Saving money is a priority for many cannabis patients. Medications can be expensive and the trial and error process adds up quickly. These are some of my top tips for getting the most out of your medicine and saving money in Florida’s Medical Cannabis Program, but they also apply to patients in most legal states.
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1. Plan Ahead
If you do nothing else to save yourself money, plan ahead. Waiting until we are almost out of medicine forces us into purchasing based on the current medication stock and price, and not necessarily what’s best for our needs or pocket book. Planning ahead will allow you to shop sales and take advantage of the other tips below.
2. Utilize First Time Patient Discounts (With Purpose)
Every MMTC in Florida offers some type of new patient discount. This applies to your first purchase at each of these companies, not just your first purchase in the program. At some companies this even applies to each location. When patients first receive their certification and card approval many immediately visit multiple dispensaries in the same day or over a short period of time to try different things. Instead of visiting all of the companies right away, spread out your discounts by taking some time to try each company’s products before transitioning to the next. I’ve been a patient in this program over 2 years and still have a few first time discounts that I’m strategically holding onto. Don’t overbuy and purchase products you won’t use, but the first time discount is often the best you will get (for example 25% off total purchase) so make a large enough purchase to make it count. This will save you over the long run.
3. Shop Sales
In my 2+ years as a patient, I’ve rarely purchased anything at full price. Pay attention to sales and discounts and use them to your advantage. With competition ramping up, these sales keep getting better and better. The best way to stay up to date with MMTC sales is to subscribe to text message and email alerts from each company. I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I don’t receive a batch of text messages about sales and restocks. Use this to your advantage. Also take advantage of new MMTC store openings - discounts are typically around 25% off depending on company.
4. Sign up for Loyalty Programs
Most Florida dispensaries (MMTCs) have some type of loyalty, referral, or rewards program. At every company you visit ask about their program, make sure you are registered, and use the discounts to your advantage. Be aware that in some programs points/rewards expire after set time periods, so keep track. If allowed (varies by MMTC), stack these rewards with already running sales for deeper discounts.
5. Buy in Bulk - Within Reason
Like many things, buying in bulk can help to save money. Products like RSO are sold at a discounted rate when purchased in intervals of 10 and discounts/sales add up quickly when making large purchases. Don’t over do it however - cannabis can degrade, you are apt to change preferences, and there are some items that are difficult to keep in stock as it is (keep other patients in mind). Only bulk purchase items you will actually use, but instead of going to buy them weekly, go once every 1 or 2 months and use a sale/discount to save money.
6. Invest in the Right Places
Medical cannabis involves a trial and error process of finding the right medications for each person’s body and needs. There are ways to do this effectively and ways to do it haphazardly. I’ve worked with dozens of patients who opted for an inexpensive certification clinic when they were getting started in hopes to save money. Unfortunately they received little guidance and support, leaving them to spend hundreds unnecessarily on inappropriate products. Investing in the proper guidance, especially if you are new to cannabis, can save you tons over the long haul. Choose a quality cannabis physician or work with a Cannabis Health Coach to dial in your needs quickly and efficiently.
7. Tune Into Your Body
Many patients I work with are surprised to find that reducing their cannabis intake via a sensitization protocol, changing their delivery method, or finding a better suited CBD:THC ratio allows them to get better effects for much less money. Cannabis is an art and tuning into your body will help you extend your dollar. Journaling and using mindfulness techniques along with your cannabis use can help you to better identify patterns and effective products.
8. Do It Yourself
A lot of the products purchased in dispensaries are convenience items - you are paying for a company to fill the cartridge, make the tincture, topical, etc. A little DIY can go a long way to save money (and give you better control over the quality and ingredients of your products).
9. Use Proper Storage
To avoid medicine loss and degradation, cannabis should be stored in a dark cool place. If your flower doesn’t already come in a glass jar, immediately transfer it to one and store in a dark cool place. You can also add a Boveda pack to keep your flower from drying out. I like Ball mason jars. An eighth fits well in a 4oz jar.
10. Don’t Burn Away Your Flower
The statistics are pretty clear - most cannabis users prefer to smoke when compared to other delivery methods. It’s easy, quick, efficient, and many of us have been doing it for years. We like it. Unfortunately, it’s also incredibly wasteful. I spend FAR more money now than when I did before smoking was legal in Florida. Instead of smoking your flower, vaporize it. This allows you to use every last bit of the plant. Smoking literally burns away medicine - much of it combusts before you inhale it. Vaporizing allows you to consume more of the medicine via inhalation and the left over vaped bud can be used to make edibles, topicals, or tinctures. Medicinally, and financially, it’s the ultimate way to consume medical cannabis.
For other tips on purchasing medical cannabis in Florida check out this post.