How to be a modern stoner
November 7, 2018 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Weed is legal in Canada! And I have so many questions. Stoners of AskMe, help me out with the basics here.

First of all, I had not smoked pot since probably my late 20s when I lived in Atlanta. And of course, as a former immigrant to Canada, I was not about to even think about it during my tenuous time between permanent residency and eventual citizenship. (Also, it was illegal and I am a scaredy cat about breaking the law like that.)

I've always been fairly indifferent to pot in my past; it made me sleepy and again too scared to buy my own. But I figured once it became legal, what the hey. I purchased five pre-rolls from OCS; aside from the coughing fits, I really enjoy the indica dominant blend I bought.

Now here's the thing: I would like to continue enjoy smoking up, but know nothing about paraphernalia (grinders? Screens? Huh?). I am glad I tried the pre-rolls but I think I would like to have a vaporizer to imbibe so as to minimize smell and eliminate coughing.

Teach me about getting high as though I were a legal adult who can get high, AskMe. Also, any resources and/or gear that isn't so cliche would be welcome. I mean, I get the stoner stereotype exists for a reason, but given me and the other adults I know who indulge are professionals, I would like less Jeff Spiccoli and more, I dunno, cool hipster maybe?

Thanks in advance, friendos!
posted by Kitteh to Grab Bag (32 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, go to a shop! Here in Seattle, weed is legal, and the folks at the shops are generally super nice and super knowledgeable. And my local shops are full of people like you and me that haven't smoked since college. Like, half the people in the shop are moms (like me) in yoga pants. Overtime, weed has become a normal alternative to booze.

But, perhaps surprising to those of us that last engaged in weed in our younger years, at least in my social circles, edibles are far preferred. The local shops have a ton of options in the form of cookies, candies, and gummies. And at least around here, it is high quality chocolate or whatever. Each is 10 mg, so pretty perfect for a casual user. This is versus buying stuff to smoke whereby you need accessories and you don't really know how much you are intaking if you keep hitting the pipe. Also the edibles have a long shelf life, so if you buy a 4 pack, you're good to go the next time you want to partake. Also they are CHEAP! Like one edible is US$2 or so.

So, tl;dr, walk into a shop, tell them that you're worried about falling asleep, and ask for some recommendations.
posted by k8t at 1:42 PM on November 7 [4 favorites]


Since you should have access to a full range of products, you may want to consider getting away from burning plant matter. You could either continue to purchase plant matter and buy a vape that works with plant matter. Or you could get oil vape pens. Both of these are likely to come in a variety of strains with various claimed properties. Finally, you can get edibles (usually chocolates or gummies). These can be a bit more tricky because it takes longer to take effect and lasts a lot longer. On the other hand, medical grade edibles come with measured doses and once you dial in the amount that works for you you're good to go so long as you don't mind the wait.
posted by slkinsey at 1:43 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


Where I am, the simplest and most convenient delivery system is an oil pen with pre-charged cartridges. You get a rechargeable battery that also functions as the body of the pen, and it has a button on it that functions as the switch. At the store, you order your carts off a menu that tells you what type of pot the cannabinols were extracted from and what the THC/CBD concentration is. The carts have a little clear chamber full of oil, with a vaporizer inside and a mouthpiece on one end—the other end screws onto the battery.

Push the button, suck on the mouthpiece, and away you go.

The carts are on the pricey end and I'm not crazy about their disposability, but they last a surprisingly long time. The battery rarely needs charging, and charges quickly from USB using a special adapter. The system is extremely effective, dosage is easy to control, the hit is mild, and they smell anywhere from inoffensive to actually pleasant.

Start with that and go from there, is my advice.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:44 PM on November 7 [13 favorites]


I use a vaporizer, the Grenco science elite It’s designed for flower, not extracts or anything. Nice small design, battery life is ok (and unfortunately not easily replaced). It’s cheap and straightforward for the vaporizer market, and doesn’t look too fancy, nor does it have heavy stoner vibes. You don’t need A grinder, it has its own screen. It can be a little bit of a hassle to clean if you don’t stay up on it, but this is true if all vaporizers. It’s small enough I feel comfortable using it while walking the dog, but not when I’m out in crowded public areas. They routinely go on sale on April 20th *eyeroll* but you can usually pick them up 20-30% cheaper.

