- Getting started in the world of cannabis is like setting off on a great adventure. A whole green field, full of sensations and experiences, just waiting to be discovered. However, if someone in your circle expresses interest in trying a little, but has never done so before, it is important that you keep in mind certain indications so that his or her maiden voyage is as pleasant as possible. Not everyone has the same tolerance to cannabis, and a bad first experience can ruin a relationship that otherwise might have been very positive.
If you smoke cannabis, you surely remember that first drag on a joint. From that point on the relationship between cannabis and its consumer becomes something special. Now, everything depends on the nature of one's first experiences with grass. So, the next time a friend tells you that he wants to try cannabis, you should be aware of a series of tips so that his first experience does not end up including unpleasant sensations, like anxiety, paranoia, or delusional thoughts. A "bad trip" can turn someone off to cannabis for life.
It is clear that not everyone will experience the same sensations or feelings of the same intensity when they use cannabis. Not only does the quantity that is consumed have an impact, but many other factors also influence an initial experience in the cannabis world.
Scientific studies have revealed that consumption's effect on an individual depends largely on his genetics. Therefore, if cannabis does not agree with a given user, it is likely that his own body is resisting it. The effects of cannabis vary depending on many aspects: the individual, the strain of cannabis, the time of consumption, whether it is Indica or Sativa, whether the user is sick or healthy, and whether or not he has eaten.
The atmosphere: the more relaxing and comfortable, the better
Let's start at the beginning. The setting around us impacts our moods. Therefore, it is very important, when someone is going to smoke cannabis for the first time, that he be in a place where he feels comfortable. With this in mind, it is better to be surrounded by a friend, or, even better, friends, and in a soothing environment.
Certain people find it easier to relax and enjoy the experience more if they listen to music, or are outdoors, on a terrace or in a park. This depends on each person's different wishes and personality. If you know your friend well, you will know if the setting is right for him or her.
The consumer's condition: good physical and mental health
As everyone is truly unique, it is very important to evaluate your friend's physical and mental state before advising him to try cannabis, or not to. If he is prone to bouts of anxiety, or if he suffers from any chronic conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, his consumption of cannabis should be closely controlled.
People who use medical cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of chemotherapy or serious diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, or epilepsy, carefully choose the type of strains most appropriate for them, or consume them in the form of oils or prepared tinctures. And they usually begin with consumption gradually, in order to observe and gauge cannabis's effects on their bodies.
The characteristics of cannabis: less THC and more CBD
There are multiple strains of cannabis, and some are richer in THC (i.e. more powerful) than others. This should also be kept in mind when it comes to letting your friend toke on your joint. If the strain that you have chosen has a high tetrahydrocannabinol index, you will need to be very careful with the dose, as this cannabinoid's potency may induce too much psychoactive activity, and scare the user.
If the strain is rich in cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, this will reduce the psychotropic effects, and he will experience a smooth and progressive relaxation, of moderate potency, thereby avoiding the often unpleasant effects of high-THC cannabis, such as tachycardia, reddening of the eyes, or dry mouth. This will also help to show him that not all cannabis causes euphoric effects, and that stress and anxiety can be eased by the presence of the CBD, allowing for a sustainable experience in which one can act normally, but without foregoing the stimulation we so appreciate when we consume cannabis.
Form of consumption: to smoke or to eat
For beginners, cannabis edibles are not a good idea. It might seem that eating some cannabis candy, or having an herbal tea with milk (THC is fat-soluble, so it can dissolve in fats, but not in water) would be a good way to get started. However, when we ingest cannabis its effects are much more intense and long-lasting than when it is inhaled. So, if it is the first time you are eating it, you never know how your body is going to react.
The intensity of its effects when ingested are due to the way the body assimilates it. When cannabis is eaten the liver transforms the THC into a compound called 11-hydroxy-THC, which is much more powerful, and has more psychedelic effects on the brain. For someone who is not used to it, it may be too intense, even in small doses.
