Today is the day that recreational cannabis is legalized in Canada, making our country the first industrialized country in the world to do so and only the second nation overall after Uruguay.

I’m a relative newcomer to the scene, but over the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to work with cannabis experts and experimenters who were kind enough to teach me a few things. Their knowledge has gifted me with better highs and more positive experiences. So, as we head into this new phase post-prohibition, it seems only fair to share that advice with the other Canadians jumping on the recreational cannabis bandwagon. Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, I’m a recreational cannabis enthusiast. For any questions about the medical effects of cannabis, please ask your doctor.

Tips for recreational cannabis noobs

If you are unfamiliar with mind-altering drugs, the most important variables that can positively (or negatively) affect your experience are set and setting.

When possible, your mindset should be positive, optimistic, and open. If you go into a high in a negative mindset, cannabis is just as likely to create a negative down spiral as it is to escape it – especially for novice users. Go in (when possible) with an open mind and don’t try to control the high. Just relax and enjoy the ride.

Of course, that’s often easier said than done. To help, make sure you are putting yourself in the right setting. Pick a place that is peaceful, friendly, and positively engaging, but not one that is overwhelming. Chill is key. If you are consuming with a group of people, make sure there is a safe space where people can take a personal time out in if they are feeling overwhelmed, paranoid, or just generally socially awkward.

Schedule a big block of time for your experience, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the effects that cannabis has on your body; every body’s different. If you consume in the evening, plan on being high for the rest of the night. Do not plan on driving home at bed time. Perhaps you’d like to try out a weekend wake and bake; count on being burnt out that evening.

While you’re at it, make use of the high. Plan something that’s going to be engaging and take advantage of the altered state. Listen to music, visit nature, brainstorm or ideate, exercise, create art, or get intimate. Not only will these activities benefit from the high, the high will benefit from these activities as you’ll be focused on a task that keeps you relaxed and makes the experience more enjoyable.

Chances are you’ve heard the adage ‘start low and go slow’. It’s true, especially for recreational use. Start with the smallest dose. Don’t be ashamed to start at 1 mg THC and then work your way up. Cannabis oils offer the most controllable dosage, so we recommend you try them out. Start with a 1:1 ratio; that’s an equal amount of THC and CBD per dose. THC and CBD work well together and enhance each other. Taking CBD before and with THC has been anecdotally reported to reduce the anxiety and other negative effects some consumers feel.

Go slow, especially when it comes to oils and ingested cannabis. Holding oils under your tongue will provide the fastest effects, and by fast we mean one hour later at the earliest. If mixed with food or taken in capsules, the onset could be much, much later. Wait at least four solid hours to dose again. Go slow also applies to dosage; don’t get overly confident and jump into a much higher dose on your second go. Increase slowly. You know that time you thought since you had three margaritas last weekend you could do six tequila shots, no problem? This is like that. Help future you out and make note of the dose size you consumed and the timing of onset. This will help you perfect your preferred dose.

Where to buy from

Buy your recreational cannabis from legal suppliers. There’s no reason not to when AGLC will deliver to your doorstep. Alberta has 17 legal cannabis stores opening today, and six of them are in Edmonton proper. Talk to an expert in person or through the AGLC helpline to pick the product that’s best for you. In addition, do your own research. Licensed Producers selling in legal stores can’t tell you much on their packaging, but most producers will readily provide information on their website.

Know the laws

You can find all of the regulatory framework laid out here. Familiarize yourself with the rules to avoid unpleasant confrontations or fines.

When the time comes, contact Token Naturals and tell me about your experiences. At Token we are perfecting our formulas, and the more we learn about what you like (and don’t like), the more prepared we will be to offer awesome cannabis products.

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