Article by Kate Robertson, Growth Op
How do you unwind after a long week? That question used to be easy for me to answer: I retreat from social media, roll a joint and listen to tunes or watch something.
It’s more complicated now. My relationship to my home has changed. Consuming television is impossible — characters stand too close, their motivations and vulnerabilities too disconnected from our current reality. And smoking weed? I don’t know about you, but that’s not as relaxing when a wildly contagious, lethal respiratory illness is making its way through hospitals, nursing homes and our precious communities.
So, when I heard that long-hyped cannabis-infused drinks were finally arriving to retailers, I knew I had to try them.
I bought four Houndstooth & Sodas for just over $20 at the Annex Tokyo Smoke in Toronto (OCS.ca will not be carrying them, FYI), where they’re limiting purchases to five per person — a total of 10 mg of THC, with each containing 2 mg. I poured it over ice with lemon, and it tasted great — like a refreshing, grassy La Croix. But unlike a stiff cocktail I might fix myself after a stressful week or a massive bong hit, for that matter — I didn’t feel anything.
Admittedly, I didn’t expect to. I tend to need more than 10 mg of THC to feel the effects of cannabis edibles — something that I don’t love to talk about, because people judge.
But the pandemic has kicked off some debate about whether or not getting high or drinking booze should be essential. The discourse has been fascinating — but it’s still limited: Even pre-pandemic, candid discussions about getting high were rare. And we’ve never done a great job talking about what healthy alcohol consumption looks like — as a society, we managed to turn cocktail culture into a billion-dollar trend and just barely acknowledging the fact that people drink to feel the effects of alcohol. But dependence on those effects can become problematic.
The debates that have taken place have mostly surrounded whether or not cannabis should be essential while we manage the COVID-19 crisis. From reading Twitter and a few op-eds, the general consensus is that stores selling addictive substances should be kept open for people who might grapple with terrible withdrawal symptoms that require a trip to already overcrowded hospitals.
But what about those of us spending our quarantine trying to figure out how to relax — people like me? The conversation around getting high recreationally in the age of COVID-19 is being hushed by anticipated judgment. And is it any wonder?
The idea that cannabis might be deemed “essential” has been met with eye-rolls, and stories about cannabis sales skyrocketing as people prepare to go into isolation are mostly met with patronizing chuckles. All of this is a way of avoiding the reality of needing to cope and how what is or isn’t essential is really dependent on the individual: What we do to cope is subjective.
At the end of a long, long week of health concerns, financial strain and daily gripes plaguing everyone I know and love, I am not ashamed to say that I wanted to feel the effects of THC. I don’t think that’s a moral failure.
When I’m alone in my home, wondering if or when I’ll ever touch a human ever again, consuming some cannabis is a perfectly reasonable coping mechanism. It shouldn’t take a pandemic for this to be true, either. Life was plenty stressful before this happened.