How to Stay Safe When You Enjoy Cannabis

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Once you get comfortable with your own personal high cycle, it’s perfectly natural to want to try a lot of your favorite activities high, just to see what they’re like. Some things,—eating, drawing, watching movies,—are undeniably better when you’re stoned, but there are others that can be quite a bit more dangerous. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind so you and the people you’re with can have a good time without having to worry about causing any problems. Plan this around the four stages of being high so you don’t find yourself in a bad spot unprepared.

If you are thinking about exploring cannabis for the first time, read our article about what first time users should know. Also, always remember that most people don’t smoke and you should feel no pressure to try if you do not want to. Like literally 80% of Americans don’t smoke, it’s perfectly ok to take a pass.

Avoid “Important” Stuff

What do we mean by “important”? Stuff that directly affects your livelihood, personal safety, or the livelihood and personal safety of other individuals. Things like driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery, going to work or an interview, and looking after a sick relative or babysitting, should all be considered “important,” and you want to be on the top of your game when you do them. 

Marijuana can slow down your reaction time and interfere with your short-term memory. This leads to disorientation, forgetfulness, distractibility, and episodes of mania. A lot of these sensations can be pretty intense, especially if you’re new to using cannabis, since cannabis can interfere with your short-term memory. This is why you should try to avoid getting high before you need to do something important. 

For the same reason, you want to avoid taking on any such obligations if you’re already high. If work calls and asks if you can pick up an extra shift, tell them today doesn’t work. Does your brother or sister want to see if you can look after the kids for a couple of hours? Better say you’re busy. It’s not that we’re saying you can’t do these things while you’re high—it’s not really a question of ability—more that the risks of something going wrong are just too great. If something goes wrong or there’s an accident, sober you will have no problem assessing the situation and coming up with a solution. Sober you is generally in a much better position to evaluate what needs to be done and make the right choices quickly.

Don’t Drive

It’s so important to avoid driving while stoned or operating any other motor vehicle or heavy machinery. Your reaction time just isn’t fast enough to respond to unexpected merges, unpredictable pedestrians, or sudden vehicle malfunctions. If you’re driving fifty miles per hour and you look away from the road for as few as five seconds, you’ll have travelled over four hundred feet without seeing where you’re going. That’s longer than a football field of driving blind!

Now, a lot of you are probably thinking, “I’m a totally safe driver, I’ve never had an accident or anything!” You’re probably right, but safety is not the absence of accidents, it’s the presence of safeguards. You may not cause any accidents just by virtue of being high, but it will likely interfere with your ability to prevent them like you normally would. Nothing can harsh your buzz more than injuring someone or getting injured yourself.

Don’t Buy Stuff

This is less of a physical safety concern, but spending money on stuff you don’t need is definitely one of the risks of being high. As cool as that tie-dye blacklight-responsive velvet Cheshire Cat poster looks at Spencer’s, you can still appreciate it without dropping $25. Write down whatever seems appealing and look at the list again once you come down to see if you still want to buy it.

Be especially wary of fast-food restaurants, because they are specifically targeting you, a high person, with seemingly too-good-to-be-true deals on mountains of food. Most dollar menus are only designed to get you in the door—once you’re inside, you’ll realize that those items are only a dollar for a reason: they’re not very good. You’ll quickly up-sell yourself to a meal deal with extra fries or—god help you—an entire tray of chicken nuggets.

Phone a Friend

This isn’t meant to be a big list of stuff you can’t do, and like we said: safety is the presence of safeguards, not the absence of accidents. What safeguards can you put in place to make sure you don’t have a bad time and can adequately respond to any unforeseen circumstances?

The safest thing you can do is either have a sober friend with you or who you can call if something doesn’t seem right. Most of the time, there’s no reason to call emergency services, but it’s still helpful to have a clear-minded friend or family member to talk you through anything you might need help with. They could contact emergency services for you, in the event that both of you feel it’s necessary. You could even go so far as to write yourself a helpful little reminder with your friend’s name and phone number. Write out the whole number—you never know whose phone you may be using when you need it, and cannabis can affect your memory. Remember?

Keep Your Phone With You

Try to make sure you always have your phone on you, but avoid the feeding trough of social media if you can help it. Having your phone makes the difference between being able to reach out to your support network if you need help and being forced to manage everything by yourself. That can be tough when you’re high! What if something important comes up and you have to engage with it? You need to be able to reach out to people you trust so you can either delegate some of your newfound responsibilities or get some help figuring out how to tackle them.

Don’t have any friends? Don’t worry! You can make new ones by striking up a conversation with other shoppers at your local dispensary, search for “cannabis” on Meetup, or try apps like Puffy to find some like-minded people. The cannabis community is a welcoming place.

Do’s and Don’ts

To recap, here some Pot Mates Do’s and Don’ts to stay safe when you’re enjoying cannabis:

– Drink water
– Stay in touch with a sober friend
– Keep your phone charged and available

– Do anything that could risk your livelihood or personal safety, or the safety of others
– Operate a motor vehicle
– Make significant purchasing decisions

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