April 20, 2016
The seasons are changing, which means more people are dusting off their hiking boots and setting off for adventures in nature. Cannabis is a natural companion for explorers of the great outdoors – there’s something about imbibing between breaths of fresh air that makes us feel more connected to these organic landscapes. Before shoving off on your journey, make sure you’re equipped with the knowledge you need to be both safe and considerate with your cannabis use. We surveyed a large group of hikers with an affinity for cannabis to determine what tips to keep top-of-mind while outside, so let this be your map to positive experiences in nature.
Safety is paramount to having a good experience, and etiquette is paramount to others having a good experience, so be sure to practice both when you hit the trail.
What’s your favorite piece to bring while hiking? We asked our local hikers what they preferred, and here’s what we learned.
The upsides to joints: they stay lit even in windy weather, they’re easy to share with friends, they’re lightweight, and they pack a big punch. The downsides: they can be hard to light in the wind, you have to pack out roaches (bring an extra baggie, otherwise they make your backpack smell bad), they require a lot of bud, and a strong breeze makes them burn faster.
The upsides to vaporizers: no lighter is required, they are discreet with minimal odor, and they allow you to take as few puffs as you’d like at a time. The downsides: oil cartridges provide a fairly different high from flower that some do not prefer, and their batteries can run out and leave you cannabis-less.
The upsides: pipes are lightweight, they’re easy to put out, and they’re easy to share. The downsides: they’re breakable, they can be difficult to light with a breeze, and it’s hard to hit them while walking.
The upsides: water pipes provide extra cooling and filtration of smoke, and bongs can provide heavier effects than a pipe. The downsides: they can be heavy, they take up a lot of space, and they are not always discreet.
The upsides: edibles last longer than inhaled methods, they provide a good body high for relaxing muscles, and they’re small and lightweight. Sublingual tinctures are easier to dose than edibles and tend to offer more mild effects. The downsides: edibles can cause an overly intense high with sedating effects. Dose responsibly!
There are differences in marijuana policy and tolerances depending on which area of wilderness you’re visiting. Federal land like national parks can cite you for using marijuana, and technically you can still be fined for public consumption outside national parks even in legal states. State fines tend to be significantly lower than federal ones, but it’s still something to consider. Fees vary from state to state, so be sure to research your relevant laws if this is a concern.
We all see hikers cracking a well-deserved beer at a mountain peak despite consumption laws, so of course you’d expect to see others lighting up an equally well-deserved joint. So to wrap this point up, be educated about the laws and be respectful of those around you.
If a cigarette can be enjoyed out in nature, why on earth can’t cannabis – especially if it enables those with pain, chronic nausea, and other ailments enjoy a happy and active lifestyle? One hiker I spoke to mentioned that cannabis allowed him to hike without his heavy painkiller prescription, enabling him to stay pain-free and active as opposed to sedated and lethargic. Another hiker noted, “Cannabis helps quiet my mind so I can really enjoy the nature and its serenity.” A third said it allowed her to focus on the persistence in climbing, turning off the “I can’t do this” thinking.
Cannabis, in my experience, is one of the best available conduits between the mind and nature. It allows connection, appreciation, and access to peace during intense physical and mental exertion. We hope that lawmakers will soon see the ways that cannabis can encourage wanderers to protect the ground they walk on, as well as the benefits it extends medical patients who might otherwise be unable to be active and enjoy all the beauty nature has to offer. So speak up, citizens, and let your state representatives know why these laws should be changed.