So, It’s Your First Time Trying Weed This 4/20
April 20 is the biggest weed holiday of the year, celebrating all things cannabis. This global movement is a call to arms for cannabis activists across the world to gather in public at (or before, if you’re so inclined) 4:20 p.m. to smoke up. Gatherings crop up in state parks, college campuses, city parks, and public squares.
It is a holiday of advocating for drug liberalization in non-legal states as well as a celebration for the legalization that has passed. Each year, activists protest against the war on drugs in hopes that eventually cannabis prohibition will end.
In this spirit of activism, deals on legal cannabis purchases can be found everywhere! Not only that, but events happen in every major city and town across the world. Festivals, public gatherings, concerts, yoga, infused dinners, and lavish parties are just some of the ways people celebrate together.
The occasion is also an enticing setting for first-time cannabis users who want to join in on the festivities. So whether you will be grabbing cannabis and celebrating with the locals or heading home into the comfort of your own home, we will be guiding you through your first time trying weed this 4/20.
How to Make Your Purchase
There are three essential ways to purchase weed in legal areas: retailers, dispensaries, and delivery services. Weedmaps simplifies this process by showing you the options at our fingertips. Choose whichever option you think will lead to the most comfortable experience for you. Just know that all three options are completely safe and mainly offer the consumer different ways to purchase cannabis in the legal market.
Dispensary: This is a legal storefront that is regulated by its local government. Cannabis purchased on this premises can be medical marijuana, retail marijuana, or both. If you obtain your medical recommendation, then you would be purchasing cannabis for medical reasons. Essentially, all products are on display and you can talk to a budtender about which products you are interested in buying.
Retail: Essentially the same as a dispensary, except they only sell recreational cannabis. Therefore, edibles will have a lower milligram dosage and there will be a limit on how much flower you can buy. You will also end up paying higher taxes, however, this gets funneled right back into the community.
Delivery: This is for people who don’t want to go into a store setting and buy cannabis in front of prying eyes. Discreet, fast, and affordable – this is the best option for quick and direct service.
Method of Consumption
As a first time cannabis user, you may be confused on which route of consumption and products are best for you.Thankfully, today’s market features a plethora of options from which you can choose: topicals, flower, prerolls, concentrates, edibles, sublinguals, cannabidiol (CBD) products or transdermals. The following methods of consumption are outlined so that you can make an informed decision on the merchandise you want to try for the first time.
Topicals: These items are best for medical purposes such as relieving pain in the body by applying them on skin. They can come in the form of lotions, sprays, salves and creams. Topicals with low THC levels are great if you don’t want the intoxicating effects of cannabis but would like pain relieving effects on joints and muscles. These products are basically cannabis liniments and work very similar to over-the-counter liniment products.
Flower: While there are many strains abound and the exact categorization is hotly debated , cannabis flower can be categorized as sativa , indica , or hybrid .
Strains that are marketed as “sativas” are recommended for daytime use and supposed to be euphoric, uplifting, and energetic. Strains marketed as “Indicas” are recommended for nighttime use and are supposed to be relaxing, calming, and sleep inducing. “Hybrids” are marketed as a strain that strikes a balance between both worlds, generate an uplifting and energetic effect before easing into a relaxed laid back state.
However, it is important to note that not all hybrids are “true hybrids,” or a 50/50 split, and not everybody experiences the same effects. The strain classifications is imperfect, but it should give you a general idea of what to ask for or what to expect. Just know that your experience might be entirely unique.
Prerolls: The joint is the most iconic way in which to consume cannabis. Dispensaries, recreational outlets, and delivery companies have these joints rolled and ready for you, so you don’t have to fiddle with papers and ground flower. These are most recommended to people who are interested in smoking cannabis for the first time, as it is an easy way to consume. Plus it is relatively inconspicuous, as it can be mistaken for a cigarette and it can be easily disposed of.
Concentrates: These potent beauties are not for the faint of heart, so a cannabis novice may want to wait before jumping into this category. Concentrates are essentially extracted properties of cannabis flowers such as THC and/or CBD. This concentrated form of cannabis is typically highly potent and will produce very strong effects. They are made using either solvents or solvent-less methods of extraction. Alcohol, propane, carbon dioxide (CO20, and butane are common solvents that are used to make concentrates. Solventless methods included water, sifting, a heated metal press, and freeze drying. The following are a few types of concentrates you will be able to find:
- Dry sift
- Ice hash (also called bubble hash or wet sift)
- Live resin
- Hash oil ( butane , ethanol , or propane )
- Honey oil
- Budder (also spelled badder or batter)
- Full melt
Sound intimidating? It is best to master the art of smoking cannabis before venturing into the world of concentrates.
