The only thing that really makes me qualified to write this guide is that I am a beginner. I still feel like I learn something new about pot about every week or so. The more I learn, the faster I realize just how much I have to learn. So I asked some of my more experienced friends for help, reviewed my own rocky path to my current state of equilibrium, and decided that these are the things I wish I knew about "doing pot" during my own rocky initiation to the seemingly limitless possibilities of this little herb.

Let's start with why I am such a newb, and how I found my way back to pot.

TEENAGERS MAKE POOR CHOICES

I had two particularly bad experiences with attempting to "get high" in High School, which turned me off of pot completely. Halfway through my first and most aggressive chemo, and fully immersed in pain and nausea, I was talked into taking an edible. This resulted in me still feeling shitty, but also being ridiculously high. Misery. Hard pass.

But the misery persisted, and finally, at the urging of everyone involved, I decided to try pot again.

Here was my wishlist, which I thought would be impossible to achieve.

Fight nausea
Combat fatigue
Ease body pain
NOT give me the munchies
NOT smell like disgusting, skunky burnt garbage
NOT make me miserably high

I did not expect to find one thing that has all these things, but when I walked into Harborside (the largest dispensary in the country) I felt more like I'd stepped into Nordstrom than a Hippy Caravan. Plush carpets. Helpful, knowledgeable salespeople who began to educate me. More things to try than I imagined possible (with instructions on how to pace my dosing) pulled from shiny glass counters that looked like they should hold organic, grass-fed steaks, or expensive jewelry. A menu three pages long of consumable things made with pot.  Mind blown.



IN DA COUCH & THE OTHER ONE 

First things first - there are two kinds of pot. There's the one that soothes anxiety, helps with sleep, increases appetite, and can induce drowsiness. This is the "stoner legacy" kind of pot. It lulls your body into soothing antipathy. It's called Indica, but for the sake of my overburdened memory, I call it "in da couch." The number of options can feel overwhelming, so I like these little tricks to help me remember.

The second kind, called Sativa, is great for energy. I have a friend who jokingly refers to it as the "crack weed." It can cause paranoia in some people, but it also gives you a ton of energy. It's the kind of pot you smoke and then you can't stop cleaning the house. It's party pot. It's great if fatigue is something you struggle with (here here.)

So both kinds combat nausea and relieve pain, but they both have very different additional effects. That's where the third "kind" comes into play.  But more on that soon.

Strains will have varying levels of THC, and CBD, and other three letter things I do not fully understand. I tend to prefer a lower dose of THC, which I know is what gets you "high." If that's not your goal, try to get as little THC as possible. There are even options that have no THC.

Those other options tend to be high in another essential element of marijuana, the darling of the health world, CBD. CBD doesn't get you "high" but is an amazing anti-inflammatory.  It's the part of weed that keeps showing up in studies as fighting cancer. CBD is great. I try to get as much CBD as possible.

Everything else is too complicated for me to really understand or explain here.

My favorite strain, really the only one I ever remember, is Sour Deisel. It's that third kind, known as hybrid , meaning they have traits of both indica and sativa.  These hybrids aren't really a third kind, but they are so ubiquitous that they might as well be.

Sour Deisel was bred for, and is known for, providing the energy without the anxiety, and has mega pain and nausea fighting powers. It also doesn't induce the munchies, which I don't like because when I'm feeling terrible I need small, bland meals. Not the crazy stuff I decide to consume in large quantities when I have the munchies. I think a lot of people are more willing to smoke without this particularly troublesome side effect, mindful eating being so important to health.



EAT ME, SMOKE ME, APPLY ME

So, on to the good stuff. How to do pot. There are so many options available I decided to break it down into the three main categories, then go from there.

EAT ME

The first is edibles. Edibles are food, candy, tinctures, water, and anything else you can consume which contains marijuana that's heated in a fat which captures the marijuana in a form which can be absorbed by the stomach lining. Although the "dose" is standardized to 5 or 10 mg, the strength of the edible depends greatly on the extraction process, the cooking process, your own tolerance, and about sixteen other sciency things about molecules. I have yet to find one, even the most delicious, that is completely free of that skunky taste. My best recommendation is to find something that you can choke down, whose effects you like.

