Are you considering taking a bite of the devil’s lettuce? Interested in the ol’ wacky tobacky?  Whether you're a recreational user or exploring its potential medicinal benefits, diving into the world of weed can be both exciting and overwhelming.

With different strains and consumption methods, things can get a little overwhelming. This guide is designed to help beginners navigate the basics of marijuana, from understanding different cannabis strains to essential tools, consumption methods, and responsible use. Consider it “Weed for Dummies”. 

Understanding Different Types of Weed for Beginners

Close up of someone breaking up cannabis on a rolling tray

Indica

Indica strains are known for their relaxing effects on the body. When you think ‘Indica’ think ‘In da couch”. These strains often induce a "body high" that can lead to a sense of calmness and tranquility. Indica strains are popular for nighttime use or for those looking to chill tf out. 

Sativa

Sativa strains, on the other hand, are more energizing and can provide a "head high." Users often report increased creativity and focus with sativa strains. Sativa is a great choice for daytime use when you want to stay active and engaged or deep cleaning your house. Because of its more stimulating effects, keep an eye out for any anxiety that could start creeping in. 

Hybrid Strains

Hybrid strains combine the best of both worlds and can offer a more middle of the road high. Hybrid strains can be indica-dominant, sativa-dominant, or evenly balanced. 

High THC vs High CBD

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are two things that make hemp weed. THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects, while CBD offers therapeutic benefits without the "high." Newbies may prefer strains with a balanced THC and CBD ratio or those higher in CBD for a milder experience.

Cannabis Lingo for Beginners

Listen- you are going to want to know what you are talking about on at least a surface level. No one is going to quiz you on chemical compounds but having a general idea of what you are looking for eliminates guesswork. Here are some of the more common terms used when talking about The Ganja-

  • Bud: The flower part of the cannabis plant.
  • Kief: Loose cannabis tri-chromes; often collected when grinding weed.
  • Cannabinoids: Chemical compounds in cannabis, including THC and CBD.
  • Terpenes: Aromatic compounds that contribute to the flavor and effects of cannabis.
  • Dabbing: Inhaling vaporized cannabis concentrates.
  • Concentrates: Cannabis products derived from extracting trichomes from cannabis plants. Examples of concentrates include:
    • Wax
    • Shatter
    • Live Rosin
    • Oil
  • Edibles: Food and drinks infused with cannabis.
  • Tolerance: The body's adaptation to cannabis, affecting the intensity of its effects.

Buying Weed for Beginners

Understanding Potency and Quantity

When purchasing weed from either your local dispensary or old school plug, it's essential to understand the potency. This is usually indicated by a percentage of CBD/THC if purchasing from a dispensary or asking your “friend” about the effects reported from other “friends”. 

Start with lower potency if this is your first rodeo and gradually up the ante as needed. Consider the quantity you're purchasing and how it aligns with your usage. While dispensaries offer information about potency, if you are purchasing through alternative means, taking it slow is the way to go. 

Choosing the Right Strain for You

Experiment with different strains to find the one that tickles your fancy. Each strain is unique and has different effects. Dispensary staff can provide valuable guidance based on your needs and desired effects. They’re here to help all our guys, gals and non-binary pals have the best cannabis experience possible. 

How to Find Weed

Dispensaries and Legal Outlets

In regions where cannabis is legal, dispensaries are regulated outlets where you can purchase medical and recreational cannabis. Different states have different thresholds for the amount of medical marijuana and recreational cannabis you can purchase. Your budtender can fill you in on all the details where you live. Remember- they are here to help you have the best experience possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

Connecting with the Cannabis Community

Online forums and social media platforms can connect you with other like minded smokers. In addition to providing sage wisdom on smoking, the online cannabis community is full of resources, events and activism. 

Essential Tools of the Trade

Grinder

A grinder is a device used to break down (aka GRIND) cannabis buds into smaller, smokable pieces. Grinders make it easier to roll joints and allow for a more even burn on bowls. Available with two or three chambers, a three chamber model like this Santa Cruz Shredder will let you collect kief for a rainy day. 

If you are feeling crafty, there are a few ways you can grind weed without a grinder using everyday household items like a cup and scissors, zester and more.

Rolling Papers and a Rolling Tray

For those who prefer smoking joints/blunts/spliffs, rolling papers and a rolling tray are essential tools. They provide a smooth and even smoking experience. Want to make your at-home jays look like dispo pre-rolls? Adding a tip to your joint is the smoker’s equivalent of ‘pinkies out’. Handy all-in-one kits like those from Blazy Susan have a tray, papers and tips all packed into one.

Airtight Storage Container

Proper storage is crucial to maintain the freshness and potency of your weed. An airtight container helps prevent exposure to light and air which can lead to the degradation of your cannabis.

