How to stretch your cannabis as far as possible

Published May 5, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / SageElyse

Now that so many people are laid off or working reduced hours as social distancing becomes the norm all around the world, the necessities are taking priority over the extras that we might benefit mentally from indulging in. Everywhere there are shortages for essential goods like meat, flour, pasta, and personal hygiene products like toilet paper, which is stretching our already limited dollars even further as we pay higher prices for the basics.

All around the coronavirus is impacting our daily lives, and as bank accounts empty, and people try their very best to get by, for many, it might become increasingly difficult to afford to stock up on weed, or in some cases, to buy any at all. Now, a handful of the people who read this will laugh at our fellow stoners for dreading a dry spell, but the truth is that you don’t know anyone’s story, and millions of cannabis enthusiasts use cannabinoid products to self-medicate and keep calm through the storm.

Whether it’s for pain, anxiety, appetite, or quality of sleep, everybody has their own reason for not wanting to be without weed, and for those who rely on its benefits, it can be hard to fathom not having access to it. So far, we are relatively lucky that dispensaries in many regions have been deemed essential services which allows them to continue working to serve the public during the remainder of this epidemic, but if you don’t have a whole lot of extra cash, or want to wait as long as possible to head out in public, then you’re likely trying to figure out how to make your stash last.

Since every cannabis enthusiast enjoys a different amount of THC, we’ve done our best to come up with some tips, tricks, and guidelines that are compatible with any level of intake. Though you don’t have to follow them all to a tee to be successful, everything that you do right now will buy you at least a bit more time before running out, so it’s best to try as many as you can, just in case it might be a while before you can or want to access your local dispensary for more.

1. How long does a high last?

This is one of the first questions that you need to ask yourself when you’re trying to cut back on how much weed or derived products you are consuming. A lot of cannabis consumers have no idea how long those tingly, relaxing sensations might continue for, especially if they’re seasoned users who stay high most of every day, but to figure out how much you’ll need, you will have to experiment with this question until you have a reliable answer.

The reason that we can’t do that for you is that each person reacts to every strain differently, so it will highly depend on your tolerance level, how fast your body processes cannabinoids, and the level of relief you need to achieve to feel satisfied. Despite cannabis news headlines that tout long-lasting psychoactive effects, for most people, a simple joint will induce effects that will last for anywhere from 1-4 hours before quickly fading away. Edibles, on the other hand, are a bit more potent, with an average of 2-6 hours worth of buzz.

2. Minimize portion sizes

The old saying less is more holds true in this instance, but it might not be in the way that you think. Looking at a tiny pinner joint may not leave you feeling elated, but smoking less will stretch out your stash, which will turn less weed into a product that goes so much further. The best way to do this is just to be conscious of how much you’re using.

So if you would normally roll a fat joint, try to make one half that size, and if you pack bowls, move to half-filled or single hit amounts and enjoy what every bit of it does for you before reaching for more. If you can’t roll smaller joints for whatever reason, then try smoking them halfway and then putting them out for 30 minutes before sparking it back up again. It might not seem like much, but these tiny changes make a huge difference in how long your cannabis will last.

3. Consider using a one-hitter pipe or vaporizer

Despite rapidly evolving tastes and preferences since the availability of edibles has steadily increased, the majority of consumers still prefer a good old-fashioned piece of glass to smoke from, but most bongs and pipes are equipped with massive bowls that can go through a lot of cannabis quite quickly. Luckily, there are other options out there like vaporizers or one-hitter pipes, both of which deliver single hits and help to conserve your stash.

Though rushing out to purchase a brand-new flower compatible vaporizer might not be a cost-effective solution, if you have one on hand already, it might be worth making the switch, but if you don’t, then a one-hitter pipe might be the solution for you. They are widely available, cost-effective, with the majority ringing in at less than $10, and they will pay for themselves in no time because they will always cut down how much you can burn at any given time.

4. Daily allotments

Once you figure out how long a high will last for, and switch out your device for something more economical, or reduce the size of your rolls, it will be a whole lot easier to determine the bare minimum amount that you’d need to keep on hand to stay comfortable. After that, the challenge is splitting up your cannabis flower or concentrates into daily allotments, which can be made easier with the assistance of a good storage container.

The kind of storage container that you choose doesn’t really matter, as the goal here is simply to divide your weed so that you don’t smoke too much in one day, and have nothing left later on, so things like small mason jars, pill separators, and Tupperware containers are all well suited for this task. As long as you separate the products into containers that you have to open one at a time, you will be much more aware of how much you’re using.


5. Mix it

Another great way to stretch your cannabis is to add something to it to make it seem like more. That might sound odd at first, but it’s a method that works wonders, and it can easily make your weed last at least 30% longer than normal, but you will need something on hand to do so. For this, you can use hemp flower, tobacco, or marijuana leaf, with the last option having the least impact on flavor and smell.

6. Buy it in bulk

This one might not be an option for you if money is tight, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure that your cannabis products can be stretched out to last. In most cases, dispensaries will offer a slight discount for larger orders that can add up to quite a few extra free joints over an extended period of time. The more you have, the less you will stress about running out, which should buy you some time to get comfortable in a new routine as you try to stay aware of how much you consume.

7. What time of day do you need it the most?

For some cannabis consumers, the morning is the best time to smoke, and not just because a wake and bake is plenty of fun, as many use these products to enhance appetite or to get motivated, which is really helpful at this point in the day. However, every user is different, and some need it to sleep, or to recuperate from daily activities as they happen, which is why it’s important to sit and think about what you get from cannabis, and when it’s most important to you.

Once you pinpoint those essential times, you can use them as a guide to decide the best times in the day to cut back, so that you feel few, if any, adverse effects from consuming a little bit less than you might be used to. If you want to stay as comfortable as possible and cut back at the same time, this is an essential question that will eventually need to be answered for the highest chance of success with stretching your stash.

8. Don’t share

As tempting as it might be to get good and stoned with your friends, it’s best not to do that right now for a few reasons. The first is that it doesn’t abide by social distancing guidelines that are clearly laid out in much of the world, and we all want to stay safe throughout this ordeal. The second is because you will burn through a whole lot more if you are trying to keep more than one person high. So, save your weed, and your health, and keep your joints to yourself.

9. Find other ways to kill time and stave off cravings

Another excellent way to make your cannabis last longer is to find other things to keep you busy at home. Since so many of us are confined to a relatively restricted space, a lot of pot consumers are going to be toking more than usual when they would typically be out working, fishing, hiking, or taking the kids to the park. Dig out that old collection of board games, immerse yourself in a book or bake up a storm while you’ve got some extra time on your hands, and you will find that your stash lasts longer.

10. Get out that stash of marijuana leaves

When all else fails, it’s always a good idea to keep a backup on hand, so if you’ve saved a big bag of marijuana leaf to process into concentrates, now might be the best time to retrieve it from storage. You can smoke it in between your essential times of day to keep the cravings at bay, use it to mix as we mentioned above, or you can save it for that stint of time after your bag runs dry and you want a hit. It might not have quite the same potent effects, but it should still get you high enough to take the edge off, which can make the wait till you can get more much more tolerable.

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