a case for salad, the best stoned snack

Weed makes just about anything taste good. Hence why we (and when I say we, I mean I) end up using potato chips as spoons for chocolate pudding and treat ice cream like it’s an inexhaustible resource. I’ve pulled up to In-N-Out bleary-eyed and tongue-tied many a late Friday night and shoveled my fair share of movie theater popcorn (no butter, extra salt) into my ever-wanting mouth. If there were a Merriam-Webster dictionary definition for stoned food, it’d look something like this:

stoned food

n. \ stōnd · füd

  1. ordinarily mediocre food or an unusual combination of mediocre food that takes on added flavor and value as a result of the effects of cannabis
  2. food one wouldn’t eat unless one was stoned

Scientifically, you turn into a garbage shoot when you’re stoned because the cannabinoids in certain strains of the herb interact with the cannabinoid receptors in your brain. According to The Smithsonian, THC enhances your olfactory senses, triggering your mouth to water more in the presence of delicious-smelling food. When you’re more keenly aware of the aroma wafting out of a pizzeria, for instance, your mouth is more likely to water, signaling your brain to eat. Our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids of their own, but when you add extra cannabinoids (particularly THC) to the mix, those receptors can go into hyper-drive, making you feel more hungry, sleepy, horny, or heavy than you would under normal circumstances. Cannabis plants likely developed these sense-altering molecules over time as a defense mechanism against hungry herbivores like us. Looks like the joke’s on you, cannabis.

So, what does this all have to do with salad? In my mind, salad is the perfect medium for captivating all of your taste buds. Think about it: Salads can be crunchy, salty, sweet, tangy, soft, savory, spicy, and crispy—sometimes all in one bite. They can be warm or cold. You can mix and match to your heart’s delight without feeling weird about it because that’s what salads are, a hodgepodge of unlikely ingredients. Whether you’re blazed or sober, they’re easy to cobble together in a few minutes, though you could just as easily spend hours prepping a tableau of perfect components. They can be surprising or they can be reliable staples. Salad making is as much about choosing your own adventure as it is about finding comfort in the tried and true.

It doesn’t hurt either that you can slip some greens in while indulging in a post-smoke feast. Not to sound like a 1950s housewife here, but a bowl of greens doused in a two-step vinaigrette can elevate the homeliest of meals. Let’s say you pick up a bucket of fried chicken on your way home from work. You know what would balance out all that protein and grease? Arugula tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. Or maybe you’re firing up the oven for a pan of flash-frozen mozzarella sticks. Why not treat yourself to a wedge of iceberg drizzled with olive oil and balsamic reduction while you wait? I don’t want to give the impression that salads only play supporting roles. Hearty chops and cobbs and poke bowls have nowhere to go but center stage.

All I’m saying is don’t knock a stoned salad until you try it. Between your heightened senses and deep bowls of evergreen goodness, there’s plenty of pleasure to be had.