Your First Dispensary Visit

Before You Visit A Dispensary

Spend some time online. First timers should research 3 basic areas: Medical vs. Recreational use, Legal Basics, and the Various Means of Consumption.

Medical vs Recreational

Learn the benefits of cannabis given your personal situation. Start with this: Are my needs mainly medical? Or are my needs more recreational? Medical Recommendations are easy to acquire assuming the Doctor agrees your symptoms will be lessened with cannabis use. This recommendation eliminates California’s Recreational Use tax of 15%. You do need to check your local dispensary to be sure they are licensed as a medical dispensary.


There are several laws you should understand, and several more to learn given your tolerance for legalese. For users, they typically revolve around possession limits, operation of vehicles or heavy machinery, and of course search and seizure laws. This is not an exhaustive list.

Types of Cannabis Consumption:

70% of sales are of the flower variety, sold in various weight volumes (most commonly ⅛ oz and often higher) and in pre-rolled joints. If you’re not smoking a joint, cannabis flower is typically ignited and then inhaled via a pipe, bong, and increasingly, flower vaporizers. All flower falls somewhere on a scale between Sativa and Indica, with most being a Hybrid of the two. Sativa, sometimes known as a “head high” is a more energetic and uplifting effect, while Indica is known for creating a “Body High”, and helpful with relaxing and for many, a sleep aid.
There are 100’s of brands and many more strains on the market at any time. To assist in your knowledge, labeling now includes Harvest and Packaging Dates, THC and CBD percentages. Many growers include a terpene profile as well, to fine tune the aroma and taste, as well as the experience. I wish more growers shared this level of information.

Next in terms of sales is the inhaled vapor market, aka vape pens. These are easy to transport, and release less obvious smoke. Some are rechargeable and others are disposable.

From there it’s Edibles (think gummies or brownies) and then a long list of balms, infused drinks and tinctures. Concentrates and oils have a following too, but these are consumed differently and provide a more potent high, thus not normally where users start out.

Types of Cannabis:

Visiting a dispensary can be dizzying for 1st timers! If you did your research you’ll at least have an idea as to where your focus should be. Still always make clear it’s your first visit. (They usually ask). That will set you up for 1st time discounts, and usually a budtender will provide an overview of what they have, loyalty programs and the like.

A Word About Budtenders:

A Word About Budtenders – Budtenders are awesome people and are great with newbies: they have a ton of knowledge and will help you. Remember them at check out with a gratuity. You may get a tour, but they’ll soon ask what products you’re focused on, and then lead you from there.
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