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.
In states where recreational cannabis isn’t legal, understanding the different patterns of enforcement is key. Earlier this month, New York City stopped arresting people for smoking weed in public, opting instead for a court summons and a $100 fine. Statistics also show that cops treat cannabis possession very differently depending on race. The ACLU reports cannabis use is “roughly equal among Blacks and whites, yet blacks are 3.73 times as likely to be arrested” for possession.
“Even though it’s a great thing, it still requires a level of discretion. Don’t post publicly about it on social media. You are not protected,” says Wyatt.
The first time you buy, Greenhand recommends purchasing as little as possible. “If you don’t want to smoke a lot, don’t buy a lot,” he says. “Your first time you shouldn’t need more than a gram. Just remember that cannabis can take some time to reach its full effect so take your time and you should be fine.” Even for the pros, there’s such a thing as too much weed.
Congratulations! You’ve gotten stoned. Now it’s time to have fun. Most pleasures of the body and mind are enhanced when you’re loopy, so prepare a suite of activities in advance. “You’re going to want to eat and drink, so go shopping BEFORE you smoke to prevent buying a five pound bag of gummy bears,” warns Greenhand. There are dozens of TV shows, movies, music, and video games that are tailor-made to appeal to stoners. “But when you’re high, you’ll see time will fly by. You’ll enjoy simple things, making it pretty easy to stay entertained.”
If you’ve gotten too stoned, you may experience hallucinations, nausea, paranoia. The first thing to do is not call 911. Then, breathe. Greenhand’s strategies for lessening an overpowering high are eating a big meal, exercising, and if all else fails, crawling into bed and going to sleep.
Pick the right spot to get high. Location can be the difference between a great experience and an awful one. Even seasoned cannabis users can get lost in the mountains or ground an aircraft by getting high in the wrong place or at the wrong time.
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.
“Don’t be in a car, and don’t drive,” Wyatt says. “You can be hit with a DUI, whether you’re a recreational or medical cannabis user. A lot of minorities fall victim to that because of how our community policing is done. Even if the smell is on your clothes during a random stop, that can get you in a lot of trouble.”
Don't start with edibles.
Terpenes are the compounds responsible for the plant’s unmistakable odor. But recently researchers have found that they can do a whole lot more than that. It turns out that terpenes play a role in how weed hits you.
You typically hear about two types of cannabis: C. sativa and C. indica. They work in similar ways, with some notable differences. Sawler J, et al. (2015). The genetic structure of marijuana and hemp. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133292
The specific effects differ from person to person, but a few are common. “You’re more sensitive to sound; you’re hungrier,” says Beatriz Carlini, PhD, an affiliate associate professor and research scientist at the University of Washington.
The exogenous cannabinoids throw your usual neuron functions out of whack, boosting certain signals and interfering with others. That’s why marijuana’s effects can range from a feeling of relaxation and pain relief to clumsiness, anxiety (or lack thereof), and even the munchies.
Now, with a resurgence in marijuana as medicine and the ever-changing legal landscape, it’s helpful to know about how it works. Here’s what actually happens to your brain and body on cannabis.
However, Rudroff adds that effects seem to be highly dependent on the age at which you start using. He says people who start at a younger age — when the brain is not fully developed — may have more negative effects later in life.
As for the consequences of habitual pot use, the jury is out. One recent study found that using pot regularly for 20 years resulted in higher incidences of gum disease but not much else. Hill KP, et al. (2016). Minimal physical health risk associated with long-term cannabis use — but buyer beware. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2016.5181
Just how quickly do you feel those results? Well, it all depends on whether you smoke, vape, or consume edibles.
- altered senses
- distorted sense of time
- changes in mood
- impaired body movement
- difficulty with problem solving
- impaired memory
Most people think weed makes you giggly and hungry. But this plant can cause everything from bursts of energy to appetite suppression. Here’s why.