I f you live in a place where weed isn’t legal for recreational use, traveling to try marijuana can seem like a good idea—until you hash out the nitty-gritty details. How do you use cannabis products? Legally? Are there pot-friendly hotels? Do you need any kind of special equipment to smoke, and if so, will you ever use it again? If you don’t know where to start and don’t have anyone to show you the ropes, the west side of Los Angeles will welcome you with open arms. Here’s where to buy, where to use, what to do during your buzz, and where to eat when the munchies strike.
The terminology can get sticky, but if you have a favorite drinking profile, that may be helpful to share with your budtender. Someone who enjoys a glass of rosé with lunch after a Saturday morning hike would probably like a citrusy sativa-dominant strain, whereas someone who sips port while listening to old vinyl records after dinner may prefer an indica-dominant purple strain with a darker grape or punch flavor.
With its curated dispensaries and design-forward social consumption lounges, L.A. is the perfect place to give cannabis a try.
OCC serves lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Go for a conventionally Californian meal (such as a breakfast burger with white cheddar and smashed avocado) or a stonerific creation such as Fruity Pebbles bread pudding. The outdoor patio is a dreamy place to spend a long Sunday morning, and the pub vibe inside has people clinking glasses of orange-turmeric juice between puffs of prerolled joints.
If you’re nervous about your first marijuana experience, you might want to stay away from pure sativa strains as the energizing “head high” they induce can sometimes backfire and highlight anxiety. Pure indica strains can mellow you so much that you fall asleep, but if that’s not what you’re going for, try a hybrid.
The best place to try pot in L.A., whether it’s your first or 50th time, is Original Cannabis Cafe (OCC). The restaurant is the United States’ first (and currently only) place where patrons can “toke” throughout. Legal restrictions mandate certain quirks, like separate menus and bills for cannabis purchases and food purchases, and no alcohol. THC-infused items aren’t on the food menu, but all the munchables are meant to pair with the vast selection of smokables on the marijuana menu. (There’s a $30 per person “tokage fee” if you opt to bring your own.)
A “budtender”—someone well versed in the various cannabis options—will happily walk you through the different strains, how much product makes sense for your planned consumption, which vape pens to buy for one-time use, and which products (whether smokable or edible) are tastiest.
A lot of newbies are intimidated by smoking and vaping, especially when presented with bongs and pipes. The instinct for many is to try an edible. But while edibles are the most discreet and least complicated, they’re also the riskiest in terms of results. If you smoke or vape, you’ll notice the effects of THC in as little as 15 minutes (depending on the potency and how quickly you’re ingesting), so you can ease up as needed. Edibles, on the other hand, can take one to two hours to kick in, and there’s no way to slow down once the effects become apparent. Inexperienced users will often take the recommended dose of an edible, wait an hour, and then consume more, thinking the original dose was a dud. This is a surefire way to have a bad time. Be brave. Be smart. Don’t start with edibles.
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West Hollywood and West L.A. are home to a rapidly increasing number of dispensaries and social consumption lounges. Here's where to go and what to do with your high.