Responsible Cannabis Consumption

Use for a Positive Change

Written By Lucy Dagnillo, Greenlove Media | Photography By Kenesha Facello, Greenlove Media

The Laws

The question of responsible social consumption is starting to come up as more states begin to legalize cannabis. Whether you use it for medical or spiritual purposes, stress and anxiety, or to relax after a long day of work, understanding one’s own consumption habits is important in order to maintain a healthy relationship with cannabis.

First, remember that cannabis consumption is only legal for adult users over the age of 21. Following all state regulated guidelines for consumption are important, whether that be in a private or public space.

Time and place is important, explained’s “Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use.” Responsible users should always consider accepted public standards, and others’ right to avoid cannabis altogether. 

Do not drive or operate a vehicle when high. When the state of California approved the sale of recreational cannabis in January 2018, legislation also banned smoking and ingesting cannabis products when behind the wheel.

The law also regulates how cannabis can be stored in cars similar to open container laws for alcohol. If an officer believes you are impaired, the same guidelines as a DUI will apply if you are under the influence of cannabis. Knowing your rights as a consumer is important as states move through the grey areas of legalization.

The Cannabis Consumers Campaign recommends waiting at least 15 minutes after smoking before getting behind the wheel. Before doing so, “Perform a sobriety test on yourself […] to determine if you are impaired or not.”  Don’t use before work or school, unless you have a valid medical reason to do so, the site adds. Be aware of your surroundings, and remember — cannabis has a synergistic effect when used with other substances, like alcohol.


Types of Consumption

Cannabis strains affect each user differently; this makes responsible consumption tricky. It is important for each consumer to know their tolerance levels and be aware of how certain strains make them feel. If you are a new user, starting with very low doses in a safe environment is always recommended.

Users should never feel pressured to consume more than they are comfortable with trying. If at a consumption friendly event, it’s best to bring your own product so you can control your individual high. Trying CBD-dominant strains is also helpful for first-time users as the CBD does not offer the psychoactive high found in THC-dominant products.

Smoking cannabis is the mainstream option for consumption, however vaping, tinctures, and topical salves are becoming more popular. Utilizing budtenders’ knowledge in dispensaries is the best way to learn more about individual products and their benefits. Depending on one’s intention, the budtender can recommend the best option for each individual.

Consumers should feel comfortable cultivating a relationship with their local dispensary. Ask questions about how the cannabis was grown — it’s important information to learn as a consumer — especially if utilizing the plant for medicinal purposes. Many products are grown using organic, all-natural, live soil, whereas others employ more commercialized practices, which utilize pesticides and fertilizers.

Learning how to navigate product packaging is valuable. Many companies indicate sustainable practices, certifications and lab test results through labels on their products (to learn more about this,  see “The Consumer’s Guide to Buying Cannabis”).



Edibles are in a special category of their own, and should be taken with caution. Edibles — or medibles — are cannabis-infused food or beverages. Often, these products are created with either cannabis-butter, oil or extract. The THC is transferred into the blood stream through the capillaries in the mouth making its way into the stomach where the nutrients are further absorbed. As a result of this slower absorption process edibles have a longer lasting effect in the body.

These infused consumables are becoming a popular option as many feel that they are a healthier, more enjoyable way to consume cannabis. They are discreet, and help users avoid the negative health effects of smoking.

While there are many benefits, one should always use caution when consuming edibles as they do offer a more intense experience. Doses are often broken down into 5 mg or 10 mg pieces — but there are also products that offer lower dosages.

It’s best to start slow and allow time for the cannabis to enter into the bloodstream before consuming more. Some feel very sedated after an edible, so plan on enjoying a night at home after eating that infused, chocolatey treat!


Social Consumption Products

As social consumption for private events is becoming more mainstream, many companies are addressing overconsumption issues by offering micro-dosed and CBD-dominant products for a controlled experience.

One company that has become an innovator in tailoring their product to new users is Toast, a luxury cannabis brand out of Aspen, Colorado. Toast has introduced a pre-roll that is advertised for use in social settings, touting “Be Social. Be Mindful” as their slogan.

These pre-rolls are available in CBD to THC ratios of 2:1, and 4:1. Filtered pre-rolls are perfect for new users or those who enjoy the sensation of smoking without the head high brought on by THC.

Mondo has also created an all-natural, dissolvable cannabis powder that can be applied to any food or beverage. With low doses of 5 mg per scoop, this is the perfect way to add that needed boost to your daily routine without the psychoactive effects of THC.

As the market expands, a wider array of products will become available. It is the responsibility of the individual to be accountable for their consumption habits and behaviors in order to showcase a positive mindset around cannabis consumption.

For more information, visit’s “Principles  of Responsible Cannabis Use,” or

Emerald contributor since March 2012


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