Tips for First-Time Cannabis Users

Published: 2/29/2024
By: Harry B. Nuggs

Tips for First-Time Cannabis Users

Trying cannabis for the first time can be an intimidating yet exciting experience. With cannabis now legal for recreational use in many states, including California, more first-timers are giving it a go. But before jumping in, it helps to equip oneself with knowledge to ensure an enjoyable experience. This guide offers advice for cannabis newcomers - read on for tips on consumption methods, dosing, choosing strains, and more.

Start Low and Slow

Perhaps the most crucial advice for first-timers is to start with a very low dose and increase slowly over time. Cannabis affects everyone differently depending on factors like one’s chemistry, metabolism rate, height and weight, etc. What may be an enjoyable amount for one person may be too much for someone else.

It’s advisable to take one small puff or microdose of an edible and then wait at least 30 minutes - up to 2 hours - before increasing the amount if desired. This gives time for the effects to set in so one can judge where they are at while avoiding accidental overconsumption. Proceed carefully until the ideal dosage for one’s body is determined.

Get Educated on Consumption Methods

Cannabis can be consumed in various ways, each with its unique effects and duration times. Here’s an overview of some basic cannabis consumption methods to help determine which is best for newcomers:

  • Smoking/Vaping– Inhaling cannabis provides near-instant effects that fade quicker than other methods - usually 1-3 hours. Options include smoking flower or concentrates with rolling papers or a pipe. Vape pens that heat dried flower or cartridges are gentler on the lungs.

  • Edibles- Infused foods or drinks must be processed by the liver leading to a delayed onset of 1-3 hours. Effects can last 4+ hours. Options range from gummies to chocolates, beverages, baked goods, and more.

Choose the Right Strain for you

The many strains of cannabis each provide their effects. While individual body chemistry determines someone’s experience more than anything, some strains are recommended for certain purposes including:

Sativas for Energy

Sativa strains provide uplifting, energizing effects promoting creativity and focus - great for daytime use. They also work well for mood issues like depression.

Indicas for Relaxation

Indicas generally deliver relaxing effects that quiet the mind and ease bodily tension. The sedating qualities make these strains suitable for nighttime use and issues like pain and insomnia.

Hybrids for Balance

Hybrid strains offer a balance of sativa and indica qualities. They provide middle-of-the-road effects making them versatile for day or night use.

It's helpful for newcomers to do some research and ask questions to find the best strain match for their needs and preferences. Smoakland has budtenders available to guide customers and offer sample smells of different strains they may enjoy.

Finding the Right Cannabis Product

With quality cannabis now accessible at many dispensaries in legal states like California, newcomers no longer have to rely on the unpredictable source of a random dealer. Clean methods like vaping dried flower or cannabis oil allow for consumption without combustion of the raw plant material - a gentler option for first-time users that still provides effects.

For those who prefer not to smoke or vape, dispensaries like Smoakland offer many alternatives like edibles and more. With reasonable prices and regular specials, first-timers can easily find affordable products to sample without breaking the bank.

Embrace the Experience

Cannabis can be enjoyable if you approach it carefully and armed with good information. Follow these tips for a safe and positive first experience.

Take it Slow

  • Start with just 1 or 2 inhalations and wait at least 15 minutes before having more. Cannabis takes time to take effect.

  • Choose a strain low in THC, which is what causes an intense "high" feeling.

  • Ingest edibles even more slowly than smoking or vaping. Their effects come on gradually.

Consider the Setting

  • Be somewhere comfortable and familiar, with people you trust. Unfamiliar places can breed anxiety.

  • Have activities ready like movies, music, and art supplies. Engaging your mind positively helps.

Go In With an Open Mind

  • Don't pressure yourself to feel or act a certain way. Just let the effects come naturally.

  • If you don't enjoy the feeling right away, remember—different strains and methods affect everyone differently.

Stay Safe

  • Don't drive or operate heavy machinery. Arrange another transit option.

  • Have some CBD on hand to mellow out the effects if needed.

  • Stay hydrated and have wholesome snacks ready!


For newcomers, it’s key to let go of fears or preconceived notions and simply embrace the sensations and inner reflections cannabis induces. Start low, pick the right strain, and customize the experience to meet your wants and needs. With an open mind and smart approach, cannabis can enrich one’s quality of life.

We hope this overview empowers those new to cannabis to educate themselves, access safe regulation-compliant products, and find their ideal strains, consumption methods, and dosages. Resources like budtenders can help choose quality cannabis that uplifts well-being for the right reasons.

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