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The Stoner’s Guide to Getting High By Yourself

Drinking alone is called alcoholism; smoking alone is called self-care

If smoking weed alone is a problem, I have a big problem.

But why don’t I ever think of it in this way — that is, as a problem? Whereas, whenever I think of anyone drinking alone, it’s suspicious to me. This seems to be a cultural assumption, too: Solitary drinking is the hallmark of alcoholism while smoking alone is the hallmark of expanding one’s mind and consciousness.

Unless you’re this Brit (but of course), who wrote a passionate defense of drinking alone for Short List a couple of years ago: “Just as every pint of thick, black, gloopy liquid isn’t a Guinness, not ever solo drinker is depressed, lonely or an alcoholic. Some people just need time to themselves now and again, and when churches just don’t hold the answers, the majesty of pubs do, whether that be through your favourite tunes, a decent read or just a mind cleansing pint of something fizzy.”

I’m happy to report, though, that I’m not a hypocrite. Like with most faceoffs between weed and the bottle, weed always wins, as it is legitimately a healthier/smarter choice (no matter if you’re with a group or all by your lonesome). “Using cannabis in lieu of alcohol is better in general, alone or otherwise,” says Joe Schrank, who runs a cannabis-inclusive rehab called High Sobriety. “Cannabis has many medicinal uses. Alcohol kills 88,000 Americans a year, cannabis zero. While not without risk, and using alone could be cause for concern, cannabis is way, way better.”

With that in mind, I took it upon myself to compile this Guide to Getting High Alone (abridged version). (After all, GQ’s got you covered when it comes to guides on drinking alone; its main pieces of advice: “Try a hotel bar”; “chat with your bartender”; “make your bartender your wingman/woman”; “go back,” all of which it should be pointed out are more about making friends than they are finding boozy solace without the company of others.) So whether you’re weary of the idea of solitary smoking or a novice at getting stoned all by your lonesome, here are my suggestions for turning that alone time into a very special treat.

‘Set yourself up for success’

This is the advice my first female stoner friend (besides my mom) taught me. It means gathering all your supplies and setting the right mood in your space before you smoke. Rolling your blunt or packing your bong is the most important part of this process, of course, but whereas some of us prefer to prepare the weed at the start of these steps (awaiting it like a treat), others would rather deal with the weed once in their modified environment (enjoying the ambiance before smoking).

Take care of any bullshit

Unlike alcohol, weed doesn’t make you forget your problems or your identity. If anything, it makes you hyper-aware of what you’ve got going on in your life. So pay your insurance bill. Water your new plant. Send your final Slack of the day. Return the call you missed. Don’t save any mundane tasks for after you get high because they can be a total buzzkill! Not to mention, they seem way harder once you’re in your stoner bubble, fraught with THC-induced vulnerability.

Cue the media

Pick something to watch or listen to on your preferred streaming platform before you get so high you spend the evening watching trailers on Netflix instead of an actual show or movie. Same goes for music. If you’re not used to being high alone, your scheduled entertainment will provide a sense of purpose, albeit a fun, self-selected, stoned one.

Assemble snacks

For me, this is usually as simple as washing raspberries and removing the plastic wrapper from the tub of shortbread cookies. For more ambitious cooks, this might mean preheating an oven or putting on water to boil. The goal here is to take an actionable step toward achieving the snack or meal you’re dreaming of, so placing your Postmates order pre-toke is also highly advisable.

Curtail cottonmouth with solid bevs

Break out the chilled sparkling water, or the iced coffee if you prefer a hippie speedball. Whatever you drink, remember where we started with this whole thing: Set yourself up for success. And so, brew the tea, chill the soda, unscrew the bottle of Topo Chico, etc. beforehand.

Do as much nice wellness shit as possible

Do you have a humidifier? Pop her on. An essential oil diffuser? Fire her up. One of those apps that controls the lighting scheme in each room of your house? Activate immediately. (Consider lavender, orange, pink or green, which are the colors acting teachers often suggest actors meditate on when preparing to play a stoner. Plus, they’re just nice colors). Water your plants. Burn your sage or palo santo. Run your bath. Rub yourself down with CBD balm or any other tension-relieving lotions. You may even want to meditate, if you’re into that kind of thing, by taking deep breaths that reach your root chakra, which is at the base of the spine and goes into your lower pelvis. Extend your exhales, imagining you’re expelling any stress or baggage from your day, and enjoy big, generous breaths of fresh air before filling your lungs with any THC.

Masturbate

I mean, if we’re talking things we do to make ourselves feel better, masturbation is pretty huge. As part of this particular stoner ceremony, treat your self-pleasure a little more intentionally than your average wank. A bonding chemical, oxytocin, is released when you cum, and bonding with ourselves can have a powerful effect on our mood, confidence and even spirituality.