A Beginner’s Guide to Weed

woman holding pretty marijuana bud

So you want to try weed for the first time, but don't really know what it is, much less where to start. Don't stress out! Everything you need to know about cannabis (and probably more) is here in Leafbuyer's beginner's guide to weed. Where, when, how, and why are all valid questions when it comes to cannabis, and we have the answers to questions you probably wouldn't even think to ask! Every stoner probably wishes their first time with weed was just a little different; maybe they had a completely preventable coughing fit or had to suffer through munchies without snacks. Either way, by reading this beginner's guide to weed you are setting yourself up for a perfect first experience. We made all the mistakes so you don't have to!

Table of Contents

A Beginner’s Guide to Weed

This guide to cannabis will help you understand the basics.

What Is Weed?

When you set out to learn about anything, not just weed, the beginning is usually the best place to start. And for weed, the beginning was a long long time ago. Most people don't know about the ancient history of cannabis or how it helped mankind establish settlements, handle illnesses, and just generally chill. So what is weed? Let's find out!

The Plant Itself

Cannabis nugs dried

Cannabis isn't just a plant – it's a very very old and useful plant. In fact, weed is recognized as one of mankind's first crops. Originating in Asia, weed eventually circulated the globe and became a staple in Europe and America as well. Weed plants are hardy, durable, and survive well under harsh conditions. Their stalks are useful for making hemp, a strong and environmentally efficient material that can make paper, ropes, and textiles.

In recent years, particularly since the '70s, people have begun specially breeding cannabis plants to have a stronger psychoactive effect. The weed back then is nowhere near as strong as what we have now, and that's thanks to crossbreeding! An interesting naming system has generated from this mixing of genetics, resulting in weed strains having names like Alaskan Thunderfuck, which is actually the offspring of Afghani, NorCal, and Alaskan Landrace. What plant, other than weed, has names as cool as those?

A Brief History Of Weed

Weed, more formally known as cannabis, is a plant with a rich history that has only recently turned controversial. This ancient herb was used both recreationally and medicinally for thousands of years previous to its criminalization. Just for a frame of reference: mankind's recorded use of cannabis dates all the way back to 4,000 BC China, and was made illegal roughly 100 years ago. That's 6,000 known years of humanity using cannabis beneficially to grow hemp, treat illnesses, and just enjoy, wiped out and forgotten because of the governmental agenda. Now weed is a schedule one drug, the category reserved for dangerous drugs with no medicinal value whatsoever. Not only is this label factually untrue (almost absurdly so), it's still in place despite being disproven! Recent strides have been made to return weed to the people, but undoing a centuries' worth of propaganda and lawmaking based on that propaganda takes time.

Modern Cannabis Culture

Since the counter-culture movement in the 1960s, weed has slowly detached itself from the negative stigmas and is working its way back into society. Legalization is sweeping the states, and open cannabis consumption is no longer the punishable offense it once was. Now, especially in legal states, the once persecuted cannabis culture (and the cannabis itself) is beginning to flourish. Decorative pot leaves, Rasta-colors, and "Legalize It!" pins aren't faced with so much scorn and instead mark you as a member of cannabis culture.

Being a part of the cannabis culture may seem daunting if you're a beginner to weed, but don't be scared of the big bad stoners. They are, by nature, a chill and accepting group that will (more likely than not) be thrilled to smoke with a first-timer. Stoners may use terms you don't understand and smoke out of things you can't begin to describe, but they'll explain the terms and let you smoke out of their nameless contraptions. Generosity is the heart of cannabis culture, after all.

How To Get Weed

So you want to get your hands on some of the wacky tobacky, the devil's lettuce? The good news is, it's easier now than it was a decade ago! The present is the perfect time for beginners to try cannabis, especially with legal dispensaries making it so anyone over 21 can give it a whirl. Still, buying weed for the first time can be scary, even if it is legal! A friendly dispensary clerk isn't quite as bad as facing a hardened drug dealer in some secluded alley, but still. Knowing what you want from your weed makes buying (from any source) a whole lot less intimidating. So make sure to study up!

cannabis trichomes

Know What Weed You Want

The first question you have to ask yourself as a beginner to cannabis is: why do I want to use weed? Your reason for wanting to start using cannabis is important for a number of reasons. First of all, you'll want different kinds of weed depending on whether your use is recreational or medicinal. People seeking cannabis as a medicine should discuss their needs with a professional, either a doctor or a bud-tender (like a bartender, but for weed), and receive specialized suggestions based on that. Recreational consumers should consider whether they want a high that feels more relaxing, uplifting, or a mix of the two. Read up on indica, sativa, and hybrid strains to get a better feel for which type of weed suits your personal preferences!