You should try some nice higher cbd strains too! It’s nice!

I tend to stick to flower over oils and extracts. I personally find they taste better.

I would ask your shop more about experience than sticking to the “indica/stativa” dichotomy; Explained on Netflix has s good primer on why this is, but that dichotomy describes phenotypes, not effects. There are some nice hybrids on both sides that scan get you what you’re looking for. I’m not sure how the regulatory structure is in your province, but in Oregon producers are labeled as well as thc and cbd levels; I tend to stick to producers and farms that I know, because sometimes they’ll have “dumb weed name” that I really like, but another producer will also have the same named product, but it has a different character. Ymmv.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:47 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Kitteh is in Ontario... there are no legal storefronts yet, just the online government store, and edibles are still not legal to sell in Canada.
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:49 PM on November 7 [16 favorites]


Yeah, we don't have storefronts and I believe the government is not allowing edibles until next year. The Tyendinaga reservation does sell concentrates/edibles/flowers but I don't own a car so I can't exactly drive 30 minutes away! So I kinda have to work within the parameters of the OCS for right now.
posted by Kitteh at 1:58 PM on November 7


What sorts of products does the OCS sell? If you can get an oil pen, I still recommend that. If not, it depends on what's available.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:02 PM on November 7


(If you can only get flower, a modern pocket flower vape like what furnace.heart uses is nearly as simple and that's how I'd go. Order the actual vaporizer off the manufacturer's website. No recommendation on a specific model.)
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:06 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


Bake your own edibles! Lots of recipes online and you can experiment, which is most of the fun. I thought you used to bake a lot?

As for grinders, they make it so much easier and can be bought cheap in any variety shop. You need some stoner friends. Subtly put the word out; you’ll be surprised who you know is very experienced.
posted by saucysault at 2:10 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


OCS sells flowers, pre-rolls, oils and capsules, as well as a very limited supply of accessories. I'm strongly leaning towards the Pax 3 for a vaporizer (I don't mind that it's pricey; it would be my birthday present to myself this year).

Also, what does a grinder do? And are there any stashboxes in a moderate price range that don't look overly masculine or have a pot leaf on them? I lean towards weird and whimsical.

And yes, saucysault , I did bake a lot! But I have never made edibles. Intriguing!
posted by Kitteh at 2:29 PM on November 7


huh, so it looks like OCS only sells flowers and capsules/tinctures which limits your options significantly.

Canada health apparently wants more studies done on potential adverse health effects of vaping (not a bad idea but i dont understand prohibiting their use in the mean time- after all we know smoking is unhealthy and they arent even trying to pretend all that flower is getting consumed without combustion).

"dry flower" vapes are not great - the technology has improved but i think theyll always be kinda finicky and ive never seen one that impressed me much.

in terms of networking, i havent got an idea how theyve been affected by full legalization but there are definitely some venues ive seen while visiting toronto that are not subtly labeled as being pot friendly (underground comedy club/underground cafe & social club) which might help you meet some folks to navigate the new landscape.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:31 PM on November 7


I recommend a tabletop vaporizer if you're not looking for an on-the-go vape pen, and are looking to avoid smoking. I recommend Arizer's products—a Canadian company!—because they have great items, customer service, and in the past they have given ample warranties or guarantees. My Arizer "Extreme Q" model has given me years of good use, and the one time it failed, they replaced the whole unit, accessories and all. This model (and some of their pens) also allow you to fine-tune the temperature at which you are vaporizing the good stuff. (200ºC to 210ºC is where I set mine. You can look up many different charts online to tell at what temperature you are vaporizing which components.)

The good thing is that there is less coughing because you are not actually burning anything or inhaling tar. YMMV; it took me about a month to perfect my technique and get nice solid puffs of vaporized goodness. I've also found I use up less weed vaporizing than I do smoking. (Which now tastes to me like a refinery; vaping preserves a good amount of taste and doesn't make your place smell like a Grateful Dead Parking Lot.)

