Safety Tips for First-Time Cannabis Smokers
Here’s what you can expect from your first-ever cannabis smoking session. Don’t you worry, it won’t kill you.
Questions & Answers
So, you’ve decided to embark on your first herb-smoking voyage. You’ve done your research and had your healthy dose of Cheech & Chong movies to say to yourself, “Hey, why the heck not?”.
Now, let’s assume you’re doing this for recreational purposes, more than anything. Before you get yourself into that altered state for the first time, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.
Top Safety Tips for First-Time Cannabis Smokers
Whether it’s learning how to ride a bike or completing a judo hip throw, or smoking weed for the first time, there are always safety measures and best practices to consider. Ultimately, it’s all about preparing your mind and body for a totally foreign yet eye-opening experience. Here are our top tips for an enjoyable inaugural cannabis high.
Choose the Best Time of Day
As a rookie entering the game, pick the best time of day for you. Impairment is a guarantee, so you’ll want to smoke up during the night after you’ve crossed out everything on your to-do list. And here’s a word to the wise: don’t try to schedule any sort of activity after you’ve smoked. You likely won’t get anything done, especially if you’ve been hit hard.
Instead, take this time to acquaint yourself with the feeling and how it affects your overall disposition. It may be like going into uncharted territory at first, but the ride will smoothen out as you go along.
Choose the Best Environment
When fixing up your place for a date night, you’d pull out all the stops. That includes picking the right music and preparing the mood lighting and delicacies you’ll indulge in.
Take a similar approach for your first time smoking weed. Make it a comfortable, safe setting for you to feel at ease. Your environment will play a huge role in this first exploration into the unknown.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
One of the first physical signs of cannabis inebriation is “cottonmouth”. As the name suggests, the inside of your mouth will feel thick and dry, as if you stuck a ball of cotton in there. For some people, it could be a very uncomfortable, distressing feeling.
Your best bet against cottonmouth is to keep hydrated. Have a pitcher of water next to you for when the feeling kicks in. Sugary drinks like juices or soda work well too.
Prepare the Munchies Beforehand
You’ll know the weed’s kicked in when you suddenly have the urge to consume everything in your pantry. That, my friend, is a case of the munchies. In a nutshell, marijuana’s psychotropic chemical THC tricks your brain into making you feel like you need more food, causing a seemingly never-ending appetite boost (at least for the next hour or so).
Be prepared for when the munchies attack with a bag of your favourite potato chips or another easy snack. Eating can actually help mitigate some of the more uncomfortable side effects of the high. But like everything good in life, keep it in moderation.
Eat a Bit Before Starting
Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach will get you intoxicated a lot quicker. That’s because the food helps slow down the alcohol’s absorption when it passes through your small intestine.
You can apply that same theory to smoking weed. Have a cracker or two before diving right in, just to slow down the high a little bit. Ultimately, that allows you to make the most of the entire experience.
Start Out With a Joint
Everyone has their own preferred method of smoking weed. But if you’re a newbie, go with a couple hits from a joint or blunt for your first dive.
Using a bong or pipe involves some skill that is likely alien to you, as opposed to hitting a joint, which is very similar to sipping from a straw. It also provides a more consistent flow of cannabis, often in lower individual doses than hitting a pipe every few minutes.
Pick a Strain With a 1:1 CBD:THC Ratio
Smoking a strain rich in THC will get you the high you’re looking for. But, to not drift off too far into space, you might want some cannabidiol (CBD) to balance things out.
So, if you’re looking for that perfect first-time buzz, go with a strain with a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio. By striking that balance right in the middle, the high will be milder and a lot easier to “control”. You’ll still feel that nice euphoric feeling, but it won’t send you to another dimension just yet.
Choose the Best Companions
Apart from the environment you’re in, the people around you will also influence the quality of your cannabis experience. If you’re with a Debbie Downer, don’t look forward to a nice time. If you’re vibing with someone in great spirits, however, you’ll feel that energy too.
Moral of the story: pick the ideal companions to smoke up with. Ideally, they’re someone you greatly trust, and whose company you enjoy.
Don’t Smoke Alone
This point builds on the one above; while there’s nothing criminally wrong with smoking on your own, it’s definitely a lot more worthwhile to have trusted people around you your first few times. These are folks who will show you a great time, but will slap you back to sanity if necessary.
Just like how it is when learning to drive a car for the first time, you need a seasoned individual to help you learn the ropes. You’re dealing with an entirely different experience here, so save the solo flight for your fifth or sixth smoke.
Don’t Mix With Other Substances
Since you’re doing this for the first time, you’ll want a pure, unadulterated experience for your maiden voyage. So, if you were planning to warm yourself up with a few cocktails, don’t even think about it.
Adding alcohol into the mix will only aggravate the situation. It may cause your head and the world around to spin, leading to episodes of nausea and vomiting. Who wants that? You don’t want alcohol to be the factor that puts you off cannabis.
