by Tasha Kerry on 21/09/2018 | Cultural

Can Dating Apps End Stoner Stigma?

Dating Apps Puffyapp is a new dating app launched to help potheads connect, and meet a dope soul-mate. It’s the latest in a stream of cannabis dating apps including HighThere!, 420 Singles, and My 420 Mate designed for stoners who want to break out of the cannabis closet, and share their enthusiasm for getting high. Maybe they can also end stoner stigma?


The Reality of Stoner Dating

Stoners meet each other in the most haphazard of ways, like exiting a dealer’s den and randomly striking up conversation with an attractive fellow customer – which rarely happens, so when it does, it’s a nice shock. Festivals can also be good spots to meet like-minded freaks, and ideal places for sharing joints, but again, it can be hit and miss unless the event attracts a known canna-crowd. Plus, let’s face it, stoners are a particular breed, but that’s doesn’t mean we’re all the same. On the contrary, widely varying interests and consumption habits mean no two stoners are alike.

However, when it comes to dating, cannabis users share some interesting traits according to a recent study by OKCupid, the online dating site. They surveyed one million of their users to explore the intersection of cannabis, dating, love and sex, and found some interesting trends. 65.4 per cent of surveyed daters said they’d prefer if their partners didn’t smoke, but it was okay if a potential mate puffed in the past. However, cannabis smokers of all varieties  – past and present, both occasional and regular – are having way more orgasms than non-toking daters. 55 per cent of women who are regular cannabis users climax easily compared to less than 40 per cent of women who have never smoked. Similar trends applied to men.

Cannabis users are more open to different kinds of relationships, too. While 43.1 per cent of users are open to love, 42.2 per cent just want sex compared to 73.2 per cent of non-users who are only interested in finding true love. So, cannabis users are more interested in sex, and get off more regularly. That’s not all. More than 80 per cent of cannabis users are open to a bisexual relationship whereas more than 45 per cent of non-users are not. It turns out faith plays a big part in cannabis use: more than 50 per cent of non-users consider religion important compared to just 9.8 per cent of regular cannabis users. More than 40 per cent of users have no interest in religion.

Confronting Stoner Stigma

Photo of a young man logging into a dating app that targets cannabis users. He has a mobile phone in his left hand, and a vaporizer in his right hand.

Based on those stats, we can assume that a significant number of non-users are law-abiding churchgoers while their toking counterparts are secular sluts – a glib generalization for sure, but one that bears out in everyday experiences. The controversial legal status of cannabis over the last 90 years has stigmatized its use, forced users to keep their habit secret, and made criminals out of millions.

In a recent Van der Pop study, 66 per cent of female cannabis users unsurprisingly agreed that cannabis consumption carries a stigma. As a result many of these women are cut off: 78 per cent are looking for information on cannabis, and a whopping 62 per cent don’t have a trusted resource – that’s a lot of ladies looking for a cannabis connection, and maybe more.

Even in Canada, soon to be the first G7 country in the world to regulate cannabis, both recreational and medical marijuana users are cagey, preferring to keep their use hidden from co-workers. Patricia Erickson, an adjunct sociology professor at the University of Toronto says that attitudes to cannabis use won’t “change overnight.” She says that getting a criminal record for cannabis is like “losing your social virginity.” For the millions of black Americans who’ve been locked up on cannabis charges, it’s a lot worse – they can lose their life.

Spread the Green Love

It will take a lot more than legalization to end the stigma of cannabis use; it will take a program of mass education and a cultural shift, and there’s no question that apps like Puffyapp will play a role in that shift. Due to their clandestine set up, online dating apps appeal to stoners who keep their use secret, as well as those who want to reach out and connect with new potheads. For ladies on the hunt for a weed hookup, what better place to start than a cannabis dating app?

Puffyapp entices new users with pithy lines like Connect Through Cannabis, and Puff Someone Near You. Right now, the app is only available to iOS users in America, but has already accumulated 165,000 accounts, and was one of the top trending app in the App Store earlier this year. They’ve got an Android version in the works, and when it launches, they expect to hit more than 200,000 users by the end of the year.

Promotional photo for the “High There!” dating app that targets cannabis users. On the left you can see the logo; on the right is a mobile phone showing the app with a layout that is reminiscent of the well-known Tinder dating app.

Puffyapp allows users to post cannabis-related photos and videos so all those photos that can’t go on Facebook finally have a home. But don’t think that Facebook doesn’t have a toe in the cannabis pie. Both HighThere! and 420 Singles give the option to sign up with a Facebook account, and even uses the same profile picture, proving that not everyone feels the need to hide their cannabis use – stats on these people would be interesting.

In order to start talking with someone on Puffyapp, both parties must first connect, which separates the app from other cannabis dating platforms where anyone can contact anyone on the site once an account is live. This feature adds a layer of security as well as fun. The search function works a lot like Tinder: users can “pass” on members until they find someone they want to “puff” with, and if the other puffer wants to join, a conversation can start. HighThere! works in a similar way, except the buttons are labeled “next” and “connect.”

Too Soon for Green Love

We’re a long way away from the day when sparking a spliff in public is as socially acceptable as pouring a glass of wine, and right now, anything that helps break the misinformed stigma dogging cannabis is a good thing. Even dating apps, though they have their own stigma to deal with.

A recent survey by the tech company ReportLinker found that 39 per cent of couples met their mate through friends as compared to 8 per cent who met on a dating app, and only 19 per cent of U.S. single adults use a dating site. Plus, 54 per cent of respondents have a negative opinion of online dating platforms in general.

Estimates put the number of stoners worldwide at around 180 million but the real number is probably three times that, if not more. That’s a lot of people waiting to come out of the cannabis closet, and maybe even fall in love. If most people still rely on friends to make new connections, it means nothing beats an old-fashioned face-to-face as the best way to see if there’s a spark with someone new. What’s the solution? Maybe we all need to get off our phones, away from our laptops, and start hanging around our dealer’s den more often?

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