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How To Use Marijuana: For Beginners
Cannabis plant and strains

The world of marijuana can be intimidating for new users. In this guide, we’ll go over the basics.

If you’ve never tried marijuana before and are interested in learning more, you’ve come to the right place.

This guide will go over the basics of using marijuana as well as tips and safety precautions to make sure you have the best experience possible.

Marijuana 101

Marijuana 101
(Photo: Shutterstock)

Flowers of the marijuana plant can be smoked, vaporized, or consumed as edibles.

In each case, the marijuana must be decarboxylated (heated up) in order to activate the THC and CBD, which are the compounds that affect your mind and body.

THC is what gives people the psychoactive “high” feeling that marijuana is known for. When consumed, the THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, changing the way you think and process information.

CBD is considered to be non-psychoactive and has a calming effect on the body. It is often used on its own as a treatment for pain, inflammation and neurological disorders.

There are also two main types of marijuana strains, each with different effects.

Indica has a calming effect on both the body and mind. People often choose indicas to lower anxiety and to help with their insomnia.

Sativa is more energizing and tends to encourage creative thinking. People often use sativa strains when they want to function during the day.

The High

The reason most people smoke marijuana recreationally is to get “high”. But what exactly does it feel like to be high?

The psychological aspects of being high include feelings of euphoria or happiness, increased social interest, losing track of time, becoming deeply fascinated in seemingly trivial things around you, as well as increased laughter or giggling.

Being high also has physical effects. These include increased heart rate, blood-shot eyes, dry mouth, and an increase in appetite (aka the munchies).

In general, consuming cannabis for the first time will leave you feeling relaxed and happy, however; in certain people, marijuana can cause paranoia, anxiety, or other unpleasant feelings.

While it doesn’t happen in everyone, there is always the potential that smoking marijuana could result in a negative experience.

Consumption Methods

Consumption Methods
A Water Bong. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Nowadays, there are plenty of different ways to consume cannabis. Some of these are better for first time users than others.

The most popular methods for smoking marijuana include rolled joints, bongs, and pipes. These are classic and easy ways to get high.

Using a vaporizer is a healthier alternative to smoking. These electronic devices produce a vapor which is more tasty and less harsh than smoke.

Edible marijuana products include pot brownies, cookies, and other marijuana-infused foods. They are not recommended when trying marijuana for the first time due to how hard they are to dose.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these methods.


(Photo: Steve Photography/Shutterstock)

Joints and Blunts

Joints are easily the most portable and compact of all the smoking methods.

Sometimes called a “left-hand cigarette” — joints are simply cannabis rolled into a thin, cigarette shape. You light one end and inhale through the other. Joints are one of the simplest methods out there and are ideal for sharing.

A blunt is another type of joint that is rolled with a special kind of wrapper made of tobacco.


Bongs (aka water pipes) are large pipes made of glass or plastic that use water to filter marijuana smoke. Water is added to the base of the pipe, and you pull the smoke through the water to filter it.

Using a bong is thought to provide a cleaner, cooler hit as the ash and tar that would normally go straight to your lungs get trapped in the water instead.


Pipes are much smaller than bongs and don’t require any water, making them ideal for travel. They are most commonly made of wood or glass and can be found in a variety of designs and colors.

Pipes include a bowl at one end, which is where the cannabis is placed. The user lights the bowl with a match or lighter while inhaling the smoke through an opening on the other end.

Drawbacks of Smoking

While smoking remains the most popular way to consume cannabis, there are a few drawbacks.

The smoke itself can be harsh on the lungs — especially for a first time user — so it’s best to take small puffs when you are first starting out. Inhaling too much smoke at once can cause excessive coughing and lead to discomfort.

Smoking marijuana regularly is also known to cause bronchitis, or inflammation of the lungs. Symptoms of bronchitis include a persistent cough and phlegm production.


(Photo: Shutterstock)

Vaporizing is a relatively new method of consuming cannabis, but it has grown in popularity over the past few years.

While the plant matter still gets heated, vapor is produced instead of smoke. The active ingredients and oils of the cannabis “boil” creating a mist that is safer and more comfortable to inhale than smoke.

There are many different types of vaporizers to choose from depending on your preference and lifestyle, including vape pens, portable vaporizers, and desktop vaporizers.

The main drawback of vaporizing is the cost, since vaporizers are expensive and typically cost $50-$200.

If you’re interested in learning more about vaporizers, check out our beginner’s guide.


(Photo: Shutterstock)

Edible marijuana products range from baked goods such as cookies and brownies to gummy candy and even iced tea.

The most important thing to take into consideration when it comes to eating your cannabis is the concentration of THC in the product. THC levels tend to fluctuate depending on the strain and the way in which the edibles were made.

Edibles are not recommended for newbies because they are tougher to dose, and it’s easy to take too much.

Edibles need to be digested, so they take a while to start working. Some unseasoned users may think they haven’t taken enough and wind up double-dosing.

To learn more about marijuana edibles, check out our beginner’s guide.

Using Marijuana Safely

Using Marijuana Safely
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When trying marijuana for the first time, it’s really important to take it slow.

When it comes to smoking or vaping for the first time, try one puff to start. You’ll feel the full effects after about 15-20 minutes, and you’ll likely start feeling something right away.

If you feel okay to take more after that point, have another puff. Keep in mind that the effects will be most intense at first and then start to fade over the course of a few hours.

Edibles take about 1-2 hours to fully kick in and last much longer than smoking. Edibles are not recommended for newbies because they’re hard to dose, but if you do choose to try them, be sure to start with a small amount.

Overall, it’s really important to not go overboard with marijuana. You can always take more, but you can’t un-smoke a joint!

Tips To Have a Good Time

Tips To Have a Good Time
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Try it with an experienced friend

When trying marijuana for the first time, it’s really helpful to have someone there who is experienced. Not only will he or she know exactly what to do, it will also ease your mind to know that you have someone there to help you if you don’t react well.

Take it slow

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Since this is your first time, you have no idea how you will react to this particular strain or amount of weed. So be sure to take small puffs spread out over an hour or two rather than all at once.

Do it in a safe environment

If you are in a bad environment, there is a chance that the marijuana will amplify any negative feelings you may have. Creating a safe and calming space is crucial to a good first experience. Many people find they are calmer at home or at a friend’s place.

Check in with your feelings

Before partaking in a puff of weed, check in with how you feel. If you aren’t in a neutral to happy mood, save it for another time. Marijuana may make you feel worse rather than better.

Don’t mix

You might be able to handle alcohol by itself, but getting drunk and high may not turn out the way you had hoped.

The main danger of mixing cannabis and alcohol is that when you’re drunk, you’re more likely to smoke too much marijuana without realizing it.

Being under the influence of two substances may feel more intense than one substance alone. It’s also not recommended to mix other mind altering drugs with marijuana as it can cause a “bad trip”.

Have something fun to do

Doing a fun activity like watching a funny movie, listening to music or having a conversation with a friend is a great way to ensure a positive first experience.

You will also most likely get the “munchies” after getting high. Having a variety of snacks available will just make the experience that much more enjoyable!

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