Consumption Methods

Girl pulling vape pen out of Dime Bags Pod

Smoking: Joints, Bongs, and Pipes

Smoking cannabis flower is the most traditional way to consume. Joints/blunts, bongs (water pipes), and pipes offer different experiences and are suitable for various preferences. On-the-go smokers may prefer to roll something up to eliminate the need to transport any glass around while those who prefer to smoke at home may like the water filtration that comes along with bongs.

Edibles: Weed-Infused Foods and Drinks

Cannabis edibles provide a discreet and tasty alternative to smoking. However, beginners should be cautious, as the effects take longer to kick in and can be more intense. Everyone has seen a meme about the zero-60 effect edibles can have and no one wants to be that meme. 

Give yourself 45 minutes to an hour before uttering the famous last words “I don’t even feel anything” and taking another gummy.

Dabbing and Vaporizer: Cannabis Concentrates and Vapes

Both dabbing and vaporizing involve heating cannabis concentrates without combustion, producing vapor for inhalation. The end result is typically a less potent smell and what is often described as a “cleaner high”. 

Dabbing involved heating a quartz banger with a torch or e-nail and then vaporizing the concentrates. In addition to traditional glass dab rigs, a variety of e-nails like the PuffCo and G-Pen have hit the market in recent years. E-nails allow for portable dabbing by eliminating the need for a torch. 

One of the most popular ways to consume cannabis is through vapes and carts. Virtually the same, the youth of today refers to disposable vaporizer pens as “vapes” and cartridges that attach to batteries as “carts”. 

Tinctures, Oils, and Other Forms

Tinctures and oils allow for precise dosing and are consumed by themselves or added to food and beverages. They provide a smoke-free option with a quicker onset than edibles. Their potency is measured in 'mg of THC' per dose.

Understanding the High

Immediate Effects

The immediate effects of cannabis can include euphoria, relaxation, increased sensory perception, and altered perception of time. Also, anxiety, paranoia and the munchies. These effects can vary based on the strain, consumption method and individual. 

Long Term Effects

Regular cannabis use can have long-term effects on memory, cognition, and mental health. It's crucial to be mindful of your consumption habits and consider moderation. The card is still out on lung function and long-term cannabis use. 

Tips for Beginners

Close up of man opening Dime Bags Boss smell-proof pouch

Start Low and Go Slow

You need to walk before you run. Or in this case, you need to puff before your chief. Begin with a small lil bowl or edible and gradually increase as needed. This approach helps you gauge your tolerance and avoid overwhelming experiences. For edibles, you will want to start with 5 mg of THC. If you are smoking, look for a hybrid strain or one without too much THC.

Word to the wise: don’t start with a dab. Taking a concentrated dose of cannabis straight to the face your first go around will be an overwhelming experience. Trust us. 

Knowing Your Limits

Be aware of your personal limits- Snoop Dogg didn’t start a Dogg. He was a Puppy first. 

It's okay to take breaks and assess how cannabis affects you, especially if you are using it for recreational purposes. Be aware of your mindset before you light up. Because cannabis affects your mood, it can put a magnifying glass on any emotions you may be feeling- good AND bad.

Using Cannabis Responsibly

Don’t be an idiot. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence. Until you understand how weed can wreck your sense of time, don’t have any pressing appointments scheduled for after your sesh.

Safe Storage and Disposal

This is just another way of saying “Use Cannabis Responsibly” but keep your buds out of reach of little hands and paws. Smell-proof and lockable storage solutions are perfect to keep all of your newly acquired tools of the trade safe and secure.

Make sure your joints are completely out because ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES. Empty your bong water because your cat will knock it over. 

Understand Local Laws

Jail looks good on no one and given the variable state of cannabis laws in the country, we recommend doing a little research on local laws before making any moves. While the bulk of the country legalized cannabis on some level, our favorite plant is still federally illegal.

10 Tips from Seasoned Stoners to First Time Smokers

  1. Surround yourself with people you’re comfortable with to avoid anxiety.
  2. Get snacks BEFORE you smoke.
  3. Don’t be afraid to just go to bed. 
  4. Exercise caution when mixing cannabis and alcohol. Barf city could be just around the corner.
  5. Just assume you smell like weed after smoking. 
  6. If you get too high try and eat something, drink water and lay down. You will not die.
  7. Pass that shit to the left.
  8. You CAN'T Undo or  "un-dose" what you took! Start with a low dose. 
  9. What smells better, works better. Gas > Grass.
  10. Don’t drink the (bong) water.

And that's a wrap, folx. Entering the world of cannabis as a beginner can be both exciting and a little overwhelming. Having a grasp of the basics like the different strains, essential tools, consumption methods, and responsible use, you can embark on your journey with gusto. Whether you are treating something like chronic pain with medical marijuana or just looking to unwind after a long day, a little knowledge can ensure that you have a good time.

December 22, 2023 — Amber Sparks

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