Buying Marijuana

Contacting Highs: Our Guide to Buying Marijuana

Cannabis users across the United States are entering uncharted territories as states, beginning with Washington and Colorado and later including California, Nevada, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Maine, and Massachusetts, legalize marijuana for recreational use and sale. Whether you’re a curious newbie, a user from days past getting back into cannabis now that it’s legal, or a seasoned stoner wanting to take your habits above ground, the process for purchasing medicinal and recreational cannabis can be confusing and daunting given the variety of options available.

That’s why we’ve created our Guide to Buying Marijuana. Read on to learn what you can buy, where you can buy it, and how you can consume your purchase.

Note: Unfortunately, in the vast majority of the country marijuana remains illegal for recreational use, and less than half of all states have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes. In this guide, we include methods of buying marijuana that are deemed illegal – even in states that have legalized recreational pot. We do not advocate or support these methods, but have included them because they are common knowledge. When buying marijuana, remember to be safe, be smart, and know the law.

Ways to Buy Marijuana

Where can you buy cannabis? Here are the most common ways to purchase pot.

  • Dispensary
    • A clarification: “dispensary” is often used to describe any store that sells cannabis and cannabis products, meaning “dispensary” and “retail store” are sometimes used interchangeably. For our purposes in this guide, we define a dispensary as a business that specifically caters to medicinal marijuana patients, while a retail store is defined as a store that sells recreational products to any adult.
    • Dispensaries sell medicinal products to patients. This means you must have a doctor’s prescription–and in many cases, be registered with the state in which you reside as a medical marijuana patient–to enter the dispensary and purchase cannabis products.
    • Currently, more states have made medical marijuana legal than have legalized recreational weed.
    • In the states where both are legal, patients will likely find a greater variety of products and lower prices in dispensaries than in retail stores.
    • To learn more about buying medical marijuana, see our section on Medicinal Buying.
  • Retail Store
    • In states where recreational marijuana is legal, adults age 21 and over can purchase cannabis and cannabis products from retail stores.
    • Here’s the status of recreational stores in the various states:
      • Washington – recreational stores are open.
      • Colorado – recreational stores are open.
      • Alaska – recreational stores are open.
      • Oregon – recreational stores are open.
      • California – recreational stores are open.
      • Maine – recreational stores are not yet open.
      • Massachusetts – recreational stores are not yet open.
      • Nevada – recreational stores are not yet open.
      • Washington, DC – while possession and cultivation of recreational marijuana has been legalized, the law does not allow for the creation of retail stores or a retail industry.
    • To learn more about buying recreational weed, see our section on Recreational Buying below.
  • Delivery Service
    • Many large cities have delivery services that will deliver marijuana straight to your door.
      • These businesses typically serve only the area within the city limits of their location and will not deliver outside of that area.
      • Customers place orders online or by phone and a representative shows up at their door with the products requested.
    • Delivery services may be available in municipalities that have legalized recreational marijuana and/or medical marijuana, or in places where marijuana is still illegal.
    • In both Washington and Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal, services delivering recreational pot are available but technically illegal.
      • The laws around delivering medical pot are murkier but the practice is generally legal, barring any local laws banning it.
    • In Alaska, delivery services are legal and available.
    • In Nevada and the District of Columbia, delivery services for medical marijuana are legal but not so for recreational marijuana.
    • In California, Maine, and Massachusetts, the laws are a bit murky, but delivery services may be available, even though illegal.
    • In Oregon, delivery is legal, but there are many specifications and rules about how it is carried out.
    • In places where marijuana is still illegal, delivery services may exist (and even be thriving, like in New York City) but these services are still illegal.
      • Use of these services often requires a reference from a current customer.
      • Arrest and prosecution may occur for using one of these services in places where marijuana possession is still illegal.
  • Online
    • Similar to delivery services, there are online sources for marijuana but all or most are illegal.
    • Websites:
      • Some websites advertise that customers can place orders online and the marijuana will ship anywhere in the U.S.
        • But no matter where the shipping destination is located, this is illegals since shipping or transporting marijuana across state lines is a federal offense in addition to being a state offense.
        • No legalized states allow online purchases.
      • Ordering online also exposes you to being ripped off since you won’t know if you’re getting what you paid for (quantity, quality, etc.) until you open the package. And then, there’s no recourse if your order is wrong.
    • Dark Web / Deep Web drug markets:
      • Hidden websites exist on encrypted networks and have marketplaces set up allowing for illicit trade, including that of cannabis and cannabis products.
      • These illegal exchanges have been the target of both federal and international efforts seeking to shut them down and incarcerate the people responsible.
      • Here again, you can’t be sure that you’re going to get what you paid for, and you’re putting yourself at risk for prosecution.
    • Listing on websites such as Craigslist:
      • These listings offer delivery to customers or will make arrangements to meet a customer somewhere to complete a transaction.
      • Once again, you have no idea what you’re getting, and there’s no recourse if you do get ripped off.
  • The Black Market
    • This refers to all underground, illegal weed sales. In states where recreational and/or medical marijuana is legal, this includes all sales occurring outside a state-licensed store or dispensary, such as:
      • Street transactions
      • Buying from your long-time dealer
      • Buying any re-sold recreational or medical products
    • In states where the possession of recreational and/or medical marijuana is still illegal, any and all pot transactions are illegal, and the only way to get pot is on the Black Market.
    • No matter how you cut it, the rules are pretty clear: buying illegally is buying illegally, and if caught, you’re subject to prosecution and penalty.
Why Buy Legally