Edibles: Cannabis edibles are a delicious way to reap both medicinal and recreational effects in the body. These treats, whether in the form of food or drink, cover a wide range of savory and sweet items. They also come in gluten-free, vegan, and allergen-free options.
Cannabis in its raw form contains the cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) , but it is not intoxicating in this form. Edibles, however, pass through the transformation of decarboxylation, which convert THCA to THC within the product. The effects produced by edibles is much more powerful than the high produced by inhalation.
When edibles are consumed, THC transforms to the metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC in the liver after it has passed through the stomach. This produces a more powerful and longer high in the body when compared to inhalation. Therefore it is recommended to start at the lowest dose, 1 to 5 milligrams of THC, before working your way up. Edibles can generally be felt in as little as 30 minutes or as long as 2 to 3 hours. So it is very important to be patient and not overconsume the edible you are trying. The effects can stay within your system anywhere from 3 to 8 hours. There are many factors that can play into the length of the effect such as:
- How much food you ate
- Your body chemistry
- How the product was infused, and
- How fast your liver metabolizes THC.
Sublinguals: Cannabis sublinguals, or products applied underneath the tongue, can come in the form of tinctures (infused alcohol), breath strips, fast-dissolving mints, and mouth sprays. Unlike cannabis edibles, however, sublinguals can enter your bloodstream within 15-20 minutes upon application depending on dosage and rate of absorption. These are ideal options for someone who wants to medicate discreetly and have the ability to titrate their effects more efficiently.
Cannabidiol (CBD): For people who want to try cannabis products without the intoxicating effects of THC, cannabidiol is for you. CBD is a naturally occurring compound found within the cannabis plant that has many numerous positive effects on the body. It can decrease inflammation and pain, seizures, and anxiety related disorders. CBD products are found as edibles, topicals, sublinguals, and concentrates. There are also high-CBD strains available on the market from breeders that aim to relax the consumer without that euphoric THC buzz.
Transdermal: These little gems of modern cannabis science usually come in the form of patches. All you do is just slap on a patch in an area with exposed veins, such as your wrists or the underside of your forearms. Then just sit back and relax, letting your transdermal product do all the work for you. The cannabinoids will enter your bloodstream and produce long-lasting effects in and on your body.
These products are usually broken down into isolated cannabinoids and split into ratios. THC, THCA, CBD, and CBN are popular choices that manufactures produce to meet the demands of the markets. Products containing ratios such as 1:1 THC:CBD, are very popular and are for people looking for a balanced but not overly pronounced cannabis effects.
Tips on Consumption
So now that you have sorted through the vast sea of cannabis products and made an informed purchase of what products best suit your lifestyle, it is time to consume. It is very important to know, no matter what items you have decided to scoop up, to start at the lowest recommended dose and work your way up.
If you are smoking, vaping, using sublinguals or concentrates, it is easy to manage the effects by taking single doses over a span of time. Whereas with edibles, it is recommended to wait at least 2-3 hours before trying more. If you consumed 5 milligrams and felt no effects, consume another 5 milligrams in 2 to 3 hours. Do not take a higher dose of 10 or 20 milligrams. With topicals, you can re-apply as needed but be aware of any other ingredients that may be a contraindication for this. Lastly, when using transdermals, follow the edible rule as their effects can last just as long in the body.
Smoking for the first time? Inhale, but don’t hold the smoke in your lungs thinking you are going to get higher. THC can only saturate your lungs so much. Holding your breath longer does not make you higher. That’s just called oxygen deprivation.
What to Expect
Keep in mind that you may not get high the first time. Some people never get high until the second time another day. So do not stress or try to overconsume yourself with edibles or smoking trying to compensate. Also, start with small doses and work your way up to stronger doses.
Head High : Any product with high enough THC levels is capable of producing what is known as a “heady” high. This feeling can be described as a presence of happiness, creativeness, and energy. It is a productive feeling that is best used during the daytime for work or play.
Body High : Any product high in THC can conversely produce somewhat of a body high. It can be described as a “buzzed” or “narcotic” feeling within the body. Feelings of relaxation, comfort, sedation, and calm will wash over the body as the THC begins to take effect. This high is best reserved for nighttime, use as it can be impairing during the day for many.
