On the day my card was activated, I decided to check out three of our local dispensaries and not only see what they had to offer, but what the vibe was like at each one to see where I’d feel the most comfortable returning as I needed to in the future.
A friend of mine told me about the Leafly app, and another uses the Weedmaps app, both of which are helpful in locating your nearest dispensaries, information on product, and even discounts and offered sales. I think I’ll probably end up sticking with Weedmaps for dispensary info and reviews because I liked their extensive information and seemed to show more locations than Leafly, which I’ll still use for information on strains, terpenes, etc.
There’s definitely a lingo in the Medical Marijuana (herein referred to as MM so I don’t have to type it out each time) world that takes some getting used to. Buds of the plant are called flower, joints are called pre-rolls, pot brownies, mints, and cookies are called edibles, and the action of partaking is referred to as medicating, and the high is often times dubbed as relief.
Sativa vs. Indica vs. Hybrids
There are two types of Marijuana plants, Sativa and Indica. Each has different properties. I prefer Indica because Sativa has a tendency to make me a little anxious. So any time I plan to medicate with a product containing THC, I want to look for a strain from the Indica plant for now… for the most part. If the strain is from the Sativa plant, I’ll be open to it if it’s balanced with a higher ratio of CBD to THC for now.
Sativas give more of an energizing “head high” and can help increase creativity and help with focusing. Indicas provide more of a full-body effect, and aid in sleep and relaxation. It’s not always that cut and dry though, every plant’s chemical makeup is different, and can change with the technique used to grow it as well.
Hybrids are created from combos of Sativa and Indica “parent plants”, that are often grown to help target specific effects. A strain will be described as “sativa-dominant” or “indica-dominant”.
These are compounds in the Cannabis plant that are responsible for the effects of using this plant. There are many of them in marijuana, but the two main ones are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC - the main psychoactive compound. Think “The High Compound”. It also provides the state of euphoria when smoking/vaping/ingesting marijuana.
CBD - doesn’t cause a high. It has many medicinal benefits like pain, headache, and nausesa reduction, seizure prevention, and much more.
CBN - Cannabinol, is used to ease epileptic seizure and stiff muscle symptoms, side effects of neurological conditions, and more.
THCA - Tetrahydrocannibinol Acid is similar to THC but doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. It helps reduce inflammation from autoimmune diseases and arthritis and also may help lower symptoms of neurological conditions.
CBG - Cannabigerol helps reduce anxiety and OCD, PTSD, and depression.
Excerpt from Leafly, from healthline.com. Source listed below.
Bisabolol. With notes of chamomile and tea tree oil, the terpene bisabolol is thought to reduce inflammation and irritation. It may also have microbial and pain-reducing effects.
Caryophyllene. The peppery, spicy molecule may reduce anxiety, ease symptoms of depression, and improve ulcers.
Linalool. Linalool is said to help improve relaxation and boost mood with its floral notes.
Myrcene. The most common terpene, this earthy, herbal molecule may help reduce anxiety and insomnia so you can sleep better.
Ocimene. This terpene produces notes of basil, mango, and parsley. Its primary effects may include easing congestion and warding off viruses and bacteria.
Pinene. As the name suggests, this terpene produces an intense pine aroma. It may help boost memory, reduce pain, and ease some of the not-so-pleasant symptoms of THC, such as nausea and coordination problems.
Terpinolene. Cannabis with this compound may smell like apples, cumin, and conifers. It may have sedative, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
Limonene. Bright, zippy citrus notes come from this terpene. It’s said to improve mood and reduce stress.
Humulene. This terpene is deeply earthy and woody, like hops or cloves. Cannabis strains with this molecule may reduce inflammation.
Eucalyptol. With notes of eucalyptus and tea tree oil, this molecule is refreshing and invigorating. It may also reduce inflammation and fight bacteria.
So consuming is also a bit different from when we were in high school and college smoking out of apples, soda bottles, rolled papers, and pipes. Instead of burning and smoking it, MM is vaped, dropped in oil form under the tongue, applied directly to the skin, or swallowed in pill form. The state believes it’s the healthiest way to use the product medically. Burning the flower alters the ability to reap benefits of the precious medical terpenes to the greatest potential, so vaping is a cleaner and more gentle.
“I feel much relief after medicating with premium Indica using my vape pen” sounds much more professional and classy than “I got super high after ripping massive bong hits of dank-ass bud…” doesn’t it? Lol.
