Many people set the timer on their coffeemaker before going to sleep. That lets them get their first cup of coffee within minutes of rolling out of bed.
Others keep cigarettes or a tobacco vape pen on their nightstand, so they can get nicotine into their body the moment they open their eyes.
And then there are wake and bakers.
Smoking weed as soon as you wake up might seem counterproductive. It could seem downright odd to those who prefer powerful indica strains that make you sleepy. And not surprisingly, a study published in the Journal of Addiction claims that it’s a sign of cannabis addiction.
But it’s not just stoners and wastoids who wake and bake. (If you’re wondering, “getting baked” is a synonym for getting high.) The practice is a lot more common than you’d think, and there are some interesting arguments in favor of it.
Who Wakes and Bakes?
So many organizations conduct surveys that you can now find statistics for just about anything.
Believe it or not, there are authoritative numbers about the prevalence of waking and baking. And believe it or not, the 2017 Global Drug Survey found that almost 22% of American weed users regularly wake and bake, smoking within an hour of waking up. That’s the highest rate in the world. (Mexico, Greece, and Canada are next on the list.)
Let’s do a little math.
- There are approximately 250 million adults aged 18+ in America.
- 11%, or about 27.5 million, use weed on a monthly basis.
- If 22% of them wake and bake regularly, that means more than six million Americans wake up and then light up.
What’s the appeal of getting stoned as soon as you roll out of bed? There are several possibilities.
Why Do People Wake and Bake?
Several obvious reasons for waking and baking immediately come to mind.
- When someone has the day off without any other plans, smoking can be an enjoyable way to pass the time.
- When someone has to go to a job (or a school) they hate, smoking, whether it’s a homemade vape or disposable vape, can make their day a little more palatable. That would also apply if they have to stay at home and do chores.
- When someone wakes up stressed, either from bad dreams or visions of a difficult day ahead, smoking can ease their mind.
Of course, a waker and baker could just be addicted.
The medical world has documented a mental disorder known as Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD), but it’s unclear how many people supposedly have it. Estimates vary from 1.7% of all Americans to 22% of regular smokers. And the addiction study we mentioned earlier concluded that waking and baking predict future “problems” with cannabis use.
You might have noticed that the supposed number of regular smokers with CUD is the same as the number who say they wake and bake — but that may just be a coincidence.
We prefer to believe that many people smoke first thing in the morning by choice. And there may be good reasons to believe it’s one of the best ways to do it.
Science, Waking, and Baking
There have been no definitive studies on how cannabis affects the body right after awakening. There are some good theories about it, though.
Here’s one: when THC hits a brain that isn’t yet occupied with any other thoughts or concerns, it may create a more intense high.
Here’s another: weed may seem more potent when you haven’t put anything else into your body. That’s quite possible. Most people would agree that their first cup of coffee in the morning wakes them up more than ones later in the day, and some medications are more effective when taken on an empty stomach. THC’s effects may hit harder if you haven’t eaten yet.
The last possibility is based on the way the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) works.
The ECS, as you probably know, includes the cannabinoid receptors that THC interacts with. It also helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, better known as the sleep-wake cycle. And studies have found that the activity of all ECS components, including receptors, fluctuates throughout that sleep-wake cycle.
For example, levels of the two most important endocannabinoids in the body are at their highest immediately after a person wakes up. That might indicate that the receptors they interact with are also more receptive to THC right around the time a person would wake and bake.
There’s no research proving any connection, but it could very well be that the urge to light up after waking up is a function of the body being able to more efficiently process THC first thing in the morning.
However, that still leaves one big question — at least for those who can’t understand the appeal of waking and baking.
Wouldn’t smoking put you right back to sleep?
Strains for Waking and Baking
Not all weed makes you want to chill out on the couch, watch TV and fall asleep. Generally speaking, the strains that have a strong sedating effect are indicas (or indica-dominant). They’re best if you want — to coin a phrase — to bake and sleep.
The better strains to use when you wake and bake are sativas (or sativa-dominant hybrids). The majority of them are energizing, giving you more focus, energy, and perhaps even creativity. Naturally, those effects aren’t likely to last if you overindulge. Judicious use of the right strains, however, can get a productive day off to a good start.
Good sativas for waking and baking? Green Crack, Sour Diesel, Pineapple Express, and Voodoo are among the ones that will get your brain fired up in the morning after you fire up a bowl.
There’s one more consideration to bear in mind when choosing a wake and bake strain. Ones with high levels of CBD can balance out their THC content, leaving you more alert and able to function if you don’t want the boss to realize that you’ve been blazing before clocking in.
Finally, it’s not a good idea to wake and bake instead of having breakfast. Getting some food into your stomach can prevent dizziness or discomfort when you’re buzzed. And simply grabbing a cup of coffee may not be the answer; a 2012 animal study found that the combination of caffeine and THC can make weed-induced memory problems even worse.
Wake, bake, and good food — it sounds like the perfect way to start the day.
Wake and Bake: FAQ
Q: Are there reasons not to wake and bake other than the obvious one?
A: There are a couple. Most people find that smoking early in the day makes it more difficult to get high in the evening and that waking and baking make the normal 3 pm slowdown they typically experience at work even slower.
Q: Is there anything else to consider before waking and baking?
A: Absolutely. If you’re planning to go to work or school, you may be too “happy” to think about the little things once you’ve smoked up. Be sure to shower afterward (to get rid of the weed smell), bring eye drops with you, and stay hydrated. Even if you’re feeling terrific after your wake and bake session, you don’t want co-workers or supervisors wondering about the reason behind your abnormally happy mood.
- Earleywine, M., Luba, R., Slavin, M. N., Farmer, S., & Loflin, M. (2016). Don’t wake and bake: morning use predicts cannabis problems. Addiction Research & Theory, 24(5), 426-430 .
- Connor, J. P., Stjepanović, D., Le Foll, B., Hoch, E., Budney, A. J., & Hall, W. D. (2021). Cannabis use and cannabis use disorder. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 7(1), 1-24 .
- Jeffers, A. M., Glantz, S., Byers, A., & Keyhani, S. (2021). Sociodemographic Characteristics Associated With and Prevalence and Frequency of Cannabis Use Among Adults in the US. JAMA network open, 4(11), e2136571-e2136571.
- Leung, J., Chan, G. C., Hides, L., & Hall, W. D. (2020). What is the prevalence and risk of cannabis use disorders among people who use cannabis? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Addictive Behaviors, 109, 106479 .
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