With the legalization of cannabis in California, we’ve had a number of people ask for tips on what to look for, how to consume, and where to learn about cannabis.

We’ve put together this beginners guide to weed to help you feel more confident as a consumer about the products to look for, as well as some basic information with how to buy, consume, and identify premium marijuana.Beginners Guide to Weed

Note: Throughout this article, we’ll refer to cannabis by various names.

The most popular names for cannabis:

Cannabis is commonly referred to as cannabis, weed, marijuana, pot, and ganja. There’s also an entire library of slang terms that are used to refer to marijuana and its various strains.

Cannabis/Weed Basics

How to determine if you’re looking at premium weed

Premium cannabis is sticky, fluffy, dense, covered in crystals, and leafy. It will also have a strong odor.

Keep in mind, different strains of marijuana may have different shades of color when the light reflects on it. One of the most popular colors is purple, but you can find marijuana all sorts of different shades.

How to Buy Cannabis / Weed

Always buy your weed from a trusted vendor. They test each strand that comes in for purity, potency, pesticides and contaminants. (We actually take you through a testing facility and show you the process marijuana goes through before it hits stores in one of our tours!)

Fun fact: today’s marijuana has undergone generations of testing, cross-breeding, and selection. Meaning, the weed you buy from the store now is better than ever before.

How to Find the Best Weed

Think of cannabis like a fine wine. It can take a lot of experimenting to grow an appreciation for the different strains’ and to fine-tune your senses and palette. Through experience, you’ll also be able to quickly determine if some of the weed you’re looking at is good or bad, like detecting if a bottle of wine has ‘corked’.

How to Rate Cannabis:

If you were to judge weed by a key set of criteria, then you’d want to rate it by sight, smell, taste and feel.

If the weed you’re buying is brittle, brown, or smells like hay, then get away!

Common Types of Marijuana Strains:

If you’re considering purchasing marijuana from a local dispensary, then it will go a long way to know some of the strains you’re looking at. Think of this as similar to the different varietals of wine.

Indica: One of the most common strains of marijuana are indica strains. The species is short and stocky with dense buds. These are native to chilly mountain areas. Indica strains are known for producing highs that are more sedative, sleepy, and dreamy feeling. Indica strains are great for relaxing at home, decompressing after a stressful day, or after long physical activity.

Sativas: Another common strain of marijuana is sativa. Sativas are tall and lanky plants that grow in warmer climates. Sativa strains of weed are more uplifting in feeling, and known to induce more creativity. Sativa strains are great for inducing during outdoor activities like music festivals, hikes, barbecues, and for when engaging in creative efforts like art.

Hybrids: Around 95% of marijuana you’ll find is some form of hybrid. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the different strains, and if you’re curious, then don’t be afraid to ask questions about the effects and highs of each strain.

How Much THC and Cannabis for First Time Users

In the current age of marijuana, we’re blessed with labels and technical information. For first time users, remember to take it slow.

Look for strains with 10-15% THC, or look for a balanced THC to CBD ratio (approx. 7%) and slowly work your way up from there.

Start by taking a single puff or bite and see how you feel. If smoking, wait 20 minutes before your next “hit”, and if eating, then wait 45 minutes to an hour.

Did You Overdose on Marijuana?

A common fear for marijuana newbies is overdosing. The good news is that unlike alcohol, overdosing on weed is not lethal. If you notice yourself not feeling well, or starting to get paranoid, then find a relaxing place, use smelling oils, put on some calming music, or close your eyes and nap.

Ways to Consume Marijuana


The most common form of consuming marijuana is smoking. You can buy weed and fill it into a pipe, buy pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes, roll your own ‘joints’, or smoke marijuana in a variety of ways. Smoking marijuanan typically takes around 10-15 minutes to feel the effects, and the high lasts for 1-3 hours.


Vaping marijuana is seen as more of a health-conscious way of consuming marijuana as you get the same effects as smoking, but without the carcinogens. Common forms are smoking through e-cigarette “vape pens” or volcano vaporizers.

The cannabis is heated up below the temperature of combustion, yet still extracts the THC, CBD and other active ingredients.


Do you like cookies? brownies? and other treats? Well, make sure you don’t overdo it. Edibles tend to be incredibly potent, but take longer to to feel the effects. Anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. We recommend trying edibles in your home because they can cause a relaxing feeling.


Balms and lotions are great for using for medicinal benefits. The active ingredients are only able to soak into your skin and muscle tissue without ever entering your bloodstream. These are a great way to get the medicinal benefits without the ‘high.’


Concentrates are not recommended for beginners. They can have THC levels that range from 50-80 percent, and are ingested, usually through an eye dropper.

Cannabis Tours are a good way to get exposed to marijuana safely and with experienced people. Check out Happy Travelers Tours and Book a Tour today!