According to a 2020 study, bongs, bowls and vape pens contain 50% more bacteria than a public toilet and around 90% more than a garbage dumpster.
Ready or not, live music is set to make its long-awaited return in 2021. Although the COVID-19 debacle put concerts on hold for more than a year, the word on the street is that we could see these events making a comeback in the coming months.
Bob Ruox, president of Live Nation’s U.S. concerts, recently told Rolling Stone in a statement that “all signs point to 2021 getting back to the summer concert season we all know and love. With vaccines being available to everyone in May,” he continued, “we’re confident events can return to regular capacity soon after.”
To some antsy music lovers, this news sounds like society is about to return to normal, and everything we love about live shows — camaraderie with strangers, expensive beer, free drugs — is on the fringe of a resurgence. But not so fast. While Americans will get out this summer and feed their sonically deprived ears with loud guitars and a reason to live, caution will continue to be a requirement. Most of the immunization era restrictions will come with limited seating and masks, but health pros probably won’t warn Americans about another significant health risk: Smoking marijuana with others.
Listen, marijuana and concerts have been a thing since the inception of, well, marijuana and concerts. Many of us got our first experience with weed while watching musicians perform onstage. But times are a-changing, even though Bob Dylan probably never thought his lyrics would mean that we’d have to, one day, amend the way we use pot as part of the concert experience. Even with Dr. Fauci saying that people should be able to feel safe being in an audience by “early-to-mid fall,” the science surrounding the spread of viruses remains the same. So, maybe taking a hit off the joint getting passed around the crowd isn’t the best move this year.
We know that COVID-19 travels mostly from person-to-person by way of respiratory droplets. It’s the reason everyone has been walking around faceless for the past 12 months. Other viruses, like herpes, can also spread through saliva. So whether we are talking about a virus that could have you on life support by September or just one that makes your lips look like a deleted scene of a horror film, smoking marijuana (or anything else for that matter) with others should be avoided.
Studies have shown that consuming marijuana through smoking devices is filthy business anyway. According to a 2020 study, bongs, bowls and vape pens contain 50% more bacteria than a public toilet and around 90% more than a garbage dumpster. Furthermore, the average smoking device — like the one you might have in front of you right now — has 1304% more bacteria than a dog food bowl, 530% more than a cell phone screen, 92% more than an ATM keypad, and 62% more than the handle on a shopping cart.
So, yeah, smoking marijuana in a communal setting is pretty disgusting. Some of you might even have compromised immune systems after being on lockdown for the past year. Even though many are getting vaccinated as a way to stave off the Rona — and studies have shown that vaccinations are extremely effective — they’re still willing to lick the cannabis equivalent of a toilet seat. So in the interest of a healthier America, maybe it’s better if concerts are BYOB for a while.
It’s conceivable that we might need to rethink how we use pot at concerts from here on out. Thanks to legalization in more states, that’s easier to do now than it has been in the past. There is a whole slew of cannabis products on the market these days designed for the personal pot experience. Edibles and vape pens are among some of the most popular.
Sure, a lot of old-time stoners refuse to give up smoking as their favorite consumption method, and that’s perfectly fine. We need those people to fill the air at concerts with the aroma of marijuana to let us know that the drum solo is around the corner. Just keep that soggy, fish-lipped, petri dish to yourselves.
Now, let’s rock!