The Do’s and Don’ts of Smoking Weed
As more people come to Colorado looking to smoke weed for the first time, the number of weed-related hospital visits continues to rise.
By Aaron Lynch, Front Range Community College
Summit County, Colorado, has been a popular winter destination for skiers and snowboarders for decades.
And since Amendment 64 passed in 2012, Colorado has become something of a snowy paradise for those tourists who love to toke up.
The state’s tourism industry has experienced rapid growth since cannabis legalization, but there has also been a spike in cannabis-related Emergency Room visits. The cause of these incidents, typically, is tourists who have little-to-no experience get too high, back their minds into an anxiety attack and go to the hospital because they don’t know what else to do. Once under the care of a physician, there’s little a doctor can do to help you, except keep you stable until the effects of the THC subside.
I understand that people want a taste of the “High Life,” and that Colorado has definitely garnered a weed-friendly reputation of late, but all of these hospital visits are giving a bad name to the people who live here and enjoy cannabis responsibly. So please, if you’re planning to smoke weed for the first time in Colorado, please read and follow these pieces of advice, so that tourists like you can continue to have first times.
1. Keep It Legal
It can be very tempting to buy weed from a friend of a friend or some guy you meet out at the bar. The biggest advantage dealers have is the fact that black-market weed is nearly half the cost of recreational weed.
But there are some major drawbacks to illegal weed. For example, since dispensaries can spend the most on their product, the best growers have turned their efforts into legitimate operations and there’s less primo to go around on the underside.
There’s also not much quality control on the black market, so if you buy from someone you don’t know you, might wind up with an eighth of oregano. Dispensaries on the other hand, stick each purchase with a label specifying the potency of the active ingredients, so you’ll always know exactly what you’re getting before you get it.
Dealers are also typically less knowledgeable and have less vested interest in your experience (especially if they know you’re from out of state). Plus, if you support marijuana legalization, don’t you want to support a legal market for it?
2. Ask Questions
When you get into the dispensary, a “budtender” will be assigned to you; budtenders are experts in the industry and are more than willing to answer any questions you might have.
It’s true that there’s a euphoric, lightheaded feeling that is common to all cannabis, but the side effects of different strains can vary drastically. One strain will leave you feeling ready to run a 5K race (sativa), while another will have you waking up on the couch four hours later with the TV still on (indica).
On top of that, most strains of bud are hybrid blends with their own mixed-and-matched side effects, and no two strains are created equal. Your good experience is contingent upon a product that suits your personality and setting, and thankfully, budtenders are there to help you.
(Bonus Tip: Stick to buds the first time, don’t get crazy with the shatter).
3. Wait an Hour
Edibles are appealing to people who have never mastered the act of inhaling smoke before.
All too often, what winds up happening is a novice will eat a ten-milligram portion of laced chocolate and not feel it right away. So, they eat another piece, and another, and maybe one more. Suddenly they’re uncomfortably high, having a panic attack and the hospital seems like the only reasonable solution.
Never expect to feel the effects of an edible within 30 minutes, and if you’ve recently eaten a meal, then it’s a safe bet you’ll be waiting a whole hour. Recreational strength edibles are designed for people who don’t get high that often (vs. medicinal strength); bear that in mind as you consider eating another piece of brownie.
4. Don’t Mix with Alcohol
After a night at the bars, it can be tempting to break out a joint to share with your friends. Take it from someone who has made this mistake multiple times—don’t do it. Most likely, if you mix bud and brew you’re going to wind up with a gnarly case of the spins, and will end the night on your bathroom floor after emptying your stomach into the toilet.
Do yourself a favor and save the weed for the hangover.
5. Don’t Drive
This should go without saying, but seriously, don’t drive. THC is a psycho-active compound that will likely leave you less capable of driving than the legal alcohol limit.
If you get the munchies you can usually call for a delivery or walk to the gas station.
Your very first time getting high, you probably won’t exactly want to go anywhere anyway. But if it’s absolutely necessary you can always either walk or call an Uber or taxi. Just don’t get behind the wheel.
6. Take It Easy
Aside from any medical uses it may have, at the end of the day getting high is fun. Weed is meant to be a light-hearted and easy-going activity, and part of having a good experience is approaching it with the right attitude.
It’s not some terrible, ominous thing that you just have to survive once and hopefully never do it again. If you follow the advice in this list, you’ll have a good time.
As long as you have fun with it and enjoy responsibly, your first breath of the high life is sure to impress.