4 things every first time cannabis user needs to do before trying marijuana

People who have surpassed the age of 21 without trying cannabis in high school or college were usually taught that marijuana is evil or the gateway drug to a life of addiction. When first time cannabis users arrive at Revolutionary Clinics, they are typically desperate for relief from their physical or mental condition after nothing else has worked. While some are excited after hearing about how cannabis helped a friend or relative, many first time cannabis users are a combination of frustrated, nervous, skeptical and ashamed that they’re even thinking about subjecting themselves to the stigma of marijuana.

At Revolutionary Clinics, every patient is important to us but first time cannabis users are special. Whether you’re suffering from chronic pain or crippling anxiety, our patient advocates will listen to your frustrations and fears as well as your hopes and dreams. They’ll spend as much time with you as you need to understand the different medical marijuana options available to you and how to use them. Barbara Van Hoosen, Senior Wellness Consultant at Revolutionary Clinics, speaks with patients every day via virtual consultations so that you do not have to order products without some guidance. Some patients just need a little help with understanding new items on our menu and other times they need more in-depth information about various methods of consumption and product options.

Whether you’ve purchased cannabis from one of our medical marijuana dispensaries or received some cannabis from a friend or family member, here are some things to think about/do before your first medical marijuana experience.

 

Feel confident in the product you’ve chosen

One of the biggest misconceptions about medical marijuana that first time cannabis users have is that the only way to use medical marijuana is to smoke it. Before you accept a pre-roll from a family member or a hit off your friend’s bong, remember that you can try edibles, tinctures and topicals instead. According to Barbara Van Hoosen, “another misconception is that your only option as a medical marijuana patient is to ‘get high’ when, in fact, CBD options offer pain relief and anti-anxiety effects without the psychoactivity, or ‘high’, that THC produces.” In addition, remember that despite what you have heard in the past, marijuana is NOT a gateway drug. “I have spoken to countless patients who tell me they use medical marijuana as a way to assist them in their sobriety from alcohol or opiates, while treating pain, insomnia, or other conditions”, Barbara reports.

 

Keep your expectations realistic

When it comes to advising first time cannabis users, we train our Patient Advocates to instruct all patients to “start low and go slow”. As a result, many patients will experience no effects the first time they try medical marijuana and that’s 100% OK. For example, we typically recommend a starting dose between 2.5 and 5 mg of edibles for the first-time cannabis user. As Andrew Elk explains: “We’d much rather see you work your way up slowly and confidently.” It is important to remember to give your body time to process an edible, so be sure to wait about 2 hours before deciding to take an additional dose, if you do not feel any effect from that low, starting dose. During consultations, Barbara advises that “there is some trial and error involved because everyone processes THC differently. You do have to try to find that sweet spot that works best for you. Take a few notes so you can look back on your experience and decide how to proceed the next time you medicate.”

 

Think about where you’re going to be using cannabis, who you’ll be with and when you use it

Since everyone is affected by cannabis differently, make sure you’re among people you trust in a safe place with no large crowds. Don’t try cannabis on a whim or the spur of the moment. As Revolutionary Clinics Training Manager Andrew Elk advises: “It’s important to consider the kick-in time for the product you’re about to try. If you’re smoking or taking a tincture, the onset is almost always immediate while edibles can take up to 1-4 hours to kick-in depending on what you’ve eaten.” Plan ahead and clear your schedule so you’re relaxed, comfortable and secure. Keep in mind that if you go to sleep before your body has fully digested/processed a THC edible, there’s a possibility that you’ll feel the effects when you wake up. That’s because our metabolism doesn’t process THC as quickly when we’re asleep as it does when we’re awake. For that reason, don’t make any big plans for the day after your first cannabis experience – just in case!

 

Be prepared in case you have a strong reaction

First, let’s make one thing perfectly clear – it’s physically impossible to overdose on cannabis. Many first time cannabis users come to us with this concern and the best analogy we’ve heard is that you’d need to smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole to ingest the “lethal dose” of THC.

As we said earlier, some first time cannabis users have stronger reactions to THC than others. “Having CBD on hand is a good idea for the first time consumer because it bring you back down to the ground if you’ve gotten too high,” Andrew Elk explains. “THC rides our blood stream to CB1, CB2 receptors. When the square of THC slots into the square receptors, that’s when you feel the effects of cannabis. If you picture CBD as circular marble that can slot into the same square hole, it essentially blocks the THC square from fitting into the receptor without causing any kind of high.”

As an insurance policy of sorts for first time cannabis users, Andrew recommends MXR 4:1 Harmonize tincture or 10:1 CBD Blackberry Fruit Chews. “If you’re feeling too high, be sure to take the same amount of CBD for every milligram of THC you’ve ingested,” he adds. If you don’t have any CBD on hand, Andrew says the same mellowing effect can be achieved by sucking on black peppercorns thanks to the alpha-pinene terpenes within them that can inhibit the psychoactivity of THC and result in a calming effect.

Here at Revolutionary Clinics, we love working with first time cannabis users, understanding their objectives and educating them on the different medical marijuana options available. We offer free consultations to anyone who is interested in learning more about the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana and how they can experience them. To schedule your virtual consultation, email us at virtualconsultation@revclinics.org. Senior Wellness Consultant Barbara Van Hoosen will follow up with you directly and reserve a day and time for the two of you to have a phone conversation or Zoom meeting.

For more helpful advice before trying cannabis for the first time, check out the short video below: