They say that Amsterdam is one place that absolutely every cannabis fan in the world should visit once in their lifetime. In reality however, Amsterdam is the kind of place you should visit as often as realistically possible. It may not be the only cannabis destination in the world right now, but it is nonetheless for various reasons considered to be the original and best of the bunch. And once you’ve experienced it for yourself, you’ll know why.
But just as is the case with any destination you haven’t been to before, it pays to do a little research and have a little knowledge on your side, before setting off. Amsterdam is nothing short of cannabis nirvana, but there are certain things about the city in general it is good to know ahead of time. Likewise, there are plenty of presumptions about Amsterdam and the city’s cannabis culture in general that don’t always turn out to be accurate.
So if you’re lucky enough to be heading out to The Netherlands in the near future and would like to make the very most of your trip, here’s a rundown of just a few important things you need to know before you go:
1. Ask Plenty of Questions
First of all, it’s a good idea to acknowledge the fact that those who work in the famed coffee shops of Amsterdam are the best people to ask when it comes to what they’ve got on offer. Aside from being good baristas and coffee makers, chances are they’ll have more strains packed away behind the counter than you’ve ever come across in your life, not to mention a whole bunch of other goodies. From pre-rolled joints to cakes. milkshakes and all else besides, rather than simply buying them and finding out what they’re like, ask what’s in them and how strong they are etc. before doing so. This information isn’t always made readily available, so it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting before you get it. And if you encounter a miserable coffee shop worker who makes you feel like you’re a pain in the ass…there are some like this…just head elsewhere and find someone a little more welcoming.
2. Start Out with Sativa
Unless you’re planning on spending the rest of the day glued to your seat and doing little to nothing at all, it’s a good idea to start out with the Sativa strains on offer. The simple fact of the matter is that with so many incredible things to try and new places to check out, it just makes good sense to keep yourself as energized and charged as possible with quality Sativa strains. It’s also important to remember that the kind of cannabis you come across in Amsterdam may be exponentially stronger than anything you have ever tried at home. Which means that even if you think you know what you are doing with any particular strain, you might want to think about starting slowly and cautiously when doing things how the Dutch do them. Don’t go ruining your day by diving in too enthusiastically – take your time and enjoy.
3. Cool, Calm and Collected
Make no mistake about it – coffee shop owners and workers will not think twice about refusing to serve you, if they take a disliking to you for any given reason. All you have to remember is that given the way things go down in Amsterdam, these guys deal with dozens of dumb tourists every day who turn up, take the p**s and generally make complete and total morons of themselves. Those that get too drunk, too high, too rowdy, too loud or too obnoxious in any way will be summarily turfed out by the kinds of security guards you do NOT want to get on the bad side of. Which in turn means that you need to ensure that you and every member of your group remains cool, calm and collected at all times – even if you are baked out of your mind. If you think you might be heading over the edge, take a walk and go mellow out.
4. Stray a Little Further Afield
You will of course want to check out the most iconic coffee shops lining the red light district, right in the historic city centre itself. However, it’s also important to remember that not only are many of these tourist-focused coffee shops less than authentic, but they also tend to be considerably more expensive than those a little further afield. The best advice therefore is to check out plenty of reviews and recommendations online, from those who know exactly what they are talking about and would prefer to avoid tourist traps. It’s not to say that you cannot and will not have an absolutely fantastic time wherever you head – it’s just that you’ll probably have a much more enjoyable and affordable experience if you set your sights away from the more obvious haunts.
5. Beware the ‘Baccy
If you hail from a region where it is the norm to roll joints containing nothing but pure cannabis, you may be in for a culture shock in Amsterdam. Or at least, you will be if you order a pre-rolled joint from behind the bar, without first checking exactly what is in it. The vast majority of cannabis smokers in Holland smoke joints that contain a mixture of cannabis and tobacco – which is the norm over there. However, if you are not a tobacco smoker and do not intend to become one, you may find yourself coughing up a lung when taking a deep hit on that pre-rolled joint. Quite a lot of coffee shops also have pure cannabis joints available as well, so be sure to ask what is on offer before buying.
6. Buy Small Amounts
The first time you find yourself presented with a menu featuring the most extraordinary quality weed in the world at affordable prices, you may find yourself tempted to buy the biggest chunk you can afford. And you will no doubt be happy with your purchase and spend half the afternoon posing with it. Which is all well and good, but when you buy cannabis in overly large quantities during a short break to Amsterdam, you deny yourself the opportunity to try as many different strains as possible. By contrast, if you buy only as much as you need for the next hour or two, you can then spend the rest of the day trying out any number of equally incredible strains. And if you are traveling in a group, think about ensuring that every member of the group picks up something different for everyone else to try out.
7. Care with Cakes
Just as cannabis in its own right has a habit of being considerably stronger in Amsterdam, you can also expect way more of the stuff to be packed into the cannabis edibles on sale In the average Amsterdam coffee shop, you’ll find a dizzying array of incredible edibles to try, taking on a wide variety of shapes and forms. However, what you cannot necessarily rely on is an accurate disclosure of exactly how much THC is in there, or even any kind of disclosure whatsoever. Some menus list approximate THC content, but as these treats are often homemade, it has a tendency to vary hugely from one to the next. Which is precisely why it is in your best interests to be very cautious and careful with cakes and edibles in general, eating in small quantities and giving it at least an hour or two before scoffing down any more.
8. Be Mindful when Mixing
Don’t mix your drugs – four words every single coffee shop worker in Amsterdam will routinely find themselves voicing toward careless customers. Given the fact that cannabis tends to pack a very serious wallop in Amsterdam, it’s also worth bearing in mind that beer in these parts also tends to be anything but mild and mellow. Which means that if you insist on mixing any number of pints with the pot of your choosing, you might just find yourself biting off more than you can chew. And once again, don’t be surprised if you are refused service if you start going OTT.
9. Eat Well
One of the biggest delights of all when it comes to enjoying the red light district in Amsterdam is indulging in the kind of junk food and fast food you’d probably advise others against. There are simply awesome takeout joints and pseudo-hot-food vending-machines all over the place, meaning that smoking on an empty stomach is never necessary.
10. Behave Yourself Outdoors
Last but not least, while recreational cannabis use may be tolerated in Amsterdam, this doesn’t mean that it is in fact 100% legal. As such, when you are away from coffee shop environments or other known bud-smoking locations, it’s not really a good idea to pull out a fat blunt and start puffing away. Likewise, being in any way inebriated to an excessive extent in public will not be tolerated by the local police. Get as high as you want as often as you want in the right designated places, but be sure to behave yourself the rest of the time.