Have you ever gotten stoned on a warm summer night and stared up at the stars? What would it be like to be among them, floating through the cosmos?
The science around space travel is growing, especially since billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have decided to spend some of their vast, incomprehensible fortunes to fund space exploration programs. It’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that everyday space travel may be accessible to ordinary citizens like you and me in the coming years. But, the real question is, will we be able to send cannabis up there?
Do Astronauts Smoke Weed In Space?
You may have seen a viral image orbiting around social media of famed Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield holding a vacuum-sealed bag of reefer while onboard the International Space Station (ISS).
While it’s fun to think about a crew of multicultural astronauts taking a break from collecting data and keeping a space station operational to float in a circle and share a few tokes from a joint, this hasn’t actually happened. The photo of Hadfield’s marijuana is a fake. In the original image, the Canadian astronaut was holding a bag of Easter eggs he intended to hide for the rest of the crew.
Can You Smoke Cannabis In Space?
Astronauts have to abstain from marijuana for a few reasons.
For one, there’s a whole lot that can go wrong when you’re up in space, and one little mistake could easily result in the death of an entire crew. Since the stakes are so high up there, it’s essential that astronauts keep a clear head and stay sober at all times.
There’s also a more practical issue preventing a cosmonaut from lighting up aboard the international space station or shuttle. Both shuttles and space stations by nature are incredibly oxygen-rich environments. The spark from a lighter could cause the whole thing to go up in flames. That’s why these sorts of combustion devices are banned to begin with.
So if the day ever does come, where everyday people are allowed to board shuttles or international space stations, they likely won’t be able to smoke weed. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you wouldn’t be able to get high. You could enjoy a THC-loaded edible if you were so inclined. We’d recommend a space cake so as to stay on theme.
Is Weed Legal In Space?
There’s also the question of legality. While we’ve taken both small steps and giant leaps toward global legalized marijuana, the plant is still considered a controlled substance in many parts of the world. But what about the outside world we know, space? Is pot legal in space?
Technically speaking, space shuttles and stations are extensions of their countries. Therefore, the national laws of said country would still apply. So if you were on an American spacecraft, weed would be illegal since cannabis is federally banned in the United States currently.
It’s unclear how this would translate to private space exploration companies like SpaceX. But considering that they do receive some amount of government funding and subsidies, it would be safe to assume that they too would fall under the jurisdiction of federal law.
How We Could Use Cannabis In Space
The cannabis plant has tons of industrial uses aside from just getting its user stoned.
In the event that we ever did colonize another planet, hemp could play a vital role in helping to sustain a colony. Its fibers could provide industrial resources for textiles, paper-making, and even building materials, and its seeds could be used as a nutritious additive to our space diets.
In fact, we’ve actually sent hemp cultures to space already. The agri-tech company Front Range Biosciences teamed up with SpaceX to send hemp and coffee into space with the intention of monitoring how the environment could influence agriculture.