Smoking cannabis is an art form in itself. It’s unique to every person and the effects can vary. For this reason, new cannabis users should be familiar with the plant before they start consuming. This will help you make marijuana consumption a good experience and avoid any unnecessary mistakes.
Choosing the Right Strain
You’ve probably heard the words Indica and Sativa being thrown around somewhere, but what do they actually mean? Well, they are the two major types of cannabis plants, and they have a different range of effects, both on the body and the mind.
Indica strains are known for their mellow high and deep body relaxation and can help with your insomnia or anxiety. Sativa strains, on the other hand, provide a more energetic and creative high which is perfect for socializing.
For new users, we recommend starting with a hybrid, a mix between the two. An Indica-leaning hybrid will relax your body, while still stimulating your brain and prevent you from falling asleep too soon.
Choose Your Cannabinoid
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that interact with our endocannabinoid system, a complex network of receptors that support essential functions in our body. Cannabis plants have more than 100 different cannabinoids, with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) being the most common.
Chemically, these two are almost exactly the same – the only difference is just a single atom. Their effects, however, are very different. These two cannabinoids interact differently with our body’s receptors, and therefore produce different effects.
THC provides psychoactive effects, whereas CBD offers various health benefits. Contrary to popular belief, THC has a lot of medical benefits, but CBD is becoming increasingly popular as it provides all the same benefits without the psychoactive effects.
Start Low, Go Slow
A common mistake many new smokers make is trying to smoke a whole joint at once. With marijuana nowadays averaging THC levels of 15-18%, you’re bound to overdo it with a whole joint. Instead, start slowly with one or two puffs and wait to see how you feel. If you still don’t feel any effects after 10 minutes, take a couple more puffs.
Also, for first-time smokers it’s best to take very small hits to avoid coughing or burning your throat.
The most common side effects of consuming cannabis are dry eyes and dry mouth. Both of these can be easily prevented just by drinking plenty of water. Get a large bottle and keep it near you. You can even set a reminder every half an hour to take a sip of water. By staying hydrated, your high will be much more pleasant and the mornings much easier.
If by any chance you get too high, remember not to panic. You can’t overdose on marijuana, and no one has ever died from cannabis. If you feel dizzy or anxious, sit down, relax, and take deep breaths. You can also enjoy a meal to try and bring yourself back to normal or even do a simple exercise.
Alternatively, you can cut a lemon in half, get a good sniff, and then make a sugary lemonade. We know that this might sound weird, but limonene, the terpene found in lemons is known to reduce the THC effects on your brain.
Choose a Consumption Method
As you probably know by now, you can consume marijuana in many different ways – joints, vape pens, edibles, bongs, etc. For first time users, it’s best to start with a regular joint so you can take small hits and familiarize with the effects.
Avoid edibles as they are unpredictable and take around 2 hours to kick in. Also, don’t smoke a blunt or mix your marijuana with tobacco – you will only conceal the beautiful scent of cannabis and possibly get addicted to nicotine.
Choose Your Surroundings Wisely
Sure, smoking a joint at a party might seem fun, but for new users, it’s best to stick to a safe and comfortable place such as your home or a friend’s house.
This way, you can truly let go, relax, and feel all the positive effects of marijuana without being surrounded by strangers or feeling on edge.
Store Your Cannabis Properly
If stored properly, cannabinoids can stay stable for up to two years, according to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. The biggest thing to look out for is light – the heat and the UV rays will burn the cannabinoids, making your marijuana ineffective.
Air and moisture are also big enemies to your cannabis stash. Too much air in your container will speed the degradation process, and moisture will only invite mold. It’s best to keep it in an air-tight jar, away from any light and in a non-humid room, ideally in a basement or in the closet.
Now that you know what the cannabis plant is all about, it’s time to give it a try. Just remember, if it doesn’t work for you the first time, don’t give up on it - you can always try a different strain, consumption method, or a different setting.