How to Choose a Strain as a First-Time Smoker

Trying marijuana for the first time can be daunting; many suffer from a misconception traditional society has built up that you’ll go out of your mind, lose yourself in the smoke. However, this isn’t true; under the right circumstances, your first time smoking can and should be a wonderful experience.

Many believe that it all depends on how high your natural tolerance is, and while this is undeniably a factor, there’s a lot more at play; other factors that determine your experience include good company, enjoying a leisurely activity and most importantly – what kind of marijuana you’re smoking.

Different strains of cannabis are like different kinds of people – some are energetic; some are a little slow; some will knock you for a loop and some will quickly become your best friend. Finding the right strain for you is an essential part of your first smoking experience. We’re going to cover all you need to know in this article, this of course just covers how to choose the strain there’s also another choice that needs to be made – how you’re going to ingest it.

There isn’t enough time in this article to cover both but Smoke Cartel has a guide section which covers all you need to know and more about choosing your instrument of choice, but let’s get back to choosing the right strain for your first time.

Sativa, Indica or Ruderalis

That may sound like gibberish, initially, but these are terms you’re going to have to become familiar with. Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis are the three different families of marijuana that are generally smoked. While they differ from each other in composition and origin, they’re typically identified by their varying effects on users.

Sativa denotes the kind of marijuana that leaves its subject feeling energetic, buzzed and focused. This is what we call a mind high, where the effects are mostly mental. People often report that it allows them to study and work, and that it helps them to get through any mental or creative blocks which they may be experiencing. Expect a lot of laughter with a strong sativa strain, and a very memorable first smoke.

Indica, on the other hand, will carry you to the couch, put rocks in your shoes and make you think it’s the funniest situation you’ve ever been in. This kind of marijuana provides a powerful body high, which is ironic because after you smoke it you’ll want to be as low as possible. Indica is reportedly great for people with anxiety, tending to leave users feeling very peaceful and relaxed.

Ruderalis is a shorter, typically weaker breed of cannabis. It’s very resilient as a plant – a true survivor, but it isn’t often the first choice for a seasoned smoker. That said, there are potent varieties available which many would vouch for in offering an exceptional experience.


THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive element in cannabis; this is responsible for all kinds of highs offered by the various strains, and the most welcome visitor in many student estates across the globe.

CBD (Cannabidiol) is the element used mainly in medicinal cannabis. More countries every day are jumping on board its legalization, and it’s not just a mob-mentality. CBD offers numerous health benefits to its users, which have been proved aplenty through numerous studies; its use can also be verified empirically throughout history, going back thousands of years. It has reportedly been used to treat anxiety, insomnia, arthritis, chronic pain and much more.

The shadow of anti-cannabis aggression and regulation still lays pretty low over many countries, but it’s becoming obvious to most that CBD – at the least – represents a gift to mankind, and especially to those around the world suffering from various ailments.

For your first smoke, you should check out the varying levels of THC and CBD in the strains available to you. If you’re looking for a typical psychoactive high, then THC is the way to go, but don’t be fooled as to your tolerance – start slow, and work your way up when comfortable. This will ensure that you don’t wind up in over your head, in something that you’ve just never experienced before.

If you think CBD is the way to go for you, then there’s plenty of flower out there with high-CBD and low-THC. You can even find strains that contain relatively the same amount, if you want to cover all your bases; then, depending on how you feel, you can explore more later.

Research is Everything

If you’re about to try marijuana for the first time, then you need to look up the differences between the strains for yourself. There are many first-hand accounts available online, and sites such as Leafly, who grade cannabis strains and collect various responses from users. This is some of the most trustworthy information you can find, considering it comes from real people who don’t gain anything by giving personal feedback.

Take a long walk around the park of the cannabis community: check the various THC contents of different strains; look up how strong a certain Indica or Sativa is before you smoke it; decide whether you want something energetic or something mellow.

There is a lot to consider when preparing for your first smoke. There isn’t much you can do to ruin it altogether, but you want the best experience possible. Everyone should have that. Make sure to know the effects that your chosen strain is going to have on you, and you won’t face any unanticipated surprises. Kick back, get some snacks, watch one of your favourite shows and enjoy your marijuana responsibly.

Note: This is not medical advice please always consult a doctor or medical professional before ingesting marijuana as there can be negative side effects for certain individuals including but not limited to: paranoia, anxiety, breathing problems and increased heart rate. You can read more about these here.