a prerolled joint great for using cannabis for the first time

Cannabis Curious: Let’s Try Some Weed

There are a few things to know about using cannabis for the first time. Okay, it might not be the first time you’ve used cannabis, but if you’ve been away for a few years or decades—welcome back.

Is the marijuana you bought that much different than what you might have consumed in the past? No, and yes.

It’s true that cannabis is more potent than it was in the past. Good genetics and careful growing have made a better looking, smelling and tasting plant. You also know now what the potency is—in the past that information wasn’t available to consumers. That goes double with edibles. Carefully review the packaging on your goods so you know the percentage of THC that you’re about to consume.

If you’re using cannabis for the first time or the first time in recent memory, go easy.

Try a couple of hits from the joint or pre-roll. If you’re vaping cannabis, it’s not like tobacco vapes and there won’t be a giant plume of smoke when you exhale, and much less smoke than a joint, too.

Vapes are made from cannabis concentrates, so take one hit and wait a 10-15 minutes before you do another, as it can be powerful. You’ll feel something quickly with either the joint or the vape and then make a decision about more consumption. You’ll stay high for at least two hours depending on how much you smoked.

an orange box with a vape cartridge inside

Edibles have a reputation for sneaking up on people and for people overdoing it. When it comes to food, we’re not used to eating one tiny square of a chocolate bar or only part of gummy candy. But with cannabis-infused food, you need to take care. If you’ve never had an edible, use the mantra “start low and go slow.” That means 5mg of anything, so that’s ½ of Michigan recommended a dose of 10mg, if you’re anxious about getting too high, cut it to 2.5 mg. And here’s where it gets tricky—because edibles are absorbed via that stomach and that’s a slower absorption process than smoking or vaping.

It takes an hour or more to feel the effect of an edible.

It’s a common mistake to eat a bite, think that you’re not feeling anything and have another bite or two and then BOOM, you’re unpleasantly stoned. Resist the urge to consume more until you feel the effect of the first dose. We recommend doing something active like taking a walk or a hike after you consume, you’ll then notice the high more gradually and we promise you’ll appreciate nature even more.

The high will last about 3-4 hours, depending on the THC level and your body composition. The high will just gradually fade away, the same way it came on. It’s quite pleasant.

Whatever you do—don’t drive while consuming or after consuming marijuana. It’s against the law and dangerous.

If you overconsume and feel extraordinarily high there are a few things you can do.

  • Drink water.
  • Nibble on a couple of black peppercorns.
  • If you have CBD in the house, take a dose of that.
  • Lock into the couch and watch a mindless TV series or cartoons and pet your dog or cat.
  • Throw on your headphones and enjoy your music.
  • Don’t worry. You’re not going to die—no one has and you’re not going to the first.
  • Phone a friend who has experience with cannabis. You know that person and they’ll let you know everything is going to be alright.
  • Take a walk, the fresh air will do you good.
  • Take a hot shower, for some reason hot water helps bring you down.
  • Go to bed and sleep it off.

We’ve written about cannabis microdosing before, check out this blog if you’re interested in that option.

On This Veterans Day, Thank a Vet for Cannabis Advocacy

Veterans are leading the fight to bring recognition to medical marijuana as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other combat-related injuries. It’s been a long slog, thanks in part to cannabis being a Schedule I prohibited drug. As more veterans are using medical marijuana to relieve their symptoms and veteran’s groups are becoming cannabis advocates, we want to acknowledge their leadership.

Earlier in November, the American Legion, which has been advocating for cannabis research for several years, held a press conference in Washington D.C. to help move the issue forward. It wants further research and for Veterans Administration (VA) physicians to be able to speak freely about medical marijuana. The Legion, which has photo of combat fatigues and a St. Michael patchmore than 13,000 Posts across the United States recently polled its members and found that an astounding 92 percent of its members want more research on cannabis and 82 percent favor outright legalization. The Legion is also asking Congress “to amend legislation to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and reclassify it, at a minimum, as a drug with potential medical value.”

How Cannabis Helps with PTSD

Part of what they are seeking is further research on a link between the symptoms of PTSD: inability to sleep, nightmares and hyperarousal (reaction to sounds and images) and cannabis in decreasing those symptoms. The heart of the issue is there have not been any large-scale, controlled studies regarding this connection, specifically. Studies on lab animals show evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids can help prevent the effects of stress on memory and emotion, two of the markers of PTSD. The anti-anxiety effect of certain strains of cannabis can also help with removing deep seeded traumatic fear.

One Veteran’s Cannabis Story

Further, cannabis shows promise for veterans (and others) with traumatic brain injuries. In a moving op-ed piece in the New York Times, Thomas James Brennan, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, writes about how cannabis saved him, moving him from a cocktail of prescription drugs that required more pills and higher dosages that became ineffective as time passed. A friend gave him a joint and urged him to smoke it before bed.

I hesitated to light it up because I’d always bought into the theory of weed as a “gateway drug.” But after a few tokes, I stretched out and fell asleep. I slept 10 hours instead of my usual five or six. I woke up feeling energized and well-rested. I didn’t have nightmares or remember tossing or turning throughout the night, as I usually did,” he wrote.

While marijuana isn’t for all veterans, it worked well for Brennan. “If I hadn’t begun self-medicating with it, I would have killed myself… it’s the only thing that takes the sharpest edges off my symptoms. Because of cannabis, I’m more hopeful, less woeful,” he said.

The anecdotal evidence is mounting. Many war veterans are advocating for additional research and making marijuana an option through the Veteran’s Administration healthcare system. At present, even though the VA acknowledges that veterans use cannabis and its physicians can discuss use with patients, they are prohibited from helping a veteran complete paperwork to obtain a medical marijuana card or recommending it. We hope this changes.

On this Veterans Day, thank the veterans in your community not only for their service but for helping move the cause of cannabis normalization forward.