In states where recreational and/or medical marijuana is legal, many users still prefer to go the Black Market route. They cite reasons such as price, quality, and convenience. So why buy pot through legal channels such as a store or dispensary?

  • Quality assurance – especially with regard to recreational products, states test marijuana to monitor quality and ensure customers that they’re getting what they pay for. No risk of schwag, laced products, or oregano masquerading as ganja.
  • No finger on the scale – when you buy a certain amount of marijuana and/or marijuana products, you get the weights and portions you paid for. Even in the case of edibles, the amount of pot noted on the package is the amount you get.
  • Help your community – recreational weed is taxed (and in some states, it is taxed HEAVILY) and those tax dollars go to schools, other municipal projects, and to building and maintaining the state’s recreational sale and regulation infrastructure. These are worthwhile things to support, and you can do so just by buying and enjoying pot legally (even if it costs a little extra).
  • And best of all…IT’S LEGAL. If you follow the laws and purchase and consume responsibly, you can’t be penalized for it. And that’s what so many pro-420 activists have worked hard to achieve.

Recreational Buying

Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in the United States

On November 6, 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize the possession, consumption, and sale of recreational marijuana in the United States. These states ended a century of prohibition and blazed the trail for 6 additional states to follow suit in the years since (along with Washington, DC which legalized possession and consumption, though not purchase).

See our individual states guides to learn more about the paths to legalization. Below is a brief overview of what you need to know.

  • The laws passes by our nation’s capital and 8 states to legalize recreational marijuana are in direct defiance of federal law, which still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This means the possession, sale, and/or distribution of pot is a federal offense.
    • The Department of Justice during the Obama administration chose to take a hands-off, wait-and-see approach with states that legalized recreational weed notifying the states that there would be no action taken if they:
      • Kept marijuana out of the hands of minors
      • Made sure marijuana was not transported to neighboring states where it wasn’t legal
      • Kept money from legal sales away from organized crime
    • But these states are now bracing for the possibility that the Trump administration will take an anti-marijuana position, particularly after the appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
  • Each of the states that legalized recreational weed took slightly different approaches to the process.
    • Colorado is free-wheeling and industry-friendly which means more shops, bigger business, and less restrictive regulation.
    • Washington, in contrast, is much more cautious and methodical about implementation. That means fewer shops, a more discreet industry, and higher taxes (which leads to higher prices).
    • Alaska, Oregon, and the other states chose approaches that resemble Washington state while DC legalized possession and cultivation of marijuana but not a retail industry.
  • The recreational industry in each state is unfolding at varying paces. Stores are open in some but not in others, and many local municipalities who have the power to ban marijuana sales have chosen to do so
  • With more and more citizens, government agencies, and legislatures warming to legalization, we can expect ballot measures supporting recreational marijuana to become more and more common.
Age Restrictions

How old do you have to be to buy legal weed?

