Introduction of Cannabis
Short and simple, cannabis is a plant. It offers a wide variety of physical and mental benefits. For many, it helps manage pain and reduce symptoms of various conditions. For others, it’s simply a source for helping them improve their overall well-being and emotional health. Cannabis is not a new idea; it’s been around for many years. Even ancient civilizations used it for many purposes. Out of fear, many people have avoided its use, but now, we are in an exciting time where medical and recreational marijuana is being pursued throughout Massachusetts because of the benefits.
When you first visit a cannabis dispensary, you may find the number of products and terms like CBD confusing. Cannabis is the plant and cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, are derived from it. THC is the better-known cannabinoid. It’s the psychoactive substance in cannabis. It can stimulate the mind, relax muscles and relieve pain. CBD is a term used for cannabidiol. It’s gaining a lot of attention for helping treat neurological disorders. Some potential benefits of using CBD can include reducing inflammation, relief from anxiety, improving sleep quality and controlling seizures.
What Do You Need to Get a Medical Cannabis Card?
Before you can go to a cannabis dispensary or a marijuana shop to purchase medical cannabis in Massachusetts, you’ll need to obtain a medical card. First, you’ll need to provide proof you live in the state of Massachusetts. Then, you should talk to your doctor about your qualifying medical condition. The state determines the qualifying conditions that are approved for medicinal marijuana use. These include cancer, ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. A physician can also determine if you have another debilitating condition that can qualify you for medical use.
Your first step is to get the doctor’s recommendation. You can explain to the doctor why you feel the use of medical cannabis would be beneficial to you. If your doctor doesn’t already have your medical records, provide access to them. Explain to them why you think you would benefit from using medical marijuana and explain how medical use can potentially alleviate your symptoms or discomfort. Be sure to use professional terms like medical cannabis instead of “weed” or “pot.” It’s important for you and your doctor to remember they aren’t writing a “prescription” for you, but only giving written certification. This document basically states you have consulted with your doctor about your condition(s) and you have an ongoing patient-doctor relationship. Once your doctor provides you with a cannabis recommendation, you can submit an electronic patient certification to the Medical Use of Marijuana Program in Massachusetts.
Fast Facts on Medical Cannabis
When you’re considering using either recreational marijuana or using it for its medicinal effects, it’s important to know what to expect. Using cannabis and cannabinoids on a regular basis can offer benefits like:
- Reducing or managing nausea and/or vomiting
- Relieving pain
- Reducing muscle spasticity
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing anxiety
- Controlling or reducing the occurrence of seizures
- Stimulating the mind
- Helping muscles relax
- Increasing the appetite
How to Choose a Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Whether you’re new to the area or are a new user, choosing the right cannabis dispensary is important. One thing to note is the experience should be all about you and helping you choose the right medical or recreational marijuana for you. The atmosphere is key, and you should always feel safe, supported by knowledgeable staff and welcomed without feeling pressured. You should be given a dispensary menu with a variety of options, such as edibles, vaporizers, tinctures, sprays and topical waxes or balms. It’s a good idea to discuss what methods of consumption are best for your particular situation before visiting a marijuana shop in Massachusetts.
A reputable source will also offer a dispensary menu with a variety of strains to choose from. Some of the most popular medical marijuana strains include Indica and Sativa options like White Rhyno, White Widow, Hash Plant, Malwai and Northern Lights. At Rise Cannabis, our goal is to ensure every individual gets access to the best products, along with the best possible care. Rise Cannabis is committed to making sure each person gets the help they need, including finding the right weed shop. This includes providing unparalleled customer service, educational resources and patient advocacy.
Q: Can you accompany someone who has a medical cannabis card into the weed dispensary in Massachusetts?
A: With recent changes in the law, you can accompany someone into a cannabis dispensary in Massachusetts, but only if you are over the age of 21. You will be asked for proof of your age when you get to the door and you won’t be allowed in if you cannot provide a driver’s license or other ID that shows your age. You’ll have to prove you are over 21 to purchase recreational marijuana as well.
Q: Is there a restriction on how many licenses one entity can hold?
A: Yes, the current laws in the state of Massachusetts prohibit any sole entity from holding or controlling more than three licenses to operate medical cannabis stores or three licenses for recreational marijuana stores. The Cannabis Control Commission issues licenses in Massachusetts. Four types are available: retail marijuana stores, product manufacturers, cannabis cultivators and cannabis testing facilities.
Q: How much does medical cannabis cost in Massachusetts?
A: The price of medical cannabis can vary based on the particular strain and the level of quality. Flowers will cost you about $50 for 3.5 grams. Marijuana edibles can range from $10 to $30 a piece. Just remember to start slowly if you are new to edibles. You’ll only want about 5 mg to 10 mg to start with. Concentrates are limited in supply and range from $50 for the wax to $95 for distillate.
Q: What do I do if I lost my medical card?
A: If you lose your medical card or if it gets destroyed, damaged or stolen, it’s important to report it to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as soon as possible. Call 617-660-5370 to report it and get DPH support quickly. You are required to notify the DPH Support Center within five days. The sooner you call the Support Center, the easier it is for the problem to be resolved. There is a $10 fee for replacing the card.
Q: Does cannabis have an expiration date?
A: When you purchase your cannabis product, it should have a use-by or expiry date. Marijuana doesn’t technically expire, but its freshness will depend on the type of cannabis you buy and how it is stored. Most dried pot flowers will have a “best before” date affixed. Using it by the suggested date will ensure its freshness and quality. Most of the time, as long as it is stored properly, it should last for a year without loss of flavor and effectiveness.