BY ANDREW NGUYEN
Illustration courtesy of iStock/k5hu
You’ve seen CBD added to everything from infused lattes to skincare. People are becoming more comfortable with the cannabinoid thanks to its possible benefits when it comes to relieving pain, anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, and so much more. So while you might be incorporating CBD-only products into your wellness routine, that’s really only part of the cannabis plant’s entire story.
Before we dive in, you still might be unsure of how CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, works in the first place. We’ve talked about cannabinoids that include THC and CBD in detail, but here’s a quick cheat sheet: They’re natural chemical compounds in cannabis that react with receptors in our body that are a part of the endocannabinoid system, or the ECS for short. These interactions keep our bodies balanced regarding pain, mood, and appetite.
THC has similar benefits to CBD with one important difference: It’s psychoactive so you’ll experience a high. The cannabinoid interacts with slightly different receptors in your brain, hence why you feel differently when you consume THC versus CBD. That said, when the two are consumed together, you get the entourage effect, which is when different cannabinoids interact with each other to produce effects that are even more powerful than if they were to act alone. Think of CBD as a bell curve that depends on THC: too little or too much THC means you won’t reap the benefits of the two however when the two are in the right ratio, it can be more powerful than either compound alone.
Don’t let the fact that it’s psychoactive intimidate you! If you’re used to CBD and want to get into THC recreationally or to help relieve chronic pain, insomnia, or anxiety, get the facts on how to slowly incorporate it into your wellness routine. Below are some tips from on how to try THC safely from MedMen’s Josh Shlenker:
Create a comfortable space:
If you've never done it before, carve out a time to try it. Surround yourself with a soothing environment whether it comes in the form of a fun movie or television show or calming music. If you live with someone, let them know what you’re up to and if you’re alone, consider FaceTiming a friend to share the experience together.
Begin with alternatives to smoking:
You don’t have to jump straight to smoking flower. Edibles are a great way to slowly introduce THC to your routine, provided you wait for it to kick in. Consider microdosing which means consuming concentrations that are less than 10mg of THC. If you really want to play it safe look for products that are between 2 to 5 mg of THC.
Start small if you do want to try flower:
Much like edibles, don’t go straight for something that’s high in THC concentration out of the gate. Aim for products that are 1:1 THC to CBD — the combination will keep you relaxed versus on edge. If you want to be specific anywhere between 15-17% THC is the sweet spot.
Know what to expect:
Because you’re consuming something psychoactive, you will feel high. That means you might get giggly, experience dry mouth, crave certain foods, feel very sleepy and relaxed, or all of the above. That’s normal! But mental preparation is important: You don’t want to be caught off guard and have a bad experience.
What if you feel too high?
Much like if you ate a too strong edible, the first thing to do is drink some water. A CBD-only tincture or capsule can also help as does chewing on black peppercorns, as they contain a terpene that helps negate that too-high feeling. Another surprising trick? Brushing your teeth. It gets the taste out of your mouth and the mindless task helps your brain focus on something besides your uncomfortable high. And if you feel sleepy, go for it: a nap can also help.
Ready to try THC? Here are 5 great starter items:
Kikoko Sympa-Tea Tin: Each turmeric ginger tea bag contains about 2.5 mg of THC and 20 mg of CBD so it’s a low dose way to ease yourself into THC.
Breez Cinnamon Mints 1:1 CBD: If you want to try something with a bit more THC, these are 5mg per mint and offer a calm, relaxed experience.
Care by Design CBD Rich Drops: A tincture is another way to introduce small doses of THC to your wellness routine. You can add a few drops under your tongue but if you don’t like the taste you can also hide it in a smoothie.
[statemade] ebb pre-roll: Ready to try smoking flower? This pre-roll contains 14.7% THC and also terpenes like spicy caryophyllene which has anti-anxiety and pain suppressing properties and humulene, which has anti-inflammatory effects.
Sundae School CBD Kickback Bullets: These CBD-rich pre-rolls are another good beginner option thanks to their small size and 7.3% THC content. They will make you calm and relaxed.