A Guide to a Successful First Cannabis Experience: Tips and Insights for Beginners

July 18, 2023

Welcome to this helpful guide specifically designed for individuals who are new to cannabis or those who want to support them during their first experience.

Embarking on this journey without proper guidance can sometimes discourage newcomers from further exploring cannabis.

Regardless of whether you're 21 or 72 years old, it's important to prepare yourself with these valuable tips provided by experienced cannabis users in our community.

By following this guide, you can ensure a positive and well-informed introduction to the world of cannabis. The guide is divided into the following sections:

  1. First time smoking weed effects and how hard it may be to get high
  2. How long the high can last 
  3. Where and when to consume cannabis for the first time
  4. Top tips to smoking weed for the first time
  5. When and how you know you're high
  6. Negative effects from weed and what to do if you get too high
  7. How long you should hold in your hit when you smoke marijuana
  8. Useful extra tips

First Time Effects of Smoking Cannabis and How Hard it May Be to Get High

For those who are trying cannabis for the first time, it's important to know that you may not feel the typical "high" right away.

While smoking cannabis may seem simple, it often takes a few tries to achieve the desired effect. It's crucial to understand that the process is different from smoking cigarettes, and I strongly advise against using cigarettes as a practice tool for consuming cannabis.

Now, let's explore some useful tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable introduction to cannabis. Before we dive into these tips, it's important to remember that if you're not used to inhaling smoke, the process and physical actions involved might feel a bit overwhelming.

Approaching this experience with patience and relaxation is key, while also keeping in mind that the main goal is to have a good time!

Now, let's move on to some valuable tips that will help you navigate your first cannabis experience smoothly and enjoyably.

How Long Can the High Last?

Now this depends on the consumption method, keep in mind that this guide is for those who have almost no tolerance. Please note the following approximate timeframes:

  •  Smoking/vaping bud: 4-5 hours of total free time, and includes roughly 3 hours of THC being active in your system

  •  Vape oil cartridges: the duration will be about 1-2 hours and takes effect immediately (around 1-5 minutes)

  • Oils/Tinctures: the duration will be approximately 3-8 hours, depending on the potency per dose

  • Edibles: It's worth noting that consuming edibles can result in effects lasting for potentially 10+ hours, depending on the strength per serving. I strongly advise against taking edibles unless you reside in a legal state where you can purchase them and have access to reliable information regarding dosage and potency. 

If you decided to do edibles, which I honestly recommend for first time cannabis consumers, please follow this guide: Marijuana edibles for the first time, how to be prepared

Where and When to Consume Cannabis for the First Time

  1. It's important to create a comfortable and stress-free environment when trying cannabis for the first time. Make sure you don't have any important tasks or responsibilities for the rest of the day after consuming cannabis. This way, you can avoid potential feelings of panic, give yourself enough time to experience the effects, and figure out the right dosage and potency for you. Giving yourself this freedom will help make your first-time experience more relaxed and enjoyable.

  2. If you decide to consume cannabis in the evening, I suggest starting around 7 or 8 pm. This gives you time to unwind and get ready for a restful night's sleep. For a more calming experience, you might want to try strains that are mostly indica, as they can help you relax and feel sleepy.

  3. Smoking cannabis in the morning can also be enjoyable, but it's crucial to have the whole day free if you choose to do so. For instance, if you smoke at 10 am, you can expect to be sober by early evening, especially if you take a nap during the day.

It’s very important to note that you definitely don't want to be driving after smoking; it is illegal and dangerous.

Tips to Consuming Cannabis for the First Time

It's crucial to highlight that there have been no recorded instances of fatal overdoses from cannabis. Unlike many other drugs, consuming excessive amounts of cannabis does not pose a life-threatening risk.

While consuming too much cannabis can cause temporary discomfort, it's important to remember that these effects are not life-threatening and will fade away as your body processes the substance.

With that in mind, here are some tips to keep in mind for your first experience with cannabis



Take it slow and start with small amounts. Begin with mini hits and allow at least a 5-minute break between each one.

Continue consuming until you reach a comfortable state.

Remember, when taking a proper mini hit, it shouldn't cause any pain or make you cough. This is a healthier and less anxiety-inducing way to smoke cannabis, especially for beginners.

