Smoking cannabis for the first time can be an adventure all its own. No one should smoke for the first time without some experienced friends around. And, those friends owe novice users some support and care.
Every user has a different experience, and some experiences can be negative. So, friends should share the experience and stay accountable for the user’s reaction.
5 tips to help friends who are smoking cannabis for the first time:
1) Make things comfortable. Too many teens just flip a joint to a new user and sit back to laugh at their friend’s experience. We’re not going to fix that. But, with the expanding use following legalization, more adults will be trying for the first time.
Within a comfortable social setting and occasion, you can discuss the experience, what to expect, how to smoke, and how to handle any negative effects.
The social environment can affect the experience, so it helps to play some music, encourage fun conversation, and set a table with nutritious food and water.
If the social setting is comfortable and relaxing, it should counter the potential for anxiety and panic. The fresh cannabis user should feel some control of the situation, so using at a planned social event, picnic, or clambake among friends is a good way to go.
2) Analyze the strain. A first-time user should not begin with the most potent strains. Starting with a high THC strain, a novice will hit the wall fast and forcefully. So, users and friends should know what’s in the cannabis.
Friends can help by educating the newcomer on strains and what to buy. They should direct him/her to something with a credible CBD content, something with a ratio that allows some THC head hit with some soothing CBD relaxation at the same time.
If the new user is pursuing a medical treatment, the experienced friends should direct the novice to something specific to that medical problem, like spasms, back pain, depression, and so on. Using a strain with a sensible balance makes the experience better and allows the user to determine a benchmark for tolerance and future smokes.
3) Explain the side effects. In most cases, after effects don’t present a problem. But, it’s fair to let new user to expect dry-mouth, red eyes, and a raspy cough. Depending on the strain, the effects can be more serious, but you need to help them prepare.
If the strain produces panic and paranoia, the user needs coaching on how to handle the extremes. They shouldn’t start with such strains, but some people could react unexpectedly. You must prepare to take the friend for a walk, put him/her to bed, or sit up and talk.
You might also consider how the novice starts to use. Perhaps vaping, a bong, or an edible might be a better introduction. But, each of them presents their own problems and deserves its own explanation and preparation.
4) Know your novice well: If you are the responsible adult in the experience, you should know the first-time user well. You should consider their height, weight, and gender. You should monitor the alcohol intake if it’s available. And, you should consider how the specific profile might respond positively and negatively in mind and body.
A new cannabis smoker needs monitoring. The better you know the person’s usual behaviors, moods, and personality, the better you will notice changes needing attention. If the person panics easily, struggles with asthma, or has liver problems, you should discourage them from smoking in the first place.
If the user wants relief from specific medical symptoms, you need to know how those symptoms manifest themselves. You and the “patient” will want to pace their start and schedule a buildup until they find the relief that works for them. In medical cannabis therapy, you and the patient want to reach a sustainable level of care, so you need to benchmark the first experiences.
5) Teach them how to smoke. You should explain and demonstrate how to roll, light, inhale, and exhale. But, you don’t want to saddle them with smoking a whole joint at a time.
You should help the newbie to take one or two drags. Then, they can wait to enjoy the effects. You can use the time to chat a bit, snack a bit, and share a drink of water. It’s an opportunity to discuss the effects as they are happening.
After the rest, you can increase the dose explaining how this could affect the resulting feelings. It helps if you coach the user with incremental dosing and titrating the quantity and quality to a more effective level. At each stage, on and off smoking, you want to monitor the user’s apparent physical and mental condition.
You can then coach the user on handling specific sensations like restlessness, coughing, and anxiety. You can also help them appreciate their euphoria and bliss.
Help friends who are smoking cannabis for the first time
It’s careless and irresponsible to introduce some to smoking cannabis without some oversight. It’s just what friends do.
You can fully prepare the novice, the occasion, and the environment without being preachy. Helping the newcomer to understand what will happen, what could happen, and how to handle the results, you make the experience better for everyone.
It you enjoy the cannabis experience, want to share it with others, and introduce it those who want or need the experience, you should want to start the experience well. Once it is done, the user is better prepared to make independent decisions.