Weed is complicated until it's not.
I may be Proper’s Editorial Director and a decade-long cannabis user, but my tolerance for THC is low. So low I sometimes think my tolerance never left the basement level I started with, leaving me sensitive and wary of new products but also highly attuned to the concerns of new consumers. Point being: I feel you, newbies.
THC, for those who don’t know, is the shorthand term for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the most abundant and intoxicating compound found in cannabis. It’s partly responsible for the stoned, sleepy, giggly, relaxed, aroused, energized, euphoric feelings we get from weed. When overconsumed, it's responsible for that classic stoner paranoia, too. Just ask that cop who called the cops on himself.
Then you have CBD, the second-most abundant compound found in cannabis. It’s known for relieving pain and minor anxieties without prompting much of a “high.” It also balances out and inhibits the anxiety you can get from consuming too much THC. Most publications refer to CBD as non-psychoactive, but we like to say it’s non-intoxicating because, while it won’t get you stoned, it may leave you feeling calm and perhaps a little sleepy depending on the dose. However subtle, those are technically psychoactive effects.
Now that you've got the basics down, you're ready to start exploring. Start by asking yourself, what am I looking to achieve via cannabis? Is it pain relief? Better sleep? Less anxiety? A good time? Below, you'll find newcomer-approved products to suit those needs along with comparable options you can find outside of California. And if you live in San Francisco, you can shop this list via our delivery service, Parcel.
Good For: Pain Relief
Likelihood You’ll Screw It Up: 0%
This balm is a true gateway product for two reasons: it’s incredibly easy to use and showcases the medicinal benefits of cannabis without affecting your mind. Like most of Papa & Barkley’s products, this balm has cannabis and other soothing botanicals infused into an easily-absorbed coconut oil base. There is a slight weedy undertone to its aroma, but it’s largely masked by a sinus-clearing eucalyptus scent. THC may be listed in the product name, but this balm will not get you high. Both THC and CBD serve to relieve pain and soothe irritation but cannot penetrate deeply enough to enter your bloodstream and kick off a psychoactive high. So, unless you eat it, you’re in the clear.
According to my partner and weed novice of the highest order, “It was a gentle easing into the pleasant body high sensation and unlike other formats (vapes, edibles, joints), it didn’t cloud my mind to get me there. For me, the benefits of weed don’t outweigh the risk of feeling anxious or paranoid, so it’s nice to know I can get a body high that seemingly bypasses any effect it would have on my mind.” Personally, I like to rub a pea-sized amount on the back of my neck and temples to stop a headache in its tracks. I’ve also used it to heal sunburns with great success. Order here.
For a comparable topical you can order from anywhere, check out Apothecanna’s Extra Strength Pain Creme. Relief-wise, it isn’t quite as effective as Papa & Barkley’s balm, but it has an ultra-moisturizing texture and smells like sweet mint gum.