Best Practices for Responsible Cannabis Consumption in Massachusetts

So you’ve read up on all you need to know about cannabis rules in Massachusetts, visiting a dispensary, and you think you know what products you want to get. Now what?

At our recreational dispensary in Provincetown, we get a lot of questions about the pros and cons of all the different consumption methods and the specifics around why you might want to choose one method or product over another.

So, we picked the brains of our staff so you don’t have to (but you totally still can ask them again IRL). Here’s our roundup of best practices you need to know for responsible cannabis consumption:

Consumption Methods 101

First thing first: when exploring cannabis consumption in Massachusetts or beyond, it’s important to know all the different methods of consumption that are available to you.

Most customers select their products based on the type of experience they want to have. Maybe you want to pop an edible quickly before a funny movie or maybe you want a more engaged experience where you’re rolling your own joints and passing it around to friends. 

Naturally, each of these methods will have pros and cons, including onset time, duration time, and more. Let’s get into each consumption method so you can choose what’s best for you:

Smoking Cannabis

Whether it’s flower/pre-rolls or vapes, smoking is one of the most traditional methods of consuming cannabis. Known for its fast-acting effects, smoking offers a familiar experience to most consumers who have been exposed to cannabis in some shape or form. 

However, it comes with drawbacks such as potential lung irritation and exposure to harmful toxins from combustion, depending on the products you use. 

To mitigate these risks, individuals can opt for safer smoking practices and accessories like using glass or silicone pipes, which reduce the inhalation of harmful substances compared to rolling papers. Additionally, proper ventilation and avoiding deep inhalation can minimize potential respiratory issues associated with smoking. 

Vaping has gained popularity as a smoke-free alternative, offering a range of vaporizers from portable pens to desktop devices. Vaporizing heats cannabis at lower temperatures, producing vapor rather than smoke, which reduces the intake of harmful chemicals. 

At Hennep, we take pride in the quality of vape cartridges and quality-check our inventory to ensure there are no products containing additives like propylene glycol or vitamin E acetate, which have been linked to health concerns. 

Ingesting Cannabis

Edibles provide a discreet and long-lasting option for cannabis consumption, with plenty of different product options, ranging from classics like chocolates, gummies, and tinctures to newer items such as seltzers, ice creams, baked goods, and more. 

Not only does this increase your range of available products, but it also allows you to get creative with how you consume. Another pro to ingesting your cannabis is that the “high” effect lasts significantly longer than a puff of a joint or vape. 

The downsize of edibles is that it typically takes much longer to kick in, meaning that you may have to prepare in advance of when you’d like to feel the effects. Unfortunately, this also results in many consumers taking another edible thinking the first one wasn’t enough.

Please don’t do this! Our budtenders recommend beginners should start with low doses, typically between 2.5 to 5 mg, and wait at least two hours before consuming more to avoid overconsumption and potential discomfort. 

Another con to keep in mind is that edibles have to go through the digestive system, meaning there are a lot of factors in play at any given time that will affect the potency and your overall consumption experience (think, age, weight, food consumed prior, etc.). 

Topical Cannabis

Topicals offer a non-intoxicating option for localized relief, commonly used for pain management, inflammation, or skin conditions. Although more niche, this is a great consumption method for those who are active, aging, or simply want some recovery support in their routine.

The downside with topicals is that its application is restricted to external use only and its effectiveness will vary depending on your unique concern. Other considerations for topical use include choosing products with proper cannabinoid and terpene profiles tailored to specific needs and ensuring proper application techniques for optimal absorption and efficacy. 

SMOKING ✓ Classic, familiar experience

✓ Quick onset time

✓ Easy to control dosage

✗ Short duration of effects

✗ Potential lung irritation

✗ Exposure to harmful toxins from combustion

VAPING ✓ Smoke-free alternative

✓ Reduced intake of harmful chemicals

✗ Short duration of effects

✗ Potential lung irritation

EDIBLES ✓ Long duration of effects

✓ Many different flavors and product form options

✓ Suitable for non-smokers

✗ Long onset time

✗ Risk of overconsumption due to delayed onset

✗ Potential for unpredictable potency 

TOPICALS ✓ Localized relief 

✓ Non-intoxicating

​​✗ Limited application (external use only)

✗ No systemic relief

✗ Effectiveness may vary depending on individual concern


As you can see, each consumption method offers unique benefits and considerations. If you feel overwhelmed in choosing the option that best suits your preferences and wellness goals, don’t hesitate to ask your budtender more questions about your individual needs. 

Understanding Dosage Recommendations

Another element of responsible cannabis consumption is dosage. Whether you’re a new or experienced cannabis consumer, dosage recommendations can seem arbitrary – but we promise, they weren’t plucked out of thin air. Understanding these guidelines is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience every time.

“Starting low and going slow” is the name of the game, especially if it’s your first time consuming cannabis (at all or with a specific product). This allows you to gauge your tolerance levels and reduce the risk of any adverse reactions. 

The first thing to know about dosage is that there are a million factors that can affect the optimal dosage, such as individual tolerance, metabolism, and product potency.

For instance, a microdose, ranging from 1 to 2.5 mg, offers mild pain or stress relief and heightened focus, making it ideal for first-time users or those interested in microdosing. 

On the other end of the spectrum, high doses, usually between 50 to 100 mg, deliver intense psychoactive effects and are typically consumed by users with a high THC tolerance or those opting for cannabis concentrates. 

You will likely land somewhere in the middle, depending on your reason for using cannabis as well as the type of product you want to consume. This is why products like our 1906 drops or Cann’s infused seltzers are so popular; they allow you to control your pace and dosage in a safer, more controlled manner.

To learn more about the spectrum of dosage, read our blog about Determining Your Dosage Tolerance.

Responsible Use Tips

Regardless of what you consume and how, it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings and consume responsibly. Remember, some methods are more discreet than others.

Be sure to follow age restrictions and public consumption regulations to avoid legal repercussions. 

In Massachusetts, individuals must be at least 21 years old to purchase and consume cannabis, and consuming in public spaces, including beaches and parks, is strictly prohibited. This is particularly relevant for our local Provincetown residents and visitors who may be tempted to consume openly on national shorelines and parks (where even possession of cannabis is considered federally illegal).

Do your best to ensure privacy and minimize exposure to non-consenting individuals. This includes safely storing cannabis products away from children and pets, and utilizing child-resistant packaging and locking mechanisms to prevent accidental ingestion. 

By following these responsible use tips, individuals can enjoy cannabis safely and conscientiously, contributing to a positive cannabis culture in Massachusetts.

Buy Cannabis from Hennep, Provincetown

As more and more customers become interested in trying out legal cannabis in Massachusetts, our team here at Hennep in Provincetown is proud to be an award-winning dispensary to help you along the way.

Whether you’re looking to explore for the first time or restock your stash, drop by our Commercial St. location, right in the heart of Provincetown in the Cape. You can also shop with us online.

Our budtenders will be more than happy to run through responsible cannabis consumption for you based on your unique selection and give you a breakdown of when and where you are legally allowed to consume while you’re in town.

For more information, read our Ultimate Guide to Buying Recreational Cannabis in Cape Cod.

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