When Finding a 420-Friendly Mate, Are Canna-Dating Apps Better Than Mainstream?
Dating has, for the most part, evolved into a cyber-experience. No matter the location, most single adults are dating online through an app downloaded to their smartphone. Popular free apps Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid promise connections with eligible men and women, but connections don’t always lead to successful dates. While mainstream dating app profiles divulge moderately personal information and provide search settings to narrow down the playing field to potential matches (e.g. age, sex, distance, hobbies), the one filter unavailable is “cannabis-friendly.” Users who want to make that known have to write it in their profile upfront unless they use a cannabis-specific dating app like 420 Singles, My 420Mate, or High There.
To see what it takes to meet a man I can smoke with, I tried a handful of normal and cannabis-friendly apps.
Standard Dating Apps
Bumble is an app that explicitly lets the women make the first move. “A win win for both genders,” it’s exactly like Tinder but the women are in charge, getting the exclusive 24-hour right to message someone they mutually connect with. In my experience, Bumble profiles seem to be more intellectual and men post better-looking photos (this could perhaps be due to an attempt to appeal to a more modern woman who doesn’t expect men to make the first move.
I matched with a man the same age as me who mentioned 420 in his profile: “surf, skate, snow, outdoors lifestyle but I am responsible and have my shit together! … Coffee 420 rarely drink.” It turns out he is a daily smoker, super fit, and very nice. After dinner on the second date, I went over his house, where we shared bongloads and kindled a friendship.
My Tinder experience wasn’t as easy. A match on Tinder with a guy five years my junior revealed a profile that read he’s into motorcycles and photography. His photos depicted him sporting a long, tailored beard while sitting in a hot rod. It took until the end of the date for our conversation to lead into marijuana. He told me he frequents local underground after-hours, so I asked if he drinks or smokes cannabis, to which he replies, “Sure,” but matter of factly. We talked about the bar scene more and I could tell he’s only a social smoker. He never suggested wanting to get high with me, although he did want to go out for drinks.
Cannabis-Focused Dating Apps
Of those three, the most user-friendly and straight up equivalent of Tinder is 420 Singles. However, just when you think people would take advantage of the freedom in their profile description, most guys write things like “Let’s party” and hold up a bag of flower with a grin, while others don’t write anything, instead uploading a photo of themselves at their laptop with a poster of Bob Marley in the background.
I searched through for weeks and found the profiles to be somewhat boring, often just one bad photo of dank nugs or a smoking blunt. Whether I was in a bustling part of town or in a smaller suburban area doing a new geographical search (30 miles was my choice setting), there were at most 15 users online. I have yet to make a connection with someone I wanted to meet in real life. The app has potential; it just needs more users to be a good place for pot smokers to meet.
Don’t waste your time downloading My 420Mate. In addition to being totally buggy, it looks archaic and is about as user-friendly as a PC from 1995. You need to manually handle the search engine every time you open the app, and I never had a very long window to effectively or successfully make any connections. The design was far from clean, and after a few weeks of trying it, I’ve hardly opened it since.
High There is marketed as a global social network, but it includes the swipe interface to find a buddy via left button (“Bye There”) and a right (“High There”), so it feels like matchmaking. Its pitch is “High There connects cannabis users and enthusiasts with each other by sharing meaningful conversations and experiences without stigma.”
This one is the most fun of all the cannabis-friendly dating apps. However, the design aesthetic is bad 90s use of cheesy artsy retro style, which is probably aimed at millennials. It could use a cleaner, modern look, especially since cannabis subculture is changing with legalization.
The user profile enables personal photos and a profile description, but it also includes three similarity settings:
- Want to go out, stay in, or chat
- Prefers smoking, vaporizing, edibles, or all kinds
- Energy (my energy level when using cannabis is…) low, medium, or high
Another setting gives you six “Likes” to enable: Outdoors, Music, TV/Movies, Culture, Food, and/or Gaming. There are gender and distance filters, but not one for age, though the app does list your age. It made my request inbox for buddies interesting because I knew several were well below any age I’d want to date. But, the profile comedy makes up for everything (except the design):
- “oh man, do I love weed. And bikes.”
- “I’m smoking weed forever”
- “I live by the beach, let’s smoke there.”
…I think the age filter would really help me.
Users are upfront on profiles about what they like–dabs, edibles, and blunts, and they often add “functional stoner” in there somewhere. There is a feed called Joints where users write posts that fellow users can love, star, or comment on (users don’t have to be matched in order to interact here). A user has three inboxes: Requests, Buddies (for people you’ve matched with so chatting is enabled), and Global (which allows you to search for buddies by entering a first name in the search bar).
High There is perfect for college students, and I’ve recommended it to friends in the cannabis business because the Joints feed is filled with people showing off their grow/products and having conversations about strains. I’ve made several buddies and think there’s definitely dating potential through this app.
Since 28 of 50 US states and Washington DC have legalized the medical use of marijuana, the days of being publicly discreet about cannabis are coming to an end. Colorado and Washington paved the way, and as more adult use legislation passes across the country, cannabis-friendly dating may not be as needed. It is nice, however, to have a place where like-minds collide and the question shifts from “Do you smoke cannabis?” to “How do you like your cannabis?”