Licensed Producers – Understanding Your Options
Licensed Producers (LP’s) come in all different sizes and shapes. We’ll run through some of those differences for you now so that you might understand which you should consider and which are just smoke and mirrors.
Licensed Producers – Strain Variety
You will notice some Licensed Producers offer a handful of strains, say 5-6. These are companies like Bedrocan or Cannimed. Then there are companies who are offering 30+ strains. These are companies like MedReleaf, Delta 9, and Tweed. The growers with only a few strains have decided to simplify their offering for new users, patients who have little to no experience selecting strains and wouldn’t know how to navigate all those options. These companies may have also simplified the naming of the products and designated them signature names or even number designations like CanniMed whose names simply describe the levels of THC and CBD in the product like Cannimed 12-1.
Our personal recommendation is to go with growers that offer a larger variety simply because whole marijuana medicine is not one-size-fits-all. Every strain has a unique effect and every patient will respond differently to these. By going with a LP that has lots of variety you give yourself a better chance of finding a strain that works best for you. If you are a newcomer to the world of medical marijuana do not let the number of choices scare you, the grower’s customer service reps are fully trained to assist you in your selection, the same way a pharmacist can assist you with selecting a cough medicine. They have previous customer feedback on what strains work best for what symptoms and they can match you to a strain that best suits your needs.
Licensed Producers – Naming Conventions
You should have already noticed that some growers have gone with the traditional breeder names for their product offerings and some have gone with signature proprietary names. Patients who are new to the world of medical marijuana may not be familiar with these street names and might be turned off or even offended by some of them. Growers have catered to these types of customers and replaced them with safer more pharmaceutical sounding names. The drawback to this strategy is that as strange as the traditional names are, they also have a wealth of history behind them that information can easily be researched and reviewed by visiting one of the popular strain review sites.
As with all purchases, price is a major factor. Especially since many people in need of medical marijuana already have higher than normal expenses due to their conditions. The range of pricing is quite large with some producers selling trim (excess material from manicuring bud) as low as $2.50/g to premium growers selling the latest cannabis cup winning strains at $12/g to imported strains from Israel at $15/g. You need to determine your budget and select a grower that fits within that budget.
Licensed Producers – Compassionate Pricing
Several growers recognize that some patients most in need of this medicine have conditions so debilitating that they cannot work and need government income assistance. If you fall under this category you are eligible for discounted pricing from these growers. If you are in this situation you should narrow your selection to those growers with compassionate pricing.
Licensed Producers – Milled vs Whole Bud
Some producers are shipping product already ground up as ‘milled’ product. This is to cater to those who may have little experience with medical marijuana and need their medicine ready to use or for those who may have joint or muscle issues that make manual grinding difficult. In our opinion whole bud is the superior form because it maintains it’s moisture and aroma which makes for a more pleasant and smoother smoke. If you opt for vaporizing due to respiratory difficulties or personal preference than milled product will work just as well if not better, since drier material works better in vaporizers. Most growers are offering whole bud which keep your options open. If you want milled product there are several growers including Peace Naturals Project and Organigram.
Licensed Producers – Organic vs Conventional
A several growers are claiming organic growing methods and as with any produce this one is a significant consideration. Unlike some fruits and vegetables with skins that can peel off thus limiting exposure to pesticides and herbicides, medical marijuana users will be smoking the whole bud meaning any pesticides or fertilizers may be present even if the product falls within government limits for these substances. We suggest looking for organically produced bud even if it’s not officially certified organic. This means they use natural fertilizer and pest control methods that are not harmful to your body.
Licensed Producers – Irradiation
A few growers have adopted Health Canada approved food safe gamma irradiation processes to eliminate any microorganisms present in the product for those with compromised immune systems such as HIV/AIDS patients. If you have immune system deficiencies we suggest you look for growers that irradiate their product. Otherwise we recommend avoiding this process. There’s a reason you’ve opted for whole living medicine and the purer and more raw the product, the better.
Licensed Producers – CBD and THC
Another major consideration are THC:CBD ratios of the medicine. THC is generally referred to as the psychoactive compound and CBD is referred to as the medicinal compound. CBD is what interacts with the abundant cannabinoid receptors in your body. If you are a new user make sure the LP you choose has product with lower THC levels to avoid certain side effects such as paranoia, elevated heart rate, and anxiety. If the LP you choose has higher THC levels these side effects can be diminished as long as it also has a higher CBD content. Studies have found that the most medicinal ratio is 1:1 but the amount of THC you want in your medicine depends on if the psychoactive effects are desired for your condition or symptoms. For daytime use at work or during activities look for a LP with lower THC:CBD ratios such as 1:2 or lower.
Licensed Producers – Inventory
Some growers have yet to produce any product but are still taking patient registrations. Be warned that if you register with a grower that does not have product available right now or is frequently out of stock you won’t be able to use another LP unless you have another prescription. This is a serious consideration for those that have chronic conditions that require a consistent supply of medicine. Choose an LP with regular product in stock if you need medicine right now.
Licensed Producers – Customer Service
The last consideration is level of customer service. We recommend calling, emailing, or live chatting with the various customer service reps. Go with an LP you feel comfortable talking to. They will be advising you on this very critical aspect of your life and your health. Make sure you trust them since you will be putting your health and your money in their hands. Don’t feel pressured to register on the spot. A compassionate and caring LP will understand your need to research and shop around. You will be building a long term relationship with your LP so don’t skip this step.
Licensed Producers – Summary
With a multitude of LP’s to choose from you can streamline your decision process if you follow the advice in this article. Go for a wide strain variety, look for traditional names you can research, make sure product is in stock, go organic, avoid irradiation, go with whole bud, stay within your budget, determine if they have your preferred THC:CBD ratio available and make sure you’re comfortable with the reps. Every persons situation is different which makes this decision a very personal one.
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