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Food & Drink

11 Brand-New Weed Users Reflect on the Edible Experience

The highs and lows of trying weed for the first time (or the first time in a long time).

a woman puts a pink weed gummy in her mouth
Elsa Olofsson

When the Minnesota state legislature legalized low-dose marijuana edibles and beverages earlier this year, lots of locals (your friends at Racket included) lightly ridiculed the measure. Great, we said, eye-rollingly, we just OK’d the equivalent of 3.2 weed. What’s the point?

But one side effect of MN’s weird quasi-legalization experiment is that over the last few months, a whole bunch of folks who are new to marijuana have started experimenting with the freshly legal edible treats. For some, the smaller doses feel more manageable, and for others, buying from a trusted local retailer feels safer and more accessible… even if government oversight is minimal and that “trusted” source is your local tire shop.

(Plus, as we learned, a 5 mg gummy is more than enough to mess up some of your friends at Racket.)

We asked 11 first-time or first time in a long time cannabis snackers to tell us about their experiences: why they tried it, if they liked it, and what they think the role of weed will be in their lives moving forward. Physicians, church administrators, IT professionals—all kinds of people, from those in their twenties to those in their sixties, are experimenting with THC and CBD, not just the Ras Trent-type characters you met in college. Here’s what they had to say.

These reflections have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Michael, 31
Church Admin Assistant

I smoked a little in college but I never tried to buy before because I am, at heart, a bit of a coward and a certified Good Boy who’s afraid of getting in trouble. Once this became an option it was an immediate buy for me. I like gummies, so I was attracted to the idea of gummies that also make you high. (I haven’t tried the drinks yet but I want to.)

I take it pretty easy and only have like half a gummy at a time. My tolerance is pretty low, so that does the trick for me. Then my wife and I usually watch TV or a movie. It’s a nice mellow date night.

Even in college, I never liked getting stoned at parties. I always thought of it as a solo, or more calm activity. It’s something my wife and I do together, and I really like it that way. I don’t drink much anymore, and am usually sober, but this is a really nice way to unwind and take the edge off. I want to see a lot more loosening of restrictions. I don’t like to smoke but I’d love to have more access to more edibles. Honestly, I feel like I should be able to grab it at Target.

I don’t have many other thoughts than this: If you watch the first Star Trek movie high, the ships really are moving that slow, it’s not you. Try Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, instead.

Nat, 33
Marketing Manager 

The first time I ate weed was on 4:20 in 2008. There was a shitty greenish-tinged cake that someone made, and I tried a little sliver. Nothing happened, so about an hour later, I ate more. Then I *was* high and had the munchies and had MORE cake. I left to head to a friend's bonfire (in my own neighborhood) and GOT LOST, and was TERRIFIED because it was dark. I made it to the fire but then was basically nonverbal and shrimped up, staring at the fire until I went home. (I don't know how I got home!)

In 2013, my friend made cookies and said, "They're strong, take half, let's ride bikes." Her tolerance is way higher than mine, so when the cookie hit me, we were in a clearing near Theo Wirth by some hay bales intended for archery practice. I was FREAKING OUT, hyperventilating, and ugly crying. She made me do tai chi and breathing exercises and biked me home (lol very kind and had every right to be annoyed but was not!), and then she said, "ok when you come down, you're gonna want to clean everything and you should listen to that" and she was RIGHT and although it was terrifying my apartment was fucking SPOTLESS.

…Anyway, I don't imbibe cannabis as much because I feel like it's gotten so much stronger, so it's always been tough to dose without overdoing it. I've been saying for years I hoped they legalized so I could unwind with a low dose edible instead of alcohol. The fact that it's legal and dosed makes me feel way better! I am (and remain) skeptical about sourcing so I got some from a place I trust: my favorite co-op. I got some locally made, low-dose eddies and because I trust my co-op's brand standards, I was much more relaxed about trying them again. Because I'm a big ol' baby, I took my 5 mg edible and cut it in half to start. My spouse and I walked down the street to get some food and later watched a movie. I felt relaxed and a little silly—exactly what I was looking for. One minor side effect, though, was that I was a little hyper aware of my swallowing while I was eating. Otherwise, nothing too stressful. I slept really well that night, too. 

