10 Tips for New Medical Cannabis Patients

 In Medical Cannabis

1) How much money should I bring?
The prices of products vary by dispensary as well as the form of the product (i.e. flower, tincture, edible, topical). Products can range from $20-$100. But in most cases $50 – $100 is enough to get a variety of samples if you want to try a few different products..

2) Do dispensaries accept debit/credit cards?
Most dispensaries do accept debit cards, however there is usually a steep transaction fee on top of the fee charged by your bank. It’s best to bring cash, but some have ATMs available inside for convenience.

3) What if I can’t find the product the Doctor suggested?
Sometimes the doctor recommends a specific ratio of CBD to THC. It’s OK to try something similar or something with more CBD than the suggested amount. Planning your visit to the dispensary can also help make this less of an issue. Many dispensaries have their menu online where you can see the products and variety and compare before you make the trip to the dispensary.

4) Should I go to the dispensary in person or order delivery?
In person is best.   In person is safe as most dispensaries have security guards outside and parking lots near the door. It’s also better to go in person because you can be assured you are receiving lab-tested medicine as well as advice and knowledge about the various cannabis products available.

5) Should I buy in bulk to avoid going back?
If it’s your first time going to the dispensary it’s probably best to get something small or a few small products to start. This way you can try a few different things and choose what might work best for you. It is important to ask the dispensary if they stock the product regularly so if you find something that works well, you know that you can get more.

Patients using medical cannabis.

6) Are edibles safe?
Yes, as long as you’re informed. Edibles come in different strengths, measured in milligrams. They also come in different dosages of CBD and THC. The edible or oral methods can be tempting and delicious in forms of chocolates, brownies, and savory snacks. Be very careful to start with a quarter of the suggested dose and wait at least 2 hours before ingesting more.  It’s important to wait for the medicine to take effect before taking more, because you could overmedicate.  The edibles are lab tested and the City of Berkeley has the most regulated cannabis testing standards in California. The oral or edible medicines are usually made in large batches, so there is no guarantee that the strength of the medicine is consistent in all parts of each package. You may find a product that you like and that works well for you, but be cautious each time you take it because the strength can vary each time it’s made, and with each individually packed product that is made. (For example when you make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, each cookie isn’t going to have the same amount of chocolate chips – just like each bud in a batch of cannabis isn’t going to have the same potency)

7) Is there a proper way to store the medicine?
Keep edibles refrigerated. For flowers, concentrates, and tinctures keep them out of direct sunlight, in a dark bottle, or air tight container. Keep all medicines out of children’s reach.

8) What’s the difference between Animal Cookies, Raspberry Cookies, Cookies, and Girl Scout Cookies?
We all love cookies! The important thing to remember is a strain is just a name. It’s important to use your senses when making a decision of what to purchase at the dispensary. If a certain smell or appearance of a plant is unfavorable than it may not be the best choice for you. Plants grown in different conditions will yield different flowers, some plants are grown indoors in controlled conditions and some plants are grown outdoors in a natural environment that may affect what each plant produces. The important thing about each plant is to be aware of the active cannabinoid components, like CBD and THC.

9) I haven’t used cannabis since the 60’s or 70’s, and have heard it’s become stronger.     What can I expect from today’s cannabis?
If you consumed cannabis many years ago and have not done so since, be aware that the medicine’s potency has changed throughout the years and you may be surprised at how strong the medicine can be – a little goes a long way.  Try an initial small dose and if it is ineffective then increase the dose.  Keep in mind that unlike smoked or vaporized cannabis, some of the edible or oral methods of cannabis aren’t immediately effective.

10) Do I need a patient ID card?
Some people refer to the recommendation letter as a “card.” The recommendation letter from Dr. Lucido makes you a legal patient.  Having an ID card is optional. It’s useful because it’s convenient and fits in your wallet.  There are two types of ID cards – a state issued ID and a card issued by a third party service.  The state-issued card is recognized by law enforcement officials and allows patients to purchase cannabis tax-free under Prop 64.  The third-party ID card is issued by the Patient ID Center in Oakland.  They offer the card service as well as other useful information.


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