Jan 11, 2023

Which Of These Cannabis Superstitions Do You Believe?

Today is Friday the 13th, that infamous day when your luck suddenly gets way worse. Of course, you probably know that’s just superstition. It’s not real, right?

But even if you know that, it can be hard to shake the feeling that there’s something to that superstition. That your luck might be better – no dead vape batteries, no lost lighters, no accidentally dropping the blunt off the balcony, no spilling your seltzer directly into your just-filled grinder – if it was any other day. 

Cannabis and superstition have a long shared history. Cannabis superstition flourished under prohibition, where cannabis information and culture was only able to be shared in fear and out of sight, and scientific research was severely limited.

In the modern day, we’re a lot better informed about cannabis than we used to. But there are still some cannabis superstitions that endure to this day – including some you might believe yourself.

Keep reading to find out why they stick around…and if there’s any truth to them.

If you eat a mango before you light up, it lowers your tolerance

Cut up fresh mango with a Fernway Mango Traveler.

You’ve probably heard this one before. Slice up a mango, get to snackin’, then light up and you’ll feel twice as high. Pretty good deal to make the most of that eighth, right? 

First, let’s just get this out of the way – if you’ve had this experience, that’s awesome. Anything is possible, after all!

But the fact remains that there’s no scientific evidence to support the idea that eating a mango directly enhances your high. Mangoes do contain the terpene myrcene, which is also present in certain cannabis strains. However, there’s also no clear evidence that myrcene alters your high.

And since not all mango varieties contain myrcene and the ones that do only contain tiny amounts, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that chomping down on some juicy mango before you hit the vape is going to do anything other than make you less hungry. 

Take only 2 hits, then pass to the left

Person's hand holding a blunt.

The British group Musical Youth scored a runaway hit in 1982 with “Pass The Dutchie”, and you’re probably already singing the chorus to yourself right now:

Pass the dutchie ‘pon the left hand side

Pass the dutchie ‘pon the left hand side

“Pass The Dutchie” is actually an adaptation of an earlier song called “Pass The Kouchie” by the Jamaican band The Mighty Diamonds – “kouchie” being Rastafari slang for a pipe. Musical Youth’s version, despite changing the lyrics to be less cannabis-forward, still sold millions of copies, and the concept of passing clockwise was adopted wherever smoke circles are formed.

The “take two and pass” / “puff puff pass” custom has murkier origins, but it makes a basic kind of sense. Everyone in the circle should be able to get the same share of the joint/blunt/vape/dutchie so instituting a 2-hits-max makes sure everyone gets an equal taste.

But let’s think about that – is everyone really getting an equal taste? What about the people with big or small lungs? How about the people who prefer just one hit? What if somebody starts passing it to the right – is it the next person’s job to enforce the correct passing direction? And at the end of the day, is cannabis always so scarce that we need to ration it like it’s water on a desert island?

Seems complicated. We say, take two and pass to the left if that makes you comfortable. But don’t be afraid to switch it up. In 2023 we’re passing counterclockwise, across, taking 1.5 hits – the sky’s the limited.

White lighters are bad luck

White lighter standing on a white surface, casting a soft shadow.

Ah, the ever-present Bic disposable lighter. You might have one in your pocket right now. And if it’s a white lighter, don’t worry – it’s not cursed. 

The association of white lighters with bad luck grew out of a tragic urban legend. The rumor was that four rock and roll icons – Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain – all died with white lighters in their pockets. 

Snopes did a thorough debunking of this superstition, pointing out that Bic didn’t start selling white lighters until after Morrison, Hendrix and Joplin had all passed away. It’s totally fine to have a lighter color preference – some people only buy brown lighters. But if someone rolls up to the party with a white lighter, or if it’s the only color available at the gas station, there’s no need to worry.

If you packed the bowl, let someone else hit it first

Closeup of a hand holding a packed bowl.

This one is less of a superstition and more of an etiquette tip, and to be honest, it’s not a bad tip. It’s just not as good as it might seem. 

The idea is: the first hit is the most flavorful one, and every hit after that will be increasingly less tasty and harsher as you get to the bottom of the bowl. So if you want to be polite, you offer that first hit to someone else as an act of pure altruism.

But here’s where it gets tricky. Even if the “green hit” is the tastiest, it may not be the most pleasant. Ever packed a bowl too tight, and only realized it after the first hit? You’re lighting and inhaling hard but for some reason you’re just not getting much smoke, and it’s only then that you realize you need to poke a toothpick or a paperclip through the bud to create airflow.

We’ve all had this happen, and it’s no fun. And in those cases, taking the first hit isn’t selfish – it’s an act of true selflessness, because you can troubleshoot the hit before passing it on. 

In conclusion – as long as there’s cannabis, there will be superstition. They go hand in hand. Sometimes it’s something that only one person believes; other times, it’s millions. In the end, superstition can be fun, exciting, or even the inspiration for a Wikipedia rabbithole journey.

But it doesn’t need to complicate things. So if it is – let it go, enjoy your sesh, and make your own rules!


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