The prohibition on marijuana has finally come to an end in Illinois, so let’s celebrate!
It’s almost hard to believe that we don’t have to find “a guy” anymore. We can actually go to a store for it as if buying bananas. What a relief.
I’ll never forget the first time I tried marijuana. It was with my best friend Maggie in her mustard yellow Volvo station wagon. I was so excited. Drinking Hootch (remember that stuff?) at high school parties wasn’t really doing it for me. I was a lush as well so that didn’t help my cause.
Something about marijuana appealed to me. I was drawn to it more so than drinking that was for sure. We smoked a bit out of a bowl and she reluctantly came with me to see Freddy Got Fingered starring Tom Greene – dumbest movie ever. I didn’t think I was having any reaction at all until I took a bite of my Heath bar. It was the best freaking Heath bar I had ever tried in my entire life. I leaned over to Maggie and whispered, “this is the best Heath bar I have ever had in my entire life.” We laughed so hard we cried.
I was wrong, it worked. And I liked it.
I’ve been a participant, enthusiast, advocate, and connoisseur ever since that moment.
The downside is that not every experience with cannabis has been that magical.
Marijuana can leave you feeling paranoid and anxious. Nobody wants that. The good news is much of the time it can be avoided.
After having spent some time within the industry and after many years of partaking, I’ve learned a thing or two about cannabis that I’d love to share with you – especially the novices out there.
As we walk into the new year and through the doors of recreational marijuana, let’s keep cannabis classy. Here you go!
Go low and slow.
There’s no need to rush into anything. Whether you’re eating it, smoking it, drinking it, etc. – this rule applies to all of the above.
You can always add more, you can’t take any away.
You don’t want to hit that first joint five times (unless you’re a professional, of course) on your first go-around because you’re just so damn excited to smoke some legal weed. I get it, I want to too. To this day I’m a one-hit-wonder. A little goes a long way for some of us.
Ask all of the questions.
The first time going into a dispensary may induce a little anxiety for some because it still feels illegal. Like big brother is going to capture you on the way out, but phew, that’s not the case. Feel free to ask all of the questions you are craving answers for. That’s what budtenders are for.
If you’re curious about which strains work for certain situations, ask away. Tell them if you’ve had a bad experience and inquire on how to not have that happen again. Let them know if you’ve used anything that made you paranoid or too hungry. You know the drill.
To vape or not to vape.
Just make sure you are buying your vape cartridges/disposable pens at a dispensary and not off the street. Hell to the no. The black market vape industry is filled with Vitamin E acetate which is the cause of many lung illnesses sweeping the nation. At least that’s what they think it is.
In my most humble opinion, when and if you can – stick with flower. It’s most natural.
After you eat an edible, wait. And then wait a little more.
The biggest mistake you can make is to consume too much cannabis too fast. The outcome can be quite unsettling. This suggestion aligns with our very first one, start slow and low.
A little can go a long way.
It can take up to 45 minutes to well over an hour after cannabis consumption for you to feel anything so don’t rush to take more. In the event, one hour rolls around and still you feel nothing, then take a bit more if you’re feeling ready. But be mindful to add a little at a time.
Suck on your edible.
In lieu of chomping on them with excitement, suck on them slowly and savor the flavor, although, that’s not really the reason why. If you take the time to let the edible sit in your mouth for as long as possible, it has a better chance of hitting your system faster.
The THC and/or CBD will mix with your saliva causing it to enter your bloodstream through the inside of your cheeks, gums, and under your tongue (sublingually).
How much of an edible should I take the first time around?
This all depends on your tolerance, so we’ll go with that:
Beginner: 2 – 5ish mg
Expert: Well, you do you.
What are the ways of administration:
Inhalant – flower, vape cartridges, vape pens
Sublingual – tincture
Ingestion – capsules, edibles, tablets, drinks
Transdermal – patches
Topical – lotions, creams, balms, salve
Dabbing – concentrates, ie. cannabis sugar, budder, hash, shatter, crumble
What is the difference between Sativa and Indica?
Sativa and indica are indicators of dominance within strains. Speaking in generalities, Sativa tends to be more euphoric, uplifting, and cerebral. Whereas Indica is more body high and relaxing.
With this being said, the results are not the same for everyone. Some folks use Sativa for bedtime and others like Indica when in social settings. To each their own.
It’s all about researching and trying. It’s the truest way you’ll find what’s best for you so don’t get bogged down by dominances alone.
Feeling too much? Try some peppercorn.
I have never tried this, but they (as in marijuana experts) say that if you feel “too high” sucking on, smelling, or chewing peppercorn can help bring you back down.
Remember to stay hydrated and to remind yourself that you just consumed cannabis if you begin to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Sometimes a little pep talk is all you need.
Study up on some strains.
Leafly.com is a great resource for cannabis strain information. Personally, I love user reviews. They’re informative and many are quite entertaining to read as well. Peruse the Cannabis 101 section for all sorts of information and tutorials.
Once you find a few strains you like, it’ll make your trips to the dispensary a bit easier to navigate. It’s not foolproof, but it definitely provides a little direction.
Thoughts on using cannabis and alcohol simultaneously?
Most cannabis enthusiasts are familiar with the infamous amateur move – drinking too much, then smoking too much. Spin city! A most awful feeling, but good news, it’s avoidable.
If you’re new to cannabis, I highly suggest giving it a go by itself. Over time you’ll sort out how to combine the two if that’s a preference.
What is the difference between CBD and THC?
How much can you buy?
An individual can buy up to 30 grams, or about one ounce, of marijuana plant material. Edibles totaling no more than 500mg of THC – most are sold in packages no higher than 100mg of THC. Five grams of cannabis concentrate products.
Non-residents will be able to purchase half those amounts.
Who can buy cannabis in Illinois?
Adults 21 and older. Have your ID on hand just like going to a bar.
Where can one use cannabis?
It will still be illegal to smoke in public. Legally speaking, it is only ok to smoke within private residences.
Can I use cannabis while on other medications:
The short answer is yes. But, I’m not a doctor and nor are most of the budtenders. If you’re on something that you’re not sure how it’ll mix with your medication, get some insight from your physician.
My favorite cannabis strains and products*:
Bruce Banner #3, flower by Ataraxia (Verano) – it makes me feel creative and very productive with little to no anxious side effects. It’s hard to find so when you see, get it.
Mango Sativa gummies by Wana (Grassroots) – I love micro-dosing (2.5mg) with these delightful little gummies. I feel euphoric and energized with just a small amount.
Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans, edibles by Terra Bites (Kiva) – these are really fun for a night out, although I used to have a patient who swore they worked best for bedtime.
X-Wing Indica Vape Cartridge, by Rythm (GTI) – speaking of bedtime…this is a lights out type of strain for me. The one side effect I do get would be vivid, weird dreams so sometimes I steer clear from this one to avoid that seeing as though I dream pretty vividly as it is.
*In general, I prefer cannabis that either chills me out without “couch-lock” as well as strains/products that give me a creative and mildly energetic buzz. I’m not into super sedative or racy types of flower or edibles. Hybrid strains that lean in either Indica or Sativa seem to be my go-to.
For more of my cannabis must-haves, go here.
I hope you found this information helpful. I am very passionate about this plant after having experienced the fun recreational side of it as well as helping patients who greatly benefitted from its flower power on a medicinal level.
I would love to answer any other questions or guide however I can help. Leave them in the comments below!