Anthony Bourdain Revealed Times He Smoked Marijuana: ‘When I Don’t Need My Brain Anymore’
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Legendary chef, writer and television host Anthony Bourdain was revered as a cannabis advocate throughout a large chunk of his career, credited for using his spot on the CNN series Parts Unknown to, on occasion, show the world that it was fun to intertwine cannabis with the food culture. There were times when Bourdain touched on the stoner class in places that had brought cannabis prohibition to a screeching halt. He even smoked pot on a couple of episodes of the show — once in Uruguay and another in Seattle.
But in the months leading up to his death, it seems that Bourdain was saving all of his cannabis consumption for after hours. In one of his last interviews, Bourdain told Popula that it was somewhat difficult for him to function after smoking marijuana.
“I can smoke weed at home when I don’t need my brain anymore,” he said, “but like as far as socially interacting with people, or being any situation where I might be called upon to answer the phone or make a decision? I’m not gonna do it! Now the stuff is devastating, you can’t leave bed.”
Bourdain’s attitude toward smoking weed during business hours might surprise some of those who perceived him as the Keith Richards of the culinary world — someone who maintained an altered state of consciousness most of his waking life.
Part of this misconception could be because Bourdain brought marijuana into the living rooms of regular Americans. In one episode about Cambodia, he ate a THC-infused pizza, which he called “the pizza that makes you insane in the membrane.” And for those of his viewers who did not understand the Cypress Hill reference, Bourdain went to explain that the pizza “cures glaucoma, too.”
Over the years, there were other times when marijuana use was part of the show. But it was never quite as prevalent as alcohol. Still, in one episode, Bourdain admitted that he never drinks at home.
What contributed to the overall appeal and likability of Bourdain was his well-spoken ability to mingle in the midst of all different types of people from, quite possibly, every culture imaginable, and he was not at all afraid to put his personal indiscretions — like his battles with heroin and crack cocaine – out there for the public to criticize or disregard. It was part of his charm.
Bourdain mentioned his past issues with drug abuse many times on camera, even cracking jokes about it.
Once, in a Reddit AMA, he confessed to “combing the shag carpet for paint chips in the hope that they were fallen crack bits.” He went on to tell the forum that he “smoked them anyway” because, well, that is the dark, rabbit hole that drug addiction can sometimes lead.
Some might even say that drugs, or at least the stories collected during that time of his life, played a role in his success. In fact, in the book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, the bestselling publication in which Bourdain spills his guts about the dark side of the restaurant business in New York City, he wrote “we were high all the time, sneaking off to the walk-in refrigerator at every opportunity to ‘conceptualize.’ Hardly a decision was made without drugs. Cannabis, methaqualone, cocaine, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms soaked in honey and used to sweeten tea, secobarbital, tuinal, amphetamine, codeine and, increasingly, heroin, which we’d send a Spanish-speaking busboy over the Alphabet City to get.”
But Bourdain’s drug days were long gone. Although some speculated that a return to dope may have contributed to his downfall, there were no illicit substances in his system at the time of his death. Yet in the interview with Popula, he told journalist Maria Bustillos that, in some of his travels, it was often difficult to escape the drug scene.
“This is one of the things I find so weird about England! Every time I’m there, I’ll be out drinking with perfectly reasonable, nice people. And then somebody… it happens every time! Let’s get some charlie… some coke! And suddenly everybody’s high on coke, and it’s like what is this, 1986?! I mean who does cocaine anymore? What the f**k?!” he said.
Anthony Bourdain died from an apparent suicide last month while working on new episode of Parts Unknown. He was 61.
Anthony Bourdain, host of the popular CNN series Parts Unknown, revealed in one of his last interviews when he was most likely to smoke marijuana.