I think it goes without saying that things have been, to put it mildly, a little bit strange for everyone lately. The recent changes have us all adapting in one way or another, but it can be difficult to embrace such a sudden shift in our realities without some difficulties. At the time I’m writing this article, Arizona has yet to decide whether the stay-at-home order will be extended at the end of the month, but I thought it might be advantageous to take a look at some of the ways cannabis can be used as a stay-at-home enhancement tool. Regardless of the situation – if the order is extended, you decide to stay home on your own, or if life goes back to normal – I believe there are ways to incorporate cannabis that, at the very least, might make the day a little more fun.
A majority of the states that have legalized medical cannabis have deemed medical dispensaries an essential business right now, but things are a little less cut and dry in Arizona. Medical cannabis dispensaries are not explicitly included in Arizona’s stay-at-home order or the associated essential businesses list, but the industry has maintained that medical cannabis facilities are included in the medical sector and many facilities remain open. Before venturing out, and especially if stay-at-home orders are in place, check with your local medical dispensary about their current operating procedures.
Let’s start out with, arguably, my least fun idea. Cleaning up that stash of “paraphernalia”. My best recommendation for this is to pick a high-energy sativa that you like and get down to business. If you’re at all like me, you have a collection of different smoking pieces that vary in frequency of use depending on your mood. In my case, I have a pretty standard glass, spoon pipe that gets daily use, and a handful of bongs, bubblers and chillums that get significantly less use, but still manage to get dirty. Also if you’re like me, it takes a good amount of motivation for you to gather them all up and get them cleaned. If you’ve got some extra time, which let’s face it, a lot of us do right now, why not spend a little of it getting it done.
It feels like everyone has their own tried and true methods when it comes to the best way to clean their glass pieces and I’m one of them. I’ve been taking care of my glass the same way for years; it’s reliable, cheap and easy. My go to has always been rubbing alcohol, coarse salt and hot water. Granted, it is much more difficult to get your hands on a bottle of high volume rubbing alcohol at the moment, in the past, this was usually something I had on hand, but I’ve gotten really good results with just time and hot water as well, so don’t give up if you don’t have any alcohol. I use an unbent paper clip or bobby pin to scrape out any large chunks of resin in my pipe and give all of the water pipes a good hot water rinse. There’s no real measuring involved when I add the salt and alcohol to the water pipes, but it’s usually a rough two-to-one ratio of alcohol to salt – enough that I can cover the open ends with my hands and shake the slurry around inside the piece. I have no idea of the science behind it (if there even is any real science behind it), but my thought process is that the salt is abrasive enough to “scrub” the inside of the piece without scratching the glass while the alcohol breaks down all of the residue. Give it a few good rinses with some hot water and let it air dry.
Another thing to clean that I feel might often get overlooked is your grinder. Now, as most grinders are metal, and I’m no metal expert, I wouldn’t rush off to be getting any old grinder wet. Maybe take a peek at the internet to find the best way to clean your specific grinder. With that said, there is one trick that is useful for almost every grinder and requires things I’d almost guarantee you have laying around. All you need is your grinder, an old toothbrush or paintbrush, and a freezer. Before you do anything extra to your grinder, pop it in the freezer for a few hours. The cold will help loosen up all of those little particles stuck in all of the nooks and crannies of your grinder. In a perfect world, we would all have small, metal bristle brushes, but for our purposes, a toothbrush or paint brush will work perfectly and there are even more random, household objects you might have that could be used instead. I use an old paint brush and I’ve trimmed the bristles to about half as long as they were. This makes them a little more stiff and makes it easier to work with. After your grinder has hung out in the freezer for a few hours, use your brush to brush off any of the built up material. If you do all of your brushing over a tray or into a container, you may come away with a little collection of keif-y goodness to treat yourself to later.
Stimulate Your Brain
You’re stuck in the house. Everything on every streaming service is starting to blur together into one big, colorful, noise show. You’ve walked from the fridge to the window and back to the fridge enough times for one lifetime. Now what? Get your brain working, that’s what!
Speaking from experience, it’s easy to fall into a rut of mindless, thoughtless repetition when you’re confronted with unexpected free time. It can be even worse when you’re not only forced out of your normal routine but forced into isolation, as many people have spent this time alone. Finding ways to keep your brain active and engaged can be crucial to at least staying positive during difficult times. How can cannabis help? Focus. I often find that when I’m half-watching a show or a YouTube video, I’m really just letting my mind wander. Nothing productive is getting done. I’m not engaged. I’m just wasting time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always down for a little time wasting, but if I don’t watch myself, I’ll lose an entire day.
As usual, there isn’t a whole lot of scientifically tested data when it comes to how and why cannabis may increase focus, though there have been some theories that cannabis may be able to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine in the brain. Anecdotally, however, I think many of us can attest to a particular sativa or sativa heavy hybrid that increases energy and focus, both things that come in handy when your goal is keeping your mind active and involved.
Doing that is a lot easier and less daunting than it sounds. My brain stimulation of choice is video games, especially super involved RPGs (role playing games). Puzzles are great too. I know, it sounds super simple, but it really is that easy. We also live in a time where there are thousands of new things at our fingertips: enter the app store. Brain puzzles, word puzzles, interactive story games, it’s all there and most of it is free. Anything that involves engaging your mind in thoughtful, critical thinking for a little while each day will do you nothing but good.
You can also use some of that cannabis inspired focus to dig out an old hobby or project you haven’t touched in a while. It’s pretty cool to see something you’ve worked hard on finished.
This wouldn’t be an article full of tips if I didn’t mention self care, would it? As redundant and cliche as it may sound nowadays to talk about the importance of it, I am not only a huge fan of a little cannabis enhanced self care, I am also a huge believer in it playing an important role in our mental and physical health. Fortunately for us, there are a wide range of cannabis infused products you can use to enhance your self care experience. Lotions, sprays, oils, salves – there’s something for everyone. If you don’t have any cannabis topicals on hand but perhaps an infused olive, avocado, or coconut oil, all of these could be used as topicals in a pinch and there are a ton of great topical recipes online.
Cannabis infused topicals work by introducing cannabinoids (THC, CBD) to your system transdermally, where they can bind to the cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body, and even if a topical contains activated THC, most can’t penetrate the bloodstream and therefore there is no psychoactive effect common to activated THC. This makes it a great alternative for patients looking for the relief of medical cannabis without the high.
The best thing about topicals in my opinion is their ability to be used locally. While I greatly enjoy the full body relief I get from other methods of medicating, rubbing an infused balm into a sore muscle or using an infused lotion on my hands after a long day of typing is targeted relief when I need it. Even though they may be used most often for targeted pain relief, there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a massage or a facial with infused products for no other reason than you deserve to take care of yourself.
I don’t know if anyone is an expert on surviving quarantine, I know I am definitely not, but my hope was that this might give you little ways to enhance these weird and unnerving times. Give your focus and creativity a hand to keep your brain in the game – maybe use some of that focus to give your paraphernalia collection a little TLC – and don’t forget to be kind to yourself.
Kelly Mahoney worked at a medical cannabis Co-op with her mother, Laura Mastropietro, dealing mainly with helping new patients acquire their medical cards and helping them find the best strains and methods. Diagnosed at a young age with spinal muscular atrophy, she was also a medical cannabis patient and still advocates for the incredible benefits, and downright fun, of cannabis. She now lives in a prohibition state as a cat mom and gamer wife.