10 Things that every beginner should know about cannabis

Published Aug 6, 2020 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / IvelinRadkov

If you’re a beginner on the cannabis scene, then chances are pretty good that you’ve already got a few questions on the back burner for when you finally get the chance to bring them up to your stoner friends. It can be a complicated endeavor at first, and it will take knowledge and exposure to get used to it, but in the meantime, you could probably use whatever pointers that come your way.

It's important to remember to maintain your confidence even when you have no idea what you’re doing because any less than that might result in you leaving your local dispensary empty-handed and no one wants that! To help you out, we’re going to cover some of the most basic marijuana facts that every first-time user of the euphoric ganja should know, in an easy to follow format that you can bookmark, and save for reference in case you need it at some point throughout this exciting journey.

1. CBD vs THC – Yes there is a massive difference

Most people who are unfamiliar with cannabis have heard about THC and CBD but few realize what each one does or that there is even any difference between them. Though both of these elements can be derived from cannabis, only THC will get you stoned, whereas CBD can help in other ways by doing things like managing appetite and reducing inflammation, so make sure that you get the right one to suit your needs.

2. Cannabinoid count isn’t everything

Looking at cannabinoid labels can provide a first-time cannabis consumer with a vague idea of what to expect, as higher concentrations are typically a bit more potent, and lower ones offer a milder range of effects, but the reality is that some of the lower cannabinoid strains are known to produce the most intoxicating effects. That’s right! You could smoke an 11% strain and find that you get more intense sensation than you do with one that sits closer to 20%, and we have no idea why that is.

3. All cannabis strains and products can produce different results

You might smoke Green Crack from one producer and love the way that it feels and then grab the same strain from somebody new only to be left disappointed when the effects aren’t repeated. This typically comes down to how well the plant is cared for in its life, and it’s the total luck of the draw each time you buy, for a strain name alone. It is also important to recognize that not all cannabis products are equal, as those you ingest will last far longer than those that are smoked, and topical goods won’t produce any sort of recreational effect, so they aren’t ideal for users who are seeking a buzz.

4. Coughing isn’t a bad thing

Coughing happens so often when cannabis is smoked or vaped that there are tonnes of sayings that highlight it. One of the most popular that comes to mind is ‘you have to cough to get off’ because some people believe that you won’t get as high if you don’t experience this uncomfortable side effect. Though that one isn’t quite true, as coughing will only give you a head rush that might make you feel momentarily higher than normal, a bit of lung irritation is normal until you get used to inhaling.

5. Your first time could be pure euphoria unlike anything that you’ve ever felt

Most cannabis enthusiasts talk about getting elevated as if it’s never really been a big deal because they adjust and learn to function relatively normally even after they’re stoned, but many first time users discover a sense of euphoria and awe that is so intense it’s hard to believe it’s happening. Unfortunately, this intense psychoactive effect doesn’t tend to go beyond your very first time, so enjoy it while it lasts, and expect to be debilitated for a little while when it happens.


6. You might not always get high

It might sound counter-intuitive after the last point on this list, but it’s completely true, and it happens to just about everyone who partakes in cannabis. Try as you might to follow all the best advice for picking the best and most potent cannabis strains and products, sometimes for a reason that we can’t quite yet explain with science, you won’t feel anything at all, and this isn’t just an issue for seasoned consumers. It could happen to anyone at any time, so don’t be shocked if, at some point, it happens to you.

7. One good experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have smooth future ones

You might absolutely love your first few experiences with cannabis and then suddenly find that you go through a period that is a bit rockier than you had initially expected, where you feel worse after you’ve used cannabis than you did beforehand. Seeing as most of us use cannabis as a pick me up and stress reliever, when it makes us feel down, it can be disappointing, to say the least. Unfortunately, this is a side effect of having access to hundreds of different strains all cultivated under entirely unique conditions. So, it is rare that two plants or products are ever truly the same.

8. Flavors and smells can enhance the effects

Most beginner users spend their time paying close attention to the high, so much that they don’t really notice the bountiful aromas and smells that come with each product and strain, but this is an important feature that can do more than get your taste buds excited. Scents and flavors that you find to be familiar or enjoyable indicate that you are more likely to be compatible with the strains that come with it, and the opposite is true for those that disgust you, so if you want the best experience, do a sniff test first.

9. If it’s your first time, it’s a good idea to start slow

The very first time that you put a bong to your lips or toss back an edible is an adventure that leads you into unchartered waters. Since there is no way to know for certain how any one product or strain might affect you, and you’re likely to be at least a little bit nervous, it’s always best to start low and go slow. A single hit or two from a joint or a meager 5mg edible might be all that it takes to send you off into wonderland, or over the edge into an abyss of anxiety that’s hard to get out of, and until you know which one it is, it’s safest to stay within minimum dosing guidelines to start.

10. Always buy from a vendor you trust

As a beginner to the cannabis world, you might feel more comfortable with a small exchange that is conducted in the shadows, because it provides a level of discretion, but the sketchy guy in the parking lot that’s offering ganja is not the best place to start. Cannabis is simple enough, but the process required to prepare its product must be precise to avoid things like mold and other contaminants from entering the mix. These things can lead to bad reactions and effects when the goods are smoked, so it’s best to stick with trusted vendors who offer third party testing to ease your mind about any adverse health risks.

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