The Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana for Better Experiences
Get a better understanding of the various ways to ingest cannabis that best match your needs for convenience, product benefits and optimal experience.
If you’re 65, 45 or 25 years old and still think of pot as the best panacea to escape a mental meltdown from the stress and drama of life, you wouldn’t be far off. But in today’s cannabis world, you’re only hitting a small piece of the bigger pie. This isn’t yesterdays’ hippy marijuana stash from the 1970s. If you’ve just gotten your medical marijuana card (jump up and down with excitement now) and are at a loss on how to use it, we’ve created this Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana just for you.
Enhance your cannabis experience and achieve the desired results with this helpful guide.
Smoking Cannabis Flower
Old school marijuana enthusiasts will still contend that this is their favorite way to take in the flavor and the feel of the flower, or dried marijuana. It’s all about the timing and the inhale.
There’s an unspoken etiquette when smoking a joint, blunt or doobie — take a hit (inhale) and let it soak in. Blow it out. Repeat. Then pass it on. To get started, make sure to have rolling papers on hand. Take one, lay it out on a table or hold it in your fingers. Then sprinkle the flower evenly on the paper, making sure both ends have just enough to allow for easier rolling. Lick the sticky edge of the paper with your tongue. Gently roll the paper with your fingertips from the unsticky side first so the sticky side is the last end that folds over the rest. It might seem awkward at first, but with a little practice, you’ll be a pro.
Before smoking any type of marijuana cigarette, it’s important that you roast your joint to avoid canoeing (uneven burning that travels vertically up the joint). To achieve this, hold a lighter to the tip, rotating the joint to ensure it’s lit evenly around the whole circumference. Now, it’s time to smoke. For the first hit, puff inward briefly and a few times in succession to further ensure an even light. Then, take a longer, steadier hit until you feel the smoke reach beyond your throat, then steadily exhale to release the smoke. Remember – unlike a tobacco cigarette, you won’t need to finish the joint in its entirety; take a break or stop once you’ve achieved the desired effects.
Choosing a pipe for your smoke is a great way to show off your personal style. Glass pipes (recommended) aren’t just the mechanism to your next best cannabis experience but often a piece of art. There are many designs to choose from so be picky. Whatever their eventual shape, however, the vast majority of marijuana pipes can be identified by a few key features:
- – The namesake of the classic marijuana reference “smoke a bowl,” the bowl portion of a pipe is simply a rounded receptacle designed to hold the flower itself.
- – Sometimes identified as a stem – as in traditional tobacco pipe-like styles – the channel is the elongated, narrow, and airtight section of the pipe that directs the smoke from the burned flower towards an exit.
- – As you’d expect, the mouth is the channel’s exit point designed to direct the smoke into your mouth. Most marijuana pipes feature a relatively simple mouth that simply serves as the end to the channel.
- – Although not all pipes have this feature, a carb hole is simply a short, narrow channel designed to maximize the airflow and enhance the smoke’s delivery through the channel and mouthpiece.
To set up your pipe properly, make sure to grind the flower well so that it can be loaded into the bowl easily. You’ll want to put enough into the bowl for sharing but not too much or too tight to prevent proper airflow. If there is a carb hole (small hole on side of pipe near the bowl) place your thumb over it using that same hand to hold the pipe. As you light the bowl with your other hand (lighter), inhale, then hold the smoke until you can feel it in your mouth and throat. Take your thumb off the carb (if the pipe has one) and inhale the rest of the smoke, if you can handle more. Hold the smoke. Then, gently release it (exhale).
Whether you’ve chosen a desktop vaporizer that can hold up to 1 gram of flower (depending on the product type and size) or a portable model, the basics are the same. When you vaporize cannabis, you inhale once the heating element is ready. There is no need to light the flower as the mechanism does it for you. Simply add flower to the bowl, pack it as needed, and wait for the weed to warm. When ready, slowly inhale from the whip (for desktop models) or mouthpiece (portable). Once you exhale, there should be little to no visible smoke.
