Do’s & Don’ts in Colorado: Cannabis at High Altitude
Planning a trip to the Mile High City? Let’s not pass out.
I had just come back home to Colorado from visiting family in Missouri, and that same day, I visited a friend. We hung out in the basement smoking some ganja and playing video games as I enjoyed the final moments of vaca – but suddenly I felt nauseous. When ascending the stairs to get some fresh air, I collapsed and nearly fainted.
That’s when I realized high altitude really is a thing I should pay attention to. The thin air, combined with big puffs of smoke and greens, and the thin air of a basement with only one tiny window that was shut - was the perfect mixture for a blackout.
Do Consume in Well Ventilated Areas
I had just spent two weeks inhaling the thick, humid air of a state whose highest elevation is 1,772 ft. above sea level. Suddenly, I was back in colorful Colorado, whose lowest elevation is 3,315 ft. and highest point is 6,800 ft. To top it off, I was in a confined basement, hotboxing it with cannabis smoke. The result? My brain took a nap without my permission.
Once you arrive in Colorado, it’ll be tempting to throw your stuff in the hotel and search for a well-reviewed dispensary. This isn’t a problem – what’s a problem is immediately smoking in an enclosed space (like a car). Your body will need time to adjust to the sudden decrease of oxygen saturation in the blood, and depriving it more by hotboxing will only make you feel paranoid as lightheadedness and nausea overcome you - right before passing out. You’ll be fine, in most cases, but it won’t set well in your memories.
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Don’t Immediately Hotbox
It can be a social adventure: hotboxing with friends and stumbling upon great conversations. However, this won’t be good for those of us unaccustomed to high altitude. Before trying this specific experience, save it for the finale of your vacation, after your body makes some adjustments and you’ve consumed it in a ventilated space while mastering hydration…
Do Stay Well Hydrated
Before stepping on a plane or getting in a car to travel to Colorado, chug water as much as you comfortably can to stay well hydrated. At 6,000 ft., our bodies perspire and exhale double the amount of moisture than we would at sea level. Lower air pressure consequences quicker evaporation from the lungs and skin’s surface. Our bodies are working overtime to compensate for the loss of oxygen, and dehydration is the last thing you want to mix into the experience.
Don’t Immediately Drink Alcohol
It sure is tempting – trying some Durban Poison while sipping on a cold local brew. There’s a piece of my story I forgot to mention – my friend and I were not only smoking, but drinking some Blue Moon too… Yes, I learned the hard way that night. Again, give your body time to adjust before feeding your bloodstream and brain alcohol on top of smoke-filled lungs.
Do Keep Your Body Moving
To speed up the acclimatization process so you can get your party on full-throttle, it’s recommended to engage in physical activity the first couple of days upon arriving. Enjoy the hiking trails, take a walk in Estes Park, rent a bike in downtown Denver… Just keep moving to keep your heart rate up, fueling your body efficiently.
Don’t Engage in Extreme Physical Activity
While we want to speed up acclimatization of high altitude, we don’t want to overdo it. Our bodies are working overtime to keep the oxygen levels up, and causing the heart to race while engaging in rigorous activity will lead to a blackout. Keep the activity levels up, just not out of control.
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And as always, take small puffs, get to know what your tolerance levels are, and have fun enjoying the greens of the state.