Cannabis Newbie Mistakes to Avoid: Tips for New Patients

    This article reprinted courtesy of DocMJ Ohio. To get your Ohio medical marijuana card, go to

    If you’re a patient new to using marijuana to replace another medication as recommended by your doctor, the process can be rather murky. To help you navigate the sea of information that comes along with being a cannabis newbie, we’ve compiled this handy list of what not to do.

    Don’t Take Your First Trip to the Dispensary Without A Plan.

    It can be an exhilarating experience to receive your medical marijuana card, but don’t leave the doctor’s office and rush right out to buy the latest high-thc trendy strain. Your doctor will give you a recommendation of the types of products that might work for you, but it’s ultimately your decision what to buy when you get to the dispensary. 

    When you walk into the dispensary for the first time, you’ll encounter countless new strains and forms of administration. Finding a product that not only treats your condition, but that you’ll be able to take in accordance with any dietary restrictions you might have can be tricky. 

    Most dispensaries have an online menu you can peruse at home before you go there to make your purchase. These menus can give you important guidance in terms of what’s available in your area. I suggest printing the menu out and reviewing it with your doctor and budtender before you make a purchase. You may also consider doing some research on the strains and terpene profiles that have been known to treat your condition.  

    Don’t Assume that High THC Means You’re Getting a Bigger High. 

    The standard advice for a patient new to using marijuana is to start low and go slow. Some strains boast upwards of 30 percent THC. If you’re not prepared for the effects, you may experience anxiety or paranoia. If you’re new to cannabis, stick with strains whose THC content is in the teens or low twenties. You may also consider a high CBD strain or a 1:1 while your body gets accustomed to how being high feels. 

    Don’t Drink Alcohol or Take Other Recreational Drugs While You’re Judging Cannabis’s Effects.

    While you might remember enjoying a joint in one hand and a beer in the other throughout your college years, alcohol is not medicinal. Drinking spirits while using marijuana can distort your ability to judge how your cannabis is actually affecting you. Make sure to remain sober when trying a new strain or form of administration and journal your results

    Don’t Hold in Your Smoke To Get Higher. 

    The time-honored tradition of holding in your smoke isn’t actually making you higher. It starves your brain of oxygen. Learning how to inhale weed properly can help make the THC absorb into your lungs more safely and effectively. Says Healthline: “The tendency to inhale deeply and hold your breath when smoking pot means you’re often exposed to more tar per breath.” Especially since the pandemic, lung health is a top priority for many patients. Don’t risk it by taking in too much smoke by inhaling improperly. Here’s a good tutorial video that shows how to use your vaporizer properly.

    Don’t Think You’re Dying if You Get Too High.

    A rookie mistake lots of marijuana users make is to “freak out” and think that getting too high will cause you physical harm. Much of our current medical research indicates that no one has ever died from taking too much marijuana alone. Unlike pharmaceuticals such as opioids, ingesting too much marijuana won’t cause you to have respiratory distress. The antidote to using too much cannabis is, perhaps surprisingly, more cannabis, i.e. CBD. Keeping a little CBD on hand and taking a few drops when you think you’re getting too high can bring you back down to normal and avoid an unnecessary trip to the emergency room. Other ways to bring yourself down from a high are to eat a meal or take a nap. Also, have patience. Nearly all types of cannabis should run their course in 6-8 hours maximum. 

    Don’t Give Up if You Don’t Find the Right Strain.

    One of the saddest things seen over and over again in medical marijuana discussion groups is patients who report they didn’t get the results they wanted from cannabis so they are going back to a pharmaceutical to treat their condition.

    When you purchase cannabis from a dispensary, it’s important to be diligent about judging your product’s effects and adjusting accordingly. Being patient is key. Journal your effects, talk to your doctor and budtender, and keep adjusting until you find what works for you. 

    If you’re a patient new to using marijuana and would like guidance on how to get your medical marijuana card or select your cannabis at the dispensary, reach out to us at today. 


    Please consider helping MedicateOH continue to do important reporting on patients who are healing their trauma with cannabis as well as assist us in building specific profiles of cannabis strains that are proving to treat Ohioans’ PTSD by donating today. Donations are tax-deductible and will benefit future patient education initiatives.



    • Gabrielle Dion

      Medicate OH's Founder and Publisher is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in public administration, both from Northern Kentucky University. She has more than 20 years of experience writing and editing professionally for the medical and wellness industries, including positions with The Journal of Pediatrics, Livestrong, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and Patient Pop.