21 and over. The states that have legalized recreational weed to date are treating marijuana much like alcohol, allowing only adults 21 and over to buy it legally.

So, don’t expect the age threshold to be lowered unless the same happens for alcohol (and there’s no reason to think that’s a probability any time soon).

Where to Buy Recreational Marijuana

In all 8 states that have passed legalization measures, adults 21 and over can buy recreational marijuana and cannabis products only from licensed retail stores. That’s it. That means:

  • No delivery services (depending on your state)
    • Though some businesses operate as delivery services and say they don’t take payment, but instead “request a donation” for delivery, or sell other products and give a “gift” of marijuana along with them, these tactics still qualify as “marijuana sales” to the police, so they’re illegal
    • In some states, it may be legal for recreational and/or medicinal cannabis to be delivered. Be sure to know the laws in your municipality
  • No internet sales
  • No nothing but at a licensed store

What else to be aware of:

  • Some municipalities in legalized states have chosen to ban retail stores even though marijuana sales are legal in the state
  • There’s no consumption allowed on store premises, so no free samples or Amsterdam-style cafes
  • All weed purchased in a state must be consumed in that state.
    • Don’t try to transport legal pot across state lines into states where it is illegal. This is considered to be federal trafficking.
      • At the very least, the cops take your weed, and at worst, you’re facing a felony charge and hard time

How Much You Can Buy

Measuring Pot

Cannabis – whether bud, edibles, tinctures, or topicals – is measured in grams and/or ounces. While grams are the baseline for weed measurements in relation to cultivation and sales in most cases, state laws customarily note allowable amounts in ounces.

To get an idea of how much weed is in an ounce (the most an adult can buy at once in most retail stores):

  • There are 28 grams in one ounce
  • The average amount in a joint is slightly less than half a gram
  • So one ounce of weed equals 56-60 joints

At recreational stores, products are sold in the form of smoke-able bud by the gram, or in processed, prepackaged quantities like edibles (for prepackaged items, price is determined in part by how many grams of cannabis were used to make the product). To learn more about marijuana in its various forms – such as how to consume it, how much is considered one serving, etc. – see our section on Consuming Marijuana.

There are well known slang terms for different quantities of pot that actually originated during prohibition as code used in underground transactions. You don’t need to know them to buy retail pot since measurements in retail stores will be shown in grams in an effort by the cannabis industry to disassociate from its pre-legal past, but if you see or hear any of these terms, here’s what they mean.

  • Nickel -1⁄2 gram of marijuana (those many stores will not sell less than 1 gram)
  • Dime – 1 gram of marijuana
  • Dub – 2 grams
  • Eighth – 1⁄8 ounce of marijuana, or 3.5 grams
  • Quarter – 1⁄4 ounce of marijuana, or 7 grams
  • Half – 1⁄2 ounce of marijuana, or 14 grams
  • Zip, Zone, O, or Lid – 1 ounce of marijuana, or 28 grams
State Limits

Here are the amounts of weed you are allowed to buy in the states where recreational marijuana is legal (though retail stores are not yet open in all states; see our list above for details):

  • Washington – 1 ounce (28 grams)
  • Colorado – 1 ounce (28 grams)
    • Non-residents can buy only 1/4 ounce (7 grams)
  • Alaska – 1 ounce (28 grams)
  • Nevada – 1 ounce (28 grams)
  • Oregon – 1 ounce (28 grams)
  • Maine – 2.5 ounces (70 grams)
  • Massachusetts – 1 ounce (28 grams)
  • California – 1 ounce (28 grams)
  • Washington, DC – none; the nation’s capital legalized possession, use and cultivation, but not retail sales
  • Note that the amount you can buy may differ in some states for each of the various forms of cannabis (bud, concentrates, edibles, tinctures, etc.; see our section on Consuming Marijuana to learn more).

