Cannabis is a little tricky for people to get a grasp on, and the miscommunication from dealers both on the street and in legal dispensaries is often disgraceful. Concentrations of both pesticides of extraction solutions unchecked, exaggerated THC and CBD levels reported, and mislabeling galore is plagued the state-regulated industry.
Like tobacco shops, retail stores, and restaurants, each cannabis dispensary is a little different and carries a different selection. This guide is meant to explain the different products possibly available at any medical or recreational dispensary. If something isn’t offered at the closest dealer to you, find another one that does.
Basic marijuana is known as either flower, bud, or nugs, depending on where you’re at. Generally, expect to pay around $10-30 per gram, depending on where you’re at. Prices get cheaper as you buy more, and don’t pay more than $400 for an ounce, regardless of where you’re at or how good of a hookup you’re being told you’re getting. $250 is where you want to be.
What matters is whether it’s sativa or indica, though hybrids are most common, and many budtenders won’t know what they’re talking about, so you’ll have to rely on trial and error.When buying flower, ask to smell the product to see if it’s something you’d like. Don’t be afraid to shop around and smell them all.
Many dispensaries, farmers, and producers will sell you a bag of trim or shake, and this can mean something different, depending on who you’re talking to. Dispensaries in Washington and Colorado, for example, will sell you shake and call it trim, as it was trimmed from the bud, though it’s actually about as smokable as anything you’ll find in Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico.
Trim prices are generally the same as reggie or dirt weed prices on the black market. Expect to pay up to $160 for an ounce of trim, though that’ll buy you a pound other places. This stuff depends on your hookup and how much work you’re willing to put into it.
Cannabis concentrates are used for dabbing, and require heated-coil attachments to be used with an eCigarette, as they’re not viscous enough to be used in a standard tank. You’ll want either a propane or butane torch, a glass piece, and a domeless ceramic or quartz nail for concentrates, along with a dabber.
Darker concentrates are typically around 60-70% THC and lighter ones are up to 85%. Anything above that, and it should be the consistency of wax sand crystals from Michaels or Hobby Lobby. These concentrates are about as strong as cannabis gets.
A gram of concentrate should be under $100, but prices can get extreme as its expensive to produce legally. often concentrates are sold in half/gram containers. Shatter is the strongest – wax supplies last longer, and honey is basically just shatter or wax processed a different way.
Kief is the THC crystals that collect at the bottom of your grinder. When trimming cannabis, bud trimmers often spend $50-100 on a trim tray with a kief screen to collect kief each day. Many dispensaries have kief, but it’s not at all of them like flower and concentrate typically is. Expect to pay around $30-60 for a gram of kief.
Kief is too fine to be smoked in a normal bowl. It can be, but you’ll pack it too tight to allow ample air flow, and you’ll likely suck some in (wasting quite a bit in the process). Use a healthstone or dabbing equipment to smoke kief. It can also be used to amp up the effects of flower, joints, etc.
Hash oil comes pure, but it can also be diluted with vegetable glycerin, coconut oil, and/or polypropylene glycol. Read all labels and ask to be sure. If it’s real concentrate, the price will be a little higher than normal concentrate prices, typically around $80 for a half gram. The cartridges can be used in standard eCig equipment, so you’re paying more for convenience than anything else.
If diluted, you should be paying no more than $50 per 500 mg refill cartridge. Flavors can be altered at this point, so be wary of fruity flavors like banana, orange, and blueberry from farms that don’t even grow the applicable kush for those flavors.
Any candy, drink, liquor, baked good, or sweet, savory, and salty treat you can think of has been made into an edible. In recreational dispensaries, edibles are routinely capped at 10mg per serving, and it’s difficult (and expensive) to get enough for anyone who’s ever tried pot before to get high. In California and Oregon, medical dispensaries are a bit more free with the THC and CBD levels. I’ve had gummies, pills, and breath strips easily topping 100mg.
As a general rule, you’ll pay more for items with higher THC counts. A pint of ice cream, fifth of liquor, handful of jelly beans, energy shot, etc. will likely cost you around $25-60 for the high. Edibles are one of the most expensive ways of buying legal pot.
Tinctures and Pills
For those who don’t want the smoke or calories, THC and CBD come in both tinctures and pills. These will run you around $50 per 100ml bottle or $20 per pill. Tinctures can be water-, alcohol-, or glycerin/oil-based, and each drop will likely contain around 2-5 mg of THC.
As with all weed, look for Indicas for a body high and Sativas for a head high, and processed cannabis products are more likely to be labelled one or the other than flowers.
Many states and dispensaries also offer cannabis-infused topicals, running the gamut from chapsticks and lotions to bath salts, soaps, sunscreen, and more. Like edibles, topicals can get a bit expensive, with many costing $20-80 per bottle.
In addition to cannabis, many dispensaries will offer marijuana accessories, though many aren’t allowed to. These include dabbers, nails, eCigs, blunts, pipes, bowls, clothing, and more. Look to spend $50 on a decent pipe, $200 on a decent bong, and $50 on a decent eCig, though many cheaper and more expensive options exist.
Keep in mind smoking accessories can also be purchased at glass shops, head shops, convenience stores, smoke shops, and online. Take the time to find a piece that works for you (or build a decent collection).
However you decide to consume cannabis, do so safely and enjoy the freedom. Grow it, invest, and learn more about the industry and product. Cannabis is America’s newest big industry.
Brian Penny is a former business analyst and operations manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work has been featured on Cannabis Now, Hardcore Droid, Money Side of Life, Main Street, and BBC.