This 1884 cannabis-related news nugget is the oldest we've managed to dig up from the mines of Colorado's past so far. Though it was clearly syndicated from another source, the piece, "A TERRIBLE OPIATE," ran pretty prominently in the Leadville Daily Herald in March of that year, running across one and a half columns. In it, a woman describes her "overdose" on marijuana in a wonderfully flowery, ornate and religiously slanted description. Basically: she tripped her face off after smoking some "Indian hemp."
While we're pretty sure most of this is a crock of shit, we are starting to wonder if maybe marijuana was actually way better back in the day. That, or someone slipped this gal something much, much stronger than some THC.
The author says at one point she felt like she died, but somehow knew that she would come back to life. Far out, man. At that point, her soul (or whatever) seemed to drop "like glass through the ocean" through the bed, floor, cellar, earth and then out the other side, dropping into the atmosphere. "I discovered that I was transparent and deprived of all power of volition, as well as bereft of the faculties belonging to humanity," she wrote.
And then -- like we've all done after a joint at some point in our lives -- she began to ponder God. Specifically, she started wondering why God would let her get so whacked out on the weed. She struggled for a prayer that she thought would save her, but she couldn't remember it -- which really harshed her mellow. "I strove in my dumb agony to cry to him. There was, it seemed to me, a forgotten text which, if remembered, would be the spell to stop my fatal failing and secure my salvation."
But behold, true believers: The one cure for this demon weed is clearly piousness. Or, at least, we think that's what she was getting at. After falling deeper into a black, chasm-like maelstrom, she heard a voice repeat the prayer she couldn't remember, and all of a sudden, she was saved. "I triumphed over sin and hell and the unutterable horrors of the second death."
In other words, she started to come down. But not without what seems to be some good Catholic guilt thrown in. A voice started chastising her for "forsaking truth for a false prophecy." As a result, she "dented the power of Christ."
WTF? Clearly, this woman was dealing with some inner spiritual issues at the time.
All of that was overshadowed when The Noise started. It was like a cannon blasting off every few seconds -- louder than anything she'd ever heard before. It shook her, scared her, and seemingly wouldn't let up until -- hours later -- it softened and she realized it was her own heartbeat.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Here's the kicker: All of this happened in her mind, man! According to friends she was with, she didn't move from her spot on the bed for five hours.
If anyone has marijuana this powerful, please share with us.
In reality, this was probably a bunch of bullshit and just another way to push the religious beliefs of the publisher -- especially considering it was originally published in Popular Science magazine. More anti-cannabis propaganda that only got worse -- but more hilarious -- more than a century later.
More from our Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule archive: "Cannabis Time Capsule, 1921: Marijuana use worse than opium addiction" and "Cannabis Time Capsule, 1904: Mexican duo terrorize after smoking a joint."