Alaska is fairly new to the recreational use of marijuana. Some people visiting from a more restrictive state may not have had the opportunity to imbibe without fear of breaking the law. Some people here in Anchorage may have simply not wanted to try it.

Wait, what? Not wanting to try it? That is a thing, maybe.

I remember the first time I had whiskey. I thought my mouth was on fire. The thing was, that was some shit whiskey and it tasted like hell. Then I tried other and better kinds. I tried smoking cigarettes. It was not for me. Why would I want to inhale pot? It didn’t get better.

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I’ll admit, there are a few friends and family members who would be ecstatic to see me get high.

Now that pot is legal, recreationally, why not? For me and some people I know, it wasn’t a legal issue. Smoking is unpleasant — cigarettes or pot, it all tastes terrible.

There is the choking and coughing. They said it would get easier or I would get used to it. Not worth the pain or humiliation — mostly the humiliation. I find out I am not alone in my disdain for inhaling smoke.  

Someone I am close with, ‘a friend’ (we live together and are engaged) had not used marijuana most of their adult life either. In no uncertain terms, smoking was a nonstarter. I get it. Smoking is not for everyone — tobacco or whatever. Mostly tobacco. I feel like I should have a disclaimer about other drugs. This story is about pot, dammit.  

“Although I grew up with a family who openly used marijuana, I never used it myself,” Peggi Odle said. “Until it was legalized I couldn’t comprehend buying it (or any drug, frankly) from ‘some guy you know’ without worrying about what is in it.”

Let’s get this out of the way. There is a stigma. Maybe not with your friends or people you hang out with. Maybe with employers or future employers. Maybe your auntie would disapprove. The fact is many people are uncertain if it is worth the risk, imagined or unadventurous minded as they may be.

I generally agree that getting anything from ‘some guy’ is questionable. I wouldn't buy shrimp or tamales from ‘some guy’ on the street. I’m that guy that won’t eat potato salad at a picnic or eat from a salad bar. The point is, there is cause for concern.

But why use marijuana now? I feel like I should use some slang word for it, but whatever. Odle experiences anxiety that is debilitating. She also has chronic back pain. Many of my friends and family enjoy pot. I had never wanted to explore it beyond a few half-hearted puffs.  

In years past, I had the occasional contact high. So did Odle. We had that family. I continued to say no thanks to smoking and she did as well.  

Then one day,

“It comes in edibles,” Odle said. “Here is the address.”  

She said it tasted god-awful. It did, that’s what I heard.

“It comes in capsules,” Odle said. “Here is another address.”  

Marijuana dispensaries are a thing now and they have all the varieties of goods apparently. Buy the flower, edibles, vape pen for oil, shatter, or dried grind. There is a lot I just never bothered to know and the dispensaries are full of that stuff.

I didn’t ask any questions at first. I’m almost sure I misuse a word, n00b alert. I never really used it, either had Odle.   

“These days, street-purchased drugs are being laced with heavy hitters like fentanyl or meth in a desperate bid to create a returning customer,” Odle said. “Marijuana purchased in a licensed dispensary has been meticulously tracked from seed to retail product, so you know you're buying clean weed.”

I’ve shared with others before that I rather drink than get high. Frankly, the stuff others have smoked I’ve been around was far too potent for an n00b. So, there was that.

Then, one day, I got some medical advice. From a doctor, not the friends.

I was recently told I should not be drinking. Fuck. I cried a little. I happen to have psoriatic arthritis; it doesn’t get cured. I won’t go into much detail, but the fact is, it sucks. Not every day, thankfully, but even with medication some days most medications are not enough to help. Small doses of opioids had been effective in the past but that option had become complicated by an emerging social epidemic.

I’ve been taking pain medications for about 20 years. I’ve been taking some sort of biologic medication for the last 15 years. Some days a couple drinks helped me to sleep. Also, I like bourbon.

What to do?    

“There are many alternatives now for people who want to experience marijuana but not have to smoke it,” Odle said. “Edibles, tinctures, encapsulated THC oil, plus a large selection of vaping products. Each product is broken down into a measurable dose; 5 mg is the maximum serving size in Alaska.”

While I don’t have anxiety like Odle, she recently has benefitted from using the capsules. Her anxiety is better controlled, and pain reduced. I confirmed her findings, but the capsules were about as effective as a couple of shots of my favorite bourbon.   

I didn’t bother to learn that much but Odle likes to do her research. “It's easy to approximate how much you need for the effect you desire as opposed to buying the raw product, which varies a lot in potency.”

She likes the capsules. Recently, she asked for a vape pen and cannabis oil cartridge to try. As it turns out, vaping was not for her. Lesson learned, Grape Ape is not for beginners. I thought my mouth was on fire.


The thing was, that was some harsh stuff and it tasted like hell. Then I tried another type, SoMango. It was better. This n00b may need to try another soon.


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