Whether you’re a cannabis newbie or a veteran consumer like myself, navigating the expansive offering of cannabis products at a state-licensed dispensary can be dizzying. The early days of an adult-use market often leave customers overwhelmed when they make it to the counter.
We’re here to help. Here’s a short list of product categories that will be available in Massachusetts cannabis dispensaries when they open for adult-use sales after July 1. For the nearest cannabis store near you, click on Leafly’s dispensary finder.
First, here’s a cheat sheet for cannabis flower purchases:
Inside tip: Massachusetts law mandates that cannabis dispensaries manufacture and produce their own private-label brands of cannabis products. The adult-use products you’ll find after July 1 are brands unique to each dispensary and are not commercially available in other states. You won’t find many national brands at first. That may change as the state’s regulatory scheme evolves. You will find the same brands under the same dispensary name, however. The store brands you find at Patriot Care Boston are also likely available at Patriot Care Lowell.
Know before you go: Every state that’s gone rec-legal has experienced the same thing. Customers wait patiently in line, then ask “What’s a vape pen?” when they finally connect with a budtender. Don’t be that person. Read up on what’s available, then be ready to purchase and enjoy. The people behind you in line are counting on you.
Don’t forget: Bring cash. A lot of it. The cannabis industry is a cash-only business, thanks to federal banking restrictions, and I can guarantee you’ll want to buy and try more products than you think.
Some seasoned tokers are surprised to learn that the “weed, bud, cannabis, marijuana” you’ve been smoking is more commonly referred to as “flower” in most legal cannabis establishments.
Terms and Strains: You’ll want to familiarize yourself with this terminology before you step into a dispensary. Some of the flower strains you’ll find on the shelves include GSC, Durban Poison, Ghost Train Haze, and Star Cookie #9.
How much is an eighth? Flower is sold by weight, and the weights are confusing because they’re a mix of metric and imperial units. The smallest batches come in grams, the largest in ounces. We have an easy visual guide here: What Does One Gram of Cannabis Look Life?
What’s a pre-roll? For those who prefer their joints perfectly packed and rolled by the experts at the dispensary, ask for a pre-roll. They usually come with between a half-gram and full gram of flower; adult-use joints will sell for $10 to $25.
If you’re looking for a strain to try, go to Leafly’s super-popular list, 100 Cannabis Strains You Must Try Before You Die.
Most of the Massachusetts strains will be familiar to those who’ve shopped at retail stores in Colorado, California, and Washington. Within several months, even more strains will proliferate onto dispensary shelves across the state.
Potency: Most flower on the legal market ranges from 15% to 26% THC content. Some high-CBD strains should also be available.
Pricing: In the early days of any adult-use state, it’s a seller’s market. Due to high demand and constrained supply, prices will be higher than you’re used to.
Don’t worry. It happens in every state. Prices spike at the start, then slope downward until the market finds its natural balance. Seattle grams started at $23 in 2014. Now they’re $5—sometimes less.
For top-shelf Massachusetts flower, you should expect to pay $15 to $25 per gram, $40 to $60 an eighth, $85 to $120 a quarter-ounce, about $175 a half-ounce and as much as $300 or more for a full ounce.
Click here to find the cannabis stores near you
Extracts & Concentrates
Extraction is the process of “extracting” THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. This is done using a commercial, food-grade processor—cannabis leaves and flower go in, a concentrated cannabis oil comes out.
Terms and Products: “Extract” covers a wide variety of products, from the common vape cartridge to high-end dabbing waxes and shatter.
Vape pens and cartridges: The most popular form of product in this category is the vape cartridge, or vape cart. The cartridge is one half of the cannabis vape pen; the battery that powers the heating element is the other. Vape carts in Massachusetts stores are nearly all the industry-standard 510 thread cartridges (10 threads, set 0.5mm apart), which means they’ll screw into most standard vape pen batteries. Batteries run from $10 for a cheapie to upwards of $60 to $95 for a more powerful and temperature-adjustable model. For tips on vape carts, check out Leafly’s Everything You Need to Know About Pre-Filled Oil Vape Cartridges. We also have information on Which Type of Vaporizer Best Suits You.
Rosin: Rosin is sort of the hand-crafted form of a concentrate. It’s created by pressing a cannabis flower in a heated hydraulic press, which produces a concentrated oil free of solvents or added ingredients. For a deeper dive, check out What Is Rosin?
Waxes and Shatter: Wax is a, well, waxy form of concentrate that can be consumed in a dab rig or in a specialized vaporizer. Shatter is just a concentrate in another form—in this case, an opaque brittle solid. Leafly’s cannabis expert Bailey Rahn explains all in her Cannabis 101 guide, What Is Cannabis Oil, Shatter, and Wax?
Dabbing: It’s all the rage among some cannabis connoisseurs. But what is it? It’s a concentrated form of vaporizing cannabis, and we’ve got one of the world’s most popular explainers right here, What Is Dabbing and How Do Dabs Work?
