When you first obtain your medical marijuana card, you may be surprised to learn that the cannabis doctor does not “prescribe” cannabis – at least not in the way you may think. A physician who is certified to treat patients with medical cannabis more accurately “recommends” marijuana based upon their patient’s needs.

In other words, the physician will conduct a medical examination and make a diagnosis. If that diagnosis includes an illness on the qualifying conditions list, the doctor can give you a recommendation for cannabis. 

Quick Fact: Your qualified physician will input your information and the order information into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. Once done, the physician will help you apply for a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card. Once those two steps are completed, the doctor can provide a recommendation which you will bring to a licensed dispensary. 

However, unlike a prescription, the recommendation you receive will not specify exactly which cannabis you should obtain. When you visit the cannabis dispensary, you will present your driver’s license or medical marijuana use card and your recommendation from your physician. The dispensary will help you to choose the best cannabis for you based on your preferences. Of course, your referring physician can provide guidance and information, but you will determine what you bring home with you in the end. 

Therefore it is vital to find the right Florida cannabis dispensary. Cannabis is not federally legal, which means it is not federally regulated. However, products sold in Florida dispensaries are regulated by the State and do have to meet state sanctioned, stringent quality measures. You want to find a dispensary that fits your own needs and provides a quality product as well. 

  1. Be sure to find a verified dispensary: The state of Florida allows the sale of medical cannabis but only through licensed medical marijuana treatment centers. You can verify the license of the dispensary through the official government website. Note: Buying cannabis from an unlicensed seller can be a serious offense for both seller and buyer.

  2. Look up customer reviews: One of the most positive aspects of the online community is that you can learn a lot about any business before patronizing them. Both good and bad feedback is on clear display. Remember that not everyone will be happy all the time, but if most reviews are positive, you can feel more confident in that dispensary.

  3. Product Variety: Successful dispensaries will cater to a broad spectrum of customers. If you are sure about which product you need, this may not be as important – however, if you want to try different products before landing on the one that is right for you, a dispensary with a diverse inventory is best.

  4. Product Quality: High-quality cannabis products are essential for patients dealing with a medical condition or illness. The better the quality, the more effective it will be for your treatment. This is another reason to be sure you purchase from licensed sellers.

  5. Personal Convenience: Of course, you need to take your own convenience into account. You most likely want to find a dispensary relatively close to your location, especially if they also offer home delivery. Also, once you understand which kind of cannabis product you prefer, you want to find a dispensary that always keeps the product in stock. 

 Dr. Daniel P. Stein is a board certified neurologist based in Sarasota, Florida. He is a renowned speaker, educator and thought leader in the field of medical cannabis.