The thing about edibles is that they take a little bit longer to take effect. Combine that with the variables and it can be a tricky thing to find one you like. My recommendation is to get a few to try, then start with a really small dose (half or a quarter is my go to.) Wait at least two hours before redosing, because it can take that long for the more intense "high" to hit.

My favorites are gummis and candies because they tend to be the easiest to transport and consume, and the most consistent in dosing. (Probably because they don't get baked or fried or whatever cooking method after the bud of the plant has been heated.)

There's also a lot of CBD only edibles (like the beauty blogger favorite It's Not Pot) which is made from CBD and contains no THC, meaning it can be shipped anywhere. You can get 20% off your first order using my discount code - leowithcancer.

They also do a great job of explaining THC vs. CBD.

What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than a hundred cannabinoids in cannabis, and it’s been well-documented to possess anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anti-anxiety effects. Because CBD is non-psychoactive, it won’t make you high.

What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are the main chemical compounds made by the cannabis plant, and there are at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. Out of all the known cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the ONLY one that’s psychoactive.

Do I need a medical marijuana card or doctor’s prescription?
No. Our CBD-rich chocolate comes from industrial hemp (not marijuana) and is legally available to anyone in the United States.

Since Not Pot™ chocolate contains CBD, will it make me high?
No. This is probably the biggest misconception. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) is completely non-psychoactive.


SMOKE ME

Probably the best known of the intake methods, smoking is getting more and more complicated these days. First and foremost is the danger associated with smoking anything. No it's not a cigarette, but you are still breathing in lots of CO2 and burnt plant matter. Not ideal. Smoking is also the easiest way to get a small dose. The effects hit quickly (something that's nice when you feel awful) but you need to continue dosing pretty regularly to maintain the effects.

The bud can be smoked in a pipe or bong, or crumbled and rolled into a joint or blunt. Don't ask me how I am so bad with my damaged fingers. You can buy "pre-roll" joints as well. I don't know how to use a bong. I really only smoke joints when I get them for free, which is something nice places do for medicinal users or loyalty programs.

My preferred method, the easiest, least smelly and "cleanest" of the three is to use a pen. Like a vape pen (they use the same battery) it involves a cartridge filled with an oil form of marijuana. These days you can find them boosted with aromatherapy oils like mint, citrus or lavender. My favorite flavored thing is the Spearmint from Pure Vibe, which is pretty widely distributed. The mint is slightly sweet, and light, and adds a nice boost to the effect.

Some companies have additives which are not so great (including the widely used Pax) so beware, and ask your supplier as they usually know in great details which ones are clean. My preferred dispensary won't carry anything with these additives/preservatives so that makes my life easy, but you can always just ask. The batteries are usually between $8 - 65 dollars, are very portable, and pretty easy to find at bodegas and the like.

The cartridges vary in price depending on how the "distillate" is made, how much marijuana they include (it comes in different sizes) and whether or not the cartridge is refillable. They range in price from $35 to $65-$100 and usually last me at least a month with regular use.

The last way to smoke, which is the most complicated (I still can't do it by myself) but also the cleanest, most pure, most cost-effective, and most hard-hitting is known as "dabs", "shatter" or concentrates. It's very complicated, requires a blow torch and an elaborate bong looking thing, and a special attachment. Going to have to leave this one for a more advanced post. lol.


APPLY ME 

Topicals can have THC, or no THC. They can be lotions, oils, creams, bath salts. The main complaint most people have is that there is that herbal somewhat skunky smell. My favorite, both because of the subtleness of smell, and the effectiveness is Lord Jones 5 in 1 Pain and Wellness Lotion. It's also been recommended in Into the Gloss, Vogue, Bazaar, Allure, and a host of other experts in the "beauty" world. The package is really cute also.

Topicals are best for specific pain spots, or overall aches. They tend to be soothing, making them ideal for bedtime application. Even the ones that contain THC don't have hallucengenic properties.


That's all I can think of to write about! I feel like it's a lot because there just is so much potential and development in this area right now. Did I miss a pressing question?  DM me  on instagram!!


Please note, the laws on medicinal marijuana vary from state to state, CBD only products are made from hemp - which is legal in every state. Please familiarize yourself wth the laws for wherever you live, and consult with a doctor before starting any kind of supplements.