Goodbye Stoner Stereotypes: How to Use Cannabis for Wellness
By Taylor Engle
Cannabis culture looked vastly different twenty years ago than it does today. From Cheech & Chong to Pineapple Express, pop culture was ripe with plant references that had one consistent theme in common: getting as stoned as possible.
While this is certainly still the goal for a number of consumers, cannabis culture has shifted significantly to reflect a wide variety of consumption methods and desired outcomes that don’t necessarily center on getting high.
As cannabis continues to make its way into the wellness sector and attract a wider net of people, many new consumers are looking to utilize the plant for wellness, health, and overall wellbeing – and there are quite a few ways to do that.
The “Stoner Film” Genre’s Harmful Effect on Cannabis’s Health Benefits
Cannabis experienced several decades of intense prohibition and judgment, and undoing the damage of that overarching stigma hasn’t been easy. Although many people within the community chalk that up to non-consumers with antiquated misperceptions, the truth is that a good portion of the stigma came from inside.
For all the years of prohibition, a few people were brave enough to speak out about their consumption regardless of backlash, but the way in which some spoke (or joked) about cannabis may have done more harm than good.
Beginning with Cheech & Chong and blossoming in the era of Seth Rogen and company, cannabis culture made its way to the silver screen in the late 20th century and early 2000s, and the “stoner film” genre was officially born.
Fueled by hyperbolic comedy that poked fun at plant consumption and implied that its only demographic was anyone looking to be completely zonked out at all times, this genre was guaranteed to make audiences laugh – but not to actually learn about the effects and potential benefits of cannabis.
As a result, greater society remained ignorant about the healing powers of the plant, choosing instead to view it as a breeder of laziness, lethargy, and eating way too many snacks.
Thankfully, pop culture is moving away from this stereotypical representation of the plant, and more people than ever are getting curious about cannabis as a wellness product.
How Cannabis Can Help Improve Wellness
The industry is enjoying a wider variety of customers, and brands continue to innovate and add to their offerings in order to meet more desired effects and outcomes.
Today, it’s easier than ever to navigate the cannabis market as a new consumer. Many brands – especially edible brands – prioritize dosage, ensuring their customers know how to figure out their limit and dose themselves accordingly to avoid negative experiences.
It’s this shift from “stoners only” culture to an inviting and all-encompassing one that allows more people to feel comfortable in the community. And if you’re someone who prefers to use cannabis for wellness rather than as a means to get high no matter the time and place, there are a few things you can keep in mind to ensure you get maximum benefits and minimal side effects:
- Take a look at your set and setting. If you’ve ever dabbled in psychedelics, chances are you’ve heard the term “set and setting” before. This refers to your mindset and immediate environment in which you have your experience – and it isn’t only applicable to psychedelics.
Ensuring you have a comfortable set and setting can make all the difference when consuming cannabis – especially if you’re new to the plant, or trying out a form of consumption you haven’t experienced yet.
This can look like buying your favorite snacks ahead of time, lighting some calming candles and/or incense, practicing yoga or meditating after consuming, or surrounding yourself with a group of people you feel most comfortable with.
The bottom line is, if you consume cannabis in an unfamiliar environment, with an unfamiliar group of people, or at a time when you’re experiencing some form of mental discomfort or have other obligations, you are much more likely to have a negative experience.
Too many consumers have had one bad experience with cannabis and swore the plant off for life, but putting more thought and intention into your set and setting can help avoid this and open your mind up to the variety of ways cannabis can work for you.
- Keep track of your dosage record. Many seasoned cannabis consumers are prone to keep track of the products they try. From strains to cannabinoids to terpene content, it’s important to remember what works for you, what doesn’t, and why.
For newer consumers, it’s equally important to keep track of dosage levels as you experiment with the plant. Too many first-time consumers have unknowingly overdone it with cannabis, resulting in a negative experience they forever associate with the plant.
Keeping track of your dosage levels will help you avoid these types of extremes. It’s always a good idea to start off low and slow – especially if you’re consuming edibles – and build up from there.
- Pay attention to terpene content. Keeping track of your product’s terpene makeup is almost as important as paying attention to dosage levels – especially if you’re utilizing cannabis for a very specific, wellness-focused outcome.
Terpenes are compounds found in many plants, and with cannabis they come in a countless combinations, which is why we have so many strains. Terpenes add to the plant’s “entourage effect," and they are the reason why some strains make you feel sleepy or relaxed and others might make you feel energized and creative.
If you’re strictly using cannabis for medical and/or wellness purposes, it’s essential that you pay attention to the terpenes in your products, how they make you feel, and the sort of effect they have on your condition.
That way, you can easily find a variety of products you know will work for your needs, which is almost always primarily defined by terpene content.
- Figure out your intent behind consumption. Finally, a good rule of thumb before consuming is to ask yourself the following question: Why am I consuming cannabis right now?
Are you looking to temporarily relieve some negative symptoms? Are you trying to improve your body’s overall wellness? Or are you just looking to sleep or get creative?
There is no right or wrong way to use cannabis, but there is a wide variety, and it’s essential you narrow down your desired outcome before consuming to ensure you’re not wasting your time and money.
As long as you check in with yourself and conduct your due diligence around products and dosage, you should be well prepared for a positive experience with the plant and its valuable benefits.
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