Originally published in 2016
Sober or Drunk?
What if we only had two choices when it came to alcohol: sober or drunk? No tipsy, no “two glasses of wine,” no “just one more drink.” Either you’re sober or fall-down drunk. If this was all we knew, would alcohol carry a stigma? Would more people stay away from it or talk less openly about it?
Much has been said of the stigma surrounding cannabis. As we enter 2017, too many still feel obliged to whisper when referring to cannabis consumption. Or worse, don’t consume at all for some irrational fear of social retribution, or of repeating a bad experience from years ago.
I don’t whisper. To the contrary, as an entrepreneur in the industry, I exercise my responsibility to talk about cannabis whenever anyone will listen. Over the last two years, I’ve learned how astonishingly little people know about cannabis—including those who’ve been whispering in their basements for decades.
Creating Positive Experiences With Cannabis
People seem to think there are still only two gears for cannabis: staying sober or getting stoned. And “stoned” is where the industry runs into trouble. Stoned is the negative image brought to mind by those who perpetuate the stigma. I get it—it would likely be the same if we thought fall-down drunk was the only gear for alcohol. But we know this isn’t true for alcohol, and it’s even less true for cannabis.
Of late, we’ve been conditioned to think about cannabis as being either medical or recreational. This may no longer be sufficient. Medical often makes people think about disease and possible cures, while recreational brings the stoner to mind.
Yet there’s so much more. Cannabis—depending on how it’s consumed, when it’s consumed, what kind is consumed and, most importantly, how much is consumed—can deliver a wide variety of positive, enhanced and safe experiences.
What About Cannabis for Well-being?
It’s from the people who’ve been using cannabis recreationally for years that I’ve learned the most about this. I’ve heard from those suddenly discovering that the right tincture has moved them off Ambien and into a healthy sleep pattern. I’ve heard from those surprised to find that a much lower dose than normal actually creates the perfect “background music” to soothe what’s otherwise intense social anxiety.
I’ve also heard from those very pleasantly surprised to discover that a low-dose tincture gave them mental energy unlike they’ve ever experienced to knock out an all-day financial modeling session. And I’ve heard from those who realized that parsing out a fraction of what they might otherwise consume on a Saturday night gave them added focus to crush a workout or a round of golf.
But what should we call these types of cannabis usage? I don’t know—call it well-being, call it therapeutic, or call it your happy place. Just don’t call it stoned. New consumers, returning consumers and even heavy consumers have the opportunity ahead of them to experience something different than they thought possible. And safely. Something that will bring a smile to their face. Now that’s something worth talking about.