For me, it's to relax at home or before some boring-ass housework, and it might be something I'll take before a big event. I took a small dose before I went to the State Fair this year, which I thought was pretty ideal! The crowds bothered me less. When I take edibles, I have less of a desire to drink alcohol which virtually eliminates hangovers for me, and I love that.

I'd love to see decriminalization and wiping the records of those with cannabis-related convictions. It's total bullshit some folks are in jail for something businesses are now profiting from. I don't smoke cannabis flower anymore, but I think that would be the next thing to legalize. As much as I fear regulation will allow those in positions of privilege and power to profit before smaller, local businesses and marginalized growers/makers, I think some kind of regulation will keep things safer for consumers if folks are allowed to certify their growing standards as organic or use sustainable practices.

I think legalizing or at least decriminalization can also create access to jobs if we become another "weed state." Quite honestly, I want to see a lot more BIPOC folks profiting off of cannabis because historically we've been incarcerated at much higher rates for it. I listened to a great episode of Code Switch called "A Weed Boom, but for Whom?" many, many years ago that's stuck with me for a long time that discusses who was profiting from the boutiquey weed boom in Oakland circa 2017. I recommend it!

Bob, 38

My prior concerns were around employment—I was worried about any possible drug test, and, as it was illegal, I didn’t want to risk it. But I wanted to try it to see how it felt. We know the spouse of the owners of a local hemp store chain, and my wife went to a store and asked for recommendations. 

The first time was with my wife—kids were staying at the grandparents, and we didn’t want to try it for the first time with the kids in the house in case something happened. For me, it feels very similar to having a buzz from alcohol. Just… relaxed. I didn’t get the stereotypical giggles or munchies or anything like that. Dry mouth in the morning certainly happened, though. Not having a hangover the next morning with a similar intoxicated feeling the night of is definitely a plus.

I’m still learning how much it takes to make me feel high, so I don’t think I would use it any time other than just relaxing at home, and I’m still seeing how it interacts with alcohol. I have used it one night every other weekend or so since it became legal, and that’s what I plan on continuing for now. I think recreational marijuana should be legal, just like alcohol, but my biggest issue is testing for driving impaired: There isn’t a good test for objective levels of current intoxication like there is for alcohol. 

Gina, 41
Policy Consultant 

I honestly never tried it prior to MN allowing our newly legal edibles… It wasn’t legal! I never really drank when I was under 21 either (other than when I studied abroad in Scotland for a semester, where the drinking age was 18). But I’ve had plenty of friends who enjoy it recreationally, so I figured I might as well give it a try.

I was reading a Star Tribune article that mentioned Nothing But Hemp and figured I’d just purchase something from there. I picked their mimosa gummies ‘cause I thought they were mimosa flavored. Goes to show how little I knew about weed—I didn’t realize that’s actually a type of strain. Yeah, I definitely was not one of the cool kids growing up.

A friend (also named Gina) and I decided to do it together and figured maybe we could keep an eye on each other. We split a 5 mg gummy and didn’t really notice much of an effect. We were sitting there in her pool like, “Do you feel anything? I don’t know. I feel relaxed, but I can’t tell if it’s because we’re drinking in a pool or it’s the gummy.” We tried another half, and after that Gina told me I wasn’t talking quite right. It basically just felt like I was kinda drunk. Other than that, I felt fine. 

I’ve tried again since that first experience and found that 5 mg is too much for me cause I really do feel drunk with it. (I’m a lightweight!) If I take half of one though, it does really well to help with anxiety. I get a pretty bad case of nerves when I have to do public speaking or presentations, but that anxiety was pretty much non-existent after I took that half a gummy. I don’t know that I would take it recreationally like I do with alcohol, but I’ll certainly keep using it when I know I’m going to be feeling anxious.

