First Time Smoking Weed? Here's What You Need to Know -

First Time Smoking Weed? Here’s What You Need to Know

This post is part of our Best Dispensary in San Diego series, sponsored by THC-SD.

So it’s your first time smoking weed and you’re unsure where to start. From understanding strains to how to properly inhale to feel the effects, there’s a lot you need to know about cannabis if you want to experience it the right way. And, let’s be honest, you don’t want to look like a square or soil the fun. To spare you any embarrassment or trauma, we’ve conjured up a detailed guide that walks you through all the ins and outs of cannabis and how to smoke it.

Brought to you by THC SD

What is Cannabis?

Newbies and avid pot users alike understand cannabis to be a plant that one consumes to feel a type of way. And they aren’t wrong! But if you ever wondered why people smoke weed, these insights might clue you in.

Cannabis is the dried leaves, flowers, stems and seeds from a cannabis plant–either Indica or Sativa–which have diverse properties that can affect everything from your nervous system to your mood to bodily sensations. 

Cannabis contains active compounds called cannabinoids–over 100 to be exact–which interact with receptors in our body’s endocannabinoid system to create a variety of effects. To feel the effects, you can consume cannabis by way of smoking, vaping, ingesting or applying topically on the body. 

Cannabis comes from Central Asia, in regions that includes modern-day Mongolia and South Siberia. It was thought to spread from this area to all over the world. As a plant that has been consumed and used by humans for thousands of years for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes, it is important to see why it has been deemed by some as the devil’s lettuce, though there are improper ways to use weed which can be harmful to the body and others.

Aside from having a fascinating history, cannabis continues to evolve as more research is conducted on potential benefits and risks. 

First Time Smoking Weed

How to Prepare for First Time Smoking Weed

If it’s your first time smoking weed, there are a few things you’ll want to prepare before experiencing your first high. For one, your environment and the overall ambiance matter. The goal here is to feel safe and stress-free, so you can really immerse yourself fully into the act of getting stoned. 

Before getting geared to light one up, ask yourself–are you planning to consume weed alone? With a friend? Do you want to enjoy this experience solo dolo or feel like it would be more pleasurable to have a friend to share the memories with? What type of setting feels most safe and authentic to you? Indoor, outdoor, your backyard? A friend’s couch?

Once you’ve decided the perfect paradise to pop your weed cherry, ensure that you have a safe space that you can plan to chill out at for an extended period of time. If you plan to travel at all while on your journey–say, to a local food joint, ice cream shop, or movie theater–make sure you have a sober friend or way of getting around without operating a vehicle. Due to physical impairment and poorer vision, coordination, and reaction times, it is not advised to operate a vehicle for at least 10–12 hours after smoking weed. Which brings us to understanding the laws in your area.

Understand Local Laws & Regulations

Depending on where you live or are traveling in the world, cannabis laws might vary. Generally, smoking weed in public is prohibited and punishable by a fine or potential jail time. Operating a vehicle comes with separate fines and major penalties–including getting your license revoked–not to mention being an endangerment to yourself and others. 

It’s best to do your own research of local laws and regulations to know the legal status of cannabis in your area. Familiarizing yourself with the potential consequences of cannabis use is vital–no one wants to have a bad trip on their first time getting high because they were too naive to read the laws!

Select the Right Product

Selecting the right product for your individual needs is half the fun of smoking weed. There are boat loads of cannabis products available that can help you achieve different types of highs. If you’re looking for a relaxing high, or a high that can serve as a social lubricant to help you become more mingle-y, there is a strain out there with the right THC : CBD ratios for you! There are also products used to aid sleep, alleviate joint and body pain, and ease the mind of anxiety or depression.

Becoming familiar with the differences between Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid strains is key to purchasing the right type of bud.

Choose a Safe & Comfortable Place

Identifying a location where you feel comfortable and safe is of utmost importance to the experience of being high. To engage yourself fully in the present moment, it is best to ensure that you have privacy and minimal distractions. Consider factors like lighting, temperature, seating, and even the comfortable factor of the outfit you are wearing. If it’s daytime, opt for a place with good natural light or the warmth of the sunshine. If it’s nighttime, throw on some cool lighting and chill music to set the tone. Having snacks nearby definitely helps with the munchies, too. 

