By Miguel Ordoñez

Questions & Answers

? What do cannabis highs do?
When cannabis enters the body, it catalyses a surge of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine, of course, is the hormone responsible for enabling us Earthlings to feel pleasure.
? How long does it take to kick in?
If you’re smoking cannabis, you’ll likely feel something within the first ten minutes. But if you eat it, you’ll need to let at least 30 minutes pass (two hours at most) before feeling anything.
⏱️ How long does a cannabis high last?
The high from smoking weed will last three hours max. However, you’ll feel the effects peak during the first 10–15 minutes of toking up.
? How long will it stay in your body?
According to studies, THC metabolites will leave your system in a matter of 4.9 days, depending on various factors.

So, you’ve decided to embark on your first herb-smoking voyage. You’ve done your research and had your healthy dose of Cheech & Chong movies to say to yourself, “Hey, why the heck not?”.

Now, let’s assume you’re doing this for recreational purposes, more than anything. Before you get yourself into that altered state for the first time, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.

Top Safety Tips for First-Time Cannabis Smokers

Whether it’s learning how to ride a bike or completing a judo hip throw, or smoking weed for the first time, there are always safety measures and best practices to consider. Ultimately, it’s all about preparing your mind and body for a totally foreign yet eye-opening experience. Here are our top tips for an enjoyable inaugural cannabis high.

  • Choose the Best Time of Day

As a rookie entering the game, pick the best time of day for you. Impairment is a guarantee, so you’ll want to smoke up during the night after you’ve crossed out everything on your to-do list. And here’s a word to the wise: don’t try to schedule any sort of activity after you’ve smoked. You likely won’t get anything done, especially if you’ve been hit hard.

Instead, take this time to acquaint yourself with the feeling and how it affects your overall disposition. It may be like going into uncharted territory at first, but the ride will smoothen out as you go along.

  • Choose the Best Environment

When fixing up your place for a date night, you’d pull out all the stops. That includes picking the right music and preparing the mood lighting and delicacies you’ll indulge in.

Take a similar approach for your first time smoking weed. Make it a comfortable, safe setting for you to feel at ease. Your environment will play a huge role in this first exploration into the unknown.

Safety Tips for First-Time Cannabis Smokers
  • Keep Yourself Hydrated

One of the first physical signs of cannabis inebriation is “cottonmouth”. As the name suggests, the inside of your mouth will feel thick and dry, as if you stuck a ball of cotton in there. For some people, it could be a very uncomfortable, distressing feeling.

Your best bet against cottonmouth is to keep hydrated. Have a pitcher of water next to you for when the feeling kicks in. Sugary drinks like juices or soda work well too.

  • Prepare the Munchies Beforehand

You’ll know the weed’s kicked in when you suddenly have the urge to consume everything in your pantry. That, my friend, is a case of the munchies. In a nutshell, marijuana’s psychotropic chemical THC tricks your brain into making you feel like you need more food, causing a seemingly never-ending appetite boost (at least for the next hour or so).

Be prepared for when the munchies attack with a bag of your favourite potato chips or another easy snack. Eating can actually help mitigate some of the more uncomfortable side effects of the high. But like everything good in life, keep it in moderation.

  • Eat a Bit Before Starting

Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach will get you intoxicated a lot quicker. That’s because the food helps slow down the alcohol’s absorption when it passes through your small intestine.

You can apply that same theory to smoking weed. Have a cracker or two before diving right in, just to slow down the high a little bit. Ultimately, that allows you to make the most of the entire experience.

Safety Tips for First-Time Cannabis Smokers
  • Start Out With a Joint

Everyone has their own preferred method of smoking weed. But if you’re a newbie, go with a couple hits from a joint or blunt for your first dive.

Using a bong or pipe involves some skill that is likely alien to you, as opposed to hitting a joint, which is very similar to sipping from a straw. It also provides a more consistent flow of cannabis, often in lower individual doses than hitting a pipe every few minutes.

  • Pick a Strain With a 1:1 CBD:THC Ratio

Smoking a strain rich in THC will get you the high you’re looking for. But, to not drift off too far into space, you might want some cannabidiol (CBD) to balance things out.

So, if you’re looking for that perfect first-time buzz, go with a strain with a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio. By striking that balance right in the middle, the high will be milder and a lot easier to “control”. You’ll still feel that nice euphoric feeling, but it won’t send you to another dimension just yet.

  • Choose the Best Companions

Apart from the environment you’re in, the people around you will also influence the quality of your cannabis experience. If you’re with a Debbie Downer, don’t look forward to a nice time. If you’re vibing with someone in great spirits, however, you’ll feel that energy too.

Moral of the story: pick the ideal companions to smoke up with. Ideally, they’re someone you greatly trust, and whose company you enjoy.

Safety Tips for First-Time Cannabis Smokers
  • Don’t Smoke Alone

This point builds on the one above; while there’s nothing criminally wrong with smoking on your own, it’s definitely a lot more worthwhile to have trusted people around you your first few times. These are folks who will show you a great time, but will slap you back to sanity if necessary.

