Mental shortcuts such as stereotyping are useful when making fast decisions. This allows the brain to quickly decide whether someone is good or bad based on a set of fixed, overgeneralized beliefs. But more often than not, stereotypes are not only inaccurate but also detrimental as it perpetuates false beliefs about targeted groups of people. Such is a fact of life for even medical cannabis users who are frowned upon as nothing more than stoners in some instances.
Stoner stereotype is a label for good-for-nothing loafers slapped on cannabis users back in the days. It is a derogatory term used on people who have no place in society. However, as recent perspective shifts due to the increasing awareness of its medicinal benefits, the easing of regulations and legalization have diminished the negative connotations.
The 3 Stereotype Stoners
No plant was as ever vilified as cannabis. Forget that its derivatives used to dominate western pharmacopeia over a century ago. Once campaigns were launched by special business interest groups, it would not take long before the government prohibited its cultivation, distribution, sales, and consumption. As a banned substance, its use attracted unsavory people hence the association with notoriety.
Even under prohibitions, the benefits of cannabis still proved too much to ignore. Granted that there are many people who use it for the sole purpose of getting high, there is also an increasing medical consumer base. As shown by many studies, even the psychoactive THC do have pharmacological benefits. Backed by activists and science, its potential as a treatment and source of relief is gaining more acceptance. Even so, the stoner stereotype remains.
Regardless of individuality and personal background, many people using cannabis are unfairly ascribed with negative traits such as laziness, apathy, addiction, lack of sense of direction in life, societal burdens, even criminals, and many more. To be considered one or associated with a stoner was an utter disgrace in the eyes of misinformed individuals.
As if tagging a cannabis user as a stoner is not enough, other terms have come up over the years to classify people by demeanor, interest, and even the choice of wardrobe.
1. Drop Outs
The most iconic representation of stoners and often portrayed in movies are the dropouts. These individuals are seen as not having seen the end of high school due to skipping classes. On the other hand, the lucky ones who do stay in school are the same people who use empty bathroom stalls as smoking dens. When caught and kicked out of school, part-time jobs are the only salvation – that is if there is even the motivation to work. Dropouts are often perceived to be lazy, penniless troublemakers with poor hygiene who can only think about getting high.
Dropouts are frequently found in dark alleys rendezvousing with sketchy drug dealers. During transactions, both parties are always wary of the police and dressed in black to blend into the darkness. Most of these people are known to the authorities because of past transgressions and having been caught multiple times.
Stereotype troublemakers no longer hold true nowadays as there are legitimate ways of purchasing high-grade cannabis without breaking the law. Dispensaries can be found in many states and countries. And, even in the absence of one, fewer people buy from the dark alleys as it is far more convenient to buy online.
Jobless and Lazy
A common perception is that stoners are not motivated. This perpetuates the belief that cannabis users are couch potatoes who camp in the basement with junk food littering the floor. Apparently, these dropouts stay this way for an extended period because jobs are not on the priority list. And, even if one were to get a job, the work ethic leaves a lot to be desired. Poor time management, unfocused, and unsatisfactory performance, in general, is attributed to the consequences of using cannabis.
Amidst these negative impressions, many of the people who do use cannabis have done splendidly albeit unknown by others. Were it not for famous celebrities, the beneficial effects of the plant would not have been made aware and appreciated. The Hollywood comedian, writer, and producer, for example, admitted to smoking joints while writing to boost his productivity and concentration.
Thinks About Marijuana All the Time
Overdosing is subjective and depends on the definition. If it pertains to devastating effects, then it does not take much more than a few extra tokes. On the other hand, if it is about the lethal dosage, then that is almost an impossibility as it entails consuming 680 kilos of cannabis within 15 minutes. Regardless, a more pressing concern is the habitual use and dependency. In turn, this prompted the impression that dropouts think of weed all the time and nothing else.
It is timely, therefore, that some people of prominence have spoken about the benefits of cannabis. For example, the star of Saturday Night Live Pete Davidson smoked weed daily for eight years. One of the reasons he gave, apart from the sheer love of its consumption, is managing depression brought about by borderline personality disorder. It also helped him deal with the chronic inflammatory bowel disease Chron’s.
Despite the prolonged use, the famous celebrity was still able to function – perhaps even better – without getting caught up in the claws of drug abuse. This is a reminder that weed consumption is all good as long as it is within reasonable dosage.
Poor From Weed Expenditure
Closely related to the notion that cannabis use automatically results in addiction, there is a belief that stoners only care about weed. Being dropouts who are not likely earning good money, the perception is that these individuals owe money from friends with promises of paying back that never happens.
In reality, occasional users typically are disciplined in setting aside a specific amount of money for weed. A small stash goes a long way as it takes only a tiny amount to get high.
One of the things that get compromised due to “marijuana first policy” is personal hygiene. Because stoners seem to spend every waking moment smoking, it is perceived that these people do not have any time to take a shower or even brush teeth. This, combined with the stink of smoked weed, makes users look and smell uninvitingly.
