People become interested in cannabis for a variety of reasons – medical, anxiety, sleep, California sober or just for fun. Here is how you can help.
If you have a marijuana consumer, you feel pretty good about cannabis. Cheaper than cocktails, better for your body than alcohol, and lower calorie than beer. You can’t help but be a fan and an a friend who is canna-curious. Data shows people have their first experience with weed for a variety of reason – medical, anxiety, the need to sleep or just for fun…but are usually hesitant because they don’t have a good guide or friend to help them. Here are the best ways to introduce someone to marijuana.
If your first time was a good experience, great! If not, you can help prevent unfortunate event for your loved one. So get out your stash and remember: a friend with weed is a friend indeed.
1. Knowledge Is Power
Some people want to know everything going into their body right down to the syllable count on the ingredient list of their most recent Whole Foods purchase. Others may not care, but since potential effects probably do matter, it helps to discuss why they want to get high and what they expect out of it. Here are some cursory talking points.
THC: Is the stuff in cannabis which gets you high. Generally speaking, the higher the THC percentage, the more potent the cannabis will be. There are, however, other factors come into play. Dosage (see below), method of ingestion (more later), and even age and weight, can affect the high. Legal cannabis should have a label with the THC level (15 percent or less is good for first-timers) and the level of the next substance …
CBD: Is the pain-relieving compound in marijuana. Does your buddy want to finally understand why so many otherwise smart people freely listen to Pink Floyd? Or does their back really hurt and they are scared to death their doctor will prescribe opioids? If it’s the latter, a high CBD percentage (4 is considered “high” CBD) is better.
Indica vs. Sativa: These two strains are the ying and yang of pot. Simply put, Sativa is the “head” high making most users happy and some even use to pass mundane tasks such as housework or filling out taxes (seriously, does your accountant look baked?). The latter was a joke, but if you want to spend some time talking and laughing, Sativa may be the better choice.
Indica is the “body” high. It promotes rest, sleep and helps with pain (or, in the author’s case, spending a pleasant evening watching the NBA). In its most potent forms it can put a user to sleep in short order or promote “couch-lock” which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.
At most legal pot shops there are a wide variety of hybrids which mix the two. And as a practical matter, most marijuana you will buy is some sort of hybrid.
If you’re a veteran cannabis consumer, a few questions of your rookie should help you decide on what THC/CBD levels and strain are best to get started on. If you’re not sure, be very specific with your budtender about what effect they are going for. As one asked me when my team was in the Super Bowl and I was shopping for game day, “Do you think they are going to win or lose?”
2. Comfortable Surroundings
Your friend’s first time is not suitable for a Taylor Swift concert with the dazzling lighting effects and massive dance numbers. Or to show off your new 7.1 surround sound system with the fillings-rattling subwoofer. Although it is impossible to overdose on the herb, the resulting confusion can lead to paranoia which can lead to panic in some cases. Make it easy on your friend.
One long-time cannabis consumer who has helped many friends and family members for the first time offers this advice:
“The most important factor is comfort. Talk through the expectations. If the first-timer is too nervous or anxious, it certainly will not be a positive experience. Make sure there is a place for your friend to sit down and relax if the experience becomes uncomfortable.”
This usually means at their place at a time when they don’t have to be any place until tomorrow and bed is a short shamble away. Put on a favorite old movie. And have plenty of water. Try to avoid booze. They need to learn what being high is like before mixing. And have food. Preferably pizza. Is there anything more satisfying and relaxing than pizza? Two great tastes, etc …
3. Fools Rush In
Take it slow. Just because Jeff Spicoli is your spirit animal, doesn’t mean you should
Try to smoke it all at once. Even if you are a semi-regular cannabis enthusiast, you will have built up some tolerance. Start with a small dose. Share a bowl or half a joint. When they feel it coming on ask them to describe the feeling. If they want to do more, do more. But slowly. Then ask again.
Marijuana isn’t for everyone. But everyone deserves, their first time out, to not feel like their brain has been clubbed with a rubber mallet … repeatedly.
4. Smoke Or Vape
Your friend might not smoke. And have apprehension about smoking or vaping. But this a manageable way to moderate. The onset from eating an edible can take up to two hours and there variables in addition to strength. During that time there’s a natural impulse to go “Nothing’s happening. Maybe I need more.” Which sounds benign until you end up like Maureen Dowd, the New York Times columnist who traveled to Denver and ended up writing what can be viewed as a cautionary tale of not doing your research.
Your new marijuana buddy will feel the effects sooner and can quit after just a few puffs. One fast rule: Do not dab. For a first-timer, it can literally be too much of a good thing (see above).