The wake and bake debate: just because you can, does it mean you should?

wake and bake

The stigma around cannabis has eroded, and a new normal has emerged. In certain markets, eating a gummy is no different than having a glass of wine. Many now have CBD products alongside Tylenol and Benadryl in their medicine cabinets. But how are we navigating integrating the plant within our daily lives?

As the editor of a cannabis website, many would assume that heavy consumption is a part of my daily existence. But as a person diagnosed with anxiety, I realize that I have to proceed with caution when it comes to what I put in my body. It took a long time to admit that edibles are not my friend, no matter how badly I want them to be.

I’m a big proponent of personal freedom, but I’m also an advocate of knowing yourself—and your limits. Every choice we make, day in and day out, could have many repercussions. By understanding ourselves and how a substance affects us (whether cannabis, alcohol, sugar or the like), we can make informed decisions regarding their use. 

The wake and bake debate

I was recently asked about the practice of wake and bake. A colleague who does not partake but does drink wondered how cannabis users view their consumption, particularly before work.

“I always compare it to alcohol,” the person said. “We would never drink a beer before work – but cannabis is not like alcohol – so what’s appropriate?”

The query resulted in more questions than answers. For example:

  • Why is the person consuming? 
  • What type of job are they in—do they operate heavy machinery? 
  • Should they have to justify their consumption with their employers via a doctor’s note? 
  • How does society view alcohol versus cannabis, and why is nuance so critical?

Companies are beginning to grapple with these topics as cannabis legalization spreads. Some businesses are eliminating THC from pre-employment drug screens in states where the plant is legal, while human resources rewrite policies to accommodate medical marijuana patients.

The reasons why someone consumes cannabis can vary widely. Some people smoke to treat a chronic illness; others may take an edible to help them unwind or fall asleep. One person may dab to enhance their creativity while another seeks to escape the stresses of daily life.

Cannabis is also a versatile and unique plant. There are thousands of different cultivars (aka strains), each offering distinct effects. While anecdotal evidence may suggest the way a specific variety of cannabis could make a person feel, everyone responds to the plant in different ways.

While there is no black-and-white answer to whether it’s okay to imbibe before starting the work day, it all comes down to intention and setting. 

What do you hope to achieve by lighting a joint or sipping an infused beverage? How will it affect your performance, and what will it add to your experience? Are your environment and agenda conducive to your actions?

Many consumers, especially those who use cannabis for medicinal purposes, need the plant to thrive. Of course, one could argue that all cannabis consumption is therapeutic on some level, but being honest about what you hope to get out of your relationship with the plant (and whether it fits in any given context) will only help set you up for success.

When it comes to cannabis consumption, context is key

To be a mature, discerning cannabis consumer is to fully grasp the plant’s role in your life and how it fits into the constructs of your day. As a steward of the plant in the public eye, it’s my job to model mindful, respectful consumption, and I’m aware that there’s a time and place for everything. 

When I took the role of GreenState editor, I made it clear that I do not believe cannabis is for everyone. I do think there are people who could benefit from the plant and may not realize it, and there are plenty of folks who are already taking advantage of all the great things weed has to offer. But at the end of the day, we’re individuals. I love pistachio ice cream, but if you don’t, that’s cool too. The goal here is to offer accessible and accurate information about cannabis—what people do with the content is up to them.

So, is it acceptable to wake and bake before work? The decision is ultimately up to you, but be sure to think critically (and honestly) in your deliberations. Setting your intention and examining your environment will guide your answer. By understanding why you’re consuming and whether the timing feels right, you’ll feel confident in your choices. 

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of She has been covering the cannabis space since 2015, and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, and many other niche publications. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter

Rachelle Gordon