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How not to 'green out' on the first day of legal weed: A beginner's guide to pot

Trying pot for the first time? Our pals at KitchenerToday asked an expert who suggests avoiding edibles, and taking things slow
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KITCHENER - Canada will make history when recreational pot is legalized on October 17, and that means many Canadians may be tempted to try marijuana for the first time - or for the first time in a long time. 

Tony Millar is co-founder of Alternative Cannabis Consumption Awareness.

He has a rundown of everything you need to know - from the different ways you can ingest marijuana, to the things you need to steer clear of to avoid a 'bad trip'. 

Marijuana can be consumed in a few ways, and you probably won't be surprised by which method is the most popular. 

"Smoking is definitely the most popular in 2018," says Millar. "But it is actually one of the most dangerous or harmful. Smoking can exceed temperatures of a 1000 degrees Fahrenheit when you're combusting with plant material - and that actually ends up doing some damage to your lungs."

Millar says there are two other main methods; edibles and vaporizing. 

"Edibles are a lot healthier, and are becoming more and more popular. How that works is you get a butter or oil that you will use to cook a brownie or a cookie - and then you infuse cannabis with that butter. So you heat it up, extract the cannabis into the butter, mix it into one big batch - and then use it to bake brownies or a cake. Once it's ready - you consume it, wait half an hour to an hour, and start feeling the effects right away."

Millar says the third way to consume marijuana - vaporizing - is becoming more and more popular as well.

"Vaporizing is typically a lot healthier, a lot smoother, and a lot easier on your lungs. Vaporizers heat up either herb or extract - and it's at a lower temperature so it reduces combustion and carcinogens. It's also a little bit easier to control as well - so for first timers, it provides a bit more of a clear-headed, functional kind of effect."

Millar says he definitely recommends trying a vaporizer if it's your first time consuming marijuana - and there's one method you should definitely avoid. 

"Avoid the edibles - you always hear stories about people eating some, they say they don't feel anything, and they end up eating more. Marijuana takes awhile to digest through your body as an edible - the THC turns into a different chemical compound, it's a 'THC A' instead of traditional 'THC'. So because of that, it’s digested through your liver and takes longer to digest - but once it does hit you .. you have many, many, many more psychoactive effects."

Millar says those psychoactive effects include confusion and anxiety - which isn't exactly the recipe for a good time. 

"I'd also suggest avoiding extracts if it's your first time - there's not really a reason to go to any more powerful stuff right off the bat. Just find yourself some herb, mid-quality or low-quality, and I highly suggest a vaporizer."

But what if it's not your first time? 

If you used to dabble in the devil's lettuce a few decades ago - Millar says be wary! Things have changed, and things are stronger. 

"It's gotten a lot stronger, and you hear that all the time from people nowadays - it's no exaggeration. You can take one puff off of some of the cannabis that's around today, and you can be uncomfortably high. It's something people need to watch out for - take a puff, wait, and see how you feel."

Pot's psychoactive effects can be extremely overwhelming for those who aren't used to them, and although no one has ever died from solely consuming marijuana - there are some fears circulating around overdoses. 

For those in the marijuana community, they refer to it as 'greening out' - which Millar says differs from alcohol poisoning or any type of opioid overdose.

"You can't die from just ingesting cannabis, no one ever has - so no matter how uncomfortable you are after you've consumed, just know in the back of your mind that you will be okay and just have to wait it out," suggests Millar. "But 'greening out' is a problem - so if you're feeling those overly psychoactive effects, we find people say that getting your basic vitamins back in your system helps. Have a Gatorade or Powerade, give your body some natural energy."

Millar also suggests drinking cold water, and doing things that will get you back into reality and out of those over-psychoactive effects that you're feeling.

When it comes to where to pick-up your 'supplies', Millar says support local business - and go to some of the staples in your community that have been there for years. 

If you want to learn more about ACCA, click here

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Erin Anderson

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