Teenager, thinking of smoking cannabis for the first time? Think twice. You shouldn’t be smoking, chewing, or drinking alcohol. There’s considerable scientific concern about how weed affects the developing brain.
You can cherry pick opinions on marijuana use, but the American Psychological Association raises sincere concerns. Still under development in teens, “the brain is thought to be particularly sensitive to damage from drug exposure. And, the frontal cortex — the region critical to planning, judgment, decision-making and personality — is one of the last areas to fully develop.” It’s just one reason to postpone your start with pot.
Smoked marijuana enters your nervous system through the lungs. You should feel it in 2 to 8 minutes. And, that can be intense for new smokers. But, if you are going to start smoking marijuana as a teen or a responsible adult, you need a guide to smoking cannabis for the first time:
- People: Once you are broken in, there is no reason you can’t smoke alone. But, first time around, you want to smoke with a veteran. You need some instruction, coaching, and help if anything goes wrong.
- Prepare: Bowl, bong, pipe, vaper, or spliff, smoking takes some equipment and supplies. You’ll want to pull it all together in advance. You may need papers, grinders, and torches. This is the stuff a regular user accumulates over time, but if you’re doing this own your own, you need everything at hand.
- Timing: You don’t want to smoke before driving, before starting work, or about to interact with machinery. You could be under the influence for up to three hours. So, first timers may want to schedule their smoke before bed.
- Extras: Alone or with others, you might expand the experience with music, candlelight, incense, or other sensual experiences.
- Necessities: Dry mouth is one predictable side effect, so you’re smart to have bottled water handy. The other sure thing is hunger for the munchies, so have a supply of chips, Cheetos, or smart foods like veggies.
- Debris: You will learn not to waste the grass. It costs too much. But, given the way a spliff is rolled, you can expect to get some flakes on your tongue.
- Strain: You’d better know what you are smoking. A fellow smoker with some experience can help you select the best strain for your desired outcome. You really should start slow and with something mild. A strain high in THC could create anxiety and paranoia in users, especially newcomers. On the other hand, a strong CBD can leave you couch-locked.
- Expectations: It’s good to know what to expect. With help from friends, you should talk over the experience step-by-step. But, you really want to know what the strain promises in terms of taste and aroma. You don’t want to fake your way through your early smoking adventures.
- Easy: Bong, bowls, and pipes are a little complicated for the novice. So, you might want to ease your way in. You can start with edibles if you heed the warnings about dosage. Vaping could follow because it’s more discrete. Both experiences will help you understand the effects of marijuana before you move onto smoking joints.
- Basics: You smoke a joint somewhat as you would smoke a cigarette. You inhale and exhale. But, when you inhale, you want to inhale deep into your lungs where you might hold the smoke for a county of three to four before exhaling.
- Puff: You puff a joint once or twice. Then, you wait up to 20 minutes before your next puff. Rookies should pay attention to their bodies between the puffs to study and evaluate their experience. That impression can adjust your next puff, and so on.
- Cough: Smokers are likely to cough for a couple of reasons. If there is too much moisture or debris in the weed, your system is going to wrestle with the inhaling. If the strain is too strong for your experience, you will cough. If there is tobacco in the mix, you will cough.
- Giggles: The psychoactive and relaxation that follows smoking often reveals as laughter and chatting. Many novices feel they are having little response, but those around them notice how silly they are getting.
- Time: Your perception of time will stretch. Time will seem to slow down. Your other senses may engage, too, increasing pleasure in listening to music, observing colors, and feeling fabrics. It’s pleasurable, but it can confuse attention to work.
- Expense: The price on weed may surprise newcomers. Street prices remain constant and reasonable, but you don’t get quantity for your money. The price in legalized dispensaries is increased by heavy taxes although you have a better assurance of quality.
- Guilt: Too much smoke from the wrong kind of weed for you can push you near panic and depression. And, you may feel some consequent guilt from that and from “breaking the law.”
- Homebound: You shouldn’t underestimate your condition following smoking. You may feel euphoric, but you don’t want to run out in the streets and mingle with the public.
- Alcohol: Too many smokers mix their toke with drinking, and that’s a big mistake. Psychology Today describes “Greening Out” as “situation where a person may feel sick after smoking marijuana. The individuals may go pale and sweaty, feel dizzy with ‘the spins,’ nauseous, and may even start vomiting. This is often followed by the need or strong desire to lie down.” It also worries that the marijuana which has a natural anti-vomiting influence will prevent the body of its ability to purge itself of excessive alcohol.
Finally, you may have little or no reaction following your first smoke. It depends on the strain and your constitution. Or, your reaction may be strong enough to worry your friends. It’s the possibility that encourages users to ease their way into the experience.
This guide to smoking cannabis for the first time offers a checklist of concerns and issues surrounding your first smoke. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy your initiation enough to repeat the experience on your own and with others.