How to navigate your first-time using cannabis this 420

Published Apr 18, 2019 01:51 p.m. ET
Photo Credit Mary Altaffer

That wonderful time of year is almost here. Spring is in the air, the birds are slowly returning, the days are getting longer, and April 20th is only a couple of days away. Though most people might assume that everyone who will be out celebrating cannabis legalization on 420 will have a long history of experience with marijuana use, now that both possession and use is no longer a risk, there will probably be thousands of brand new consumers who have no experience with the industry at all. Since most cannabis related events are more geared towards experienced marijuana users, we thought we would compile a list of helpful tips and tricks to navigate this year's 420 festivities if it’s your first-time using cannabis.

1. Pick an event that doesn’t allow consumption

If it’s your very first experience with marijuana use, then it might be safest to choose an event that isn’t going to be full of other people smoking cannabis. This is because those who have a low or non-existent tolerance to THC can be heavily impacted by breathing in secondhand smoke which can make a high difficult to control. If you do decide to go to a BYOW (bring your own weed) option, then be sure to keep a safe distance from large groups, so their smoke doesn’t waft in your direction.

2. Start with a cannabis strain that is lower in THC

For the best experience your first-time using marijuana, it is always recommended to start with a low THC strain. The higher the THC content, the more intense the high generally is, so start out small and slowly work yourself up over the course of the day. If you are unable to choose the strength of the weed due to availability or access, then consider packing smaller than average bowls, or rolling pinner joints to keep the amount you consumer to a minimum.

3. Stay away from marijuana edibles

Marijuana edibles offer an entirely different experience that is much more difficult to control than other methods of consumption. Avoiding marijuana edibles is recommended, but if you want to try some than stick with a low 0 mg of THC or less to start. The problem with cannabis edibles is that they are strong, potent, difficult to predict, and the effects can last upwards of 12 hours which can lead to a long and uncomfortable situation in any case of over-consumption.

4. Know the benefits of marijuana

One of the most significant aspects of a person’s first time with marijuana use often comes down to how they felt mentally about the experience before it even took place. Since cannabis has the incredible ability to heighten awareness and sensations, a person who starts out nervous may very likely end up in an episode of full out panic. Instead of going in blind so to speak, educate yourself on the benefits of marijuana as well as what to expect to build up your confidence.

5. Bring a friend

Your very first experience with marijuana use is going to be slightly unpredictable. Whether you are jumping right in and trying marijuana edibles and concentrates or are just starting out small with a puff or two from a joint, it will always be safer to keep a friend nearby for support. This is so that if you do feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable, or end up with a bad experience they can help to keep you safe and get you home and or treated as quickly as possible.

6. Stay hydrated

Cannabis can cure symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and anxiety, but it also has the capabilities to magnify those same sensations, particularly in new beginners. Most people don’t realize that chronic dehydration is a worldwide issue and that a lack of water in the system can make the introduction of a substance such as THC feel much more intense than it otherwise should. Be sure to pack at least a few full water bottles for your journey, and it doesn’t hurt to down a few glasses before heading out for a little extra assurity.

7. Bring snacks

You are about to head out to an exciting event full of celebrations, and marijuana use. Though it might seem to make sense that there would or should be vendors present to keep you full throughout the experience, the truth is that greasy and sugar filled treats that you will find at more festivals are not going to settle your stomach. If you get stuck without the option altogether, you could end up with an uncomfortable case of the munchies and no way to satiate it. Snacks are also great for helping to control a high that’s gotten a little bit out of hand. Consider healthy or high fiber options like nuts, crackers, fruit, cheese, and cured meats instead. They will cure the munchies and give your body the much-needed fuel to party hard for the rest of the day.

8. Only purchase marijuana from trusted sources

This one seems logical, but there are a lot of people that travel to these events from places that either don’t allow legal marijuana or have incredibly high prices. So they head out expecting to find someone around that can hook them up with a stellar more local deal upon arrival. Unfortunately, this can end is a terrible way if your first marijuana use ends up tainted by the addition of some other drug or substance that might be present. Slightly better, but just as disappointing is getting low quality cannabis that doesn’t have any effect. Thisholds truefor experienced stoners and new user’s alike. Never buy from a source you do not trust.

9. Choose your method of consumption carefully

If this is your first experience with marijuana use, then you likely have no idea how the different methods of consumption could impact the way that you feel. Though the most critical aspect is the quality of cannabis you smoke, the second most influential is the way you choose to use it. A joint will slowly burn up into the air and is an easy to control method of cannabinoid delivery that is most often recommended to beginners. Marijuana edibles and concentrates can contain up to 75% more THC, so it’s safest to stick with a small smoking or vaping option whenever possible.

10. Always assume your experience will be different than someone else’s

If you are new to marijuana use, then you probably don’t know that every person’s experience with cannabis consumption is slightly different from the next. Your friend with a slightly higher tolerance may tell you that a certain weed strain was ineffective for them, but you might find that it’s the entirely opposite effect for you. Always judge the amount and types of marijuana that you consume by your own personal experiences which will happen through exposure. To start out do your research and stick with a low THC strain regardless of what your closest pals might say.

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