FAQ: I'm brand new to cannabis - how do I get started?

Source: Chantel Elder

The first step in your cannabis journey starts with conscious consumption. Steve D'Angelo - a godfather of the movement, owner of Harborside and author of The Cannabis Manifesto - puts it best:

"Cannabis offers a "wide range of more unique benefits that are frequently overlooked, or mistakenly characterized, as “getting high.” Benefits can include the ability to spark creativity, extend patience and promote self-examination; to awaken a sense of wonder and playfulness, an openness to spiritual experience; the ability to enhance the flavor of a meal, the sound of music, or the sensitivity of a lover’s touch; to open the mind; to bring poetry to language and spontaneity to a performer; to catalyze laughter, facilitate friendship, and bridge human differences.

These are not the attributes of an “intoxicant,” which is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as a substance that can “excite or stupefy... to the point where physical and mental control is markedly diminished.” These are attributes of a wellness product that enhances and facilitates some of the most meaningful parts of the human experience."

So the first question to ask yourself is WHY am I turning to cannabis? What am I hoping to get out of the plant? Setting that intention guarantees mindfulness and leads you to the next step... What types of products and strains will work best to achieve my desired result?

Perhaps you want to help alleviate body aches or soreness so topicals are your best bet. Or you want to sleep better so you explore cannabinol (CBN). And maybe you try products high in THCA to help alleviate inflammation. Or perhaps you hate smoking of any kind so you pursue drinks, edibles and mints.

Leafly.com has compiled a super helpful guide of compounds, strains and products - organized by moods/activites and medical conditions - to help your search. They also let you save favorites and show the nearest dispensaries/delivery companies carrying your preferences.

Once you have an idea of the chemical make-up you're looking for, it's time to tinker. We say "tinker" because unlike booze, which may taste different but always gets you intoxicated, cannabis is way more complicated. You may find online a listicle of the top 5 products that help creativity, but everyone's chemical make-up is different so what works well for you may not have the same effect on your friend.

And if you're brand new to cannabis, the best rule is START LOW, GO SLOW.

First try 2-3 milligrams and wait up to two hours to see how you feel. If you don't feel anything, take another 2-3 milligrams and wait another hour. It make take you a few tries to get the dosage right, and if you overdo it, don't panic. The worst that's going to happen is you'll get super sleepy or paranoid...or a serious case of the munchies. So drink plenty of water (fruit juice can also help snap you back) somewhere safe and wait for it to pass. There are ZERO records of anyone dying from a cannabis overdose, per the DEA.

And if you're exploring the medical benefits, always consult your doctor first. If they don't have a ton of information, check out the free consultations at A Therapeutic Alternative - the most reputable and experienced dispensary in Sacramento.


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