Visiting Amsterdam Coffeeshops

For a lot of people, visiting a coffeeshop is high on the list of things they want to do when visiting Amsterdam, and rightly so. The plethora of Cannabis varieties on offer is enough to get any cannabis enthusiast’s blood going. The city has a lot to offer and this can be overwhelming. Not to fear, we are here to help.

When visiting Amsterdam coffeeshops there are certain things you need to keep in mind:

  • Don’t feel obliged to consume the entire amount of Cannabis you have purchased in that coffeeshop, as you may carry up to five grams and enjoy it later.
  • Not all coffeeshops are the same. Trust your instincts and remember that the shop is selling you a drug. If you can’t get enough information about the products on the menu from which you are choosing, feel free to go somewhere else.
  • Cannabis falls under a “tolerance” policy in The Netherlands, meaning that there is no product regulation in the coffeeshops, and that cannabis is not actually legal. You are not permitted to purchase (or carry) more than five grams of cannabis and hash at one time. (Read more in about Cannabis in Amsterdam here)
  • The toleration of cannabis is restricted to certain areas, primarily in coffeeshops, meaning that smoking in the streets, parks and other public areas is not permitted.
  • Hard drugs fall under a zero-tolerance policy in the Netherlands. They are prohibited from coffeeshops and tourists should never purchase drugs (including cannabis) on the street.
  • If it is your first time ever trying cannabis, please be sure to consume lots of sugars prior to going in a coffeeshop. THC, the active ingredient in weed, can lower your blood sugar level causing users to experience a lack of energy or even nausea and vomiting. Cakes, waffles, ice cream, fruits and sweet drinks are all acceptable sources of sugar to be consumed before, during and after trying cannabis for the first time.
  • Please be aware of pickpockets, not only in coffeeshops but also on public transportation and while walking along our picturesque canals and streets. Violent crime is rare, but photo ID, bags and wallets are frequently stolen without the victim even realising.
  • Especially after leaving coffeeshops, do not walk in the cycle path, clearly designated along the roads with line markers and bicycle icons. Pedestrians usually have right-of-way, unless of course you’re walking in the cycle path!
  • Last but not least: have fun and enjoy the experience!

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Trust your instincts and remember that the shop is selling you a drug. If you can’t get enough information, feel free to go somewhere else.

Frequently asked questions

Is Cannabis an addictive substance?

Cannabis is not physically addictive but can create a psychological addiction. “…any habit that satisfies a need or desire, whether related to a drug or not, can be described as a psychological dependency.” Lester Grinspoon, MD.

Does Cannabis consumption kill brain cells?

Despite extensive research in this area, there has been no correlation found between Cannabis use and abnormal death of brain cells. Research continues but there is little reason to believe any connection will be discovered.

Is Cannabis a stepping stone to harder drugs?

The facts indicate this to be a blatant falsehood. Any correlation between Cannabis use and hard drug use can be linked to governmental policies that place cannabis in the same underground market as hard drugs like cocaine, and heroin.

Does Cannabis smoking lead to lung cancer?

A study has shown that Cannabis tar contains a 50% higher concentration of hydrocarbons – a chemical linked to lung cancer – compared with tobacco. Even so, the study of more than 2,000 people with differing smoking habits found no correlation between Cannabis smoking and lung, head, or neck cancer.