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No Budtender? No Problem. Picking Perfect Products Online

When there aren’t any budtenders to describe the deal of the day, or offer guidance when choosing between a sativa or an indica, how will customers choose which products to buy? A recent article from Green Entrepreneur claims that nearly 90 percent of purchasing decisions are based on recommendations from budtenders. As dispensaries across the country have been forced to transition to online ordering or delivery due to COVID-19 health concerns, customers are left with a new challenge: how do I pick the right cannabis product for my needs?

How Do You Want to Feel?

The first thing to ask yourself is, “How do I want to feel after using this product?” What are your goals for using this cannabis product? If you’re a medical patient, it’s best to ask your doctor for their recommendations. However, you still know how you want to feel after using the product. Knowing how you want to feel will let you know if you’re in the market for a sativa product or an indica product. 

Sativa Products

If you’d like to feel energized, upbeat, or motivated, then sativa products are likely the right category to choose. Since sativa products tend to have an energizing effect, they’re a good choice for daytime use. 

Indica Products

If you’d like to feel calm, relaxed, or sleepy, indica products may help you accomplish those goals. Indica products are typically associated with deep relaxation, so they may be best suited to nighttime use. 

Hybrid Products

A hybrid plant is grown using a combination of sativa and indica strains. The resulting plant is typically classified as either sativa or indica dominant, but may contain characteristics of both types. For example, an indica dominant hybrid may help you to relax, but its sativa properties will keep you more alert and energetic than a pure indica strain.

How Long Do You Want to Feel That Way?

Now that you know which type of cannabis you’re looking for, ask yourself how long you want to feel the effects of the product. Depending on the method of ingestion, you may feel the effects immediately or have to wait. Further, the effects may last just a few hours or up to twelve, depending on how you ingest the cannabinoids into your system. If you’d like to feel the effects immediately and maintain the effects for several hours, consider inhaling the product. 


Inhalation via traditional smoking or vaping will likely cause the user to feel the effects immediately with a duration of two to four hours, depending on the quantity consumed. Concentrates will have a more powerful initial onset than flower. As always, start with a low dose and slowly increase the dosage until the desired effects are achieved. 

Oral Ingestion

Edibles, tinctures, and pills have very different onset times. Tinctures or sublingual options tend to enter the bloodstream faster and offer a more immediate onset. They may last anywhere from two to four hours, depending on the concentration. Edibles and pills have to be broken down by the stomach and liver, resulting in a slower onset and a more prolonged duration. Edibles may take 30 minutes to an hour to take effect and may last for up to twelve hours, depending on the dose. New technologies are changing this, but for now, these averages will apply to the majority of products available.

Topical Application

Though cannabis research is in its infancy, there are many studies linking cannabis to pain relief. If you’re suffering from muscle pain, soreness, stiffness, arthritis, or a similar condition, a topical ointment or cream might be just what the doctor ordered. THC/CBD creams can target the afflicted area directly and provide rapid relief. If you would like to avoid the mind-altering effects of THC, many ointments and creams are available with CBD-only formulations. 

What’s Your Budget?

The final consideration is how much money you’d like to spend on the product. Concentrates and flower often offer the most effect for the least amount of money. Edibles and tinctures cost a bit more as they require more processing. Topicals tend to have a higher upfront cost, but they provide concentrated pain relief. The decision is ultimately between you and your dispensary.

If you have a limited budget but need large quantities of cannabis, consider growing at home. In some states, medical growers can legally grow up to twelve plants and recreational growers can grow up to six at a time. Though the initial investment may be large, the returns are considerable.


  • Ebby Stone is a freelance writer specializing in cannabis, with a focus on the innovators and businesses shaping the industry.

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