Hiking while high is a dangerous idea, according to Metro Vancouver’s North Shore Rescue (NSR), who are warning hikers of the potential perils of inebriated hiking after groups have started offering cannabis-infused guided tours through the backcountry of British Columbia.
"The mountains are not the place to lose yourself in a drug-induced stupor, nor are they a place to experiment and learn your tolerance," NSR member Curtis Jones wrote in a blog post on the rescue team's website. "The reality we face is that the wilderness is unforgiving and it can take a long time for rescue crews to reach you, even if you are only a couple kilometers up the trail."
Jones added that cannabis isn't the only problem and people should avoid drinking alcohol or using other substances while in the wilderness too. He says there have been a number of cases over the past few years where intoxicated hikers had to be rescued by the NSR.
But some cannabis advocates are arguing that there's more to this then simply getting high in the woods. Bethany Rae - CEO of Flower and Freedom, a company that provides education on how people can bring cannabis into their fitness routine - says there are legitimate reasons why cannabis can be useful while out on the trails.
"Cannabis can be used therapeutically and medically to relieve a wide range of symptoms, and some of those symptoms might exist if we’re in the outdoors," Rea explained to Global News. "Using cannabis to relieve them does not necessarily mean impairment."
And while she agrees that people should exercise caution and not experiment too much while outdoors, she says a discussion about harm reduction, not abstinence, should be center stage.
"Perhaps if we could create a guide or conversation around it because the 'Just Say No' policy has not worked, and it’s not going to work in legalization."
Cannabis can certainly have a place in a person's active lifestyle, but much like there's a 'too high to drive' limit, there may also be one for hiking.