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What Types Of MMJ Products Are Allowed In Missouri?

  • Missouri medical marijuana dispensaries offer an array of cannabis products.
  • Medical marijuana comes in a wide variety of strains.
  • Different marijuana strains are bred to have specific medicinal effects.
  • Edibles, tinctures, patches, inhalers, and other cannabis products are also available at Missouri dispensaries.
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What types of medical marijuana products can patients buy at Missouri dispensaries? That’s the first thing most potential applicants want to know before they pony up the money for a Missouri medical marijuana card

The short answer is that most likely, patients will find what they’re looking for at one dispensary or another. But maybe you’re not sure what your options are? Maybe you’re not fully aware of the pros and cons of various “delivery methods.” Let us help you out. 

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Missouri can’t be compared to other types of adult-use businesses such as liquor stores and drug stores. Marijuana is, as they used to say, “a horse of a different color.” In fact, a medical marijuana dispensary is probably closer in nature to an ice cream shop than to a drug store. How’s that?

In an ice cream shop, you might find different flavors on different days. You can mix and match and get a little of this and a little of that. You can get your ice cream in a cup or in a cone, with toppings or without. Or you can get a milkshake or a frappe or a float. Most ice cream shops also carry things like cookies, candy, and soda pop. Marijuana dispensaries are kind of like that.

Drug stores and liquor stores carry a list of particular products. If the shop manages its inventory well, the products they sell, for the most part, are the same on a day-to-day basis. A Budweiser will look the same, taste the same, and have the same effects as it did the last 500 times. Same goes with all types of FDA-approved drugs.

The thing about marijuana is that it’s an herbal remedy. Just like there are countless flavors of basil, there are countless strains of marijuana. Each one of them offers its own unique flavor and smoking experience. 

Strains can also vary from place to place or even day to day. A Blue Dream bud grown indoors in Saskatchewan will have different properties than Blue Dream grown outdoors in Maui. In that sense, marijuana shops are more like cigar shops. 

So marijuana dispensaries are like a cigar shop in an ice cream parlor. In all seriousness, though, marijuana is much more complicated today than it was 50 years ago. Back then, most (not all) marijuana users just took whatever strain they could get their hands on. They’d be lucky if they could find some hash.   

Today, Missouri’s marijuana parlors carry not just several varieties of marijuana, they also carry products like hash, extracts, oils, tinctures, concentrates, vape pens, inhalers, patches, and, yes, even cannabis-infused cookies, candy, and soda pop.

Humans have been smoking marijuana since we invented fire. But here in Missouri, we’ve only been doing it legally since 2018. When dispensaries first opened they only carried “flower.” (Flower is the technical term for marijuana buds.)

The reason Missouri dispensaries only carried flower is because they opened for business right at the end of the first legal harvest. Marijuana takes time to make market-ready. Unlike basil, you really can’t just pick a bunch of buds off a bush and throw them on a cart for sale. Marijuana has to be properly dried, cured, and stored to result in a high-quality experience. 

When dispensaries first opened, growers hadn’t had the time to process the flower into other products like vape oil, wax, or edibles. And, at that time, because medical marijuana was in high demand (with more than 600,000 medical marijuana cards handed out), it was even more expensive than it is today.

Thankfully Missouri dispensary menus have been steadily expanding ever since. 

Here are some of your options…

Flower for smoking, vaping, and cooking

Marijuana is complicated. The resinous, aromatic female flower clusters of the cannabis plant produce two main types of active compounds — cannabinoids and terpenes.

Cannabinoids have complicated chemical names that are usually shorted to three or four letters — for example THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol), and so forth. 

Raw marijuana buds actually produce acidic versions of cannabinoid compounds — THCA, CBDA, and so forth. These are then converted into THC and CBD when the buds are smoked, vaped, or cooked. 

Interestingly, for the most part, none of the cannabinoids found in a fresh bud are intoxicating. In order to catch a buzz, marijuana, hash, kief, etc. must be either smoked, vaporized, or cooked in order to convert the THCA into THC. CBD can also be converted in the lab into slightly less intoxicating delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol.

Terpenes are the essential oils that give marijuana its distinctive skunky, gaseous, fruity, spicy aromas. Terpenes are powerful active compounds. Cannabinoids might make up one-fifth to one-third of a bud’s content. Terpenes, on the other hand, are measured in parts per million rather than in percentage of the bud by weight as with cannabinoids. 

Each different terpene has its own scent and medicinal effects. For example, a terpene called pinene smells like pine. One called limonene smells like limes. One called myrcene smells exotic and spicy. And there are scores of different terpenes in marijuana. 

Why are we telling you all of this? Because when you shop at a dispensary you’ll usually find several different strains of marijuana. Each has its own formula of cannabinoids and terpenes. And, therefore, each has its own set of medicinal effects. 

Some strains are high in THC and devoid of other cannabinoids. Some are high in CBD or CBG. Some make you sleepy. Some wake you up. Some reduce pain. Some are great for anxiety or depression. Some are better for your bladder. And so on. 

