New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd knows the dark side of cannabis edibles. When she tried some earlier this year in Colorado, things went south, and she spent the night in a Denver hotel in a paranoid panic attack.

Willie NelsonShe wrote about the experience in her column, and that unleashed a torrent of criticism. Stoners across the country complained she was just a novice marijuana user who didn’t know enough about edible weed when she decided to eat some.

But one legendary toker read the column and thought he might be able to help. He should know: He’s Willie Nelson, and he’s surely spilled more pot than Dowd has used.

“When Willie Nelson invites you to get high with him on his bus, you go,” she wrote in a column published Sept. 20. “The man is the patron saint of pot, after all, and I’m the poster girl for bad pot trips.”

Dowd’s first piece, which ran in June, explained the emotional nightmare that followed her overindulgence of marijuana-infused chocolate. She said she ate a few bites of a candy bar but felt nothing. So she ate some more – and then some more.

That was a common rookie mistake. Dowd failed to understand that edibles work much more slowly than smoked pot – with which we can assume she’s familiar.

Edibles can take more than an hour to take effect, unlike smoked weed, which hits immediately. First-time users often don’t realize they’ve eaten enough to get high, so they eat more.

Too much edible THC can produce a nasty experience. Panic attacks and paranoia are common results. But they aren’t deadly (at least not directly), and experienced users know how to avoid this pitfall.

So Dowd turned to Nelson for advice. He may be the closest thing the marijuana movement has to a public mascot. He has consumed most kinds of pot for decades, and is famous for his heavy use.

The Redheaded Stranger was quoted this summer in a Rolling Stone article and said he had read Dowd’s column.

Maureen Dowd“Maybe she’ll read the label now!” Nelson told the magazine with a laugh. He said he would be happy to get high with Dowd on his tour bus, the Honeysuckle Rose.

“It seemed like a match made in hash heaven,” Dowd wrote. “I needed a marijuana Miyagi, and who better than Nelson, who has a second-degree black belt in taekwondo and a first-degree black belt in helping NORML push for pot legalization?”

Dowd didn’t say whether she actually smoked up with Nelson, but they spent a while talking about his long history with pot – including the time he (allegedly) smoked a joint on the roof of the Carter White House.

“It happened a long time ago,” he told her with a sly look. “I’m sure it happened.”


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