By Melissa Sherrard
If you’re getting ready to introduce a friend or family member to cannabis, don’t let your excitement make you overlook a few important points. While many first-time users have a perfectly fine time enjoying their first “high” from consuming marijuana, others have a less-than-ideal experience that comes with feelings of paranoia, confusion, anxiety, and other sensations. These “bad trips” can be unpleasant enough for someone to abandon any thoughts of using cannabis again, so it’s important to do everything you can to avoid a poor introduction.
Also, remember that cannabis affects everyone differently and that different strains are bred to exhibit various effects. Here we offer three tips to help you make someone’s first experience using marijuana an easygoing and enjoyable one.
1. Know the Purpose
You should first know whether your friend or family member is interested in cannabis for medical or recreational purposes so you can choose an appropriate strain, if possible. First-timers looking for medical relief should try a strain bred to relieve particular symptoms and not one with a high percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that someone seeking the cerebral experience would prefer.
2. Provide a Comfortable Setting
It’s important that whoever you’re introducing cannabis to is in a place he or she feels comfortable and in control. Anyone familiar with cannabis understands how the environment can easily affect your experience for better or worse. For example, some people under the influence of cannabis view a group of strangers as an inviting opportunity to meet new people, while to others that same crowd can trigger overwhelming anxiety. Plan to surround your friend with sights and sounds he or she enjoys (friends, music, movies, games, etc.) and create a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere.
3. Start Low and Slow
Give your friend or family member a small amount of cannabis and slowly increase the amount as he or she sees fit. Consider starting with a low-THC strain and using a joint, pipe, or vaporizer, as these apparatuses offer better dose control than a hard-hitting bong. It’s best not to start someone off with an edible since they have no idea how they will react to cannabis, but if your first-timer insists on a digestible product, the rule to “start low and go slow” applies even more. Also, never peer pressure someone into consuming more cannabis than they are willing to try.