Hey buddies! I had a great weekend. The buds were burning, people were chilling, and the world seemed to be smiling. Plus, this really good looking girl decided that she was going to take a few steps down the social ladder and chat me up at a party. I was in a good mood. My mood improved even more when I took out a nice big doobie I’d rolled up for the party and she looked at it and said, “I’ve always wanted to try that”. Perfect night.
But, spending about twenty solid minutes trying to teach her how to inhale brought a slow realization to my brain: not everyone knows about weed. And not just how to smoke it, but about weed in general and the basics that us stoners take for granted. Now that ganja is becoming more and more acceptable in social situations, I felt that it was important to pass down my years of wisdom to those fresh face smokers out there. Before you try to puff on your first joint, make sure you know the basics!
Basic 1 – THC vs CBD
Even some of the more seasoned smokers tend to forget about the differences in these two. Knowing a little bit about THC and CBD can help you understand the difference between ordering a “strong” weed, and the right weed for you.
THC is basically what makes you high. A strain with a high THC content will give you a much stronger head buzz, and you will definitely get the giggles. On the flip side, higher THC also puts you at a greater risk to experience anxiety or paranoia when smoking. Most weed shops will give you a strain with a very high THC level if you ask for something “strong” or “good”. So, if you experience anxiety or stress already, you may want to be careful about your wording.
CBD is more on the medicinal side of marijuana. In fact, isolated CBD is known to have all the medicinal effects of weed, without getting you high at all. Stains with a high CBD content are great for pain relief and calming the mind. For newer smokers, especially people who are trying weed for the first time with a small group of friends, CBD heavy strains are a safe bet. You will still get high from the THC, but the high amount of CBD will keep you level and stress free. For people who are simply looking for the medicinal effects of weed, products like Phoenix Tears CBD capsules are great for you.
Basic 2- Types of Weed
Sativa, Indica, or a hybrid? A new smoker is going to be confronted with this choice early on, and be given a very basic answer. Sativa lifts you up. Indica calms you down. Hybrids fall somewhere in the middle. But there is a lot more to it than that, and depending on the strain, not knowing exactly what you’re getting into can ruin weed for the new smoker. We’ve all had that one friend who wants to call an ambulance after smoking a strong sativa. No? Just me?
Sativa– It’s true that sativas have a more uplifting effect and you’ll have a great cerebral high that makes you feel energetic and blissful. Sativas are known for giving smokers a good case of the giggles. They also tend to have a very high THC content and a low CBD content. A great example of this strain is Red Congolese.
Newer smokers tend to ask for the strongest sativa they can find, thinking this will be a great energy boost for a party. I can’t stress this enough – sativa is not a “pick me up”. Energetic high is still high. Expect to feel hazy and find certain topics of conversation difficult to follow (although, other topics might be impossible for you to stop talking about, albeit incoherently). You will feel more alert and happy than you would from smoking an indica, but you will still be high and very obviously stoned.
Secondly, sativa is not always great for people who generally feel anxious or paranoid when smoking. Sativa gives your mind a racy feeling. Meaning, you can overly focus on one topic and have about 7 thoughts a second on it. Sativa tends to tug at your anxiety instead of calming it. But, for pain and nausea, sativa is a better choice.
Indica – Indica tends to get overlooked by newer smokers. Don’t let people fool you, for medicinal use, especially related to stress and sleep loss, indica is the way to go. Indica has all of the positive medicinal effects of weed, without the mental tugs and shifts that come with sativa. Indica has a much more relaxing cerebral feel. So instead of focusing on one thing and analyzing it (a good and bad point for sativa), indica makes your mind feel heavy. A strong indica can make it difficult to think about anything at all, hence its ability to relieve stress.
Indica normally has a higher CBD content (although you can find strains that are a 1:1 CBD/THC ratio), making it a great beginner weed, especially if you’re going to be at home chilling with some close friends when you smoke. Maybe try a little Ghost Bubba?
Hybrid – No, hybrid does not mean you get all the benefits of sativa and indica combined. It just means that you have a better gage and more control over the type of high you are going to get. Since I tend to suffer from anxiety, but also love to smoke a ton at parties, I tend to buy sativa dominate hybrids. I can still feel uplifted and keep a conversation going, but I don’t try to run away every time someone with big teeth smiles at me and I imagine they are going to bite my face with one big…sorry, off topic.
On the other hand, when I feel like writing, I always choose an indica dominate hybrid. This helps me to relax and stay calm when I am home alone. This hybrid also helps me to focus on my writing and come up with interesting ideas surrounding a topic.
For the newer smoker, choose a hybrid and adjust to indica or sativa dominate depending on your plans for the night (Grape God is my current favourite for all occasions). Going pure sativa or pure indica tends to be overpowering for new smokers. And always remember, Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid are not necessarily the best indicators of a strain’s effects. You still have to focus on CBD, THC, other cannabinoids, and terpenes. But for the newer smoker, this is an easy and general guide to follow.
Basic 3 – Edibles or Smoke?
OK, so back to my original story. I’m always a little bit surprised when I actually have to teach someone to smoke. I don’t mean how to roll, or discussing whether a joint should be baptized or not (I vote no), or with or without tobacco (without). I mean the literal act of inhaling smoke into your lungs. For some, it can be difficult, which is why most first time smokers complain that they are not high, even after they’ve taken eight or nine puffs.
Firstly, edibles are a great recommendation for novice weed users (or people who have never smoked in their lives), but be very careful. Portion out your edibles and take only a small amount (tinctures are a great way to portion control for beginners) Wait at least an hour to see how potent it was for you and then adjust your dose accordingly. Edibles are rarely regulated and can be difficult for even veteran stoners to get right. I’ve seen a few people interested in the benefits of medicinal weed try edibles first, try too much, and swear off weed because their first high was too strong. Go slow, use even and small portions, and adjust your dose each time. This is the trick to having a good edible experience. Edibles also give a much stronger body buzz, so don’t expect to be moving too fast after eating.
Smoke, on the other hand, is a lot easier to dose out. One big tip for newer smokers: do not stay in the circle as long as your friends do, and stick to joints or pipes for your first few months (stay away from the bong completely!). A joint or pipe will give you a much quicker idea of how high you are getting. Remember it still might take upwards of thirty minutes to feel the full effects, but generally, after ten minutes you’ll know how high you are going to get and if you need to try some more.
For the best of both worlds, invest in a good vape (vaporizing pen, etc.). You’ll get all the benefits of smoke, without the actual smoke in your lungs. You can also try a Green approved Shatter Pen Kit.
I personally think it’s amazing that more and more people are getting into weed. I just hate to see a lack of education leading to a bad experience, or people swearing off weed forever. Think about the high you want and buy weed accordingly. Ask questions anywhere you can. Take it slow. Oh, and obviously, always have a lot of munchies on hand.
Thanks for reading!