Don’t Smoke Too Much
We’ve all heard those stories about people trying to show off by smoking ridiculous amounts for their first time. As you’d expect, it didn’t end very well for them in terms of enjoying the experience.
Don’t be that guy. Take things slowly, savour the moment, and smoke in moderation. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Don’t Get Up Too Fast
Let’s assume you were in a very comfortable spot as you were smoking. You could be sprawled out on the carpet of your living room or plopped right onto a La-Z-Boy, then you’re suddenly hit by the urge to take a leak.
Word of advice: don’t get up too quickly. That may cause your world to spin out of control, in turn causing some unnecessary and unwanted worry. Save yourself that trouble for your first time, yes?
All seasoned weed smokers know that one person who questions everything after that first hit. A Doubting Thomas, if you will. You’ll hear endless laments of, “Hey man, I’m not feeling anything. Is your stuff even legit?”.
Again, don’t be that person. Be patient and give it a little time. The high you’re looking for will hit you like a thief in the night when you least expect it. And when it does, you better be buckled up.
Learn From the Experience
Depending on the strain’s potency, the overall vibe, and your pre-smoking mood, the experience may vary between pleasantly memorable and very uncomfortable. However the ride turns out, it’s best to be as neutral as possible and try to learn from the experience.
Remember when you started drinking alcohol? It probably took some time to learn your limits. Do the same thing with your weed smoking. It may take a while (or not), but you’ll get there.
Don’t Even Think About Driving
Not even after an hour or two after smoking. There’s a good chance that your brain is still fried and you have yet to descend from the ether.
If you really need to be somewhere, have someone else drive for you. Do not do something stupid that could endanger yourself and others. Better yet, just stay put. You’ll thank yourself later for making such a decision.
Taking Edibles Is a Totally Different Ballgame
It goes without saying that smoking and eating cannabis are two completely separate things. The herb enters your body differently, which ultimately leads to somewhat different experiences.
Edibles are around four times more psychotropic than smoked cannabis because the THC is turned into the highly potent 11-hydroxy-THC when digested. So, if you choose to go the edibles route, or it’s your only option, start very slow and consume small doses. It’ll kick you hard before you even know it.
You Might Feel High the Next Day
Now, here’s a little disclaimer: there’s a good chance you might still feel a little high or “out of it” the day after your first toke. That could be due to a few things. For example, if you take edibles, the entire experience can last eight hours or more, depending on how much you consume.
But what do you do if you still feel high the next day? Although the manner in which you deal with it will be entirely up to you, keep in mind that the feeling won’t last. You’ll eventually descend back to normalcy in a matter of hours—don’t worry about it.
Don’t Worry Too Much About Weed Hangovers
Weed “hangovers” can make you feel lethargic and a little fried, but they are by and large more bearable than alcohol hangovers.
With that in mind, you can deal with a weed hangover by staying hydrated, resting, and perhaps taking some CBD to feel a little more balanced and “together”. Thanks to our innate endocannabinoid system, and the relative safety  of cannabis in general, weed is processed in a manner that doesn’t take too much of a toll on the body.
What Can Happen to You When Smoking Weed?
Cannabis affects everyone differently. That said, there are certain sensations experienced by a large share of users—both in the positive and negative sense. First, let’s focus on the positives. Here are some of the reasons weed is beloved by so many:
- Uplifting, euphoric effects
- Giggles—everything will be triply funny
- Food will taste extra good (you’ll gain five pounds at most if you give in to the munchies)
- Strong wave of relaxation—kiss tension goodbye, at least for a little bit
- You’ll feel a sense of bonding with your fellow smokers
- Prepare for profound or complex thoughts
- Music and movies (sounds and visuals) will be enhanced
- Increased focus on a single topic/activity
- Slowed passage of time
But what if you’re on the other side of the spectrum and you’re instead met with a racing heart, uneasy feelings, and strong negative thoughts swirling around your head?
Here’s what you can do:
- Take some deep breaths
- Hydrate and have something to eat
- Distract yourself with conversation or some form of relaxing media (stay off your phone)
- Lay sideways on the sofa (as opposed to on your back)
- Don’t keep yourself planted on one surface for too long—stretch out
- Get some fresh air or open a window
- Make your surroundings more comfortable—put on some soothing music, etc.
- Try to sleep
- Relax—remind yourself that you’re just high and everything will pass
With our list above, we hope to have informed you a bit on the important safety measures and best practices to consider your first few times toking. Even experienced stoners would do well to keep this advice in mind, as everyone can have an unpleasant cannabis experience from time to time. Just proceed slowly, exercise moderation, and bask in the good vibes.
Smoking cannabis for the first time? Know what to expect by educating yourself. This article should help you out with some safety tips and best practices.
First Time Smoking Weed? What You Should Expect
Everything you need to know for a good first sesh.
As cannabis becomes mainstream, more adults are finding themselves smoking weed for the first time; and if you are reading this you may be one of them. If so, you are on the right track by researching how it will affect you, and what to avoid when starting out. A recent study indicated that 44% of adults had tried cannabis, and the numbers are growing.
