It’s the end of a long day and it’s time to decompress. I wasn’t in the mood for a Bacardi and Coke with my keno at the local gaming tavern, so I decided to enjoy a drink at home. A drink I can only drink at home today. Emulating my favorite Las Vegas mixologists, I plow ice through the ingredients of my cannabis-infused piña colada-inspired cocktail in my tin Boston shaker. Ten more seconds than necessary of the over-the-shoulder technique, and I squeeze the larger tin by the seam while I push the cheater tin away with my thumb, breaking the seal. Straining the aerated elixir into my cocktail glass, the temperature of the shaker reminds me how important it is that we all just need to chill. And then it hit me. Actually, apropos of the music I had playing on Spotify, Billy Joel’s Piano Man hit me.
“Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness,
But it's better than drinkin' alone.”
The negative stigma behind solitary drinking has been around way before ol’ Billy couldn’t decide between a bottle of red or a bottle of white. In 1805, Dr. Benjamin Rush, the Father of American psychology, wrote an essay titled “The Effects of Ardent Spirits Upon Man,” mixing both scientific and moral claims of health hazards and self-destruction by way of alcohol. Couple chapters later in your history books, there was this thing called Prohibition. Cut to July 2022 and a study by Dr. Kasey Creswell published in the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence followed 4,500 high school seniors for 17 years well into adulthood. Results showed alcohol abuse was 60% higher for young adults who drank alone compared to those who imbibed in the company of others. So, now that we’re down this rabbit hole, let’s talk about drinking this cannabis cocktail alone in the comfort of my own home with not a soul in sight.
We all do it! But for decades we've enjoyed sharing our cannabis consumption with our friends when the opportunity arises. We even had a pre-internet tutorial for the process of acceptable joint allocation back in 1982 when Musical Youth broke the color ceiling on MTV. Yet today, since emerging from a pandemic, people are less likely to actually share a joint (blunt, vape pen, etc.), one of the most social and communal cannabis activities for hundreds of years. While health precautions are always in the best interest for all *cough*vaccines*cough*, the lack of a social setting for cannabis has solidified this stereotype of the lonely stoner. In a recent study published on October 4th, 2022 by New Frontier Data, 50% of the consumer sample chose to consume cannabis when they're alone with nearly 68% consuming inside at home. And it's no wonder, considering the laws of the land. But, how much does this accepted social norm change with the inevitability of cannabis social-use and consumption lounges?
For the record, I'm in no way arguing cannabis consumption in solitude is detrimental to your health in the same scope as alcohol. Enjoying a beer or a glass of wine responsibly is something every adult has the right to enjoy. Same goes for listening to one of your favorite records at home after a clean bong rip or a piña colada-inspired cannabis cocktail. But there are options for social drinking whereas, until recently, a social setting for adults to enjoy cannabis just didn't exist. And with those options now available, do we look back five years from now and think if you're not enjoying cannabis in a public environment, you might be doing it... wrong? Good chance that becomes the case as we shift the social norm of cannabis consumption. Until then, it's time to start eradicating terrible stereotypes. Friends is a great TV show. Gamers live in their parent's basement only drinking Mountain Dew. The Dallas Cowboys are America's team. New Yorkers can't say a sentence without an expletive (OK, that one is fuckn' true. Refer back to why Friends really wasn't a very good show). And most important, the lonely stoner would rather free his mind, smoking outside in the cold all alone, day and night (day and night).