For the doobie newbie, the first time smoking pot is a unique experience. This isn’t to say you’ll have an extraordinary encounter where you’ll be visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past or suddenly understand String Theory; it’s only to say that the experience will be unique to you. Frankly, you might enjoy it a lot, you might walk away undecided, or you might not get high at all and end up convincing yourself the only thing inside your blunt was basil.

Why People Struggle to Get High the First Time

It’s common knowledge that many people struggle to get high the first time they smoke. There are a few different theories surrounding this, with the most likely one being the Bill Clinton problem: you didn’t inhale (at least not properly). Smoking a joint like you would a cigar doesn’t allow the smoke to reach your bloodstream, leaving you disappointed and sober.

Another theory is that, if your brain has never been exposed to THC, it simply doesn’t know how to react to it. Whether this holds any water, who knows. I’m not a doctor and I’ve never even played one on TV (though I was on ESPN once dressed up as Gumby – true story).

It’s always possible to get a little high and not really notice, especially if, in your mind, you’d expected a life-changing experience

Rolled joints and marijuanaSome people smoke weed for the first time while they’re consuming alcohol which further complicates things. On one hand, this isn’t recommended as booze tends to potentiate the effects of THC (something you might not want your first time – see, we build to that). Consuming alcohol may also make it difficult for you to tell where your drunk ends and your high begins.

The Edible Factor

Of course, if you want to skip the joint and go right to the brownies (or whatever other goodie you can get your hand on), edibles are an option and pretty much a sure thing: unlike inhaling, it’s hard to swallow incorrectly. However, edibles are more intense than smoking – the high is more powerful, longer lasting, and not as instant (which makes some people eat more edibles thinking they didn’t consume enough).

As a result, they’re not great for first-timers.

Back to the Blunts

Getting high for the first time doesn’t need to be scary, but you should know what to expect. If you’re nervous about it, use a vape pen as a stepping stone: some people find that vaping produces a more relaxing, less intense high than a joint, a pipe, or a bong. Vaporizer’s are smoother too and not as harmful to your lungs. They won’t make your throat hurt as much either (that’s one thing to keep in mind as you smoke for the first time, your throat will hurt – maybe a lot. It’s not straight up strep, but it’s irritating. Having ice water on hand helps).

Smoking produces a high fairly quickly, a few minutes or so. This means you want to be somewhere safe when you inhale: in your living room: good; on top of a ladder: bad

Cannabis can also make you dizzy. Some people experience minor dizziness where others really spin. This is especially true when you stand up

You’ll feel euphoric – you know the feeling you get when you’re drunk and you suddenly love and adore everyone around you? It’s sort of like that. And you’ll feel relaxed, as if the arm of your couch is a curled finger calling you over.

Unfortunately, you might feel paranoia as well – Mary Jane’s a bit of an oxymoron that way. Man holding a joint The reason for this is that the cannabinoids in marijuana (such as THC) bind to the receptors in your brain. Some of these receptors help control your emotional processing including your response to fear, stress, and what you perceive as danger. When you introduce THC into your system, you disrupt the balance. This might overexcite the neural pathways and cause paranoia. While this is a common occurrence, there are ways to circumvent it.

First of all, make sure you have the right strain. If you live in a legal state, go to a dispensary and speak to the people who work there. Tell them it’s your first time and explain that you’re worried about the anxiety-provoking effects.

A good budtender will point you towards a strain least likely to induce paranoia (a drug dealer selling on a street corner isn’t likely to be as helpful)

Strains high in Indica, for instance, are known for their calming nature.

A few other things you’ll experience upon inhaling for the first time are an increased heart rate (no, your heart isn’t going to explode, even if it feels that way), red eyes, and dry mouth. The latter is often referred to as cottonmouth because that’s how it feels – like your mouth is full of cotton (or you just drank a refreshing glass of sand).

You’ll also be hungry – marijuana certainly lives up to its reputation in that regard. The infamous munchies strike quickly and often. Yet, it’s not the type of hunger you feel when you’re bored – the “I guess I’ll eat since nothing’s on TV” urge. Rather, it’s an insatiable pang that convinces you that, yes, you are in fact starving.

If you’re worried about pot causing a pot belly, don’t keep fattening or unhealthy food on hand: marijuana makes you hungry, certainly, but it induces laziness too – if your pantry isn’t stocked with junk food, you’re not likely to get in the car and drive a mile to the nearest chip aisle.

How Much Marijuana to Consume

The amount of marijuana you should consume is influenced by many factors. Your metabolism, your age, your gender, and your weight play a role.Dab of concentrate What you’ve eaten does as well – for your first time, try not to smoke on an empty stomach.

The best rule is to start slow – begin with one puff and see if how you feel. Give it some time to fully kick in and then, if you’re not feeling much after fifteen or twenty minutes, puff again. If you’re consuming edibles, wait much longer – at least an hour, though some people don’t feel effects for two.

A Few Other Tips

A few final tips for your first trip help make your experience as enjoyable as possible. So, as you pack your (dime) bag in preparation for your proverbial journey, remember to:

Smoke with friends (being high alone isn’t as fun and it’s more conducive to paranoia – you’re right, your television is totally trying to suck you inside)

keep black pepper nearby (it helps bring down your high in the event you feel out of it); keep CBD oil nearby (it also helps bring down your high); and don’t make any plans….at least not for a couple of hours.

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.