What Would Smoking Weed on Mars be Like?

We can pretty much guarantee that consuming cannabis on Mars would be a hell of a lot different than smoking up on Earth.

OK, so we know from science experts like Neil deGrasse Tyson that smoking weed in space probably isn't a very good idea. Space exploration is an incredibly complex and difficult process, so you definitely don't want to accidentally mess something up just because you got too high. However, we also know that you can definitely grow cannabis in space, and folks like University of Guelph Professor Mike Dixon—who studies how to produce food in space—believe that sooner or later, somebody is going to bring cannabis to a Mars colony.

But what would smoking marijuana on Mars actually be like? Chances are that smoking the exact same joint on Mars and back here on Earth would result in very different highs, according to Mitch Earleywine - a cannabis researcher from the State University of New York, Albany.

The difference is due, in part, to differences in gravity between the two planets. Mars has around one third the gravity of Earth. Those lower levels of gravity seem to result in lowered-blood pressure, and since cannabis is also known to lower blood pressure, you can expect to get very high with a very small amount of marijuana.

"Without pretty extensive interventions, the average one-hitter will likely make most everybody pass out, which would put a damper on the potential fun of being able to make vertical leaps eight feet high without a lot of effort," Earleywine explained to Vice.

And not only would you be very high, but you would also be very alone on Mars, which will likely harsh your buzz.

"Isolation is rarely a friend to the cannabis intoxication experience," Earleywine explained. "Anyone with a tendency to ruminate will need the best of distractions to avoid getting stuck in a depressive spiral related to feeling alone and unloved."

And that's not to mention that smoking might not even be possible in a reduced gravity setting. Your lungs simply aren't designed to breathe in low-gravity, let alone deal with smoking. This could mean that marijuana edibles are the only feasible way to consume cannabis up there.

Beyond this, there are dozens of other aspects about living in space that could change the way cannabis affects humans in ways we just don't understand yet, said Mark Shelhamer—an expert on the impacts of space on the body.

But, as Dixon suggests, this doesn't mean cannabis has no future on Mars. With a little genetic tinkering, special strains of cannabis could be developed that play nicely with life on Mars. And, as marijuana's medicinal uses become better understood by researchers in the coming years, cannabis might eventually find its way into an astronaut's First Aid kit.

This all means we shouldn't expect Chris Hadfield to be lighting up a joint on his next trip to the International Space Station. But sooner or later, cannabis will come to Mars.

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