London

First time pot user? Here's what you need to know

Maybe you've never taken a toke of marijuana or perhaps it's been a while since you lit up a joint. What do you need to know now that pot is legal across Canada? London Morning asked Pete Young, the head grower at local licensed medical marijuana producer Indiva and Dr. Raj Bhardwaj, London Morning's medical contributor.

London Morning asked a medical marijuana grower and ER doctor for their advice to first time pot users

Smoke or vape? Which kind of pot to use? London Morning asked a marijuana grower and ER doctor. (CBC News)

Maybe you've never taken a toke of marijuana or perhaps it's been a while since you lit up a joint.

What do you need to know now that pot is legal across Canada?

London Morning asked Pete Young, the head grower at local licensed medical marijuana producer Indiva and Dr. Raj Bhardwaj, London Morning's medical contributor.

Pete Young

Pete Young says moderation is key, ease into pot consumption. (Submitted by Indiva)

What do you say to a first time user?

It's like anything, if you've never tried alcohol, you're not going to sit at the bar and do shots all night. Ease into it. 

Is there a certain strain somebody should  start off on?

Not necessarily. But know the difference between Indica and sativa. 

Indicas are usually from northern attitudes, so Afghani strains. They would use it for relaxation. You would use that as 'time to put my feet up and unplug.'

The sativas are found closer to the equator, where we have a longer flowering period. They would use these strains during the day to get an uplift, to get high, not stoned.

When you use this, if you have pure sativa, you're going to be able to get up and dance while you do housework.

Is pot different now than it was in the 1960s?  

Everybody says 'Oh cannabis is so much stronger nowadays than it was yesteryear,' that's not honestly true. Cannabis has always had high potency and low potency.

Most of the cannabis from the '60s and '70s was all imported, Mexican brick weed. The way that it was cultivated, harvested and cured did affect the potency. It was that a lot of the cannabis here was low potency.

But when North Americans started bringing in other genetics from different parts of the world and growing inside and breeding for high potency, that just meant there was more high potency available.

So the big difference between today and yesterday is the availability of THC cannabis.

Dr. Raj Bhardwaj

Dr. Raj Bhardwaj says don't mix pot with alcohol or other drugs. (CBC)

What's your advice to people thinking of trying marijuana for the first time?

Don't rush in. Any medication, if I gave it to you and said 'Hey try this,' you would have to think about the adverse effects.

And if you're going to use it, don't mix it with alcohol or other drugs. 

Smoking isn't good for you, not good for your lungs.  Vaping might be less bad, but we're not sure yet. So, I wouldn't necessarily smoke the actual cannabis.

However, edibles are super unpredictable . It can take hours for the cannabis to kick in. And a lot of people end up taking too much over time.

Think about the advice we give to medical cannabis users: you start low, you go slow.

Should people limit the potency of their marijuana?

Consider limiting yourself to THC under 10 per cent. The maximum supported by the medical literature for medical cannabis is nine per cent.

now