If you go the vaping route (or actually any route), I also recommend a good, solid, stainless-steel grinder. Big ol' buds look nice and smell nice, but they seem to cost more (around here) than buying "pebbles", which are the same as buds, only broken down into smaller chunks. Kinda like the product that has settled after shipping. And when vaping, the object is to grind it down very fine, so that you are exposing as much surface area of the plant material to the hot air that will flow through it.

As for where I keep my weed and paraphenalia: a small white cardboard box, usually used for holding collectible cards or the like—that way I can draw whatever I want on it.

Finally, here's side two from Pink Floyd's 1971 classic, Meddle: "Echoes". Again, YMMV.
posted by not_on_display at 2:39 PM on November 7 [9 favorites]


I had a Pax 2 but eventually just went back to smoking. Finicky, battery didn't last long, and it seemed to waste a lot of pot—it chewed through its load pretty rapidly. Presumably the Pax 3 is an improved model.

Grinders grind up your flower into little bits for more efficient heating. Not so important for smoking but strongly recommended for vaping. You get a thing that looks like a small metal puck, which cones apart into 3 or 4 sections. You put your weed in the upper chamber which is full of blades, and then turn the lid back and forth to chop it up. The bits fall through holes into the lower chamber, for collection. Sometimes there is a screen and a third chamber for kief. Collect the bits and load them into your vape, bowl, or joint.

Protip: you can also use a whirly-blade coffee grinder.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:41 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Echoing the people who have recommended baking your own edibles...once you make the butter you can do anything with it that you'd do with regular butter. This is more or less the method I've used, although I simmered longer (4.5 hours, lightly stirring every 1.5 hours)...you don't have to simmer that long, but generally "low and slow" gets better results. I made cookies, which gave me more of a pleasant body buzz when I ate small (i.e. one-quarter of a normal-sized cookie) pieces, which is what I was after (I don't react well to strong weed).
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:18 PM on November 7


I should add that although the high from the edibles wasn't as intense as from a joint, it does take longer to kick in (45 minutes to an hour, for me) and also lasts longer (4-5 hours, although it gradually tapers off after peaking halfway through).
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:22 PM on November 7


If it's ok to piggyback on to this question, as a weed newbie...

I've been having fun recently experimenting with edibles (I live in a weed-legal state). Because of the time delay in edibles taking effect, I'm kinda interested in trying a vape. But... as someone who has almost literally never smoked anything before (I smoked about 4 cigarettes in high school, 30+years ago, and hated them, and haven't tried anything since), how shitty am I going to feel the first few times I try vaping?
posted by hanov3r at 3:25 PM on November 7


The Volcano was/is the premier tabletop vaporizer, and works well for flowers and (i hear) concentrates, if money is no object. I'd reccomend it, it's what they use(d?) at the high-end vape bars in Vancouver back when I was there. For smoking concentrates (which are not available legally yet in Ontario), the Sublimator is by far the best I've ever used, if money is no object.

I should note for all vaporizers/sublimators/oil rigs etc... Cleaning them regularly (like after you sleep) makes all the difference in the world in terms of taste/harshness.
posted by some loser at 3:27 PM on November 7


Hanov3r: The "smoke" from a vaporizer is much less harsh on the throat and lungs than a cigarette, so little "throat hit" in fact that you may find yourself over-filling your lungs and then coughing fit happens when you exhale. So be mindful of that on the first few tries with a new strain of weed. Oh yeah - the severity of the harshness will vary based on the strain/batch of weed you are smoking in the vaporizer, but not a TON. In general, it is very low though, as long as you are not burning the weed with a temperature setting that is crazy high.

