Cannabis 101: How to Get There

50 million Americans live in a state that legalized marijuana last week. If you’re one of them, you may well be excited about your first legal bowl. But for every regular smoker, there’s someone who hasn’t picked up a piece since college and someone else who has never touched the stuff. So, in recognition of those who are looking to either get back into the wide world of weed or to check it out for the first time, we here at VapeXhale would like to give you some advice on how to experience this miraculous plant safely, comfortably, and legally.

Find a friend

If you’re going to get high for the first time, you should have a friend with you who knows the ropes. Cannabis is often a social experience, and while many aficionados light up alone, most prefer some company. Also, smoking for the first time takes some getting used to, and watching some YouTube video trying to teach you how to work a carb is not a recipe for a fun evening. Being high for the first time may make some everyday tasks more difficult, either because your senses of coordination or perception are off, your memory is less reliable than usual, or because you get the giggles on each attempt. As such, it’ll help to have someone around who can help you through whatever struggles you are met with. Thankfully, marijuana smokers are everywhere, so you’ve likely got a friend who knows their way around a bong, even if you don’t know it yet.

Choose your weapon

There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the increasing strength of cannabis. And while some of that discourse has been just more Reefer Madness, there is some truth to it. The combination of marijuana’s growing popularity and illegal status has incentivized growers to maximize THC content. As such, if you haven’t had a joint since Woodstock, you’re going to feel the difference. Now, there’s still plenty to enjoy, just don’t jump right into the deep end. Straight flower is probably a good place to start, preferably an indica which tends to have a more calming and relaxing experience, as opposed to sativas which tend to leave users feeling more energized and eager to move and explore. Don’t feel that marijuana is only for shut-ins of course, but it would be wise to get a feel for how it affects you before you go out to meet the neighbors. A joint is the most simple option, but if you aren’t used to smoking, a bong will provide a smoother and milder experience, and a vaporizer even more so.

Watch out for edibles

Edibles are growing more common every day, and are easy to share, particularly when out and about. But, as Maureen Dowd learned the hard way, edibles can be very powerful. If you’re a rookie, 5 milligrams is a good jumping off point, but it’s not unheard of to find products with a THC count in the hundreds. If you wouldn’t introduce someone to alcohol by handing them a funnel and a bottle of everclear, don’t take a whole brownie without reading the label or talking to the baker. You’ll be OK of course, but you might not be able to do much besides sit, stare, and smile for a couple of hours. Also, the effects of edibles can vary based on when you last ate, so don’t make the classic mistake of taking more because you haven’t felt the effects yet, as you may realize you’re in deeper than you intended.

Clear your schedule

Your first time should ideally be in a safe space with no interruptions. Again, experienced users can handle many day-to-day activities while high without a problem, be it doing the dishes, playing with their kids, or finishing up that power point presentation for work. But as Bill Hicks said, “When you’re high, you can do everything you normally do just as well. You just realize that it’s not worth the effort.” You don’t want to realize the fundamental absurdity of the universe at the same time you remember you’ve got to pick your sister up at the airport. Be in a position where you can not worry about work, don’t need to look at your phone, and can just sit back and relax.

Hit it, don’t quit it

Now the moment is at hand. If you’re using a pipe or bong, it’s a deceptively simple practice. First, pack your bowl with greens, which ideally you would have split or ground up. Next, while covering the carb if you have one, light the bowl and inhale enough that smoke begins to accumulate in the chamber. When a sufficient amount of smoke is visible (and you’ll have to experiment to see how much you can handle, but don’t feel you need to show off) uncover the carb or remove the slide. This allows the free flow of air from the chamber to your lungs. Breathe from your diaphragm, holding the smoke as long as you can, and then exhale (preferably towards a window. Cannabis smells wonderful, but stale cannabis? Less so.)

Don’t feel the need to take more than you feel you can handle, but you should continue until you can feel a difference. Many people bungle their first hit, refuse a second, and then claim cannabis doesn’t work for them. If you take a few hits and give it a few minutes, you’ll likely experience a feeling of movement when standing still, euphoria, or a change in perception. That’s when you can effectively judge the experience and determine if it’s for you.

Don’t drink and imbibe

Alcohol and cannabis have multiplicative effects upon one another. As such, if you’re just starting out with cannabis, you should probably leave the liquor in the cabinet. When you feel more comfortable with the herb, you can try drinking while high, but we’d advise you to take it slow. Otherwise, it’s quite likely you’ll find the room starts spinning faster than you’d, and the contents of your stomach, would appreciate.

Enjoy the ride

Once you’re high, remember to have fun. There isn’t a universal response to cannabis, so don’t feel married to your expectations. It’d be wise to have a range of stimulae on hand so you’re covered with however the mood takes you. Listening to music, talking with friends, watching cartoons, making a puzzle, playing a board game, or whatever else could seem like a whole new experience, so it’s good to have options available. You don’t want to end up rooting through your closet just to realize you forgot what you started looking for. Stay hydrated, as you will more than likely have some cottonmouth to deal with, and marijuana does act as a diuretic. The munchies is a very real phenomenon, likely caused by endocannabinoids getting into your hypothalamus which leads to your cannabinoid receptors increasing your appetite. As such, it is wise to have something (or many things) you enjoy eating on hand. Contrary to stereotypes, not all high people subsist on junk food; foods of all sorts will become more exciting, but remember that you will have to face the consequences the next day, regardless of how good everything tastes. All in all, the journey you have embarked on is perfectly safe, more so than ever if the legal barriers against use have been removed. Enjoy the journey.

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