There’s something you need to know about me and you need to know it right now.
I once got extremely, extremely high at a party in Manhattan Beach and balled myself up into what I think was a rattan cocoon chair but felt like a large hamper where one might store a tiger. My friends had no intention of leaving and this was pre-Uber, pre-Lyft, and pre-me-being-able-to-afford-a-$100-cab-fare-back-to-Santa-Monica. So I curled up in my tiger hamper and tried to hold my skull together for what was probably an hour-and-a-half but instead felt like three years.
I haven’t gone near anything cannabis-related since. Not a joint, not a bong. Not hemp, not reggae. Don’t even show me a drawing of a pot leaf; I flinch at the visual. Oh, you say that hemp can be used as a fabric and it’s completely different than smoking a joint? Oh is it now? Well maybe I don’t want to take my chances at being trapped in Manhattan Beach again all thanks to a breathable putty-colored jumper. Can I live?
Look, you don’t need to tell me that none of this makes sense. But I am traumatized. And although I’m traumatized I’m also not stupid and realize CBD is everywhere right now. Even CBD chocolates are popping up at my favorite small town coffee shop—a Trojan horse situation if ever there was one. But what do you take me for? A person who wasn’t trapped in a rattan tiger box and has successfully resisted this for decades?
Did I not mention this happened in 1992?
So if you’re looking for someone who knows less about CBD than a bucket of sand and doesn’t even remotely understand what CBD means, does, or stands for, well, congratulations. You’ve found her. Because it doesn’t matter whether it’s just like weed or nothing like weed or only a little bit like wearing a marijuana costume, it’s all the same to me. I haven’t educated myself about it because I’ve had exactly zero intention of using it, ingesting it, or rubbing it on my skin. Even though it’s everywhere, even though it feels like Manhattan Beach is closing in all around me. Smart adult friends with real jobs swear by it. People with very pretty skin and great personalities are extreme fans. Credible authorities and more publications than I can count keep trying to tell me to chill out and CBD up. And then there’s all the legalization.
Was it high time I got into CBD?
It should be obvious by now that I wasn’t going to head into this experiment by ingesting anything, be serious. I opted to dip my toe, or more accurately my entire face and neck, in with Prima Night Magic, an intensive facial oil. Since it would be absorbed through my skin I tried not to think of the story a friend had just told me about a guy he knew who fell asleep at an outdoor show in the rain with 40 hits of acid in his pocket and was never the same again. Anyway, there I was, not thinking about that whatsoever (or a lot) and gently massaging Night Magic into my face and neck. It felt—and smelled—so good. My 13-year-old daughter picked up on the scent immediately and asked me what it was (and by extension, could she have it.)
I live in Vermont and the extreme changes in weather and humidity wreak havoc on my skin as we go from the humid air of summer to the punishing dry air of deep winter. And given I’m 51, I feel those changes a bit more with each passing year. My skin immediately soaked up the oil and felt truly soft to the touch when I went to bed and refreshed, soft, and plumped when I woke up the next morning.
I’ve used facial oils before and as much as I love them initially, every single one of them has made me break out. Not in an overwhelming way but when I apply something and I get one or two pimples immediately, I’m done. This is also an excellent time to thank the universe for not visiting me as a teenager and whispering in my ear, “Hey yeah by the way, you will totally still be breaking out when you’re in your fifties ok byeeeeeeeee.” Night Magic? No breakouts. I’ve used it every night and love the luxurious feel of it, including the beautifully designed and weighted bottle that’s destined to find another purpose once empty.
High (so to speak) on my first foray into the CBD world, I was ready to add another product into the mix. For some reason I decided that Prima's Skin Therapy was a facial moisturizer. I just did that somehow with my brain. I proceeded to slather Skin Therapy all over my face and neck while also thinking, “Wow, this is an extremely thick and rich and luxurious facial moisturizer. I can’t believe this is for my face!”
You might not be surprised to learn that four hours later—four. hours. later,—it hit me that no, dummy, it’s actually not for your face. It’s a body butter. You, person who is worried about breakouts, just saturated your own human face with body butter.
Was I sure I wasn’t high? Because that is something a stoner would do.
I held my breath for the next day, then the next, then the next, waiting for the disaster to come. And it never did. This doesn’t even happen with regular facial moisturizers, so I was stunned. Although I won’t use it on my face on a regular basis, I love that I accidentally discovered something that will help me weather the arctic air that’s already here. -10 is never out of the question during a Vermont winter and, yes, sometimes even -20. Guess I really overcorrected on getting away from Manhattan Beach. Anyway. It’s perfect for dotting on the exposed parts of my face and slathering on my hands before I slide them into gloves as I head out to walk the dog because for some dumb reason dogs still need to be walked in winter.
So far, so good. I have moisturized. I have slathered. I have held my breath. My skin looks and feels great and happy. It is not high. I am not in the tiger basket. Am I free of the tiger basket for life? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Next time: I think it’s time to ingest. I think it’s time for supplements, don’t you? I’ve got high hopes.
Kimberly Harrington is the author of AMATEUR HOUR: MOTHERHOOD IN ESSAYS AND SWEAR WORDS and the forthcoming BUT YOU SEEMED SO HAPPY. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Cut, The New Yorker, and McSweeney's.