We’ve all been there, even the oldest smoker you know was a beginner at one time. You want to start something slowly to be sure it goes well, because how many people do you know that have tried cannabis before but found the effects too overwhelming or had an otherwise bad experience? Maybe this even describes your first adventure into the cannabis space.
This is surprisingly common, and many novice cannabis enthusiasts have a first experience with cannabis that is often described as unpleasant. It can happen for any number of reasons, from the wrong strain, or a consumption method that led them to overindulge, to a product that made dosage tricky, to the dreaded underestimated edible.
Common Ways New Enthusiasts Overestimate Dosage
Getting Caught Up In The Circle
It’s not entirely uncommon for someone to be new to cannabis, and be invited to a smoke session, only to be passed a joint, blunt, bowl, or vape, and hit it assuming that they will be able to handle it like anyone else. In some cases this is how it goes, however in other situations, this can lead to the newbie taking more hits than they should as the rotation progresses, leading to them being farm more intoxicated than they wanted.
Eyes Bigger Than Your Tolerance
Sometimes people can overdo it with edibles. This is very common for those who haven’t experimented with them before. Edibles can often have a far different effect than smoking, even when the same strains are involved. If a new user eats a few too many gummies or a bit more of that brownie than they should have, it can lead to being uncomfortably high.
Favoring The Wrong Strains
One of the most common reasons that new folks have an unpleasant experience, is that they are unfamiliar with, or simply unable to achieve, correct dosing. This can happen in many ways. Sometimes someone indulges in cannabis, but it is a strain that they aren’t familiar with, such as an intensely powerful indica, which causes them to experience far more narcotic sedation than they were expecting. There is also the possibility that a new user could dabble in too powerful of a cerebral sativa, leading to incredible anxiety and even panic in some situations. This can even happen with hybrid strains that just don’t have a mix of cannabinoids that is conducive to a pleasant experience for the person consuming them.
Finding A Compromise
The key for many new cannabis enthusiasts is to find a strain that offers the effects you want, at the potency you want, so that you can successfully enjoy your new safer recreation option. As you probably know, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis is delta-9-THC. THC is the most well-known cannabinoid, not just because it is the main compound, but it is also the most potent in regards to feeling “high”.
There are a host of other cannabinoids present in cannabis, however, and one of the more potent of these is called cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD is one of the primary non-psychoactive therapeutic cannabinoids, and not only helps with many of the medicinal aspects of cannabis but also provides a much milder feeling of mellowness and euphoria.
This means that while high-THC strains will make you feel high, there are strains that have a more balanced ratio of CBD to THC, producing a more manageable effect. The upside of this is that people who are more sensitive to the psychoactive properties and effects of being high can still enjoy the feelings and benefits of cannabis, without being overly intoxicated or rendered incapacitated by their herb.
Harlequin is one of the older CBD-centric strains and was developed specifically for the extremely mild psychotropic effects, and the high CBD content. It predates many of the recent CBD strains that might be seen in the retail environment and have won many awards including several CBD Cannabis Cups.
Harlequin is a very sativa-leaning hybrid and is descended from several well-known landrace strains, such as Thai and Colombian Gold. The main effects that should be felt from Harlequin are increased focus, a feeling of relaxation, and an elevation of general mood and energy level. The CBD:THC ratio is usually about 5:2 so even at large doses you should feel clear-headed while you feel a sociable relaxation that is far from overwhelming.
A powerful and CBD-rich cross between NYC Diesel and Sour Diesel, Sour Tsunami is a super high-CBD strain with a relatively low THC content. It is well-known for helping with inflammatory issues such as arthritis, and general chronic pain such as fibromyalgia, among others. The amount of cannabinoids in this strain is incredible, and it makes a great choice for getting in concentrate forms, such as distillates or wax.
Pennywise is a great option for those who need a dose of CBD but prefer to have that tempered with a similar dose of THC. It provides all of the benefits of a high CBD dose, while providing an equal dose of THC, and manages to have the result be very pleasurable and uplifting.
The descendant of a fated cross between Jack the Ripper and Harlequin, Pennywise is a wonderful strain that keeps an almost perfect 1:1 CBD:THC ratio. The feelings you can expect from a good sample of Pennywise include a mild feeling of euphoria, an elevated mood, and a generally uplifted feeling. You’ll feel a mild high, but the CBD will keep your feet on the ground.
Cannatonic is another strain that is bred for its consistently high CBD and proportional THC content. While it differs from the standard 1:1 of many other strains, Cannatonic cuts that THC level in half by giving a predictable 2:1 CBD:THC ratio.
This means you will feel a very slight mellow, but the rest of the effects will be entirely CBD-based, and will often include mental calm and anti-anxiety effects, muscle spams relief, and mood elevation. Cannatonic is the spawn of MK Ultra and G13xHaze, so it is gifted with extremely high CBD levels. It has even had other CBD strains created from crossing Cannatonic with others.
