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Going to a Dispensary for the First Time: What to Expect?

Visiting a medical marijuana dispensary for the first time can be intimidating.

Our hope is that this guide can prepare you for a great first experience. Below are some things you can do to get ready so that things can go as smoothly as possible.

Visiting the Medical Marijuana Dispensary for the First Time

Visiting your local cannabis dispensary for the first time can be a very unique experience. Most budtenders and dispensary workers will be there when you’re ready for them, giving you the opportunity to explore the store at your own pace.

Make sure to have the following with you when visiting your medical cannabis dispensary.

Bring Your Identification

Always bring valid identification when visiting a medical or recreational marijuana dispensary. For medical cannabis, you will need to bring your state issued medical marijuana ID card. For Louisiana patients, there are no card issues. Your approval will be sent directly to the pharmacy, similar to a prescription medication being sent to your traditional drug store

Have Cash on Hand

Despite the emergence of digital payments, many dispensaries are still cash-only. This is because a lot of banks and credit unions are restricted due to federal guidelines.

While most shops accept cash and other types of digital payments, it’s best to keep cash on hand just in case.

Now that you know what to bring to your first visit to a medical marijuana dispensary, here are some things to do to make your visit smooth and enjoyable.

Understand Your Cannabis Goals

Deciding what to buy at a dispensary can be challenging. It’s a good idea to develop a game plan for what you are looking for and how you would like the strain to help manage your health outcomes. You can always ask the expert staff questions to help you make the best decision in making a product selection.

Here are some questions to help you:

  • What’s your purpose for using cannabis?

Think about why you’re going to the dispensary. Are you a medical user looking for symptom relief? Medical users often have specific product types recommended for their symptoms.

  • How do you want to use cannabis?

Below are four routes of administration to help you understand how to consume cannabis.

Inhalation: For immediate relief, you can choose inhalation methods like smoking or vaporizing cannabis, which allow the active components to enter your bloodstream quickly through your lungs.

Oral: Edibles, tinctures, and oils provide a longer-lasting effect as they are ingested and metabolized by your body, offering a discreet and controlled way to consume cannabis.

Topical: Topical applications such as creams and balms are perfect for localized relief, directly targeting specific areas of discomfort without systemic effects on your whole body.

Sublingual: Sublingual products, absorbed under the tongue, offer a fast-acting alternative to inhalation, with effects that are felt more quickly than edibles and with a longer duration than smoking or vaporizing.

We recommend opting for full-plant cannabis products, as they contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, offering a more holistic and potentially effective experience compared to concentrated forms.

  • When will you use your cannabis?

Think about the time of day you plan to use it. If you need to stay alert, choose a product that suits daytime use. If you’re using it in the evening, find something that fits that setting. Knowing the timing helps in selecting the right product.

  • What kind of experience are you after?

If you’re more into exploring the different cannabinoids and terpenes, you might enjoy marijuana flower more than concentrates, edibles, or tinctures.

Be Prepared to Ask Questions

If you’re already familiar with cannabis, you can easily browse a dispensary’s online menu, pick your items, order them, and even collect them curbside at many places. But if you’re new to this, don’t hesitate to go into a dispensary and ask the staff for advice.

Exploring online can help you understand what’s available and let you do research on your own. Speaking directly with a knowledgeable budtender can also help. They can guide you to the right product and the necessary tools for enjoying your cannabis.

Consider these points when planning your visit:

  • Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid: Sativa and Indica are said to have different effects, while hybrids blend the two. Many people use sativa in the daytime and indica at night, but your experience might vary. It’s best to try a little at a time to see how it affects you.

Cannabis selection involves more than just the basic categories of Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid. The plant contains a complex profile of major and minor cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, along with lesser-known ones like CBG and CBN, all of which contribute uniquely to the medicinal effects.

Additionally, terpenes, the aromatic compounds in cannabis, play a significant role in its therapeutic properties, and considering the Total Available Cannabinoids (TAC) in a product can provide a more comprehensive understanding of its effectiveness.

  • THC, CBD, or Both: Cannabis strains are diverse, each with unique levels of THC and CBD, the plant’s primary cannabinoids. However, their roles extend far beyond THC’s well-known psychoactive effects and CBD’s non-intoxicating nature. While THC can produce strong effects, its interaction with CBD and other cannabinoids can modulate these experiences, contributing to the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

This synergistic interaction, known as the ‘entourage effect,’ is enhanced by a variety of other phytochemicals present in the plant. Therefore, when choosing a cannabis product, consider not just the THC and CBD content but also the full spectrum of compounds that contribute to its therapeutic potential. Factors such as your sex, weight, and tolerance also play a crucial role in how you experience its effects.

  • Understanding Strain Properties: Dispensaries often list the properties that specific strains are known for. This information can help beginners understand what to expect. Keep in mind that these effects are not guaranteed.

Research Before Choosing a Dispensary

Websites like Weedmaps are great for checking out dispensary reviews and seeing what products they have. Some even let you order in advance if they accept card payments.

Doing this research before your visit helps you choose which dispensary to visit and think about what you want to buy before you arrive.

Look at Products Available Online Before Shopping

Just like you compare prices and read reviews online before buying something from Amazon or Walmart, do the same for medical marijuana products.

Before visiting a dispensary, look up product and brand reviews online. If you’re still not sure, ask the budtender for advice when you’re at the shop. Knowing more before you buy, especially with medical cannabis, often leads to better choices.

Talk to Your Budtender to Get Recommendations for You

There’s no “one size fits all” for medical marijuana recommendations. Two people with the same condition and symptoms might find different dosages or products that work best for them.

A budtender, much like a pharmacist, can guide you based on your individual needs and preferences. They can assist in choosing between various products and strains and advise on the right frequency and dosage for your use.

TeleLeaf Can Help You Get Your Medical Marijuana Card

If you’re considering medical marijuana as a treatment and need a doctor’s guidance, you’ve come to the right place. TeleLeaf can connect you with a state-licensed doctor to help you obtain your medical marijuana card.

We are an online telemedicine clinic helping qualified patients connect with credible doctors on our website.

We are for the patient, by the patient. Call us at (504) 264-3123 for any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be 21 to go into a dispensary?

Yes. But in some states with medical cannabis, those who are 18 and older, including patients and caregivers, can enter.

Is a medical card required to visit a dispensary?

In states where only medical cannabis is legal, you must have a medical cannabis card from that state to go into a dispensary.

Do I need to show my ID at a dispensary?

Yes, you’ll need a valid, government-issued photo ID to enter a dispensary in any state where cannabis is legal.

Can a dispensary near me deliver cannabis to my home?

Delivery depends on the state or store. Some states, like Louisiana, California and Massachusetts, where cannabis is legal for all adults, offer delivery services.

In New York, which only allows medical cannabis, patients can have orders delivered to their homes.

To find out if delivery is available in your state, check with your local dispensary.

What taxes will I pay on cannabis products?

The taxes you pay on medical and recreational cannabis differ in each state. You might also have to pay extra taxes based on the city/county. Your local dispensary can explain the specific taxes for cannabis products in your area.

Can I see cannabis flower before buying it?

The rules about displaying cannabis products differ from state to state. In places like Washington, dispensaries can show products like flower and edibles if they’re sealed.

But in many states, products are often in a sealed container.


References

What is a Budtender? A Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Budtender- COVA
https://www.covasoftware.com/blog/budtenders

Dispensaries – Weedmaps
https://weedmaps.com/dispensaries/in/united-states/louisiana/new-orleans

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