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To Be Blunt: Is it cool to fire one up while hiking?

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
By Chelsea Cebara EVERCANNABIS Correspondent


I read somewhere that contrary to stereotypes, cannabis users are more physically fit than those who abstain. It’s certainly true for me! But what’s the etiquette on group exercise while high? Do I tell people? Could I just light a pre-roll on a hike or are the other hikers going to look at me weird? – Toned Toker

Dear Toned,

First off, good job staying active during these tough times and way to be a living counterpoint to the stereotype!

The research you’re referring to is a meta-analysis of accelerometer data from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Study. Researchers found that activity levels were the same between moderate cannabis users and non-users, and that frequent cannabis users actually exercised more than either group.

A little weed before a workout works out for a lot of people. THC is a vasodilator, temporarily improving blood flow, which can help with oxygen delivery. Pinene, a terpene commonly found in cannabis, widens airways in the lungs. Smoke is never good for you but on the balance, cannabis could help your exertion more than it hurts. (You can avoid the smoke problem by using a portable whole flower vape.)

But on to your etiquette question. You don’t need to announce that you are a little lifted at spin class (as endearing as that would be) and personally, I think we’ve evolved to the point that sparking a jay outside shouldn’t cause anyone distress.

I am required to remind you that any public cannabis consumption is illegal here. But if hikers in Washington in 2021 are offended by a joint … well, they are going to spend a lot of time being offended.

If you’re still feeling embarrassed for people to see you with your consciousness and heart rate elevated simultaneously, check out cannabis yoga classes in your area. I’m sure you’ll meet lots of like-minded folks there – I sure have.


Three people have asked me if I was going to stop smoking in the new year. No. I’m not. I might even smoke more. Leave me the hell alone. – I’m No Quitter

Dear No Quitter,

I wanted to answer this question – more of a mission statement, really – because it’s common and because it’s the inverse of my October column. Last time we heard from someone trying to encourage his sister to try cannabis for her chronic pain. Here we have someone whose loved ones would like her to use cannabis less.

An oft-quoted statistic is that 10 percent of cannabis users meet the criteria for Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD). Unfortunately, that says more about the criteria than it does about the users.

Medical providers often assign CUD to anyone who has a high tolerance or is “dependent” on cannabis – but dependence is not the same as problematic use. Many medical patients, including children with rare forms of epilepsy, are dependent on cannabis for a better life.

The real question here is “is your cannabis use causing more problems than it is solving?” Everyone is different and you have your own values and priorities. You get to decide if the cost/benefit ratio is out of whack. It’s your decision and yours alone.

But … if you’ve got three people asking you the same thing, there might be something there to examine. When someone asks you if you plan to stop smoking, the subtext is that they think you should, because they are worried about you.

A lot of folks approach problematic use with a 12-step-style, an on/off switch mentality. They think you have to stop consumption completely in order to heal, which can feel like an overreaction for a drug as mild as cannabis.

Consider a harm reduction framing instead. Ask your loved ones what they see happening as a result of your cannabis use. It might be stoner stigma nonsense, or it might be something important you haven’t noticed. If you do feel like you want to change your consumption habits, you can take a T-break or just ease up and see if life improves. Nothing has to be permanent.

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