How Much Retail Weed Costs

Current Pricing

What to expect, on average, at retail stores.

Washington

  • High quality – $233 per ounce
  • Medium quality – $191 per ounce

Colorado

  • High quality – $243 per ounce
  • Medium quality – $199 per ounce

Alaska

  • High quality – $296 per ounce
  • Medium quality – $251 per ounce

Nevada

  • High quality – $271 per ounce
  • Medium quality – $235 per ounce

Oregon

  • High quality – $211 per ounce
  • Medium quality – $186 per ounce

Maine

  • High quality – $299 per ounce
  • Medium quality – $236 per ounce

Massachusetts

  • High quality – $340 per ounce
  • Medium quality – $285 per ounce

California

  • High quality – $249 per ounce
  • Medium quality – $204 per ounce
Factors That Affect Price
  • Tax – state taxes will be applied to your purchase and, in some cases, local taxes will also apply.
  • Supply – the more cannabis produced and/or available, the lower the prices. If less is produced/available, prices go up.
  • Harvest – the size of a harvest affects supply.

Buying Medical Marijuana

Legalizing Medical Marijuana in the United States

In 1996, California voters took the historic step of legalizing medical marijuana by passing Proposition 215. Fast forward more than two decades, and there are now 23 states, plus the District of Columbia and Guam, that allow approved patients to have medicinal access to cannabis and cannabis products.

Though each state has its own specific laws regarding medical marijuana (MMJ), particularly where possession limits and cultivation of plants is concerned, most of them have a very similar framework for how patients qualify for and purchase medicinal cannabis:

  • Doctors may recommend medical marijuana for patients with certain conditions that are improved with cannabis use.
    • Because marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance at the federal level, doctors cannot prescribe it. Instead, they provide referrals or recommendations to patients – essentially prescriptions, but different legal terminology.
  • Referral in hand, patients may then obtain a Medical Marijuana Card from their state (sometimes nicknamed “Green Cards”).
  • With their MMJ cards, patients may visit licensed dispensaries that sell medicinal cannabis and cannabis products.
    • Only MMJ patients may visit medical dispensaries, and dispensaries may only sell to card-carrying MMJ patients.

Without a doubt, the acceptance of marijuana for medicinal use has dramatically increased support for legalizing recreational marijuana. It is no coincidence that every state or municipality that has legalized recreational marijuana thus far had already legalized MMJ in prior years.

Getting Approved for a Medical Marijuana Card

Conditions That Qualify for Medical Marijuana

To qualify for MMJ, patients must have a preexisting condition approved for MMJ use. The exact conditions vary by state, but generally include:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Nausea
  • HIV or AIDs
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic nervous system disorders
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Eating disorders
  • Loss of appetite from other medication/treatment
  • Arthritis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Hepatitis C
  • Persistent muscle spasms

To learn more about what conditions are eligible for medical marijuana, visit your state health department’s website.

Who Can Recommend Medical Marijuana

Again, laws vary by state, but generally a patient’s primary care provider can recommend medical marijuana.

In most states, these providers include:

  • Doctors
  • Physician assistants
  • Advanced registered nurse practitioners
  • Naturopaths

If your primary care provider objects to giving referrals for medical marijuana, it will likely not be difficult to find another provider who actively recommends MMJ to qualifying patients. Many of them, in fact, advertise openly that they give MMJ referrals.

