This is probably the drug you’ve come across or heard about most frequently. Marijuana contains THC, a chemical that slows motor skills, alters concentration and perception, and increases appetite. After a person smokes pot, their eyes might get red or dilated, and their heart rate will probably speed up despite how slow everything else feels when a person is stoned.

Pot is mossy-looking and ranges in color from very light green, like split-pea soup, to much darker, and will sometimes have orangey threads running through it. It’s most frequently sold in grams, although a user needs far less than that to get high—typically, just a couple of puffs will alter the mind. Most frequently, weed comes in little baggies containing dried clumps of buds that are still on the stem.

Overall, weed feels hazy and lazy and sleepy and crazy. Even the most run-of-the-mill things, when you’re high, seem different and somehow stranger. Outside of these experiences, it’s hard to say how any one person, specifically, will react to pot. Although it’s non-lethal and not harmful to a person’s overall health and wellness for the most part (especially if you use a vaporizer instead of inhaling harmful smoke into your lungs) and is not physically addictive, weed can be habit forming, like any other drug. Here’s what you should know if you’re deciding whether or not to try it out, man.

Never smoke out of an aluminum can, a water bottle fashioned into a bong, a joint rolled from paper with ink on it, or anything else that has a primary purpose besides being a crappy way of getting someone high. The chemicals that these devices emit when heated up aren’t good for you, and there’s just no reason to inhale that shit when there are so many other, less harmful ways to smoke weed, like from a glass pipe or rolled up in cigarette papers. No matter what you’re smoking from, please don’t smoke more than you need to feel the weed. After that, you’re overdoing it, which can result in paranoia or ANXIETY. These feelings are most common when a person is smoking way too much or too frequently, although it can happen to anybody despite their particular usage habits. I got stoney bologna multiple times every other day after school, plus weekends, when I was younger. As a result, by the time I was 19, I couldn’t smoke weed without having anxiety attacks that could undo whole weeks of mental health. Two years later, that’s still the case—I tried to smoke pot at my friend’s party a few months ago and promptly ended up locked in her bathroom telling myself to “BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE” while lying down in her shower, while everyone else was eating dinner and goofing around. Not fun. If a stoned person DOES get anxious, they should try to go to sleep. Failing that, they should remind themselves to BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE (although they should try to stay out of other people’s showers) and remember that how they’re feeling isn’t permanent and will wear off soon enough.

There are all different ways that marijuana affects people’s lives, including the very truthful stereotype of the lazy stoner: if someone smokes weed all day, every day, there’s not a big chance they’re getting much done besides getting high. Obviously, this isn’t an awesome way to waste your life (and that’s exactly what full-time pot smokers are doing, truly). Sometimes my friends and I ask one another, “If you could tell your high school self just one thing, what would it be?” and my answer 100 percent of the time is “I would tell myself to smoke less pot.” This is for SO MANY REASONS: First, all my friendships revolved around getting high, since my friends and I didn’t do anything else. When I stopped liking it and took a break from smoking, my friends dropped me because I was no longer willing to go in on a bag. Ugh. Also, as I mentioned, it exacerbated my already nerve-destroying anxiety and self-consciousness to the point that I felt completely disgusting as a person even when I wasn’t high, and when I was, I could barely speak for thinking that everything I said was STUPID STUPID WEIRD STUPID SHUT UP GOD PLEASE STOP EMBARRASSING YOURSELF. Once, when I was stoned at a party in junior year, some guy said to me, “Why do you always look like you’re posing?” The answer was that in order not to freak out I had to physically affix my body into certain positions that I thought looked “normal,” which clearly wasn’t very convincing. When I talk to my best friend from high school, we often come back to the question “Why on earth did we get so, so stoned so much?” and neither of us can figure it out. It’s pretty sad to both of us now, and I don’t want that to be your experience when you reminisce about being a teenager.

But honestly, taken in small doses, occasionally? Weed is pretty benign. Don’t tell your parents I told you this.

Be really careful with edibles. Pot brownies/cookies/etc. pack much more of a wallop than smoking weed–they feel more like an acid trip–and since their effects are delayed, you’re more likely to take way more than you can handle. Have a bite or two (AND NO MORE) then wait an hour and a half to see how you feel before mayyyybe having ONE more bite. Don’t be convinced that just eating half of some space cake is conservative, because it isn’t. One or two bites and that’s all, folks!

Don’t leave marijuana lying around the house, even in your own bedroom. There is not one parent or guardian in the history of Bob Marley that has EVER bought the “It’s not mine; I’m holding it for a friend” excuse. You can trust me on that one.