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5 Questions About Marijuana Smoking Social Norms We All Need To Ask

Just because cannabis is amazing doesn't mean literally everything you can do with it is amazing. The social norms around the plant's social use are still evolving - and sometimes it's easy to forget that behaviours you take for granted are crazy-making for those around you.

Here are some of the questions cannabis consumers should cover to ensure they're not only enjoying their own experience to the max, but also not infringing on anyone else's good time.

1. What, exactly, are we smoking?

If you're lucky enough to have a broad selection from which to choose, you've got some research to do: before you stare your stash, be sure to research the strain, how it behaves, and impart the information you've recovered to any friends who might be sharing. "Best to keep your day and night weed separated to avoid accidentally-smoked-sativa-stayed-up-all-night incidents," explains Onya from Stoner Girl's Guide. "Keep in mind that some people find indica/kush [also] keeps them up all night. Experiment. Know your strains and your body." Get to know the product better by consulting online resources like Leafly's strain guide - and if you can't find out what the strain is, don't mislead others in a bid to seem "cool."

2. Will I be more fun if I get high before this?

Despite what some die-hards seem to think, there are, indeed, some things in life that aren't improved by getting high. Navigating a busy airport, for example, or visiting with your in-laws. Rolling a joint might be habitual, but that doesn't mean it's always beneficial. Skreech, a GrassCity forum user, writes, "I have a friend who is pretty cool sober, but high or drunk and he literally acts crazy. He will talk about made up creatures and make weird animal noises. It really freaks people out but no one knows how to do anything except laugh." So, um, don't do that. Don't be the person who lets their friends or partner struggle to make conversation, wondering when you plan to return to earth, either.

3. Do the neighbours care?

You might be noseblind to the smell, but apartment-dwellers need to be aware that their neighbours probably aren't. "My neighbor [was] smoking pot every night," writes Jennifer Garam of xoJane. "He'd light up at around 9:30 p.m. and it would keep going for hours. Each time that initial whiff of weed wafted up into my apartment, my heart sank all over again. Also, he appeared to never leave his apartment. Every day as I walked home I'd glance up at his window hoping he'd be out and I'd get a little respite, but I'd see the light on and steel myself for another night of choking on his fumes." Light up when you know your neighbours are at work, be sure to ventilate, or take it to a private spot outside.

4. Why am I coughing so much?

Only superheroes can take a giant dab with zero coughing - but if you can't take a hit without a two-minute hacking session, you might want to give your lungs a break. Susan Squibb of The Cannabist advises folks experiencing more coughing spells that usual to "get personal advice from a medical professional who knows your medical history and can assess your current condition and address your concerns. For the cannabis you have been smoking, what do you know about its quality? Do you know the growing standards and conditions? Avoid smoking anything with visible mold or mildew — and consider asking your supplier about any possible pesticides used in its cultivation." Also, keep in mind that most, if not all, of the medical benefits associated with cannabis are realized when you eat or vaporize, instead.

5. Am I boring you with all this weed talk?

There's a lot of news on the cannabis front right now: which states are most likely to legalize, which strains that work best for you, innovations in vaping tech...but while you may never tire of musing about potential legalization models and the strains you've a) tried, b) plan to try, or c) would like to try if you ever make it to Denver, others may be less enthusiastic. Asone IGN forum commenter puts it: "when adults see a burnout incoherently rambling about why weed should be legal, it confirms their view that it should be illegal. Stoners actively hurt their own cause and create negative misconceptions about marijuana use." The bottom line: while you shouldn't be afraid to talk about your passions, it's important to be informed - and aware of the moment of the conversation when the other person's eyes start to glaze over for reasons unrelated to the dope.


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