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First time smoking weed? Start here

Any varsity stoner will tell you that now is a great time to get into cannabis. With recreational legalization sweeping the States, an introduction to cannabis no longer necessitates a clandestine search for a reliable dealer. Instead, novice users are faced with an abundance of cultivars bred for astronomical highs, sometimes intrusively knowledgeable budtenders, and shops full of customers decidedly confident in their selections. If you're a potential toker still working up the nerve to cross the threshold of your local dispensary, it can all be a tad overwhelming.

To all the canna-curious folks out there, this step-by-step explainer will help you feel like a ganga guru before you even step foot in a dispensary or place any order online

Choosing a strain for the first time

Spoiler alert: sativa, indica, and hybrid designations only marginally describe how a strain might affect you. For those not familiar with the folklore, sativa supposedly implies a stimulating strain, while indica indicates a more sedative strain. It is between these two poles that all hybrid strains fall, and those innumerable hybrids are bred for all manner of effects from deeply therapeutic to straight-up celebratory. In reality, unless you plucked it from a wild field in Nepal or Afghanistan, most all weed is a hybrid. And indica and sativa are designations more useful and meaningful to growers than consumers.

Choosing a flower product for the first time

Long gone are the days when a plastic bag of loose herb was your only option. From single pre-rolled joints to decadently branded jars of premium flower, you have many product types and price points from which to choose. When smoking weed for the first time, don't worry so much about the quality of the flower you choose. That may sound controversial, but as long as you're purchasing cannabis from a licensed brand and retailer, you can rest assured it's a quality product that has been tested for microbes, pesticides, and other harmful compounds.

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