With the legalization of recreational cannabis here in Nevada, more and more people are thinking about trying it for the first time – or for the first time in a long time. While it’s not the norm, unpleasant experiences with cannabis aren’t unheard of. Usually, this kind of thing involves anxious paranoia, something that’s typically the result of way too much THC. The good news is that even a first-timer can minimize the chances of a bad experience, just with a little know-how. To that end, we’ve created this handy little beginner’s guide to cannabis.
Finding the Right Strain
The cannabinoids in cannabis are the chemical compounds responsible for bringing relief f0r all kinds of symptoms. Along with terpenes, cannabinoids are why cannabis can be considered medicinal at all, helping to alleviate everything from pain and inflammation to anxiety, nausea and insomnia.
THC and CBD are two of the most well-known cannabinoids, with THC responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis. CBD, on the other hand, has pyschoactive, non-intoxicating effects that induce relaxation and focus. Plus, CBD often counteracts the anxiety that THC can create. And that makes a high-CBD, low-THC strain like CBD Shark a great place for beginners. Kynd also grows strains that are predominantly THC-dominant, but still low in actual THC percentages. Skunk and Cadillac Purple are two great beginner options.
This is also a good place to ask your budtender for recommendations. Think about the effects you’re hoping to achieve, explain that you’re new to the cannabis world, and see what they suggest. And here’s a good rule of thumb – ask for lab results when you’re comparing strains. Anything with a THC content over about 20% is probably going to be far too strong when you’re just getting started.
Keep in mind that cannabis can affect people differently, depending on varying brain chemistry, metabolism, hydration levels, and a number of other factors.
Finding the Right Delivery Method
Once you’ve settled on the right strain, how would you like to ingest it? There are many, many options beyond the traditional smoking approach, and different delivery methods will bring about different results.
- Smoking cannabis gives you dose control, so that you can avoid taking too much. But there is the burn, odor and mess factor associated with smoking, and that can be a turn off for some people.
- Vaporizing, or vaping, eliminates the mess, odor and respiratory irritants associated with smoking. Plus, it has the same dose-control benefits.
- Ingesting cannabis edibles is another non-smoking method, but effects can take a while to kick in (up to an hour or longer) and are often more intense and long-lasting than cannabis that’s been inhaled. If you’re going the edibles route, make sure you start with the recommended dose and take it very slowly. Cannabis capsules are another option in the edible world. There’s also the option to take cannabis sublingually – beneath the tongue – with tinctures, which are cannabis-infused alcohol products that bring about a rapid onset of effects and precise dosing.
- Topicals, which are lotions and balms infused with cannabis, work transdermally to relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area. These aren’t going to make you feel anything beyond pain relief where you put it, so this is the perfect option for anyone who wants to avoid cerebral effects of any kind.
Once you’ve got the right strain and the right delivery method, you’re ready to roll. Make sure you’re settled somewhere safe and comfortable, and that you have no plans to leave for at least a few hours. Start with a low dose, and give yourself plenty of time for effects to begin. Remember, cannabis is for adults 21 years of age or older, and it should never be accessible to children. Please enjoy responsibly.