Marijuana at Work: Friend or Foe

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About half the people living in the US, 49 percent to be precise, have tried marijuana at some point in their life, and 12 percent of US citizens over the age of 12 said that they had smoked pot no more than a month before the government survey was conducted.

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Given the fact that millennials are slowly taking over the workplace and making their first big steps towards a successful career, or at least climbing up that McCorporate ladder on the rocky road from burger flipper to manager, it looks like we need to accept that there is going to be quite a bit of weed smoking in the workplace.

These days, a lot more office workers are sitting at their desks high as kites, playing video games – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – and looking at fail compilations and cat videos in incognito mode. The question here is, can smoking marijuana at work actually have some benefits or does it only kill your productivity? Well, let’s take a look at the facts, shall we.

1. You Might Actually Need It to Function Properly if You Have Medical Issues

OK, so let’s start with the obvious – some people reading this have actual medical conditions that cause them a lot of pain or prevent them from functioning properly, and rolling up a few big fat blunts may be the only way for them to get through the day. However, there’s a big sliding scale of illnesses for people to explore and try to, ahem, “cure” with weed.

I know that those mysterious phantom pains or that serious case of ADD – “it’s, like, super serious dude, I can’t even think straight unless I light up” – really keep holding you back at work, and no one can deny you your medicine, especially if it helps you become a better worker. As long as you have some chronic condition, if you’ll excuse the pun, and the right paperwork to support your claims when the boss starts asking questions – and you know that that guy’s just waiting for an opportunity to trip you up – then marijuana can be your best friend and a great source of motivation at work.

2. Weed Can Help You Take the Edge Off and Curb that Anxiety

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Paperwork piling up? The boss man got you down? Those deadlines making you nervous? Why not roll up a joint and puff your troubles away? Hell, they can’t expect you to get anything done on time if they keep pushing your buttons and stressing you out. You’re only human, you’re not a cold calculating machine that gets fed information and churns out reports.

That’s right, take another puff my friend, you’ve earned it. Who do those guys think they are anyway? They should get off their high horse and… ha, ha, ha, high horse! Can you actually imagine a stoner horse? He’d probably just kind of sit there in an open field, reflecting on life, chewing on grass and “horsing” around with his friends. Get it? Horsing around. Wait, what were we talking about? Oh, right, stress. Yeah, you’re definitely going to benefit from all that stress reduction at work, no doubt about it.  

3. A Lot of Artists and Other Creative People Are Highly Functional Stoners

Have you ever noticed how some of the most creative people on earth always look a little bit high? Everyone from prolific writers to great painters and famous musicians has sought that elusive muse to no avail, until they discovered the magical imagination-boosting properties of good old cannabis. Artistic or not, a job is a job, and you’ll need to perform on a daily basis, but you can’t expect inspiration to come to you just like that and stick with you for about 7-8 hours.

This is where weed comes in. You plan everything out perfectly, firing up a joint at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 4pm to get that perfect buzz that will carry you through the day, floating on clouds of happiness, wild ideas and weird revelations. Sure, you’ll lose about 4-5 hours on aimless soul-searching and brainstorming, and you’ll forget about 40-50 percent of ideas that you don’t write down immediately, but those 3-4 hours of solid work you’ll manage to squeeze in are going to be pure gold.

4. Those Munchies Will Have You Running for the Fridge

We now come to one of the major drawbacks of blazing at work, apart from the standard problems like concentration, but we’ll get to those things in a minute. I feel that the munchies really take a toll on your focus, and here’s why. Imagine yourself hard at work and a bit stressed out. You roll up a joint and take a few nice long puffs to take the edge off and give yourself that creativity boost we talked about, but after about 20-30 minutes, all that comes to mind are talking pizza slices begging you to eat them.

You shake your head and try to focus, but then you get real creative with your food fantasies, dreaming up ways of making that pizza-burger ice cream sundae sandwich stick together. Now, running to the fridge – well, you’re not going to be running anywhere, but let’s call it high-intensity shuffling – will help you burn some extra calories at work, so you’ve pretty much nullified those 1000 pizza-burger calories, or so you hope. However, all that strategic meal planning, running around and food prep will take you away from your work.

5. It’s a Kind of Goldilocks Affair

You see, a relationship with marijuana is a lot like any other relationship – if you are in that new lover phase where you want to spend the entire day in each other’s warm embrace, then your work and social life are going to suffer, but if you hardly get to see each other during the week, you will be anxious, stressed out and unable to focus.

When you’re getting those endorphin levels revved up, it’s hard to pick yourself out of bed – you want just another 10 minutes with your bellowed MJ – and you keep reaching for that bag at work, just as you’d reach for the phone to send a text to your partner. If you feel that this relationship analogy is a really good one and you can truly relate to what I’m saying here, then you’ve got a serious problem my friend. At this point, you’ve gone way past that “just right” Goldilocks zone. In fact, you’re in a different fairy tale altogether, huffing and puffing all day and accomplishing nothing, just like the big bad wolf.

6. You’re Going to Need a Ton of post it Notes and a Good Time-Management App

There’s no use in denying scientific facts that confirm that weed messes up your short term memory. However, just like a functional alcoholics will have a few tricks up their sleeve that allow them to stay productive at work and keep their habit a secret, so do functional stoners. Experienced cannabis enthusiasts will tell you that the best way to stay on track is to pace yourself (see the previous paragraph). Set up a bunch of reminders for yourself and triple check everything to make sure you haven’t forgotten something. You might wake up in the middle of the night sweating profusely, reaching for your smartphone to check whether you actually sent that email to your boss or updated a client, but that’s a small price to pay for all that extra creativity and stress relief, right?

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When all’s said and done, the fact remains that weed can be a good ally in the 9-5 working man’s struggle against anxiety and corporate oppression, but it’s one of those allies that jump at the first opportunity to sell you out when things get tough. So, try to be smart about it and don’t place too much trust in marijuana when at work – the two of you can always do some catching up when you get home.

Pew Research