I have never smoked tobacco and I do not drink alcohol (at least not more than maybe a couple of times a year and even then I never get drunk). I have never done illegal drugs in my life and probably never will, but once cannabis was legalized here in Canada I wanted to try it. I had researched a bunch before taking the plunge and I figured if it wasn't physically addictive and many people have anecdotal stories of how great it is, what will it hurt to try? So here I am, a little over a year later since my first experimentation and I must say I don't really understand why it was ever illegal in the first place. I have been regularly vaping dried flower cannabis in the evenings every weekend since November of 2018. Here is a picture of my collection of empty cannabis containers.
For some people, smoking/vaping/ingesting cannabis can be a terrible experience. There is no way to know how you will react to it until you try it, which is why I think a lot of doctors are not keen to promote it. Medical drugs normally have very expected and consistent effects, whereas cannabis can be hit or miss. You might experience an increased heart rate and extreme anxiety or a panic attack. You might develop cyclic vomiting syndrome. If you are already prone to mental disorders, it may trigger schizophrenia. Getting "very high" can also result in strong feelings of dissociation. Out of all these negative symptoms, I've only experienced elevated heart rate and dissociation (and for me, these only have come about from vaping strong 27% THC flower and taking edibles at the same time).
Smoking anything is still very bad for your lungs. Vaping much less so, which is why I vape. I keep my vape temperature around the 190-degree Celcius mark which is deemed the safest to still get the THC/CBD while avoiding the possible carcinogenic chemicals that come from going over 200 degrees. Combustion happens around 230 degrees. Edibles don't have this issue but it can affect the liver in the long run.
Over time, cannabis will have a detrimental effect on your brain. It advances aging and can hinder development in youth. It can cause memory issues, but usually only while it's still in your system. For me, starting in my late 40's, I feel it's not a concern at all.
Although cannabis isn't physically addictive, I can understand how it can be mentally addictive. I find that I do look forward to vaping on the weekends but I also don't feel an uncontrollable urge to do so. Perhaps if I were a daily user it would be more difficult to abstain. Even though I don't spend too much on this habit as 3.5 grams of flower can last me months, I will probably be taking a longer break soon as it's just not in our budget right now to keep at it.
The stress relief and feeling of happiness and/or euphoria are tremendous. This effect on its own can be the only reason you need for enjoying weed. I remember the first time I got high and what an eye-opening experience it was in terms of being able to get these almost inexplicable feelings. It can be equivalent to having a religious experience. Time seems to move at a different speed. I would equate it to being in a waking dream state.
You tend to get grand ideas or thoughts. You sometimes think you've figured out some great mystery or gained valuable insight into something. The problem is that you usually forget these things unless you make notes right at the time. If you do make notes, looking at them when sober, you might realize, yeah, that doesn't make sense. So while it can boost creativity and allow you to explore grand ideas, don't expect it to always be coherent in this reality. Stoned "reality" is a different place and time.
Many people claim that THC and/or CBD really helps alleviate bodily pains. Personally, I have used it to relieve lower back pain and very nasty knee pain. I find that while it does indeed melt away pain, you also need to use a lot of it. It also doesn't actually fix anything, just masks it and makes you forget about it for a while.
If you have trouble sleeping, some strains can be great for making you sleepy. You'll sleep so deeply and feel refreshed upon waking. Although, I find it does also give vivid dreams. Depending on whether you like that or not, it can be considered a positive or a negative.
Cannabis has been scientifically proven to help with symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis, paralysis and cancer treatment. It can help treat appetite loss.
Listening to music becomes wondrous. Watching movies becomes more enjoyable. Funny things are even funnier. Food tastes better. All the stereotypical things you hear are absolutely true.
I also never forget what temperature to set my oven to when I make pizza (420, my dudes).
Obtaining Cannabis Legally
If you are in Ontario, you can visit a local cannabis store if you have one in your area or order online at https://ocs.ca. To start, a single gram of flower (for around $10) between the 10% to 15% THC range and some rolling papers is all you need. That will let you roll a few joints and find out soon enough if it's something you want to pursue. Try getting between 20% to 25% THC flower the next time. The next step after that, in my opinion, would be to buy a dry herb vaporizer. Your flower will last a lot longer and instead of discarding the used bud (called ABV), you can accumulate it and use it in baking or stuff it in empty gel capsules (use these as edibles). Be careful, edibles come on slowly and hit hard for hours afterward. If you want to get even more hardcore, start looking at cannabis oil vape pens and cartridges.
So Many Choices
You will come across a lot of marketing around Indica vs. Sativa and all the various terpene profiles. I find that certain strains do not always produce the effects that the marketing claims and instead you need to sample many strains to find what works most consistently for the type of effect you are after. My favorite strains so far have been Pink Kush and Sensi Star. If you don't like the skunky smell that most weed has, look for terpene profiles that are lowest in myrcene.
I'm glad I gave it a chance. If you are at all curious, I would recommend giving it a try. Just remember to start slow and know that if you do happen to be one of those people that has a bad experience, it will pass and you won't die. If you like it, congratulations, you just found something magical.