Looking at it from a medical perspective
There is an indelible link between weed and ink! The stereotypical ‘stoner’ image is of a reckless individual, and society also didn’t think much of individuals with several tattoos at one time.
Over the last couple of years, however, the negative stigma surrounding marijuana and tattoos has wholly changed. Thanks to the efforts of many millennials who support both and have the tools and knowledge to use social media and other forms of exposure, the perception of both are slowly changing. Most polls now show a 65% support for legalized marijuana in the United States.
The growing openness of pot and the tech-savvy know-how of today’s generation is driving cannabis legalization efforts forward. The hope is that people will understand the actual healing properties of marijuana rather than be misled by false information. Not every person who uses the herb is a hopeless pothead. Indeed, the addiction rate of cannabis is below 10% by most accounts, a lower percentage than alcohol or tobacco.
People use marijuana for many reasons, some of which are solely medical. Others smoke pot to get high and relieve their day to day stress.
Similar to cannabis, tattoos have become more acceptable and today’s generation understands that it is a form of expression and art. Having yourself inked doesn’t mean that you’re a criminal or part of a gang. Today, people ink their bodies for various reasons and it has a different meaning for each individual. Some see ink as a reflection of one’s personality, expression of self, a symbol of a significant life event, or even merely a form of body accessory.
The question shouldn’t be whether to get tattoos or use marijuana, but whether you should do them both at the same time.
Should You Smoke Weed While Getting a Tattoo?
Understanding the Tattoo Process
A tattoo is a permanent design placed on your skin with pigments inserted through pricks into the skin’s top layer. In most cases, the artist uses a handheld device that acts as a body sewing machine. Every time the artist punctures the surface, he/she drops a tiny ink droplet. This action causes a small amount of bleeding and slight, potentially significant, pain.
What Does Marijuana Do to Your Body?
Marijuana has numerous effects on the body, but in this article, we are going to focus on two aspects that could seem related to the process of getting a tattoo.
1) Your Blood
Following cannabis consumption, non-regular users will experience a mild to moderate increase in blood pressure and heart rate. This could affect the flow of your body’s blood. Repeated users, however, may develop a tolerance to this immediate reaction, and therefore it is debatable whether or not there is even a connection between the two.
Other theories suggest that smoking pot can immediately increase your heart rate, which leads to increased blood flow through your vessels. This process might result in increased bleeding among specific users who take longer to clot.
2) The Pain
This depends on the strain you are using and your body’s reaction to weed. Some strains will dull your sensitivity/feelings and help with the pain. Others will do the opposite. For some people, smoking marijuana before getting tattooed can cause more pain than usual as the weed affects the body’s sensitivity to pain.
Studies on the topic are also currently mixed. While THC relieves pain for specific conditions, individuals have reported that they’ve experienced painful shocks, heat, and other unpleasant side effects. It has also increased their sensitivity to pain.
Could You Have a Pleasant Experience?
Undoubtedly! A large number of people claim that they feel relaxed when having a tattoo while high. In this case, they control their muscle functions more, which helps them stay still. In this instance, you can tell when the effect is about to wear off because you find it harder NOT to move.
Those with ample experience of ink and herb recommend using a small edible. Depending on the tattoo, you could end up in the artist’s chair for some time. The high from smoked or vaped marijuana doesn’t last nearly as long as when you consume an edible. As it takes anywhere from 30-120 minutes to take effect, don’t wait until you are in the tattoo parlor before using it!
In theory, you may think it is a good idea to get stupidly high before taking the ink. In reality, you need a controlled high that allows you to ease up and relax the body. If you enjoy the tattoo experience, getting excessively stoned only ruins it.
If you elect to try the herb before a tattoo, your best bet is a pure indica, if possible, or at least an indica-dominant hybrid. When you get it right, you’ll feel a splendid sensation of relaxation. A strong sativa could result in you shaking out of your seat! The last thing you need is a cerebral high that helps you think more. In this case, you could end up focusing on the pain a little too much.
Is a Post-Tattoo Smoke Better?
Probably! As you probably know, there are ample potentially beneficial compounds in the marijuana plant. These include cannabinoids with anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, not to mention healing antioxidants. If you go down this route, take a smoke directly after to ease the pain and begin the healing process. Then, take an edible to draw things out a little further.
Another option is to opt for a high-CBD strain. Consume an edible an hour beforehand, and consider vaping some CBD oil while in the chair. There is no concern over intoxicating effects, and it may kick in during the tattooing process. A large dose of CBD could help ease pain and inflammation.
Once you conclude the process, consider applying CBD balm to expedite the healing process. However, you should check with your tattoo artist to ensure that your chosen brand does not contain any additional ingredients which will irritate your new ink.
Final Thoughts about Cannabis and Tattoos
It seems as if there still isn’t conclusive evidence, and while government restrictions continue to confine researchers in this country, we must rely on anecdotes. If you insist on using weed while having a tattoo, go for an indica heavy strain or choose CBD. Bear in mind that some parlors won’t work with stoned individuals. They have seen enough people freak out when the ink hits the skin!
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