Another interesting fact: it’s actually illegal to smoke MM in the state of Pennsylvania, so you won’t find pre-rolls or even edibles once you cross over the line from Maryland, where both are offered. It’s also illegal to carry product over state lines, as well as enter a dispensary in another state. Because I have my card in PA, I can only visit PA dispensaries. Makes sense. Maybe one day it will change, but for now, we are lucky enough to have the privilege of use.
My Dispensary Field Trip Adventure Day
I wanted to start slow with THC, primarily interested in purchasing products that were CBD-forward or balanced with a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio, as CBD helps to compensate for the psychoactive affects of THC. I was also interested in purchasing a cream for menstrual cramps, and maybe something to help me sleep more soundly.
So I started with Knox, a dispensary I pass by often, as it’s right in Hanover, then ventured to Herbology in Gettysburg, then headed up to Rise in York. I picked up a little something at each location and haven’t tried everything yet, but am looking forward to…
KNOX Medical - Hanover, PA
Knox is actually re-branding under the name Fluent Cannabis Care, but their building sign still reads “Knox” at this point.
Once I was registered, I was escorted directly into the dispensary where a gentlemen reviewed their list of products with me and helped me choose something high in CBD. Their products were listed on a paper spreadsheet by category with the names of each product and the corresponding percentages of THC and CBD. I also needed a vape pen and of course asked if they had colors I could choose from. Luckily, they had pink. :)
Extra Strength Pain Relief THC Lotion by Redemi by Cresco Yeltrah
I’m looking forward to using this for pain with monthly period cramps and seeing how it helps. According to Leafly, even if a topical contains active THC, it still won’t induce that intense “high” you’d get from [vaping] or ingesting cannabis. With most topicals, cannabinoids can’t breach the bloodstream; they only penetrate to the system of CB2 receptors. Click to read more about topicals and how they work.
This lotion includes the following essential oils too, which is awesome, and smells so good: Lavender, Peppermint, Ylang Ylang, Juniper, and Helichrysum. Each dose contains 100 mg/THC and this 2 oz. bottle contains about 60 doses.
The different terpenes in marijuana plants, both Sativa and Indica (the two types of plant), give the medicinal qualities as well as the flavors, just like in any plant.
Vireo Blue | Strain: Tangie
70% Sativa, 30% Indica
Vireo Health has a line of prefilled vape carts with ”highly-purified, double-distilled, precisely formulated extracts with strain specific terpenes” (source: their website) that work together to produce the Entourage Effect.
What’s the Entourage Effect? It’s a term referring to the result of cannabanoids an terpenes and other components of the plant working together in a synergistic manor rather than separately. This is what will help our bodies reap a high potential of benefits when we medicate. Learn more by clicking the link.
I chose the Blue cart because it was the highest ratio of CBD 6 : THC 1. They also offer Jack Herer (Red) with 19:1 THC to CBD, Granddaddy Purps (Yellow) with 6:1 THC to CBD, and OG Kush (Green) with a 1:1 ratio, in addition to the Tangie (Blue), which is 6:1 CBD to THC.
The names you see like OG Kush and Tangie are the names of the strains of marijuana used in each product.
Research has shown that combining THC and CBD is much more effective and tolerable than medicating with one of the two by itself.
They also have an Indigo Oral Solution with a 19:1 CBD to THC ratio, which I’d love to try also. The Indigo would be the best for someone starting out brand new to the MM world who doesn’t want any sort of psychoactive high or sensational alteration at all. This isn’t a vape, it’s an oil tincture you absorb into your mouth.
So I’ve been vaping this almost every day since I visited Knox. It’s the only product I purchased that I’ve used so far and I really love it. It’s relaxing and calming but actually sort of pushes me to get shit done in a much more laser-focused manor! First time I vaped, I ended up cleaning the house, busting through my email inbox like a total boss, and felt great about every move and decision I was making. It lasted about 2-3 hours and then I was ready for another hit from the pen.
