Visiting a cannabis dispensary in a state where cannabis is legal is super exciting for a first-timer. It can also feel a little overwhelming. It wasn’t that long ago that cannabis was illegal in all 50 states for recreational purposes. Most first-timers have a lot of anxiety that stems from being taught to fear cannabis for so long. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Find out exactly what to expect when you visit a cannabis dispensary.

You’ll want to do a little planning before you head out the door. The best actions to take before your trip include researching your options, deciding what you might want and bringing your ID and plenty of cash. The most important thing to remember? Don’t panic. Cannabis can smell fear. Just kidding.

Research Your Options

One of the most overwhelming aspects of visiting a cannabis dispensary is deciding between the sheer number of dispensaries in states where cannabis is legal. It’s tricky to know what to expect — when you really have no way of knowing what to expect.

The best way to plan for success is to do a little digging. Just as you would check online reviews for your favorite restaurants, you can search for reviews for dispensaries. You can always turn to Yelp for such nonsense, or you can consult Leafly, the Yelp of the Cannabis world.

Have ID Ready

There are three things you can be sure of in this life: death, taxes and bouncers at cannabis dispensaries.

Dispensaries have a lot of legal stuff to deal with. This brave new world of cannabis has thrown a few curve balls in their direction. The last thing they need is some underage punk kid buying some edibles and shutting the whole thing down. You need to be at least 21 to visit a dispensary legally — no exceptions.

Have your ID out and ready when you get to the front door. Unless you’re willing to accept a Soup Nazi situation.

Many Dispensaries Have Tons of Product

Walking behind the clandestine doors of a dispensary can be intimidating enough for a first timer. Don’t get overwhelmed if the dispensary has wall-to-wall product.

You aren’t obligated to look at everything on the menu. In fact, it’s probably best just to go with a staff recommendation for your first time. Before you head over to the dispensary, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions to determine your cannabis needs.

  1. Do you want to smoke it?
  2. Do you want to eat it?
  3. Do you want to vape it?
  4. Do you want to apply it to your skin?
  5. Do you have all the accessories you need to smoke or vape it?
  6. Do you have any idea what some of all of these cannabis terms mean?

If you’re a first-time cannabis user, you might want to skip smoking and vaping — unless you’re planning on smoking a joint. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with the accouterment before you even get started.

Cannabis Edibles

If you’re looking for something simple (or, you don’t want to inhale anything), you can always buy edibles. These are easy, discreet and effective.

Edibles come in the form of baked goods, gummies, lozenges and teas.

Topical Cannabis

If you really want to keep cannabis away from your digestive system, you could always go with a topical product. This includes creams, oils and patches. You apply topical cannabis products directly to your skin, and your dermis absorbs the THC into your bloodstream.

CBD Products

Just to totally throw you off your canna-game, you might see the word CBD all over the place too. CBD is a non-psychoactive substance (that may or may not have THC) that has a huge variety of health benefits. If you want to keep it simple, just set that idea aside for now.

Though, we’re not ones to just say no to a little anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving action with our psychoactive properties. Just sayin’.

There Will Be Helpers

Whatever you do, don’t. freak. out. Seriously. Even if you know nothing about cannabis. The people who work at the dispensary know a lot about it. And they were hired just to ease your nerves about the whole situation.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Try to be as descriptive as possible. If it’s your first time partaking in cannabis, tell the budtender (shop clerk) this info. Whatever you do, try not to feel embarrassed.

If you’re having some difficulty conjuring a few questions, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • What strain is that?
  • How do I take it?
  • How long does it last?
  • How will it make me feel?

You might even want to ask yourself a few questions regarding your intent. Do you want to feel super chill? Do you want visuals? Do you want to feel awake or sleepy?

Bring Cash

When it comes to dispensaries, cash really is king. Dispensaries can’t process payments by debit, credit, Square, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google or whatever new-fangled payment transfer system will spring up next. It’s illegal.

So, bring plenty of cash to cover your purchases. The last thing you want to do is stand in line for 45 minutes, only to need to duck out to an ATM. And if you’re really feeling nervous? Bring a friend. There’re no awkward feelings that a little moral support can’t fix. Or a little marijuana.

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