The Scale of Stonedness

Here’s the scale for reference. Essay to follow.

0. Not Stoned. You are not under the influence of cannabis in any way.

1. Slightly Stoned. You’re starting to feel it a little bit. This level also covers those weird hangover feelings.

2. Stoned. You have arrived. You are beyond buzzed and have entered the room of stonedness.

3. Well Stoned. You are more stoned, and it feels great.

4. Very Stoned. You are starting to get/are getting significantly impaired. Still feels great, though.

5. Too Stoned. You wish you had maybe done a little less.

When something happens to you, it is sometimes helpful to quantify that experience. How many times have you encountered the phrase, “On a scale from one to ten”? Particularly in the medical field, they’re always asking you to rate your pain from one to ten. And they do this because it forces you to take something that’s in your head and describe it in terms that others can understand and work with. Assigning a number value to your experience helps them help you.

And here’s the thing. The medical scale is useful because it is subjective. When somebody gives a 7 for their pain, the doctor doesn’t know how much pain they’re in. Instead, the doctor knows that the pain feels like a 7 to this patient, and they can work from there. It’s not a rating of pain, it’s a rating of how the patient perceives their pain. I think this is interesting, but I’m afraid maybe I’m getting sidetracked by semantics. Let’s go to the next paragraph.

It’s not at all surprising that stoners have attempted to apply the 1-10 scale to recreational cannabis consumption. But most of the scales I’ve seen fall short of being useful. Typically, they list specific symptoms (head buzz, red eyes, etc.) or degrees of severity of said symptoms, and assign a number. Then, presumably, someone who has memorized the chart, can analyze their symptoms and pick an appropriate number. Right. What actually happens is, they pick a number based on how they feel. So even though it’s predicated on objectivity, its use is primarily subjective.

I say, skip right to the subjective. The Scale of Stonedness does not care how red your eyes are. It’s just a list of overall impressions of how you’re doing. Use the Scale of Stonedness, and anyone who knows the scale will be able to gauge what condition your condition is in. Or at least, they’ll know how you think you’re feeling.

“But you can do that by just talking,” I hear you say. And that’s very true. However, this scale was invented in 2011 for use in my diary, where it is very convenient to have a single-digit shorthand for how I’m doing. I find it incredibly useful.

Some notes on the specific levels.

3. Well Stoned. What exactly does “well stoned” mean? Well, here’s a subjective metaphor. At 2, as was mentioned, you have entered into the room of stonedness. At 3, you have kicked your shoes off and are lounging in an enormous purple bean bag and sipping a complimentary beverage in the room of stonedness. It’s more/better high, that’s all.

5. Too Stoned. You are at level 5 when you wish you had done less weed for some reason. It could be because you are all fucked up/physically sick or some shit; or it could be circumstantial, like a situation where you didn’t realize you were gonna hafta give a speech to a hundred people, say. If you had known that was gonna happen, you wouldn’t’ve done the weed, right? Of course right. Welcome to level 5.

Finally, a discussion of descriptors.

Sometimes, you have a 2 that is more strong than the average 2, but you don’t consider it a 3. Likewise, you may have a 3 that is less strong or slightly diminished, but you don’t consider it a 2. This would be a high 2, and a low 3, respectively. “high” and “low” are the terms I use, but any terms can be substituted.

These are descriptors that qualify your level. 0-5 is a good start, but if you say you’re at a high or low 3, people know more about your situation than if you had just said you’re at a 3. Descriptors are completely optional. I use them all the time and find them quite useful.