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He’s been a Grammy recipient ten times, an Emmy winner not once, not twice, but thrice, and his hit song ‘Mirrors’ has been stuck in my head since 2013. But did you know that Justin Timberlake, while appearing on an episode of the hit MTV show Punk’d, was “so stoned… like, so stoned,”?
Before I get into the details of their conversation, let me introduce you to Dax Shepard. He and his cohost Monica Padman run a podcast called Armchair Expert, which “celebrates the messiness of being human.” My favorite part of this podcast is that the two of them have an amazing ability to humanize even the most famous celebrities. They’ve interviewed Bill Gates, Matthew McConaughey, Ashton Kutcher, Kristen Bell (Dax’s wife), and even Monica Lewinsky, all with contagious laughter and down-to-earth anecdotes. I really can’t get enough of this podcast, and neither can our editor (he says hello to Dax and Monica, by the way!).
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Now, allow me to set the scene of Dax and Justin’s conversation for you. It was 2003, low-rise jeans were in, and both Justin and Dax were very young and dare I say baby-faced. Dax was a part of MTV’s hit show Punk’d, in which celebrities get pranked (if you haven’t watched it, it’s hilarious. Now there’s even going to be a reboot with Chance the Rapper as the host.
By this point, Justin was, of course, already well-known and had earned quite a bit of money. The prank consisted of fake IRS agents (including Dax) telling Justin he owed $904,000 and that they were seizing his house and assets until he was able to pay them. They were already at his house when he returned home from a golfing trip with an old friend.
Nearly 20 years later, Dax and Justin finally discussed that famous Punk’d episode on Armchair Expert, complete with witty banter and even some giggling.
Unbeknownst to the staff of Punk’d, Justin was returning from a golfing trip with a friend on that fateful Saturday… where he was “so stoned.” Imagine pulling up to your house completely blazed, and being told you owed the IRS nearly a million dollars. Entertainment site CheatSheet explains the whole ordeal, which even included “boxes and a flatbed truck” so that Justin could pack up all his stuff. They even ‘seized’ Justin’s dogs (more on them later, though).
Dax and Justin recount the story of that prank in 2003 in a recent episode of Armchair Expert. Dax says, “What I felt like I learned about you, as a person, is that you’re just a beautiful guy.” I agree, Dax!
He adds, “Oh, that’s cool, he’s still got his bro from home, oh, he just took his buddy golfing, that’s cool. He’s out on a Saturday, he’s not hungover.”
Justin gracefully laughs off the compliments before confessing, “My buddy… got me so stoned. Like, SO STONED.” In fact, because of this experience, he “swore any time of cannabis off for at least a year.” He says he was “in the twilight,” and that he “sat down on his porch... like ‘I’m so high, man. Is this real? Like, is this really happening?’”
The thing that Dax loves most about Justin, though, is that “He cares about his dogs. It’s the only f***ing thing you cared about. You didn’t care that you lost your house, you didn’t care all your s*** was locked up…”
Come to find out, those dogs actually belonged to Justin’s mom. We love a guy who really cares about his mom and her dogs. What a sweetheart!
Even though this is truly an adorable story, you might be wondering: why write about it here? Well, I’ll tell you!
It’s a pretty well-known and accepted fact that celebrities have more access to drugs than the rest of the population. You hear about rappers doing hard drugs all the time, and cannabis has more than solidified its place in the music industry.
Now, it’s important to note that hard drugs and marijuana are not equatable. It’s like comparing apples to elephants, really.
Justin Timberlake’s story about his so-so cannabis experience is another deeply humanizing thing about him. It’s honest, funny, and relatable in more ways than one (except for the ‘owing the IRS $904, 000’ part. Most of us don’t have that kind of money).
Ask just about any smoker and they’ll tell you they’ve had an iffy experience with marijuana. Some of them will even tell you they had a downright crappy high at least once. It’s normal, and for the experienced smoker, even humbling.
Justin’s story serves as a reminder to the cannabis community to take care of each other. The biggest takeaway for me is that when smoking with someone new, do it in the comfort and privacy of their own home. This way, if they have a bit of a wacky experience, they’re in a space where they feel comfortable.
