This article originally appeared on VICE US.
When buying the not-so-legal stuff, it’s important to find a safe, honest and competent dealer. Ask around and find one who is trusted by people you trust. Whether you’re at a dispensary, buying from a neighborhood dealer, you can vet weed from someone you don’t know with a few simple questions. Greenhand says you shouldn’t be afraid to ask the name of the strain, where it was grown, and if it has been tested for mold and pesticides. The most important thing is that the person supplying the drugs is dependable.
Bongs, dab rigs, and edibles should be avoided by first-timers, our experts say, until you build up a bit of resistance and start to understand your limits. “When you try weed the first few times you have little to no tolerance to it,” Greenhand says. “Over-indulging without building a tolerance can result in anxiety, paranoia, or panic attacks.” If you’ve had enough, clearly communicate that you’re good. Give yourself time to feel how high you are before continuing.
THC can stay in your system for around 30 days, since it embeds itself in your fat cells. There are a number of detox drinks that claim to clean your piss enough to pass a standard drug test, but only one seems to work flawlessly. Experts recommend asking the local headshop for its best detoxifier—but don’t say it’s for a drug test.
Composite by the author via Nicholas R. Andrew
Also, don’t give weed to your dog. Just don’t.
You’ve just smoked weed for the first time. You’re stoked—and then you remember your future employer/probation officer/welfare provider expects you to pass a drug test soon. What do you do?
If the above hasn’t seen you abandon the quest, the first step to getting high is finding a reliable connect. Tony Greenhand, an artist who makes a living selling custom smokeable sculptures and who rolled a joint that was at one point the largest in the world, recommends finding the highest quality bud possible for your first experience. “It can be tempting to buy a cheaper or weaker alternative,” he said in an email, but that’s a rookie move. “More often than not, a cheaper option has had something go wrong in the growing process or curing process. This is most true of weed found on the black market. A cheaper black market option may contain pesticides, mold, bugs or debris.”
If you’ve just been offered a hit of something by a friend, ask what strain you’re dealing with. If it’s an indica, take it easy unless you’re comfortable turning into a puddle where you stand. If it’s a sativa, make sure you don’t need to operate heavy machinery or sign any legal documents for a few hours.
Don't start with edibles.
Edibles might seem convenient and innocent enough (yay brownies!), but you need to be very careful with dosing. When you buy an edible at a dispensary, more than likely the dose is going to be 10 milligrams of THC. Which can be too much for a beginner.
Smoking or vaping weed is a bit easier to dose because the effects are much quicker and milder. Newbies might want to take a hit and wait 10 minutes or so and repeat as needed. Again, this isn’t a race.
Our in-house Know-It-Alls answer questions about your interactions with technology.
A: Ah, the joys and terrors of exploring cannabis. We’ve all heard tales about overdoing it—maybe like me you once stood in line at an ice cream shop dumbfounded by the exchange of goods and services for money. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can guide your relative as Virgil guided Dante, only without all the nightmares.
Q: One of my relatives wants to get into cannabis (which is legal in their home state, of course). Should I tell them to smoke weed or do edibles?
It may be “just” a plant, but cannabis is an extraordinarily complicated drug that science is just beginning to understand. It demands respect and takes practice. The first thing to know when helping your relative decide between edibles or the smoking route is that the human body processes THC—the psychoactive compound in cannabis—differently for each. Smoke (or vape) cannabis and it goes to your bloodstream and makes its way immediately into your brain. Eat it, and the liver gets first dibs at processing the THC, turning it into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is five times as potent. The high will be delayed, but the effects last much longer.
Science has also been exploring how CBD interacts with THC. For years, anecdotal evidence has suggested that CBD dampens the psychoactive high of THC. And increasingly, researchers are putting hard data to this. Patients taking the synthetic THC drug Marinol for nausea, for instance, often report nasty psychoactive side effects like paranoia. But they tend to handle the drug Sativex, which combines CBD and THC, much better.
What about tinctures?
So follow the most important rule for cannabis, and for edibles in particular: Start low and go slow. You probably want to begin with a dose closer to 2 or 3 milligrams. You might not feel anything from it, but you’re going to prefer that to overdoing it and descending into paranoia. Wait an hour, if not longer to be safe (we metabolize things differently on different days, after all), and try a bit more. Low and slow.
Make sure they know the difference between THC and CDB, and remember: Low and slow