It’s important to have some sort of clue about what direction to go in when heading into unfamiliar territory, whether it’s first-timers getting their kicks in Washington or Colorado or folks who haven’t had the opportunity to indulge in their favorite plant for quite awhile.
Whatever the circumstance, it’s clear from a few recent reports that there is a load of new and returning users who aren’t educated about some basic ways to keep themselves and others from having overwhelming and unpleasant experiences. Whatever experience level is your starting point, it will be valuable to go forward into the relatively unknown equipped with a little knowledge.
Do Some Research
Before smoking, ingesting or applying any sort of cannabis-infused goods, find out about what type of experience to expect from each different product. Look into the characteristics and contrasts between sativa and indica strains, read up on dabbing and wax and find out about how canna-oil and canna-butter work in the body. Being intellectually prepared will make a difference in how enjoyable the physical effects will be once they start to kick in. Remember: this is supposed to feel good.
Test the Waters
Because the hormonal and chemical makeup of every body is different, taking the time to really figure out what works and what doesn’t work will make a tremendous difference in how an experience will carry out. For some people, smoking produces a more enjoyable effect than eating edibles or vice versa. It’s a good idea to give any new marijuana experience a test run in private — kind of like trying out a test patch before dying hair — before going all the way in and possibly regretting it later in public.
If a dispensary carries a product of interest, there’s never any harm in asking questions to make sure there’s absolute clarity about an item before it’s purchased. It’s important to double check about recommended dosage amounts when it comes to edibles that may not be clearly marked and follow the instructions. The staff can be an excellent resource during any transaction. It might also be helpful to ask them if they have some anecdotal advice.
Smoking joints, blunts or out of a glass pipe are probably the most common ways of getting high, but they’re not the end-all and be-all of cannabis culture. There are a number of ways to enjoy cannabis that are becoming more popular and accessible. Vaporizing and dabbing are other ways to get a potent high thanks to a variety of discrete, portable devices popping up all over the market.
Sticking to reputable, trusted dispensaries that provide fresh, lab-tested cannabis must be a top priority. If the pot doesn’t seem fresh, if there is little to no consistency when it comes to packaging and labeling or if the dispensary staff isn’t forthcoming with helpful information when asked, it’s time to move on to greener pastures.
Don’t Push the Limits
It’s important to be aware of what strains and how much cannabis allows for a content and satisfying experience. The golden rule here is to start small and be patient. If it’s been more than a decade since the last puff, don’t try to inhale an entire blunt on the first go-round. Just take a moment to think about the process going on in the body when cannabis is consumed. Trying to take a good buzz over the edge won’t heighten the experience, it’ll just require a lot of snacks and a long, long nap. Keep it moderate and it won’t be hard to stay awake to actually enjoy the high.
Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.