Of course, Justin’s friend was taking him home, and I don’t think either of them expected fake IRS agents to be there ‘seizing’ his property, and his mom’s dogs. But I bet a lot of Justin’s discomfort could’ve been avoided if he wasn’t greened out!
Also remember: it’s okay to not have a great high sometimes. It happens to everyone, from the experienced smoker to the brand-new beginner. Even Grammy-award winners aren’t immune from a bad high.
Do I have the authority to criticize JT’s newest album? Absolutely not--I don’t know a thing about music, but when it come to smoking weed, I will absolutely do. And honestly the purpose here is not to criticize as much create a high profile learning experience for all of us. So, Justin, please don't be too upset at us, we love you, we are just trying to educate.
Here are a few things Justin didn’t do right:
He was out in unfamiliar territory. Regardless of if he went golfing every Saturday, he should’ve just stayed home. It’s always best to be high in the comforts of your own home, especially if you’re planning on getting as high as he did (side note: don’t get as high as he did. Clearly, he was miserable. Know your limits).
He was in a car. Now, he never states whether or not his friend was also high, but in my opinion, you should never be in any car while high, especially if you’re over the limit (as Justin very clearly was). And under no circumstances should you ever, ever drive while under the influence--it’s just as bad as being drunk. If you end up too high to drive, you have four options: call a friend for a ride, call an Uber, take public transportation, or start walking.
He blamed cannabis for his experience. Was he a little too high? Yeah, it appears so, but you can’t blame cannabis for your bad high. There were a lot of factors that contributed to his feelings of unease and discomfort (namely the fake IRS agents and not being in a comfortable space), but it wasn’t the marijuana’s fault. It was actually the fault of his friend, who was the one that got him high and didn’t consider the circumstances of being out in public instead of safely at home. Don’t be that friend, guys! If you’re smoking with a friend, be responsible about it.
While I can’t tell you how to become a Grammy-award winner or an international superstar, I can tell you to have a better experience with marijuana than one, and that’s gotta count for something, right? So here’s how to be better than Justin Timberlake (at least in one aspect):
Be at home. This one seems kind of obvious, but you want to be in an environment where you’re comfortable, especially if you’re new to cannabis use. Either be with a very close friend who’s experienced, or home (if you’re a beginner, still preferably with a veteran smoker).
Choose your friends wisely. Obviously, Justin didn’t know that fake IRS agents were coming to his house, or that his friend was going to be just as clueless as him. But it’s important to keep in mind the company you’re with--be with friends who know how to handle your anxiety, should you have a bad high. Again, being with an experienced smoker is always a perk, too.
Smoke responsibly. That means no driving under the influence or putting yourself in dangerous positions. Justin and his friend could’ve gotten seriously hurt if they were driving while high, not to mention it’s a bad look for cannabis users everywhere. Even if you don’t feel too high to drive, if you’ve smoked at all, it’s best to call an Uber.
Know how to lower your high. There are quite a few ways to sober up, or at least come back down a little. Taking some CBD oil helps, as does staying hydrated, eating, and taking a few ibuprofen. Check out this article on how to come down from a high safely.
Related article: 7 Tips for first time smoking weed
At the end of the day, any smoker can relate to Justin’s story (for the most part. Again, most people aren’t millionaires). Sometimes, you’re just “so stoned.” Remember, it’s not just you! Every smoker’s been there, yes, even global superstars.
But swearing off cannabis isn’t the answer if you have a bad high, and as much as I love his music, Justin should’ve considered his own mistakes before blaming the drug. He definitely didn’t set himself up for success even if there weren’t fake IRS agents waiting at his house--if they weren’t there, he probably still would’ve had a bad experience, considering how high he was.
If you’re thinking about smoking for the first time, or introducing a friend to cannabis, think about doing it in your home, away from stressful situations or fake IRS agents. Regardless of your experience level, do what you can to ensure a good high, and check out Armchair Expert when you smoke! They’re hilarious, and always a nice choice for when you’re too high to do anything but stare at the ceiling and listen to something. Or check them out sober--they’re funny all the time!
Emma Grace is a full-time student, writer, and lover of Marvel movies. She spends most of her time ignoring her responsibilities in favor of reading, learning global geography, and finding new ways to prepare instant noodles. She lives with her parents and sister and a very needy dog named Eloise.