Clear Your Schedule

One thing is for certain, you aren’t going to want to tackle a heavy load or have any major responsibilities to adhere to on the same day you decide to smoke weed for the first time. Plan your smoking session for a time when you have zero other commitments or time constraints, so you can remove any anxiety or tension. Remember, you want to relax into the moment–be mindful of potential responsibilities or obligations that may interfere with your plans.

Prepare the Necessary Equipment

There are so many unique ways to enjoy cannabis that it could be difficult to choose which vehicle you want to try out first. If you are a first timer and smoking alone, it’s easiest to start with a pre-roll and a lighter. This takes the weight off of being responsible for trying to learn to roll a joint or blunt on the first day you get accustomed to weed. You likely won’t be able to smoke a whole joint to the face on your own–at least not the first time–so make sure you know how to properly put out a joint and safely store it for next use. That way nothing goes to waste.

The essentials you’ll likely need for most weed smoking experiences are a weed grinder, lighter, and fresh flower. You can choose your own path from there. If you opt to roll your own joint or blunt, you’ll need to invest in additional tools, including joint papers or blunt wraps, a grinder to finely grind up the weed, and perhaps a joint roller if you want to eliminate most of the hard work. Other options include a bong, which you’ll need to buy a bowl catcher for. Of course, you could also try out a weed pen, though potency is a bit different.

Don’t forget to clean your equipment after repeated use! There are solutions specifically designed to remove any remnants, toxins, and mold from your smoking devices. Use a cleaning solution to keep your equipment such as  pipes, bongs, bubblers, and steamrollers sanitary.

First Time Smoking Weed

What to Expect When Smoking Weed for the First Time

If you want to know how to start smoking weed, you should be clear on what to expect after consumption.

There are three types of cannabis strains–Sativa, Indica, and a Hybrid of both. Your body and mind are impacted differently from each. Appetite stimulation or suppression are two polar opposite effects that might occur–depending on which strain you smoke. Slower reaction times, bloodshot red eyes, dry mouth, mood shifts, and muscle relaxation are some common sensations associated with cannabis consumption. 

You might feel lighter, and any pain within your body might begin to dissolve. You might notice yourself having giggle fits, or getting excited about ideas that pop into your head. Your muscles might start to feel less sore, especially if you are recovering from an injury or killer workout from the gym. Your brain might start to feel more elated, energized, or creative. 

All this to say, be ready to feel a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s possible to go into a wormhole of thoughts. Just remember that you are in control and that you can easily shift your mindset if needed. 

Be Prepared to Cough

In movies where characters are engaged in smoking pot, more often than not you’ve seen them coughing. Be warned–this is no exaggeration. Coughing after smoking happens because of the chemicals you inhale when you smoke, which can cause inflammation and changes in your airways. Your airways contain small hairs called cilia that can be marginally damaged during inhalation. Coughing is our body’s natural way to overcome changes to our mucus. To combat the cough, have hydrating liquids on hand. 

Don’t Focus on the High

Don’t lay too much focus on the high. Ruminating thoughts about whether you are feeling the effects–or if at times they feel too intense–can lead to anxiety and paranoia, which we want to avoid. Enjoying your high is as easy as smoking in a safe and comfortable environment with plenty of activities to engage in. Perhaps bring a journal, a book, a fidget spinner, or have a TV or game nearby, alongside food and beverage to cure your munchies and quench your thirst. 

The more you think about being high, the more it disrupts the experience. Let things happen naturally and ease into each sensation. Don’t panic! Breathing and meditation are simple and readily available ways to move through moments of apprehension gracefully.

Be Ready for Quick Results

Note to newbies: if it’s your first time trying weed, you’ll probably feel high rather quickly.  When ingesting edibles, you’ll feel effects start to come on within 30–60 minutes. When smoking weed, the effects come on a lot quicker–you’ll likely feel the maximum intensity of the effects within the first 30 minutes of smoking. Physical and mental effects will start to dwindle within an hour to two, and most won’t last longer than 5–6 hours. 

To avoid feeling too in your head or uncomfortable, start small and go from there. 

Understand the Effects

Smoking weed for the first time and what to expect shouldn’t be something to be feared! To avoid any hiccups, do your diligence and get clear on what type of weed you are smoking, who the source is, and how much THC and CBD content is in the bud. Indica offers more of a relaxing, sedative high, while Sativa provides a rather energized feeling where you’ll encounter bursts of creativity. Hybrids provide a healthy balance of the two.

