Diving head first into the world of cannabis can be overwhelming, especially for beginners. With so many strains and products to choose from, it can also be confusing. For some, a bad first experience with cannabis may even be enough to dismiss it for a lifetime; such a negative high can be caused by unpleasant side effects associated with THC, such as paranoia or anxiety.
What first-time users may not realize, however, is that opportunities to minimize and even eliminate those unpleasant experiences are widely available. For beginners and those with a low tolerance, use these basic tips and recommendations to find that perfect strain.
Low THC & High CBD Strains
Cannabis strains are more potent than ever before. While strains containing high amounts of THC (over 20%) were once considered rare, numerous strains now feature high levels of THC due to agricultural advancements.
But don’t go assuming all cannabis strains are this powerful; many still offer modest levels of THC that are perfect for first-time consumers, and even more feature the non-intoxicating cannabinoid CBD (which will help you relax, rather than get you high). Below you’ll find some of our favorite strains that embrace high levels of CBD and low levels of THC, making them perfect for first-time users.
Serious CBD 1:1 Chronic
Featuring greater levels of CBD than THC (CBD-dominant), Serious CBD 1:1 Chronic is the perfect strain for those looking to experience a calm, mellow high. It’s effects are gently euphoric and the CBD acts like a pair of training wheels—you can go for a ride without worrying about falling over.
Critical Mass is a famous indica-dominant strain that typically features high levels of THC, but the growers at Diem Farms took hold of this beast and made it a bit more mellow. Now it’s a CBD-dominant strain that washes away stress, anxiety and tension.
OG Pie Breath
OG Pie Breath may not feature elevated levels of CBD, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be good for beginners. As a hybrid strain offering equal parts indica and sativa, OG Pie Breath has lower levels of THC (around 12%) than many of its hybrid counterparts. This makes it a prime example of a strain that produces a tranquil high without sending you overboard, even though it doesn’t contain as much CBD.
Take Things Slow with THC-dominant Strains
From a plate of French fries to a drink at the bar, everything is best enjoyed when it’s consumed in moderation. As enticing as it may be to select a strain that’s got a potent smell or instead a hilarious name, keep things simple by slowly easing into those THC-dominant strains.
As we mentioned above, many strains now feature levels of THC in excess of 20%, but several strains still exist that contain lower levels of THC (less than 15%); these subtle strains are far more likely to offer an enjoyable experience that isn’t too overwhelming or unbearable. So too does it pay to know the difference between indica and sativa strains, as they’ll produce different effects. To find the right strains for you, simply drop into your nearest dispensary where an experienced budtender can help you identify a strain that delivers a more gentle, euphoric experience.
While we’re talking about taking it slow, also remember that everyone is different; even beginners will have differing levels of tolerance, so don’t feel pressured to keep up or hang with the group if you’re not comfortable. What works for one beginner may not work for the next, and your experience is based solely upon you.
Cannabis Delivery Methods for Beginners
The final tip you should keep in mind as you begin this wonderful cannabis journey is how you want to get high—we refer to this as the delivery method. While picking the right strain is extremely important, in truth it’s only half the process. The three delivery methods that exist—smoking, vaping, or ingesting—each offer their own nuances that should be considered.
Most beginners choose to get high by smoking cannabis, which has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The greatest advantage smoking offers is the ability to control dosage—you can take a small amount and the effects are immediate, but they’ll typically begin to wear off within thirty minutes. The drawback to smoking, however, is the unpleasant burning sensation that may be felt in your throat. This will dissipate over time, but it can turn beginners off to smoking entirely.
Vaporizing cannabis may be one of the best delivery methods for newbies, as it’s easy on your throat & lungs, dosing is the same as smoking, and flavors are generally more distinct. Vaporizer pens make consuming cannabis discrete and no complex assembly is required.
If you’re looking to avoid inhaling cannabis altogether, edibles are the delivery method for you. With that said, start slow and take low doses when consuming edibles; their effects may take an hour or two to kick in, and they tend to be more intense than smoking or vaping. Most edibles available for legal purchase are packaged in doses that contain 5mg of THC, but it pays to know how to correctly dose edibles before you dig in.
The final cannabis delivery method utilizes lotions or balms known as topicals. Applied directly to the skin, cannabis is absorbed transdermally to relieve pain, inflammation, and other localized issues. While most topicals aren’t created with the intent of getting you high, emerging technologies have allowed for the production of transdermal patches that can actually produce euphoric effects. Be sure to ask about topical options when visiting your local dispensary.