This time last year, scaffoldings were being secured and comically large joints were being rolled all over the world in celebration of April 20th. Better known as “4/20,” the unofficial stoner holiday celebrated on this date each April owes its origins to a group of Northern California high schoolers from the 1970s.
In recent years, “4/20” has also represented a marketing bonanza for the regulated cannabis industry. Not only are there large purchases from the plant’s biggest fans, but many less habitual consumers also patronize dispensaries and delivery services for some “4/20” treats. As a consequence of the global coronavirus pandemic, popular celebrations — including one held at Golden Gate Park’s Hippie Hill in San Francisco — have all pivoted to virtual alternatives or called off their planned festivities entirely for 2020.
While the option to spend this year’s 4/20 streaming performances from Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong, and others is no doubt appreciated, it doesn’t entirely solve the issue surrounding 4/20 celebrations amid COVID-19. Case in point: it’s perfectly understandable that a number of consumers, both novice and experienced, are questioning the wisdom of smoking or even vaporizing cannabis given the respiratory conditions associated with COVID-19.
Definitive data on the subject has yet to materialize (and likely won’t for some time), but in the interim, the general consensus seems to be that common-sense dictates being as kind as possible to our lungs for now. “Avoiding lung irritation is the first line of defense against this illness,” explained Dr. Junella Chin during a recent Q&A with Leafly. These types of precautions seem to be the best advice available at the moment.
As a result, those interested in celebrating 4/20 without actually smoking anything may be wondering what options are left. The answer: so much! In fact, flower is but one of a number of product categories in most modern dispensaries. Edibles, for instance, are a universe unto themselves, while other smokeless consumer options include tinctures, topicals, bath bombs, and oral supplements.
If a tasty treat fits the bill, consider giving edibles a shot. For those with a sweet tooth, products like the infused marshmallows offered by Mellows or the Kiva’s line of Camino gummies are both solid picks. Those with an affinity for chocolate may wish to grab a tin of Satori’s fast-acting chocolate bites, which include options like blueberries, almonds or strawberries covered in chocolate. This new item from Satori, a longtime cannabis confectioner, reduces the wait time for one’s edible to kick into gear thanks to a patented nanoemulsifier technology.
Sugary treats are hardly the only option for edibles either. For a more healthy approach to eating THC, check out Atlas Edibles, which has a line of infused granola clusters in various flavors. Alternatively, the calories can be cut out all together with Alt. This water-soluble liquid THC can be consumed straight from the vial or added to any drink or food item of choice, making it an appealing option for those who don’t enjoy the taste of cannabis terpenes or simply prefer maximum discretion.
The next logical step from a product like Alt is tinctures. Often naturally flavored and ideally suited for careful titration (the process of calculating one’s ideal dosage), tinctures are rapidly becoming a popular option for those who want the medical benefits of cannabis but aren’t necessarily sold on the lifestyle. Ranging in formulas defined by their ratio of CBD to THC, tinctures are currently available from a number of reputable manufacturers, including Papa & Barkley and Care By Design.
Another cousin to edibles is sublingual strips. Products like Kin Strips are placed under the tongue, where they rapidly dissolve and bypass the digestive tract. Think of them like breath-freshening strips, but with weed. This consumption method allows the cannabis to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, providing a faster onset when compared with a typical edible. In addition, the folks at Click have created what amounts to a line of cannabis mouth sprays.
Finally, there are topicals. This category encompasses products that are absorbed through the skin. It includes Coda Signature’s THC-infused bath bombs (just remember to take a soak early enough to be out of the tub before 4:20 pm), and muscle balms and transdermal patches from Papa & Barkley. In truth, there’s a veritable wellness store of beauty products featuring THC, CBD, and assorted other minor cannabinoids on the market today.
Whatever form of consumption is preferred, not smoking and being stuck at home do not have to equate to a failed “4/20” this year. Instead, order something that will work, follow the “stay at home” guidance recently issued by the marijuana advocacy group NORML, and don’t be afraid to turn the speakers up to eleven when the big moment arrives.