Related article: How to Inhale Properly When Smoking/Vaping Weed - A Complete Guide

As mentioned before, it's a good idea to set aside an entire evening for this activity, as you might find yourself wanting to go to bed early. Additionally, having some caffeine can help, and I'll discuss this topic further in the "extra valuable tips" section of this guide.

Remember, your first experience should be pressure-free, so do whatever you feel like doing since getting high can be a personal experience



Since the feeling of being "high" might be completely unfamiliar to you, you may encounter sensations like headaches, a sense of losing control, paranoia, or increased anxiety. However, the intensity of these experiences varies from person to person and depends on your openness to stepping outside your comfort zone.

It's also important to consider your "headspace."

As you start exploring cannabis, you'll find that it can amplify your current mood. This aspect can be tricky for first-time users who might feel unhappy, thinking that cannabis will make them feel better, only to possibly trigger a panic attack instead.

Related articles: Marijuana Addiction and Abuse - Understanding Marijuana Abuse



It's important to find a trustworthy and supportive experienced cannabis user who can help you during your first experience. Choose someone with whom you have a close and nurturing relationship, someone you can be yourself around, and someone who respects that this is your personal journey.

Your chosen companion can help you adjust the dosage, making sure you consume an appropriate amount without going too far. Whether you feel overly intoxicated or not getting the desired effects, they will be there to support you and help you handle the situation.



When it comes to consuming cannabis, finding a comfortable and secure environment is important. It's best to choose a space where you can settle down and feel at ease. This could be your own home, a trusted friend's place, or any location where you feel safe and relaxed.

It's generally advisable to avoid consuming cannabis in outdoor settings or in the presence of unfamiliar individuals. Public settings can be unpredictable, and being around people you don't know well might increase anxiety or discomfort. By selecting a familiar and controlled environment, you can minimize potential stressors and fully enjoy your cannabis experience.

For some individuals, consuming cannabis in public places can be overwhelming. That's why many moderate cannabis users prefer to consume in their own familiar surroundings. This allows them to create a comfortable atmosphere and have a sense of control over their surroundings. Alternatively, when venturing outside, some individuals choose to microdose, which means taking smaller doses to achieve a mild effect. This approach helps them maintain clarity and function while still enjoying the benefits of cannabis.



When consuming cannabis, it is common to experience an increase in appetite, commonly known as "the munchies." This phenomenon can lead to strong cravings for food, particularly snacks. To make the most of your cannabis experience, it's a good idea to plan ahead and have some snacks on hand.

By preparing snacks in advance, you can avoid the temptation of raiding the pantry and potentially overindulging in unhealthy junk food. Instead, you can stick to your preferred snacks that align with your taste preferences and dietary choices.

Having your favorite snacks readily available not only satisfies your cravings but also enhances your overall experience. These snacks can serve as a delightful accompaniment to your cannabis adventure, making it more enjoyable and satisfying.

So, before you embark on your cannabis journey, take a moment to think about the snacks you love and ensure you have them ready. By doing so, you can fully embrace the munchies and have a pleasurable and well-prepared experience.

Related Article:  6 Helpful Ways to Avoid Unhealthy Munchies! Why Marijuana Gives You the Munchies and What to Do About It?


When consuming cannabis, it is important to keep yourself hydrated by having water readily available. Cannabis use can sometimes cause a dry mouth sensation, commonly referred to as "cottonmouth." This can make your mouth feel parched and uncomfortable, potentially distracting you from fully immersing yourself in the present moment.

By having water on hand, you can alleviate the discomfort associated with cottonmouth and maintain a refreshed and hydrated state throughout your cannabis experience. Hydration is not only essential for your overall well-being but also helps ensure a more enjoyable and comfortable experience.

Having a full container of water within easy reach allows you to sip and hydrate whenever needed, helping to alleviate dryness and keeping your mouth and throat moist. It also helps to cleanse your palate and enhance the flavors of any snacks or beverages you may be enjoying alongside your cannabis consumption.

Remember to take regular sips of water throughout your cannabis experience to stay hydrated and maintain a more pleasant and balanced state. It's a simple yet crucial step to ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable journey.



