So a nurse walks into a weed shop….

I’m a life long learner. A forever student. A seeker of information. As they say, if you are the smartest person in the room, then you are probably in the wrong room. So I find new rooms.

I am a CBD and cannabis educator and I thought it might be helpful to find out what people are being told about these products out in the world. Out on the front lines. Out in the dispensaries. In early 2018, Colorado had approximately 520 active recreational dispensaries – plenty to choose from for my “research”. Here’s a sampling of what I learned.

Dispensary 1: It’s a Saturday morning around 10 am and I coax my husband to go with me to a dispensary in Aurora, Colorado.  Just off a well traveled road and located in a strip mall, Dispensary 1 is flanked by a donut shop and nail salon. Upon entering, we notice the waiting room is VERY full. The space resembles an old medical office or a laundromat. A number of people are sitting quietly, although there is a group of 4 or 5 adults that are not sitting quietly. Rather, they are loud, laughing, looking in brown paper bags and eating gummy stars. There is a window  – kind of like at the DMV – where a young lady speaks through a metal hole. She takes our ID’s and gives us a number – kind of like at the DMV. When our number is called, we are buzzed through a large metal fire door.  Our escort takes us down a long corridor and several turns later, we enter a large open room with 3 glass counters. Our “budtender” is Ace and he will be helping us today. I ask for a product to help with flying anxiety. Ace shows us several strains high in THC, to be inhaled that are “guaranteed to knock you right out”. “Hmmm”, I say, “but what about just taking the edge off?”. Ace tells us his mom uses 1:1 ratio capsule, 10 mg of THC and 10 mg of CBD. Anything else we need to know? I ask. Ace says nope. We make our purchase and leave the way we came, escorted. The rowdy folks are still partying loudly in the waiting room. I have to say, it was weird.

Dispensary 2: I am between appointments during a workday on a Tuesday. Since I have some time, I stop at a recommended dispensary in Denver, Colorado. As I am walking towards the front door, I get a nosebleed. Great. I push on the door and nothing happens. I push again, holding pressure against my nose with my left hand and try pushing harder with my right hand. Nothing happens. Then, there’s a buzzing sound and I almost fall into the lobby as the door opens. You can just picture it, right? Lady in nice business clothes stumbling into a marijuana lobby with blood dripping from her face. I’m not kidding. “Hello”, I say to the young lady sitting at a large metal desk – kind of like at a car dealership. “May I have a kleenex?” She gives me a kleenex, and she’s laughing and for some reason I try to regain a sense of dignity, so I say “I’m a nurse”. Great. Moving on, she takes my ID and I am escorted through another metal fire door. Another corridor, another big room with several glass counters. This time, my budtender is Bill. Bill has been enjoying the product line. Bill is high but helpful as he recommends Chewba Chews. These CBD chewables do contain more than 0.3% THC. I would not be able to legally bring them on my airplane trip. Bill says since they look like tootsie rolls, I can just wrap them with my other snacks and I should be “fine”. Thanks Bill!

Dispensary 3: A friend tells me about a pen that is discrete and sleek. One can inhale hybrid product (sativa and indica) that REALLY helps with anxiety. So, I find dispensary number 3. In a suburb of Denver, in a strip mall with a coffee shop and a pet store and a bakery, I feel happy when I walk in the lobby. No locked door, no glass window, no metal desk noted. Instead, I walk into a living room. I am greeted by a smiling young lady who says, “Welcome! How can we help you today?” Nice. I tell her about my friend’s pen and she offers me a first time customer coupon. Nice. She takes my ID and walks me back to the product room. There a green ferns, soft music and it smells like coffee. Nice, again. I am a customer for life. David asks about my experience with CBD and THC. Do I like tinctures? Have I tried oils? He tells me all about the pen, in great detail, with room for my questions. David is like my brother. This is a good place. I am happy. I make my purchase and I know I will tell others about Dispensary 3.

All in all, my “research” did not surprise me. I see a need for more consumer education, both for recreational and medicinal users. Nurses can fill that knowledge gap.

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