Tim, 26

I once had a bad experience with a bong rip after a few drinks that ruined my night. That bong rip really stuck with me, and made me prefer having a drink. I felt I had a better sense of how alcohol would impact me. I'm also inclined to be a bit of a square, but now that that's not as much a thing and I could understand the THC content, I felt like giving it a try. (I need to thank Racket for their handy guide on where you could get it.)

I think the most unexpected thing was my sense of time. I tried taking a walk while I was high, I had a destination in mind, and that walk felt twice as long as it should have been. Other than that though, it felt nice.

This probably won’t be a party thing for me—I didn't feel especially outgoing with it, or like I would want to keep up with someone while I'm high. I do think it would be a nice option for creating calm nights in the future.

This feels like it's only 20% of what needs to be done for legalization. I would like to see the types of legal options expanded. In addition, this didn't address any of the fallout from the war on drugs, and if it doesn't get done intentionally, with support for growers and producers, I think there's a real danger the two medical marijuana companies just become a state duopoly. But I kind of like that anywhere can sell the edibles currently. It feels like it makes it harder to lock down the market. 

Agitha, 30

I was a heavy smoker in my early twenties, like "smoke the strongest stuff I could find multiple times a day every day" heavy. I quit cold turkey when I decided it was no longer worth the worry of getting in trouble with law enforcement.

My first experience with legal gummies was BAD. I took a whole gummy, not really expecting much, at home with my partner. I'm already prone to anxiety while high, but the paranoia I felt was the worst I have ever experienced by far. I thought FOR SURE that the smoke shop where we bought the gummies was actually an undercover operation and we would get ambushed by cops at any moment. I couldn't speak or explain to my partner what was happening to me, all I could do was stare into the abyss. I was like that for like two to three hours. It took me a while to recover from the experience.

Since then, I've experimented with a few different THC products of varying intensities, eventually settling on something that works for me. Even if my first experience was terrifying, I still enjoy gummies and I'm looking forward to trying my first THC beverage. The key for me has been to find the right dosages. I'd love to be able to buy THC products the way I can with alcohol: a wide variety of quantities with clearly stated strength. To get there, I think lawmakers need to invest the time into tweaking whatever laws necessary to allow for such a variety of options to become available, from increasing the max amount of THC per container/serving to expanding the ability of producers to advertise.

I'd encourage people to give it a try if they think it might be something they'd like. Don't let the bad stories scare you away, but rather learn from our mistakes: Know your body and start slow, and remember it takes a while to hit. Also, check your local smoke shop and don't be scared of asking questions! If they're not able to help you or they don't make you feel comfortable asking questions, try a different place.

Russell, 35
Data Scientist

Before this year, I think I’ve smoked twice in my life. It didn’t really do anything for me besides give me anxiety over getting caught and make me cough.

As more and more states began legalizing and normalizing it, I was becoming more curious about trying it again, but I wasn’t sure where to find any edibles. I went to the Food Truck Festival in the North Loop and there was a kiosk selling products! I just told the guy I didn’t know what I was doing but was interested due to the recent legalization, and he recommended some 5 mg gummies, so that was what I got.

I was a little nervous about what the experience would be like and how long it would last, so I waited a week to try them, when I knew I didn’t have anything to do, and I was still pretty anxious about getting in trouble. Anyway, I’m a data person so I took notes. I ate one 5 mg THC gummy at 5:35 p.m. and was surprised how much I could taste the muskiness (dankness?) of it. At 6:25, my head started to feel a little weird, but I’m not sure how to describe it. Then at 6:31 my body started to feel all tingly. By 7:10 I started to get chilly and I noticed I was laughing at stuff more than usual and I felt a lot less tense than I normally do.

My partner was there the whole time, sober, and she just asked “why are you laughing about that?” about a few things. Overall, it was kind of like having a buzz but it was a little harder to concentrate. Like, I like to drink wine while I’m cooking a nice dinner, but I don’t think I would have the capacity to cook a nice dinner while high. The next day I had a little cottonmouth, but other than that felt completely normal when I woke up.