After reading more about the Tangie strain, this makes perfect sense of why I feel so focused and driven, even uplifted and happy, and it’s because that’s what that strain does. The more you read about each strain, the easier it’ll be to pick out what you want based on the effects each strain gives when you visit the dispensary. But without reading into Tangie before trying it, I wasn’t sure what effect it would have. It was cool to realize how focused it made me before knowing that the Tangie strain carried those properties because reading about the strain after the fact validated my consensus after vaping it. :)
So this is a great blend to vape when you’re about to start your laundry list of things to do, once you’re used to it of course. The high is extremely minimal, almost nothing, but more of what I’d describe as a “sensational alertness”. So I really like this one so far. I’d be curious to find a CBD:THC ratio with another more mellow Indica MJ strain for more of a relaxation feel rather than uplift/focus/energizing. That’s what’s cool about going to different dispensaries because they all offer different products.
Rythm Heal | Strain: Otto
About 50% Sativa, 50% Indica
This cartridge smells intoxicating… I haven’t tried it yet but am planning to when I have nothing else to do that day so I can really enjoy whatever happens as a result. It’s a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio, highest in the Myrcene terpene at 5.3% (which has a musky earthy flavor) which helps generate relaxation and sedation with a bit of a body high. This will give me less of the energizing creative pep that the Tangie strain would, so maybe I’ll try this before yoga tonight actually… Hmm. ;) The next highest terpene at .6% is Pinene which has a pine flavor, so I’m looking forward to tasting this one.
And of course I picked out my pen. She’s so cute and I just love her! They also had green, blue, and purple. So on the left is the charger, and the right is the pen/battery. You screw the cartridge onto the top of the pen and then follow the directions on how to use it. :)
Herbology - Gettysburg, PA
Next I ventured to Herbology. The doctor I saw to acquire my card the week prior is located in the same building and it’s right off of the circle in town. The vibe of this place was much more laid back than Knox, even though they were very nice and helpful there. Herbology definitely has a strong and consistent brand and more of a down-to-earth chill vibe. Entering the facility was a bit less intimidating than Knox, and everything feels more relaxed. I actually completed a patient form here with my conditions and intentions for use, and was then escorted from the super chill waiting area (with leather chairs, and awesome rug, and reggae music) to the dispensary.
Like Knox, they had wooden shelves with a few products on display but lower lighting and a chalkboard across their back wall with a menu of products. This awesome chick was there to help me pick out some CBD flower to try. I went with an Indica of course, and because this contains 0% CBD, I want to make sure I go low and slow when I try this, even though I expect it to make me feel chill, relaxed, and euphoric.
Cresco Rest - Indica | Strain: Honey Boo
20% Sativa, 80% Indica
(Read more on THCA vs. THC here.)
When reading into the Honey Boo strain, it’s said to have a sweet flavor and a “heavy-handed blast of euphoria that melts throughout the body”. OK, I’ll take it! You can feel relaxed and chill without the giggles, which is also perfect for yoga, sleepy time, or just chillin’ at home after a long day at work. The terpenes in this strain work medicinally against inflammation, stress, and pain primarily, helping a bit with insomnia too.
Rise Cannabis - York, PA
This was the last place I stopped. I absolutely loved it here… This was my favorite experience of all of them, even though the trip from home was the furthest, it’s worth it. I was happily and warmly welcomed by a consultant who took me back to their private “new patient” room to go over my lifestyle, health concerns, and interests. She went over everything they offered, the ways to medicate like topicals, vapes, tinctures, etc., and helped me browse through their extensive product list. She made suggestions of what she thought would work well for me, and I loved the personal care she took to really get to know me and what I was interested in and there for. We shared a few laughs, she sent me with a few papers on the types of terpenes and their benefits, and then guided me to the dispensary and introduced me to a budtender to help out with my purchase. He was awesome and so was the guy at the next station over. We got to talking and shared a few laughs ourselves. The vibe was lose, fun, and chill while professional at the same time.
I purchased another Rythm cart from them, called Relax. It’s an Indica-dominant strain called Brownie Scout, with 83% THC, 90% cannabanoids and 7% terpenes, high in Limonene and Carophyllene, with Myrcene coming in third-highest concentration.
I feel blessed to have the privilege of using the magical powers (seriously) of marijuana in a medicinal way, being able to know exactly what is in every single particle I use and having a good idea of how it will effect me. I will slowly but surely learn what works for me personally and what doesn’t, what I like and what I don’t, and find my favorites.
If your state has legalized the use of MM and you have the interest in trying MM for yourself, visit www.marijuanadoctors.com to find a doctor who can help get you one step closer. And as always, be sure to consult your current doctor (one that’s on board with MM of course) if you have any concerns or questions about the use of Medical Marijuana.
Take your health into your own hands. A good patient is a knowledgeable patient.