As one of the first states to legalize, Colorado has led cannabis’ move out of the realm of taboo for years. Now more than ever, people are exploring all that cannabis has to offer. For some, however, the thought of visiting a dispensary can still seem intimidating. Follow our tips for your first marijuana dispensary visit to feel comfortable and make sure you’re getting the product that’s best for you.
Find a friend
In Colorado there’s no shortage of cannabis connoisseurs. You’ll likely have at least one friend who has visited a cannabis dispensary before, so ask around! Just keep in mind that everyone experiences cannabis differently. While you may want to go with a friend, you’ll still want to cater to your needs and get the best cannabis product for you. For this reason, we recommend watching out for any pushy friends who might dominate the visit or push you to buy their favorite flower when you’re really interested in edibles.
Ask the experts behind the counter
Whether you go to a cannabis dispensary that your friend recommends, the one closest to your house, or one that’s highly-rated online, you should be able to rely on the staff to help you. A “budtender” will meet with you one-on-one to discuss your needs, show you options, and generally guide you through your purchase. As long as you’re ready to ask questions and talk about what sort of experience you’re interested in, your budtender can help find the perfect products for you.
Medical vs. Recreational
There are two types of cannabis dispensaries in Colorado: Medical and Recreational. Medical dispensaries are only for patients that have a medical card from a doctor for cannabis. Some medical cannabis products are the same as recreational products, but might be available to medical patients in higher dosages.
To shop at a medical dispensary, you must have your CO state medical card (out-of-state medical cards are not accepted). If you’re looking to purchase medical marijuana but don’t have a card yet, don’t worry—the process to apply for one is painless and relatively fast. In fact, you can even apply online from the comfort of your couch.
Recreational dispensaries are open to anyone 21 years of age or older. All you’ll need is a valid form of ID (not expired) with your birthdate. Visiting from another country? No problem, just be sure to have your passport handy.
Options for consuming cannabis
It’s helpful to give some thought before your first trip to how you’d like to consume cannabis. There are various options beyond the traditional cannabis flower/bud to choose from, including edibles, tinctures, pills, drinks, transdermal topicals, infused cones, and more.
Curious how different cannabis edibles compare to each other? Interested in trying out some CBD tincture for your pet? Don’t be afraid to ask your budtender questions about all of the options available to you.
What experience do you want?
Do you want to relax on the couch, listen to music and have a peaceful evening at home? Or are you thinking about heading outdoors for a hike or maybe going out with friends?
Indica & Sativa strains
Regardless of your ultimate goal with cannabis, it’s important to remember that different strains can affect us in different ways. Traditionally, strains have been classified as being either sativa-dominant, or indica-dominant.
Indica-dominant strains tend to be more calming and relaxing, while sativa-dominant strains have a reputation for being energizing with more mental stimulation. Knowing this distinction will help you when deciding between different options at the dispensary.
A word of caution: the differences between sativa-dominant and indica-dominant strains are generalities, which means that some indicas can still be uplifting, and some sativas can provide a relaxing “body buzz” that’s typical of indicas.
Terpenes affect your experience.
Research now shows that the terpenes and cannabinoids of a strain are more indicative of the effects you’re likely to experience. We highly recommend asking your budtender about the terpenes in different strains, along with their known effects. As long as you’re clear about the type of experience you’re seeking, your budtender will be able to guide you in the right direction.
Most importantly, you should have fun with your first visit to a marijuana dispensary. It’s not every day that you get to do something for the first time, especially something as exciting as entering the world of cannabis! So relax, get ready to start exploring everything your dispensary has to offer, and you’ll find something to love.