Beginner’s Guide: When to Buy Medical Marijuana

January 7, 2021

by Ma Raim

When should you buy medical marijuana? If you live in Canada, you’re lucky enough to have easy access to medical marijuana through online dispensaries. There has never been an easier time to decide for yourself how to treat your pain. That could be emotional, physical or mental pain. So, in the first of a new series, here's our beginner's guide for people thinking of buying medical marijuana for the first time.

What Does Medical Marijuana Help With?

Young or old, we all have things going on in our minds and bodies that could do with some help. Cannabis dispensaries let you buy weed recreationally, but there are so many health benefits for medicinal users. If you’ve never tried cannabis in any form, start by finding out how it can help you. Cannabis contains some measure of CBD and THC, both of which have their own unique properties.

what is medical cannabis used for


CBD does not get you high but can still aid in a number of conditions. Scientific and clinical research underscores CBD’s potential as a treatment for:

CBD has demonstrable neuroprotective and neurogenic effects, and its anti-cancer properties are currently being investigated at several academic research centres in Canada and elsewhere. Further evidence suggests that CBD is safe even at high doses.


THC is the psychoactive chemical in cannabis which gets you high. If you’re looking for medicinal benefits without the high, you can get CBD-only products or only a slight high using cannabis with low THC and high CBD.  Although THC is the headline ingredient for recreational users, it can also help with a range of health concerns:

  • low appetite
  • nausea
  • anxiety
  • pain relief
  • muscle spasticity
  • glaucoma
  • insomnia
  • colon cancer (potentially)

Medical Marijuana’s Effects

This concerns people who haven’t tried marijuana before. They’re often uncertain how it will make them feel. Cannabis affects people in different ways as it interacts with the brain and the body – and no two sets of those are the same. Generally speaking there’s a steady feeling of euphoria, relaxation and altered consciousness.

chilled effects of cannabis

Related: How does weed affect the brain?

The Difference Between Indica and Sativa

If you’re new to buying cannabis and find yourself reading a lot of jargon that confuses you, the best place to start is by finding out the difference between indica and sativa. Sativa strains are more for social situations and give you an energy boost. So, if you want to stay up and get creative or chatty, you want sativa. Indicas give you more of a body buzz, help you unwind after a long day and relax your muscles. If you struggle with stress and anxiety or slowing down in the evenings, indica is the way to go.

Trying Cannabis for the First Time

Some Simple Tips for Beginners

  • Take it easy
  • Don’t start with edibles
  • Do it somewhere you feel safe
  • Smoke with friends
  • Relax

If you have no interest in getting high, stick to CBD products. There are CBD bath bombs, oils, pills, creams, gummies, vapes and isolates – even dog treats!

man trying cannabis for the first time

If you do fancy getting high, have a friend who smokes guide you through it if possible. You can start alone (I did) but you might be more comfortable with friends around. Smoke a little bit and then give it some time to let it hit you. Lower THC means the weed is less potent, so look into the strain before you buy.

Why Shouldn’t You Start with Edibles?

Edibles are great if you’re used to cannabis. They remove the need to smoke and hit you hard, but that’s part of the problem. If you aren’t used to cannabis, they can get too intense. When you smoke you can pause at any time and won’t get much higher, then the feeling will pass. Sometimes edibles come on strong and then build up from there. In the words of the great Snoop Dogg: “They ain't got no off button.”

Medical Marijuana’s History in Canada

Medicinal cannabis has an interesting backstory in Canada. The country prohibited cannabis production to prevent recreational use in 1938. Doctors were allowed to prescribe certain products if they went through a rigmarole of paperwork and appeals, so it was rare. Cannabis had become politicized with politicians all along the spectrum opposing or championing it to win favour. There was decades of back and forth before a government body even conducted research into marijuana in 1999. In 2000, the courts stated that Canadians have a constitutional right to use cannabis for medical purposes.

In 2004 the government’s first crop of chronic was released to a few patients. Jari Dvorak, a 62-year-old Canadian HIV patient was the first. He was apparently “one of several hundred Canadians authorised to use medical marijuana for pain, nausea and other symptoms of catastrophic or chronic illness.” The number of registered medicinal users in Canada grew from 100 in 2001 to 37,000 in 2014. Canadian dispensaries began popping up all over the place, as did online pot stores.

Here in Vancouver in 2021, we have numerous legal online dispensaries, a choice of products, and the freedom to treat ourselves as we see fit. It’s astounding that over the long and tumultuous history of marijuana it’s taken so long for this plant with endless medicinal properties to become widely used and accepted. And, sadly, we’re still pioneers in that area rather than the norm.

There you have it. If you’re looking to buy medical marijuana in Canada, look no further. Take a look through the Hot Grass dispensary and hit us up on Instagram or Twitter with any questions. You can also check our FAQs. If you have some old weed and aren't sure if you should spark it, you can find the answer here.

If you're new to buying weed in Canada, check out our post on Canna Cabana Vs HotGrass as a comparison between a large chain and smaller outfit.

Until next time, smoke responsibly.






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