It’s time to put the stoner stigma to bed for good. The classic stoner stereotype has been kicking around for generations – from the beatniks and the hippies to the early 90s jam bands, the image of the lazy pothead, clouded in smoke and too dazed to leave the couch has faded from relevance, if not the popular imagination.
Gone are the days of undercover “weed” smoking and ditching class. Today’s cannabis consumer runs the gamut from the ambitious entrepreneur to elite athlete and retired grandparent. It takes all kinds, as they say – and with legalization sweeping the nation, if not yet the world, perceptions are changing, and changing fast.
Unfortunately, some still feel the need to keep their cannabis use low-profile to avoid the judging gaze of the uninitiated.
Today we look at the stifling stigma around cannabis use, even amid ballooning evidence and enthusiasm for its multitude of medical uses and lifestyle benefits.
We propose that the enduring stereotypes are not only inaccurate, but also downright unhelpful—as scores of people who could otherwise benefit abstain because of fear of public perception.
The 21st-century truth is that cannabis is being put to good use by people of all stripes and walks of life.
The mounting evidence can’t be denied. Cannabis products are being successfully deployed to treat chronic conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and even offering a valid pain management alternative for opioid users. And that’s just on the medical side. Non-prescription cannabis users report benefits like improved mood, concentration, and relief from anxiety.
Take Joe, for example, who battled with chronic pain in his knee for decades – the legacy of an old sports injury. His pain interfered with his quality of life and the most basic of tasks. His mobility was impaired and he found that he often needed to sit down after walking for even short periods. Joe grew frustrated with the limits of pharmaceutical painkillers and was concerned about their addictiveness. Eventually, he reached the end of his rope and reached out to his doctor for a medical marijuana card. He was surprised and delighted to discover how many members of his medical team were enthusiastic about it – including his neurologist, his cardiologist, and even his eye doctor!
Today, Joe’s wife reports he happily dances around the house, walks without a cane, and the best of all “is a new man.” All in just six months.
Joe’s case presents a powerful argument on why the stigma surrounding cannabis use should be put to bed, truly and forever.
Thankfully, advances in products and technology have made consumption more accessible than ever. Gone are the days of intimidating paraphernalia and insider-only know-how that scared off the curious. With products like vape pens, users can partake discreetly, on the go, and with no smoke or telltale scent. Many of these products, including Item Nine Labs’ award-winning Apollo and Orion, offer dosing control so people get the precision they need to control their experience.
Even better, with a myriad of pod and cartridge options, today’s cannabis consumer has the option to dial up the experience they want at a moment’s notice. Gone is the guesswork of yesterday – the modern cannabis aficionado can create a custom experience best suited to their needs and wants.
Pre-rolls are another option that have entered the market since the old days – a welcome blessing for the over-60 crowd who can’t quite remember how to roll a joint, and interestingly enough, are the country’s fastest-growing group of cannabis users.
Advances in growing technologies have also engineered super strains that deliver futuristic experiences, like ordering a vibe off a menu.
If there was any time to update our collective perception of what the cannabis consumer looks like, today is it. The latest research suggests that some 91% of Americans are in favor of legalization in some form and everyone from politicians to pro-footballers and beauty influencers are on the bandwagon.
Cannabis culture might be the new big tent of American indulgence and give the alcohol industry a run for its money – all without the ugly side effects. Sounds like a good bet to us!
Christina Rock is a Cape Town-based writer and creator. Follow her around the internet.