My old gym is now a pot store. Is there anything more Californian than that? And not just any pot store, this place is the Neiman Marcus of marijuana, with curbside pickup, an attractive and helpful staff and the look and feel of an Apple store.
This was my very first trip to a pot store — which makes me late to the party — but I don’t smoke pot, so I’ve never had the need. I wasn’t sure what to expect since the last time I bought anything marijuana-related was from a busboy at a Shakey’s in Rhode Island that turned out to be a sandwich bag stuffed with oregano and dried capers.
I must confess, part of my hesitation is my unjustifiably judgmental attitude toward people who do smoke pot. I have zero reason to feel this way since I went to college in the 1970s and still have my “Frampton Comes Alive!” vinyl in storage. Still, pot is just not my thing and I never could roll a proper joint or listen to 10 seconds of the Grateful Dead.
And booze was so much easier to abuse.
But I’m also not a fan of chronic pain that I’ve had in my right shoulder and elbow for several years.
My doctor says it’s tennis elbow. I went through the five tubes of expensive goo he prescribed and now I have pain in my left shoulder and elbow, too. Why not give pot a try?
I’ve had zero desire to get high on anything since July 30, 1995, nearly 25 years ago. I made this clear to my budtender. “I’m only interested in pain relief,” I said, a little too emphatically. “I’m not looking for a night at the Planetarium,” I added with characteristic wit. Crickets.
The budtender led me past the aisles and shelves stocked with federally prohibited (but California compliant) consumables: flowers, vapes, pre-rolls, edibles, tinctures and the various accessories, including a buffet of bongs.
The cornucopia of cannabis came with names like Silver Cloud, Snow Dream, Kryptochronic, Hybrid Ice Water Hash and Cannabis 1G Crumble (which I believe is gluten-free.) We finally found ourselves in the “topicals” department and Kyle (or was it Darrin?) recommended something called “Papa & Barkley Releaf Balm” (Get it, re-LEAF?) which retails for $20 a half-ounce. My arm now smells like freshman year. But it doesn’t hurt.
It could just be a placebo effect, because whenever I part with 20 bucks for anything, I like to believe I’m getting my money’s worth. Still, after a few days of massaging greasy, greenish balm over the targeted area, it seems to be working better than the goo manufactured by a gigantic international pharmaceutical conglomerate whose stock I will be dumping on Monday.
Unfortunately, a half-ounce of anything doesn’t last long, so back I went and a young woman named Starlet sold me a larger and pricier stash, encouraging me to apply it “liberally.”
With my shoulder and elbow on the mend, I looked at my throbbing feet and thought, “Why not?” And if it works on my feet, why not my knees? I’ll stop there because I don’t want to plant a mental image that could keep you up at night.
But it got me thinking: What if I rubbed Papa & Barkley on my television during the Lester Holt show? Or on the president’s Twitter feed, or the front page of this newspaper? If medicinal marijuana can take that pain away, Cheech and Chong should get the Nobel Prize.
Even if my aches return, my first visit to a pot shop was a success because I didn’t have to write about falling statues, coronavirus deaths or racism, which makes this column less painful to read.
Doug McIntyre’s column appears Sunday. He can be reached at: [email protected]