When smoking was still allowed in restaurants, I got sinus infections if the ventilation was bad. At high school swim-team parties, I watched movies while everyone else paired off in the hot tub. As a performance studies major in college, I was way more interested in memorizing my lines than getting wasted.

All this to say that I skipped the unfettered experimentation of most people’s youthful years and never consumed pot in any form. With legalization on the horizon, though, and the promise that cannabis could help with some of my very grown-up problems — chronic pelvic pain and a mind pirouetting with anxiety — I was interested in how THC might soothe my aches and help me chill out.

I opted for gummies because I didn’t want to aggravate my sinuses. How I got them isn’t important. All you need to know is they came from a dispensary, there was a handoff in a public place, and I was told that this particular strain provides a reliably mellow high for firsttimers. When I got back to my car, I realized I had forgotten to pay the meter — already I was more reckless. I went to Spilt Milk in Oak Park and picked up two slices of chocolate chess pie and a bunch of snacks. That night, my husband and I put our son to bed, and I cued up a double feature of The Greatest Showman (for some wild visuals) and Mean Girls (because I love it). Then I went to town — very slowly: two and a half milligrams of chewy, cherry-cough-medicine-flavored cannabis at a time over the course of a couple of hours.

The feeling ended up being not that unfamiliar, like the twilight moment before succumbing to anesthesia. But instead of fading to black, I hung out in this warm, tranquil cocoon that enveloped me so gently I didn’t initially realize I was high. But then it dawned on me: I wasn’t not high either. I consumed seven and a half milligrams total — a beginner’s dose, for sure, but enough that Funyuns tasted amazing. The thread of anxiety that normally tightens across my heart and brain almost every moment stayed unwound well into the next day, until my husband cinched it back up by mentioning holiday travel plans.

Maybe my next out-of-town sojourn won’t be so bad, though. I have a new medicine in my cabinet.