Photo credit: Nemanja Cosovic.
A picture-perfect Sunday might mean waking up to natural sunlight followed a mimosa brunch with the girls. But it might also include cuddling up in blankets after the yoga sesh, with a Harry Potter movie marathon playing featuring some yummy food and the perfect strain of smooth Gelato in one’s lap. One may describe the latter as a Cali Sober day, featuring a hangover-free Monday back at work, because let’s face it, Mondays are bad enough.
Whether it’s temporary (hello Dry January) or a more permanent reprieve from alcohol for mental or physical health reasons, or not — many are opting for entheogens over alcohol.
Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse has found that amid the pandemic, the general population has been more stressed and anxious than usual. Not entirely groundbreaking news. What’s interesting, though, is according to that same study, college-aged students are consuming less alcohol while cannabis and psychedelic consumption among the same demographic is increasing.
Some attribute this to more health conscious younger generations. According to MarketWatch, some simply view substances like cannabis as less harmful alternatives to alcohol.
On the other hand, many also cite legalization. In fact, as the MarketWatch report also states, “in U.S. counties where marijuana was legalized, purchases of wine and beer decreased by 15% […].“
Despite the reason, people are choosing to live a different lifestyle, leading to the coining of the term Cali Sober.
Living the Cali Sober Lifestyle
There are a variety of different definitions for this term. But in general, it refers to consuming only cannabis in the place of alcohol. However, people see this lifestyle also including psychedelics.
Whatever it includes, Cali Sober has been trending throughout pop culture sites. For example, Demi Lovato even featured it as the title for one of her newest songs.
But what exactly is driving the Cali Sober trend? Emerald spoke to some peers to get the pulse on the issue.
Kenta Sasakado, a recent California Polytechnic University, Pomona graduate who used to work as a customer service representative for NUG, a cannabis company, believes the Cali Sober lifestyle is good for society. That’s because his own shift from alcohol to cannabis was so beneficial for him. Sasakado is a cannabis enthusiast with his own greenhouse which he uses to cultivate the purest form of various bud. His seeds are from around the world including places like Thailand, Panama, and Madagascar.
He, like many others, is drawn to cannabis because it does not have painful side effects like an upset stomach, headache, or nausea, etc.
Sasakado recognizes that cannabis is a substance with potential for abuse. He admittedly abused it when he was younger, and now emphasizes the importance of conscious use. He sees a lot of benefits from using cannabis, ranging from focus and relaxation to working out and staying active. Overall, Sasakado thinks that a Cali Sober lifestyle can be a beneficial one if an individual is well-informed and safe.
Everything Must Have Balance
Max Rothfeld, a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has a different opinion on the Cali Sober lifestyle. Specifically, he gravitates towards the middle of the spectrum. For instance, he believes that one should consume any substance with moderation.
“It’s difficult to think of a Cali Sober lifestyle being normal because at the end of the day you’re talking about a substance,” he told Emerald.
He explained that he understands what the trend is trying to do (normalize cannabis to negate the hypocrisy of alcohol being legal and cannabis not). But he stresses that using anything to get through the day is like a crutch.
Rothfeld abstains from alcohol as he noticed alcoholic tendencies when he would drink. He has a history of alcoholism in his family; he wanted to prevent that from becoming an issue in his own life. Rothfeld also used to heavily rely on cannabis. Now, he sticks to mostly psychedelics, detailing that they give him an “interesting perspective on things in [his] life.”
He feels that when he takes psychedelics, “social contracts are broken,” meaning that he is free to think without the restrictions his sober mind would place on him.
All-in-all, Rothfeld believes that everything must have balance. Too much of any one thing is dangerous and he is conscious to always maintain the balance.
Future Steps to a Safe Transition
Both Rothfeld and Sasakado spoke about integrating cannabis into education much earlier on in life.
Sasakado was introduced to cannabis in his pre-teen years. He suspects that he abused it because his introduction to it was not open or safe.
Similarly, Rothfeld also stresses the importance of responsible cannabis use. He feels that neutral, factual information should be more readily available to teenagers and young adults instead of biased messages.
Both Rothfeld’s and Sasakado’s point of more education is a strong one.
Cali Sober may sound like an intriguing, fun term. But an increase in the use of cannabis and psychedelics, should lead to an increase in the availability of unbiased knowledge. And, like all substances, including alcohol, conscious consumption is key.
It seems safe to say that the Cali Sober lifestyle will not be a trend. After all, everyone thought iced-coffee and yoga would be a trend, yet they’ve stuck with us and made our lives just that much sweeter.
More and more people are turning to cannabis and psychedelics to relieve anxiety, relax, and have a good time. With that will come a responsibility to remain safe and create balance in life.