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Whether or not you use weed yourself is irrelevant to its place in the world, so why not be a proactive friend and early-adopt cannabis into your hosting repertoire when planning a get-together?
Many of us grew up learning the proper ways to provide food, beverages, and amenities to people visiting our homes, regardless of our preference for them. Do you not serve coffee because you prefer tea? Not if you’re a good host! While some folks enjoy cannabis as a Friday night treat or a way to unwind, like a low-stakes wine habit, others consume it in a daily ritual, like they do a cup of coffee. You can accommodate both.
If you do, you’ll be up there with the men who stock tampons in their bachelor pads and people who keep veggie burgers on hand for their meaty BBQs. Think of it as another way to show guests that you care for them and value the leisure time they’re spending with you.
Already on team THC? This guide also applies to you too—anyone who provides cannabis to their guests has to make sure that anyone consuming is well versed in the basics of having a good (and safe) time using it. So figure out your canna-hospitality game plan before you’re caught off guard (or empty-handed) with the help of these tips from two industry professionals who advocate for safe and delicious weed entertaining.
Why you should entertain with weed
Christina Wong is the CEO of Fruit + Flower, a cannabis media company that joins up all things delicious into beautiful content, and she has sharp advice for newbies, seasoned canna-fans, and anyone who wants to shower guests with good times: It’s more than just a way for people to get inebriated.
“Cannabis consumption has never been so accessible and public as it is today,” Wong said via email. “There are many reasons why people use cannabis in social spaces: to manage their stress and social anxiety, relieve pain and discomfort, have fun and laugh, and unwind and relax to get a better night’s sleep to name a few.”
As the stigma around the drug chills out, it will continue to become normalized, and start to pop up in more places. As Wong noted, “a cannabis-infused mocktail or canned sparkling beverage easily replaces alcohol at parties and events. It’s showing up at weddings and the holiday table alongside wine and cocktails as an alternative option.”
But don’t forget about the newbies: Providing approachable ways for the inexperienced to engage with cannabis in the safe space of your home is also wonderfully welcoming, whether it’s their first time, or their first time in a long while, she added.
Set yourself up for success
Until dosing cannabis is second nature and people have an everyday gauge of their personal limitations, take the guesswork out by using clear plating techniques or serving individually dosed and packaged goods. Little signs or even a menu are great ways to answer questions before people even know to ask them.
Pre-portion and label foods and keep them safe from kids and pets. The same as you would with alcohol, don’t leave weed-infused food where kids can sample it, even accidentally. Don’t put out a weed charcuterie spread without letting people know exactly what is in what, especially the amount of THC or CBD in each serving of food, and how big each suggested serving is.
The advice is vital for new consumers, Wong noted, but anyone can go a little too far, especially if the treats are tasty. “Tell guests about the products and cannabis they’re about to consume and provide dosing suggestions and recommendations,” she said. “Someone with a low tolerance may enjoy a 5mg THC drink so much that they forget and reach for a second without realizing it may be too much for them.”
Don’t put an infused cake in the middle of an un-infused spread or you’ll risk having people eat it unknowingly and panic when they start to feel the effects. Consider instead an enclosed container, and pre-slice or weigh the treats to prevent over-portioning.
Treat it like any other adult substance
Just like when serving alcohol, you provide the access and the context, but you also have to trust folks to be adults and exercise self-control. While you can’t really get physically injured by the effects of too much cannabis, driving under the influence is a huge no-no, and you can certainly be hurt by your own actions while too high.
Overdoing it is not generally a pleasant or positive experience, and certainly not at a social gathering. It can be uncomfortable for first timers or pros alike, so make sure to use caution to prevent greening out.
To Wong, this starts with knowing your audience, “A party with Snoop Dogg, Seth Rogen, and Dave Chapelle is a much different experience than a wedding party with family members,” she said. “Unless you’re hosting an experienced group of cannabis consumers, it’s best to keep anything infused low-dose, and provide options for guests to dose themselves according to their own tolerance level.”
Serving cannabis at your wedding or any other family function doesn’t have to be mysterious. Choosing products that fit into social settings is a great way to provide alternatives to alcohol. One drink making waves is MXXN, is an alcohol-free cannabis elixir that comes in flavors that echo some of the most popular spirits like gin, mezcal, and whiskey. The creator of MXXN, Darnell Smith, designed his product with social consumption in mind.
“The key to being a good host is providing options for the evolving needs of your guests,” Smith told us in an email. “From a beverage standpoint, having alcoholic, non-alcoholic, and infused beverages on hand ensures something for everyone.”
Entertaining comes with a flow of beverages: mood-setting cocktails, after dinner coffee or espresso, palate cleansers like amari and digestives, sugary party punches, sodas, and, of course, beer and wine. Many of these social beverages feature our favorite “classic” addictive substances like sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, and cannabis has a nice corner waiting for it in this category—but there’s a key difference to keep in mind.
“With most other substances, your guests have a reference point and history,” Smith said. “Some guests will not be as familiar with cannabis, [so] it is essential to know your audience and have low-dose options on hand…the best advice we can give is to start low and go slow.”
Other ways to provide cannabis to party guests
You don’t have to provide consumable cannabis if you are worried about blurred lines or mistaken munchies—smokeable (or vape-able) cannabis is among the oldest and most loved ways to indulge. For a fun DIY vibe, “create stations and areas with ample rolling trays, rolling papers, flower or prerolls, ashtrays and lighters,” Wong suggested.
It’s also good to know how to manage people who are high, and the side effects of partaking. “Provide plenty of water and non-infused drinks options, because people can get cottonmouth and thirsty when they’re high,” Wong advised.
To help your guests wind down, Wong also suggested serving nightcaps infused with CBD rather than THC. “Since dessert is often served at the end of the event, people are pretty high at this point and a dessert with more THC could be too much,” she cautioned. Shape the experience not unlike a typical dinner party, with build ups and moments to wind down.
Normalize it already
Even after reading this, the idea of providing weed to your guests mike make you feel a little seedy. But whether you provide smokeable, edible, or drinkable cannabis at your next gathering, you’re helping to reintroduce one of humans’ favorite plants back into the mix, and doing a service to those who still deal with stigma for engaging in what is now a recreationally legal activity in almost half of U.S. states. Use this advice to make your guests feel welcome and safe when weed is on the menu.