Also, the best temperature for vaporizing may vary depending on the strain. I have had good success with packing the chamber pretty full with ground bud, starting on the low end of the recommended temperature scale, filling a bag, then next run up it by 5/8 degrees (C/F), fill the next bag, then third run (if there is a third run left) up it again by 7-10 degrees. This way I've found that you can get most of the varying cannabinoids out of the dry flower because some of them have higher/lower vaporization temps than others (there are more than just the 3 main cannabinoids you've probably heard of - hundreds more maybe).
posted by some loser at 3:37 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


When vaporizing dry flowers, the quality of the vaporizer makes a much bigger difference than with oil cartridges. I would avoid any pen-style vaporizer, especially at the lower end; it will likely have minimal battery life, won't get hot enough to really do much to the flowers, or both. The Volcano is excellent and very reliable if you don't mind something that you need to plug in. The same manufacturer (Storz & Bickel) makes the "Mighty" and "Crafty" portable (battery-powered) vaporizers if that's what you're looking for, and they are also very good (and a bit cheaper than the Volcano). These have more of a proven track record than the Pax products.
posted by enn at 3:44 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


The Seattle independent newspaper/website/blog The Stranger/Slog frequently has articles on weed for newbies. Take a look around in their archives.
posted by matildaben at 3:50 PM on November 7


I should add that although the high from the edibles wasn't as intense as from a joint,

I have to disagree here. My experience with edibles is opposite. All of my worst marijuana related experiences have revolved around edibles. A combination of being surprised at how f***ing strong the high was and, given how long it takes to get high with edibles, the tendency to double dose (ie: have another cookie or whatever before the first fully kicks in). And this isn't just my anecdotal experience. When Vancouver had regular smoke-ins on 4/20 Day (April 20), there would inevitably be news reports of folks showing up in emergency experiencing marijuana related distress, almost always connected to edibles. Nothing life threatening, to be clear, just very, very high and often not feeling too good on an mental-emotional level.

Be careful.

Also, mixing marijuana up with alcohol. Getting high and then having a drink or two -- generally not a problem. But having a few (or more) drinks and suddenly deciding to add marijuana to the mix -- be careful, you might fall down.
posted by philip-random at 3:56 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I'm late to the party, but I'll throw in my advice.

You should absolutely should get a grinder. You want one with a kief catcher on it. Honestly, you'll probably have several after a while since they are often given away as freebies with vaporizer and such. As for gear cliche's, as long as you stay away from rasta symbols and leaf logos on things nobody will mistake you for a stoner-bro.

I'd advise against getting a Pax3. I know they are cool, but since you're just starting out I think it would be better to avoid investing so much in form factor vapourizer until you've figured out whether that's how you like to consume your cannabis or not.

I recommend you start cheap. Get a basic little pipe and some rolling papers. Buy a cheapo dry herb vapourizer and a cheapo concentrate vapourizer. They won't be the best. Vapour quality will be lower, you won't have as much temperature control and so on. What you're trying to do is invest as little as possible until you know what you like. For example, I like vapourizing dry herb. I like the different flavours you can get. I also like the option of mixing in other herbs* (lavender and mint are personal favourites.) The downside is that dry herb vapourizing creeps like nobody's business. It takes longer to hit you (~10 min) and it ramps up slowly, plus you may find it hard to know when to stop since you'll keep getting increasingly high for 20 minutes or so after you finish the vape session. Concentrates hit faster and are easier to control, but you often lose out on flavour and they still feel different from combustion. Combustion hits almost immediately, but is ultimately more expensive and bad for you. The high also just kind of feels different to me. My partner vastly prefers combustion to vaporizing. She doesn't like the creep and finds she can better control her high by taking a small amount at a time with a pipe. She also doesn't like a lot of concentrates because straight THC doesn't agree with her. You will be glad to find out if you are like that before you've spent $400+ on gear.

I also don't think anybody should be dipping their toes in with edibles. Over the last couple of years I've seen a lot of formerly inexperienced people try cannabis and have horrible time because they tried to start with edibles. With edibles it is very difficult to control your dosage (especially home made ones!) and it's very easy to get too high. Add in how much longer edibles last and you are in a bad situation for hours. Don't do it. Learn your sweet spot with other methods as well as learn how it feels to be different kinds of high. Then you can try edibles. People love to start with edibles because it seems less threatening and scary, but I promise you that other methods are much easier to start with.

