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A guide for those who used to use cannabis

Published Mar 3, 2023 02:00 p.m. ET
Unsplash / Elsa Olofsson

Are you a newly returned cannabis consumer who loved to partake in the past but isn’t quite sure about how to proceed into this new legal world of weed? Or perhaps you haven’t quite made the decision to dive back in just yet and would like to know what to expect. Either way, this guide should help you to navigate what it means to be a modern enthusiast and teach you about some of the best ways to get started back up again, without any added pressure while minimizing potential risk and uncomfortable situations as much as possible.

To begin, we’d like to highlight a few of the biggest most important changes you’ll notice in cannabis.

You no longer have to wonder which strain you’re getting

If you used cannabis five or more years ago, chances are pretty good you’ve gone through the unfortunate experience of purchasing cannabis products without knowing which cultivar you’re getting. Once upon a time that was the norm. Even when your distributor claimed to carry certain strains, they may have lied to make the purchase seem more appealing, and those who were more honest may have accidentally lied because they also received no guarantees from the black market.

Luckily, that’s simply not the case anymore. In fact, you’ll almost never find a legal cannabis product without this information displayed clearly on the package, and if you do, it’s probably a derivative that’s so refined or processed for topical use that it really doesn’t matter, because the primary components are cannabinoids or other clearly labeled ingredients.

Potency testing is the norm

All cannabis products available at licensed dispensaries must be tested for strength, and the results must be added to the label before anything is shipped out and put up for sale. Of course, some minor cannabis elements may be overlooked, but the two primary active cannabinoids THC and CBD are always easy to see, which makes selecting the right products for beginners so much easier.

Quality is guaranteed

The problem with cannabis is that it goes through many hands before making it onto store shelves and it’s generally grown in tropical environments where contaminants such as mold flourish when given the chance, putting it at high risk of contamination, which could be bad news for your health. However, regulators require producers, packagers, and processors to maintain high standards, just like you’d expect from the food industry. What this means is that anything you buy is practically guaranteed to be clean and free of things you probably wouldn’t want in your weed, like pesticides or bacteria.

Organically grown cannabis is available

Back in the day, far too many growers used less-than-ideal methods to produce the biggest yields possible. Fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals were often utilized which meant small amounts ended up in the final product. Even now, some producers apply products to crops you might not feel comfortable consuming, but now you also have the option to avoid them entirely by buying organic cannabis and derivatives.

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There are many trustworthy resources to learn more about cannabis

One of the primary reasons so many people stop using cannabis is a lack of understanding when it comes to things like how it’s grown, processed into other forms, and finally how it affects the body. That information wasn’t always readily accessible, and what you could find may not have been biased as these ‘facts’ were quite often provided by regular everyday consumers rather than experts and scientists. However, these days there are many reliable resources to learn more about cannabis including websites, books, scientific studies, teachers, and consultants.

How to start

Hopefully, we’ve helped you to feel a bit more comfortable with the modern industry, the products that are available, and better educated on how they make it from seed to shelf. If you’re not quite ready to jump back into things, then there is no reason to rush forward, but if you’d like to give it a chance, then there are a few steps you should follow to ensure you achieve the experience you seek.

Now, we’ll take you step-by-step through the process from beginning to end.

Selecting a strain
We touched on how wonderful it is to be able to know for certain which strain you’re buying, but most returning consumers don’t entirely understand just how much influence the one you choose can have over the whole experience. Terpenes deliver a rich taste and aroma that varies greatly from one cultivar to the next. THC and CBD are never offered up in the exact same concentration, and each combination may deliver a completely unique range of effects from uplifting and motivating to relaxing and sedating.
Picking the right strain to complement your day-to-day activities is important, so it’s a good idea to do a little research before attempting to settle on one that could be right for you.

Choosing a product
Now that you know what strains you might like, it’s time to find products containing or made with that type, and there’s no shortage of options in the marketplace. These days you can buy everything from pure flower to powerful concentrates, delicious edibles, capsules and even expertly formulated topicals, so make sure to browse around and see what’s available before making any solid decisions, because you might be intrigued by what you find.
Since it can be hard to find a complete list of cannabis products that are available at stores near you, it can help to use a tool like Weedpanion, as it keeps track of current stock and all of the latest offerings within your postal code.

Finding a dispensary
If you reside in a large city or another well-populated area, then you’ll have many different vendors to choose from, but for those who live in regions where physical stores are sparse, it may be a little bit more difficult to know where to start. Luckily, it’s easy to find cannabis stores near you with a simple Google search, or by using a store finder like ours.

Go slow
The most important things to remember as you begin this journey are to take your time, start with low doses, and proceed slowly. If you can follow that advice, you’ll be much more likely to achieve the experience you want and avoid any unwanted effects along the way.

The cannabasics for beginners
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