Marijuana and its active components (such as THC and CBD, among other cannabinoids) exist in many forms and strengths and can affect people in different ways.
Whether it's your first time or you're a frequent user, here are some things to consider if you choose to use cannabis.
1. Intention matters
It’s important to remember that not everyone uses substances in college. In fact, according to the National College Health Assessment, two-thirds of CU students reported not having used marijuana within the past three months.
However, if you choose to use marijuana, think through the experiences you want to have as well as those you’d rather avoid. Knowing how you want to use marijuana and what you want to experience can help you tailor your use to avoid unwanted experiences and think through other ways to get the outcome you want.
Here are a few examples to help get you started.
2. Serving sizes are important
Serving sizes can vary between different forms of marijuana products.
It’s a good idea to double check the serving size, especially for edibles. A standard serving size contains no more than 10 mg of THC. However, your own tolerance may affect how serving sizes impact you. If it’s your first time using edibles, start with a smaller amount (i.e. 2.5-5 mg). It’s also important to remember that it may take 2 hours for edibles to begin to take effect and up to 4 hours to feel the full effect.
3. Start low and go slow
If you’ve never used marijuana before, start with a smaller amount and go slow until you know how it will affect you. This is especially important when experimenting with edibles and concentrates. Look for products with lower THC levels and wait to see how it affects you before consuming more.
For reference, flower usually contains 10% to 30% THC, while concentrates commonly contain 60% to 90% or more. If you choose to use, go with products that are within your limits, and always follow the guidelines and directions provided on the original packaging.
If you are using marijuana products purchased by friends, ask if you can see the original packaging to confirm the concentration.
4. Hold off on activities that may pose higher risks
It’s recommended to wait at least 3-6 hours after vaping or smoking and 6-8 hours after consuming edibles before engaging in higher risk activities like driving, skiing or swimming. Keep in mind that these times can vary depending on your tolerance and use. In some cases you may need to wait longer than the recommended times.
5. Reduce your frequency
Like other substances, frequent use of marijuana can increase your tolerance, which means it may take more to achieve the same effect. This can often lead to dependence, which occurs when your body adapts to a particular drug or substance, leading you to desire larger or more frequent doses.
Using marijuana less frequently has also been shown to lower the risk of dependency, negative mental health symptoms and long-term health effects. Not sure if you need to reduce your frequency?
Here are a few questions to help you reflect on your current use:
6. Store marijuana products safely
Keep marijuana products in their original packaging so they are easily identifiable. Be sure to store them in a safe area that cannot be accessed by pets or young children. If a pet or child consumes any marijuana products, call a vet or health care provider right away.
7. Use with people you trust
Using marijuana with people you know, trust and feel comfortable with is more likely to result in a positive experience. If you feel pressured to use more than you’re comfortable with, come up with ways you can say “no.” For example, you could say, “No thanks, I need to drive home later” or “I’m going to start with this and see how it goes.”
8. Avoid sharing
Avoid “puff and pass” rotations and do not share joints, bongs, pipes, vaporizers or other personal items with others. Sharing can put you at a higher risk of exposure to a variety of infections and diseases like the cold, flu, meningitis or mono, which can all be transferred from person to person through saliva. Sharing with friends may also mean you’re getting higher doses of THC than you’re used to.
9. Avoid mixing
Mixing two or more substances can make it challenging to predict what is going to happen or how you will be affected. Additionally, two or more substances used together can result in adverse side effects. Play it safe by only using one substance at a time.