When searching for an MMJ-friendly provider, look for one that:

  • Is a licensed professional that meets your state’s criteria for recommending MMJ
  • Checks patients’ records prior to making a recommendation
  • Conducts a thorough exam prior to making a recommendation
  • Cares about your overall health and well-being
Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card

Once you have received an MMJ referral from a qualified medical provider, you will need to obtain your medical marijuana card by completing a state-required application and submitting it to the regulatory body who oversees the state’s medical marijuana program. Once your application is approved, you will receive the card that allows you to enter and make purchases from a state-licensed dispensary..

  • A note: In some states, such as Washington, patients do not have to obtain a state MMJ card; instead, a doctor’s recommendation is all that is required. However, many of the providers who make the recommendations in these states will give patients non-state-affiliated cards that save patients from having to take their doctor’s recommendation with them every time they visit a dispensary, and that help participating dispensaries easily identify patients.

To apply for an MMJ in states that require them, you will likely need (and again, check with your state’s Department of Health for more details):

  • Proof of identity (driver’s license, other state-issued ID, passport, etc.)
  • Doctor’s recommendation
  • Proof of residency, which may include:
    • Rent or mortgage agreement
    • Utility bill
    • In-state vehicle registration
  • Applicable fees
  • Any necessary application forms and materials

You will likely be required to apply in person at a designated county office where your forms will be processed, your picture will be taken, and–if all qualifications are met–you’ll become a licensed medical marijuana patient in your state.

  • A note on patients traveling out of state to other MMJ states: some states will allow qualified out-of-state patients to their dispensaries; others will not; and still others may have out-of-state visitor requirements (such as specific proofs and forms) for entry. Be sure to get familiar with the laws related to out-of-state MMJ patients if visiting another state.
Finding a Dispensary

You’ve been referred by a qualified medical provider and, if necessary, obtained your MMJ card. Now, where can you buy medical weed?

Finding a dispensary may be more difficult in some states than others because of laws that restrict where the dispensaries can be located and how they can advertise. And, unfortunately, most state Departments of Health do not have official directories of medical dispensaries though it’s worth making a call to them to check.

To find dispensaries in your area, explore these common sources:

  • Local newspapers and magazines, particularly alt-weeklies
  • Ask your medical provider if they can recommend one
  • When out and about, keep your eyes open for any stores displaying a green cross since this is the universal sign for a medical marijuana dispensary
  • Search an online directory. These are often city-based and may have up-to-date dispensary lists with product details, so you know what you can buy before you go.
Laws for Buying and Possessing Medical Marijuana

So you’ve finally found a dispensary and are ready to buy some medical marijuana. How much can you buy in a single visit, and how much can you possess total?

No surprise there – the laws related to how much medical marijuana can be purchased vary greatly from state to state. In Oregon, for example, patients may possess up to 24 ounces of usable cannabis, while in Delaware, the limit is only 6 ounces.

Some things to research before visiting a dispensary:

  • Limits on how much you may buy in a visit
    • Do these limits differ depending on the form of cannibis you buy (bud vs. edibles vs. concentrates)?
  • Limits on how much you may possess at a given time
    • Is this different from how much you can buy?
    • Is there a cap on how much you may possess as a household, regardless of how many adults are in the household?
  • Limits on growing your own weed
    • Are you allowed to cultivate your own plants in your state?
    • If so, how many? In what stage of flowering or maturity?

Ways to Enjoy Marijuana

Once inside a retail store or dispensary, you may be introduced to new options for enjoying marijuana in different forms. Below you’ll find an overview of several options that are commonly available to recreational users and MMJ patients.

Smoking

What It Is:

Smoking is the classic mode of cannabis consumption with users enjoying bud in its most recognizable form. After purchasing your favorite strain, it can be smoked using your preferred method (rolling it into a joint or using a bong or pipe).

Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to regulate amounts consumed
  • Affordable and economical
  • Portable
  • Effects are felt shortly after consuming
  • Can choose from a wide variety of strains
  • Can choose a preferred device for consuming
  • Some pieces for consuming (such as pipes and bongs) are aesthetically pleasing
Cons:
  • Need something to smoke with – a pipe, bong, rolling papers, etc.
  • Can be harsh to consume
  • Some research shows smoking cannabis can be detrimental to the lungs
  • Conspicuous – you can’t consume it just anywhere
  • Apartments and hotels will likely have restrictions on smoking (which includes cannabis use)
  • Public use is most likely banned, and generally frowned upon
Unique Effects:

Depending on the strain and amount consumed, users may feel:

  • Relaxed
  • More energetic
  • More creative
  • A body high
Potency Profile:

Potency varies greatly by strain and by method of consumption. A few puffs of a joint has effects much different from a hit off a multi-chamber bong. When using a new method, take it slow and err on the side of caution.

Usual Dosage:

3-4 puffs of a joint or 2-3 hits from a bong or pipe is the typical single serving for smoking marijuana.

Again – users should be aware of the kind of marijuana they are smoking, as potency varies by strain.

Accessories Needed:

Users need a device to smoke bud, and can experiment to find their preferred method.

Some common devices include:

  • Rolling papers
  • Cigar wraps
  • Pipes
  • Bongs

Vaporizing

What It Is:

Vaporizing devices work by heating either cannabis concentrate, oil, or bud. Users then inhale the vapor for a cleaner, less harsh alternative to smoking that still delivers the same amount of THC.

Pros:
  • Studies have shown that vaporizing may reduce the amount of harmful toxic and carcinogenic by products
  • At the same time, vaporizing may deliver a “purer” high – the same amount of THC as smoking, but with less byproducts
  • Easier on the lungs
  • Reduced second-hand smoke risks
  • Less conspicuous than smoking
  • Less odor than smoking
  • Vaporizing devices may be portable
  • Depending on the device, often highly efficient and economical (i.e. not much product for a large number of uses and high potency)
  • Reusable and disposable options
  • Some vaporizing devices offer a less intense high
Cons:
  • Have to buy a device
  • Devices can be pricey – the average vape pen is $30-40, and that’s just for the pen
  • Learning curve to using the device
  • Reliant on the technology – devices can malfunction or break
  • Often a delayed high
  • For users seeking a stronger high, vaporizers may not be optimal since they often produce a weaker high
Unique Effects:
  • Some users report a lighter, more functional high using vaporizers
  • For medical patients, can be an easy way to keep THC levels up throughout the day without getting too stoned
Potency Profile:
  • Using a handheld vaporizer or vape pen, some users find the high from the devices to be less intense
  • Using a volcano vaporizer or similar device, users can obtain an exceptionally strong high even with a tiny bit of bud
Usual Dosage:
  • For a vape pen or handheld device, take 3-4 puffs and wait 15 minutes to see how it affects you
  • For a volcano or similar device, take 1-2 inhalations off a full bag
Accessories Needed:

Users interested in vaporizing will need one of the following devices:

  • Vape pen
  • Electronic joint (e-joint)
  • Desk-top vaporizers
    • Forced-air – vaporizers for home use that use a fan to send air through an internal heating chamber and into a bag or balloon for inhalation. The popular Volcano is a forced-air vaporizer
    • Whip-style – home-use vaporizer that plugs into an outlet and heats an element inside a compact box. Users then pull from a small tube to inhale

Edibles

What It Is:

Edibles are cannabis-infused treats that users ingest such as cookies, gummies, nut mixes, suckers. There are a wide array of edible products to choose from – or users can make their own.

