How to Buy Marijuana and Cannabis Products Legally and Safely
by Rita Cunha
Marijuana has been widely cultivated and used in the United States since colonial times. In the 19th century, it was commonly added to medicine and sold at pharmacies as a “health ingredient.” Things have changed since then—or have they?
Many states are now opening up to the legal cannabis industry. Purchasing marijuana products is now easier than ever in over a dozen states. But getting started can seem intimidating for first-time buyers. This complete guide will show you everything you need to know about how to buy weed safely, legally, and enjoyably.
Choosing the Type of Product for You
Buying medical or recreational marijuana starts with deciding what type of product you’re looking for. From marijuana flowers to topical ointments, you can find almost anything at most dispensaries.
Weed (Bud and Flower)
When you think of weed (or pot), you likely think of the marijuana flowers and buds. They’re dried, crushed, either rolled into a joint or stuffed in a bong or pipe—and then smoked. This is by far the most popular form of marijuana, and you’ll find dozens (or even hundreds) of strains available at your local dispensary.
Marijuana concentrates are what you get when you remove all the plant matter and isolate the active ingredients in weed. They come in a variety of forms and textures, but you’ll often find them as powders and gels. Sprinkle some on top of the weed flowers and buds, smoke them, and experience a more powerful and intense high.
Another way of smoking the cannabis plant is to use a vape. These small and discreet gadgets let you reap the benefits of marijuana without drawing too much attention onto yourself. They work in a very simple way: stuff dried marijuana or concentrate in the smoking chamber and inhale. The heat generated inside the vape will deliver those good weed compounds to you in a matter of seconds.
Most legal dispensaries stock edibles, and for a good reason: they’re one of the most popular weed products on the market. They’re great for people who don’t like smoking but still want to get high. You’ll find cookies, chocolate bars, brownies, gummies, and other delicious snacks that have had THC and CBD baked into them. Their only con is that the high can take up to 20 minutes to hit, as your body needs to start digesting the edibles.
Marijuana tinctures are made by steeping cannabis in alcohol. They come in small vials with a pipette, which you use to apply drop-by-drop under your tongue. Tinctures have both a rapid and a delayed effect, so your high could be prolonged by several hours.
You will also find marijuana topicals at dispensaries. You’ll see them being sold as massage oils, lotions, balms, salves, and even sprays. Apply them to a sore wrist or hurt back and you’ll start to feel the soothing effects of THC and CBD quickly. While topicals won’t get you high, they’re great for delivering targeted relief from pain and soreness.
CBD is a component of cannabis plants, but CBD products don’t usually contain significant amounts of THC (the psychoactive chemical in weed). Thus, they can now be sold legally in almost every state. They come in all forms, shapes, and textures—from CBD drinks to CBD tinctures and topicals.
Because they’re not restricted by any federal law, you’ll have a much easier time finding them for sale online and in wellness stores. CBD products won’t get you high, but they will still give you many of the benefits of cannabis products (such as pain relief and anxiety management).
Understanding the Labels
Whether you’re buying medical or recreational marijuana, labels on products can be tough to understand.
Sativa and Indica
Sativa and Indica are two names for two different marijuana strains. Those plants look different and trigger different highs, according to many consumers. They have even been crossed to make unique hybrids, such as Sour Diesel or Pineapple Express. There is a lot to choose from, and labels will usually indicate what flavors and moods you can expect from each product.
THC is a psychoactive chemical known for triggering the “high” characteristic of weed. Everyone reacts differently to THC, so while some people might want a high dose, others can choose to stick to a lower dose. That’s why you’ll find product labels indicating the THC content, which can go from 5% to 35%.
CBD can be found in weed, along with other cannabinoids. This one, also known as cannabidiol, isn’t psychoactive. Rather, it has a more soothing effect on the body. Some cannabis products have a high concentration of CBD and are meant to be used as a relaxant and pain reliever. If you’re not after the high, a product high in CBD might be for you.
5 Benefits of Marijuana Consumption, Explained
Both medical and recreational marijuana have great potential health benefits. Regardless of what marijuana strains you picked up at the dispensary, here are five things cannabis products can do for you.
1. Provides Chronic Pain Relief
Good news for those with chronic illnesses: marijuana may relieve severe chronic pain. More research is being done every year, and thousands of people in the United States have already gotten pain relief after smoking cannabis during a flareup. Now that you can buy marijuana online, more and more patients are turning to cannabis.
2. Eases Anxiety and Depression Symptoms
Online retailers will tell you that marijuana can help ease anxiety and depression. That’s not just some marketing tactic. The science says that many people can have their mental illness symptoms alleviated by smoking (or ingesting) cannabis products.
