Marijuana can change your life, for good or for bad.
For the purpose of this post, I will not be going into the dark side of pot…yet.
The goal is to offer wisdom and actionable steps for those of you who are looking to try your hand with the herb for the first time.
Now that the pressure to make pot more accessible is becoming more and more annoying for the puppets and politicians, the overall stigma will soon be gone.
This post will cover 5 topics:
1) Research 2) Finding Product 3) Set & Setting 4) Smoking Method 5) Music
Any time you are going to be putting something into your body, there is absolutely no question that you should take the time to do as much research as you possibly can. This includes everything from Wikipedia to forums to videos.
Wikipedia is an authority source on nearly every topic. Bullshit generally will not slip through the cracks, especially when it comes to health related matters. When it comes to marijuana there has never been a documented case of death. If someone gets high and then dies in a car accident, the car accident killed them. Being impaired simply increases the chance it could happen. You or anyone else should not be driving when getting high for the first time.
I used to peruse Grasscity.com for quite some time before and after smoking weed in 2006. I just logged in for the first time in years, and fuck, I missed a coupon for %30 off in 2013.
Get out there and get talking to stoners or start reading about rookie experiences. There is an apprentice tokers section of their forum for Q&A. Take advantage of it.
For the most part, finding the right teacher is quite critical.
You’re going to want to bring an intermediate to Jedi-level stoner to help with questions and make sure everything goes smoothly, preferably someone who wants to teach. Just because your buddy rips a bong 10x per day does not mean he cares in the slightest about maximizing your maiden voyage. Some people simply do not understand how to guide. This person should care the most about good product, lower doses, and set & setting. If not, move on.
Once you do your ground level research on “what to expect,” begin reading about experiences documented by actual people. The Vaults of Erowid has been around for years and can really give you some perspective. A few years ago, I read almost every trip report on there before taking LSD, just to make sure I knew all there was to know. You can find some real helpful gems in the experiences section.
There is a certain level of honesty and integrity on Erowid. You will of course read about bad times and the occasional “I’m never doing it again” treatise.
Take the time to consume as many as you can. It can make a tremendous difference.
For any doubters about the marijuana influence on the mind, read Carl Sagan’s Mr. X report. He nails it.
If you think marijuana can do no good – please stop your internal dialogue – you are dead, fucking, wrong.
Conclusion – Read the medical facts from an authority source. Join an active community where people discuss the subject openly and offer Q&A. Read extra material such as drug experience reports. Check out NORML for local events.
This can be difficult for the newbie doper. You’ll of course need to go black market unless you live in a place where weed has been legalized. If you’re lucky enough to be in the latter group, there is no question you should buy from a trusted source.
Generally, the “medical” camps or legal storefronts are fair game. If you have to go underground, look to a good friend. The following lingo is a general guide when people refer to marijuana in smoke-able form:
Bad or medium quality – “schwag,” “dirt,” “brick,” “seeds-and-stems,” “brown,” “middies”
Good quality – “headies,” “dank,” “fire,” “sticky icky,” “chronic,” “skunk” (due to the fresh smell).
In the picture below, good bud is on the left, bad on the right.
This can and will make a huge difference in your experience. The first time I took flight into the great beyond was due to high quality headies that my buddy got. Without him I would have had absolutely no idea what I was doing and could’ve even been ripped-off.
A good friend in NYC once bought oregano from some guy on the corner. Pretty damn funny.
The benefit of getting good stuff is you’ll barely need to hit it to get a nice high going, especially first timers. Quality stuff can also bring on a good full-body feel, whereas the brown shit will give you a headache.
In terms of quantity, an 1/8th ounce is sufficient if you have 2-3 people, and also allows you to use some again later on. Go with a 1/4 if you plan on being in for the long haul, or just to avoid the search to find more.
Some people will torch a quarter in no time. We are targeting beginners here.
Conclusion – Always buy from a non-black market source if possible. If you’re wily enough, make up an excuse to get a prescription from a doctor who simply doesn’t care. If you’re going to the gangsters, go through a friend who is connected.
Set & Setting
If you take anything away from this, make sure it’s this: the set (where you are) and setting (people, vibe, stress-level) will make a tremendous difference. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I believe many people simply missed on weed or didn’t get the right first impression because they got it wrong.
Know who you are. What one person finds thrilling can induce paralyzing anxiety in another. When in larger groups, collectively choose the most relaxing set and setting possible. Plenty of time should be allotted to the smoking experience.
I personally think a weekend camping trip is the most universally relaxing activity, but it’s totally up to you. Lose yourself in nature, ditch the tech, and tell stories by the fire.
Explore. Breathe the air. Meditate. All good for the mind.
Here’s a list of scenarios I recommend against: crowded city environment; workplace; movie theater; claustrophobic rooms; serious family gathering; any situation where you are responsible for the safety of others.
Quick side note, for my own personal enjoyment.
