Getting Ready to Vaporize

So this afternoon I finally picked up my loan Volcano vaporizer, after several cancelled appointments. The experiment can get underway! I’ve decided to start first thing tomorrow – a Friday.

It’s been a slightly frustrating wait; I’ve been champing at the bit and pawing the ground with anticipation. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been saying goodbye to cigarettes, thinking ‘OK, this is my last packet’, only for the delivery of the vaporizer to be delayed by another few days and another pack of smokes purchased.

So why didn’t I just quit anyway? Why wait for the vaporizer? Because this is not an exercise in will power. There are plenty of books and audio-seminars and websites and patches – whole industries devoted to quitting smoking.

There are also drugs such as Champix, Zyban and Wellbutrin that are used to lessen the cravings brought on by nicotine withdrawal, and I have a couple of friends who have used pharmaceuticals to successfully quit using tobacco. Call it strange if you like, coming from a confessed regular if not daily smoker of cannabis, but I find the idea of filling my head with some man-made drug 24/7 for months (if not years, given their addictiveness and severity of withdrawal symptoms) just too creepy and alarming.

Tobacco companies may be immoral peddlers of poison but Big Pharma’s are little better. I’ll take cannabis’ 10,000-year track record of safety over the – at best, mixed – performance of modern Psychotropics.

I specifically want to talk about removing tobacco from one’s life while leaving the enjoyment of marihuana, and using a good herbal vaporizer to do so. In essence, it is using the device to split the mixture of two weeds that comprise a joint and observe in which direction my inclination takes me.

The plan is to vaporize a small amount of tobacco when I feel a strong desire to smoke…something, and to vaporize a small amount of weed when I feel like feeling a little different. I don’t know how easy this will prove to be – I’m sure some level of self-discipline will come into play.

I believe the key is splitting the two intoxicating plants used in a joint in order to regain control over the consumption of both. I think once this separation is achieved the desire to smoke tobacco will naturally decline as the pointlessness (if indeed it is) of the nicotine buzz becomes apparent.

Talking to joint smoking friends it is clear that all of them at some stage find themselves smoking more joints than they want to as a result of craving for nicotine, not the THC from the cannabis.

It’s also clear that there is very little information above the anecdotal about this particular sub-specie of smoker. There’s research into smoking and research into cannabis consumption, but I don’t recall ever seeing research specifically into the mixture of the two, even though (in Europe at least), this is still the predominant form of consumption.

I’m wary of stripping down what is a complex physical, psychological and social practice to its bare materialist bones. I’m convinced there is more to smoking cigarettes and joints than the purely chemical-physical aspect.

Between the act of purchase to consumption there are a range of triggers and associations that also come into play. The crumbling of the weed or hash into the disemboweled cigarette; rolling the filter from a strip of cardboard; licking the gum; the feel of the joint in one’s mouth; the social conviviality of passing it around and the resulting shared intoxication.

OK, that’s enough of that for the time being. Tomorrow’s the day. Maybe just a little vapor nightcap before bed, just to test the functioning of the Volcano you understand…

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