Once you know what you like you can start looking at good quality vapourizers, good quality glassware, water filters, etc. It's very, very easy to spend $1000+ on cannabis gear, so figure out what you like and then treat yourself to something good quality.

*Note: should you be interested in trying this make sure you have a vapourizer with temperature control. Different plants vapourize at different temperatures and a cheap cannabis vapourizer has too high a temperature and will burn things like lavender.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 3:59 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I also highly recommend baking your own. I never bother with the fancy oil/butter prep; just use my favourite brownie/ cookie recipe and add an eighth of a cup of very finely minced marijuana, mixing very well and adding a tiny bit more liquid or slightly decreasing the flour. The resulting baked goods can be carved into (quite small!) pieces and kept in an airtight container for *ages* in the freezer. You'll soon get a feel for how much to take; start small.
posted by fish tick at 4:05 PM on November 7


The thing with edibles (especially homemade ones) is that until you know from personal experience how strong any given edible is, you must start slow and be willing to possibly just not get high. If you're buying from a store with listed dosages then you can use the dosage as a point of comparison across different edibles (if you can get capsules then that's functionally the same thing) but if you're making them at home every batch will be different and the only way to know is to try.

You have to basically set aside eight hours to be possibly but not definitely high, then try a small amount (like a quarter of a cookie, or a 1" square of brownie) and just let whatever happens, happen. Maybe nothing will happen, maybe you'll get so high that you'll be glad you cleared your schedule for the day. You can try a little more if two hours go by with absolutely no effect, but otherwise you should just wait it out because it's so easy to double dose, thinking the batch must not have come out right, and then have it turn out that actually it's super strong but it was just taking a super long time to kick in—at which point you're in for eight hours of being more high than you're comfortable with. You won't die, but you may very well think you're dying.

Should you find yourself in that situation, my best and most fervent advice is to just go lie down and do your best to fall asleep.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:22 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


You can buy THC capsules. They're incredibly cheap for the effect, and are much more reliable than store-bought edibles.

A 15mg capsule should be enough to get you high without incapacitating you. You could also experiment with 5mg capsules to see what works best.

It takes about 2 hours for the capsules to work, and it wears off over the course of two hours or so.
posted by JamesBay at 4:26 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


I have to disagree here. My experience with edibles is opposite. All of my worst marijuana related experiences have revolved around edibles.

Yeah, be super careful with edibles at first. I got my mom a Cheeba Chew this weekend and she misread the package - she ended up with a triple or quad dose and was sick for hours last night.

I also have the Airzer vaporizer and I never use it. It never seemed to work as well as a plain ol' bong. (I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, which is a shame because it wasn't cheap.)

I've never found a reliable flower vape pen, not even the Pax.

When you can get cartridges? That's where you want to go. I'm an ex-smoker so I get some weird satisfaction from smoking weed. But if you're a nonsmoker? Oil vape pen all the way.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:22 PM on November 7


This isn't exactly answering your questions, but I thought I'd throw this in anyway:

I was really excited and spent a ton of money in the beginning. Over time I learned that I really have no interest in making edibles or grinding flowers or smoke sessions, and I didn't care for the vaporizer I bought either (despite it being highly recommended). I also just didn't have the time or energy to try everything I bought; overall, there was more waste than I felt great about, especially at the prices I paid. My advice, I guess, is to start slow -- you don't have to buy/try all the things at once, and it's okay if you aren't into whatever is popular. But give yourself some time to explore.

Also, I keep mine in a wooden wine box.
posted by sm1tten at 7:08 PM on November 7


My favorite way to do edibles is to make dark chocolate bars. A big portion of them is cocoa butter, a fat that absorbs THC pretty well; they keep well in the fridge for months and longer in the freezer; and if you use the right molds, it's easy to mete them out into predictable doses. I've found that one ounce of weed per one pound of cocoa butter is a pretty good ratio if you're making chocolate, though if you have a lower tolerance or want to eat more chocolate, you could probably even halve it. Just use the advice above to start slow with any new edibles and feel it out.

