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The New Stoner: Weed and Wisdom

Cannabis use is on the rise, leading users and advocates to add to and exist within a new facet of culture: stoner culture.

Credit: Shutterstock/Roman Chazov

Baked. Fried. Stoned. Blasted. Bent. All of these are used interchangeably when someone is high. In this case, high on marijuana.

Cannabis use has been gradually increasing, following the trends of legalization. As of now, there are 24 states with legal recreational use for adults and 38 with medical use.

Chart Showing State Weed Legalization Credit//: DISA Global Solutions

The stigma surrounding the drug is decreasing and the frequency of use is increasing, creating a whole new culture. One deemed by the word “stoner.”

Stoner, coming from the slang term for being high, “stoned,” refers to someone who is frequently high, specifically from weed. The stereotypical stoner is usually depicted as a messy and lazy middle-aged man with long hair and a beanie.

James Franco in Pineapple Express Credit: Pintrest/@ukasLay

Who are Stoners?

Stoners aren’t just hippies anymore. Stoners are teachers, doctors, athletes, almost anything. The identity has become so diverse, spreading through all walks of life.

The weed community has fought against the lazy stoner archetype by simply existing in day-to-day life as everyone else, performing mundane tasks, communicating with others, and being self-sufficient.

Smoking weed no longer correlates to the tune of Afroman’s hit 2000’s song. As he sang, “I was gonna go to work, but then I got high,” his fellow stoners have developed a lifestyle doing both.

Culture of Weed

Beyond the medical debates of THC’s effects on the brain, especially a developing brain, there is much less discussion about THC’s effects on social and cultural elements. Like with anything, individual user intent can differ, but generally, weed exists in a culture of abundance. As an avid user describes…

“A tenet of stoner culture is community and sharing, weed has always been something I’ve shared with people, and how I’ve connected with people.”

CC Zucker

The drug has gone through decriminalization, legalization, and destigmatization, which means before it was all well and legal, weed had already created a radically inclusive audience. There was no one-size-fits-all description for the average marijuana advocate—people of different ages, ethnicities, genders, and class groups came together over the cause.

“Being a part of stoner culture has definitely diversified the people and friends I’ve made.”

CC Zucker

This is not to say that something like weed can or has stopped societal issues, but it offers a way for societal groups to mix. With that as historical context, stoner culture progression is in alignment, welcoming anyone and everyone.

Controlled Substance Comparisons

Following alcohol and nicotine, cannabis is the third most commonly used controlled substance. It has faced far more pushback than alcohol when they respectively share similar potential risks. Where the two substances differ is in their culture.

Alcohol is very normative in mainstream culture in general, as seen at parties, dinners, funerals, vacations…nearly everywhere. Drinking is a socially acceptable activity, but drinking also accounts for three million deaths every year. There have not been any deaths caused by cannabis alone.

Why is it that drinking is more accepted when naturally alcohol creates a more dangerous state of mind? Well, the exact state of mind someone’s in while under the influence of anything is dictated by personal, situational, and biological factors, there is a general scientific consensus that can’t be dismissed.

Cannabis buds on table Credit://AdobeStock

A study done by The National Library of Medicine found that respectively alcohol facilitates feelings of aggression, whereas cannabis lessons them. Think of components of drinking culture: heavy partying, bar fights, and the morning after regret. Most components differ from the “lazy stoner” idea, but is being lazy worse than being reckless?

Learning from Stoners

There is a great deal of animosity in the world and a great deal of reason for it. But one thing stoner culture has figured out that society hasn’t is how to look past that for segments of time. Beyond identities, stoners have learned to focus on the “person,” which can be attributed to how diverse the label has become.

As previously mentioned, the culture of weed exists in abundance. Breaking down that ambiguity means there is enough to go around, both the weed itself and the connection. It is not an exclusive activity, which so many things in the world have become.

You don’t have to smoke to embody this culture. If that is the last thing you want to do, so be it. The underlying love, the loose “hippy” morality, is what people, smokers or not, should be taking from stoner culture.

The new stoner stereotype should be someone welcoming and open to both people and their ideas, someone who shares what they have, both creatively and physically.

Friends smoking a joint credit: ShutterStock/inside creative house

From Illegal to Loved

It is hard to predict where stoner culture will go from here. Cannabis’ medicinal, physical, and psychological benefits are still being explored by science as the public endures its exploration of the drug as well.

We see weed becoming more normalized everywhere—in movies, in public, and in music, by celebrities, parents, and athletes. The culture has certainly developed and will continue to do so, but the origins of both community and abundance seem to remain a constant. From old to new age stoners, weed is something to bring people together.

Things move very fast—hustle culture is alive and thriving, political climates are tense; overall there are lots of worldly pressures to be on the go, to advance simply. Stoner culture counters that, not because stoners are lazy and unproductive, but because they reject some of that pace.

Taking time to relax, to share and laugh and talk might be exactly what people are afraid of. Good thing there is a growing community to support doing just that. From the words of a stoner herself…

“smoking makes everyone slow down.”

Katie Whorton

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Written By

Hi! I'm Addie, a journalism student at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. I'm new to Trill, but have been writing for as long as I can remember. Originally I'm from Denver, Colorado, where I love to spend time with my snowboard, my guitar, and my dogs.

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