The Munchies : A term for endless jokes. However, the “munchies” are very real . Certain products tend to create the munchies over others, but it really just boils down to body chemistry and plant chemistry. Unfamiliar with the term? All it means is that your appetite becomes stimulated after consuming cannabis. For cancer patients, this is extremely helpful as it helps them to counter the ill effects of chemotherapy and give them the ability to eat. However, for some people who are struggling with their weight, this could pose a problem. Thankfully, you can keep the munchies at bay by doing these tricks:
- Trying a different strain
- Eating a large meal before consuming cannabis
- Keeping yourself distracted or occupied, or
- Opting to munch on healthier foods.
What To Do If You Get Too High
There is a very real possibility that you may get too high the first time if you miscalculate your dosage. However, there are many ways to counteract this problem.
The first is to stay hydrated. It may seem like a painfully obvious reason to many, but when you are high as a kite, doing simple things like drinking water can easily be forgotten. Ever get so sucked into a work project that you forgot to drink or eat? The same concept applies here. It is also very important to have juice on hand as cannabis can lower blood sugar. If you get too woozy or light headed, reach for a glass of chilled orange juice and sit down.
Whole or ground black peppercorn is another common household item that can help lessen the effects of overconsumption. Take a whiff or liberally sprinkle fresh cracked pepper on any food of your choice and consume as necessary. Lastly, you can purchase pure CBD oil or edibles and keep it in your medicine cabinet. When you have had too much, follow the dosage directions and go lay down with some juice and water. Always remember the old adage: This too shall pass.
Know Local Laws
You should also learn the laws for where you live. There are several things you should know right off the bat when it comes to buying legal cannabis.
The first is that you cannot sell the cannabis products you just bought. Second, do not consume cannabis and drive. You run the risk of getting charged with intoxicated driving. Unlike with alcohol, marijuana does not have a similar impairment standard and depends more on the judgment of law enforcement officers in the field. Lastly, when you buy cannabis, ask the budtender what the rules of transporting cannabis in vehicles is.So, It’s Your First Time Trying Weed This 4/20 April 20 is the biggest weed holiday of the year, celebrating all things cannabis. This global movement is a call to arms for cannabis activists
What It’s Like to Legally Buy Weed for the First Time
In Northampton, Mass, the police show you where to park — with a smile
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My history of buying weed probably isn’t that much different from other Americans, save for some slight variations in time and place. I made my first purchase at 14, a nickel I bought from an older BMX rider who we found out was once a straight-A student on his way to a legacy spot at an Ivy.
A year later, I was in a dorm room in the prep school not far from where I lived, upgrading my purchasing habits by buying a dime from a 17-year-old who everybody claimed had the best stuff in the area and was the exclusive supplier to a coach of one of the city’s beloved sports teams.
For most of my teenage life, buying pot was a shady experience that involved little plastic baggies being pulled out of socks as we looked around to see if police or teachers were watching the transaction. It wasn’t until I was 18 and away from the suburbs that I discovered the joys of the weed delivery service, where a person came to your house with different strains to choose from. It made the whole experience of buying illegal drugs feel a little less scandalous.
For the bulk of the last 20 years, I’ve used a number of different delivery services, finally settling on one in Brooklyn that I was told “Park Slope parents love,” because of its wide variety of higher-quality product, and packaging that makes it look like a luxury good and less like, well, illegal drugs.
But what happens when you buy cannabis products for the first time when they aren’t illegal? How does weed-buying change in a store, an actual physical customer experience, in a state where buying an illicit substance for your anxiety is totally and utterly OK?
Well, for one, there are cops. And they’re there to help.
That was the first thing I noticed when I drove a little less than an hour over the border into Northampton, Massachusetts, to visit Neta on 4/20. Neta was one of the first recreational marijuana dispensaries to open in the state last year, two years after legislators voted to make marijuana legal back in 2016. After 20 years of ingrained paranoia over buying weed illegally, a cop was smiling and giving me a tip on where to park my car — to buy weed.
