Trying cannabis for the first time—or even the first few times—can be intimidating, especially with all of the cannabis strains, new products and consumption methods available these days. Beyond being overwhelmed by the options, dosing cannabis is still far from an exact science.
It takes trial and error to understand the amount of cannabis your body needs. And so it’s no wonder that sometimes the first few times out of the gate may be just no fun at all.
Everyone’s a cannabis newbie once in their life. And virtually everyone has made some marijuana newbie mistakes. While it’s hard to guarantee a good first experience with cannabis, there are steps you can take to lower the chances of having a bad time.
Learn from the collective wisdom of experienced cannabis consumers to avoid these common newbie mistakes.
1. Buying a Marijuana Product That’s Low Quality & not Suited to Your Preferences
Just like food, not all cannabis is created equal. Some have natural ingredients or are farmed using sustainable practices while others can contain potentially harmful solvents, pesticides and additives. A marijuana product with lots of additives can increase the likelihood of leaving you with a negative experience.
Then there’s the question of the effects you’re going for. Certain marijuana strains and products will make you sleepy; others may make your heart rate speed up. Even a quality product can cause you have a bad time if it’s not targeted to your needs.
Then we move on to how to take the cannabis. There are some consumption methods that will make you feel high and others that are therapeutic without the psychoactivity. Some forms of cannabis are best for sleeping through the night, while others are preferable for fast pain relief.
That’s why picking a product can be so challenging. There are options for every person, every mood and every tolerance level. Choosing the wrong product for your first time can make the experience unpleasant, so it’s worth taking some time to think about your preferences before you place your order.
There are plenty of things to consider when selecting a cannabis product, but for your very first time, keep it simple by asking yourself these two questions:
- How do I want to feel? Energized or relaxed? High or not high?
- How do I want to ingest cannabis? Vaping, tincture or some other method?
2. Being too Embarrassed to Ask the Cannabis Consultant Questions
If you’re completely overwhelmed with making a decision, don’t just scramble to find something quickly to get it over with. It’s OK to:
- Take your time
- Ask questions
- Be conscious of the products you’re about to put into your body
The staff at the dispensary or delivery service is there to help you. There’s nothing embarrassing about wanting to spend your money on a product you’ll enjoy safely, especially your first time. Treat your cannabis consultant like a teacher:
- Ask them about the products they like
- Which are grown without pesticides
- What’s good for the particular ailment you’re looking to treat
They get paid to be a resource for you. And remember, if you want detailed information about a product, you can always ask for lab test results.
And if you don’t live near a dispensary or you still feel uneasy about asking someone face to face, head over to our Answers page where you can post a question that a knowledgeable doctor or nurse, cannabis industry veteran or seasoned marijuana consumer will answer.
3. Not Waiting Long Enough Before Taking Another Dose of Cannabis
This is such a common mistake that you’ve probably heard at least one version of this story. Someone tries marijuana for the first time, takes the right dose, but it doesn’t feel like anything’s happening. Rather than waiting longer for the cannabis to fully kick in, they take another dose and then end up being too high to function.
With all cannabis products, but especially edibles, which don’t have an immediate effect, wait 45 minutes to an hour before re-dosing. This will allow enough time for your body to fully process the cannabinoids. Then, you can assess how you feel and make an informed decision about whether you’re comfortable with more.
It’s always better to ingest less marijuana and add more later than it is to overload yourself right away and be uncomfortably high.
4. Not Being Prepared for the Munchies, Red Eyes or Cotton Mouth
Three of the most common side effects of cannabis are increased hunger, dry or red eyes and a dry mouth. While they seem like pretty mild problems, they really can be quite annoying. Luckily, each of these is very simple to take care of.
If you find your peepers are getting dry and bloodshot, keep eye drops nearby. To deal with cotton mouth, stay hydrated by drinking water before and after you consume cannabis, and maybe even stock your fridge with some fresh juice. Chewing gum can also help as it stimulates your saliva glands, which tend to decrease their production when THC is present.
If you want to avoid the guilt of snacking too much after taking marijuana, gather some healthy snacks like fresh fruit or veggies and dip before you consume. And if you want to avoid snacking at all, you can try satisfying your flavor cravings by having something as simple as a pack of gum or some mints on hand.
If the munchies continue to be a problem for you, look into marijuana strains high in the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), which has been shown to suppress appetite.
Photo credit: Hannah Nelson