If it’s your first time using pot, the best thing you can do is heed the warning of the Grail Knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: in short, “Choose wisely.” This is regards to all sorts of weed-related things: choosing when you consume, choosing how you consume, and choosing your strain.

Consume with Care

Marijuana affects everyone differently, especially the first time they use it. If you smoke a joint, there’s always a chance you won’t get stoned your first go around shutterstock_561958975(some people do, some people don’t). But, once you’ve decided to give weed a whirl, do so under the assumption that you’ll, in fact, get high. And, thus, consume with care.

In other words, do it with friends on a Friday night and not before you’re scheduled to give communion at church.

Route of Consumption Matters

Most everyone knows this already, but it’s worth mentioning one more time, from the top: smoking pot is different than ingesting it. Smoking is immediate, with you having to wait all of five or ten seconds before the high hits. Ingesting takes much longer, sometimes up to two hours before you feel anything. Smoking is also shorter-lasting and not usually as powerful as an edible. This favors joints and bongs and vaporizers over hard candies and cookies and brownies.

Pot is one of those things where you’ll want to start slow and inhaling is better for this than ingesting

Inhaling also allows you to adjust your dosage more acutely – take a hit, wait ten minutes, and decide if you want more. Ingesting doesn’t really allow this – you’d have to eat a brownie and then wait an hour or two before deciding how to proceed.

But inhaling is hard on the lungs, particularly for people who aren’t used to smoking. This is where vaporizers come in: whether you’re a doobie newbie or a seasoned smoker, vaping is easier on the respiratory system and, as a result, healthier for you.

Sativa versus Indica

Cannabis strains are usually hybrids of sativa and indica, but most hybrids favor one over the other, resulting in a different type of high. This isn’t universal, as few things with cannabis are, and not everyone agrees on the different effects.

In general, sativas are uplifting and energizing, producing euphoria and vigor. Indicas are peaceful and sedating, producing a calm, relaxing experience

Sativas are great for socialization: they leave you chatty and good-humored. Indicas are great for vegging on the couch, and turning off your mind so you can focus on binge watching Dexter.

Best Strains for your First-Time

man holding plant, new userIf you’re trying pot for the first time and you live in a legal state, asking your friendly, neighborhood budtender for advice is the best thing you can do. You can tell them exactly what you’re looking for – a strain that stimulates the mind, a strain that relaxes the body, a strain that makes completing payroll for your accounting business seem exciting – and they’ll be able to help.

In the meantime, some of the strains worth your time include:

Strawberry Cough: One of the perks of Strawberry Cough is the taste: it does take like strawberries. The high is uplifting and light, with a little initial unease that passes quickly. It’s conducive to conversation, work, and even reading. Yes, you can smoke pot and read. Of note, the high from this strain lasts a bit longer than what’s typical, going for three or four hours.

Jack Herer: Jack Herer is popular with first-time users because of its easy high: it’s not too much, too soon. It won’t get you so high that you won’t know what’s going on, but it will make you feel social and happy. It also been known to get the creative juices flowing.

Harlequin: Anyone smoking for the first time who is afraid of THC-induced paranoia only need to run into the open arms of Harlequin. The high CBD in the strain helps counteract any THC effects. This doesn’t mean you won’t feel anything, but you won’t get as stoned as other strains. Still, Harlequin is among the best strains to use for pain relief, so hit your hand with a hammer if you need an excuse to try it.

Sour Tsunami: Like Harlequin, Sour Tsunami is rich in CBD. The THC percentage is low, hovering around ten percent. This makes it ideal for anyone hoping to truly take a baby step into the world of pot: your mind won’t be blown, but you’ll feel calm and content. Consistent with CBD strains, Sour Tsunami is used by many of those seeking pain relief.

Hindu Kush: Hindu Kish is an indica strain, meaning that it offers potent sedative effects. It’s named for the Hindu Kush mountain range but also tends to make you one with your couch cushions. Plainly, it’s not something you want to try for the first time when you have somewhere you need to be. The high is slow mounting, so give it time to work its magic.

Girl Scout Cookies: The THC in Girl Scout Cookies will leave you eating box after box of Thin Mints: it’s around 23 percent. It might be too potent for some first-time users but, for those who want to dive in feet first, this strain’s a good choice. It’s mainly indica, which causes laziness. However, a lot of people experience surges of creativity and euphoria.

Golden Goat: Beneficial to first-time users, Golden Goat creeps up slowly instead of whacking you over the head immediately. It’s a sativa-high that helps users sense the experiences around them more fully: colors are brighter; sounds are more acute. cannabis strain for a new userIt helps with relaxation too, keeping the disorientation from growing too drastic. The elevated THC content might be something first-time users want to stay away from (or at least moderate the dosage), but the high is shorter-lived than average. This makes it enticing for those who want to experience cannabis without having to plan their entire day around a toke: you can smoke at noon and manage to run your afternoon errands.

Jenn Keeler

About the author: Jenn Keeler is a freelance writer and illustrator specializing in humorous lifestyle articles. She is one of the few people on earth actually using an English degree. Her heart belongs to the Denver Broncos and her husband. In that order.