I have continued to use cannabis occasionally at home, usually as a supplement and substitute to alcohol. I really like that it “takes the edge off” without having to worry about a hangover, but I’m also hesitant because once I take one, I have an hour before I become unproductive for the night and it makes me so tired. I have actually switched to 2 mg THC hard candies and those are a great amount for me to be able to relax easier but not get the “body high” or feel cold.

I’m not a fan of higher prices for consumers but it seems like taxing edibles could be a huge boon to funding programs to help the people of Minnesota and is a missed opportunity right now. Also, it seems like the regulations around the amount of THC per edible and THC per container are arbitrary, especially since you can just buy multiple packages.

Aisha, 30

I never smoked myself, but would share weed with friends if they were smoking (which wasn’t often). I truly don’t think I’ve ever been high. Accessibility changed that! Since I didn’t really know folks who used weed, I just didn’t know where to get it, and I was too chicken to ask.

I haven’t gone to stores that have lots of options yet. I was limited by what was sold at the co-op. Gummies and some full-spectrum CBD oil. And I’m honestly still unsure if I’ve been high! Does being high feel the same as regular ADHD plus anxiety??? I think I got the munchies afterwards…but… I could also have just been hungry. My gummy experiments have been alone. I’ve eaten one gummy a few times and felt nothing. I tried two and felt… nothing? Truly don’t understand. 

My goal is to get a few other brands of gummies to try, see what happens. The CBD oil did help calm my dreams a bit, although it hasn’t helped with getting to sleep. I definitely want to keep experimenting with different products, dosages, etc. I’d like to use cannabis for everyday anxiety and sleep aid, and for social settings.  

Jamey, 41
Digital Creative Lead

My family has some historical issues with addiction, and I learned that at a young age, so I’ve tended to stay away from things that I generally deemed could be problematic if overused. That being said… I wound up trying a Delta-8 gummy a few months back as we were looking for an alternate to the opioids my wife had been prescribed after dental surgery. I’ve a long history of chronic joint pain, primarily lingering from high school athletics, and it immediately went away after taking that gummy. So I started taking half of one every night or so before bed. The co-op in my neighborhood recently started selling THC/CBD gummies, so I’ve been picking up a bottle every other week and continuing to take one before bed. I wake up without any of that old achy pain and I can enjoy getting my kids off to school.

The first time I took anything, I was home with my wife and kids. I’d never been high before in my life, so I wanted to make sure if things went sideways, I was safe. I didn’t feel anything, except the pain relief, so I kept using at that dose. HOWEVER, two weeks ago, without thinking, I took a different gummy without looking at the dosage and was absolutely rocked about an hour later. I wasn’t at home, and I basically sat in the same place for about four hours wishing it would just go away. I was dizzy, light headed and would lose my balance when I’d get up too fast. Now I've figured out the happy medium between what I’ve been taking at home, that dose, and where I’d best stay to get the pain relief effect without the disorientation.

Considering how profound the pain relief has been, I’ll absolutely continue using it at night before bed. I’d been taking Advil intermittently when the pain got real bad, but I’ve never loved the idea of continued Advil reliance, so I was happy to find an alternative. I’ve been doing this for about a month and a half, and have been really happy with how it’s helped. I’d resigned myself to “being old and achy” but now I’m waking up fresh and ready to go, something I’d obviously like to continue.

I’d like to see them fully legalize cannabis use in all forms, for sure. I’d like to see all past convictions expunged. I’d also like to see something like the lottery system they implemented in Washington state. I’m a bit concerned the market will inevitably be flooded with large, corporate sellers, and I’d like to see something that allows the small farmers/sellers to get in on the action.

Sara, 57
Program Manager 

I smoked a LOT of weed in high school. So much so that I gave it up completely and hadn't partaken in about 40 years. Since it was legalized and came in gummy form, I thought I would try it to help with anxiety and sleep issues. It was the best rest I've had in quite some time. 

