First time at a cannabis dispensary? Ask these important questions

  • Written by John Reilly - CannaCare Docs -
  • Published in Homegrown In Maine
Even though Maine has one of the longest-running medical marijuana programs in the country, many new patients still don’t know how to navigate the waters of safe access once they become certified.  Below is a basic guide to questions you should be asking whether approaching a caregiver or dispensary.  
First off, it’s a good idea to call a potential caregiver or dispensary ahead of time to see if they can answer your questions. Depending on where you are, your nearest dispensary may have a waiting list for prospective patients. With caregivers, they may not have any openings to take on a new patient, so be sure to ask if they have any openings the first time you call.  Topics you might want to cover include:
How is your cannabis grown? 
Do they use environmental pest control? Is it grown indoors or out? Do they have pets they allow near the grow at any time (You don’t want to burn dog or cat hair with your medicine, do you?) If a grower is claiming their cannabis to be organic, keep in mind that the USDA cannot certify cannabis as organic due to its current federal status as a Schedule I drug. Ask your grower how it's organically grown or if they can prove it's grown organically. 
What types of strains do you offer?
Ask about the specific stains - more choices will allow you to sample a variety to find what works. Ask if they have something to treat your symptoms. Do they have a strong indica for pain and sleep? Do they have a good sativa strain for fatigue and appetite? Do they have high CBD strains? 
Do you offer other products besides cannabis flower?
If you’re looking for relief without any psychoactive effects, things like salve and tincture can be particularly useful. Edibles are another way to consume cannabis for longer lasting relief, and a trustworthy source should be able to provide you with the THC and/or CBD content of their infused baked goods.
What are your prices?
Your source should be upfront about their prices and give you options depending on what you’re looking for. Some caregivers have pricing options for low income patients and military veterans. Under no circumstances should you give someone money ahead of time with the promise of getting medicine later- the exchange of donation or payment for your medicine should take place at the same time.
Do you have your medicine lab tested? What do you test for? How often?
Your source should have their medical cannabis products tested by a lab and be able to provide you with those numbers on request. Most often, cannabis products are tested for molds, fungus, bacteria, yeast, pesticides, and herbicides. This is especially important if you have a compromised immune system and want to ensure what you’re ingesting is completely clear of any contaminants. 
Do you offer a delivery service?
This is a good question to ask if you have mobility issues or unreliable transportation. Is there an added charge or minimum purchase for delivery? What is their range of delivery? If they don’t offer a delivery service, don’t let that be a deterrent if they meet your other criteria for quality and cost. 
Do you provide any cannabis education resources?
Any good medical cannabis provider will offer you additional materials and information about their strains, their lab results, and cannabinoid levels. Find out if they offer any literature to support their offerings. Will they spend time with you during the first visit to find out about your needs and counsel you on options? Can they help with questions about dosing and various methods of consumption? Can they tell you the genetic history of their strains? Any good provider will be prepared to offer you additional resources and answer these questions. An experienced grower will know this information and be willing to share it with you. Someone you can trust will work with you to find strains and methods for your optimal relief, not just look to make a transaction and send you on your way.
A good caregiver or dispensary should be happy and willing to address these questions, and and any others you may have - if you aren't sure, ASK!. Finally, remember that you are not under any obligation to commit to a source if you don’t feel comfortable with their answers. You’re also free to change providers at any time, a designation form is not a contract. You have the right to choose your source, and know what you’re ingesting before you spend your money on it.
John Reilly - CannaCare Docs -
Last modified onTuesday, 16 May 2017 15:09