Following our guidelines and listening to the stories of others will help you decide whether or not you want to try it, and also make your first experience an enjoyable one.
If you are only first trying cannabis as an adult, it is very likely that you have been exposed to many myths about its use from anti-drug education programs like D.A.R.E and the ‘Just Say No’ campaigns of the Reagan era. For almost a century, weed use has been demonized in this country, and massive propaganda campaigns have been implemented to discourage use.
This includes many anecdotes which have easily been disproven by science and users alike. Examples include: give you a high that lasts for several days, cause promiscuity or encourage rape, make a person violent, and all sorts of other erroneous claims.
In fact, none of that is true. What you will most likely find during your first experience is much less extreme than what you expected. More than likely, it will be a feeling of euphoria that it much more subtle than what is portrayed in the Cheech and Chong or Pineapple Express type movies. You will not hallucinate or forget who you are, but you may end up getting a bit hungry and feeling pretty comfortable and relaxed.
Tips For Your First Time Smoking Weed
- Try it first in a comfortable setting, such as your own home, with people you enjoy to be around
- Do not combine it with any other drugs, such as alcohol, for your first time as they may have a cumulative effect and lead to nausea
- Take it slow, you can always have a bit more if it is not enough
- Don’t try to drive, operate machinery, or any other potentially dangerous activities
- Understand how it affects you before trying it at parties or venturing into public places
- Lastly, let your inhibitions go and just enjoy it. In the words of H.S. Thompson, “buy the ticket, take the ride”
I Tried It But Didn’t Get High. Why?
Often, first-time weed smokers claim not to feel anything and are let down by their expectations. The urban myth is that “your body has never been exposed to THC so doesn’t know how to use it.“
Studies into the Endocannabinoid system in the 1980s and 1990s have largely proven this wrong. More likely it is related to technique, as illustrated by both Bill Clinton and Elon Musk with ‘I didn’t inhale.’ According to some studies, in general, less then 10% of the THC is absorbed by novice smokers as they do not yet know how to pull the smoke into their lungs, and instead smoke it like a cigar, compared to the 28% absorption that a more experienced smoker would get. So, if you don’t feel anything, try again, but breath deeper.
If you’re having trouble taking deep pulls, try hitting your joint (or whatever you’re smoking) and before exhaling, inhale again. This double inhale 1. ensures you’re actually inhaling smoke, and 2. allows the smoke to cool off a little bit in your mouth, making it less harsh to inhale on the second round. You might also want to try a vaporizer, which can be less harsh on the throat and lungs for first-time smokers.
From a medical standpoint, what happens to my body when I smoke weed?
The experience of smoking weed is generally quite subjective, each person will feel and describe it slightly different, and enjoy it for different reasons. There are, however, several effects which scientifically can be attributed to smoking weed for all users. The first of which is an increase in pulse rate, often immediately after smoking. Blood pressure then falls slightly, which can lead to light-headedness at very high doses. Next, the eyes turn redder, and the muscles in the body become weaker. Appetite is generally heightened. In some cases, hearing and sight are enhanced, and time dilation may occur.
Most users also experience what is known as ‘cottonmouth,’ or dry mouth. All of these effects should be anticipated and are no reason for alarm or worry.
The physiological effects are quite consistent across users, but the psychological effects vary greatly between users, and between strains of marijuana consumed, as well as the method of consumption. Some people report feeling more open, creative, and connected to others. Alternatively, some users say they feel lazy, paranoid, or more introverted.
Not only is this a factor of individual biology, but it is also a factor of the different types of weed out there. Generally, cannabis is classified as either Sativa, or Indica (although some brands are starting to lean towards describing strains by mood rather than sativa or indica.) Sativa weed leads to a more energetic high that stimulates the mind, increases creativity, and can be energizing. Indica weeds are attributed more towards relaxation, slowing of the mind and body, increasing appetite and reducing anxiety.
Every user has their own preferences or may switch between strains throughout the day (i.e. Sativa for the day time, Indica for the night). If it is your first time, it is generally recommended to smoke an Indica, as there is less chance of paranoia. Once you know more how you will react, then try other strains and methods of ingestion such as tinctures or edibles.
Will I get addicted if I try it?
In the old days of such films as Reefer Madness, it was claimed that smoking just one marijuana cigarette would turn you into an addict. This is far from the truth, and in fact, it is very difficult to become physically addicted to cannabis as it does not influence the same dopamine reward circuits in the brain as with nicotine, cocaine, or even sugar.
People can develop a habit of use, but whether or not heavy cannabis use can cause withdrawal symptoms if ceased is still widely up for debate. A 2006 study looked at males and females using cannabis and found that the risk of dependence for males after 1 year of regular use was less than 1%.
That number rose to 4% after two years of use and then declined. For women, at the end of 1 year of regular use, less than 1% were dependent and that number did not change over subsequent years.
First time smoking pot is a unique experience. You might enjoy it a lot, you might walk away undecided, or you might not get high at all.