I also took half a gummy before a dentist appointment (I have a lot of anxiety about getting my teeth cleaned—yikes, I hate it). It definitely helped me relax, but my appointment lasted ONE HUNDRED YEARS (it was really only 40 minutes). When the hygienist sat me up I told her I couldn't believe it was still light outside (it was 11:40 a.m.). I felt like I was too high to drive so I walked around downtown St. Paul for a while.

After what felt like an hour, I looked at the time and it had only been 15 minutes. I drove home anyway and was SUPER DUPER INCREDIBLY CAREFUL EVERY SINGLE SECOND and think I probably drove more attentively than I ever have. I had an online work meeting as soon as I got home and talked way too much… not exactly sure I stayed on topic.

I might try substituting it for my occasional glass or two of wine. Even a couple glasses makes me feel kinda yucky the next day, and I know gummies won't. And I’ll keep using it as a sleep aid for sure. Definitely not at the dentist (LOL).

Ian, 36

I had never tried any weed product (CBD or THC) before. I have a few reasons for avoiding it—mostly, there wasn't a lot of it around in my friend groups until late in my twenties, and by that time, my interest in gaining new vices was lower. My life is a delicate balancing act between caffeine and alcohol, and throwing in a third chemical dimension is intimidating. On my best days, I spend a lot of time listening to doom metal and zoning out to the white noise of a TV, so I'm fearful weed may make me too powerful.

Now that it's legal, I just feel like I'm out of reasons to not try it. Many of my friends that have successfully cut back on drinking alcohol have done so through "California Sobriety," so I'm curious if it can serve that purpose for me. I'm starting with a Fair State Chill State Seltzer (5 mg THC, 25 mg CBD, #4 in Racket's rankings!). I've been a longtime fan of their beers, taproom, and labor union, so it feels like a fitting way to ease into THC. The seltzer itself has a citrus flavor, with a noticeable undertone of what I would identify as the hemp—the taste is reminiscent of stale hops or pine. I'm disappointed that the nanny state won't let them put alcohol in this as well, but given the nature of my experiment, having a single variable is wise.

It's tough to tell which feelings are caused by the THC, and which parts are my anxiety around trying it. My limbs feel heavier, I feel a bit flush, and my writing feels less natural. The light from the TV feels too bright, so I suspect my pupils must be dilating. Is this why stoners always hangout in such dark rooms? Some of the memes on twitter don't seem objectively very good, but I'm finding them funnier. I'm also watching the Gopher football game, and I don't feel like Big Ten Football has been enhanced one bit.

It's been about 90 minutes since I first started drinking the seltzer. I tried to pace myself so it didn't all hit me at once. Assuming this is as much as I'm going to feel it, I'd say it's been a pretty easy ride into it. I put Bongzilla's 2005 classic "Amerijuanican" on my headphones to see how my music perception is affected. This is a great album in normal times (they're from Madison, Wisconsin—SEMI-LOCAL ANGLE!!!) and it’s hitting me even harder right now. I was feeling more anxious with the THC and having some music to listen to is helping mellow me out. Fuck a single variable. I'm going to have a beer.

…Beer helped mellow me out a bit. Even after a beer and a half, I feel relaxed in a way that would typically take twice as much, with less messiness. Any effects I was feeling were fading or gone by hour three.

I don't know what the right amount of THC is for me to feel it, but I suspect it's somewhere north of 5 mg. I’d also be curious to try it in a more social or stimulating setting. And I would be interested in seeing flower legalized, as smoking looks a lot cooler, and I think I could find the right level of high a lot easier with the instant effect. I think I would be a great candidate to be a guy that complains that weed is too strong these days and preaches about the benefits of mids. 

I'd also appreciate clarity from the legislature on how to talk about marijuana without sounding like a cop. I keep using terms like "doing THC" and "using weed" and my friends are laughing at me.

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