In this article, we’re not going to get into which strains are good for which medical conditions. Patients need to do some homework and also talk to the “budtenders” at the local dispensary to determine which strains of marijuana — or hash or kief — best fit their needs and lifestyle.

By the way, hash, short for hashish, and kief are made by separating the certain parts of the flowers that are highest in cannabinoids. They are more concentrated and therefore more powerful than flower.

All of these items — flower, hash, and kief — can be smoked. They can also be used in a dry herb vaporizer. Vapes use heat to evaporate the cannabinoids and terpenes rather than burning them. These products can also be used in cooking.

The benefit of smoking and vaping is that the effects are almost instantaneous as the gasified cannabinoids enter your bloodstream directly from your lungs. Smoking and vaping also offer a very high bioavailability. That means that more cannabinoids enter your bloodstream when smoking than you get when cooking with marijuana. 

Smoking and vaping are valued for their systemic effects. This means they enter your bloodstream and make their way to your brain and other organs where they can do some good.

Generally, people shouldn’t be treating conditions of the lungs with marijuana. In fact, there are no states in which bronchitis and emphysema are qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card. 

Marijuana edibles and capsules

Cannabis edibles are rising fast in popularity. It’s really not 100 percent correct to refer to edibles as “marijuana edibles” but that’s what a lot of patients ask for. “Marijuana” technically just refers to the buds. In order to make cannabinoid-infused edibles, cannabinoids need to first be extracted from marijuana buds. 

Edibles can be made with any combination of cannabinoids and terpenes. Many are also terpene-free. Frankly, straight-up terpenes taste terrible — think turpentine. Cannabinoids, on the other hand, are odorless and flavorless. For this reason, most people prefer edibles that are made with purified cannabinoids — also called cannabinoid isolates. Cannabinoids and terpenes can also be put into capsules and pills for oral consumption.

Edibles come in a variety of options. There’s the venerable gummy bear. There are also hard candies and chocolates. We have baked goods like cookies and candy. And cannabis-infused beverages are also becoming more common.

If you’re treating a condition of the intestines, then baked edibles are your best bet because they must traverse the entire digestive system. The onset of effects from baked edibles containing THC can take some time — up to 90 minutes. Don’t double dose! It’ll sneak up on you and cause an unpleasant experience.

Edibles in Missouri are limited to 10 milligrams of THC per piece.

Cannabis-infused capsules, candies, and beverages, when taken on an empty stomach melt quickly, delivering their contents entirely to the stomach making them a better choice for treating ailments of the stomach. Some portion of the cannabinoids are also absorbed into the bloodstream for systemic effects. However, the bioavailability is much lower than smoking. 

As with flower, edibles can be made with THC, CBD, CBG, or any combination of cannabinoids. 

Edibles should always be kept in a secure place where kids won’t get into them. Since more and more states have been legalizing edibles, there has been a rising number of kids showing up in emergency rooms after eating what they believe to be candy. So educate your kids on the fact that they are medicine, not candy. And then lock them away! (The edibles, not the kids.)

Cannabis-infused tinctures

Cannabis-infused tinctures are potent liquids that come in dropper bottles. Droppers offer quick and accurate dosing. Although tinctures can be taken down the hatch or added foods, generally they are used sublingually – that is, under the tongue. A few drops held under the tongue will be absorbed into the bloodstream via the capillaries in the lining of the mouth.

Tinctures are made by mixing cannabis extracts or purified cannabinoids (and sometimes added terpenes) to a liquid base. Alcohol is the most effective as it is absorbed quickly and mixes easily with blood wihch is water-based. Oil tinctures have a harder time as oil and water don’t mix.

Tinctures offer a faster onset time than edibles. However, as with edibles, tinctures that contain terpenes can be unpalatable to some patients. 

Other cannabis products available at Missouri dispensaries

In addition to smokables, cookables, capsules, edibles, and tinctures, some dispensaries offer additional delivery methods such as dry powder inhalers, transdermal patches, and topical preparations such as skin creams, balms, salves, and so forth.

  • Cannabis patches are affixed to the skin and are great for long-lasting relief as the cannabinoids enter the bloodstream through the skin over a period of several hours. 
  • Cannabis inhalers offer a fast-acting puff of finely powdered cannabinoids. Inhalers offer the benefits of smoking and vaping but with less potential for harm to the bronchial tubes and lungs. Inhalers also a bit more discreet than vape pens and joints. Dosage can easily be controlled by the number and frequency of puffs. Unlike smoking a joint, every puff offers the same dosage.
  • Cannabis topicals are either formulated to treat skin conditions or underlying aches and pains such as joint and muscle pain. Skin treatments often contain additional ingredients such as aloe, while pain creams often include additional skin-penetrating ingredients such as menthol. Topicals come in an array of cannabinoid formulas. 

So there you have it! Missouri medical marijuana patients are fortunate to have such a wide selection of cannabis products available to them. Patients in some other states aren’t as fortunate. Many state’s forbid the sale of flower and other smokables. Some only allow the sale of cannabis tinctures. So the next time you’re in a Missouri dispensary take a moment to feel some gratitude.

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