Pros:
  • A way to enjoy cannabis without any kind of smoking or inhalation
  • Can pick from a wide variety of edible products, including candy, cookies, and lozenges
  • Many of these treats are delicious – just as good, if not better, than “regular” goodies
  • Many users report feeling a stronger body high than from smoking or vaping
  • High lasts longer than from smoking
  • Can buy from a store or make your own
Cons:
  • Delayed effect – can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for users to feel edibles
  • Unless specifically marked, hard to know how much cannabis you’re consuming, especially with homemade edibles
  • Can be difficult to regulate how high you get – one standard serving affects people differently
  • For first-time users, is often more intense than other methods of consumption
Unique Effects:

When consuming cannabis-infused edibles, your body processes THC (the psycho-active ingredient in cannabis) differently than it would from smoking (to learn more, see this Daily Beast article). The result is that users may experience:

  • A more intense high
  • In particular, a strong body high
  • A longer high, both in terms of total duration and length of intensity
  • Greater relaxation
  • Greater pain-coping properties
Potency Profile:

Edibles are one of the more potent ways to consume marijuana. The potency varies by product and the milligrams of THC that are included.

Usual Dosage:

The typical dosage is 5-10 mg of THC per serving (Colorado has now officially defined 10 mg as one serving). Store-bought edibles will clearly state the dosage per item (as in, each cookie, brownie square, lozenge, energy shot, etc.) or will ensure that each item (cookie, square) contains one serving of THC. With homemade edibles, it is more difficult to estimate the THC.

It is generally recommended, especially for first timers, that users take half a dose (i.e. eat half a cookie), wait an hour, and then consume more if desired. Users should experiment to find the right dosage for them.

Accessories Needed:
  • None
  • Edibles, which can be bought at retail stores and dispensaries come in a wide variety – see our Product Guide to learn more about what’s available.
  • Or, you can buy the items needed to make your own. See our Recipes Guide to whip up some of our favorites.

Tinctures

What It Is:

Cannabis-infused sprays or drops that are delivered orally or under the tongue.

Pros:
  • Rapid absorption – effects are felt within 15 minutes which is much faster than with edibles
  • An alternative to smoking or inhaling
  • In stores, tinctures are often flavored
  • Inexpensive, considering how many drops are in a bottle
  • Can be added to tea, juice, and other liquids
  • Can make your own
  • Odorless
  • Discreet to administer
Cons:
  • Tinctures are often made using ethyl alcohol, so users may feel a slight burn or unpleasant after taste
  • Not as widely available as other cannabis products
  • Not as much variety as with other cannabis products
  • Not a sustained high – effects flatten out quickly
Unique Effects:

Tinctures are known for delivering a rapid “peak,” meaning you reach your “highest” point shortly after receiving your dosage.

Many users report feeling a stronger body high than from smoking or inhaling.

Potency Profile:

Potency varies greatly by brand but some retail-sold tinctures have as high as 80 mg potency.

Usual Dosage:

3-4 drops. Wait 15 minutes and then take an additional 2-4 as needed. A typical bottle will contain 100-150 drops.

Accessories Needed:

None if taken straight. Bottles typically come with a dropper.

Otherwise, add drops to your favorite beverage. Tea is a popular option for tinctures.

Topicals

What It Is:

Cannabis-infused creams and salves that users rub on their skin. These creams are popular with medical patients for their anti-inflammatory properties, as well as for the relief they give from skin allergies.

This is not a recreational product – there isn’t enough THC in a topical to get high. But topicals have been shown to greatly help patients with certain medical conditions.

Pros:
  • An alternative to smoking or inhaling cannabis
  • Can help with inflammation and certain skin conditions through direct application
  • May provide pain relief
Cons:
  • Can be expensive – some containers can cost as much as several hundred dollars
  • May be difficult to find
    • Not typically found at retail stores – more of a medical product
  • Users may not find a great variety of products
Unique Effects:

When applied directly to problem areas, can help with:

  • Pain relief
  • Inflammation
  • Skin allergies
  • Healing
Potency Profile:

Topicals are completely non-psychoactive – meaning you won’t get stoned by using them.

Usual Dosage:

See instructions on the topical package. Usually, a small application of cream, salve, etc. is all that is necessary.

Accessories Needed:

None