by Dan Ketchum
In 1971, five teens started a tradition. Every school day at 4:20 p.m., they’d dodge the jocks and the drama to meet by a statue of Louis Pasteur at San Rafael High School and partake in their favorite pastime. Eventually, Steve Capper, Mark Gravich, Jeffrey Noel, Dave Reddix and Larry Schwartz realized that just smoking weed wasn’t enough — they challenged each other to embrace new adventures, which they called “safaris.”
Fifty years later, that’s where you come in: On this 4/20, don’t settle for the old ways. It’s time to take a few of your own epic safaris, elevate your 4/20 experience and start some traditions that are uniquely yours.
1. Take a Forest Bath…
To have a truly happy 4/20, you’ll want to embrace activities that work in tandem with your favorite highs, and few activities go so well with your favorite vape pen as the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku. It translates as “forest bathing,” or more literally, “taking in the forest atmosphere,” and it’s that second definition that nails it. This form of eco-therapy is all about combining forest walks and meditation with disconnecting from our techno-drenched world. Leave screens behind, absorb every sight, scent and sound, and walk as slowly as you breathe.
2. …or a Sound Bath
For another meditative new tradition that’s as applicable indoors as it is outdoors, absorb a little sound healing this April. Like most traditions, you can get as casual or as structured with it as you like — many cities offer professional, guided classes, or you can simply pair your meditation, tai chi or yoga with the sounds of Tibetan singing bowls, soothing bells, crystal bowls or gongs at home. Sound baths may help reduce anxious feelings and decrease your heart rate, a sensation you can enhance with strains like Herijuana or Butter OG.
3. Perfect Your Pairings
Food is such an essential part of our holiday slate, why should 4/20 be any different? Try getting down in the kitchen to make this one a happy 4/20 not just for you, but for your full-bellied guests. For a mindful springs-giving feast, bring the munchies out of the basement, focusing on crafting new, exciting or intricate dishes and infusing them or pairing them with cannabis. Pair key flavors with the dominant terpenes in your favorite strains. For instance, citrus fruit notes pair with limonene terpenes, herbaceous dishes go well with pinene, and spicy flavors lend themselves to caryophyllene terps, but that’s just the beginning. Check out our guides for the best munchies to pair with sativa and indica strains for more inspiration.
4. Take a Day Trot
Call it a hike or a forest bath, getting in touch with nature is never a bad idea for a happy 4/20. To add a communion with a majestic living creature to your regular communion with nature, lift your 4/20 celebrations into the saddle this time around. Especially for first-timers, enlist a horse-savvy friend, trainer or guide service and focus on clear-headed highs and gentle trails. And don’t forget to bring a carrot or apple or two to make a new friend.
5. Outdoor Cinema
Nowadays, a solid digital projector starts in the roughly $100 range, which means it’s time to take the home theater outside and invite your closest friends. Pair your strains with whiskey or cocktails and tapas, and pair those flavors with your cinema. Think outside the “marijuana movie” box and look to a film that’s naturally enhanced by your high. We recommend firing up that Criterion Channel subscription and looking into Cassavetes’ Faces, Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love, Tarvoksy’s Solaris or Antonioni’s The Passenger. Pool recommended, but not required.
6. Stargaze in Style
Since time immemorial, man has paired indica with starry skies and long ponderings. Take stargazing from “incidental” to “active” this year with a bit of solicitous structure. Whether you just direct your own two eyes skyward, take a camping trip to the star-drenched desert, or invest in a hobbyist telescope, choose a clear spot as free of light pollution as you can get. Free astronomy apps like Star Walk 2 and SkySafari help you get oriented with the cosmos, as do books like Terrence Dickinson’s Nightwatch and Krupp’s Beyond the Blue Horizon.
7. Make Group Art
Speaking of stargazing, Carl Sagan once said that cannabis “helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.” And if that doesn’t sound like a state of mind in which to make good art, then please tell us what is. Programs like Puff Pass and Paint help facilitate and organize group art nights across the U.S., but you can go solo or stay home, too. All you need is a creative strain like Electric Lemonade, a few supplies and Spotify’s official 4/20 playlist.
8. Plant Some Trees
Celebration on its own is valid, but celebration that fights climate change is even better. You can do it flying solo, you can do it with your partner, you can do it in a group, but something about planting a tree on 4/20 just feels right, doesn’t it?
The Arbor Day Foundation recommends planting in your community, in a national forest or just in your front yard, while The Wildlife Trusts offers detailed instructions on how to make throwable seed bombs from compost, water and powdered clay if you want to get a little more active. This 4/20, make flowers while you smoke flower.
Dan Ketchum is an LA-based freelance lifestyle, fashion, health and food writer with more than a decade of experience. He’s been fortunate enough to collaborate and publish with companies such as FOCL, LIVESTRONG, Vitagenne, Reign Together, Out East Rose, SFGate, The Seattle Times and more.
National Geographic – Forest Bathing: What It Is and Where to Do It
Healthline – What Is a Sound Bath? Everything You Need to Know
Good Housekeeping – Learn the Art of Stargazing
Adler Planetarium – Stargazing Resources: A Few Good Books
Horse & Rider – 6 Tips for First-Time Riders
Arbor Day Foundation – Everyone Can Plant a Tree & Help Fight Climate Change
The Wildlife Trusts – How to Make a Seed Bomb