Easy, Tiger. Stuff to know before you jump into cannabis.
Rule of thumb: Start low, go slow.
Cannabis provisioning centers in Muskegon (aka marijuana dispensaries) are opening throughout the county and across Michigan.
As products become easier to access and the stigma of cannabis use diminishes, people who might have never tried marijuana might give it a try, maybe for the first time.
Like trying beer, wine or liquor for the first time, knowing your limits and what you’re getting into is the first step in avoiding a negative experience.
Public Health Muskegon County doesn’t endorse substance use—we know that cannabis consumption is happening and we just want you to be safe.
Here are some things you need to know.
Cannabis comes in a wide variety of products. Flower and edibles are the most commonly purchased items, especially by first-time cannabis consumers.
Flower is the cannabis bud that people smoke.
Flower is purchased by weight—in grams and ounces. If you’ve never made a purchase before and are just checking it out, start with a gram. On the provisioning center’s website, you can also see the THC level in each strain (or kind) of cannabis. The THC level ranges from about 10 percent to 25 percent. The more THC, the stronger the psychoactive effect. First-time consumers who don’t want to get “too high” should look at lower THC levels and always consume less on new or untried products. Just because there’s less THC, doesn’t mean it’s not a good product—many people seek a milder effect rather than an intense one.
Edibles are tinctures, tablets, capsules, candy and baked goods made from cannabis that people swallow or eat.
Edibles are usually marked in two ways to help consumers. The THC content of the entire product and then recommended dosages or servings. Look for labels on the package.
If a chocolate bar has 100mg of THC, it will be already scored in 10mg pieces. Cookies won’t be scored but will be labeled regarding serving size. It’s important to pay attention and calculate the total THC mg on each piece of your edible.
No matter how tempting or tasty do not eat more than recommended.
People experience cannabis differently. The effect of each product varies, too. We’ve answered a few questions to help you stay safe and avoid a negative cannabis experience.
It’s also important to keep your edibles away from children and others in the household who might not be aware that it contains THC. Cookies, gummies and brownies are tempting to kids (and adults).
If a child consumes a cannabis edible, call the poison control hotline immediately. 1-800-222-1222. If you have an adverse effect, call your healthcare provider.
What’s the difference between smoking and eating cannabis?
Smoked or vaped cannabis gives people a more fast-acting, shorter-lived high. It’s more of an in-the-head experience and is impacted by the amount of THC in the flower and how much is smoked. You will feel the buzz of smoked cannabis within a few minutes of consumption. If it’s your first time or the first time in a long time smoking marijuana, go easy. And don’t share a joint or pipe.
The high will last a couple of hours, depending on how much you consume and your metabolism, it peaks at about 30 minutes.
Edibles are a different kind of cannabis experience. Edibles give people a more slow-acting and longer-lasting experience. For most people, the THC can be felt throughout the body and the head. People may feel an overall tingling sensation and sometimes it might feel like your heart is racing or that your blood pressure is low or high. This most often happens when you consume too much, that’s why dosing is important.
Because edibles are slow-acting, people tend to think they’re not working and eat more, or start with a dose that’s too strong. It can take up to two hours to feel the effect of an edible. That’s why the rule of thumb is is “Start Low and Go Slow”
That is, eat only a small amount and don’t consume anymore for at least two hours.
What if I don’t feel anything?
Depending on your weight, how long it has been since you’ve eaten and other physiological factors, over which you don’t have much control, it can take up to two hours for an edible to take effect. It’s a good idea to distract yourself from thinking about the effect—take a walk, go for a run, watch TV, read a book, do some yard work or garden and after two hours if you don’t feel anything, try a bit more. But don’t double up. If you ate 5mg to start, try to make a serving that’s 7mg. These pieces can be tiny, but they’re potent.
How much should I eat?
Everyone’s metabolism is different and that means everyone reacts differently to edibles with THC or even CBD. You won’t know your tolerance until your first few times—so like with anything else new—start with a small dose.
If you’ve never tried an edible before look for something that is in the 1-5 mg of THC range. It’s important to discover how your body reacts to the products and that you can digest cannabis comfortably. At 1-5 mg you’ll probably need to split a gummy, brownie or chocolate into half. Most, but not all single-dose edible items are 10mg.
If you’re a cannabis smoker or you’ve had a few low-dose edibles, your tolerance will be a bit higher—but still, look for the single-serving no more than 10mg. Eating more than 10mg is not recommended at this point.
For people with medical conditions or a high edible tolerance, you can go up to 10-15 mg.
Can I have a drink?
Water or pop only! Don’t mix edibles with alcohol or other substances. You won’t be able to gauge the true effectiveness of your edible.
What happens if I eat too much?
You won’t die or overdose. Cannabis doesn’t have that effect on people. If you’ve eaten too much, you might feel anxious, confused or having racing thoughts. You might feel paranoid about your situation. This is normal. The best thing to do is to drink water, stay in a quiet place and distract yourself with easy to watch (maybe not a slasher or horror) TV show or movie. You’ll feel better in a few hours.