Cannabis 101

Tips for First-Time Medical Cannabis Patients

The medical cannabis industry continues to get larger and more diverse as new products hit the shelves all the time. When you first get your medical marijuana card, you may have questions about how to begin your cannabis journey. From finding the best dispensary near you to choosing the cannabis products that appeal to you most, our team is here to help. Here are some of the most important things to consider when you receive your medical cannabis card.

How To Get a Medical Marijuana Card

In states where medical marijuana is legal but recreational cannabis is not, getting your medical cannabis card is the first step. When it comes to getting your medical marijuana card in Florida, for example, you must be diagnosed by a certified medical doctor with any number of conditions. Qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card in Florida include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Seizures
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • PTSD
  • ALS
  • Chronic Muscle Spasms
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Beyond those conditions, a doctor may choose to prescribe medical marijuana for a patient with other medical conditions. Patients must live in Florida for at least 31 consecutive days each year to be eligible for a medical marijuana card as a seasonal resident. If you have any further questions about the medical cannabis card process, feel free to reach out to our staff for guidance.

Choosing Your Cannabis Dispensary

Once a doctor has prescribed medical cannabis for you and you’ve been entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry, you’ll receive your medical cannabis card. As soon as that happens, you can visit your local Florida dispensary. There’s no need to be nervous about your first trip to the dispensary. The staff will be extremely friendly and welcoming to new cannabis patients. Simply find a dispensary near you and plan your first trip.

When you arrive, let them know you’re a first-time patient. The staff will make sure they take special attention to guide you through the process and make sure you’re comfortable at every step along the way. You will have to present your identification and your medical marijuana card, so make sure you have those with you. From there, you’ll be welcomed into the dispensary and introduced to all of the different products.

Working With a Patient Caregiver

Different dispensaries will use different names to talk about their employees. Some call them budtenders, while others may refer to them as patient caregivers. Here at Fluent, we often call the members of our staff curators. Regardless of what you call these employees, you can count on them to help you navigate all of the different options on a dispensary menu. They’ll be able to explain the basics, answer your questions about various products, and discuss different strains with you.

Types of Cannabis Products

There are all types of different medical cannabis products available. Take your time to learn about the different offerings on a dispensary menu and find something that appeals to you. It takes some time to learn about all of the different cannabis products, but the staff and dispensary menu will be able to introduce you to all of the options. To start, it’s helpful for most people to understand the different kinds of cannabis flower.

Cannabis Flower: Indica Vs. Sativa Vs. Hybrid Strains

Every strain of cannabis will produce unique effects. Traditionally, people categorized strains as indica strains, sativa strains, and hybrid strains. As we learn more about terpenes and the unique characteristics of different types of cannabis, though, we find that those definitions are incomplete. Instead, we normally discuss strains as being calming, invigorating, or balanced. The same applies to products like edibles because their effects will vary based on the type of cannabis strain used to produce them. Your experience with a specific strain may not be the same as someone else’s, so pay attention to how your body responds as you search for your favorite cannabis strain.

Cannabis Edibles

Cannabis edibles are popular among patients because they’re so easy and fun to consume. They come in many flavors and textures, which makes it easier for people to find cannabis edibles that appeal to them. One of the things people like about edibles is that they don’t require any kind of smoking or vaping. Do keep in mind that edibles take a while to be processed by your body, so don’t overdo it. Start with a small amount, then let at least an hour or two pass before you consider eating any more.

Cannabis Topicals

Topical cannabis products are a good choice for people who want to localize their experience of medical marijuana. For example, you may only want to feel the effects of cannabis on your aching knee, your arthritic hand, or your sore back. In that case, a topical product like cannabis-infused lotion may be the most appealing to you. You can put it exactly where you want it.

THC Vapes

Vaping cannabis is popular because of how convenient it is. Cannabis vape oil offers high concentrations of cannabinoids, so people don’t have to consume as much as they might with traditional flower. Some people like to use disposable pens for maximum convenience, while others prefer to refill their cartridges.

Cannabis Tinctures

Cannabis tinctures and cannabis oils are some of the most flexible cannabis products. Some people like to hold cannabis oil under their tongue for about a minute before swallowing. Others like to mix cannabis oil with food or drink to help mask the natural taste of cannabis. We’ve even heard of patients applying cannabis tinctures and oils directly to their skin.

CBD Vs. THC

There are many different cannabinoids, but THC and CBD are certainly the most popular. THC is associated with the psychoactive effects that many people call the “high” effect. People often say that THC makes them feel euphoric, relaxed, and occasionally hungry. CBD is not psychoactive and does not cause people to feel intoxicated. CBD is most known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and some people also associate it with a general sense of wellness.

How Much Cannabis to Consume

This varies for everyone. Some people are extremely sensitive to cannabinoids, while others need a much greater amount to feel the same effects. We always recommend that people start with a small amount, observe how they feel, then adjust their serving size as desired.

Your doctor will be able to give you some general guidelines whenever you’re being assessed for your medical cannabis card. If you’re still wondering about how to consume cannabis or how much to consume at a time, the staff at your local dispensary will be able to answer some of your questions. Ultimately, it all comes down to doing what feels right for you.

Learn More About Cannabis with Fluent

Here at Fluent, we have 20 different dispensary locations in Florida. Our mission is to make medical marijuana as accessible as possible for those who can benefit from it. Find a location near you today to come visit us in person, or explore online ordering for a convenient experience. Either way, we look forward to serving you.

Image: By H_Ko