The world of cannabis consumption is large and growing every day. The landscape is shifting in ways that will make consuming cannabis in various ways for various purposes more accessible to both newcomers and more experienced users. Laws and initiatives are being passed at exponentially higher rates in certain areas of the country. As more states legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use, the possibility of country-wide legalization becomes a more obtainable future.
What all this means is that if you are or have ever been curious about cannabis and the experience it entails then- depending on where you live- you could have more avenues to consume cannabis safely and legally. This article hopes to guide you for when you begin your experience with cannabis.
- The Where– places and states where it is legal to consume recreational cannabis and the steps they took to legalization.
- The How– ways to enjoy cannabis that are safe as well as medical concerns to keep in mind.
- The What- the main categories of cannabis.
Let’s start with the ‘where.’ The where is very important. Where you live determines whether marijuana is accessible and legal to use. Depending on the state even possessing a small amount of marijuana can at the least warrant a fine. This is the case in places where marijuana possession has been decriminalized and even legalized. At the worst possession- conditional on the state and even some cities within that state- possession could result in jail time and suspension or loss of driving privileges.
Even marijuana for medical uses has restrictions of varying strictness and regulation across the country. This is due to the fact that marijuana is still labeled a controlled substance on the federal level and is lumped into the same category as heroin and LSD. Because of the federal restrictions doctors in many states are still limited in their ability to prescribe marijuana as a medical aid for certain deleterious symptoms and disorders.
Currently, out of the 50 states and the United States Territories cannabis has been legalized for non-medical use in: Washington D.C. New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Vermont, Illinois, Alaska, California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Michigan, Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Washington (state), Maine, Guam and the Northern Mauritanian Islands.
Even if you reside in those states the particulars of marijuana possession, distribution, and consumption can vary between them as well as within them depending on the county or districts. So please check your local legislation as the first step in your cannabis consumption journey.
In this article we will focus the ‘where’ on New York and the District of Columbia.
The state of New York is the most recent to join the number of states that have legalized marijuana. On March 31, 2021, marijuana became legal for recreational use by adults 21 and over. Approximately seven years prior, in July 2014, marijuana was legalized for medical use. A later 2018 Legalization Study was performed to examine the effects legalizing marijuana would have on the state.
Carried out by the New York State Department of Health the study focused on the ramifications marijuana legalization would have in the legal, economic, and societal arenas. At the study’s conclusion the Department of Health recommended legalization based on the vast potential benefits including economic, public health and public safety (as well as an annual expected tax revenue of $400 million). Eventually the benefits of the study would bear fruit in 2021 with the passing of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act.
The apparatus and regulations to facilitate the commercial selling marijuana in New York are still in the process of being established. So New York residents need to wait a little longer.
You can find a currently more active and dynamic marijuana scene in another major city on the east coast. Washington D.C.
The first big step towards marijuana legalization in the District of Columbia was May 2010. That month the Council of the District of Columbia passed a bill that permitted the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The law went into effect January 1, 2011 as Congress did not overrule the bill within the 30-day-legislative period. Thus the first legal D.C. dispensaries and cultivation centers were permitted to operate. Even though opening such establishments require intense regulation and extensive permit processing it was still a massive step for laying the foundation for commercial marijuana in Washington D.C.
Legalization for recreational marijuana was brought about Initiative 71. The voter-approved ballot initiative of 2014 accumulated 64.78% votes for legalization.
Unfortunately while it is legal to possess and use marijuana in D.C. it is not legal to sell. A Congressional mandate prevents the establishment of recreational marijuana dispensaries. It is also illegal to purchase marijuana and consume it in public.
Since then would-be cannabis consumers in D.C. have had to rely on a gift-economy to obtain marijuana. This has still met with legal charges for distributors.
But there is more change on the horizon.
In February 2021 D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced legislation that would establish a legal, regulated, and commercial market for marijuana. This legislation is being put on the table at a time when both chambers of Congress are under Democrat control.
There are many ways to enjoy cannabis. Each method comes with its own benefits and positives. The variety of methods means you can tailor your cannabis experience to your preferences and what you are comfortable with. If you want to smoke and inhale marijuana there are multiple ways and tools to do that alone. If you do not like the idea of smoking you can also consume marijuana cooked into an edible.
But first there are concerns to keep in mind for when you have your first and earliest marijuana experiences.
Tips and Warnings for Getting High the First Time
First tip for the first time getting high? You might not get high on the first attempt. If you are smoking marijuana remember to inhale. Not merely smell it you must breathe it in to get the actual effects. Remember to hydrate. Have a lot of water on hand. Water. Not a refreshment that might taste good but actually dehydrates you, which includes anything with caffeine or alcohol. Hand-in-hand with hydration make sure you either have food on hand or have food delivery apps or services on hand for when you get hungry. You do not want to drive under the influence or be around people in case you are socially uncomfortable while high.
Make sure you have no medical conditions or disorders that may be exasperated depending on the method of cannabis intake you use. Also check to make sure that marijuana will not interact with any ongoing medication you are taking.