“Have a good one,” said the officer, holding a rainbow polka dot umbrella (Never change, Northampton) to shield himself from a driving April downpour. I just smiled. Even though I kept reminding myself that what I was doing was perfectly legal, I still felt my heart racing. Buying what’s mostly harmless but still against the law did always have some little bit of thrill attached to it. Now, on 4/20, in one of the most liberal cities in America, just being able to talk to a cop right before I was going to openly purchase two grams of Black Triangle kush flower, some other strain that was lower in THC, some CBD 1:1 vape cartridges, as many THC chocolate bars as they’d allow me to purchase, other various edibles and a couple of Bruce Banner pre-rolls, was a little on the odd side. Did I mention that I’d used Neta’s handy website to place a pre-order to skip the line?
Regardless, nothing could prepare me for the actual act of going to a dispensary that would accept debit card for a shopping list of cannabis.
I was able to forgo the longer line, which was being directed by staff à la Trader Joe’s. A greeter checked IDs at the door and kept the room feeling calm and spacious by only letting a few patrons in at once. The line, I should mention, was incredibly diverse, with people from every walk of life queued politely: folks from the nearby city of Springfield, students from Smith and Mount Holyoke, a few middle-aged-looking moms in North Face, 30-something guys in cargo shorts, and one guy who pulled up in a Range Rover wearing a pair of selvedge denim jeans, a cashmere sweater and an Omega Speedmaster Professional I clocked immediately. Some looked like classic stoners, others looked like they were going to try weed for the first time. I thought to myself as I bypassed them — smug with the good sense to order beforehand — that the line for legal weed was an all-inclusive one.
Since the only thing close to a legal transaction I’ve ever made when it comes to weed was buying paraphernalia, I’ll admit that my initial idea of what Neta was going to look like when I stepped inside was just a step above the countless head shops filled with dust-covered skull bongs and corny 4/20 merchandise I’ve visited over my life.
What I was not expecting was to find Edison bulbs hanging from the ceiling, wood-paneled walls and spotless glass cases filled with sleekly packaged vape pens. The staff, too, consisted of young, good-looking and mostly energetic and engaging people. One handed me a menu of the daily goods when I walked in, while the guy behind the counter chatted with me for a moment or two, not trying to upsell me anything, just relaying his experience with a certain product they carried that I was curious about. In essence, the first legal recreational weed dispensary I visited looked like a high-end menswear boutique Soho, Williamsburg, Silver Lake or Austin. There were no Bob Marley wall tapestries or six-foot bongs to be seen. The only thing Neta sells is cannabis products, the kind that is definitely of a higher grade than about 80 percent of the stuff I’ve purchased over my life, all grown in the “most advanced indoor cultivation facilities in the industry” in nearby Franklin, Mass.
When I walked outside with my white paper bags full with these newly legal products, I felt strange. Weed is big business now, but I still can’t wrap my head around it, having grown up in the “Just Say No” era. There was always something subversive about buying and using weed, and I’ll admit that was probably my first reason for trying it. Everybody I liked smoked weed, from Bill Murray to Miles Davis and Joe Strummer; it was rebellious without actually being that dangerous, at least when compared to some other substances people I knew started trying. It was fun and funny: the whole reason movie characters like Cheech & Chong, Jeff Spicoli, Jeffrey Lebowski, Jay & Silent Bob and Harold & Kumar were all so hilarious and iconic was because they were stoned, yes, but also because they were doing something illegal.
But today, the rebellion is being stripped away. Cannabis companies are being sold for close to a billion dollars. There are beautiful lifestyle magazines dedicated to weed. You can book a “420-friendly” Airbnb. You can get CBD treats for your dog and CBD hummus to dip your CBD knockoff Doritos into. John Boehner is really into trying to get weed legalized.
I wouldn’t call what I was feeling guilt (except when you consider the number of people of color incarcerated for minor drug offenses, many of which include marijuana possession), but there was some sense of closure when I got in the car with my bags of edibles and vape cartridges. I realized that I’d been doing something the same way for over 20 years, and that’s changing. And while it’s absurd I live in the most anxious city in North America and marijuana isn’t legal, I get the feeling it’s only a matter of time before I’ll have a place like Neta right between my local slice place and the bodega.
And yet, once I crossed state lines back into New York, I knew my cannabis purchases would go right back to being an illicit activity. I’ll probably visit places like Massachusetts or Vermont again in the near future since they’re both relatively close, but until then, I’ll go back to being a minor criminal, always thinking back on what a pleasant experience it was in Northampton, Mass., having a police officer show me where to go to buy my weed.The police help you out when you drive up to NETA in Northampton MA. to legally buy cannabis products ]]>