However, most of the time, that notion is not true. Poor grooming is a personal choice and should not be attributed to weed consumption. If a person values hygiene, nothing – not even getting high – can prevent the desire to maintain and take care of one’s appearance.
In the late 60s to early 70s, the hippies were defined as the youth who rejected established cultural norms in America. The aim is to condemn violence and the government while maintaining peace and order. During those times, hippies have built quite a reputation and left trademarks that are still easily recognizable today.
Likes Colorful Tie-dyed Shirts
Hippie stoners are assumed only to wear clothes of the brightest colors. Tie-dyed shirts with red, blue, yellow and green swirls are usually the first things that come to mind. Then comes the accessories: rose-colored sunglasses, headbands, and various adornments.
If these hippies are not in tie-dye shirts, then bright patterned clothes with bell bottoms seem to be the next indicators. The bell bottom pants also have pins with signs of “peace,” “love,” or rainbows. Whatever it may be, the gaudy appearances indeed attract attention.
After being out of fashion for a long time, tie-dyed shirts are once again becoming a trend nowadays. Just because a person wears this fashion statement should no longer suggest cannabis use. In fact, most smokers are dressed casually or in business attire.
Peaceful, Happy Stoners
The hippies might have the best image out of all stoner stereotypes. Often seen as the most peaceful cannabis smokers, whether relaxing blowing smoke rings or hitting the bong, these people sit around spreading nothing but peace and good vibes to everyone. Generally, these people are happy and make the best out of their lives. Hippies can sit down with anyone and talk about almost anything positively.
While this might be the case for some, it is inaccurate to think that this applies to all smokers. Weed affects everyone differently. Although some may experience bliss and relaxation, others can be overwhelmed with paranoia, anxiety, and other psychotic-like symptoms.
The effects of marijuana appear to have different impacts, thereby giving rise to the birth of the word “psychedelic.” Hippies high on cannabis often seem to be lost in deep thought. They analyze things way more profoundly than they should. However, when things get too far, they often teeter on the verge of hallucinating.
This trait can indeed be observed in cannabis smokers. Nonetheless, they can still hold regular conversations. Marijuana strains such as XJ-13 are great conversation boosters and socializing. So, the effect of being deeply philosophical really depends on the person and the particular variety used.
These types of stoners are hardcore gamers who have all the latest video game consoles. Weed seems to keep them energized so that they can play all day and all night long. They have no time nor desire to socialize. Day in and day out, the game is seemingly the only thing that matters.
Fidgety And Socially Anxious
Because the gamer stoners practically live in an augmented reality day in and day out, they are perceived to be too anxious to interact with the real world. Their hands tend to be fidgety in the absence of game controls. Often regarded as introverts, individuals who fall under this category are anxious and would rather deal with two-dimensional characters instead of real people. While their gaming skills are on point, their socialization skills are seen to be quite lacking.
In reality, though, social anxiety is likely brought upon by the lack of social interaction and not the effect of weed consumption. This applies to most weed smokers who experience social anxiety – whether a gamer or not. It is probable that the unwillingness to socialize is the consequence of the stigma and stereotypes surrounding cannabis use.
The tendency to slouch is related to how stoners are perceived to be always hanging around the couch. This relaxed position is almost automatic when gamers intently play games or smoke relaxing cannabis strains. They often forget about everything else while having a good time – including good posture. Usually, the automaticity of slouching becomes an unconscious habit.
However, something as trivial as one’s lousy posture is not a sufficient indication to classify one as a stoner. While being baked can indeed cause one to slump due to intense relaxation, slouching is a problem that is often observed even among non-smokers. Besides, some individuals have good posture despite consuming weed.
Why Stereotypes No Longer Matter
As the medical field continues to shed light on the benefits of cannabis, its consumption is gradually being normalized in societies with progressive takes on this issue. This is evident in the legalization of marijuana in several states and the reconsideration of lawmakers in other conservative countries if its use should really be banned at all.
Nowadays, cannabis users residing in states where marijuana is legal no longer need to go the extra mile to be discreet with its use. Stoners are progressively being accepted into society. Gone were the days when smokers are stereotyped and ascribed bad traits just because they consume cannabis. Movements against these stereotypes are slowly breaking barriers by dispelling the stigma surrounding weed by making it known that people’s choice to use it does not make them less of a person.
Stereotypes Will Go Up In Smokes
Cannabis has a long and controversial history. While ancient civilizations revered it for its therapeutic properties, it was later banned during the 19th century due to its propensity for abuse. This is also the time when public campaigns were launched to vilify and condemn cannabis use. Consequently, negative stereotypes were ingrained in people’s mind and stoners were treated as outcasts.
It is only until the recent years that lawmaking bodies ratified the prohibition of marijuana. This, coupled with the efforts of anti-stereotyping movements in dispelling the stigma around its use, paved the way for a more accepting and stoner-friendly society. While some of these negative stereotypes still linger up to this day, these are gradually going up in smokes as more and more people recognize that stereotypes are nothing but overgeneralized and often inaccurate assumptions that involve little thinking – if any at all.