First you want to decarb your weed. A quick google to refresh my memory is this is when you use heat to convert THCA (not psychoactive) to THC (psychoactive). If you Google this, a lot of the guides you find online will act like it's a super finicky process that you can easily screw up. In my experience this is far from the case. Just grind your weed up, spread it on a pie pan, and bake it at ~240° Fahrenheit for 30-50 minutes depending on how much patience you have.

Then you want to infuse some oil (in this case, cocoa butter, but coconut oil is a great candidate that works for a wider variety of recipes!) with that weed. The easiest way to do this is to just put it in the pie pan with the weed you just decarbed. Leave it in the oven at ~220ish° F, stirring occasionally, for 2-6 hours depending, again, on how much patience you have.

Strain the weed out of the cocoa butter.

I then take that cocoa butter and use this recipe and these molds to make chocolate bars.

If you have a thermometer and extra patience and want extra nice, snappy, non-melty chocolate, use this method to temper your chocolate before pouring it into molds. It's a really easy method that, in my experience, works really well.

Have fun :)
posted by Gymnopedist at 1:38 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]


Question about the oil cartridge pens: How do you know when the oil cartridges are finished? Does the oil go completely away? Or does it just drop in effectiveness?
posted by rmd1023 at 9:05 AM on November 8


Also, nthing the idea that you have to go carefully with edibles of unknown dosage. I know folks who've gone from "I'm not feeling anything, I guess I'll have another brownie" to "Oh god, I have to hang onto the floor so I don't fall off, also, I may have gotten lost in my own house" level high in a very short time.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:08 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Grinders definitely make it easier to cut up the dried flower, so that you get a smooth and even burn. It's also less messy IMO. Here's one that's rose gold! I bought a $10 tiny grinder from my friendly neighbourhood accessory shop, the guy who helped me out (when I knew nothing) was super kind and patient.

This guy also steered me toward this Twisty Glass Blunt. You grind up your weed, fill the test tube looking thing, then twist in the cork screw part. Then you just smoke out of the mouthpiece. No screens to mess with, and an easy way to carry your weed and your pipe around in 1 neat package.

I ended up buying what was likely a knockoff from that store (only about $25), but it worked great. I eventually bought a mini version as well, b/c the big one held too much weed for me. (The mouthpiece on that particular mini model kept falling off, so maybe shop around.)

I found these much easier than rolling joints, probably b/c I'm terrible at rolling joints. I haven't tried edibles in recent memory, but what I like about smoking is that the effects are felt quickly, so I can wait a bit and gauge easily if I want more, and avoid getting too high. I haven't vaped, but that would probably offer the same benefit w/ less health hazard.
posted by Sockmaster at 1:23 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Here's my brief guide to edibles, DIY style.

Get your favorite brownie recipe or mix, and enough ingredients for a double batch. Gluten-free is fine, vegan is fine.
Also get chocolate chips, cinnamon, and anything else you need for baking. Get one visible ingredient that will go into one batch and not the other, to use as a marker.
Get your product, 1/8 to 1/4 oz. Grind it up.

Melt the butter and add the stuff. Bring the heat up until it bubbles, then turn the heat off, cover it, and let it cool. Do this several times, this is how the lovely chemicals become accessible to you.

Using this butter, make the brownies according to the recipe. Add about a tablespoon of cinnamon, it will help cut the flavor.

Using separate butter, make a clean batch alongside. That way when you get hungry and think, hey, I want another brownie, that sounds really delicious! you will have a clean batch to eat. Put an ingredient in one that is very visible to mark which batch is which. Nuts are great for this, if you eat nuts. Chocolate chips will do in a pinch.

Once the brownies are out, you want to cut the medicated batch into squares no larger than a postage stamp. Sample by trying one and then waiting a couple of hours.

Note: activating the stuff in butter may have, uh, fairly immediate effects, especially in an unventilated space, so your test of the appropriate dose size may need to wait until the next day. Another reason to make a second batch!
posted by bile and syntax at 5:56 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


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