Cannabis is not dangerous but, it is important that you educate yourself before buying it in Amsterdam. Tourists are easy prey for those trying to turn a profit selling low-quality goods. It is also easy to overdo it and end up having an unpleasant experience.
Being savvy means you get the best experience for the best price.
Locals and returning visitors recommend that you do your research before getting high in Amsterdam. There are lots of information centers in Amsterdam (the free Cannabis College, the Hash Museum, and even coffee shops themselves- Bulldog– the oldest coffee shop in Amsterdam), but it’s still a good idea to conduct some research before you get there.
Here are 5 tips that were given to me by a particularly helpful tour guide on my first visit to Amsterdam…
Coffee shops and Cafes are completely different places
Avoid disappointment/embarrassment and learn the difference between a cafe (or as the Dutch say ‘coffee house’) and a coffee shop. If you are looking to smoke some weed, do not expect to find any in a cafe. Instead, look out for shops with ‘Coffee Shop’ signs outside. Coffee shops are licensed sellers of cannabis products. Cafe’s serve traditional cafe type products. Some coffee shops also sell food and drink, however, some do not sell alcohol (I found out the hard way)
Avoid pre-rolled joints
Joints that have already been rolled usually contain lower grade weed. If you want a good quality joint, buy everything separately and roll your own. Don’t know how to roll? Ask someone to roll for you. People are usually happy to help if not, the offer to share is always an incentive.
Buy for the high you want
Prices listed in coffee shops are usually per gram of cannabis, which can make 2-3 joints. If you know this, you know how much you need to buy to get to the level of high you want.
When you order a space cake/ muffin/ hash brownie, wait at least an hour before eating another one. Ingesting weed in this way means that it takes longer to take effect, so take it slow to avoid coming up in a bad way.
Avoid smoking on the street
Dutch laws are relatively lenient with regard to outdoor smoking, however some frown on to smoking in the street, especially when it’s tourists doing so. In short, smoking on the street is tolerated but it’s better to find a nice coffee shop and smoke there.
For more on coffeeshops in Amsterdam see ‘The Top 8 Coffee shops to visit in Amsterdam‘.