Just like how it is when learning to drive a car for the first time, you need a seasoned individual to help you learn the ropes. You’re dealing with an entirely different experience here, so save the solo flight for your fifth or sixth smoke.

  • Don’t Mix With Other Substances

Since you’re doing this for the first time, you’ll want a pure, unadulterated experience for your maiden voyage. So, if you were planning to warm yourself up with a few cocktails, don’t even think about it.

Adding alcohol into the mix will only aggravate the situation. It may cause your head and the world around to spin, leading to episodes of nausea and vomiting. Who wants that? You don't want alcohol to be the factor that puts you off cannabis.

Safety Tips for First-Time Cannabis Smokers
  • Don’t Smoke Too Much

We’ve all heard those stories about people trying to show off by smoking ridiculous amounts for their first time. As you’d expect, it didn’t end very well for them in terms of enjoying the experience.

Don’t be that guy. Take things slowly, savour the moment, and smoke in moderation. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

  • Don’t Get Up Too Fast

Let’s assume you were in a very comfortable spot as you were smoking. You could be sprawled out on the carpet of your living room or plopped right onto a La-Z-Boy, then you’re suddenly hit by the urge to take a leak.

Word of advice: don’t get up too quickly. That may cause your world to spin out of control, in turn causing some unnecessary and unwanted worry. Save yourself that trouble for your first time, yes?

  • Be Patient

All seasoned weed smokers know that one person who questions everything after that first hit. A Doubting Thomas, if you will. You’ll hear endless laments of, “Hey man, I’m not feeling anything. Is your stuff even legit?”.

Again, don’t be that person. Be patient and give it a little time. The high you’re looking for will hit you like a thief in the night when you least expect it. And when it does, you better be buckled up.

  • Learn From the Experience

Depending on the strain’s potency, the overall vibe, and your pre-smoking mood, the experience may vary between pleasantly memorable and very uncomfortable. However the ride turns out, it’s best to be as neutral as possible and try to learn from the experience.

Remember when you started drinking alcohol? It probably took some time to learn your limits. Do the same thing with your weed smoking. It may take a while (or not), but you’ll get there.

  • Don’t Even Think About Driving

Not even after an hour or two after smoking. There’s a good chance that your brain is still fried and you have yet to descend from the ether.

If you really need to be somewhere, have someone else drive for you. Do not do something stupid that could endanger yourself and others. Better yet, just stay put. You’ll thank yourself later for making such a decision.

Safety Tips for First-Time Cannabis Smokers
  • Taking Edibles Is a Totally Different Ballgame

It goes without saying that smoking and eating cannabis are two completely separate things. The herb enters your body differently, which ultimately leads to somewhat different experiences.

Edibles are around four times more psychotropic than smoked cannabis because the THC is turned into the highly potent 11-hydroxy-THC when digested. So, if you choose to go the edibles route, or it’s your only option, start very slow and consume small doses. It’ll kick you hard before you even know it.

  • You Might Feel High the Next Day

Now, here’s a little disclaimer: there’s a good chance you might still feel a little high or “out of it” the day after your first toke. That could be due to a few things. For example, if you take edibles, the entire experience can last eight hours or more, depending on how much you consume.

But what do you do if you still feel high the next day? Although the manner in which you deal with it will be entirely up to you, keep in mind that the feeling won’t last. You’ll eventually descend back to normalcy in a matter of hours—don’t worry about it.

Don't Worry Too Much About Weed Hangovers

Weed “hangovers” can make you feel lethargic and a little fried, but they are by and large more bearable than alcohol hangovers.

With that in mind, you can deal with a weed hangover by staying hydrated, resting, and perhaps taking some CBD to feel a little more balanced and “together”. Thanks to our innate endocannabinoid system, and the relative safety[1] of cannabis in general, weed is processed in a manner that doesn’t take too much of a toll on the body.

What Can Happen to You When Smoking Weed?

Cannabis affects everyone differently. That said, there are certain sensations experienced by a large share of users—both in the positive and negative sense. First, let’s focus on the positives. Here are some of the reasons weed is beloved by so many:

  • Uplifting, euphoric effects
  • Giggles—everything will be triply funny
  • You’ll feel a sense of bonding with your fellow smokers
  • Increased focus on a single topic/activity
  • Music and movies (sounds and visuals) will be enhanced
  • Food will taste extra good (you’ll gain five pounds at most if you give in to the munchies)
  • Prepare for profound or complex thoughts
  • Strong wave of relaxation—kiss tension goodbye, at least for a little bit
  • Slowed passage of time

But what if you’re on the other side of the spectrum and you’re instead met with a racing heart, uneasy feelings, and strong negative thoughts swirling around your head?

