Most national magazine stories about the cannabis industry like to focus on new-age pot investors and entrepreneurs, but the real folks in the know are still on the grassroots level.
Mia Jane, a former budtender and current cannabis hospitality tour guide, interacts with beginning and experienced consumers from all over the world, and has seen a lot in her nine years around the plant. Taking Loopr riders on tours of cultivations, dispensaries and other pot-friendly activities, she's a seasoned veteran in the brave new world of social pot consumption. In advance of the 4/20 celebrations, we caught up with Jane to learn more about the best ways to enjoy cannabis actively and responsibly.
Westword: How'd you find yourself involved in the legal cannabis world?
Mia Jane: I moved to Colorado from northwest Florida in 2010 for medical cannabis. I had been struggling with severe IBS and had had no relief from the more traditional treatment methods available there at the time. After trying medical cannabis, I found that it alleviated a lot of my pain and helped me to function better overall. Inspired by this drastic change in my health, I got into budtending before the industry went recreational, and learned a lot from my years working behind the counter at both medical and recreational dispensaries. Ever since then, I've been exploring the many ways to help educate people around responsible cannabis use.
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What are your favorite activities that coincide with cannabis consumption?
Personally, I think cannabis makes most things better, so it's a tough choice, but I do find that I particularly enjoy hanging out with friends enjoying some cannabis "mocktails," or basically alcohol-free cocktails that are usually infused with a microdose of cannabis. We all have fewer hangovers and have a lot more fun.
What are some of the most common questions you get from tourists?
I get a lot of questions about concentrates and edibles, and how they compare to, say, smoking a joint. This can be difficult to answer when it comes to edibles, as the absorption methods are different. When your liver turns THC molecules into 11-hydroxy-THC, instead of Delta-9 THC, it is absorbed through the blood-brain barrier even better, and often will result in a more intense high, so I always advise plenty of time (at least two hours) between doses. As far as dabbing versus smoking flower, I'll sometimes compare it to having a shot of liquor or a beer. Concentrates are a more potent version of cannabis, so you need much less to create the same effect. Some people will try to tell me that eating mangoes with their weed use will get them more high, but I'm pretty sure this is more of just an old stoner's tale.
How do you feel about Colorado's current regulation of social cannabis consumption? How could it be improved?
Currently, we are waiting to see if the cannabis hospitality bill is going to pass. This could bring a lot of amazing opportunity to the realm of social consumption, and would help some dispensaries expand their offerings with tasting rooms, similar to breweries. Right now, there are limited options for social cannabis consumption, and only some are focused on educating their guests about responsible use as much as making a buck. The hospitality bill would help regulate these environments more soundly and clear up any gray areas around our current consumption lounges.
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What are your preferred strains/products and methods of consumption before doing something active?
Exercise and outdoor activities, like hiking, also go great with a little weed. I usually will use a high CBD/low THC vape or edible prior to strenuous activities. I've found that this regimen allows me to work out longer, and I have less soreness and tiredness afterward.
4/20 is coming up. Any advice on how to safely celebrate?
4/20 is so much fun every year here in Denver, and it's my favorite time to celebrate! I always remind visitors to stay hydrated, as being a mile above sea level can make pretty much anything more intense. I also recommend not to be tempted to break the law by consuming in public or in your car. Law enforcement is out in full force this time of year, and there's no quicker way to ruin your high than to have an uncomfortable conversation with a police officer. Check out one of the safe and legal consumption lounges available to fully enjoy your 4/20 fun.