Navigating the relatively new world of legal medical marijuana (also called cannabis) in the U.S. is not simple. Trying to get your head around varying state regulations, marijuana strains, hemp, CBD, THC, terpenes, edibles and oils, if you want to, is tough.
Last month, Next Avenue asked our readers to send us their questions about medical marijuana. We received many responses, with quite a few asking how to find a safe, trustworthy dispensary. We talked with three experts to offer the information and advice below.
Several research institutions around the country continue to study the medicinal properties and uses of the cannabis plant. People who live in states where cannabis is legal are using it to treat a wide variety of medical issues, including chronic pain, seizures, nausea, insomnia and anxiety. For many people, success with medical cannabis means the ability to get off narcotics and other types of pharmaceuticals.
For a Medical Marijuana Dispensary, Who Do You Trust?
But unlike pharmaceuticals, obtaining medical cannabis is not as simple as picking up a prescription at a drugstore. You need to follow your state’s regulations — which can require registration and a medical cannabis card — get a physician’s recommendation and then find a safe, reliable dispensary to purchase the product.
“You’re pretty much at the mercy of your state’s regulations, your state’s ability to enforce those regulations and the integrity of the dispensary that the state has allowed to operate.”
Depending on the state, there could be just a handful of dispensaries or thousands, as there are in California. So, how do you know which ones to trust for safe, effective products?
“This is really the biggest challenge now in California,” says Dr. Sherry Yafai, an emergency medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., who also has a medical cannabis practice called The ReLeaf Institute.
When California made cannabis legal for recreational use in January 2018, new rules went into effect for dispensaries. But enforcing those rules (such as shutting down unlicensed dispensaries) is proving to be a work in progress, Yafai says.
Published: June 27, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News