Is it ok to toke in an online college or university lesson?

Published Sep 22, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
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Fall is here, and for many, that means returning to school. Returning students will have had a really interesting end to last year, with so many classes having switched to online learning platforms so that teachers could safely connect with students while mitigating the spread of COVID-19. As a whole, none of these educational institutions were prepared for a mass shut down, which forced many to utilize programs like Zoom to get the job done.

It was all so new and scary and different, and some students who are returning this year are afraid of what’s to come. Then there are the newer pupils who had envisioned something much different for their college experience, and some believe that they will thrive the most in this new environment as they have nothing to compare to, but the reality is that this transition is stressful, disappointing, and terrifying for everyone.

Most colleges and universities have chosen to continue with online learning, as COVID-19 remains a looming threat and they’re pretty sure that they’ve got this whole virtual school thing down after a crash course last year and several months to prepare. This shift means that a whole bunch of things will be changing and that the etiquette of what is and what isn’t to be expected of students is evolving.

You can now wear your pajamas to most online lessons, and attend with a hot coffee in hand while eating breakfast, and all of that with your cat on your lap if you choose, but how far is too far when it comes to what’s appropriate for a shared virtual learning space? Many cannabis enthusiasts and teachers are wondering just that, especially after headlines covered students sparking up in class towards the end of last year, leaving many to question whether or not this is a good idea for anyone.

We’ve talked a little bit about how cannabis can help to reduce the stresses of online learning, so we know that, for some people at least, there can certainly be a benefit to combining the plant with school, but there are many things that should be considered before you take a bong rip in front of 30 or more classmates and your teacher, because your actions will have an effect on every one that is involved.

The type of online lesson

Some people might be reading this article, thinking that not sparking up would be crazy because they are lucky enough to have classes that don’t require a live or interactive experience, removing the impact on others from the equation, and in that case, there may be no reason to hesitate at all. However, if you’re sitting in on a lecture, or taking a Zoom style class where everyone can see everything that you do, then you might want to wait until the camera is off before hitting the bong.

The need for some students to have a sober learning space

You may be wondering how a few hits off a joint could possibly adversely impact one of your classmates, but the truth is that some people truly need a completely sober space to learn the best. Even if you don’t see the problem, it could make others feel uncomfortable, distracted, out of place, nervous, or tempted to smoke some themselves, when it might not be the best idea for them to do so, and no one needs to feel any of that when they have worked hard, and pay handsomely for an education.


Potential interruptions to the class

Even if you’re lucky enough to know every single classmate, so that you can be 100% sure that your smoking isn’t making anyone feel uncomfortable or distracted, the mere act of toking can be interruptive in a learning space. If all of the classes students are laughing, hitting a bong themselves, or coughing, it really doesn’t leave much room for learning to take place because no one will be able to focus on the work at hand, and that can be a problem for everyone.

Your ability to keep learning

It’s easy to say that you’ve done your homework high a million times before with no issue, but that doesn’t mean that you can truly pay attention to someone who is giving you a lesson if you’re getting high at the same time. For some people, the answer will be yes, and they may even pay attention better after a couple of hits, as they are the ones that can benefit from cannabis, but for most, it will make absorbing the information challenging and staying focused harder than it needs to be.

The responsibility of teachers

If you really want to get high in class, then you need to recognize that your teacher or professor has a responsibility to you as well as many other students, to provide a high-quality education that moves you all ahead towards a brighter future. While this exceptional time does mean that some exceptions should be made in regards to cannabis use in the virtual learning world, it is essential that everyone stays responsible, respectful, and cooperative for this online thing to work, so be sure to keep your teacher in mind when you make this decision.

Cannabis may help you to combat the stresses of online learning


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