Wednesday July 29, 2015
With increased access to good, often-legal marijuana options, many people are considering taking a toke – either for their first time, or after many years of not using weed at all. While this is a great thing for the industry overall, it does present all newcomers with a few challenges.
If you've never smoked or if you did so recently, the number of options available can be a bit overwhelming. So exactly what strains should you be trying and how should you be consuming them?
How to get the best experience from your first time:
As a beginner, it’s important to understand some of the basics of marijuana.
First, the main components that you will see emphasized within a description of a marijuana strain is THC and CBD content. Both are present, but each have been either increased or decreased through selective breeding to get the desired amount in each strain. Generally speaking, the higher the THC content in the strain, the more psychoactive properties will be present to impact your brain and get you ‘high’. CBD's are another cannabinoid known to counter the psychoactive effects of THC and offer many pain relieving properties but won’t actually get you stoned.
Indicas and sativas are two other distinctions you should be aware of: Indicas will relax your body but possibly keep you on the couch for a while. Sativa strains are more likely to energize you, but can come with an increase in paranoia and anxiety. Having said this, there are also many hybrids that attempt to get the best of both in one strain, which allows for a more balanced high.
When you start looking for a strain to try for the first time, check out ones with a lower THC content and work your way up. This way, you’ll be able to gage what you can handle, starting with a body high and moving into a more intense head high with strains with a higher THC content. Whatever strain you try, make sure that you start slow!
Plushberry is an 80% Indica strain that brings about a wonderful feeling of relaxation for both the mind and body. Like most Indicas, this strain is potent but doesn’t bring about too heavy of a sedation which makes it a great choice for the beginner who wants to take it slow and hang out. As the name suggests, the strain has a nice berry odor.
This strain originated from the Netherlands and is a 55% sativa hybrid. It’s considered a high-quality strain that promotes clear-headedness and feelings of happiness, creativity and increased energy -- all with a great earthy, pine-scent. Simply put, this strain will give any beginner a positive experience after just one toke!
Harlequin is one of the more interesting new strains on the scene. Although it is 75% sativa dominated which could make for a more intense energetic experience, it is also high in CBD, which balances everything out. This means a user will be able to relax and alleviate pain without too much sedation -- a great option for someone new to marijuana. Note that this strain can taste differently depending on the batch.
Hindu Kush is a classic strain of cannabis that people have been enjoying for years. And there’s a reason for its popularity -- it’s 100% Indica, which means it’ll relax you to the core and can help many with health issues like nausea and anxiety. With a strong, earthy smell, it’s worth trying for any cannabis user, especially those with health issues. Note that this is a more powerful strain, so don’t go overboard.
If you are worried about the paranoia-inducing effects of cannabis, ACDC might be of interest to you. This CBD-rich strain won’t produce any psychotropic effects, only a relaxed body sensation and great pain management especially for those experiencing epilepsy, anxiety and pain management. For those wanting a true body high over a head high, check this one out.
How to consume marijuana for beginners:
So you chose a strain that you feel comfortable with, but now how do you smoke it? There are many options (we’ve listed three below), each with its own advantages and disadvantages and differences in the actual high, so it’s important to take notes and find the method that you favor the most.
You can smoke it in a pipe, bong or from a joint, which are typically the faster and cheaper way to get high. Smoking effects are often intense and can come on quickly, taking only 10 to 20 minutes to reach its full effect. Note that this method is harder on your lungs compared to the other options out there.
One can also vaporize, which requires more of an investment for the actual contraption. The advantages of a vaporizer are that it only burns the THC, not the plant matter, making usage less of a health concern compared to using a bong or pipe. A high from a vaporizer tends to be shorter and less intense.
Eating edibles is a popular option, but keep in mind that it can take up to 2 hours before full effects are felt, even when consuming smaller doses (5-10 mg). As a result, many first-timers can find themselves in quite the predicament because they eat too many within a small period of time as they don’t feel the effects right away. Just remember: You can always eat more, so take it slow.
Photo Credit: Interiorrain (license)