Consumer’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis:
The 411 on Buying Cannabis at a Dispensary
If you’ve never been to a dispensary (and even if you have), it can be an overwhelming experience. There are so many products now – smokeables like buds and vapes, or “rigs” for dabbing, lotions and potions, drinks and concoctions, gums and tinctures — not to mention a wide assortment of baked goods, gummies and other edibles. Even the most experienced cannabis users can get lost. That’s why you need to do your homework.
Before you do anything, you need to understand the laws in your state around medicinal cannabis. In some cases, you need a medical card that is issued by a doctor. Other states now have recreational use so you can go directly to the dispensary without a prescription. Ask your doctor or consult with a medical cannabis doctor in your area using one of our recommended health professionals <link to doctor lookup>. Once you know your options, you are ready to visit your local cannabis provider. To start you off, we’ve created this guide that can prepare you for what to expect when you step inside a dispensary.
1. Select your cannabis based on your condition or desired affect.
THC dominant products – good for pain, glaucoma, anti-inflammatory, muscle spasm or appetite. Each cannabis strain has particular value for specific conditions:
- Sativa – is stimulating and uplifting, but can be disorienting. Use it for depression, fatigue or ADD.
- Indica – is relaxing, sedating, and some feel it’s best for body relaxation. Use it for unwinding and sleep.
- Hybrids – will vary and are often the best option for some conditions.
IMPORTANT: THC dominant products are psychoactive and you should not drive under the influence.
CBD dominant products – are generally relaxing and used for anxiety relief. They also provide anti-inflammatory benefits for joint pain, arthritis, numbness in the limbs and muscle spasm, as well as protection of nerve cells and the nervous system.
2. Select the appropriate method of delivery.
Not all methods are the same. Inhalation (smoking or vaping) is short acting and comes on quickly. Sublingual (tinctures, lozenges, etc) offers moderate onset and last 4-6 hours so you can use 3-4 times a day. Edibles come on the slowest and last the longest, for doses 2-3 times a day.
3. Personal preferences vs. best method.
Some people just don’t like smoke and choose to vaporize instead. But smoking offers a wider selection of strains and includes all of the plant components, including terpenes, which may provide additional health benefits.
4. Beware of the budtender.
Many of the salespeople at dispensaries know a great deal about THC-rich cannabis, but lack the knowledge around medical conditions. More times than not, they know even less about the benefits of CBD-rich cannabis. Some dispensaries don’t yet carry a wide selection of CBD products, as these are relatively new to the market. That said, there are some dispensaries that are more focused on the vast medical benefits and the advice of their budtenders is defiantly more valuable. Because this is still all very new, it is up to you to get the information and find the right medicine for your condition. Use the articles and information in our “Learn” section to help you make the right CBD and cannabis decisions for your specific needs.
5. Getting the most for your money.
It all comes down to how much medicine you need to best treat your condition. Some products have a higher concentration of cannabinoids (the key ingredient), which means a lower cost per dose. This includes cannabis oil, tinctures or edibles. And if you have a green thumb, you can save a lot more by growing your own plants and skipping the dispensary altogether.
6. Careful with the freebies.
When you visit a dispensary, they may offer you free edibles or other things to try as a sample. Wait until you get home or someplace where you don’t have to drive and/or work, and don’t consume too much. Some of those freebies can be very potent and you may not be used to the effect they can have on you. Treat it like going to a wine tasting – you don’t drink and drive, so don’t consume cannabis and drive.
The medicinal cannabis movement is still in its early days and a lot more information will be coming in the months and years ahead. Three Wells will be here for you as a trusted source for facts and education on ins and outs of this cannabis wellness revolution. And be sure to take some time to dig deeper into our site to learn more about how you can benefit from cannabis.