Much like a pipe, choosing a bong can be an important aesthetic statement. Crafted from silicone, glass, and even wood, multiple types and styles of bongs exist, allowing you to choose a bong that expresses your own personality and style. However, a glass bong will provide the best quality experience compared to acrylic or plastic bongs. Varied in size and design, bongs can accommodate a single use or group session. Another way bongs resemble pipes is the primary mechanics behind how the flower is burned for inhalation into the lungs, with the single addition of a water reservoir – you’ll see a bowl for packing your flower, a channel to direct the resulting smoke, and a mouthpiece with which to inhale it. Regardless of the shape of the bong, you’ll place flower into the bowl, light, inhale, and exhale much in the same way you might with a traditional bowl. The difference with a bong is in the use of water and the process after you inhale.
To get started, first consider whether you’ll be smoking alone or with a group – it’s all about the size of the bowl and the flower pack. If you’re just starting out, you won’t need much to get the desired effect. In addition, if you overpack your bowl, you won’t be able to achieve the air flow necessary to keep the burn going or inhale the smoke; pack the flower very lightly at the bottom and a bit denser as you move up the bowl. Then, add water to the chamber. Place your mouth over the mouthpiece (top of the bong) and light the bowl. Inhale immediately and you’ll hear the water bubble. Once you’ve taken in the amount of smoke (no more than you can handle) you’ll need to clear it. This is done by removing the slide (bowl piece) from the bong and completing your inhale at the same time. Exhale. Repeat if desired.[/su_spoiler]
If the thought of smoking anything brings you no appeal or you want a more full-body sensation for marijuana use, then cannabis edibles may be the perfect accompaniment to your lifestyle.
Making marijuana an integral part of your day-to-day regimen is easy through delivery systems that add to what you already do, cook and eat. Cannabis honey or hot sauce are great as a go to, enhancing coffee, tea or fruit (with honey) or topping off a breakfast burrito or baked potato (hot sauce). Cannabis oil allows you to infuse your food with medicinal properties during mealtime at the moment that’s right for you. As with other edible forms of marijuana, it’s important to consume with caution. Drizzle a small amount on your food and use sparingly until you become accustomed to how the product will affect you. Then, you can increase your dosage as you become more experienced.
For the palate-sensitive, gummy bears, chocolate bars or lollipops might be the right anecdote to introduce you to the benefits of cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain, nausea or muscle soreness. As you’d experience within a traditional candy store, there are marijuana gummies of all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Everything from gummy worms to gummy bears, sours, fruit snacks, and licorice-style whips can be infused with THC. Available in hard candy form as lozenges, lollipops, mints, and more, marijuana candies can provide you with a bit slower way to access the THC as the medicine slowly enters your system. If you’re sensitive to the flavor profile of marijuana, chocolates can be one of the best ways to ingest. Cocoa masks the signature flavor, and the addition of flavors such as peppermint, caramel, and fruits can help make marijuana more palatable. Just like other medications, be careful not to take too much. Because the body needs to process the edible through the liver before it hits the bloodstream, wait times may vary as far as when you will begin to feel its effects. It could take 45 minutes to a few hours. Start use with a small dose, 10 mg. or less. It’s better to take not enough than too much.
As an added convenience for a daytime snack or late nightcap, so to speak, marijuana cookies and brownies are available pre-packaged and ready to eat or can also be made at home through the use of cannabutter or oil. Consider trying already-made versions to test your tolerance and decide whether the taste meets your standards. But don’t leave them lying around the house, unmarked, for the unsuspecting to consume.
Even more so than with the other types of edibles, baked goods made with cannabutter – particularly homemade varieties – can differ greatly in their THC content. Even if you’ve eaten a marijuana brownie before, it’s important to consume bit by bit to avoid overconsumption. Eat a small portion of a brownie or cookie and wait 30 to 45 minutes to determine just how much of the desired effects you’ll receive; then, only eat a second piece if you feel it’s necessary to relieve your symptoms.
