Now that it’s legal in many states, more and more people are trying out recreational marijuana. If you’re new to smoking cannabis, you may have some questions about what to expect or how to make sure you have a good experience. In many ways, every high is unique because of the interplay between the body chemistry of the user and the cannabinoids in the weed. However, if you prepare yourself and your environment, you can increase your chances of having a great first experience.
One of the most notable effects of legalizing marijuana has been the development of new strains. Breeders have taken advantage of the freedom to experiment, and as a result, the cannabis market is now highly diversified. In the 1980s, for example, almost all marijuana was fairly low in potency, with a THC content of just 3% to 4%. Nowadays, you can get weed that has anywhere from almost 0% to nearly 30% THC.
In recent years, breeders have also paid attention to CBD content. Although CBD doesn’t get you high, it has medicinal benefits, and it can interact with THC in positive ways. For example, THC can provoke anxiety and paranoia, but a high percentage of CBD can reduce or eliminate those side effects.
Cannabis with a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio can be an ideal choice for beginners because it tends to create a mild and relaxing high that is easy to handle. Good examples of balanced strains like this are CBD Critical Mass and Black Domina CBD In terms of THC content, look for cannabis with 10% or less for a high that won’t be too intense. CBD OG Kush (15:1) is another good starter strain because it is much higher in CBD than THC, but still has a small bit of THC (<1%) to produce provide some mental benefit.
In addition to the percentage of cannabinoids in a strain, it’s also important to understand the differences among the three sub-species of cannabis: Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis. In general, Indica-dominant strains are more relaxing or sedating, while Sativa-dominant strains often tend to be more euphoric and energizing. Ruderalis is much lower in THC than the other two sub-species but higher in CBD, and it is often cross-bred with other strains to increase CBD content. The ruderalis also imparts autoflowering capabilities to the different hybrids it has been used to create, which makes the transition from vegetative growth to flowering phase easier for home growers to manage.
If you’re choosing your own weed to smoke for the first time, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional budtender who can steer you toward the right product. If that’s not an option, then get advice from a trusted friend and make sure you know what to expect from the strain you use.
There are many ways to consume cannabis nowadays. For example, you can smoke it in a joint, a blunt, a pipe, or a bong. You can vape it or use a dab rig, which allows you to inhale a highly concentrated oil. If you don’t want to inhale, you can even try edible cannabis products in the form of candy or baked goods. However, not all methods are appropriate for first timers. Many, in fact, could be overwhelming.
Smoking marijuana in a joint or pipe is a good method for a first-time smoker. Start slow with just one deep inhalation, and then wait a little while to see how it affects you. It can take your first hit anywhere from two to twenty minutes to fully kick in, depending on your body chemistry, so make sure to give it time to work before going back for another hit. Smoking too much too soon is one of the biggest mistakes first-time users make.
New smokers should stay away from the harder-hitting methods like bongs (especially the gravity bong), vaping, and dabbing. These methods can deliver a fast and intense high that could be hard for a beginner to cope with. Edibles are even riskier because your rate of metabolism is impossible to predict. It could easily take more than an hour for the effects of an edible to kick in, but many people will assume they need to eat more before that much time has passed.
Smoking marijuana for the first time is like traveling to an unknown country. It’s a better and safer experience with a trusted friend at your side. A friend who knows the ropes can make sure that you are getting a safe, unadulterated product and that you are using it correctly. If your first time is with strangers, you may end up taking a hit of a strain that is too potent for you or is mixed with another substance.
Another reason for smoking with friends is that they will make you feel more comfortable. Being at ease and feeling safe in your environment definitely helps to mitigate any possible anxiety or panic caused by the THC. Finally, good friends will take care of you if the experience starts to get too intense, and they will help you cope.
You may not have a very strong or long-lasting effect after your first time smoking marijuana, but it’s a good idea to prepare as if you will.
The first and most important thing to do is to clear your schedule. That means don’t make any plans that will require you to drive, work, study, take care of kids, or do anything important the rest of the day. Give yourself a full night’s sleep to recover and realize that you may feel a bit hungover the next day.
Another way to prepare is to drink a lot of water before and while you smoke. Because you have cannabinoid receptors in your salivary glands, smoking cannabis can temporarily block the production of saliva, leading to a dry mouth, often referred to as cottonmouth. Though not a dangerous condition, it’s unpleasant and not ideal for your teeth. Drinking water can help to reduce this effect.
It’s also a good idea to have healthy snacks on hand. The THC in cannabis naturally stimulates the appetite, so it’s normal to crave food when you’re high. If you prepare good food in advance, you can avoid going through a bag of Doritos or chocolate chip cookies.
Fortunately, not all strains are appetite stimulants. If you’re concerned about over-eating while high, consider smoking a high-CBD strain or a strain that is high in another cannabinoid, TCHV, which is known to suppress appetite. Certain sativa strains like Moby Dick and Durban Poison have a higher percentage of TCHV than average.
With the right preparation, chances are your first high will be a great experience that you’ll look forward to repeating. However, there is always the possibility that things will go differently than you expect. You may get a stronger product than you realize, you may consume more than you intend to, and your own body chemistry may cause you to get a more intense high than you wanted. If this happens, don’t panic.
First of all, remember that no one in the world has ever died from overdosing on marijuana. At worst, you will have to deal with an unpleasant feeling for a while. Just remind yourself that the feeling will go away in time.
If you start to feel anxious or panicky, there are a few things you can do to calm yourself down. One tip is to sniff black pepper or black pepper oil. The terpenes in black pepper, especially alpha-pinene, help to counteract negative side effects of THC.
If you start feeling ill, like you’re going to throw up or pass out, the best remedy is usually to drink water or juice. If you’re smoking on an empty stomach or not fully hydrated, you could experience a drop in blood sugar or blood pressure. However, these effects are not common when there is no underlying condition.
The best way to make sure you’re getting a safe and natural product is to grow your own cannabis. As of October 2020, seventeen states currently allow home grows, for medicinal or recreational use or both. Learning how to select, care for, and harvest cannabis plants is very rewarding, and most growers find that their hobby gives them a deeper sense of appreciation and enjoyment when they smoke. Just like first-time smokers, new growers need to do some research in order to choose the right seeds and set up an ideal growing environment.
With any luck, your first time smoking weed will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Marijuana activates pleasure centers in the brain, it heightens the senses, and it promotes creative thinking. It also has many medicinal benefits like relief for pain and nausea. The more you smoke, the more you’ll learn about the different strains of cannabis, the different methods of smoking, and how your body and mind react to them.