State medical cannabis programs are welcoming new patients every day. Some programs, like the one in Utah, are experiencing phenomenal growth. So much so that regulating authorities are having a challenging time keeping up. But they are not the only ones. Even medical cannabis pharmacies are struggling to meet demand. If they do not have adequate supply, at least they have answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Deseret Wellness is a medical cannabis pharmacy in Provo, Utah. They are part of one of the fastest growing medical markets in the U.S. Here are the top five questions they say new medical cannabis patients ask:
1. How long has medical cannabis been legal?
This seems like a strange question to ask given how much attention new state programs get. When Utah’s program was launched a couple of years ago, it was the hottest story for months. Still, people don’t know. There is no shortage of patients surprised by the fact that cannabis is legal in the Beehive State. The same is probably true in every other state with a legal cannabis program.
2. Can I legally smoke cannabis?
Smoking is probably the one delivery method everyone thinks about when cannabis is mentioned. That is completely understandable. Smoking was the only way to go prior to the explosion of the legal cannabis industry. But here is the thing: smoking is not legal in every state. You can smoke raw flower all you want in states like California and Colorado. In Utah, smoking is a no-go. You can vape and dry heat, but you cannot light up.
3. What is the best delivery method?
Medical cannabis is somewhat unique and that it is utilized as a medication. Like all medications, there isn’t just one way to use it. That’s why there are so many delivery methods. You can dry-heat plant material or inhale your medication with a vaping device. You can also use a tincture by placing a drop underneath your tongue. Dabbing is yet another option.
Tinctures, dry heating, and vaping are the three most popular delivery methods. But there are more. Some patients ingest their medications in the form of capsules, tablets, or gummies. Others use topical lotions and creams. Figuring out which delivery method is best for you is a matter of talking to your doctor and pharmacist.
4. What is the proper dosage?
Medical cannabis is also unique in that patients do not receive detailed prescriptions as they would with other types of medication. Doctors are not technically allowed to write prescriptions because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. All they can do is recommend. It is up to patients to determine delivery method and dosage for themselves. However, most states with active medical programs advise patients to consult their pharmacists about dosing questions.
5. Do I have to buy my medications at a pharmacy?
Finally, new patients are known to ask if they have to purchase their medications at a pharmacy. This question comes up because black market cannabis tends to be a lot cheaper. The answer is both yes and no.
Utah patients can only purchase medical cannabis legally from a licensed pharmacy. But California patients can buy from a pharmacy or general dispensary. Dispensary products may not necessarily be medical grade, but many patients find them sufficient enough. In both states, you buy on the black market at your own risk.
Medical cannabis newbies have lots of questions. They certainly have more questions than this post addressed. If you find yourself in such a position, do not be afraid to ask your doctor or pharmacist.