How to Try Cannabis Safely
So you’re finally ready to try cannabis for the first time, or maybe the last time you smoked was 20 years ago and you’re ready to start back up. Either way, the very idea may seem a bit scary with all the rumors about the strength of weed today and NY Times columnists losing their marbles for hours on end. Where the hell do you start and how do you smoke weed safely? I can help make your first cannabis experience more enjoyable.
Unless you seek specific therapeutic benefits, in which case you should reference my cbd guide, you are likely looking to catch a pleasurable buzz. As easy as that may sound, the cannabis market has significantly evolved over the past several years and the options can be daunting to navigate. In this guide I will help you determine the appropriate strain, dosage, and consumption method for a positive first-time experience.
Although it’s tempting to simply eat a cannabis-infused brownie, I don’t recommend doing so. The effects associated with ingested cannabis have a delayed onset time, last much longer than the other consumption methods (anywhere from 4 to 8+ hours), and can be significantly more intense.
The recommended consumption method for novice users is either smoking or vaporizing cannabis; the reason being that dosage control is relatively easy compared to other consumption methods. Smoking cannabis is the traditional method and involves inhaling the smoke released by the heated buds.
You can pack a one hitter pipe or roll it into a joint. A bong is another alternative and will result in the smoothest hit as the smoke is filtered through water prior to being inhaled, but the intensity of a bong hit is not recommended for novice users. If you find the effects of smoking cannabis to be too intense, I suggest vaporization as a more mild alternative.
For those looking to avoid the potential respiratory irritation caused by smoking, I recommend vaporizing for the first time. A vaporizer is a device that heats cannabis buds and/or concentrates to a specific (lower) temperature, which causes the cannabinoids (beneficial compounds like THC and CBD) stored in the plant’s trichomes to evaporate into a gas without combusting any plant material. In my experience, vaporization provides a more forgiving, manageable, and mild high than smoking cannabis.
If you're feeling good about the vaporizer route, the photo above may be confusing. Just remember, the golden liquid in your vaporizer cartridge is simply a concentrated, extracted version of the original cannabis buds, and should be labeled indica, sativa, or hybrid at the very least.
Some cartridges may have multiple strains inside them, while others will be strain specific. Weed is like wine – every strain has a history and some dispensaries have garden blends; the same way vineyards blend grapes to make a more unique flavor profile. The key terms to understand are indica and sativa. These terms are used to describe the two major species of the cannabis plant that induce markedly different effects.
Choosing between indica and sativa varieties of cannabis is dependent on your desired effects. Those seeking an upbeat, focused, and creative experience, should select a sativa dominant strain. Alternatively, those looking for relaxing, appetite inducing, and sedative effects should choose an indica dominant strain. Those in search of a great anytime smoke with a more balanced high should try a hybrid strain (one that combines elements of both the indica and sativa species through the breeding process). For more detailed information, reference my strain selection guide.
For first-time smokers, one or two inhalations is all it takes to feel THC's powerful effects. I recommend first-timers wait 15-20 minutes after smoking before deciding to take additional inhalations, as the effects can become more pronounced over this period. As you get more accustomed to your preferred dosage you can take additional hits for a stronger effect. However, you should never feel pressured to finish a bowl or joint, you can always come back to it. If your only option is to ingest cannabis, I recommend starting with a dose of 5mg of THC. Everyone's metabolism is different and therefore has a different reaction to edibles. The important part is to WAIT after you ingest as onset can take up to TWO HOURS. As you become more familiar with your edible tolerance, it will be easier to adjust dosage.
How to Proceed
Gearing up for your first time smoking or vaporizing can be a daunting task - there is all kinds of important smoke circle etiquette! From picking the right pipe to making sure you have all the necessary items – I understand the angst. That’s why I recommend a smell proof Safety Case to make it easy for you to get started. With these custom smoking and vaporizing kits, you can eliminate the uncomfortable head shop buying experience and have the all-in one kit of your choice delivered to your front door.
You can finally rest easy knowing you have everything you need for a successful first experience.
- First time users should start with vaporizing or smoking cannabis; stay away from edibles if possible, as the effects can be significantly more intense and less predictable.
- Choose a strain based on your desired effects. For a mental high, choose sativa; for a body high, select an indica; and for a balanced high, try a hybrid strain.
- Start with one or two inhalations and see how your body reacts. If you must ingest the cannabis, start with a very low dose of roughly 5mg and wait several hours before ingesting more.