With all the talk about legal weed that’s currently sweeping America, more than a few novices will no doubt sample cannabis for the first time and run screaming from the experience due to psychoactive overload. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way — if you follow a few basic rules.

Start Low And Go Slow

The very first step in determining your tolerance should be this mantra you repeat over and over. “Start low and go slow” means you begin with a very small dosage — whether a joint puff, a sucker lick, or a vape pen kiss — and you see how you feel over time before you re-up and run the risk of potentially overdoing it. Many a sad-faced pot newbie has felt the misery of edginess and paranoia after sucking down half a vape pen in one sitting.

Look For Softer Strains

In a world where many cannabis strains are clocked at 20–28 percent THC (the psychoactive agent in marijuana), it’s still quite possible to find milder strains in the 12–18 percent THC range, if you look hard enough. Think of it as the difference between pounding three shots of tequila or sipping a glass of wine. Two great strains for lower-tolerance individuals are the sativa-leaning Blue Dream and Wonder Woman. Made from genetics that contain the cornerstones of countless hybrids, both varietals offer uplifting highs that don’t tend to overwhelm newcomers to the weed scene. (Just remember rule No. 1: Start low and go slow.)

Try Strains High In Cannabidiol (CBD) With Less THC

CBD is the non-psychoactive brethren compound to the popular THC molecule. Strains that are high in CBD tend to produce feelings of calm and serenity, and have also been proven to contain anxiety-reducing characteristics. Due to CBD’s recent status as the It compound in weed, there are many of these strains available on the market, with varying degrees of CBD-to-THC ratios. A few of the current stars are Mai Tai Cookies, Cannatonic, Harlequin, ACDC and Harle-Tsu.

Enjoy Dry Herb First, Over Concentrates Or Edibles

Before paddling out to the Mavericks reef break that is concentrated marijuana, do yourself a favor and first sample the calm waters of lower-THC dry cannabis flower. The tried-and-true rolled joint, which has been the popular choice for consumption for decades, is a great way to take tiny little puffs as you get your feet wet. Give it 10 minutes or so before having some more — because sometimes, a marijuana buzz has a way of sneaking up on you. (Again, the mantra: Start low and go slow.)

Oil Vape Pens With Measured Dosages

Another good way for beginner cannabis enthusiasts to sample the plant is via a device that delivers a perfect dose of THC, every time. Using a dose pen makes it virtually impossible to take more than one dose at a time. There are many such devices on the market, but one of the current top performers is the dose pen by dosist. Delivering a precise 2.25mg of pure cannabinoids and terpene vapors per hit, the pen allows for micro-puffs that protect against accidental overindulgence. Most oil pen companies offer a plethora of flavors and potencies, so there’s something for everyone out there.