Maybe you’re a traveler who’s come from thousands of miles away to experience Colorado cannabis, or maybe you’re a Grand Junction native who’s a little curious about what cannabis has to offer. Whatever the case, smoking weed for the very first time can be eye-opening and enriching for your life!

However, if you’re new to cannabis consumption and culture, there are plenty of things to keep in mind so you can have a safe and enjoyable first time. This isn’t a typical “Your Spiritual Journey” blog or a lecture on marijuana safety and laws—it’s a blog dedicated to all the little things first-time smokers might not think of when they’re planning a cannabis experience. Whether you’re a traveler or a local, these tips will pull out all the stops for the act of smoking and everything that follows it. Take notes, and make sure you’re prepared before you light it up!

Getting Started

Before you begin your cannabis experience, you’ll need to buy some weed. At this point, finding a dispensary in Colorado is like finding a restaurant—google recreational dispensaries in your area and check out reviews, or use a directory like Leafly that’s specifically designed to rate and collect information on dispensaries. You’ll be able to figure out which dispensary has the highest quality flower (the one with District 8 products, of course) that fits your location and price range. There’s nothing worse than smoking low-quality flower (known colloquially as “shwag” by experienced smokers) during your first experience, so spending a little extra to get the best bud possible is definitely worth it.

Once you get to the dispensary, your budtender will happily help you find the right cannabis products for your smoke sesh, and ensure that you aren’t purchasing too much or too little. We’d recommend getting a little flower to smoke in a pipe or one-hitter, as well as a pre-rolled blunt or joint that takes the preparation and frustration out of the process.

Things You’ll Need

If you think weed is the only thing you’ll need to smoke weed, you’re mistaken. The biggest rookie mistake in the weed world is not having the things you need before you smoke. Once you’re feeling the effects of cannabis, it’s going to be difficult (if not illegal) for you to acquire the things you need for smoke sesh success. Let’s take a look at the must-haves for a cannabis adventure:

A Game Plan

Whether it’s a group hang or a solo adventure, having a game plan is crucial, especially when it’s your first time smoking cannabis products. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do—there’s a strain of cannabis for every activity—but having a plan keeps you on track during your smoke sesh and beyond so you set out to accomplish what you desire while under the influence of cannabis instead of sitting on the couch (unless your plan is to sit on the couch, which we totally respect).

For those having a good time on cannabis, having an objective just adds to the fun—and for those who are new to cannabis and aren’t used to the feelings that come with it, an objective keeps them focused, engaged, and open to new experiences. Put the plan in place, and let it play out naturally—you can’t truly predict what will happen during your journey!



A Sober Friend

No surprise here—unless you’re planning to smoke in the comfort of your home and its fully stocked refrigerator, you’re going to need a sober friend who can help you navigate the world safely and effectively. Contrary to popular stoner belief, you cannot drive under the influence of marijuana—it’s illegal, inadvisable, and irresponsible—so have a friend who will gladly drive you and your smoking pals to the trailhead, to the movie theatre, or in most cases, through the Taco Bell drive-thru. A sober friend is also helpful in other situations, like when you want feedback on the epiphany you just had, or when you need someone to grab you a glass of water or a bag of chips because, well, the sofa has taken you as its prisoner. Whatever the case, bringing a sober friend along for the ride will be helpful to you, and probably entertaining for them.

Water (Or A Satiating Beverage)

Water is an important thing to bring on any adventure—so why wouldn’t you bring it on your cannabis adventure? Smoking can take a toll on your throat and respiratory system and leave you with cottonmouth (dry mouth)—a sip or two of water will make sure you feel comfortable throughout your adventure.

If not water, bring a refreshing and satiating beverage like lemonade, iced tea, or Gatorade which will remedy cottonmouth and make you say, “have I ever actually had this beverage before?” You haven’t—not under the effects of cannabis, anyway.



Things to Avoid

While there are plenty of things you should bring with you during your time enjoying cannabis products, there are also plenty of things you can certainly do without. Let’s take a look at things you should avoid during your first time using cannabis (and probably every other time you use it, too).


If you’re interested in trying cannabis for the first time, we’re sure you’ve heard all about edibles. In some instances, edibles can be a great way to enjoy cannabis products—they’re delicious, smoke-free, and deliver a sort of body high that just can’t be achieved by smoking flower. However, experiences vary greatly from person to person when ingesting edibles. While some people don’t feel a thing, others will feel intense (if not too intense) effects, even after taking less than the recommended dosage. Some people will feel the effects for two hours while others will feel them for over eight hours (which could feel like an eternity during your first encounters with cannabis).

