Do the People You Are With Affect Your Cannabis Experience?

August 4, 2023
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Dr. David Pompei, PharmD, MS

How do the people you are with affect your cannabis experience?

Some people feel most comfortable using cannabis with their partner or spouse. Others prefer to ingest alone. Some people have their most fun cannabis experiences when consuming with strangers. According to experts in cannabis wellness, there are at least 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. Your social environment (the people you are with) is thought to be one of the most important factors.

Jointly supports 7 social settings:

  • Alone
  • With spouse, partner or significant other
  • With family
  • With kids
  • With friends
  • With co-workers
  • With strangers

Jointly is a new cannabis wellness app that lets you record how well a cannabis product helps you achieve your wellness goals. When you report your cannabis consumption on Jointly, you can track who you are with so that you can discover how your social environment affects your cannabis experience.

Perhaps you will discover that if you consume cannabis with strangers, you feel anxious or paranoid. But if you consume cannabis with your family, you feel supported and comfortable. Or maybe you will find out that you feel the most relaxed when you use cannabis alone. Our data indicates that Jointly works best when you report at least 10 cannabis sessions. If you only fill out a few reports and then stop, you won’t have enough data to start to see trends and improve how you consume cannabis.

How Set and Setting Affect Your Cannabis Experience

Early in psychedelic research, scientists realized that there were various non-pharmacological factors that shaped the effects of a drug. The same dose of a drug could produce completely different effects depending on a person’s internal and external environment.

In the early 1960s, Timothy Leary popularized this idea as “set and setting.” Set refers to anything related to the internal state of a person such as personality, intention, preparation, and expectation about a drug experience. Setting refers to external elements such as the physical, social and cultural environment where the drug use takes place.

Jointly divides setting up into the people you are with and the environment where you consume marijuana so that you can analyze each factor independently.

What Does the Science Say?

Despite federal prohibition, there is some research into how social setting affects a cannabis user’s experience. For example, early experiments in the 1970s compared people smoking cannabis alone versus people smoking in four-person groups.

The four-person groups were allowed to socialize in unstructured ways. Subjects who smoked marijuana alone displayed relaxed, drowsy behavior. But the four-person groups displayed a marked lack of sedation, and there was much conversation, elation and uncontrollable laughter. This study provided evidence that social setting plays a significant role in a cannabis user’s experience.

Fifty years later, many cannabis users are aware that social settings play a major role in whether or not they will experience anxiety or paranoia. A 2015 survey of cannabis users revealed that many people felt that consuming marijuana in uncomfortable situations, like in public or in crowded areas with strangers, led to anxiety and paranoia. Most of the survey participants avoided smoking cannabis with strangers, and most preferred to consume it in the privacy of their home to avoid psychological side effects.

Strain or Social Setting?

While many cannabis users believe that different strains can produce dramatically different effects, others push back against this idea and suggest that it is really the set and setting of a cannabis experience that guides how one will feel.

An article from January 2020 on Merry Jane states: “tons of cannabis brands today claim their product will make you happy, horny, relaxed, creative, sleepy or some other type of mood. In reality, these products yield a different high almost every time I use them… I actually believe these feelings come from your set and setting – not different cannabis strains.”

In general, people feel that cannabis makes them more sensitive to their social environment. If you consume cannabis with people you aren’t comfortable with, your discomfort will likely be magnified. But if you consume cannabis with a loved one, your fondness may also be magnified. It is best to consume cannabis with people who put you at ease, especially if you are new to cannabis or are trying a new product for the first time.

Overall, the cannabis community is fairly consistent that smoking in big groups of strangers makes it more likely you will experience anxiety or paranoia. Of course, everyone is different. The best way to find out how a specific social setting affects your cannabis experience is to experiment and record your experiences on Jointly.

Find top-rated products for your goals

Jointly is the cannabis discovery app that makes it easy to find and shop the best cannabis and CBD products for your goals. Your matches are calculated from the real product ratings and experiences from hundreds of thousands of people using the Jointly app.

If you're ready to discover new products and reach your goals, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website.  

Are you curious about Jointly?

Whether you want to improve sleep, relieve daily stress, or just relax and refresh, Jointly can help you reach your goals with cannabis. 

With Jointly, you can shop your top-rated products, and save lists of your favorites to share and bring to your local dispensary to help guide your shopping experience. 

The Jointly app also helps you improve your cannabis experiences by uncovering what’s working and what’s not with reflections and personalized insights. In fact, the quality of your diet, how much you slept, who you’re with, and the time of day are just some of the factors that can impact your cannabis experience. 

So if you're ready to find your best products and enjoy your perfect cannabis experience, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website. Discovery awaits.

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