Article by Julia Veintrop, Cannabis Life Network
Trying cannabis for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience, making it hard to know where to begin. Weed is meant to be relaxing. So, to help take the stress off, here is what you need to know before your first time.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Two pot smokers will happily share a joint, even if they don’t speak the same language. The true spirit of the cannabis community is this; If you and I both use cannabis in some form regardless of whether we have met, we are cannafamily. We all started out exactly where you are. So, never be intimidated to ask questions or feel like you ‘should’ know something. When it comes to cannabis, there is so much out there to learn. New and exciting information is being released every day, so remember, everybody is learning with you. There are no stupid questions, just funny ones.
Cannabis is non-fatal
Fact: It is physically impossible to fatally overdose from cannabis. When THC interacts with our CB1 receptors, we experience a psychoactive effect. CB1 receptors can be found in high concentrations, all over the body with one exception: the brainstem. As it happens, this part of the brain controls involuntary functions such as heartbeat and lung function. Because there are so few CB1 receptors within the brainstem, it is impossible to overstimulate this area using cannabis and cause a shutdown.
What this means: No one has ever caused their heart to stop or stopped breathing because of weed. No one ever will. If you get a little bit too baked or start to feel uncomfortable, just remember that the effects will pass.
Type of cannabis
The effects of cannabis come from a blend of different cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds, found within its strain genetics. From plant to plant, these compounds vary, producing different results. To categorize this, each strain gets labeled as an indica, sativa, or hybrid, based on common characteristics.
- Relaxing and calming
- Creates a body high effect
- Bush-like plant with short stems and broad leaves
- Uplifting and energizing
- Creates a head-high effect
- Taller plant with longer stems and narrow leaves
Here is a phrase to help you remember the difference between indica and sativa:
indica will put you in da couch.
- A blend of sativa and indica but, the ratios vary from plant to plant.
- Physically relaxing but not overly sedative
The golden rule of dosing – start low, go slow.
The effects of cannabis can sneak up on you so give it some time to kick in.
When THC is inhaled into the lungs, it enters the bloodstream very quickly. The effect is usually felt within 10-15 minutes, making it easy to judge for dosing. If you choose to smoke weed for your first experience, your biggest challenge is how to do so.
- Ask to purchase pre-rolled joints. If they are not available, ask if someone can roll it for you. Asking for this might feel awkward the first time, but, this question is a common one. Many long time cannabis users cannot roll joints.
- If you are using a pipe, grind up the bud first. That way, you ensure it burns evenly.
- There can be a little hole on the side of the pipe called a ‘choke’. When inhaling and lighting the bud, be sure to keep your finger over this hole. After inhaling, there may be some lingering smoke in the pipe chamber. Lifting your finger off of the choke, allows you to clear this.
Dosing is different.
- You absorb more THC through your digestive system than you do through the lungs. Eating it will make the most of those milligrams.
Edibles need to be digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.
- It will take longer for you to feel an effect if you eat cannabis, instead of smoking it.
- The amount of food present in your stomach will impact how quickly you feel it.
Cannabis is safe to use but if done incorrectly, it’s easy to feel uncomfortable. Factors such as dosing, strain, and quality make the difference between a therapeutic, enjoyable experience, and one you never want again. It’s all about trusting that your source of cannabis knows exactly what they are doing. Wherever you get it should provide more than just weed, they should be there to educate as well. Before you decide whether to purchase from a legal or ‘grey market’ source, be aware of a few things:
The Government Stores
The benefits of going to a licensed cannabis retailer include convenience and legal purchasing. There are some good ones, but the price, quality, and availability can’t be guaranteed. Plus, they cannot provide any medical advice. These retailers have to play by government rules and do not have the same options as a normal business.