Know What to Do if You Smoked Too Much

While overdosing on cannabis by way of smoking is nearly impossible, there is such a thing as being “too high.” If you get to a state of feeling out of control of your body or your thoughts, try a breathing exercise and sip generous amounts of water. Some other tips for managing being too high include putting on your favorite funny TV show, using a coloring book or free drawing, listening to music, painting, writing, or phoning a friend. 

If worse comes to worst, phone a friend or call 911 and they might be able to walk you through calming down if you are too high. Never be afraid to ask for help if you feel your safety is at risk.

What to Do After First Time Smoking Weed

So what does one do after smoking weed? Compared with edibles, the effects of smoking weed tend to become noticeable within a few minutes. Aside from engaging in creative activities, there are a few foundational things we recommend you do after smoking weed. 

They are as follows…


Ever heard of cottonmouth? Smoking weed can be very drying to the throat, mouth, and lungs. Don’t skimp on hydrating after smoking weed to keep your throat lubricated. 

Tips for staying hydrated include keeping an insulated water bottle on you at all times, and taking sips regularly. You can even have your favorite beverages lined up ready for your dry lips. If you don’t have the greatest memory, setting an alarm every 30 minutes to an hour can help. 


Keep snacks or a prepped meal handy for your weed smoking experience! Cannabis can affect the body’s hunger signals and trigger us to feel hungry. This is caused by activation of certain receptors in the brain that are responsible for regulating appetite. Cannabis-related cravings are nothing new, and even though munchies might seem silly on the surface, trust your body when it is signaling it is hungry.

But why? Smoking weed can impact blood sugar levels, and a sudden drop can lead you to feeling faint or dizzy. Eating a meal or a snack will help to stabilize blood sugar levels and escape experiencing these undesirable symptoms. Besides, smoking weed enhances the pleasure of eating. 

When the THC enters the brain, you’ll likely crave sugary, salty, or carbohydrate-rich foods. So let yourself satiate these cravings–just don’t overdo it! Sending yourself into a food coma after eating too many “munchies” can leave you feeling sick, bloated and lethargic. Having healthy snacks on hand is a great way to balance out these cravings and trick your brain into munching on nutrient-dense goodies. 


Part of the point of smoking weed is to feel a sense of relaxation. THC is known to reduce anxiety in lower doses, and raise anxiety in greater doses. Start small and ensure that your surrounding environment is optimal for utter relaxation. Comfy pillows, blankets, a pair of stunner shades if you’re outdoors, loose clothing. Whatever it takes for you to feel comfy and secure–do it before inhaling.


After smoking weed for the first time, we encourage you to reflect on the experience. How did you feel throughout? Did you experience any highs and lows? Were there moments of doubt, worry, and paranoia? Did you feel any bodily sensations? What were the most enjoyable parts of the journey? How was your hunger and thirst level? Did anything particular come to mind?

It is powerful to reflect and recognize how weed affects you personally. If you didn’t relish the experience, perhaps the strain and brand wasn’t right for you. Consult with a budtender to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what might be more your cup of tea.


Certain products–especially of the Indica variety, are helpful sleep aids. However, sometimes weed can make us feel as though our brains are wired or on overdrive. If you feel buzzing and over stimulation of the mind after smoking weed, consider trying a different strain or brand. 

Sleep deprivation is no joke!  It affects our ability to perform, show up, think clearly, and operate in our daily tasks. If you suffer from sleep disorders, weed can be a powerful remedy. It can make you feel quite tired, so avoid driving while under the influence of weed.

Where to Get Weed for Your First Time in San Diego

Smoking weed for the first time can be intimidating when there are so many choices readily at your disposal. With tons of dispensaries within arms length in San Diego, how is one to narrow in on the best option? Thankfully, The Healing Center in San Diego offers first-rate service with high-end bud at agreeable pricing. Here you’ll find daily deals from most-loved brands and a kindhearted staff that can guide you to the perfect bud for your first venture into the world of weed! 

We hope that with these supportive tips, your first time smoking weed can be an enjoyable, easygoing experience. You’ll always want to go with a product that aligns with your preferences and goals, so don’t hesitate to ask a seasoned budtender for help. 

Make informed decisions and use responsibly, and most importantly–enjoy your first toke!

Brought to you by THC SD