If cannabis is legal in your area, it's a good idea to look for a hybrid strain that is mostly indica.

Pure sativa strains can sometimes cause anxiety, while pure indica strains can make you feel very sleepy and want to sleep a lot. By choosing a hybrid strain with an indica-dominant profile, you can have a balanced experience that brings relaxation without making you excessively drowsy.

Budtenders, who are experts in different cannabis strains, can provide helpful guidance in choosing the right options for you. They can offer more information and educate you about the various strains available, helping you make informed decisions about what suits you best.

Related article: Tips and Tricks To Overcome Your Paranoia While You're High

This Complete Guide to Choose The Perfect Marijuana Strain for Your Lifestyle is a great resource to further elaborate on the different strain types.  



  • TELEVISION: Watching comedy movies while under the influence of cannabis can have you laughing uncontrollably. On the other hand, horror movies can provide a more intense viewing experience. It's important to choose something you genuinely enjoy, as it will add to a unique and captivating experience. The goal of your first cannabis experience is to enhance your overall enjoyment of life. Select something you truly like, and don't hesitate to switch it up if you feel like trying something different.

  • MUSIC: When you're high, listening to music can be an absolutely mind-blowing experience. It can take you on a journey of vivid imagination, where you may see vibrant colors and notice individual sounds and instruments more clearly. The sensation of immersing yourself in music while under the influence of cannabis can be truly incredible.

  • CREATIVITY: Many people who use cannabis have discovered that it can unlock deeper levels of creativity within them. If you feel inspired to write poetry, lyrics, sketch, draw, or engage in any form of artistic expression, it's a good idea to have a notebook and writing tool easily accessible. Having these resources at hand allows you to capture and save your creative ideas and expressions as they come to you during your cannabis experience.

  • PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Yoga and meditation have become popular among cannabis users because they offer benefits for both the mind and body. Engaging in these practices can help you achieve a state of mental relaxation and tranquility. They also have the potential to calm your central nervous system, which can be particularly helpful if you experience any feelings of anxiety while under the influence of cannabis. Incorporating yoga and meditation into your cannabis experience can contribute to a more balanced and calm state of being.

Related article: 4 Reasons Why I Exercise While High

Bonus: How to Inhale Properly

When it comes to inhaling cannabis, it's important to know that it's slightly different from smoking cigarettes or using a hookah. A helpful tip for first-time users is to imagine it as if you were sipping a drink through a straw while yawning. Instead of forcefully sucking through the straw, take slow and deep breaths as if you were experiencing a big yawn.

Taking relaxed and controlled breaths into your lungs is the key to a more comfortable and enjoyable experience when inhaling cannabis. This guide can provide more information and help you understand the process better: How to Inhale Properly When Smoking Weed

 If You're Not Sure, Then You're Likely Not High


One of my friends tried getting high for the first time. I asked her, "Are you feeling high?" She replied, "I don't even know what that means."

Considering that, it's important to take it slow and start with just one good puff. As mentioned earlier, wait for at least 5 minutes before taking another hit. If you're unsure whether you're high or not, you can try taking another puff.

Some immediate symptoms you might experience include:

  • Coughing
  • Feeling slightly lightheaded
  • Having a dry mouth (often called "cotton mouth")
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slower reactions
  • Temporary forgetfulness or absentmindedness

    Related article: Why Does Weed Make You Cough, How To Stop It, and could it make you higher?

    Negative Effects from Cannabis and What to do if You Get Too High

    As previously mentioned, no one has died from marijuana. An overdose is not likely to be fatal, but it can be very unpleasant.

    You absolutely can overdose if you end up consuming too much THC either intentionally or unintentionally, and you can potentially end up with an experience you were not looking for.

    Possible marijuana overdose symptoms include: 


    Inability to concentrate



    Loss of coordination

    Slowed reaction time

    Memory loss

    Dysphoria (unease)

    Decreased muscle strength

    Slurred speech



    Hand unsteadiness

    Bloodshot eyes




    Here are some tips to get over a bad high


    • You're in your comfort zone, sleep it out. Just lay down, and close your eyes.

    • Leave the room. Have some quiet time by yourself. You can go for a walk if you're comfortable, or even take a few minutes in the bathroom.