Nearly all forms of concentrates come from specific strains, which have different properties (energizing, relaxing, etc) that correspond to the qualities they exhibit in flower form. Check out Leafly’s strain database to find the right strain for you.
Kief: It sounds exotic, but it’s just a very finely sifted part of the cannabis flower. Kind of a cool product to know about. Keif contains the resin glands that hold highly concentrated levels of terpenes and cannabinoids found in the cannabis flower. (It’s pronounced “keef,” by the way.)
We have a great dive into kief here: What Is Kief and How Can You Use It?
Pricing: Because extracts and concentrates come in many different product forms, pricing (and dosage) on each product varies. Extracts and concentrates are typically on the more expensive size compared to traditional pricing on flower, but you’re getting a concentrated form of those flower cannabinoids. Expect to pay around $35 to $80 per 1/2 gram of high-quality rosin and/or shatter and $40 to $75 for a gram of oil in a cartridge. Kief prices are around $25 to $35 for a gram.
Buy it here: Sira Naturals in Somerville sells 1 gram of 3 Chems kief for $25, 1/2 gram of Chuck OG shatter for $35, and 1/2 gram of C99 LIVE rosin for $40.
Gummies, lollipops, cookies, brownies, candies and beverages infused with THC and/or CBD all fall into the category of edibles.
Most popular: cannabis-infused chocolate.
Some of the edibles types you’ll find on the shelf include:
- Brownies, of course
- Chocolate bars
- Maple syrup
- Peanut butter
- Coconut oil
- Hazelnut spread
Dosing: Start low, go slow. That’s the rule of thumb with edibles. By law, each package may contain no more than 100mg of THC, and each “serving segment” in that package must be 5 milligrams THC.
What does that mean? For a first-time consumer, 5 mg to 15 mg may feel like a glass of wine or two, depending on body size. Some people may not even feel a 5 mg dose. You’re going to have to learn how your own body reacts. If this is your first time, don’t eat the whole package at one sitting. Trust me. A heavy edible can hit even seasoned smokers hard.
It takes time: The cannabinoids in edibles must be digested before they hit you, so it may take from 20 minutes to more than an hour before you feel the effects. Do not make the Maureen Dowd mistake and eat a second or third cookie because you’re just not feeling it after 20 minutes. Learn more about edibles dosing and time lag here: Cannabis-Infused Edibles 101.
Pricing: Edibles prices can vary, with small doses starting as low as $5 and ranging up to about $50 per serving. For example, a bite-sized, 5 mg chocolate edible is medical-priced at some dispensaries for around $5. At the same dispensary, a 10-oz. jar of organic coconut oil infused with 315 mg of THC is priced at $47. Expect adult-use prices to be a bit higher, because the supply will initially be limited as edibles companies start to receive their recreational licenses from the state.
Buy it here: Ermont, in Quincy, offers an exceptionally wide range of edibles, including ginger molasses cookies, green apple fruit chews, chocolate bars, and banana nut muffins.
Cannabis tinctures are liquid cannabis extracts. To use them, you typically place drops from a droplet jar under your tongue. They can also be mixed into beverages or food. Tinctures were the main form of cannabis medicine until the federal government enacted prohibition in 1937. They’re actually a great entry point for consumers looking to ease into smokeless consumption methods.
A few drops under the tongue: tinctures from Alternative Therapy Group in Salem.
Leafly’s Philip Bjorge offers this advice in his Cannabis Tinctures 101 guide: Tincture dosages are easy to measure. Start with 1 milliliter of your finished tincture and put it under your tongue. If you’re happy with the effects, you’re done. Otherwise, try 2 ml the next day and so on until you find the volume you’re happy with. Ramp up slowly while testing your desired dosage so you can avoid getting uncomfortably high.
Pricing: Because tinctures are liquids containing highly concentrated doses of CBD and THC, they are often priced on the higher end. Look to pay between $60 and $90 for tincture products at whichever dispensary you visit.
Buy it here: Revolutionary Clinics in Somerville sells an orange pomegranite THC/CBD tincture for $60.
Topicals are lotions and skin products that have THC, CBD, and/or other cannabinoids or terpenes infused in them. Some of the topical products you’ll find on shelfs include lotions, soaps, suppositories, transdermal patches, massage oils, body balms, shea butter, and much more.
Topicals can be lotions, salves, butters, lip balm, or transdermal patches.
Relief without the high: Leafly’s Bailey Rahn explains in her guide Cannabis Topicals and How They Work: Topicals are cannabis-infused lotions, balms, and oils that are absorbed through the skin for localized relief of pain, soreness, and inflammation.
Because they’re non-intoxicating, topicals are often chosen by patients who want the therapeutic benefits of marijuana without the cerebral euphoria associated with other delivery methods. Other transdermal innovations are fast arriving in the cannabis market, including long-lasting patches and tingly lubricants for patients and recreational consumers alike.
Pricing: Expect to pay $35 to $70.
Buy it here: Healthy Pharms in Cambridge sells a 2 oz. jar of its Pharmer’s Topical Salve for $45.
Where to find all these products? Click on Leafly’s dispensary finder to locate a store near you right now.