Warning: This story might make you mad.
Cannabis consumers often swear by the wake and bake.
They claim the head change when crawling out of bed (or after hitting the snooze) helps them deal with work, the kids, and conduct any number of activities that the rest of civil society argues should be done sober.
After all, anyone who knocks back a cocktail during the day just to function is typically labeled an alcoholic. But marijuana lovers, for some odd reason, believe their behavior should be held to a different standard.
Some argue that it’s perfectly acceptable to blaze awake because cannabis is “medicine.”
The people we talked to, some actual medical marijuana patients, lean on the wake and bake to combat anxiety, chronic pain, and PTSD. They claim they need weed to get moving in the morning.
But they don’t consider it the same as a boozehound taking a pull at sunup in an effort to get his or her act together. In fact, some get offended when the wake and bake is compared to, say, having a breakfast beer.
Impaired in the morning?
“Cannabis is not alcohol; they are apples and oranges,” 42-year-old Martha of Fort Worth, Texas tells The Bluntness. “Alcohol has zero medicinal purposes. Cannabis on the other hand has a plethora of medicinal purposes.”
But this is all really just a matter of semantics, right? Wake and bakers still catch a buzz, which can cause impairment. That doesn’t exactly fall in line with responsible use, especially if they must drive to work and/or operate machinery once they get there.
Furthermore, alcohol, at one time, was considered medicine in the United States. It was prescribed by doctors during prohibition for a wide range of ailments – very similar to how things are done now with cannabis.
“They did it 100 years ago is no kind of argument,” a man named Ryan told us.
Okay, well, maybe not.
But considering that the US cannabis movement now seems hellbent on legalizing weed exclusively for adults 21 and over – the same as alcoholic beverages -- it seems reasonable to consider that we could see a day when the concept of medical marijuana becomes obsolete.
After all, nobody runs to the liquor store these days for a six pack to ease chronic pain. If history repeats itself, cannabis is on deck.
Therefore, “responsible use” will not just be an empty mantra professed by advocates to further their agenda. It will be demanded of those wishing to remain gainfully employed and/or evade a naughty file with Child Protective Services. Responsible use will become the standard. Being high as soon as you walk into the office in the morning or drive the kids to a play date isn’t likely to fit the bill.
Different takes on the wake and bake
We set out to get to the bottom of whether the wake and bake ritual actually constitutes responsible use. Not surprisingly, there’s a mixed bag of opinions.
Some people think marijuana shouldn’t be utilized any differently than most of us consume alcohol. That it’s an activity that should be saved purely for weekends or after the day is done.
“I tried to wake and bake before work once and it was miserable,” 30-year-old Dean tells The Bluntness. “I was paranoid, and time dragged on. That said, there’s nothing better than a nice sativa in the evenings, right before dinner.”
Thirty-two-year-old Clint agrees. “I sometimes wake and bake, but only on the weekends.”
Meanwhile, others view the wake and bake as a trusty morning pick-me-up, akin to a cup of coffee or energy drink. They say it’s not about getting ripped out of their minds. These people are part of the “microdose” trend, those getting into a different headspace to take on the business at hand.
“Wake and bake gets me pumped for the day, gets my juices flowing, helps me make my lists, takes my pain away and motivates me to get stuff done,” 25-year-old Zach tells us. “I don’t take but a couple of small hits. Just enough. Personally, it’s no different than having coffee.”
There are also those who don’t see anything wrong with getting high in the morning as long as a person is capable of handling their responsibilities, whatever they might be.
“If you’re lazy and smoke cannabis you’re going to be a lazy person who smokes cannabis,” 37-year-old Brock asserts. “If you’re a productive person you’re going to be a productive person who smokes cannabis.”
But are these ideals enough for us to officially deem the wake and bake responsible use?
What is responsible use?
We reached out to the Marijuana Policy Project for clarification, but the organization declined to comment on the basis that they “don’t advocate for cannabis consumption in and of itself.”
A similar message sent to Americans for Safe Access, an organization supposedly fighting for the rights of medical marijuana patients, was ignored. With no answers there, we touched base with licensed board-certified clinical psychologist and master addiction counselor Dr. Aaron Weiner.
He wasn’t impressed.
“Any time you feel that you "need" to be intoxicated to make it through your day, much less start your day, it's a big red flag that you need to look into alternative methods for managing your stress, and potentially look for help for addiction treatment,” Dr. Weiner tells The Bluntness.
Dr. Weiner explained that marijuana, at least from an impairment standpoint, is no different than alcohol or other drugs. Hence, waking and baking before driving to work or being a guardian of children isn’t responsible behavior.
“It is unequivocally unsafe to do certain activities while intoxicated or impaired, regardless of whether the substances that you're using to get drunk or high are legal or illegal, prescribed, dispensed, or bought off the street,” he said.
“Taking care of children is absolutely one of those activities. Driving while high is also very unsafe,” he concluded.
Some stoners may eventually need to amend their views on what it means to use responsibly. Despite legalization in many states, there are still rules and most of them prohibit impairment on the roadways and at work.
Wake and bakes only ensure your chances of getting jammed up financially or in the courts. It’s up to the average consumer to decide whether any of that is worth the hassle.
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