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Saturday May 9, 2020

By Paul Barach

420 Culture

The coronavirus pandemic is still spreading throughout the United States and the world. As has been requested by your local government you’re isolating yourself inside your house, apartment, or other place of residence while smoking weed. You’re doing your moral duty as both a citizen and a cannabis consumer. Our nation appreciates your service.

Of course, after a while sheltering-in-place and getting stoned by yourself isn’t as easy or fun as it first sounded. To put it mildly, COVID-19 is a huge bummer right now. Everything is different and a lot harder, even if you don’t yet know someone who’s gotten the virus. You can’t go to your favorite bars or restaurants (but you should still order takeout from them and support them however you can). You can’t head out to the movies, museums, or shows that you used to. Everything fun is either closed or cancelled. You can’t even gather with your friends for your normal smoke sesh.

Look, we’ll all get through this, but for right now, it’s important to follow the stay at home orders no matter how much it sucks. Still, there’s things you can do to make isolation less, well, isolating.

If you find yourself missing your friends and your regular smoke sesh, PotGuide has got you covered. Here are some tips for having a virtual smoke sesh with your friends.

Download a Meeting or Group App

Thanks to the rise of telecommuting, there are plenty of meeting and group apps to choose from. These include Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facetime, Discord, Houseparty and Whatsapp. All of them should work for the purposes of putting everyone’s faces on everyone else’s screens so you can talk and toke. Because of this, it’s best to just pick the one that’s either free to use or already downloaded by most people in the group.

Set a Time for Your Virtual Smoke Session

Unless you’re an essential worker or lucky enough to have a job you can do from home, the numbers displayed on your clock can become arbitrary. After a while, you’re going to start operating on PST (Pretty Stoned all-the-Time). Back in the before times, AKA the long, long ago, AKA February 2020, you could just announce a general time to hang out with your friends in one central location. Then you’d arrive whenever and wait for everyone to straggle into your sesh. Now that coronavirus means hanging out together in separate living spaces, you’ll want to make the most of your time together.

Make sure you set a time that works for all your friends! photo credit

Set up a time earlier in the day on your group chat and make sure everyone sticks to it. Or, make it a recurring time every day or week that everyone knows about. Make it 4:20 in the afternoon for old times’ sake, or 8:30 at night so your friends with work, kids, or chores can make it.   

Clean Your Camera

Since we’re all talking from our separate shelters during this time, we all want to see our friends and family as clearly as we can. One of the most annoying things in a group chat is trying to talk to someone with a blurry, smeared camera. It’s fine if your room gets a little hazy during the smoke session, but it’s distracting to talk to someone who looks like they're in a Lifetime movie flashback. Everyone wants to see your face as clearly as if you were all in the same room. Get some lens wipes, a microfiber cloth, or even some clean cotton fabric and give that camera lens a wipe down.

Switch Up Your Strains

If you live in a place where cannabis dispensaries are considered an essential business (aka everywhere but Massachusetts), see if your friends can all buy a new strain to try together on the call to share the experience. You could pick someone new each week to choose the strain. Or, make it a scavenger hunt. See if everyone can find a strain with “cookie” in the name or a strain with an animal in it. Do a taste test with edibles. There are no bad ideas if the result is that you’re all stoned and having fun.

Keep it Light

We’re all dealing with bad news daily and while some progress is being made, it’s going to be a long time before we’re back to normal. If you can, try not to bring that energy into your smoke session. Instead, spend the time hanging out with your friends talking about anything else. Chat about the new movie you watched or what series you’re into. See if you can all join in on a communal online game like or work on the same online project. Or, download Netflix Party and watch the same movie while in a big group text. Or, just BS with each other like normal and laugh. You all know what to do, even if you’re now in front of screens while you’re doing it.

Video Chat
Try and stay positive and cheer your friends up during these tough times. photo credit

However, if you feel the need to vent about how hard this all is right now, don’t feel like you have to deal with it alone. This entire situation is crazy and dark. It can be a challenge to stay positive all the time and you may need a support system like your friends more than ever. If you need to share, see if you can host a one-off session with a supportive friend or two. This has been a real strain on everyone’s mental health and by sharing your concerns or your struggles, you can give your friends permission to share as well. 

Keep it in Perspective

Remember, this will all be over someday and there will be a time when can all get back to hanging out face to face with our friends and loved ones. If you’re lucky, you’ll come away from this with a story to bore your grandchildren with. But in the meantime, we all have to do our part, stay inside and get ourselves feeling as close to normal however we can. Making sure to carve out time with friends for a virtual smoke session is a great step in that direction.

What methods have you been using to communicate with friends? Has anyone tried a virtual smoke session yet? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Claudiu Hegedus (license)


Paul Barach Paul Barach

Paul Barach is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and author with experience creating well-researched, edited web articles covering cannabis news, culture, history and science. Paul is a regular contributor to PotGuide and has also contributed to publications such as, SlabMechanix, Litro, and The Trek. He prefers to spend his free time outdoors and most recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. So far he has only fallen into the La Brea Tarpits once. You can follow him on Instagram @BarachOutdoors and stay up to date professionally through his LinkedIn page.

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