Important things to know before trying cannabis for the first time

Published Aug 7, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Magnifical Productions

There is a tonne of information about cannabis floating around on the internet, and it doesn’t take long to figure out what’s real and what’s not, but there is very little for direction for consumers who are interested in getting high for the very first time. Though it’s relatively easy to find reliable sources to trust, the sheer amount of various topics out there are hard to soak in, so it’s a good idea to start with materials that are intended for you, as an inexperienced consumer.

Now, if you haven't been high before, or it’s been a really long time since you partook in cannabis products, it’s pretty safe to say that you’ll need the building blocks necessary to develop a comfortability with the idea, and we want to help with that. Since it’s easy to overlook the most essential questions, we have compiled all of them here, including everything you need to know, from how to start, when to do it, and more.

1. How long does smoking weed last for?

This is perhaps one of the most important questions of them all, as a lot of first-time cannabis consumers believe that all products will impact them equally, and that couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. Smoking pot will induce effects that can last for anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 solid hours on average, so it’s a good idea to clear at least that much time from your schedule before you start, especially if you want to try this method of ingestion for the very first time.

2. How long do edibles last?

Edibles are incredibly powerful goods that can make you high as a kite, but for some reason, they don’t have that impact on everyone. Some people have a naturally high tolerance to THC, which means that they need more to experience the same effects, but in general, the effects of these fantastic cannabis goods can last for up to 12 hours after they are eaten, and as if that wasn’t enough, they can also take 2 hours to fully kick in, which is why they are so often responsible for adverse experiences, and they are not often recommended for first-time users, at least, not in larger quantities.

3. How long does marijuana stay in your system?

If it seems like we’ve answered similar questions for a third time in a row here, then you’re right, but they are all vastly different from one another. How long cannabis products may affect you is significantly different than how long traces of the cannabinoids like THC might linger in the bloodstream, urine, or hair follicles. For less sensitive tests like urine or blood, it can take anywhere from 30-60 days to successfully pass after your last time using cannabis.

Micro traces left from your high cannabis experience will stay in the hair follicles for up to a year, and sometimes even longer, but these tiny molecules do not impact you while they are there. That is why this is mainly an issue for those who must submit random drug tests, be it for work or probation, as most everyday people don’t really have to worry about what might come out of their body long after the effects have passed.

4. Is it possible to overdose?

It is entirely possible to endure an uncomfortable or even scary experience with cannabis, and this is especially true if it’s your first time, but it is impossible to overdose on THC because there is no way to consume enough to cause a toxic reaction within the body. This is largely due to the way that the body absorbs cannabinoids at a slow rate, which is kind of a built-in system to protect us from going overboard, so overdosing isn’t something that you’ll likely need to worry about.

You may at times, hear about consumers who feel things like dark senses of dread,
fear, or panic, but these things only last for a couple of hours at most, and in the majority of situations, a good bit of sleep can be enough to get through the intense psychoactive results. To date, there is no record of a single person dying from eating edibles alone, and the only people who really need to worry about life-altering effects are those who rely on medication that may be impacted by the cannabinoids.

5. Is it safe to be alone during your first time getting high?

Cannabis is an overwhelmingly safe drug, even when compared to other legal alternatives such as alcohol, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to take on such a challenge all by yourself. In fact, you will likely be calmer and feel more confident, which puts you in an excellent state of mind for getting stoned for the first time. There is, of course, no reason to assume that the experience will be anything but enjoyable, but just in case, it’s always best to have a good, trusted friend nearby to watch over you.


6. What is a safe starting dose?

This is one of the many cannabis questions that you’ll find that doesn’t exactly have an answer, which is why most err on the side of caution and recommend a small dose of only 5mg of THC to first-time consumers. It might sound like a really small number, especially if you’ve seen ranges that go as high as 1500 or more, but it’s an excellent starting point that will help you to gauge exactly how the effects of cannabinoids will impact you moving forward.

From there, small increments of around 5mg are safe and effective, yet controlled, so each time the experience will only be slightly more intense than the last. Of course, this can take several days of experimentation to work up to higher dosed cannabis products, but it’s a wait that will help to ensure that you enjoy every second of it while it lasts.

7. Where do you feel most comfortable?

This question on its own might not seem relevant to a first time with cannabis, but the answer to it can offer some insight and power over how this rare moment will go. You see, if you start out in an unfamiliar place, then your anxiety is also likely to be higher than normal. Under typical circumstances, these uncomfortable feelings may be easy to control and manage, especially after getting high, but if it’s your first time with THC, then you will be ultra-susceptible to an adverse exaggeration to those sensations.

You could find that your stress levels shoot through the roof and those anxious feelings crawling up into your chest, making it difficult to breathe. If you want to avoid this unfortunate potential side effect, then you’ll need to start out as relaxed as possible and to do that, you need to be wherever you feel the most at ease. That could be at home, chilling in the backyard, or at a friend's place, so take the time to think this part of the equation through before you sit down for your first time with cannabis.

8. Is there anything that you should keep on hand for the experience?

Everybody has their own preferences, but there is a couple of things that you should make sure to keep handy, especially if it’s your first time getting stoned. The first and most important is a nice, cool glass or bottle of water, which will come in handy to ward off dry mouth, and the second is one of your favourite healthy snacks. Things like nuts or dried fruits will help you to keep up your energy and give you something to focus on, and then once the bowl is gone, you won’t have to feel terrible about it.

9. Are there better times in the day to get stoned?

If it’s your first time experimenting with cannabis, then the time of day might make a whole lot of difference when it comes to how you recover. Since a lot of people feel super high their first time, it’s not uncommon for them wanting to sleep off the effects, especially once they begin to wear down naturally. In this case, getting high right after dinner might be the absolute best time of day, as it allows you to enjoy a full meal, which will reduce your risk of insatiable munchies, and it will leave just enough time between toking and bed, that if you happen to need to crash early, it isn’t going to throw off your schedule for the following day.

10. Would it be ok to mix cannabis with alcohol for your first time?

Mixing psychoactive or mind-altering substances is never something that is recommended by professionals, especially if it’s your first time because we still understand very little about how the different combinations may impact consumers. The only other safe “drug” to consume when you're getting stoned for the first time is caffeine, so be sure to skip any other offerings until you have a bit more experience and confidence. You’ll be glad you waited.

Why watching videos is an excellent place to start for beginners


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