Liquid refreshment and weed are complementary, especially if you need to soothe your throat or quench your thirst. Known as a sublingual form of cannabis edibles, teas, juices and non-alcoholic brews are gaining popularity, and they help ease inflammation as well as balance mood. The effects can take only 30 to 90 minutes to kick in as they bypass the liver processing and go directly into the bloodstream but can last for hours, so plan accordingly.
A little dab will do ya. To get started, you may want to ask your budtender for some assistance. There are specific tools needed to get your dab on.
They include the nail and banger, which are the heating surfaces in the process. Bangers are more common, but both are usually made from glass or quartz. Your torch (butane or propane) will heat up the banger or nail, which should take 15 to 45 seconds. (Told ya this was intense.) Then wait another 15 to 45 seconds for it to cool down.
To pull it all together, you’ll need a dab rig, similar to a small water pipe, and a dabber, which touches the concentrate to the heated area of the nail or banger. Wait for the concentrate to fall off the dabber. A carb cap will create an even vaporization of the concentrate, covering the opening of the dish. Take your hit. The concentrate comes in many choices, such as wax, resin or shatter, with varied flavors. Be sure to clean out residual concentrate (with a Q-tip) so the next hit is just as clean.
Perhaps the most iconic way to indulge with a hip vibe is with a concentrate vape cartridge.
Discreet and chic, many cannabis enthusiasts have a vape cartridge, in addition to other systems, as it’s the easiest way to get a one hit wonder on-the-go. The structure is simple: a mouthpiece, battery and atomizer. Many people opt for the ones with the pre-loaded concentrate cartridge for convenience. Others like to have more control and pick a vape cartridge with a chamber, allowing for a change in concentrate and flavor at the user’s discretion. With either one, once the concentrate is loaded, turn the vape cartridge on, press the battery button (if it has one), and take your hit.
Concentrated Bowl Toppers
If you want to escalate your smoking experience, then add a little concentrate to your bowl.
Just load your bong or pipe with flower as normal and add a little concentrate on top, or layer concentrate between the flower. Keep in mind that adding concentrate to your bowl increases the amount of THC you’ll ingest with each hit. For this reason, it’s important to start with a small volume of concentrate and limit the number of hits you take until you get a clear picture of how this unique combination will affect you.
Common concentrated bowl toppers include: Hash, Kief, Wax, Sugar, Bubble, Nectar, Shatter, Melt, Rosin, Resin, and Live Resin.
For the novice cannabaseur, topicals provide the most user-friendly aspect of medicinal marijuana as the psychoactive aspects of the drug are removed. Many people with physical ailments due to injury, stress, exercise, and the aging process find relief in bath bombs, lotions, creams, balms or salves, oils and other forms of topicals. As such, they are readily available for use without the effects that prohibit the use of machinery, making this type of cannabis great for the workplace.
These kinds of topicals provide precise relief. Apply directly on the skin where needed for effective relief on the spot. Direct topicals like salves, creams, gels, and other formulations are great for pain relief without any of the psychoactive properties held by other forms of marijuana. In addition, this active ingredient doesn’t cause kidney and liver issues as do many other pain relieving medications.
When pain or discomfort is more widespread within the body, transdermal topicals are beneficial. Similar to flower and edibles, they deliver effectively but without the smoke or added sugar. The medicine is taken in through direct contact of the skin and infiltrates at a much deeper level than other topicals. Transdermals are usually available in the form of a patch, which the user applies to a venous area of the skin. However, the resulting pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties are transported via the bloodstream to the entire body, allowing the cannabinoids to provide relief throughout instead of a single portion of the body.
The Cannabis User’s Guide
This cannabis user guide is meant to be a beginner’s introduction to the many ways that marijuana can bring more enjoyment to your life.
For a more detailed explanation of how to use cannabis that’s best for you, consult a Kind Meds budtender today.