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The wrong dosage or the wrong information can lead to a scary experience like Dowd’s. Unlike smoking or vaporizing cannabis, edibles take time to travel through your body’s system. Edibles can creep up on you, and they’re more potent than your average bong hit.

Here are 9 simple steps to guide you through your first edible experience:

1. Start small and be patient

With edibles, you can always add on but you can never subtract. It’s a simple equation. Whether you weigh 100 or 300 pounds, eating more milligrams than your body can handle cannot be reversed. Start off with the lowest dosage possible — in the 10-20 milligram range — and wait 1 ½ hours. If you feel nothing, add another 10 milligrams to your dosage, and wait another hour. For the seasoned edible consumer, these milligram ranges can be higher. But, all told, no matter your experience, the best bet remains acting slow and steady — because that’s exactly how edibles seep into your bloodstream.

When eating edibles for the first time, keep in mind that the effects of THC don’t kick in immediately. First-timers should start with doses as low as 10 milligrams, and gradually increase their dosage. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

2. Find your dosage

As noted, first-timers are recommended to consume 10-20 milligrams worth of an edible. Likewise, do not buy a 100-milligram bar and try to split it into 10 pieces. Instead, buy edibles that are accurately labeled on the lower side. And start with a low dose. Depending on your weight and tolerance for cannabis, this recommended dosage will affect you differently. The more you weigh, the longer it takes to feel the effects of THC. So know your body, read your edibles label carefully, and take precautions.

3. Quiz your budtender

Unfortunately, edibles can be mislabeled and sometimes contain strains or product that may not be beneficial for you. If your budtender doesn’t inform you about the strain (sativa, indica, or hybrid) of edible you’re about to purchase, then ask them for more information. And don’t be shy in your inquiry. Ask where the weed was grown, in what type of setting the edible was made, and whether other customers like it. When it comes to weed — and especially edibles — there are simply no bad questions.

4. Drink plenty of water and have a full stomach

The THC in edibles can dehydrate you and cause cottonmouth. Drink plenty of water before consuming an edible, and have water on hand while consuming. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

Your simple yet pivotal elixir for any edible experience: H2O. Edibles cause dehydration and the dreaded cottonmouth. If you know you’ll be eating an edible that evening, consume appropriate amounts of water throughout the same day. Make sure your urine is clear-colored upon edible consumption and not a dark yellow. Likewise, make sure you have a water bottle on hand throughout your experience, particularly if it takes you outdoors where water can’t be purchased or obtained easily. Additionally, while eating an edible on an empty stomach will make you feel its effects quicker and harder, it’s ill-advised. Eat some carbohydrates prior to your edible intake, and your body will thank you later. Furthermore, if you feel faint or dizzy, drink a soda or some juice, as the sugar will help erase this feeling.

5. Consume with a friend

For your first-time experience, edibles should be consumed safely and enjoyed in the company of someone you trust and know well. This novel method of cannabis consumption will likely have an unprecedented effect on your mind. Most can handle it, but for some, it’s too much. Having a friend and a face you know well next to you throughout the experience will only make it easier — and more fun.

6. Get comfortable

Surround yourself with familiar and cozy setting. A first-time edible experience should not occur at a music festival or in a crowded bar. You want to be in a place you know well, and one that won’t overwhelm you with anxiety-inducing thoughts or fear. The right couch and the right TV show can make all the difference.

7. Do not drive a car or operate heavy machinery

Would you trust someone on LSD behind a wheel? No. While not quite as psychedelic, edibles do transform the mind for many. Likewise, abstain from even putting yourself in a dangerous position and refrain from touching anything that could endanger yourself or those around you.

8. Do not combine with alcohol or other drugs

Edibles are a potent form of medication, and should not be trifled with. Mixing them with alcohol or prescription drugs can have an adverse interaction. Be smart, and save your beer for the weekend.

9. If you have adverse effects, don’t panic

No one has ever died directly from a cannabis consumption-related overdose. Take deep breaths, drink more water, and turn on a television show or song that typically relaxes you. If you’re alone, call up a friend, and have them either come over to calm you down, or just talk you through it. And should your situation worsen …

Feature image: Edibles are the tastiest way to enjoy cannabis. They can be mixed into butter, baked goods, chocolates, or candies. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)