If one opts for this form of consumption anyway, he should also take into account that the effects take longer to be felt than when smoking cannabis or using a vaporiser. Hence, one should not get anxious if he notices no changes at first. And under no circumstances should he consume more in order to accelerate the effects, which could send your friend on a really bad trip that he'd rather forget.
The most advisable amounts for beginners
As you can imagine, someone who is consuming cannabis for the first time should not smoke a whole joint, or eat a whole piece of cannabis cake. If the option chosen for the first time is to smoke it, it is best to begin with one or two drags, wait a while, and enjoy the effects. If some time goes by and your friend feels fine, he can increase the dose to continue experimenting. But he should always keep in mind that his body is still assimilating these new sensations.
If you have decided to get him started with an edible, initially he should not consume more than 5 milligrams. For example, if he is going to try a cannabis cake, just a teaspoon of cannabis for a first experience would be sufficient.
Now, the very best way to control the amount of cannabis consumed is with the use of a vaporiser. In addition to having better control over the dose, these devices allow one to inhale without burning his throat, as can occur with any kind of cigarette. It also allows for lower temperatures than those reached through combustion, making it possible to enjoy the terpenes and essential oils present in the cannabis plant, which evaporate below 200° C.
After consumption, pay attention to the user's reactions
If the conditions are right and your friend has decided to try cannabis, it is important that you be there for him during the experience. Because it is the first time that he may be experiencing some sensations, he may get scared, and suffer anxiety for no good reason. So, you should tell him to remain calm when he notices the first effects. It is also good to talk to him about how he feels until the effects begin to fade, as this will help him to feel safer.
Conversely, if you see that he begins to get very restless, tell him to breathe easy and to inhale through the nose and breathe out slowly through the mouth. In more extreme cases, taking a stroll in the fresh air or a relaxing bath can also be good ways to avert a psychedelic crisis.
Here we give you a brief manual to deal with such pressing situations. In any case, you should not worry about it too much. If you follow the tips in this post to reduce the risks involved, your friend will enjoy his first trip, which will spur him to keep on experimenting with cannabis in the future.
8 ways to deal with a bad cannabis trip
1. Keep calm
This is the most important rule in this kind of situation. Remaining calm will help you be more aware of what is happening to you, and to stave off any paranoia.
2. Drink lots of water
Staying hydrated will reduce discomfort. In these cases, water is the best choice, but you can also consume juice, or any other cold beverage. Avoid caffeine.
3. Eat something you like
Being hungry always tends to be a good sign, so if you feel like eating something, do. It will activate your body and you'll begin to eliminate the THC that produced the effect.
4. Tone down the THC with CBD
Believe it or not, CBD is perfect to counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. Cannabidiol balances the buzz and mitigates the euphoria (or, in some cases, dysphoria), induced by THC which, in concentrated form, can make people feel strange. CBD is the yin-yang of THC.
5. Sleep can be a good solution
One of the keys to getting any discomfort to go away is to be relaxed. So, it is best to find a quiet place and to rest, or even sleep. Focusing on the sound of one's breath also helps.
6. Take a walk or get some exercise
If you are not able to "disconnect" your brain, a bit of fresh air will do you good. Take a short walk through a close-by area you know well. Some experts even say that exercising helps eliminate the THC.
7. Distract yourself by listening to music or watching TV
Another option to reduce these effects can be any kind of activity that you enjoy or that entertains you. Something that puts you in a positive state, as this activates the area of the brain that channels the most pleasurable feelings, thereby preventing other harmful ones, such as anxiety or symptoms of paranoia.
8. Talk with your friends
Talking is highly recommended for someone who is suffering unintended effects. If you are accompanying someone who is going through this, it is best you ask him specific questions about the feelings he is experiencing. Avoid typical phrases like "Calm down" or "What's wrong?" to keep from making him even more nervous, and aggravating his symptoms.
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