It’s crazy to think I was first introduced to cannabis more than 20 years ago.
Since then, cannabis has added significant value to my life more times than I can count, and there have been plenty of periods when it was a distraction rather than a helper.
The biggest thing I’ve learned? Respect the plant.
Below you can find seven different pieces of cannabis advice, which I consider as “golden guidelines” if you want maximum benefits from this special plant.
1. Always Exercise Intent
Why are you using cannabis in the first place? Whatever the reason, it is always important to be crystal clear on your intent.
That intent could be almost anything.
For example, a lot of people use cannabis to relax and be closer with family. Others use it to enhance their workout sessions. Some use cannabis to help them focus and think creatively about a specific challenge.
Using cannabis without intent means you’re simply turning to a psychedelic substance with little reason why other than it makes you feel good.
That is 100 percent your choice, although if you want to tap into the greater benefits and possibilities with cannabis, you must start with intent.
2. Curate Set and Setting
Set and setting are essential factors in any psychedelic experience. ‘Set’ refers to your mindset going into the experience and ‘setting’ refers to your immediate environment.
For instance, if you get high at a party or before a board meeting, you’ll have a completely different cannabis experience than if you got high in nature or while lying on the carpet listening to tribal drumbeats in your living room.
This is important for cannabis just as it’s important for magic mushrooms, and other psychedelic substances.
Whatever set and setting you choose, naturally you want it to go hand-in-hand with your intent.
Once you recognize set and setting for what it is, you can curate all sorts of fun possibilities with cannabis.
3. Cannabis Shame is a Fallacy
The concept of cannabis shame is more common than most people realize.
Cannabis shame happens whenever somebody experiences benefits from cannabis yet feels guilty for turning to it.
It’s certainly an issue for a lot of cannabis newcomers, and even seasoned enthusiasts are not impervious.
This shame comes from nearly a century of society demonizing cannabis with little regard for its scientific properties or benefits.
People who used cannabis were considered losers and stoners – and the smartest people who used it had to keep their cannabis journey a secret.
These rigid mindsets won’t dissipate overnight, and once you tune into them, it’s no wonder people experience cannabis shame.
However, when people are afraid to even discuss cannabis, it only perpetuates the problem.
4. When in Doubt Throw it Out
Mold, pesticides, bacteria, dirt, hair, fecal matter -- consuming contaminated cannabis can have serious consequences on your health.
When purchasing through the legal market, bad cannabis is hopefully less of an issue, although still a possibility.
The truth is that regardless of where you live, without credible lab test results, you have no idea what’s in your cannabis.
It also helps to know your farmer, know where the cannabis came from and how it was cultivated.
When scrutinizing a mystery cannabis sample, you always want to be on alert if something doesn’t seem right.
If you see things on your cannabis that do not resemble plant material, if it smells like a damp basement, or generally bothers you with pestilential side effects (sore throat, lingering cough, etc), you will be better off throwing the sample away.
Depending on where you live, you can also take suspect cannabis samples to a nearby testing lab if possible, and most reputable labs will be happy to analyze the sample for what should be a small fee.
Testing, when available, can get a little pricey. Hopefully a solution for at-home testing will soon make its way into the market for people who need to be extra cautious with what they put into their body.
In any case, just remember your health is more important than any cannabis stash. Consuming bad products can make you sick or even kill you if you are immunocompromised.
5. Too Much Equals Fewer Benefits, More Side Effects
Have you ever heard about the biphasic effect of cannabis? It basically means that once you exceed your therapeutic dosage window, the drug starts to have an opposite effect.
For instance, if you’re using cannabis to quell nausea, too much will likely make you feel even more nauseous.
Another example: a little bit of cannabis could help you connect with your partner and be more present in the conversation. Conversely, a lot of cannabis could make you feel more introspective and less outspoken.
This same sense of balance can also be applied to one’s overall approach to cannabis. Getting high all day every day may be great for some, however it can also lead to fewer advantages and more side effects.
These unwanted side effects during the day might include issues like fatigue, lethargy, moodiness, reduced motivation – the doldrums in other words.
It really depends on the person, and it’s important monitor: is everything on the up and up? Do you need a cannabis break for a few days?
The truth is that a sizeable portion of cannabis lovers consume way more than needed. Then tolerance rises along with dosage levels.
Let’s take smoking cannabis as a general example. After inhalation, it takes cannabis maybe 15 minutes to reach peak effect.
If you were to go about this the scientific way, you would take one puff, wait 15 minutes, and then assess your physiology before deciding whether or not to take a second puff.
This is what a lot of physicians recommend to cannabis patients (minus the smoking part).
The cannabis enthusiast on the other hand could potentially finish off that whole joint within 15 minutes!
Optimizing your dosage level and frequency is important if you want maximum benefits from cannabis. And of course, determining your dosage goes along with exercising intent. Certain contexts will require higher doses of cannabis than others.
6. Record Your Ideas
A good cannabis session can lead to all sorts of thoughts and ideas.
These ideas could be related to your specific intent for the cannabis session, or they could come from out of nowhere, seemingly unrelated to your current focus.
The trick is to record those important ideas and scrutinize them the next day when you are no longer in an altered state.
Carl Sagan, famous author and scientist, was also a closet cannabis consumer. He wrote about his experiences in a 1969 essay under the pseudonym Mr. X, where he touched on the business of recording ideas while high and the validity of cannabis-inspired ideas in general:
“There is a myth about such highs: the user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that this is an error, and that the devastating insights achieved when high are real insights; the main problem is putting these insights in a form acceptable to the quite different self that we are when we’re down the next day.
"Some of the hardest work I’ve ever done has been to put such insights down on tape or in writing…Incidentally, I find that reasonably good insights can be remembered the next day, but only if some effort has been made to set them down another way. If I write the insight down or tell it to someone, then I can remember it with no assistance the following morning; but if I merely say to myself that I must make an effort to remember, I never do.”
Whatever ideas that come your way while high, if you want to retain them, writing them down or recording them will help you remember them and scrutinize them the next day.
7. Is It Better to Get High Before Food or After Food?
This piece of cannabis advice really depends on the person and the situation.
Firstly, inhaled cannabis and edible cannabis behave in two very different ways, so let’s address inhalation first.
Some people prefer to consume cannabis before their meal. It stimulates their appetite (depending on the cultivar) and increases their enjoyment of the food.
The issue a lot of people experience here is that a heavy meal can drain much of the cognitive buzz brought on by the cannabis high. As the body works to digest, the high moves from the head to the body and could make you quite sleep.
These could be the desired results depending on your intent!
What about cannabis after food? The big advantage there is that cannabis can help with digestion.
And you will have full access to whatever cognitive benefits you’d like to target with cannabis.
And of course, if you want the best of both worlds, the correct answer could be to consume cannabis before and after food, which brings us full circle to tip #5 outlined above.
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