Most importantly, some people will feel no effects for a while, then they’ll regrettably take another dose of edibles. This is the biggest mistake a rookie can make. It often takes 2-3 hours for the effects of edibles to set in—and when people take a second dose, they’ll often feel the effects of both doses when it’s all said and done, which is a recipe for getting way too high and not enjoying your experience at all.

As a first-time cannabis user, it’s best to stick with good old flower, which has a much more predictable biological and psychological impact. If your first hit or two seem to work, you’ll feel an instant high and the full effects within 20 or 30 minutes (more on this later). If it doesn’t seem to have any impact, you can always smoke a little more. There’s no going back when you’ve eaten too much of an edible—by smoking flower, you’ll have more control over your body’s feelings and your experience in general.


At District 8, we’re purists when it comes to cannabis experiences. If you desire to try cannabis for the first time, why would you alter that experience by consuming alcohol? You won’t receive the full benefits of bud if you’re mixing it with other substances that have psychoactive effects, and you’re putting your psychological and physical health at risk in the process.

First of all, smoking weed makes it much easier to drink excessively, increasing the risk for alcohol poisoning—but the problems don’t stop there. Many strains of cannabis are known to have an antiemetic effect, meaning that they suppress the body’s desire to vomit. With a body poisoned by alcohol and no desire to purge that poison, mixing the two substances can potentially have fatal consequences. Mixing marijuana and alcohol can also cause feelings of extreme paranoia, anxiety, panic, and terror due to their effects on the central nervous system. This can lead people to make some regrettable decisions and face heavy psychological and biological consequences. Did we mention how combining these substances makes you “twisted” which can give you the spins and make you feel generally awful?

Don’t make the same mistakes that others have made—keep your cannabis and alcohol consumption separate. You’ll avoid drastic health consequences, and you’ll maximize your enjoyment of cannabis products, too!


There’s limited research on the effects of combining marijuana and caffeine. But here’s what we do know: marijuana speeds up your heart rate, and so does caffeine. This could lead to increased feelings of paranoia and a “raciness” that could make you feel more edgy than relaxed. Many cannabis users claim that combining marijuana and caffeine leads to a positive experience following by a severe “crash”—not exactly what you want during your first cannabis experience, is it?

The jury is still out on combining cannabis and caffeine—and while that morning cup of coffee probably won’t affect your experience too much, wouldn’t you like to experience the full effects of cannabis during your first go ‘round?

What to Expect (When You’re High)

Now that you know what to do and not do during your first cannabis adventure, you’re ready to light it up. But what should you expect while you’re high? While there’s no way to truly predict what your experience will be like, there are plenty of feelings that seem to be common for first-time smokers. Let’s take a look:

You won’t feel anything at all.

This probably happens to half of all people who smoke weed for the first time. Don’t get discouraged—maybe smoke a little more a few hours later and see what happens.

You’ll get way too high.

This is also very common, especially for first-time smokers who are being “educated” by veteran smokers. As a first-time smoker, you might feel like you’re going to rip the bong like a boss or take fat hits off the joint to show your friends how cool and tough you are—and you might just regret it. Oversmoking because you want to impress your friends is like high schoolers shotgunning beers because they want to be popular and look badass—there’s never a good ending to either of these stories. Take it easy when smoking for the first time—and if you get too high anyway, take it as a learning experience.

You’re going to eat your entire refrigerator.

If you’re already under the influence of cannabis and have googled this blog to learn more about the feelings you’re feeling, don’t worry—you’re not going to eat your actual refrigerator because that’s not humanly possible. But you’re probably going to eat every single scrap of food in your kitchen because, well, smoking weed for the first time will make you hungrier than you’ve ever felt in your entire life. There’s a bunch of scientific and empirical evidence to prove this, but we’ll save you the effort and tell you that’s just the way it works.

We’d recommend that you eat a little something before you smoke, but it really won’t matter once your body’s hunger signals are thrown out of whack. Make sure you have a food plan for when you do get hungry and avoid eating things in excess that could cause you gastrointestinal distress, like an entire pizza or an entire box of oreos—or an entire anything, really. Enjoy your experience and eat something delicious, but don’t go crazy with it.

You’re going to have a good time.

Maybe you’re confused by the strange sensations of cannabis, maybe you’re thinking thoughts you’ve never thought before, or maybe you’re just too high. Even in these moments, remember that you’re going to have a good time. That “too high” feeling will eventually mellow out to something more enjoyable, and that scary hike through the woods at night with your buddies will eventually end and leave you exactly where you want to be: on your couch, in front of your TV, with a plate of enchiladas. Even if it’s not at this exact moment, you’re going to have a good time smoking weed. Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy its effects—life is good.