So you’ve been a cannabis enthusiast since back in the day. Or maybe since last week. A friend or family member may be curious — especially if you’re in a state where it is now legal — and ask you about getting high and if you have any advice or pointers. Offer to be there for them. Like in the room. While they are getting high. Getting high with them.
If your first time (if you can remember back then) was a good experience, great! If not, you can help prevent that unfortunate event for them. 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 that goes 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 that gets you high. Generally speaking, the higher the THC percentage, the more potent the cannabis will be. There are, however, other factors that come into play. Dosage (we’ll deal with that below), method of ingestion (more on that later), and even age and weight, can affect how high the noob gets. 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 that gets most users happy and that 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 that Taylor Swift show 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 that 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.
- Related Story: The Ultimate Guide To Marijuana Dosing For Beginners
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.
Smoke Or Vape
Your friend might not smoke. And have apprehension about smoking. But this is really the way to go. The onset from eating an edible can take up to two hours and there are a lot of variables in addition to strength. During that time there’s a natural impulse to go “Nothing’s happening. Maybe I need more.” Which sounds pretty benign until you end up like Maureen Dowd, the New York Times columnist that traveled to Denver and ended up writing what can be viewed as a cautionary tale or the Reefer Madness reboot that no one has been asking for.
Your new marijuana buddy will feel the effects sooner (probably surprisingly so for you and your high tolerance) and can quit after just a few tokes. The jury is still out on the definitive health effects of vaping, but it will be better for those who can’t hold the smoke. One fast rule: Do not dab. For a first-timer, it can literally be too much of a good thing (see above).
Full disclosure: The author talks about his first experience and why he started smoking here. He’s “Dan” not his real name (of course).