Visiting A Cannabis Dispensary


The term “cannabis” can be scary to those who have never used the plant before, and the cannabis dispensary can be even more overwhelming. With all of the options, different claims and foreign technical verbiage, an overwhelming trip to the dispensary can prevent the average person from visiting again in the future.

All About Cannabis Dispensaries

Despite the rise of cannabis dispensaries in the US, cannabis dispensaries have been prevalent long before any of us were born. Ancient healers, in countries like Egypt, India and China, distributed cannabis and other natural herbs to their patients in efforts to cleanse them of their impurities. Although the western world has met these dispensaries with some resistance in the past, dispensaries today have taken off and are now creating economic opportunity. In Colorado alone, cannabis dispensaries outnumber Starbucks and McDonalds. And the national market shows no sign of stopping as it is estimated that in 2024 the cannabis consumer market will reach 37.3 billion U.S. dollars. But despite the craze, exactly what is a cannabis dispensary?

True to its name, a cannabis dispensary is simply a store where cannabis is dispensed or sold. In the US, there are two general categories of cannabis dispensaries: Adult-Use and Medicinal.

Adult-Use Dispensaries

Adult-use dispensaries specialize in recreational purposed cannabis. Like restaurants? Well, they do have the menu for you. On this menu, you’re likely to find over 20 types of cannabis strains, with more than 50 edible selections, vaporizers, and other goodies.  Flowers may range from indica to sativa and concentrations can range from BHO to CO2. At an adult-use dispensary, you may be greeted by a store attendant referred to as a budtender. These budtenders should be equipped with the knowledge to help you find what you need. Due to the overwhelming abundance of growing information about cannabis benefits and consumption, we encourage all patients and consumers to take some time and perform their own product and information research.

Medicinal Dispensaries

Medicinal dispensaries specialize in providing cannabis to treat ailments and disease. Therefore, patients may be required to have doctor recommendations. Unlike adult-use dispensaries, medicinal dispensaries may resemble a doctor’s office. And in addition, many medicinal dispensaries must operate as nonprofits. Since medicinal cannabis is not taxed the same as adult-use cannabis, the cost of medicinal cannabis may vary.  Despite this price difference, you may be more likely to find medicinal dispensaries than adult-use ones, as 29 states allow for public medical marijuana and cannabis programs and 17 of these states allow the use of THC for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense.

Identifying and Preparing for a Visit

As with any popular trend, locating services soon follow. Services such as Leafly, the MJ Directory and MerryJane help to highlight legal top dispensaries across the states based on various arrays of metrics. The 25 top rated dispensaries across the US, have names such as Lightshade, Calvia, and Airfield Supply Co. We’ve provided a basic map for your convenience below.

However, before choosing which dispensary to attend, it is recommended to identify what symptoms or concerns you are looking to fix or address; kind of like forming a grocery list before a visit to the supermarket. Once you have identified your needs, you should prepare for the following.

For a medicinal dispensary:

  • Perform research ahead of time

  • Have a valid ID

  • A doctor’s recommendation or material as required by state

  • User must be 18 years or older, with certain exceptions to minors in some states

  • User should be prepared to register with the dispensary

  • User should be prepared to have their purchases tracked

  • Always ask questions

For an Adult-Use dispensary:

  • Perform research ahead of time

  • Have a valid ID

  • User must be 21 years or older in order to make a purchase

  • Always ask questions

Innovation from a Visit

Given all of the intriguing information above, I recall my first experience to a cannabis dispensary, and it didn’t go as planned. Upon entering, the budtender asked for my medical card to process my admission and after that, access was granted for me to venture behind the gatekeeper. Upon entering, I was introduced to a variety of options to pick from, some of which I’d never heard of at the time. The range expanded from topicals, to tinctures, to rubs, to bath balm, to vape pens, and more.  At the time, I had no idea what THC, CBN, cannabinoid ratios, C02, BHO, and Carrier Oils meant; and despite this variety of selection, the budtender was unable to help me as thoroughly, due to the limited amount of time that one could stand in a busy dispensary line with other customers patiently awaiting service. Therefore, my initial trip to the dispensary could have easily turned into a hassle which could have been avoided with a little more research. However, from this experience stemmed the inspiration for James Henry SF, an easily understood lifestyle brand that offers relief for any part of the day with an essence of variety to address various needs.

From my unique experience at the dispensary long ago, my team and I created simple, but effective formulations to harness the trip to a dispensary in one go. We’ve developed products that take the guesswork out of your dispensary search, allowing you to take back your day.