High on Tradition: Incorporating Cannabis into Chinese New Year Festivities

By Harry B. Nuggs

High on Tradition: Incorporating Cannabis into Chinese New Year Festivities

Chinese New Year is almost here! This year, there's an exciting chance to include cannabis in the celebrations and connect with the plant's long history in China. From edibles to gifts to decorations, this blog explores creative and responsible ways to celebrate Chinese New Year keeping this tradition.  

A Brief History of Cannabis in China

Cannabis has a long history in China. The plant was used for fiber, food, and medicine thousands of years ago. Some of the earliest written records of cannabis are from China, dating back to the first millennium BCE.

Ancient Chinese medical texts recommended cannabis for conditions like pain, malaria, constipation, rheumatism, forgetfulness, and women's disorders. By the 2nd century CE, Chinese surgeons were using cannabis as an anesthetic during operations.  

Cannabis was so integral to Chinese culture that the Chinese term for cannabis, 大麻, translates to "big hemp." Up until the 20th century, growing cannabis was legal and common across rural China. But in 1985, China outlawed cannabis, linking it with rising drug abuse.

While recreational cannabis remains illegal in China today, the plant's deep roots in Chinese medicine and manufacturing remain. As cultural attitudes toward cannabis shift globally, now is an exciting time to honor China's cannabis history during this year's New Year celebrations.

Celebrating the New Year with Cannabis

For many, New Year parties have a lot of cannabis symbolism. The green theme matches cannabis' signature color. And sharing food among family and friends lends itself to group consumption.

Adding cannabis to Chinese New Year events can enhance traditions while honoring the plant's cultural importance in China. Here are some ideas for those who want to incorporate cannabis into their celebrations in a responsible, moderate way.

Cannabis-Infused Food and Drinks

Edibles and drinks offer a friendly way to use cannabis during New Year gatherings. Traditional New Year sweets like nian gao (sticky rice cake) and fa gao (prosperity cake) can be infused with cannabis butter or oil. Savory dishes like potstickers can also be improved by adding cannabis-infused fillings.

For beverages, creamy boba tea lattes spiked with cannabis extract can add a tropical twist. Or try soaking Chinese Baijiu liquor with cannabis for a warming spirit. Just be sure to carefully control dosage when preparing infused foods and drinks. Consuming cannabis with food helps lessen its effects.

Sharing Cannabis Gifts

Exchanging red envelopes filled with money is a tradition representing wishes for prosperity. For those who want to share cannabis gifts this New Year, consider attractive cannabis products like premium buds, pre-rolled joints, topicals, or non-medicated treats in decorated envelopes.

When gifting cannabis, ensure your friends and family are alright with responsibly using it. And always safely consume gifts by first understanding the strengths and effects.

Welcoming Decorations

Adding cannabis designs to New Year decor can welcome good vibes into the celebrations. Try showing cannabis leaf patterns and colors next to traditional decorations like red lanterns, banners with positive phrases, and blooming plants.

Or decorate the party with cannabis-themed accents like green candles, marijuana leaf confetti, and ceramic leaf dishes for snacking. With creative styling, cannabis decor can align beautifully with Lunar New Year traditions.

Consuming Mindfully

If using cannabis this Chinese New Year, be sure to do so carefully. Follow all local laws and avoid cannabis publicly or around minors. Consider your personal tolerance and remember that edibles have delayed effects. Consume reasonable amounts and wait enough time between doses. Cannabis should add to celebrations, not take over them.

Choosing quality, lab-tested products from licensed sellers can help avoid bad experiences. Do not drive or operate machinery after use. With smart precautions, cannabis can increase the feeling of connection, joy, and new beginnings this Chinese New Year.

Looking Ahead

This Chinese New Year represents an exciting milestone for cannabis, as perspectives keep evolving worldwide. While change takes time, the long history of cannabis in Chinese medicine and culture hints that someday, safe, regulated cannabis use could again become part of Chinese traditions.

Perhaps someday, spending Chinese New Year with family over a shared joint or cannabis tea may be common. But for now, those adding cannabis to this year's celebrations can honor both the plant's history and its promising future.