Cannabis and the Tattooing Experience
Before I became a full-time writer, I owned a tattoo studio. To this day, it is still one of the greatest jobs I have ever had. I remember the people and the chill atmosphere fondly. As a tattoo and cannabis enthusiast, I have been asked quite a few times on whether or not combining cannabis and the tattoo experience is a good idea. The answer? Yes and no!
Enhancing the Experience
Many people use cannabis because it enhances certain experiences, such as food, watching movies and even sex. We love cannabis because of the way it can bring clarity, focus and more enjoyment to some everyday activities through its ability to enhance, elevate and lift.
Ask yourself this question before you light up for your next tattoo session: If cannabis intensifies experiences, how much of your tattoo experience do you truly want to have enhanced? Enough said.
In my experience, many people who use cannabis regularly will actually abstain from lighting up before getting a tattoo. This is because cannabis brings too much focus, clarity and enhancement. Anyone who is tattooed will tell you that it isn’t a particularly comfortable experience. Smoking beforehand may make you more aware of the fact that you’re going through a painful experience, and may even make you squeamish due to the possible blood and bodily fluids that sometimes come with getting a tattoo.
If you are interested in using cannabis for its calming effects and to help with your anxiety, this is where cannabidiol (CBD) comes in. CBD-rich strains like AC/DC, Cannatonic and Harlequin are often reported as helping people control feelings of anxiety, which are common to the tattoo experience.
Combining Cannabis with Aftercare
Now that you’ve gone through the often-excruciating process of getting a tattoo, the aftercare period is the perfect time to embrace cannabis. Smoking or vaping cannabis can help relieve your pain and bring your adrenaline levels down to normal levels, especially since adrenaline can increase as your body responds to the pain of the tattoo.
Tattoo aftercare is just as important as the actual tattoo itself. I tell clients that a tattoo is like an open wound. You’ll want to treat it as such until it shows signs of healing.
Cannabis tattoo aftercare topicals are hitting the market in droves, recognizing that cannabis topicals can help reduce swelling, pain and speed up the healing process. Nurse Mary J is a recognizable, industry-leading brand. This product is infused with CBD and helps reduce pain and swelling while still allowing the tattoo to breathe, which is essential to promote healing.
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to find a THC-infused salve that could act as a tattoo topical. THC salves help tremendously with pain and soreness, while providing a bit of a tingly sensation. It is important to make sure that what you’re using on your tattoo is not overly waxy or oily, as breathability is of the utmost importance!
Do What Makes You Comfortable
Personally, I enjoy using cannabis before and during the tattoo process when I can. Cannabis relaxes me and allows me focus on the art that is becoming a part of me. I love watching the tattoo process, sometimes to the chagrin of my artist… but that’s just me!
I’ll always encourage cannabis enthusiasts to embrace the benefits of cannabis for pain and anxiety management and to experiment with the topicals that contain CBD and THC to help promote the tattoo healing process. If you are a bit squeamish, I would recommend leaving the cannabis until after your tattoo is complete. You don’t want to be in a headspace that will ruin your tattoo experience. When it comes down to it though, do what will make you (and your artist) as comfortable as possible!
Anne-Marie is a freelance cannabis writer and educator dedicated to cultivating and disseminating important knowledge about cannabis as legalization spreads across the globe. After earning her BA and Masters, she followed an exciting career in the research and education field, finding innovative ways to create collaborations between community needs and research and academic pursuits. Based in Canada, she is a full time writer for the world’s best cannabis companies, advocates and organizations.