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Weed in the Morning: Getting the Most Out of Waking and Baking

a cup of coffee with a marijuana leaf on top

“Wake and bake” refers to ingesting cannabis shortly after waking up. Although it’s not for everyone, incorporating marijuana into a morning routine isn’t uncommon. According to the 2017 Global Drug Survey, over 20% of American cannabis enthusiasts partake within one hour of waking up.

Below, we unpack why you might want to use marijuana in the morning, the potential downsides, and why some strains lend themselves to this particular practice.

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What Does “Wake and Bake” Mean?

 “Wake” means waking up, and “baked” is a slang term for feeling high.

Though efforts have been made to trace the term to its origin, it’s difficult to pinpoint when it first emerged. Some nod to Deadheads, the notorious, tie-dye-clad followers of the Grateful Dead who are said to have coined the term in the 1960s. Others believe it emerged in the ‘90s.

Whenever and wherever it originated, the rhyme seemed to have made the phrase snappy enough to be used worldwide.

Effects of Using Cannabis in the Morning

Consuming cannabis first thing can feel much more intense than in the evening. Much of the information around “wake and bake” practices is anecdotal, but people speculate that the increased intensity could be due to fasting during the sleep period. When the body has been without nutrients for hours, cannabinoids have no other processes or chemicals to compete.

Another logical explanation is that the high just feels more intense. As many of us tend to be groggy or lethargic when we first emerge from sleep, combining our natural drowsiness with the sometimes-sedative effects of marijuana might well compound that effect.

Emerging research does point to a potential chemical reason for why the effects of an early morning joint might feel much more potent than one smoked in the evening. Every individual has an endocannabinoid system composed of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. One study found that the levels of anandamide, a major endocannabinoid in this system, are three times higher when waking than at the end of the day.

Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. It makes sense that if three times more of these neurotransmitters are in action, the effects of cannabis may be more powerful.

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How To “Wake and Bake” the Right Way

Here are a few tips for cannabis users that want an enjoyable wake and bake experience:

  • Choose strains with less myrcene. Strains lower in myrcene and higher in limonene and terpinolene may have more uplifting, energetic effects. Low doses of CBG, CBD, and THCV doses may also have more stimulating effects.
  • Don’t smoke weed on an empty stomach. You don’t have to have a full pancake breakfast, but our bodies definitely function best with a good fuel supply.
  • Avoid strains with very high THC. Though those strains can be seen as more “stimulating,” they can also lead to paranoia. THC is also sedative, so strains that also include low doses of CBD, CBG, or THCV may provide a more uplifting experience.
  • Start slowly and use common sense. Waking and baking is appropriate for some circumstances but not all. For instance, don’t experiment with morning joints if your work is hazardous or involves operating heavy machinery. And don’t plan your first “wake and bake” trial for a day where you have something particularly challenging or important to do.  

Pros and Cons

Positive effects of the “wake and bake” include:

  • You start the day relaxed and without stress. Those appointments or tasks you were anxious about suddenly seem much more doable.
  • Food is appealing. If you aren’t a big eater in the morning, smoking marijuana can make you more driven to cook and eat something delicious.
  • THC and caffeine can be complementary. The right amount of marijuana paired with your favorite coffee can supply the perfect balance of stimulation and relaxation.

Negatives include:

  • Lethargy. Smoking marijuana early in the day can cause a plunge in energy and enthusiasm once the effects wear off, leading to re-dosing, increased tolerance, and dependence.
  • A higher tolerance for weed. As above, smoking early in the day will mean that later sessions won’t have as strong effects, driving you to consume more.
  • Dependence. Medical professionals may see the practice of smoking weed early in the day as a sign of dependence. Though many people rely on marijuana for its medical benefits, it’s possible to develop an unhealthy dependence on marijuana. If you’re unable to cut down despite wanting to, or if you’re continuing to use marijuana despite negative outcomes, seek advice from a medical or mental health professional.

Best “Wake and Bake” Strains

As always, it’s best to experiment to find what works best for you and your body. In general, we recommend choosing strains lower in myrcene, higher in limonene and terpinolene, and without through-the-roof THC levels.

Some suggested strains include:

  • Strawberry Cough
  • Sour Hawaiian Haze
  • Pineapple Express
  • Sour Space Candy
  • Jack Herer

The Bottom Line

If you’re considering “waking and baking,” we recommend starting slowly. Select a strain you’re familiar with that has given you a stimulated or energetic feeling in the past.

As mentioned above, you’ll find clear upsides and downsides to morning cannabis use, and outcomes vary from user to user. We recommend reading the relevant literature and experimenting with small doses before committing to a new practice.

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