Cannabis is brand new to you. You’re game to try it, but want to have the very best experience possible.

Here are five tips for cannabis beginners to get you started:

  1. Do your research.

Newcomers can feel intimidated: there’s a lot to learn, and the choices can seem overwhelming at the outset…but there’s just a few basics you need in order to feel confident.

What type of marijuana should I try?

There are just two major families of the plant: Indica and Sativa.

  • Indica’s effects are reportedly more inward-focused, dreamy, and cerebral.
  • Sativa’s effects are reportedly more energetic and body-focused.

There are also a number of hybrid Indica-Sativa strains that blend the two effects. THC is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Beginners should start with lower levels of THC.

How should I consume it?

Cannabis is generally consumed through inhalation (smoking or vaping), or orally (edibles or tinctures). Inhaling cannabis is the most common method of consumption. It’s usually smoked in a pre-rolled joint, pipe, or a bong. Required accessories are readily available with a little hunting.

‘Vaping’ (or vapourizing) uses an electronic device to heat the cannabis at a precise temperature that releases the plant’s active compounds in a foggy, inhalable mist. Some cannabis users prefer this to smoking as a less harsh method of ingestion, but it will require an initial investment in a vapourizing device.

Edibles are foods infused with the active compounds of the cannabis plant. It’s an effective way to consume cannabis, but first-time users should beware: edibles take a while to be felt, up to an hour or two. Be patient. Take a small dose and wait for the effects to be felt before you take more.

Committing to a little research before you experiment with cannabis will optimize conditions for an enjoyable experience.

  1. Commit to moderation.

Take your time with cannabis! Learn your particular reactions to it, and what you like and dislike.

Many people report real benefits from the plant, but as with anything, there are negatives associated with overuse. It’s wise for beginners to start slow and commit to moderation.

  1. Enjoy yourself.

Your initial mindset has a lot to do with your experience of cannabis. Start by emphasizing the positive.

Enjoy yourself! Think positive thoughts. Have meaningful conversations. Solve problems. Write a story. Watch a movie. Eat. Do things you love to do.

  1. Be aware of the downsides.

Reported negative effects of cannabis consumption include lethargy, increased appetite, elevated levels of anxiety and paranoia, and related physical reactions. Remember: you are in charge of the experience and can minimize many of these negative effects with the proper mindset. Know that cannabis is not for everyone, and as always, if you require medical attention, get it.

  1. Don’t drive.

Don’t drive when under the influence of cannabis. Just don’t.

Even if you’re feeling confident about your ability to drive, know that cannabis is detectable in the body for many hours after ingestion, and affects your reaction time and skill behind the wheel. When it comes to driving, treat cannabis like alcohol, and make plans to travel safely. Don’t drive. Don’t.

There are many reported benefits associated with the use of cannabis. With a little planning, the right mindset, and a responsible approach you can set yourself up for a rewarding and safe experience.

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