I used to work a soul-sucking corporate desk job. I was so bored and often aware of rotting time that I began “thrilling” myself by experiencing it all stoned as hell. My next segment will cover this in more detail.
Beginners should not do this because losing your source of income over something dumb isn’t worth it for most people.
Marijuana is a very mild psychedelic, and for this reason I treat it with a certain level of respect when it comes to beginners.
I firmly believe it is critical for the greenhorn stoner to pay utmost attention to their set and setting. The best guides and shamans already know this, and are ahead of the game.
This too is make-or-break to your initial success. I assert that rookies should slowly work their way up the ladder on methods of ingestion. If you have prior experience with psychedelics, feel free to push it a bit.
A general guide to firepower is the following tier system, weakest first:
- One hitter, joint, bowl
- Small bubbler, blunt
- Large bubbler, volcano style vaporizer, bong, consumables (brownies, etc.)
Consumables can be weak or quite strong, so best to know what you’re in for. Vaporizers are easier on the lungs, but you can go from zero to tripping before you know it.
If you have a grip-it-and-rip it personality, feel free to take a properly guided larger hit.
When it comes to mixing weed and booze, first timers should be completely sober before smoking. Knowing how to isolate the two is a key learning. Getting too drunk can overpower the essential and basic “high” that should be experienced.
You must inhale. Proper smoking technique will come with practice.
With a joint, blunt, or bowl try to create a small vacuum in your mouth first, drawing in the smoke to your mouth only. From here, deep inhale the captured smoke. This technique will seem difficult to master at first, but quickly becomes second nature.
Your lungs will burn if you inhale straight on down, as the smoke has almost no time to cool after combustion. This literally means that you are sucking in smoking as if you were breathing an oxygen tank. Not the same style of inhale.
Water pipes like bubblers and bongs will relieve this for the most part, however massive hits will induce coughing especially for rooks. If your bong has an ice catcher, you did well.
After your hack like a rookie, you should smile because you did something right.
Give it some time and see if you are enjoying yourself. Observe your surroundings, discuss the universe, and understand your new state of being.
When stoned, your mind is in an alternate state. Your goal is to understand this new state.
You shouldn’t just be in it to “get fucked up.” This isn’t what it’s all about.
Your first few sessions can be wildly entertaining. Uncontrollable laughter is common.
As if you literally discovered a new superpower, your level of excitement will be quite “high.”
Again, try to realize what the differences are…
Do you feel witty? Do deep thoughts come and go rather easily?
You may notice keener senses. Does a sound immediately become a thought?
Can you hear colors? Does nature produce a certain “connection.”
Even if you simply do nothing more than laugh and laugh some more, just know that those kind of days might be rare in the future. Enjoy yourself.
When learning for the first time, stick to lower firepower like a joint or bowl. A mild bong hit can be fine if you think you want to just go for it. Avoid trying to make brownies etc. because you can easily waste product or get yourself absurdly baked.
If there was one thing that really kicked off my guitar journey, it was marijuana.
Overtime I began to notice that the songs I loved were somehow…different. Better, even.
I could more easily perceive the subtle details that lie deep in the musical “feeling.”
Hear it for real, the plant whispered.
Overtime, it became painfully obvious that I was obsessed with music but could not play an instrument.
Now I can. Weed made me do it.
I wanted to emphasize that you should isolate yourself and listen to your favorite music, no matter what it is. You should feel it more when stoned. This is a tremendous advantage that weed has over alcohol.
It’s an absolute tragedy that people have to sneak it in to a concert. It should be encouraged on some level, but that’s for another post altogether.
Getting high and listening to music can quite literally change your life. Go through the proper steps to learn how to use it, and then begin experimenting on your own.
What an incredibly tragedy that weed is “illegal” when it can bring about incredible joy and life altering perspective.
Make your own decisions. Do your research. Get help from friends. Go on a camping trip. Master the mind shift.
And hear your favorite song…really feel it…for the first time.
Read Part 2 – The Dark Side of Weed
Right on when it comes to marijuana and music. Nothing like being stoned and listening to Dark Side of the Moon.
If only there was a way to put it into words.
Great post, very comprehensive, def agree on setting being key, for SWIM its at home, by himself with nothing but books and music.
That guy SWIM really gets around.
Been awhile friend.
Cannot fault your view on the subject.
According to your image, it’s good bud
Welcome back my friend. Hey, every beginner needs a road map. I’m playing my part.
Nice comprehensive guide…and nice website, I’ll be looking around some more. I like it.
I cannot agree more with you on music while smoking. You can really hear the subtle details of a song and just see it in a different way. Classical music is killer too you can here what every instrument is doing and how it all comes together.
I imagine a world where this is actually a part of musical education.
People would have a toke and become simply revolted by pop music.
Classical is my go to background for long stretches of writing. The music provides the epic “feel.” The herb makes it known.