Even though Blue Dream is a relatively high-THC sativa dominant blend, it is easy and welcoming to both novices and old pros. The not-insignificant, yet balanced effects are tempered with a wide variety of terpenes, and a rich secondary cannabinoid profile that compliments the THC and makes this strain a very beginner-friendly specimen. Blue Dream is perfect for helping to mitigate symptoms related to stress, depression, and anxiety.
Jack Herer is another classic THC dominant strain that is a great example of a beginner sativa. It is the result of a cross-breeding and back-crossing Haze, NL#5, and Shiva Skunk, and is a very robust example of an energizing and motivating sativa that doesn’t induce that panicky, anxious feeling.
This is a classic example of a strain used to combat ADHD, PTSD, depression, stress, fatigue, and more. The uplifting and energizing effects help you stay productive, and lend you a few spoons when you’re low.
For a little more relaxing and meditative feeling, God’s Gift is a great representation of a balanced CBD and THC profile. The dreamy and deeply relaxing effects gently wash away tension and stress and let you stop and catch your breath. This is the product of crossing Grandaddy Purple with the legendary OG Kush, and has been calming souls and melting stress away since it first hit the dispensaries in ‘05. Dose carefully, as the Gift is potent if overindulged in.
The Mode Of Administration Matters
This is another point where the beginner is often turned off, by using a method of ingestion that is either too complicated and intimidating or by using something that doesn’t allow the new user to modulate their dosage as easily.
- Smoking: This is the way most people think they’re going to take their cannabis, but for new users, it can often be the most uncomfortable. Smoking leads to coughing, dry eyes, and cottonmouth far more than other methods. Not only that, but you often can’t just smoke a little bit without wasting a considerable amount. This goes for joints, bongs, bowls, and blunts.
- Vaping: This is the process of gently heating either cannabis flower or cannabis concentrate until it just begins to boil off in vapor, then inhaling the vapor. Vaping can be much more comfortable than smoking, and it allows for a much more controlled dosage since you just vape as you need to. Vaping is also highly portable, so if you plan on taking your new cannabis somewhere, a little vape is ideal. Vaping is easily the be
- Edibles: These are tricky. You will need to take into account the full dosage of the edible, then divide it by the number of servings to get an idea of where you should start. Be aware that edibles can take about an hour to even begin to take effect, with the full effect often not setting until the 2 or 3-hour mark. Start slow and plan your day accordingly.
- Tinctures: Tinctures are less common than many other cannabis preparations, but they are one of the most inconspicuous and fast ways to enjoy your cannabis. A tincture is a cannabis oil extraction that is incorporated into either an alcohol or oil solution. Olive and coconut oil are common as are tinctures made with alcohol. To enjoy a tincture, you simply load the dropper and put a drop or few under your tongue. The cannabis will take effect in less than a minute, and will last longer than smoking or vaping, but not as long as edibles.
Is There A Difference Between Indica And Sativa?
Sure, there are a lot of differences between the two main families of cannabis plants. The catch is, you often won’t be able to tell a significant difference in the various effects while you are getting used to the feelings and nuances of cannabis with low THC strains. Once you’ve gotten the hang of things, and the training wheels come off of your cannabis experience, however, you will soon be able to appreciate the full spectrum of cannabis effects.
Indicas are often the strain most thought of when people say they don’t like cannabis because of the inherently different way that they affect the user. Indicas tend to be a much more heavy-feeling, narcotic, sleepy, stoned feeling. They are excellent at relieving pain, reducing inflammation, relaxing the body and mind, facilitating sleep, and elevating appetite. This makes them the perfect strain to finish your day with or a great variety to use intermittently to reign in chronic or severe pain.
Sativas, on the other hand, are so frequently misunderstood that people not familiar with the traits of the variety can often overlook them while expecting something entirely different. Sativa strains are often equatorial and are known for their much more mellow and cerebral high. Sativa strains are the favorites of many people who work in a creative field because they often provide an incredible boost to creativity, focus, motivation, and energy. These strains are frequently used to assist in the treatment of depression, ADHD, PTSD, and more. Those unfamiliar with the effects of sativas can often experience some rather intense adverse effects, such as elevated heart rate, anxiety, paranoia, and even panic. This is often what causes panic attacks in newer users, thinking that they would be getting a nice relaxing stone, then they begin to feel the mental effects and they begin to raise their anxiety level.
Hopefully, this beginner’s rundown of getting into cannabis proved useful to you and will help you find a strain and method of consumption that you will truly enjoy. Remember to pace yourself and start slowly, enjoy your recreation responsibly, and remember to stop and smell the flower now and again!