Despite our nation’s confusing, confusingly slow embrace of legal cannabis, recreational weed use has been a thing for millennia. While once it grew wild in parking lots in New York City, it now costs a pretty penny—especially when laced with all the taxes legal sales add in—so searching for ways to enhance the effects delivered by every bud is a valid strategy.
Some of us have skirted the law to smoke weed for years; others are accessing legal, personalized experiences for the first time ever—and one such experience is getting absolutely zonked, a time-honored tradition that for one type of person means a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine marathon and a pack of Trader Joe’s Dark Russet Chips, while for others means social, active, or outdoor fun. Any and all of these are valid ways to enjoy the effects of cannabis consumption. But some of you might need a little help to feel fully floaty, and we are here to supply some tips and tricks to get you there.
Why mango and weed are a potent mix
While this isn’t a recipe or a dining guide, knowing your way around certain foods can be helpful when you want to get the most out of a high—and that’s thanks to phytochemicals. Cannabis itself is made up of hundreds of these guys, all of which engage the entourage effect; the combined action of those chemicals and cannabinoids like THC is what triggers the intoxication we know as a “high.” A good portion of those chemicals are also present in tons of foods, plants, and products.
Aromatic compounds, like terpenes, give ouid its luxurious and varied scent. Myrcene, found in mango fruits, is but one of these substances, and has been researched for its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties. With the right variety of mango and cannabis, you can access this beneficial effect, but it’s important to point out that effects vary widely from strain to strain. This isn’t mere stoner talk either—the theory behind it it scientifically sound—but the resulting experience will not be easily predictable unless you have a lab handy to perform tests on both your fruit and your fruity weed.
Myrcene is not only present in mango, but also in bay leaves, lemongrass, and cardamom. This funky, pungent phytochemical is also not the only psychoactive terpene in the arsenal—lemony limonene is often seen as energizing, and is easy to access in citrus fruits, while linalool is the floral backbone of soothing lavender. All of these terpenes have featured in a wave of “experience based” products in the cannabis market that purport to direct your experience, from dosist pens to Kin Slips.
And then there are the less scientifically supported but often repeated anecdotal tricks, which for me, means banana bread. While there’s not much data to back it up (yet), anyone who has eaten my infused banana bread has gotten inexplicably more stoned than intended, and not because I packed it with high amounts of THC. Sometimes I think it’s the spices—I use clove, cinnamon, and cardamom to flavor the delicious loaf—but similarly spiced foods have never worked quite like the banana version. For now, I suspect the effect could be linked to the phytochemicals in the extremely overripe bananas that I use to make it.
Direct your high with aromatherapy
While getting super stoned can be great, let’s be real—enhancing your high might also mean taking it down a notch. There’s no proven way to sober up from cannabis over-intoxication, and while it’s not life threatening, it’s pretty unpleasant for people who didn’t sign up for the trip. Anecdotally, sniffing peppercorns and drinking lemonade work, but I prefer to use basic aromatherapy to chill out a chill sesh. Using scents to relax the body and brain helps you focus on the experience, which inherently enhances it. Grab a whiff of linalool-rich lavender to center things, or dab on some diluted mint to combat pain; these methods work work both before and after consumption.
Take a tolerance break
One major way to feel more stoned is to get stoned less often. If you are a strictly recreational and moderate consumer of cannabis, you can probably attest to feeling a bit smacked in the head when you pick it up again, whereas a daily or medical consumer may need a more potent punch to feel the vibe. Taking what’s called a “T break” (short for tolerance) for a period of time reflective of your consumption habits gives your body’s CB receptors a chance to reset.
Mix ‘n’ match
I struggle to classify this as a method, but a pretty common way of saucing yourself up involves combining cannabis with other intoxicating and/or psychoactive substances. Caffeine and weed is one of the easiest to pull off—many regular consumers take in cannabis and coffee (or tea, or soda, or Red Bull) at the same time to get a calm focus. Some find it too anxiety-inducing, but this mix is pretty safe, so don’t be afraid to experiment if you already use one of the two reliably and successfully.
Other combinations are more complicated. Alcohol and cannabis is yet another go-to for many, but there are risks not widely discussed. THC can magnify the unsafe effects of alcohol—and if you’re already drinking a lot, that is not a good idea—and combining the two creates an excess of THC in the bloodstream, which means extra intoxication. While you might enjoy the buzz of this intoxicating pairing, be sure not to overdo it.
Still one more mixture remains quite taboo, but since it’s decriminalized in my area, I can tell you it’s regularly consumed—often simultaneously with weed. Psychedelics like psilocybin, DMT, and others are used in self-therapeutic situations as well as recreational scenarios. This is yet another understudied area of research, but some report that cannabis can balance and soften some of the unpleasant side effects of psychedelic substances. A word of caution: I’d strongly recommend keeping them separate until you have experience, as many find them too intense when taken together.
Even if you’ve been chiefing since the ‘70s, try out one of these heady hacks— it could change everything. After all, mixing cannabis into the flow of your daily life—with all of its food, drinks, and activities—is the best way to enjoy it.