One of the most common reasons that people are afraid to get high at any age is that they don’t know what to expect. Unfortunately, marijuana is still viewed by many as a drug that’s terribly wicked, and by getting high you’re just asking for an extreme psychedelic experience. If you haven’t heard…that’s not true.
And guess what, the first time you use cannabis, your body will have the strongest reaction to THC that it will ever have, which is why people who have utilized cannabis for years often need more and more to experience the same level of high. Keeping this reaction in check means choosing a product that’s relatively gentle and right for you.
Some users may be overwhelmed by the current array of items available online, in dispensaries, or may get lost when the “budtender” starts talking about the ratio of THC to CBD. Gradual legalization across the country, from CBD oil to delta 8 THC, has generated a wide range of products, now more accessible to those who don’t already have a regular dealer in their cellphone contacts. Others might just be trying to figure out how to get high without becoming catatonic or freaking out with anxiety — especially since contemporary delta 9 THC (weed) strains really do tend to be stronger than what was available in decades past.
While everyone’s body experiences cannabis differently — and some people discover it’s just not their thing — being armed with some basic information can make the process of experimenting a little smoother.
What’s the difference between THC and CBD?
Cannabis produces more than 100 different cannabinoids, compounds found in the plant that bind to receptors in the human body to produce physiological effects. But the two most well-known are THC and CBD. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, meaning it will get you high, while CBD, known for its calming properties, generally won’t.
A cannabis plant containing a practically negligible level of THC is considered hemp, whereas a plant containing higher levels of THC is referred to colloquially as marijuana. But CBD can be derived from hemp or marijuana.
On its own, CBD has been advertised as a way to quell anxiety, induce sleep, and ease depression, among a wide range of other purported benefits — although research on these topics is still emerging.
Is weed really stronger now?
The short answer is yes, and that means you don’t have to smoke as much to get high — especially if you haven’t built up your tolerance yet.
Finding the Right Ratio
Legal products often have labels showing ratios of delta 8 or delta 9 THC to CBD that can be used as one indicator of what to expect. In New Jersey, labels must offer a general indication of the balance of the two chemicals, such as “Moderate CBD, Moderate THC,” or “High THC, Low CBD.” There’s evidence that CBD can help offset some of the negative effects of high levels of THC, such as paranoia.
Products with a higher ratio of CBD to THC may diminish the cognitive effects of THC. Some people say a 4:1 ratio of CBD to THC really negates the potential to feel high from THC, but for novice consumers, or those nervous about feeling high, we would recommend an even higher ratio of CBD to THC, like a 10:1 ratio or 20:1 ratio. Karma’s Calming Caramels have a 5:1 ratio of CBD to THC and most users report taking half of a serving as a perfect starting point.
Should I eat it? Smoke it? Vape it?
Even deciding how to consume cannabis is more complicated than it once was, since the options are now vast — from drops that can be placed under the tongue to topical creams. Gone are the days of simply choosing between rolling a joint or packing a bowl.
The best way to decide how you prefer to consume cannabis — or whether you like the effects at all — might just be to experiment. But knowing about the benefits and drawbacks of some of the options going in can make the process easier and more enjoyable.
With edibles, the high comes on more gradually and lasts longer. Whereas people typically feel the effects of smoking or vaping pretty quickly, it might take 30 minutes to an hour to feel the effects of a delta 8 THC gummy or a special edible brownie.
It’s easier to control the dosage of THC in an edible, keeping in mind that labels on products that don’t come from licensed operators might not be accurate. But it can be harder to know from the outset how much to consume since the effects are delayed.
By contrast, if you take a couple of drags of a delta 8 vape or some delta 8 flower you will typically know quickly how high you are getting and whether you want more. That’s because drugs absorbed through digestion take longer to enter the bloodstream compared to taking smoke into the lungs.
Cannabis consumption method gets varied results.
In edibles, the dosing can sometimes be counterintuitive, even in products that are regulated. Nobody really reads the label, people just pick things up and say, ‘Oh, it’s a candy bar. It must be one serving.’ And before you know it, they’ve eaten nine times the recommended dose.
Legal states tend to cap the total amount of THC allowed in a package of edibles, although unregulated edibles often exceed that cap. Regardless, the recommended dose is not necessarily the right amount to consume. For instance, a bag of delta 8 or delta 9 THC gummies with 100 milligrams of THC might have 10 gummies, each with 10 milligrams of THC.
Our recommendation would often be to start off with only a fraction of one of those pieces. We generally suggest people take only 5 milligrams to start and sometimes even less.
You can always take more, you can’t really take less.
When it comes to smoking, dosing is a little trickier. A vape pen is a convenient option that gets you high quickly and doesn’t have the same smell as a joint or bowl, although some research shows it can make the effects of THC stronger.
What should I do if I get too high?
Although cannabis is relatively safe compared to other drugs, the rise of edibles combined with a lack of literacy when it comes to dosing, has led to an increase in cannabis-related emergency room visits in recent years.
Sometimes patients are a little freaked out and anxious and hospital staff will try to talk them down, and de-escalate them if they’ve consumed too much THC. Others, come in “deeply obtunded,” or extremely out of it, in non-medical terms. While there are extreme cases, it’s important for people to remember that they can usually just find a peaceful place to wait it out.
Unlike with heroin or cocaine where overdoses are truly life-threatening from the drug effect, you cannot really overdose [on cannabis] to a point of real clinical consequences.
As soon as a user understand the high is temporary and it’s just a little intense, you can always put on Netflix or something to get through it. It’s important to just stay in a good mood. Find something that’s lighthearted and just helps carry you through.
For people who are uncomfortably high it’s recommended to keep hydrating, eating something, and have good company around — anything to positively distract you from focusing on the intense moment.
Not all cannabis retailers are alike
Product offerings tend to vary from shop to shop, so you might not want to assume that what you purchased at one legal retailer will be available at another. Stores often have product menus on their websites that let you check out what’s available before visiting, or you can enter your location and search for specific strains and products on Leafly.
In some states, where there are no licensed recreational dispensaries yet, you can still buy cannabis online but it can be a bit harder to tell what you’re getting. Since legalization, some stores have started selling THC products outright, although it’s important to keep in mind they aren’t necessarily regulated or tested, even if they appear to come from other legal states.
Some retailers also advertise that they sell cannabis and may even hang a big pot leaf out front, but they actually only sell hemp-derived products such as CBD.
Delta-8 THC is extremely similar to the Delta-9 THC most people are used to, except it’s considered somewhat less potent. Because it can be manufactured from cannabinoids extracted from hemp, Delta 8 THC originated as an attempt to help patients in states that don’t have access to traditional delta 9 THC products.