How to Choose and Buy the Right Kind of Medical Marijuana

April 20, 2016

Using medical marijuana is most difficult when it comes to dosing properly. You have multiple ways to administer the drug and even then you have to figure out how to do it accurately. Let’s take a look at the different types you can purchase and what can help provide the most relief for you.

What Different Types of Medical Marijuana Can I Get?

Medical marijuana literally comes in all sorts of different shapes, forms, colors, and styles. If you smoke or vape it you will have a greater selection of different strains and you can learn how each one affects you. Vaporizing, at least so far as we currently know, poses a significantly lower risk than smoking, which I personally wouldn’t recommend.

If you want to choose an exact strain responsibly, go buy a quality vaporizer and skip the joints. If you want to avoid any potentially unknown risks of vaporizing, you can purchase sprays and tinctures for equally simple dosing. Marijuana products also come in the form of topical waxes, food, and drinks. Let’s discuss your seriously insane number of options.


You can get a cheap vape pen at pretty much any dispensary or smoke shop for about $15-20 and it’ll do the trick. You can also buy a high quality vaporizer if you see a real benefit in spending around 10 times more. With a vaporizer you insert a cartridge, press a button, suck in the marijuana vapor, and blow it right out. Unlike smoking, you do not need to hold the vapor in your mouth. Suck it in, push it out, and you’re done.

How do you know how much of the drug you just got with one “hit” (a puff on the vaporizer, basically)? The cartridge you inserted will say how many hits you can get from it and how much marijuana it contains (usually 150mg, 200mg, or 300mg).

With some easy math you’ll find that you probably got between 1.5mg and 3mg per hit. We’ll discuss this later on when cover dosing practices, but you’ll probably want to try no more than 4-6mg your first time (whereas a person with a moderate tolerance would take 10-20mg for a dose). Vaporizing/vaping offers the advantage of a quick onset of effects (5-30 minutes) and easy and accurate dosing.

Tinctures and Sprays:

Tinctures are bottles of liquid that you suck up with an eye dropper and administer each dose sublingually (under your tongue). You administer sprays sublingually as well, however you just push the cap like any spray bottle and out comes the medicine. Both supposedly take effect very quickly (5-30 minutes) like vaporizing, although in my experience it took closer to 45-60 minutes (half of the time of an edible). Neither the sprays or tinctures taste particularly good, but sprays often come with a burning sensation whereas tinctures do not. Still, I prefer sprays because they are very portable, discreet, and simple.


I prefer edibles over any other form of medical marijuana because although they can provide a dosing challenge, you have a variety of cost-effective (and fun) options. You also don’t have to waste your time figuring out a specific dose because you can just buy a specific dose with your edible.

A company called Kiva makes my favorite option—chocolate bars with segments containing a specific amount of the medicine, and even better, a tin of chocolate covered blueberries (or espresso beans, if you prefer) that contain 5mg of THC and make dosing straightforward and predictable. Cheeba, another company I like, makes taffy chews that also offer easy dosing. When looking for a combination of CBD and THC, or even solely CBD, Cheeba has a very good, simple set of taffy options. They do not, however, taste good.

If you don’t have access to these or prefer something else, don’t fret. If a food exists in the world, you can probably find a version of it infused with marijuana. Despite how much I prefer edibles, they take longer than anything else to work. You’ll have to wait two hours to know how they’ll affect you and you absolutely should not ingest more until those two hours are up.

Most people find the intensity of edibles to be much greater than any other form of marijuana. In my case, edibles provided more pain relief long after the “high” went away. I could use them before bedtime, sleep well, and wake up pain free without the any high whatsoever. Smaller doses also tend to be more effective, which is in turn more cost effective. Finally, edibles don’t always provide a consistent experience. Some companies, like the ones I mentioned, do their best to ensure that you get the amount of medicine specified on the package.

Many edibles get it wrong, either providing more or less than advertised. You can usually guess by the quality of the packaging which edibles you can trust, but trial and error is the only way to know for certain.


If you don’t want to taste marijuana, or anything at all, you can purchase pills containing marijuana oil to swallow instead. They often look like vitamin E supplements and are pretty discreet. They work similarly to edibles in that they take time to work. Additionally, pills usually cost much more than their edible equivalents. On the upside, the amount of medicine in each pill tends to be more accurate.

Topical Wax (Balms):

Do not confuse topical wax with wax (something we’re going to ignore in this article because it’s not relevant.) Topical wax is a balm that you rub on your skin. You would consider using topical wax or other marijuana balms if you have pain in a specific area. It takes around an hour to work and it smells strongly like—you guessed it—marijuana. Most people won’t find this worthwhile, but some people suffering from skin conditions that cause pain, soreness, and migraines appreciate its somewhat localized effects. If the topical wax contains THC, it will still get you high.

While edibles worked best for me, something else might work best for you. The only way you’ll ever know for sure is to try your options, and try them multiple times. Different edibles, vaporizer cartridges, sprays, and tinctures work differently than their counterparts. In some cases, you may find the exact same product works differently because a dose was a little off for one reason or another. Remember, none of these are pharmaceutical-grade products, and they all lack that level of consistency—even the good ones. Just as I recommend giving a new television show a few episodes before you judge it fully, you should give any medical marijuana product a few tries as well. Just make sure you don’t have anywhere to be for the next 4-16 hours. Until you know how the drug will affect you, don’t make plans you might not be able to keep.

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