A Green Introduction

Posted on January 20, 2020

Wading into the legal cannabis market can be incredibly intimidating. There is such a wide variety of products, brands, slang, terminology, and dispensaries that it can be hard to know where to start. This introduction is intended to take some of the guesswork out of buying legal cannabis for enthusiasts and the canna-curious alike.

THC vs. CBD.

The first thing to know is the difference between the two main types of cannabinoids, the organic compounds found naturally in the cannabis plant, found on the market today: THC and CBD. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is an intoxicating compound — this is the stuff that makes us feel funny and can help relieve pain, among other things. CBD, or cannabidiol, is another naturally occurring cannabinoid in the plant, but one that doesn’t make us feel buzzed. It is said to aid in treating anxiety, pain, and inflammation. Both cannabinoids are key players in recreational, medical, and wellness cannabis products. One of the most accessible forms without psychoactive effects is topicals — oils and lotions — said to help everything from skin issues to pain.

Find a dispensary that appeals to you.

Thanks to the passage of Prop. 64, which legalized recreational cannabis in California, it’s now legal to buy the green stuff, but only in dispensaries. As of January 1, 2018, the City of San Diego was well-poised for the lifting of prohibition — it had already approved at least 15 dispensaries for legal sale and that number has only climbed since then. Like any kind of boutique shopping experience, there’s a dispensary to fit all needs. Looking for a luxe experience with some of California’s most beautifully-packaged cannabis? March & Ash in Mission Valley or Urbn Leaf in Bay Park boast two of the sleekest showrooms in the biz. Torrey Holistics is known for being particularly medical-friendly. MedMen is good for a quick in-and-out, as well as access to some of the biggest brands in the state.

Ask the experts.

People who service customers in dispensaries are colloquially referred to as budtenders, a cheeky play on bartenders, and play a similar role. They should be knowledgeable about all of the products in their dispensaries, so ask away! No question is silly. Tip as you would a bartender.

Torrey Holisitcs employs a PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry known as Dr. Beth (she is also a cancer survivor). While not a medical doctor, she is qualified to guide curious customers in the right direction whether they just want to have fun, add cannabis to their wellness routines, or integrate cannabis into a medical treatment process. Beyond that, checking a cannabis company’s website to see that they have a Certificate of Analysis (COA) can help ensure the product being purchased is quality and has been verified by an independent lab.

Bring cash.

Cannabis is still federally illegal, meaning that many dispensaries lack access to the banking system. Expect to be required to pay cash in most situations. Most dispensaries have ATMs on site.   Jackie Bryant