Let's be honest: Work is mids. It’s boring, repetitive, and—worst of all—mandatory, like the longest errand ever. And you know what always improves an errand? Smoking a little weed beforehand. Don’t act like you've never thought about it.
But Katie, you work at VICE! They give you a personalized bong on your first day, when they go over all that shit about your health insurance and what “HR” is. I can’t smoke weed with abandon at my job, can I? So long as you don't work in childcare or at a job that drug tests or that requires you to drive, then, yes, I think you can! Plenty of people do it every day of their lives—because weed helps them focus, makes them a friendlier or more creative employee, helps them manage symptoms like pain or nausea or anxiety—the list goes on and on.
So how do all of these people walk the tightrope between getting high and getting paid biweekly? It all starts with making smart choices about what strain you smoke before clocking in.
Lorena Cupcake is a former budtender who currently works in weed marketing and writes a column called Ask a Budtender for WeedMaps. “Even in the cannabis industry, I'm not showing up to an important meeting blasted out of my brain with red eyes with a bag of Doritos,” they told VICE. “But that's not necessarily the experience everybody is going to have with cannabis. I've long been one of the types of people who knows that I can function, and I can do what I need to do while being high.”
Most people know about THC and CBD, but if you want to pick a SFW strain, you're going to have to do a little research on terpenes, the flavorful compounds that give different kinds of cannabis their unique scent and “bouquet,” in weed world terminology. According to Cupcake, “[Terpenes] influence and modulate the experience that we have from cannabinoids—like THC and CBD—quite a bit,” which means paying close attention to terps is a more reliable way to gauge how a strain might impact you than just THC/CBD content alone.
Cupcake recommended reaching for strains heavy in two specific terpenes: pinene (including alpha pinene) and limonene. “Pinene is the spruce-y, evergreen-scented terpene that you're gonna find in Northern Lights, Jack Herer, or anything that smells like a dank forest. Pinene actually helps with attention, alertness, and focus,” they said. “And I usually compare limonene to lemonade powder, like when you open up a container of Country Time Lemonade and that citric smell hits you in the face. I recommend limonene-heavy strains to people as a mood elevator if they're dealing with depression or fatigue.”
Cupcake said that strains like Tangie, Durban Poison, Super Lemon Haze, and Clementine can all be great for productivity, but… “I do find that the caveat to working with lemony sativa strains is that they can cause anxiety, and they might increase it so much that you're in an anxious spiral, up in your head, you're overthinking things. That's not where I want to be when I'm at work!”
But, per Cupcake, myrcene-heavy strains are the ones to really steer clear of when looking for the right pre-work toke. “It's going to come up in the lab results for most strains, but myrcene-heavy strains tend to have a fruity, spicy, mango-type vibe. Those are the ones that are going to cause couch-lock and decrease focus on the task at hand,” they said.
Another potential pitfall: “You might have this cannabis and it's got this really great terpene profile for productivity and you're productive with it. However, if you're not keeping an airtight container, or it's in view of direct sunlight, that means it's exposed to things that degrade cannabinoids and terpenes. Those terpenes are very volatile, and as they evaporate, you're no longer getting those effects. You're no longer getting those benefits, and at the same time THC is breaking down into CBN,” another cannabinoid that some experts say can make users sleepy. “If it's eight months old,” they said, “it's probably not going to be the best weed for work.”
Finally, less is more when it comes to mixing weed and work—especially if you're not a frequent smoker, or if you don't know how you react when you're under pressure and under the influence. But if you do get too high by mistake, remember: You can always just say you threw up and need to take the rest of the day off. Good luck!