How I Make It Work With a Partner Who Doesn’t Smoke WeedBy Anna Duckworth
The more obsessed with weed I’ve become over the past few years, the more I've worried it would get in the way of my relationship. My partner—who doesn’t have social media so don’t even look him up!—did his meaningful weed chapter in his teen and college years. So while he was peaking on weed in university, I, on the other hand, was getting drunk off keg stands.
We both grew up in Canada where weed was part of the fabric of our youth and so, like any good kid in university, he conducted his entire engineering degree high. I didn't know him then, but I've been told he rolled the best joints and, back then, was never caught without his puka shell necklace and those skate shoes that were puffy enough to take a nap on. I mean.
Dating and weed
But cut to a decade later when we became an item: He was a different guy and I was too. While I’d moved closer to weed in my epic maturity (lol), he'd taken the opposite tack and sworn off of it completely. I’d realized that beer and booze didn’t jive with celiac disease—a diagnosis I got in my early 20s—and that if I so much as drank a single glass of wine, I’d pay dearly for it the day after. Meanwhile, he was responding to paralyzing bouts of anxiety that were triggered every time he smoked.
And so, the more excited I became about the potential weed held to replace a glass of wine at the end of the day, to put me to sleep, to reduce my inflammation from celiac disease, to get weird with my friends, to have more fun sex, to comfort me whilst watching junky TV, the more isolated I felt from my partner.
But we did find the comfy spot, where both our needs were satisfied. Put simply: it took time and it took me making it about me—not about him. Because it’s true what they say about us being our own harshest critics. Even when we’re not high.
"But we did find the comfy spot, where both our needs were satisfied. Put simply: it took time and it took me making it about me—not about him. Because it’s true what they say about us being our own harshest critics. Even when we’re not high."
How we got here
I’d had the experience we all originally had with weed: a good time high, followed by a bad time high. And in the end, no real sense of how to control that experience. The unregulated and illegal cannabis market made it incredibly difficult to source a specific experience, much less repeat it—which had always been my issue. It was also why, despite the negative side effects that came with alcohol for me, it took me so long to fully transition to be the weed woman I am today.
It all changed when I started spending more time in California. I was living in Toronto at the time, but wintering in LA when I was introduced to a very sophisticated cannabis offering here—one I’d never seen before. I learned about low-dose edibles, vapes, terpenes, flower blends. All of a sudden, my prayers were answered: I could control my weed experience and I could repeat it.
Eventually, I made the move to LA and began my full-blown cannabis safari. I was trying every product. I mean, I couldn’t find enough hours in the day to try them all—there were so many things to explore. I begged my partner to try the products with me. At the time, I was working at another cannabis brand where my remit was education, so I was as equipped as I would ever be to regale him with the science and the data.
I tried my best to convince him by explaining that the weed on offer now was different than the weed he had grown up on. But he wouldn’t have it.
There I was, on this adventure with the plant—and with myself, as we're wont to do with weed—and he wasn’t with me.
"I did have some baggage about consuming cannabis alone—because we’ve been socialized to have that."
I pushed the point so hard. I’d be lying to say it didn’t bother him and me. The more I pushed, the more self-conscious I became about my consumption. The more he turned it down and the more agitated he seemed, the worse I was feeling about what I had come to understand as a new ritual for me.
But then one day, we had a breakthrough. I leveled with him by explaining how I’d been feeling over the past few months: I told him that I’d been struggling to smoke or consume alone, that my need for him to join me was about my own shit, and not his. Meaning, I did have some baggage about consuming cannabis alone—because we’ve been socialized to have that. I got straight with myself about the source of my angst and, as ever, that was the beginning of a whole new dialogue.
I stopped pushing and he started to come closer, even sharing in a joint once in a blue moon.
Today we laugh about it because we understand each other. As he pours his regular glass of wine, I light a joint. As we slip into the bath together on a Saturday night—because who goes out anymore?—I toast his cocktail with my J. When we have sex, and I want to spice it up, I reach for the cannabis lube and he doesn’t fight me.
I still hold onto hope that I’ll cultivate in this man a partner who loves to get high with me as often as I’d like, because it’s peak intimacy for me when we do. But I’ll settle for a once-in-a-while kind of relationship. Because finally, I’m at peace with the fact that what I like is different from what he likes.
And that will never take away from how happy I am that his credit score is now mine. And vice versa.