An Instagram post by legendary rapper and multi-hyphenate Snoop Dogg went viral yesterday. He claimed he’d decided to “give up smoke.”
It’s big news from one of the world’s most famous weed smokers—after Snoop posted (receiving, at time of publishing, more than four million likes), mainstream and cannabis news outlets picked up the story, further catapulting Snoop’s weed lore into whatever smoke-filled permanent stratosphere anecdotes like this live in for all eternity.
In the post, Snoop asked that the public “respect [his] privacy,” which sounds dramatic considering we are merely talking about quitting cannabis. But for a household name that’s become synonymous with pot, it also makes sense.
As a frequent cannabis consumer, I’ll admit the news had me feeling a little wounded—but also curious. Assuming we’re taking Snoop at his word, it makes me wonder: If one of the planet’s most legendary tokers decides to stop, what does that mean for the rest of us who still light up?
First things first: Likely, the announcement that “Snoop Dogg quits weed” is a publicity play, even if he is cutting back on actually smoking cannabis. The rapper signed a deal with vaporizer company Ispire just a few days ago.
While vaping dried-and-ground cannabis flower does involve high heat and causes its own health-related issues—especially to the lungs, mouth, blood vessels, and esophagus—it’s infinitely safer than smoking due to, well, the lack of actual smoke. Same goes for vaping extracts (the THC-laden liquid that comes in cartridges with 510 batteries). It would be kind of weird for the brand if its new spokesperson was ripping blunts all over the place.
But I’m willing to toss off the tinfoil hat for the sake of discussion. Maybe he really is cutting back or quitting entirely. If weed is so benign, as many advocates assert, why would anyone want to ditch it?
As legalization steams ahead throughout the country, conversations about cannabis consumption are beginning to take center stage. Americans have greater access to the plant today than they did at any other point in history. For some people, this means more ingestion.
I’ll be honest: Though I’ve smoked weed for most of my life, my consumption is lately at an all-time high. Availability is a huge part of it—cannabis is easier to obtain in California than ever. Smoking is a way I manage stress and anxiety. And, perhaps just as important, I just generally enjoy it.
Recently, I’ve grappled intensely with how much and how often I smoke weed, especially considering I just took a nine-or-so-month-long break from cannabis while I was pregnant with my son.
Though I quit during pregnancy (which gave me a lot of time to think), I’m back at it now that I am no longer breastfeeding. It wasn’t a hard transition—I’m an exceptionally functional stoner. I have a high tolerance and I don’t drink often, so I rarely mix THC with substances other than caffeine, for which it is a wonderful bed-fellow.
While I suspect, deep down, it’s only temporarily placating my near-constant anxiety and not actually solving it, I do find that smoking a little weed throughout the day helps keep me on an even keel, emotionally speaking. But there’s a fine line between feeling chill and being constantly burnt out, and smoking all the time can easily blur it.
On top of that, smoking is bad for your health, full stop. Yes, even smoking weed. Combustion is combustion, and carbon monoxide is always a byproduct. That speaks for itself.
So I understand why anyone would reconsider their cannabis use, particularly if that use becomes heavy. It’s normal to interrogate the things that make us feel good in some way, especially if we can’t help but wonder whether they might be hurting us in others. Most people simply won’t because change is hard and scary, so it’s fascinating when someone—especially someone as notorious for smoking as Snoop—is willing to take the plunge.
Wider access to cannabis also means that we have much more information about its negative side effects, as well as its benefits. Too much of a good thing can hurt anyone. For some people, it’s not hard to reach that threshold.
As members of the cannabis community continue to age (and become increasingly concerned about lung and vascular health), I suspect we’ll see a lot of other career stoners of the smoking variety start to drop off entirely or switch to edibles, tinctures, and vaping—myself included.
A quick Google search of the terms “high-potency pot,” the yet-to-be-totally-understood “Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome” (a cannabis allergy of sorts), and “Cannabis Use Disorder” offers a good view of how society and individual people are trying to figure it out, and what terminology they have access to at this point to do so. These days, there seems to be more questions than answers about what amount of cannabis is good for any one human to smoke or otherwise intake.
And if Snoop’s decision inspires smokers to take a good, hard look at their own consumption, it’ll be just one more thing he’s done for a community that’s always considered him one of our most beloved representatives.