Saturday, November 23, 2019


Still life with pot: Everything you need for a good night's sleep

I bet you thought this essay was going to be a Public Service Announcement. Right now that announcement might well have to do with the romaine from Salinas Valley we all have to toss because some of it is infected with E. coli. Don’t take any chances! It’s almost Thanksgiving. Should you be one of those eternal optimists who thinks your guests want some crisp greens with their starch-fest, take preventive measures. Let’s not have any E. coli lurking in your salad bowl. 
In fact, this essay really is a Public Service Announcement. In this case, though, PSA is code for Pot as a Sleep Aid. I have sixties sensibilities and, therefore, harbor some wariness when it comes to drugs.
Because of marijuana-infused tea, I am sleeping better. Call it High Tea, if you are partial to puns. Until just now, I’ve refrained.
Sleep is a gift that, as we age, we are less likely to receive with any regularity. So many of my friends lie sleepless and feeling a touch hallucinatory in those dreadful pre-dawn hours when even the traffic in Manhattan quiets to an discomforting lull. It’s in this lull that we know we are truly alone. This is the time when the divides between confidence and confusion, between real and imaginary, between temporary and forever blur into a temporal dementia we elders seem doomed to confront.
I didn’t think sleeplessness would be one of my challenges. I exercise for about an hour a day. The coffee I make at home is half-decaf, half-regular and I don’t really drink much alcohol. I should be a good sleeper and I once was. In the last year that’s changed. I started waking at 1:30 or 2. My eyes opened and there I was, already wide awake. Full of energy and ideas. Currents of intent, like white waters in spring, coursed through me. It took everything to hold still. I felt levitated by my energies.
Then I met the pot doctor.
A couple of months ago I went with my husband to visit with the doctor who writes his annual medical marijuana prescription. I was invited into the room and listened in while the doctor told Jim to begin an additional regimen to help with his neuropathy. Take a pea-sized pinch of White Rhino marijuana and a pinch of CBD (they all look and smell the same to me) and steep it with an herbal tea before bed. Drink the (fragrant) tea and eat the weed afterward. It seemed simple enough. And more benign than the edibles or tinctures or vaping my friends do. 
We left the office and I said, “Get me some.”
That night I drank the pot/cbd-infused Sleepytime tea. I didn’t feel different, really, other than perhaps a tad heavier all over. The key thing that happens is that once I go to bed I fall asleep almost immediately and wake up only to pee, then fall right back to sleep. Also, if I start sipping while still reading, I have trouble focusing and eventually close the book and conk out. 
Now I wake up at 4:30, which is just one hour earlier than I would prefer. But I’m happy with my 4:30 arousal and hope it continues. It gives me time to scan three to four newspapers on my phone and play the NYT puzzles that are now my “treat” after surveying all the news. I avoid email because that stuff is work.
If I have the necessary self control, when I wake at 4:30 I can hold still and sometimes go back to sleep. It’s a battle not to start reading news. I’m driven to see if the president, by some freak occurrence, is no longer president. So far I’ve been disappointed but the screws are tightening as we speak.
I don’t usually read the man’s tweets, but I’ve looked at some analyses of his tweeting patterns and see that he does tweet early in the morning. Unfortunately, he wakes up grumpy, as Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified in last week’s impeachment hearings. Perhaps we’d all be better off if someone gave him some Sleepytime with a pinch of White Rhino right before bed.
By all means, consider this a PSA.

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