Figure Out Who Sells It

If you live in a state that has legalized cannabis, this step should be easy. Recreational dispensaries only require a signature and an ID, while medical dispensaries won't let you in without a recommendation from a doctor, an ID, and a ton of paperwork. Acquiring cannabis in states where it is illegal is harder and requires connections and just a little too much risk. Better to take a vacation to a legal state than to risk being arrested for wanting to try weed. This particular beginner's guide to weed won't cover the specifics of finding a guy who knows a guy who sells weed, but that's basically what you have to do: find a guy that knows a guy.

Beginner's Guide To Consuming Weed

As a beginner, the first time you consume cannabis might feel entirely under or overwhelming. Some people say they don't feel anything the first, second, or even seventh time they smoke. Either way, it's better to be safe than sorry, so take your first hit as slow as you possibly can.

What You'll Need

Smoking weed generally requires a lighter, ground cannabis, and a smoking apparatus of some sort. Anything from a joint to a pipe to a carved-out apple is acceptable for this step, but beginners should consider starting small with a pipe or joint. If you don't know how to use a lighter, make sure to either bring a friend who does or consider stocking up on matches.

Not everyone who likes weed likes smoking it, which is understandable considering how unpleasant smoke can be. Harsh on the lungs, smelly, and not at all subtle, smoking isn't even necessary for cannabis consumption! If you want to try cannabis, but not smoking it, edibles and weed vaporizers are both fantastic alternatives. As both of these tend to have a stronger effect than smoking flower, small (incredibly small) doses are suggested for beginners. Marijuana mints have a low-impact high and may be a more pleasant segue into cannabis than with smoke.

How To Smoke Weed – Correctly

Very few first-timers smoke weed the right way. It sounds simple in theory, but once you have a pipe in hand and are expected to smoke it, things might get confusing. What's that hole on the side? When do I breathe in? Do I hold the smoke in my mouth or suck in more? These are all valid, even common questions. But don't worry, this beginner's guide to weed has your back with (what some might even call overly simple) instructions on how to smoke weed for the first time.

Pack your weed into the smoking device and bring the other end to your lips. At this point, you'll need to cover the carburetor (a small hole located on some pipes) and inhale gently as you touch the flame to the weed. Make sure you aren't just holding the smoke in your mouth and throat since that will do nothing to get you high. The weed is absorbed through your lungs, so make sure it gets in there! Hold only as long as is comfortable for you and exhale. Wash, rinse, repeat.

What Weed Feels Like

You can always tell when someone jokes about things high people do whether or not they've actually experienced what it's like to be high themselves. Cannabis won't make you see purple elephants or trick you into mistaking your mother for a cop. In fact, the effects of weed generally feel more mild and controllable than those of alcohol.

The Recorded Effects Of Weed

Not all cannabis is the same, so not all of the effects of weed are consistent across the board. It's important to understand that weed is categorized either as an indica, a sativa, or a hybrid. Indica strains are known for being more mellow and relaxing while sativas uplift and are less likely to make you sleepy. Generally agreed upon effects of cannabis consumption are a sense of euphoria, relaxation, and sleepiness. But that nowhere near covers the enhanced creativity, philosophical pondering, and introspection that weed can induce.

small cannabis plant

The Effects A Beginner Should Expect To Feel

The first time you consume cannabis, expect to feel nothing for a little while. Your body needs time to absorb and process the drug before you sense any change. If you have to ask, "am I feeling the weed yet" then you most definitely are not. The high usually manifests itself instantaneously and should set in with a rush of euphoria and, more than likely, some giggling. You'll feel funny, but not out of control.

Common negative side effects that you may experience are dry mouth, red eyes, dizziness, paranoia, and coughing. Make sure to have water on hand to alleviate the dry mouth and coughing, and keep eye drops for your eyes. Dizziness can easily be solved by sitting or lying down. Paranoia is the hardest side effect of weed for beginners to deal with (and experienced stoners too, truth be told). If you're feeling paranoid after smoking for the first time it's important to remember that weed-induced paranoia is common and has little basis in reality.

Preparing For Your First Time With Weed

So now that you know the basics, it's time to consider the logistics of your first time with weed. You only get one first, so make sure it's special! Choose a safe place where you feel comfortable, bring someone you trust, and make sure the product is good and safe. Clear your schedule for the rest of the day and bring along some snacks for if (more like when) the munchies kick in.

If this is your first time smoking, you should consider sitting down since the initial head rush of weed can be overwhelming. Have water close by in case you start to cough, which you probably will. Remember that absolutely no one has ever died from a weed-induced death, and that weed is just about the safest drug there is. This beginner's guide to weed should make it clear that smoking for the first time isn't scary, and should be treated like a fun experience! Get an idea of what you want to do with your first high: go on a hike, listen to music, play video games, or just chat with friends while gorging on tortilla chips and pop-rocks. Weed is all about enjoying the experience, so let go of all your worries and do as the stoners do: just chill. After all, you'll always remember your first time with weed (unlike just about every other time you smoke after).