I’m going to my first Utah dispensary today. A dispensary in Utah, I can't believe it. I guess I should say pharmacy — that's what I keep hearing from those in the biz. That'll be a hard one to shake. Anyway, yesterday I went and got my recommendation letter from Utah Therapeutic Health Center. It was like that scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory walking out of their office with that letter in hand. It really felt like I had a golden ticket. No longer a criminal, baby! I’m still on a bit of a high as I drive to the pharmacy today. Because this is my first visit to a Medical Cannabis dispensary, I have to meet with a pharmacist before I can buy anything. This seems like a waste of time to me — I'm not a newbie, but hey, I can buy cannabis from a dispensary in Utah? I'm so elated it's legal that I don't care much about the hoops I have to jump through.
I walk in, and it’s nothing like I’d expect. It’s super modern and clean looking. I've certainly been to my fair share of shady dispensaries in other states. In Utah, they're not like that. This place looks like Apple and Starbucks joined forces and sold cannabis. I check in and take a seat on a chair in the lobby. To take my mind off my nerves, I admire the tree to my left and wonder how they keep it so green, thinking back to the half-dead, browning leaves on everything in my own home. After a few minutes, I hear my name called by a woman in a white coat. She greets me warmly and introduces herself as my Medical Cannabis pharmacist. I take a deep breath. Here we go.
She leads me to a desk and I sit across from her. She asks me my name and birthdate and starts typing on her computer. When she frowns slightly, my fight-or-flight kicks in, thinking I must be about to be kicked out. Before I can bolt, she asks me if I have a card or a letter. I hand her my letter and she smiles. “You have a great QMP.” I breathe a sigh of relief and agree wholeheartedly. She then tells me that she’ll have to start from scratch since she can’t see my QMP’s notes in the system until I have my card. Of course, I worried for nothing. I’m still getting used to this legal cannabis thing, can you tell?
When she asks me if I have ever used cannabis before, my palms get a little sweaty. I’ve used cannabis daily to treat my colitis and anxiety for years, but every time I’ve told a doctor that, I’ve been chastised. Since this is the whole point of the dispensary consultation, I swallow my fear and say, “Yes, every day for more than six years,” and quickly try to read her face. She seems completely unfazed and asks me how often, what form, etc. She’s clearly heard it all before. It’s pretty freeing to talk openly about this. She mentions that anxiety is not a qualifying condition but that she’ll keep it in mind when we create a treatment plan for my colitis.
I tell her about the one medication I am still taking for my colitis and all the nasty side effects that come with it. She brings up the possibility of tapering off of that and moving completely to cannabis. That’s always been a pipedream of mine, but I’m not always in a place I can smoke a bowl, so I’m tied to the ease of a pill. My pharmacist tells me about cannabis capsules they sell in this location and I’m intrigued. Anything to get off this brutal pharmaceutical that’s eating away at my insides.
While we finish up, my Medical Cannabis pharmacist asks me if I have any questions about the laws in Utah. I work in a public school, so I ask her if it's okay for me to bring my medicine with me to school. She tells me that Utah law prohibits any Medical Cannabis use on or within 100 feet of a school campus. Geez, glad I asked! It makes sense, I guess. I make a mental note to draw up a schedule to medicate so that I won't have to bring my cannabis to school with me.
My pharmacist starts to tell me about cannabinoids and terpenes, and my brain starts to hurt. She must have been able to tell because she quickly goes on to say that terpenes are what I taste and smell and that cannabinoids are the chemicals in the cannabis plant that make it so awesome.
She then goes on to tell me that smoking is not allowed. What?! Then why even sell flower?! She pulls out something called a dry herb vaporizer, this little metal bar that heats flower into vapor. I'm skeptical, but she assures me that this is the safest way to inhale flower. Apparently, I've been burning off some of the good therapeutic stuff with my lighter! I figure it's worth a shot and do some mental math — I decide to pick up cannabis capsules next time and trade it out for a vape. I keep my eye on the one in my favorite color as my pharmacist goes over my treatment plan.
We decide that since I already know flower helps my condition, we'll stick with that. My Medical Cannabis pharmacist gives me a few pamphlets and documents that go over the medical use of cannabis and more about the dry herb vaporizer I'm going to buy. She asks me if I know what happens if I take too much THC. I laugh and tell her yes, thinking back to a time in my early smoking days. Back then, I just waited it out, but my pharmacist tells me to try adding some CBD to the mix. I make another mental note to find the CBD vape I lost in my car a few days ago.
I thank my pharmacist for her time, and she tells me how I can reach her if I have any problems. Very nice touch! My QMP said the same thing. It makes me feel good knowing that I have all of these people I can call if something doesn't feel right. I feel supported entirely by my little team of Medical Cannabis professionals.
Finally, I head up to the counter. I can't believe I'm actually about to buy cannabis legally in Utah. At a dispensary, no less! I thought we'd be the last state to legalize this. I see smiling faces at the registers and I pick the budtender closest to me. They're all so friendly and helpful right away. I don't know why I was ever nervous about this.
I buy a 3.5 oz jar of Sundae Driver and a 3.5 oz jar of Karat Cake. I have a sweet tooth, and these both sounded delicious. I'm excited to see what they taste like in my new vaporizer. My budtender recommends I try popcorn buds: smaller buds for a fraction of the price. It's all going in my grinder anyway, why not save some money? I'm grateful and a little surprised at the tip — I expected to be upsold at dispensaries, but these guys seemed to be looking out for me.
As my budtender tells me the cost of my cannabis, I freeze. Oh no. I forgot dispensaries only take cash! I'm going to have to come back, how embarrassing. As I explain my dilemma, they tell me about a digital way to pay called Hypur. They explain that it's like Venmo for cannabis purchases, and that's all the justification I need. I hate carrying cash anyway. After creating my account, I pay and am back out in my car within a few minutes.
It's crazy, I couldn't believe how easy this all was. I have to admit, having been to a dispensary before, I was initially a little irritated I had to meet with a pharmacist. But I'm so glad I did! I feel very informed and empowered after speaking with her. I'm armed and ready to take control of my own health for the first time in years. It feels so good, I tear up a bit on the freeway on my way home. I'll definitely be back here soon.
Are you ready to make a change? Give us a call at 801.851.5554 or schedule online today.