Ask Mayor Wando: Going to a Dispensary in a Legal State, An Abbreviated Guide

Apr 14, 2023 at 3:11 pm
Mayor Wando wants your questions and thoughts about cannabis.
Mayor Wando wants your questions and thoughts about cannabis.

Get your bags packed, get ready to hit the high road and travel to a state where recreational cannabis is legal... aaand GO! 

As it stands right now, cannabis is currently illegal for recreational consumption in Kentucky. That’s also true of some of its neighbors. It’s currently illegal in Indiana and Tennessee. In Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia, it’s decriminalized or regulated for medical use only. 

But with recreational sales flourishing in Illinois, and newly permissible in Missouri, Kentucky residents who want to partake can simply head west.

What next? 

The most critical piece of information that I can impart to you is that if you have experimented with cannabis before and ever had a less-than-ideal time, you’ll want to spend a little extra money and have a CBD-only vape pen handy. CBD helps to dilute and slightly counteract the euphoria associated with THC consumption. 

Now, before you need that CBD, you’ll want to buy some cannabis.

After showing your ID and waiting your turn, you will be greeted by a dispensary employee who will answer any questions that you have. A budtender is like a bartender or a barista for cannabis. They will ask you questions to help determine what type of experience you want to have.

A side note: Cannabis is still illegal under federal law, so don’t get hung up on brands, or strains, or types of hardware. This is still a fluid industry, one in its infancy. It’s not like going to Radio Shack to get the latest cellphone or newest gaming headphones. Some states and farms do better than others, and some brands have put more investment in making the experience feel like, well, buying a smartphone. Until cannabis can be descheduled from Schedule I, scientific research is limited. Specific names and strains can be a marketing device more than anything. Still, what we are discussing here should be a solid primer.

Getting Happy, Getting Sleepy or Aiming for Both

There are three categories of cannabis: indica, hybrids or sativa. Each has a purpose.

Let’s say you’ve come to Illinois or Missouri from out of town, work has been crazy, you want to hang out at your rental for the day and just chill with the people with you. So, you’ll want a strain that leans more sativa — something that’s uplifting. Just for fun, let’s say you also want something that is fruity and delicious. The budtender would get you a sativa that is currently available and would ask qualifying questions to help you narrow down the type of experience you want. Remember, it’s an approximation, depending on your state of mind, hydration levels, and mood — it’s all all about educated guesses.

Your other main option is indica, which is usually associated with “in da couch.” That’s the sleepytime, chill-on-the-couch type experience. It may not make sense for a party rental; most people use an indica-dominant strain to chill out. (A hybrid, naturally, offers a mix of the two experiences.)

I would head over to Leafly.com if you wanted to dive deeply into the flavonoids and terpenes of different cannabis strains. My continuing educational work is deeply rooted in the belief that cannabis, like other plants — hops and bananas, for example — is an ever-evolving process. The more we grow, explore and push these plants, the more they change and push back. The bananas we know today are not the same bananas as 100 years ago. Blight, popularity, and the roulette of genetics has changed them. The hops we have today are not guaranteed to be available in 50 or 100 years, in the same way the beers brewed 100 years ago might have used a mash bill of items we don’t have access to anymore. But, I digress. 

In truth, today’s cannabis market offers thousands of crossbred hybrids, so each description is an assumption made by the person sampling and writing the descriptions. Again, we aren’t yet to the definitive part of the naming process. Every single batch of grown and cultivated cannabis can offer differing experiences. Like bourbon, every batch can be subtly different. Cannabis isn’t an A+B+C experience. It’s more of an ethos than a scientific certainty. The search bar on leafly.com even has a disclaimer: “These results are based on user reviews and are not a substitute for professional medical advice.”

3 Ways to a High: Flower, Edibles & Concentrates

Flower is the technical term for the traditional, most widely known part of the cannabis plant. Yes, when you are smoking weed, you are burning the flower part of the plant.

Even so, the experience of smoking flower can vary widely. For instance, if the dispensary you visit has Durbin Poison, you can see on leafly.com that it’s a very popular sativa with over 3,600 ratings. Users have reported that it leaves them with feelings like energetic, focused and uplifting. Some of the negatives that have been associated with it are anxious or paranoid feelings and that it leaves a very dry mouth. Different growers or differing farms from one state to the next make a side-by-side comparison nearly impossible, but one of the known pluses with this strain is that the dominant terpene, terpinolene (fruity), gives an herbal, floral terpene that is also found in apples, lilacs, and nutmeg.

Say that instead you want a flower that’s more indica dominant, something to give you that chill experience. One strain likely to provide that is Peyote Cookies, an indica-leaning strain created by mixing Peyote Purple and Cookies Kush. You won’t want to have much planned while imbibing this. Know that the dominant terpene is pinene (pine), which is found in rosemary and other herbs, and so it smells like a pine forest. The pluses are that it will likely make you sleepy, chill, and maybe a little buzzy. The downsides could be dry eyes and mouth.

Naturally, there’s more to buy at recreational dispensaries than just flower. Many users now prefer edibles, which could be gummies, desserts made with canna-butter, drinks, or even additives like salt made with the addition of THC. Edibles take longer to kick in because they are processed through the liver. Allow up to two hours before taking more and have that CBD vape ready to counter the THC if you, ahem, overindulge.

Your third option, concentrates, take the form of shatter, dabs, THCA crystals, diamonds, or live resin. Concentrates usually need a specialized dab rig or can be used via vape pens. As they are concentrated, take it slow and find out where your tolerance is. If you take too much, relax and take a nap. Ibid. Have the CBD pen ready if needed.

It’s a lot of information. What’s important to remember is that the ins-and-outs of cannabis consumption differ from person to person, can change over time, and, for the casual consumer, need to be stair-stepped into for the best experience. Cannabis use varies person by person, so not everyone’s experience is the same. Take your time and enjoy the ride.

Canna-curious and have some questions? Email and Ask the Mayor! Email: [email protected]

Remember, we’re not telling you to use cannabis, but if you do, be informed.