3. Staves Off Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are two very common side effects of chemotherapy. Thankfully, cannabis can take care of them. Cancer patients struggling with these two symptoms can order online edibles and buy weed online to make their treatments more bearable.
4. Manages Sleep Disorders
Did you know that marijuana can help you sleep better at night? That’s good news for people with insomnia. According to mounting research and personal accounts, a few puffs before bed can put you into a deep, relaxing sleep.
5. May Reduce Inflammation
Lastly, there seems to be a sound link between cannabis products and a reduction in inflammation. That might be why they’re so effective at alleviating pain and helping patients cope with a myriad of conditions.
Navigating Marijuana State Laws
Unfortunately, cannabis products are not legal everywhere in the United States. To reap all the benefits we mentioned, you should first understand your local marijuana state laws.
Medical Use Only
18 states have legalized cannabis for medical use only:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
In these states, you need a medical marijuana card or license to purchase marijuana. You won’t even be allowed into a marijuana dispensary without this document.
Recreative Use Allowed
You can find legal cannabis allowed to anyone over 21 in these 18 states:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
This means you can buy recreational marijuana with only your state ID.
These 14 states still have not legalized cannabis:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
If you live in one of these states, you cannot purchase any type of marijuana product (with the exception of CBD). This means you also can’t order weed online to be delivered to you, but more on that in a bit.
Purchasing Marijuana Products Legally: How-to Guide
If you want to buy medical marijuana or recreational cannabis, here is how you can do it safely.
At a Marijuana Dispensary
You can always visit your local dispensary. To get access inside, you need to show your state ID and go through security screening, so plan ahead of your visit.
Once inside, you can ask a sales rep what type of product they recommend for first-time users. They’re bound to give you plenty of options for you to choose from.
Can I Travel to a Green State and Buy Marijuana?
Yes, you can buy marijuana outside of your state of residence. This even applies if you are traveling from a state that does not allow the use of marijuana. Any state ID will get you access to marijuana dispensaries.
Can I Bring Marijuana to an Illegal State?
Buying marijuana and then crossing state lines with it is illegal almost everywhere. Legal marijuana stops being legal once you enter a state that doesn’t allow the use of marijuana.
Did you know you can legally buy weed online? Several dispensaries offer delivery services so that everyone can get access to their favorite products. These types of online services are especially helpful for disabled people who can’t physically access a dispensary.
Where Can I Buy Weed Online From?
You can legally buy weed online from a local dispensary, or any other dispensary within state lines. In other words, California residents have to get their cannabis products from California weed delivery services.
A quick Google search will show you the main dispensaries in your area. Make sure to check Google reviews to see if the business is legit!
Can I Get Marijuana Shipped to a Non-Legal State from a Legal State?
Mail-order marijuana is only allowed within state lines. If you’re living in a non-legal state, you cannot get weed from a delivery service in another state. After all, the federal government still places restrictions on the use of cannabis.
Law enforcement frequently tracks packages suspect of carrying drugs—and they don’t just monitor parcels sent through USPS. Even private couriers like Fedex and DHL can be searched at any time. You’ll have to wait for more cannabis legalization laws to be presented in your state.
5 Tips to Avoid Falling for a Marijuana Scam
There are many scams in the world of legal marijuana. If you’re not careful, you could end up with less-than high-quality products or lose your money. Here are some tips to avoid scams through mail-order cannabis websites.
1. Avoid Amateur-Looking Websites
When you order cannabis online from a dispensary, avoid websites that don’t look professional. If the layout isn’t good and you can see a lot of typos, it’s probably a scam.
2. Be Wary of No “Over 21” Disclaimer
Only adults over the age of 21 can buy recreational cannabis. If a mail-order marijuana website doesn’t put a large disclaimer on their page, they’re not following the law and are likely not a trustworthy source of weed.
3. Ditch Sellers Who Ship to Every State
Sellers who offer delivery services to every part of the country are also not to be trusted. Cannabis products are still illegal in 14 states, and legit dispensaries abide by that. Those who are willing to skirt the law are not running a business you can trust.
4. Avoid Websites Without a License Number
The marijuana industry is heavily regulated and all licensed dispensaries carry a unique number. If the online store you are looking at doesn’t have a license number, it’s probably only after your money.
5. Too Good to Be True? Leave It Behind
Lastly, if a website allowed you to buy weed at a much lower price than other dispensaries, it’s probably a scam to take your money and run. If it seems too good to be true, something is wrong.
Whether you’re buying for yourself or looking for a marijuana themed gift, make sure to follow the safety tips laid out in this article and always use common sense.
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