Budtender’s Blog #5: How to navigate a cannabis dispensary

As more and more states legalize cannabis for both medical and adult use, and dispensary access opens up furter, it’s important to ensure everyone has a truly satisfying experience. And with the information available today, there’s no reason why you can’t tailor fit your first dispensary experience so that you will love it.

Over the years, I've had the honor of working at five successful dispensary operations in the San Francisco Bay Area. In this time I've been blessed with opportunities amassed a great deal of knowledge on how these operations work. So to ensure you have a truly satisfying experience I decided to speak to staff at a few of the best cannabis dispensaries, and include my own personal views too.

Before entering a dispensary, there are certain questions you can ask yourself to help cut through the haze, and demystify the whole experience. Such as, what experience or therapeutic benefits am I looking for? What type of delivery method do I prefer, smoking, vaping, edibles, topicals or dabs? And am l seeking a psychoactive or non psychoactive experience. If flowering buds, which strain? Cannabis comes in many strains and each strain has its own range of effects on the body and mind resulting in a wide range of medicinal benefits. Indica strains generally provide a sense of deep body relaxation. Sativa strains tend to provide a more energizing experience.

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Safety at Cannabis Dispensaries

Security Guards play an important role at dispensaries with regards to safety. They are usually the first to greet you. That’s why I made sure to speak with Misha, who is a Security Guard at Magnolia Oakland. She says, “Don't bring in anything that can be used as a weapon and leave bags in car.”

I also spoke with Marisha, who is a Receptionist at Magnolia Oakland. She said, “Please have Identification or doctor's recommendation ready upon entry.”

Choosing Products

Mitchell Colbert, freelance cannabis journalist, cannabis researcher, and former wellness consultant at Harborside Health Center says, “The best thing anyone new to cannabis can do is to figure out their dosing, whether it be edible, tincture, smoking, or any other method of use. I also advocate trying a wide variety of products, including tinctures and topicals. I love smoking cannabis for the immediate relief it provides, but I use topicals nearly as often, and tinctures are great as a non-smoked alternative to smoking.”

Lynette Shaw, Owner and Founder of Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana says, “You get to work with a big smile every day because you have the best job there is! Be patient and kind and let your love beam out. Lynette recommends reading as much as you can about all the strains on Ibudtender because you will be knowledgeable.”

Advice from a Budtender

As a seasoned Budtender, I recommend going online and researching menus and websites. before you enter a dispensary. Have an idea for want you want and know the selection and be ready to explain to your budtender exactly what you're looking for, or else you might suffer from the kid in a candy shop syndrome, and your budtender will probably have to hold your hand and ask a million questions.

See what fits best. As dispensary options grow, there are many additional choices, and just as everyone has their own personality, I’ve found so goes for dispensaries. There's the more corporate retail models that are efficient and can have you in and out quickly, or those with a more downhome, cozy, lounge atmosphere that feels like a community gathering place, where you can take time with budtenders. Some provide other services, such as massages or even classes, and specials and discounts on certain days, so make sure to check out the calendar, plus read through reviews from others to learn what they preferred.