What to Expect on That First Trip to the Local Cannabis Shop

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With the recent legalization of Cannabis in Canada, we are now able to go out and visit one of the product retailers that are starting to pop up around our city. A quick search on Google reveals around a dozen different stores, some independent operators and others being outlets for some of the major licensed growers here in Canada.

Whether you are a person who has had some experience with cannabis in the past or are new to the opportunity to try the ‘herb superb’, you will find the shopping experience both interesting and maybe a bit confusing at the same time.

In the past ,when procuring your puffs when cannabis was an illicit substance, someone usually knew someone and in most cases, the selection was whatever happened to be available at the time, which was generally one choice with no background information on what it was or where product came from.After all, what you and your supplier were doing was, and actually still is, illegal.

The origins of your purchase might have been a local grower in the underground economy or it may have come from another province, North American or South American country or even from overseas. While that trade still exists, it remains to be seen how legalization in Canada will ultimately affect those producers and suppliers.

One of the goals of legalization is to put that illegal trade out of business. That may take some time as it appears that there is more demand than supply in the fledgling legal cannabis sector.

When you do visit one of the new stores to learn a little more about cannabis and perhaps make a purchase, you will be greeted at the door by a staff member to ensure you are of the legal age set out by the province to be in the store in the first place. Here in Manitoba that age is 19. You should also be aware that under no circumstances will any underage children be allowed to accompany you inside so do keep that in mind, as many a parent have found this out thinking a visit to a cannabis store would be like visiting the liquor store.

Once inside, you will find the visit somewhat like going to a jewellery store, where all their wares are displayed in glass cases. There are sample jars that a staff member will hold and let you sniff the product, but unlike liquor stores, there is no sampling allowed, a sniff is as good as it gets. Now comes the harder part in trying to decide what to buy. The first thing to consider is whether or not you are looking for the euphoria associated with cannabis or whether you are looking for non-euphoric cannabis to try and help remedy one of a number of ailments that CBD, a constituent in the plant, is reported to help. Should it be the latter you are after, consulting your doctor, a cannabis clinic or a knowledgeable staff member will help guide you in your choices.

You will find many different strains of cannabis available, labelled by type, strength of THC or CBD, the euphoric or medical constituents of the product along with the name of the licensed grower. Somewhat similar to choices in a liquor store there are different flavours, strengths of the product, visual differences and quantity amounts. The staff servicing you will help you through the process which may take some time.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you are new to all of this, or even if you aren’t. The products available today are very refined compared to what was available in the days of Woodstock. The quality is very good and the effects can be strongly felt if you sit down and smoke an entire cannabis cigarette, or joint as they are referred to. What you should do is take a single puff and wait 15 minutes or so to see how you feel before going on to the next puff. As with drinking alcohol, the effects can creep up on you so moderation and experimentation are really the only way you will be able to ascertain what level of consumption is best for you. No two consumers are alike, our bodies all are affected differently by what we imbibe, and with the wide variety of choices in the product, each one will also affect us differently.

One also has the choice of either smoking cannabis like a cigarette or using a vape pipe or machine. In the case of vaping, the cannabis is not actually burnt but heated electrically to the point where the ingredients that provide the euphoria are released from the plant. If you are a non-smoker you may find this method preferable.

There are also oils and soon to be edibles as a further choice to consider, but with all of these options it is best to consult with either your doctor or one of the cannabis clinics whose staff are well educated on these topics.

One last note is that as this is a new industry and supply is still a concern when it comes to meeting the demand that the market is showing, every day the strains available in the retail stores you visit will be changing, so there will always be something new to look at or try. Cannabis retail staff are very informative and will advise you how to store your purchase legally when travelling back home. They are there to assist with your shopping, but also to answer any questions you may have so do ask. As for many of us who are interested, there is a learning curve to get through in becoming knowledgeable about this new product now available in Canada.