So you’ve filled out all of the required paperwork, had a visit with your Qualifying Physician, have been added to the Medical Marijuana Use Registry, have completed your patient application, and paid your $75 fee to the state of Florida. You’ve waited for your processing to be completed and now you’ve gotten your approval email. Congratulations, you’re now a legal patient!
You’ve Been Approved!
Once you have received the email from the state saying that your patient ID card application has been approved, you are now ready to make your first purchase from a licensed MMTC (Medical Marijuana Treatment Center).
While you do not yet have your physical ID card (that should show up in your mailbox within another 7-14 days), you don’t have to wait to purchase your medicine. Simply present your legal identification (driver’s license or state identification card) at a dispensary or to a delivery driver. MMTC staff will be able to check the Medical Marijuana Use Registry to verify your legal status.
Finding The Right Producer
When choosing a dispensary there are some helpful links online that will help make the process easier. Weedmaps, Leafly, and other websites are resourceful tools because they map out and list dispensary storefronts closest to your location. You can also visit the Office of Medical Marijuana Use’s web page for addresses and phone numbers of MMTC’s and their dispensary locations.
Each MMTC has their own variety of products, so it’s best for new patients to shop around. Each dispensary has different products and their own unique pricing. If you purchase a large amount of medicine prior to determining your optimal dose, you risk wasting your money and not getting the relief you’re looking for. Start low and go slow, even with purchasing your medication.
Which Product Should I Try?
After deciding which MMTC you’d like to shop from first, what product(s) should you include in your first purchase?
The state allows for multiple methods of ingestion of cannabis by legal patients. When Dr. Kunstman puts orders into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry, she orders inhalation, oral, and topical routes for patients. The three most common methods, this ordering strategy gives a person the greatest variety of choice when they’re purchasing product.
Unless there is a specific reason why a patient cannot inhale cannabis (such as respiratory issues), we generally recommend patients begin their medical marijuana journey by using inhalation products.
With the inhalation method, you will begin to feel the effects of the medicine within minutes. Vape cartridges also tend to be lower in cost compared to other products making it more affordable to find what works and what doesn’t.
Vaporization cartridges (the inhalation method) are the easiest way to get a feel for the different variety of products a dispensary offers. Cartridge vape products require an additional battery (510 thread), which some MMTC’s include free with the purchase of a vape cartridge. There are “disposable” vaporization devices available from MMTC’s like Surterra and Liberty Health Sciences. These products have a battery built into them, eliminating the need for an external battery (also known by law as a “cannabis delivery device”).
If inhalation isn’t right for you, check into sublingual tinctures. Dosed orally, these medical marijuana products are of a liquid form and are drawn up in an included eye dropper and the oil is placed under the tongue to absorb into the body. The onset of effect ranges from 30-90 minutes, with the medicine lasting longer in your system due to the way it is metabolized.
Make sure you experiment with different products purchased from different dispensaries so you can get a better feel for the other products available. You are not limited to only buying one thing at a time. You have free range to pick and choose multiple items to try from a variety of places. Always remember to start low and slow and work your way up to finding your optimal dose.
The process from approval to purchase can (and should) be a rather smooth experience. By utilizing the tools that are available, doing thorough research, keeping a log or patient journal and by taking control of your treatment regimen you should be off to a great start as a new Florida medical marijuana patient!