Don't start out too quickly if you're new to the weed scene or it's been a while. (Raul Arboleda, AFP/Getty Images file)

Cannabist Q&A: Dosing for newbies, probation restrictions, ’70s strains

Welcome to our Ask The Cannabist column. Clearly you have questions about marijuana, be it a legal concern, a health curiosity, a Colorado-centric inquiry or something more far-reaching. Check out our expansive, 100-question Colorado marijuana FAQ first, and if you’re still curious, email your question to Ask The Cannabist at

Hey, Cannabist!
For someone with no medical conditions, who hasn’t smoked in years, what would you recommend for just a good welcome back buzz. Not looking to get blown away, just a relaxed good high. –Relaxed Reefer

Hey, Relaxed Reefer!
It may seem mechanical to be so precise with marijuana dosing, but Martha Montemayor of Healthy Choices Unlimited has guidelines so you don’t “overdowd” on your first time back.

Normally this dosing information is for the medical marijuana patients at Healthy Choices Unlimited, but the “Go slow and low” philosophy for THC ingestion can safely guide recreational users through a reintroduction to marijuana. For starters, Montemayor does not recommend dabs or other concentrates for anyone new to cannabis.

For basics, these recommendations are for cannabis with 5-25 percent total active THC. Recreational strains have been lab tested, so the THC potency should be available information in  licensed marijuana centers. For people who weigh 150 pounds or less, your first dose can be 2.5 mg to 5 mg total active THC.  If smoking or vaping, take one puff. For people who weigh between 150 and 200 pounds, the initial dose can be 5 mg to 10 mg total active THC.  If using an inhaled medicine, take two puffs. For individuals weighing more than 200 pounds, the initial dose can be 10 mg to 15 mg. For smoking or vaping, keep the dose at two puffs.

Montemayor  suggests that before consuming more, wait 15 minutes if you are smoking or vaping. If you are using drops, patches, gels, suckers, or other skin or mouth absorption products, wait 15 to 30 minutes before ingesting another measured dose.  If you are using edibles or capsules or anything digested, wait 60 to 90 minutes.

If you don’t feel the effect you like after the appropriate amount of time, take another measured dose, either 2.5 mg or 5 mg depending on your weight. Montemayor says if you follow these instructions precisely, you should be able to safely find your optimal dose for any form and strain of cannabis. XO

Know your limits: Get educated about edibles. Eight tips for getting the right dose

Oversight of edibles: The early months of Colorado’s legal marijuana sales spotlighted several edibles issues, including an independent Denver Post analysis of THC potency in products that revealed big discrepancies

Hey, Cannabist!
My husband is on unsupervised probation. The only thing the judge told him was stay out of trouble. So, can he continue to medicate with medical marijuana? –Worried Wife 

Hey, Worried Wife!
No, it’s not legal to medicate with medical marijuana while on probation.  Yes, Colorado has a medical marijuana amendment in the state constitution, but court decisions are refining details of the law, like this one handed down in 2012: “It’s in the state case People v. Watkins that held Colorado probation and parole rules require those on probation and parole to abide not only by state but federal laws as well,” says marijuana attorney Warren Edson.

Since marijuana is federally defined as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, its use is never legally allowed, even in states that allow medical marijuana.  Edson points out that some states’ rules “require you to follow only state law.”  The legal inconsistency is “another reason the federal laws on marijuana need to be changed,” Edson says.

Federal legislation: U.S. House votes to give medical marijuana states freedom from fed interference

Hey, Cannabist!
I lived in downtown Denver in the late ’70s. My first experience with marijuana was in the Mile High City and I loved it because I was poor as a pauper and it helped me not to worry.  I was amazed at its effects. I could just sit in a rocker in my apartment and smile at the wall, I was so happy.

I worked part time at The Big Cheese, a little cheese store a block from what was then Cheesman Park. We would take a few tokes and have a blast selling the cheeses. The customers loved us. All my friends were bohemian types, artists, writers, a mathematician, and an architect and we lived in this beautiful old house on 17th Avenue just 6 blocks from downtown. We would buy awesome pot each month from this guy that would come to our door making his rounds. We would have a once a month “restaurant” potluck and enjoy.

So, would you have any idea what strain this would be? All my friends from back then have scattered to the winds, and so have the seeds of this happy, beautiful weed. But I would like some clues about the type, kind it was. I would like to buy some seeds as close as possible that gives these happy effects. –Sentimental Seeds 

Hey, Sentimental Seeds! 
What a nostalgic trip!  Thank you for sharing your memories in such a picturesque vignette. I can see it now, you rocking in a chair, smiling at the wall and smelling like cheese.

You have to admit, it’s a tall order to track down an exact strain from 40 years ago through the hazy history of marijuana in the prohibition days.  In the underground economy, distribution routes, sales and product information and other facets of business were not the kind of information that got centrally recorded or was well documented.  So, if the information exists, it largely can be found in oral history and personal accounts from the time.

I can think of one person who would have a remembrance of 1970s strains in Denver and who doesn’t mind publicly sharing his clandestine knowledge. Wayward Bill Chengelis, a local counterculture and marijuana figure, first moved to the Denver area in the late 1970s. An anti-establishment Yippie since 1969 and current party to a lawsuit challenging the state marijuana taxes, Chengelis has historical awareness of underground markets because he toured with the Grateful Dead, seeing around 850 shows and still counting.

Marijuana was available on a loose distribution network that may or may not have been consistent. Chengelis describes the marijuana at that time as primarily imported from warmer equatorial climates like Colombia, Panama or Michoacan, Mexico. Colombian Gold and Panama Red were two well-known strains at the time.  Afghani  also was available. Usually strain-specific buds were pictured in High Times, and not commonly available on the streets. Chengelis fondly remembers a Hawaiian connection who brought Maui Waui to Boulder. Perhaps it was available in Denver too.

Is it possible that you or one of your bohemian roommates buried a jar of seeds in the yard? Go back to the house and start digging around. You might unearth a time capsule to your reminiscent paradise. (Of course, I’m kidding!) XO

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