Here’s what you can do:

  • Take some deep breaths
  • Relax—remind yourself that you’re just high and everything will pass
  • Get some fresh air or open a window
  • Lay sideways on the sofa (as opposed to on your back)
  • Make your surroundings more comfortable—put on some soothing music, etc.
  • Try to sleep
  • Hydrate and have something to eat
  • Distract yourself with conversation or some form of relaxing media (stay off your phone)
  • Don’t keep yourself planted on one surface for too long—stretch out

Why You Might Not Feel High After Smoking Weed the First Time

While some first-time smokers get a little too baked, others don’t feel anything at all. As opposed to getting overwhelmed and ejected from their comfort zone, they experience anticlimactic disappointment.

After preparing your intentions, set, and setting for this special moment, feeling nothing at all really does suck. If your first time ended this way—or you’d like to avoid such an outcome altogether—explore the reasons why it happens below.

  • Poor-Quality Weed

Not everyone has the privilege of living in regions where cannabis is legal. While these lucky folks can waltz into a dispensary or coffeeshop to purchase expertly grown buds, those in prohibited regions encounter different circumstances.

Most novice smokers are faced with the latter scenario. They get curious about weed, their friend introduces them to the local dealer, and they end up with a bag of poorly grown cannabis filled with seeds, stems, and sometimes even mould.

This type of bud contains suboptimal levels of cannabinoids, tastes bad, and offers a generally poor first experience. Sometimes, these buds don’t even produce a psychotropic effect at all.

  • Bad Inhaling Technique

Learning how to properly inhale cannabis smoke can take some getting used to. Some beginners nail it within the first few hits, whereas others take days or weeks to get the technique right.

Many beginners find the sensation of smoke entering their mouth and lungs strange, even uncomfortable. Oftentimes, they simply keep the smoke in their mouth and exhale without drawing it into their lungs. While this method works when smoking cigars, it won’t get you high.

You’ll find yourself coughing the first time you smoke weed, as well as the 100th time. Any type of smoke irritates the lungs. To minimise coughing, inhale and exhale softly. Keep some water close by to help out if you experience a coughing fit.

  • Accidentally Picked Up a CBD Strain

Not all cannabinoids get you high. Whereas THC lights up the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system and floods the brain with dopamine, CBD lacks this ability. Instead, this non-psychotropic cannabinoid produces a clear-headed and relaxing effect without a high.

Some cannabis users much prefer the effects of CBD. However, when looking to get high for the first time, you need a strain with at least some THC. If you didn’t feel any high at all during your first smoking experience, you may have accidentally picked up a strain high in CBD.

Some strains contain equal levels of THC and CBD. We recommended these balanced varieties for beginners. These flowers produce a noticeable high, yet CBD helps to take the edge off and reduce the chances of feeling panicked or overwhelmed.

Safety Tips for First-Time Cannabis Smokers
  • Not Smoking Enough

Beginner smokers should take things low and slow. Inhale one hit at a time and wait a couple of minutes to see where that gets you. This will help to prevent overdoing things. However, some first-time smokers are overly cautious.

Cannabis affects everyone differently. Some people may get blitzed after one or two hits, while others need double that amount to feel the same effect. Since the effects of smoked cannabis come on in minutes, you can cautiously take another toke every several minutes if you’re not feeling anything. Keep inhaling until you hit the sweet spot.

Remember, though, it’s arguably better to have an underwhelming first weed experience than an overwhelming one, so we’d always suggest you err on the side of caution.

  • Your Body Won’t Let You

It’s possible that the endocannabinoid system itself is at least partly behind your inability to get high for the first time. Some theorise it boils down to a lack of expression of CB1 receptors in the brain of novice users.

Once your brain gets used to the presence of THC, the nervous system begins to upregulate the amount of CB1 receptors (to a certain degree), allowing you to feel the full potential of the high.

That means, you might not feel much the first time you smoke, but your nervous system will quickly adapt and allow you to get truly blazed.

  • You’re Not in the Right Frame of Mind

Feeling nervous or overly excited might impact your high the first few times you smoke. A cocktail of adrenaline and cortisol can put a damper on the effects of THC. As you learn to kick back and relax, you’ll feel the effects of THC become more apparent.

Luckily, it doesn’t usually take many sessions for new users to enjoy the full THC experience, without anything getting in the way.

With our list above, we hope to have informed you a bit on the important safety measures and best practices to consider your first few times toking. Even experienced stoners would do well to keep this advice in mind, as everyone can have an unpleasant cannabis experience from time to time. Just proceed slowly, exercise moderation, and bask in the good vibes.

Promoting Responsible Cannabis UseRQS emphasizes the importance of responsible cannabis consumption.

While many individuals use cannabis frequently without complications, some may be susceptible to developing adverse behaviours. We believe the herb should enhance one’s life, not hinder it.

Responsible use involves limiting consumption to adults only, refusing to operate cars or machinery while under the influence, and making an effort to resist abuse.

Stay Cultivated.

External Resources:
  1. Marijuana Is Much Safer Than Alcohol And Tobacco, New Study Finds
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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