Start small. Certain methods and cannabis strains are not suited for first-timers due to the intense experiences they cause such as gravity bongs and dabs. If you are starting with smoking cannabis, start with a little bowl before working your way up. Get a feel for how you handle marijuana before taking any big leaps. Learn your limits. No matter what your limits turn out to be you will more than likely pass out at some point during your first time getting high. Make sure you are somewhere safe and very comfortable for if you get sleepy or at the least feel heavy-bodied.
Never smoke or imbibe marijuana with people you do not trust. When getting high for the first time or not make sure you are around people you are comfortable with and who are comfortable with you. As an extension of that, in the future, you can find people you are comfortable smoking or getting high with on a consistent basis. This is what is referred to as a Tribe.
Methods of Consuming Cannabis
Thanks to human imagination and innovation you have multiple ways by which to enjoy and consume cannabis. Note that some are best suited to those with more experience and should be avoided by first-time users.
Flower– the simplest and most traditional way to enjoy cannabis. These are the buds directly from the plant and not processed or mixed with anything else. In this way cannabis can be enjoyed according to preference starting with bongs (an entire subcategory of equipment and experiences) and joints before moving onto something more modern like vaporizers. When using bongs be sure to have a cleaning agent like isopropyl alcohol to soak and clean after use.
Prerolls– are a more commercialized take on the traditional joint. As the name implies, these are joints that have been pre-rolled. This makes prerolls very convenient to beginners who may not know how to roll their own joints. Even more experienced users enjoy prerolls as a quick and quality-assured means of getting high.
Similar to prerolls and joints are blunts. First-time users should avoid blunts as these also contain nicotine. The presence of nicotine adds an element that is both highly addictive and can have seriously destructive effects on the user’s health no matter how ‘experienced.’ There is also the harmful aspect of a blunt’s secondhand smoke compared to prerolls and joints.
Vaporizers– are considered more stylish and less conspicuous alternatives to traditional joints or bongs. As devices vaporizers generally possess more pen-like shapes and dimensions. Vaporizers usually use oil cartridges to vaporize cannabis instead of combusting it. This means cannabis’ active compounds are released without the dangerous contaminants natural to smoke. It also means that vaporizers when in use are odorless, portable, and need little to no heating time. People who use vaporizers will often feel the effects near immediately and consider the devices one of the most efficient means to put cannabis into their bodies.
It should be noted that vaporizers have had their own problems that do not always have anything to do with cannabis. This includes both mechanical and health concerns. Make sure to do your research if you plan to purchase a vaporizer of your own.
Edibles– are perhaps one of the most classic means of consuming cannabis. Literally. Edibles do not require the specialized tools or techniques the other methods necessitate (or cost). At least nothing beyond what can be found in most kitchens. Doses are simple matters to measure out and count with countless recipes that can be found online. Brownies are only one form edibles can take.
As the cannabis’ THC will have to work through your digestive system it can take longer to feel the effects. Though the effects take more time to be felt they also last longer and are stronger compared to most methods of smoking. Thus even with edibles be careful on your first time and stick to the lowest possible dose.
Topicals– include bath products, balms, creams, lotions, patches and sprays meant for external use on the skin. Most topicals are non-psychoactive and will not get you high. Such topicals are generally taken for pain relief due to intense athletic activity, chronic pain, or recovery from surgery. Some patches do deliver THC into the body through skin meaning they will get you high. Be sure you know which kind you are taking for what purpose. Topicals generally last for 1 to 6 hours with low intensity.
Drops– are highly concentrated extracts used as low-calorie alternatives to edibles. Similar to edibles the effects of drops are potent and long-lasting. Drops may not be best suited for first-timers as they require precise obedience to instructions and time to work up to notable doses.
Concentrate– more-so than any other method mentioned in this article concentrate is not recommended for beginners but you should at least be informed they exist. Concentrate as the name implies are incredibly potent cannabis extract. The forms of concentrate include BHO, crumble, hash, resin, shatter, and wax. In addition to being incredibly potent concentrate often requires specialized equipment and knowledge to use.
There are scores and scores of cannabis strains from which you can choose for your first highs. Each come with their own traits that make the resulting experiences distinctive in flavor, smell, and biological effect. We can broadly categorize the many strains into four categories you can look at before diving into specific strains. For the most part the strains under each category conform to that category’s general traits though some exceptions do exist.
Sativa usually creates a more energetic high for when you want to be active, social, or even creative. Users often feel their moods uplifted with their mind and senses stimulated.
If you are looking for a more relaxing high then Indica is the plant for you. Whether you want to relax after work or before bed Indica relaxes both mind and body. It has also been known to relieve pain and nausea while also encouraging appetite. People have also used indica strains to deal with anxiety.
The result of mixing two or more strains often an indica or sativa or another hybrid. Hybrids usually cause a more balanced high which is both invigorating and relaxing. The amount of variety among hybrid strains means there are hundreds to choose from for different experiences.
Short for Cannabidiol CBD is primarily used to relieve pain and soreness. There is almost no high associated with CBD. It is used to alleviate chronic pain, reduce inflammation, and aid in post-workout recovery.
What was your first cannabis experience like? Did it meet your expectations? Was this guide helpful? Let us know in the comments below.