Last year, Canadians spent $1.6 billion on legal marijuana.
Since legalization, Canadians have been buying marijuana safely and securely from registered dispensaries. But like any regulated industry, there can be a lot of process involved which can be confusing.
Don't worry, we're here to help. Read on for 5 things you need to know before visiting the dispensary.
1. Know Why You're There and What You Want
There is a nearly infinite number of varieties out there, more than you'd think. There is likely to be a type of marijuana for every scenario you could find yourself in. Before going to the dispensary, think about why you're going and what you want out of your choice. What will you be using it for?
Are you using it for pain relief? Is it recreational while on holiday by the pool? Would you be drinking at the same time? If you're using it around a large group of people, do crowds make you anxious?
These are the sorts of questions you want to be thinking about whether you're new to marijuana or not. Try to work out what sort of experience you are looking for in as much detail as you can.
Your advisor is likely to start off asking you if you want to something to energize or relax you. If it's the former, how energetic do you want to be? Do you want 'clean energy' where you can be out being active at the same time?
If you're looking for something relaxing, they might ask how relaxed you want to be. Is it to relax at the end of a long day, or will you still be out socializing? Or are you actually looking for a more sedative effect to get you to sleep? There is more detail to consider than you might think.
Tell your advisor about any previous marijuana experiences and what happened. Likewise, if you've never tried it before, let them know this too. It'll provide invaluable insight. Not every dispensary is the same, so make sure they offer what you're looking for.
2. Ask About Any Health Issues that Could Have Side Effects
Marijuana side effects aren't often serious but they can happen. You should make sure to familiarize yourself with them and what they can do to your body. It's ok to ask for clarification from your advisor at the dispensary too.
Inhaling smoke can irritate the lungs and agitate conditions like asthma. Marijuana can also cause a rapid increase in your heart rate. The highs from some types of marijuana can cause increased anxiety levels. So if you suffer from anxiety, you want to be careful of these.
If you suffer from a preexisting condition do some research before your visit. It's also a good idea to discuss with your doctor how they'd suggest you consume marijuana. Or they might say it isn't a good choice for your condition.
For example, if you have a respiratory condition your doctor might suggest edible forms of marijuana. This avoids having to inhale smoke or vapor. If you still have questions when you get to the dispensary, don't be afraid to ask them.
3. Know it's OK to be Honest and Ask Questions
You can never have enough information and that rings true about marijuana too. No matter how stupid or basic you think it might be, if you have a question - ask it. Your advisor is there to answer anything you might want to know so make use of them.
You can do walk-ins, where you don't need an appointment. But, if it's your first time, then calling ahead to arrange a private consultation is a good idea. This means you'll have total and complete access to your expert advisor.
Questions like "How do you know when you're high?" and "How long does it take to feel it?" are completely valid and important questions. If you're looking at equipment like a vape pen, asking how it works is also important as you want to be able to use it easily. Don't be embarrassed, no question is too stupid!
4. Find Out if You Need to Bring ID and any Paperwork
This step is very important, make sure you check the legal requirements. To buy marijuana in Ontario for example, you must be at least 19 years old.
If your doctor has authorized your use of marijuana for medical reasons, you might need paperwork proof of this authorization. In Ontario, you can still only buy marijuana for medical use in 1 of 3 ways:
- Online from a federally-licensed producer
- By written order
- Over the phone, then delivered by secure mail
Know the law, and what legal requirements you must meet for your chosen reason of use. Most of all, make sure you get together all the documentation you need to follow those requirements.
5. Only Buy What You're Comfortable With...
... because if you don't like it, you can't return it.
While being open to new experiences is a good attitude to have with marijuana, do so with some restraint. A dispensary will likely accept returns on faulty products (e.g a vape pen that won't turn on). What they won't accept returns on is something you buy, try and decide you don't like.
If you're happy to accept that an experiment might result in wasted product and lost money, then go ahead! You're going to have to chalk something you decide you don't like up to experience.
Experimenting can teach you more about how you react to marijuana which is a great thing. There are some more cost-effective ways to experiment though.
See if you can go in with a friend or buy a small pack of cookies or gummies for yourself. Or start off buying a gram of something. This will give enough to test it out but you won't have a huge amount wasted if it doesn't work out.
First Trip to the Dispensary - Be Prepared!
So there you have it. If you brush up on these 5 things to know before you first visit the dispensary, you won't have any nasty surprises.
Make sure you know why you're visiting and what sort of experience/use you're looking for. Always know the legal requirements so you don't get caught out. Ask questions, and make sure you're comfortable at all times during the process.
Now you know how to prepare for your trip to the dispensary, you need to find the right one. Check out our handy guide for what to look for in a Niagara Falls dispensary.