Curious about Cannabis but Unsure Where to Start?

by mountainremedy
Curious Owl with Cannabis

Curious about cannabis but unsure where to start? Everyone and their dog may be excited about the potential of cannabis these days, but that doesn't mean everyone is familiar with it. You are far from the only one who hasn't (yet) dabbled with an edible or vape pen. Many people like yourself are curious but have reservations.

If you have questions about weed, we are here for you. Let's take the guesswork out of this strange new world of legal cannabis so that you can launch into it without hesitations.

Are There Any Risks to Smoking Cannabis?

Thanks to this country's long anti-cannabis history, this plant's risk profile is an extensively studied topic. Based on decades of research, in 2017, the National Academies Press published "The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids."

And what were their conclusions when it came to respiratory risks?

The researchers found that regularly smoking cannabis can increase phlegm production and produce a chronic cough. However, "quitting cannabis smoking is likely to reduce chronic cough and phlegm production" soon after. Their analysis essentially confirms that these adverse effects are short-lived and only an issue for chronic smokers.

But if you already have respiratory issues, you may want to avoid making it worse. Avoid the respiratory tract altogether by sticking with edibles and sublingual products. Same experience, same benefits, but without any smoke or vapor.

What's the Best Route of Administration (Smoking, Vaping, Edibles) for a Newbie?

In the old days, the only way to enjoy the experience of cannabis was with a joint, bong hit, or pot brownie. While these are all still excellent choices, the world has exploded with new and exciting options.

For a newbie, the essential factor is dose control. A massive edible with an unknown amount of THC is likely going to be a wild ride. Keep your first sessions mellow and fun by sticking with methods that deliver small, controlled amounts.

The best ways to get started with THC-rich strains are with a vape pen or a mild edible. A vape pen typically delivers between two to five milligrams of THC per pull (provided you don't haul too long). A mild edible with five to 10 milligrams of THC is also another predictable place to get started. At Mountain Remedy we often recommend KIVA Terra Bites as a delicious intro to micro-dosing edibles.

Are you Curious What Is the Perfect Starter Dose with Cannabis?

One of the mysteries of cannabis is the way it affects everyone a bit differently. Scientifically, this is called "intra-subject variability." Your weight, metabolism, age, sex, and even genetics seem to determine how THC affects your mind and body.

What does this mean for someone who has no idea where to start? Because there is no standard dose suitable for everyone, smart stoners go by the adage "Start low, and go slow."

If you have never before tried THC in any format, start with five milligrams or less. No matter what the package says or what the recommended serving size is, calculate five mg. That may mean breaking apart a full piece of chocolate or eating half a gummy.

If you are using a vape, wait at least 30 minutes before taking another pull. If you are working with edibles, extend that time to at least 90 minutes. Edibles take a long time to process, which means many people go back for seconds—but then get hit with both doses at once.

Five milligrams may seem tiny, but it will give you a good sense of whether you like the experience and want more intensity or not. And, if it turns out you didn't like it, you wouldn't find yourself feeling uncomfortable for very long.

How Do You Use Cannabis Medicinally?

Our new-found acceptance of cannabis in mainstream society is thanks to its growing list of medical applications. Research demonstrates that cannabis may be valuable for chronic pain, multiple sclerosis (MS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the side effects of chemotherapy.  Many people who are curious about cannabis and unsure how to start taking the drug are seeking relief from a variety of medical issues.

California was the first state to have a functional medical cannabis program. There are now more than a dozen medical conditions that qualify patients for a card.

These include but aren't limited to AIDS, arthritis, cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, MS, seizures, and "any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either substantially limits a person's ability to conduct one or more of major life activities."

What's the first step to working with this plant for therapeutic purposes? You'll need a qualifying physician's recommendation as well as a county-issued medical marijuana ID card.

Together, these give you access to licensed retailers who sell products specifically for patients. While many mirror those products found on the recreational side, others don't (topicals, suppositories, etc.).

Talk to your healthcare provider about where to start. This will help direct you toward the most suitable options at the counter.

Lean into Your Curiosity about Cannabis, but Start Low and Go Slow when Unsure Where to Start.

If you take nothing else away from this introduction to cannabis, remember that ultimately this is a safe plant. Provided you start with a low dose and increase slowly and carefully, you are bound to experience the uplifting and euphoric effects of cannabis.

A few parting rules to keep in mind for your journey: First, aim for easy-to-control products like vape pens and edibles. Don't go back for seconds until the first one has hit. And finally, speak with a qualified healthcare professional should you have any questions about the many medical applications of cannabis.  We hope this helped answer some questions for those who are curious about cannabis, but unsure where to start with it.

Learn more about Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System in your body now that you've taken a dive into what it is like to dabble with the age-old plant.