different tones. When viewed as a medicinal herb—in the same way as St. John's Wort or Echinacea—the effects are moderate. You would never swallow or consume an entire bottle of Echinacea, right? The same is true for cannabis, the dosage is different for every person. So you have to learn how to control your intake. But the beauty is that it's impossible to overdose on cannabis, the worst that will happen is that you get a little too paranoid, or you fall asleep.

Going back to at least Bill Clinton, it has been in the mainstream zeitgeist that even though the plant was illegal (or still is for some), it still plays a non-threatening role in a lot in our early lives, the late teens and early twenties, at least.

Blame the American war machine for the Counter Culture of the 60s that has continued to ripple through our existence, and this timeline. Hunter S. Thompson's high and mighty wave... I would argue that it didn't roll back so much as it has fed the tributaries of thought that all of us elder millenials grew up on.

That is to say, it's not uncommon for people to freely admit that they have smoked at one time or another in their past. Slowly but surely all of society is coming around to seeing cannabis in much the same way as alcohol. So let me tell you a little about my own experience.

Tool is by far my favorite band of all-time... Trolling around Reddit I found an interesting prompt on the Tool sub: What’s your first time hearing Tool experience?

I don't know that I remember exactly the first time I ever listened to Tool, but I do remember the first time I smoked a little too much—got a little too high—and listened to Lateralus. It was a late night in the middle of the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school.


Blew my mind.

It was damn near a religious experience.

Vibrant colors shifted in the darkness. I had all the lights out and my headphones on. A pair of studio headphones from the 1970s that the guy down the street was selling at a garage sale (I've actually owned quite a few pairs of Koss headphones over the years). They didn't have any padding at first, but I think my Mom came up with the idea to stuff 'em with old socks, old cut up t-shirts, or something like that. The headphones still worked well, and I remember finding out much later on that well-built speakers just continue to age like wine as long as you treat them properly and listen to them within their range... Yes, each speaker has it's own designated spec and maximum suggested listening volume. That shouldn't really surprise anyone.

I was definitely not listening to them at a reasonable volume. I'm sure they were probably rather loud at that time, and I would have been amazed as a pubescent ball of raging hormones fueled by delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol at just how engrossing the sound was.

It has been over twenty years since the album came out, and it's been a really long time since I've listened to the album in the same manner—with headphones turned up loud—but I do remember that there is one song where if you're listening to it loud enough with headphones, you can hear what sounds like someone in the background knocking on a door and yelling;

“Hey! Turn that down!”

Which, you can imagine might be jarring to a sixteen year old me who has just gotten super stoned at two in the morning when his parents have to get up and go to work in just a few hours... You can imagine what that does to someone who is inexperienced with smoking cannabis and is at the point of paranoia-stoned. I threw those fucking headphones off so fast! I thought for sure it was my Dad banging on the wall, and I freaked out about the volume level of the headphones; if my father could hear them in the next room then they really WERE too loud. Reality was far from my panicked state, with blood pressure spiked, a slight sweat from the brow, and a dry and unfinished swallow.

So, yeah, that's a nice approximation of what I remember my first time listening to Tool to be like.