Weed Doesn’t Smoke the Same Without Others

Smoking solo isn’t ideal because cannabis is a connector.

I don’t smoke weed all day, every day, but there was a time that I did. When I got my first job on the cannabis beat more than a decade ago, I elevated my endocannabinoid system all the time simply because I could smoke, dab, and eat weed all the time. It was a novelty to be high with my co-workers, my boss, people I was interviewing for an article. But when the pandemic took our hands off the wheel of life just about as recklessly as a self-driving car on the streets of San Francisco, it limited access to the physical presence of other people. And, as it turns out, not only do we need in-person connections to thrive, when it comes right down to it, weed just doesn’t smoke the same without others. 

Puff, Puff, Pass

I’m not saying you can’t get higher smoking cannabis alone. I’m arguing that smoking with someone else will always be better. That’s true because cannabis is a connector, and the most transparent public display of that happens each year on 4/20. 

The legend of the adventures of a group of teenage boys meeting up at 4:20 p.m. to search for a cannabis grow is embedded into the lore of cannabis culture forever. Fueled by “lids of fresh green smoke” and driving a ’66 Chevy Impala along the rocky, forested, and wild seashore of the California coastline in Marin County, the adventure tales of the “Waldos” reached the world through articles written by High Times impresario Steve Hager. 

That’s why writing about 4/20 for High Times is such a sacred act—this magazine is a critical player in establishing the history of 4/20. What started as a “safari” searching for a patch of weed with a treasure map by a group of high school friends has become the world’s largest smoke sesh.

Pot the Planet!

Smoking weed at home alone isn’t nearly as fun as smoking it with others. Without the ability to share cannabis safely and freely, I started smoking less. 

I’m still adjusting to working outside of an office and many days are lonelier that I like to admit, but with more and more weed events happening, I’m ramping up my social cannabis routine again. The upcoming holiday this month, 4/20, is something the cannabis community celebrates all together. It unites us, and—especially as we roll out of the acute danger of COVID-19—it is vitally essential to our mental health and well-being that we gather to show unity. I want to see other people and smoke their weed. I want to make new friends through weed. Together, we can all get higher!

This year, if you are smoking cannabis in public squares and parks with us on 4/20, I want to let you know you are helping to light a fire by lighting your fire. And this blaze we are building through blazing together is fueling increased access to cannabis all over the planet. 

The Freedom of the Flower

On the flip side of its social energy, solo cannabis smoke sessions can ignite introspective experiences. This can be a good thing, but I’m guessing most of us could use more of the opposite in these post-pandemic times.

The flower is freeing! As the risks around sharing a smoke diminish, I’m taking off my mask and finally feeling more comfortable in social situations. Through visits to social cannabis clubs in cities like Barcelona and San Francisco, I’m remembering how fun it is to enjoy cannabis with other people around. Still, when I talk about these places with non-smokers, they often assume they are dangerous. The negative stigmas around these social smoke spaces continue, so sharing these places with others is essential. This year, my mom wanted me to take her to a weed lounge for her 73rd birthday and, when I did, she was able to see how normal and natural it is to smoke cannabis in a club. We bought a pack of pre-rolls and sat by the window on a sunny San Francisco afternoon. Afterward, she told me how much safer she felt not trying to hide away in some dark alley smoking on the street. Opening up new people to the weed lounge experience helps the cannabis freedom cause. The dream is that one day, smoking a joint at a club might be as typical of an experience as ordering a beer at a bar. It certainly would be a lot healthier.   

The Cultivators

The best part of cannabis is the people it brings into your life. The history of this plant is a history of the community around it; it’s a history of the community cultivators. 

Building relationships through the guidance of this plant has greatly contributed to an increase in positive moments in my life. Cannabis brings us together, but the greatest reward is the experience of spending time with others.

Here’s wishing you and yours a happy high holiday. I hope however and wherever you spend your 4/20, you get to do it together with your friends and family. 

1 comment
  1. Um, I’m not really on the same page with the author here. The cannabis clubs in Barcelona are overrated and overpriced. I wouldn’t want to associate with the washouts who patronize the few I went to.b I wound up buying at the Arc de Triomf promenade, where all the homeless Arab kids hang out. The quality was just as good and half the price. True, most of them were thugs and I had to karate kick one of them who tried to steal it back from me after I paid him. So you exchange danger for convenience by buying your cannabis on the street, as usual. The Barcelona clubs are staffed by snooty, arrogant personnel. I blame the system there since you have to show your I.D. just to get in the door to buy a joint, but no bar will even card you for a beer. How fair is that? I had a really good set up there. You could buy a meth pipe at any smoke shop, break the round head off of it and use it to vape hashish with a good jet lighter. It was heavenly. Worked perfectly and was very economical. Before I left Spain I gave it away to an old bum after I explained the principles of vaping. He was so ecstatic he stood up and gave me a hug. His lungs were almost shot and vaping would offer him a few more years of life, if you could call it that.
    Ellen, you sound a bit too close to advocating mandatory socialization during altered states. I’m sorry but who writes a Pollyanna article like this about weed? Very uncool. Forcade is puffing on a joint in hell, wondering what went wrong with his brainchild. . .

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