The 5 Biggest Differences Between a Cannabis Dispensary and Pharmacy

A dispensary and pharmacy both have similar purposes, but when it comes down to it, they’re two very different experiences.

The five biggest differences say a lot about what both a dispensary and pharmacy represent on their own.

1. A dispensary and pharmacy both have medication. However, prescriptions are needed for a pharmacy. In California, doctors’ recommendations aren’t necessary for cannabis dispensaries if you’re 21+.

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Ever since recreational cannabis legalization went into effect in California in January of 2018, anyone over the age of 21 can come and shop in a marijuana dispensary.

For a pharmacy, you’re probably used to the experience of taking your doctor’s prescription, waiting in line, getting your medication in a bag, and leaving shortly after. It’s typically a straight-forward and easy experience.

However, since you don’t need a doctor’s recommendation to come into a dispensary, your shopping experience can be a little bit different.

There’s more time to shop around, to discern if whether you’re more interested in products geared toward medical or recreational, and to learn about each product in detail.

However, if you’re between the ages of 18 and 20, you still need to bring in a doctor’s recommendation to a dispensary.

2. A dispensary and pharmacy do not have the same kind of atmosphere. Pharmacies are medical and straight to the point. Marijuana dispensaries are a little bit more relaxed and fun.

Twelve Hour Care blog - THC blog - dispensary and pharmacy

Pharmacies are perfect for when you know what you need to pick up, and for when you’re simply treating an ailment or illness.

However, a lot of our customers, at our cannabis dispensary, are looking for recreational products. And if you’re looking for a good time, the good time starts as soon as you set foot into our cannabis collective.

We pride ourselves on setting an atmosphere that’s informal, fun, and comfortable, all while maintaining an element of professionalism and keeping your safety and comfort level at the top of our priorities. Which brings us to the people behind our counters who make the experience…

3. Dispensary and pharmacy staff have very different roles. The people behind the counter at a pharmacy may be knowledgeable but it isn’t their job to teach you about your medications. Budtenders are trained to be your guide in finding the perfect cannabis product for you.

Twelve Hour Care blog - THC blog - dispensary and pharmacy

Not only do our budtenders end up being your friend, but they are specifically trained to help you find exactly what you need.

Everyone’s experience level and needs are different, and they’re here to help you navigate the shop until you find exactly what you’re looking for.

The staff here at Twelve Hour Care is more like a family, and we want you to feel comfortable coming in and saying hi and browsing our selection.

Not only do our budtenders have to be cannabis experts, but they have to be easy-going people that are easy to talk to and provide great customer service.

At a pharmacy, the person behind the counter will go over your medication with you, but that’s about the full extent of it.

4. The selection between a dispensary and pharmacy are, clearly, very different. You won’t find cannabis-free medications at a dispensary. You won’t find a weed pharmacy.

Twelve Hour Care blog - THC blog - dispensary and pharmacy

Probably the most obvious difference between a dispensary and pharmacy is that only one carries cannabis products.

Medication from pharmacies has been known to change people’s lives for the better in so many cases.

But there have been some cases where prescription pills have known to do more harm than good. Dispensaries won’t carry any of the harmful opioids that are sometimes a big part of prescription medication.

There have been several cases where people have even been able to wean themselves off of their opioid and illicit drug addiction by using cannabis to supplement other strategies.

Among those people is Lamar Odom, former Lakers player. “While going through rehab,” Odom comments, “I discovered certain [cannabis] strains that support wellness. […] All my doctors say I’m a walking miracle. I think marijuana attributed to that.”

5. Pharmacies take many forms of payment, and cannabis dispensaries are cash only.

Twelve Hour Care blog - THC blog - dispensary and pharmacy

One of the biggest caveats about the cannabis industry is that the lack of cannabis banking makes it incredibly hard for dispensaries and other cannabis businesses to conduct business.

The state treasury estimates that cannabis sales in 2018 will reach up to $7 billion, and that’s a lot of cash. And, not to mention, a tax collecting nightmare.

The ability to utilize banking is one of the biggest hurdles that the industry faces, and consequentially one of the major pains for customers who don’t have any cash on them (but don’t worry, we have an ATM in our lobby).

There are certain politicians who are trying to change things for the better, but until then, don’t forget your cash.

Luckily, if you’re at a pharmacy to pick up your medication, they take many forms of payment.

It’s a new era for cannabis consumption, and stereotypical stoners are a thing of the past.

Come and visit our shop, Twelve Hour Care, today! Our address is at the very bottom of this page.