    • Consume plenty of pure, filtered water or sip on some Chamomile tea. By staying adequately hydrated, this can help your whole body and mind stay balanced in the face of stressors. Also, chamomile has calming, stress-relieving benefits, in addition to anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant properties.

    • If you get too high and start to have a bad trip, have black pepper on hand. Taking a few deep inhalations of its smell or chewing on peppercorn  (and immediately spitting them out) can ward off panic attacks. This is due to one of the terpenes (beta-caryophyllene) found in both.

    • Extra caffeine can help too; coffee may cancel out the effects of cannabis, and not just because coffee is an “upper” and cannabis is a “downer."

    • If you're already dehydrated or have an electrolyte imbalance, you could experience cardiac symptoms. So, having some sodium/potassium/magnesium will help you stay hydrated.

    • Some substances can bring the uncomfortable high down which sometimes causes anxiety and paranoia. For example, Vitamin C In high dosages, (preferably in lemon or lime juice shots) has a calming effect on the adrenal glands functioning and helps reduce stress response.

    • Consuming CBD can level out your high and make it a lot more tolerable. A study affirmed that CBD can mitigate the intoxicating effects of THC,  but that effect seems to only occur when the CBD concentration is high.

    Related article: THC and CBD, and the Entourage Effect!

    How Long You Should Hold in Your Hit When You Smoke Marijuana

    How Long Should You Hold In Your Hit When You Smoke Marijuana

    Rule of thumb: THC gets absorbed in the first three second after inhaling, so you definitely shouldn't be holding it for 10 seconds or so; it seems to be a fairly common myth!

    Related article: How Long Should You Hold In Your Hit When You Smoke Marijuana

    Extra Useful Tips


    • Avoid alcohol at the beginning; this new study from the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) has found that THC concentrations in the blood can increase significantly with alcohol consumption.

    • Pass this article to the person whom it will help walk through the process so they will be familiar with what you're trying to accomplish.

    • Start with a vaporizer, if you know any of your friends who has one. Borrow it and let them show you how to use it properly.  

    • Many first timers confuse the feeling of being high with feeling sleepiness. I would suggest doing it on a weekend afternoon, rather at night. I would also suggest having some caffeine handy. Keep one of your favorite caffeinated drinks with you so you can keep going and keep experiencing the feel of getting and being high.

      • Remember, caffeine could cause an anxiety attack with the weed, so it's best to consume caffeine AFTER smoking, not beforehand. Also, don't over-caffeinate yourself, just whatever your normal dose is. Afterwards, if you still want to sleep, go for it.

      • This tip is not just for newbies, I do it all the time. When I'm high and hanging out with friends or family and I want to keep going and enjoy the high, I pop a caffeine pill, and I'm good to go.

      • I would NOT recommend a caffeine pill or a high energy drink like Red Bull though, unless you are used to them. That, in combination with your first weed experience, might ruin your experience. You will want to consume what's enough to wake you up so you can enjoy everything from watching funny movies and TV shows to getting the infamous “munchies," nothing more, nothing less.

    • You can potentially get sexually aroused. I assisted one of my friends on her first time and we didn't have a previous intimate relationship before that. After she got high, she wanted to be intimate with me but I didn’t take advantage. PLEASE don’t ever take advantage of anyone while they’re intoxicated! 

    • If you start coughing, it's a good sign. For experienced smokers, I usually recommend to keep the smoke in and avoid letting it out at all costs. It's precious smoke that is filled with potent medicinal THC and CBD cannabinoids for overall healthy function. If you do cough, don't be embarrassed; it's inevitable for beginners! 

    • When you smoke, don't exhale from your nose. It's just a fancy trick people do and it doesn't have any physical effect on the smoke or high.

      • Try out this good trick to see if you inhaled it correctly. If you open your mouth before exhaling the smoke, there will be no smoke escaping your mouth. It’s merely because all the smoke is in your lungs at that point.

      • It would be useful if you can leave the sides of your mouth slightly so you get fresh air mixed with the smoke. It helps to not burn your throat as much and try to inhale just as you would take a normal deep breath.

    Please reach out to me here if you have any questions, suggestions or comments about this piece. I would love to hear from you. 

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