Rookie Cannabis Users, Start Here

Photo by Kanya Iwana | Cameron Zegers

Raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself sweating at a party because someone’s pulled out the weed. If pressing the joint to your lips, you’ve cursed yourself for choking on an excuse not to partake. If paranoid about what you’ve said (or haven’t), you’ve bumbled your way through an Irish goodbye because leaving a party immediately was never so important. Raise your hand if this is you.

For a lot of people, cannabis is a really scary thing. Not just anyone can look swaggery smoking a joint. There’s real cache to being good at it. But let’s be real: high school ruined cannabis for a lot of us. And to this day, the sight of a joint is little more than an embarrassing reminder of how little time we dedicated to dealing with that PTSD.

As cannabis makes its way into the zeitgeist and the greenrush hits its stride, the little plant is getting a second chance. And non-cannabis users deserve the straight goods on how it's changed.

For some advice on where to start, I spoke to bonafide cannabis expert Samantha Miller, President and Chief Scientist at Pure Analytics (a cannabis lab in Santa Rosa, CA). According to Miller, a lot of cannabis users aren’t trying to get high at all. There are people who use it for anxiety, for pain, and for sleep while others use it much like someone might use a drink.

“[Cannabis] can be great for the new user who wants to take a little bit of a vacation from their state of mind,” says Miller. “It's the replacement of a glass of wine at the end of the day.”

You can consume cannabis in all kinds of ways, at all levels of potency, to all sorts of effects. But Miller recommends three specific modes of ingestion for the new user and keeping a strain journal just like any good wine aficionado might. She says this is our best tool while getting to know the plant, the body and how the two fit together.

1 - The Oil Vaporizer

If you like the idea of carrying a little cannabis with you at all times, an oil vaporizer like Bloom Farms' CBD one is a good discreet option. This product comes pre-loaded with a concentrated CBD oil cartridge, so there’s no fuss or muss. And it won’t leave you smelling of cannabis either. Expect a non-intoxicating, consistent and repeatable experience.

2 - Smokable Flower

Flower is what we call the actual cannabis bud in its unprocessed state and it’s what you grind up to roll into a joint or smoke from a pipe. Flower is a good option if you have a bit of an appetite for the unknown. Even if you buy the same flower from the same dispensary and the same farmer, there’s no guarantee you’ll have the same experience each time you go back. Miller recommends reaching for more top shelf flower and asking your budtender (the person at the dispensary) for something with under 20 percent THC. If rolling a joint is beyond your skillset, you can always ask for a pre-rolled joint too.

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3 - The Edible Treat

Edibles tend to terrify people. But dosed properly, they can actually have the most mellow and predictable effect of all. It’s worth noting, the high from edibles is different—more of a body high than a head high. Miller suggests starting with edibles that have no more than 5mg of THC. And if you're feeling especially enterprising, consider setting yourself up to make DIY edibles at home.