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  #1  
Old 06-06-2010, 08:52 PM
astro astro is offline
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How good is medical marijuana compared to street quality stuff?

Just curious. How does medical marijuana stack up quality wise to what you can buy on the street?
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2010, 10:51 PM
Nametag Nametag is offline
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According to this paper from the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, in 2003 there were 27 states (including DC) with some sort of medical marijuana provision. Many of these states have only authorized therapeutic research programs, and only 6 of those are operational. 13 states have physician prescriptions. Of those 13, 1 has specified NIDA as the only legal source, 4 have authorized pharmacies, 7 specify home cultivation, and 1 is silent on the issue.

So, in those last 8, the supply is as good as you can get, basically. There are hundreds of strains for which seeds are available on the Internet. One state relies on the National Institute for Drug Abuse, which is widely reputed to provide a terrible product, and reluctantly at that. The "pharmacy only" states, AFAICT, do not specify a source, and I don't know if any marijuana is actually available there.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:54 PM
Nametag Nametag is offline
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I hasten to add that just because a state has a legal provision for home cultivation of medical marijuana does not mean that those who do cultivate it are safe from prosecution. It's a tangled web.
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  #4  
Old 06-06-2010, 11:33 PM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is offline
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I don't know about other states but here in California there are tons of medical marijuana dispensaries and the rules are really lax (if you have the card you can get up to some obscene amount, like an ounce a week - way more than anyone could possibly consume). So a lot of the stuff "on the street" is just medical marijuana being sold off for a profit by people who got cards one way or another. Caveat: I'm not insinuating this is how all or probably even most of the illicit traffic originates, but it's a pretty common practice.
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  #5  
Old 06-07-2010, 02:47 AM
Washoe Washoe is offline
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According to the guys I work with (I’m in California), it’s all one-hit shit. That’s all you can buy. As far as I understand it (getting salient information from a guy who’s snapped a few bongloads requires patience and finesse, and the quality of the information can oftentimes be tenuous at best) it’s all bud; the growers just throw the leaf material away or make hash out of it.
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:49 AM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
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I saw a TV documentary about ten years ago (It may have been 60 Minutes or 48 Hours) where some consumers of medical marijuana complained about how lame it was. Maybe things have gotten better in the meantime?
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  #7  
Old 06-07-2010, 05:58 AM
kambuckta kambuckta is offline
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I'm curious about this: when the provision of marijuana for medical purposes came into being, the 'quality' of the dope then was certainly far removed from the stuff that is available on the streets nowadays. So, if someone is using THC for medicinal purposes, why should it matter to them that they are getting the 'old' stuff as opposed to the new-fangled genetically-enhanced shit?

Like, if the old stuff worked to alleviate their pain, cancer or glaucoma, why should they be wrangling over the new stuff?

I don't get it.
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  #8  
Old 06-07-2010, 07:43 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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As someone who has sampled it from both types of sources, I can tell you that through either channel, you can choose from a range of quality levels. Better stuff costs more. Prices from the dispensary and private dealers are comparable. Bottom line: no difference.

It will be interesting to see what happens to prices should California legalize the drug in November.
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  #9  
Old 06-07-2010, 08:18 AM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kambuckta View Post
I'm curious about this: when the provision of marijuana for medical purposes came into being, the 'quality' of the dope then was certainly far removed from the stuff that is available on the streets nowadays. So, if someone is using THC for medicinal purposes, why should it matter to them that they are getting the 'old' stuff as opposed to the new-fangled genetically-enhanced shit?

Like, if the old stuff worked to alleviate their pain, cancer or glaucoma, why should they be wrangling over the new stuff?

I don't get it.
Don't know anything about medical marijuana, but there have always been different qualities available, depending on who you knew & how much you were willing to pay.

The meme that all the old stuff was weak & all the new stuff is super weed was invented so ex-potheads could "Just Say No" to their kids. Rather than communicate honestly with their children about drugs, they can just preach absolute abstinence. (And when their kids discover pot is no big thing, they might decide that their parents are liars & other drugs will also be relatively harmless.)

Last edited by Bridget Burke; 06-07-2010 at 08:19 AM..
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  #10  
Old 06-07-2010, 10:16 AM
astro astro is offline
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Originally Posted by Bridget Burke View Post
Don't know anything about medical marijuana, but there have always been different qualities available, depending on who you knew & how much you were willing to pay.

The meme that all the old stuff was weak & all the new stuff is super weed was invented so ex-potheads could "Just Say No" to their kids. Rather than communicate honestly with their children about drugs, they can just preach absolute abstinence. (And when their kids discover pot is no big thing, they might decide that their parents are liars & other drugs will also be relatively harmless.)
So the old -weak / new-strong claim is an urban legend?
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  #11  
Old 06-07-2010, 10:26 AM
hajario hajario is online now
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It's identical. People who sell to dispensaries generally also sell to illegal dealers.
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  #12  
Old 06-07-2010, 10:46 AM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
So the old -weak / new-strong claim is an urban legend?
It's probably more of a suburban legend.
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  #13  
Old 06-07-2010, 11:06 AM
Sinisterniik Sinisterniik is offline
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Originally Posted by Bridget Burke View Post
The meme that all the old stuff was weak & all the new stuff is super weed was invented so ex-potheads could "Just Say No" to their kids. Rather than communicate honestly with their children about drugs, they can just preach absolute abstinence. (And when their kids discover pot is no big thing, they might decide that their parents are liars & other drugs will also be relatively harmless.)
I disagree with a lot of the information I see above (not just the quoted post). However, I think that it's probably because I live in the Northeast and most of the comments seem to be about California.

So, according to my "sources" it's no myth that there are stronger strains now than there used to be back in the 60s. The amount of information and technology available to growers is miles away from where it used to be. My primary sources on this are a bunch of aging musicians I work with -some of whom quit for a decade or so before starting again and some who never stopped.

I found this article that actually contradicts me. However, the article actually contradicts itself by pointing to this graph that clearly shows a steady increase in the potency of marijuana seized over the years.

Oddly enough folks seem to want to refute this data by saying that the stuff seized in the 70s was not representational of the actual potency of marijuana out there. I think this is bull, and besides there is still a steady climb upwards from the 80s through today.

And back to the OP, which has barely been addressed for some reason, while "street" marijuana will always range from complete crap to the most potent stuff around, medical marijuana strains are always highly potent. So you're basically guaranteed good stuff by shopping around medicinally.

However, as has been said, some of the medical stuff has shown up on the street, so the best stuff on the street _is_ medicinal. Although, some growers can match the potency of medicinal strains now, so the best stuff available uh... over the counter... is starting to match up to the prescription strength.

Also, potency is important to talk about, but so is quantity. If you smoke enough crappy street weed you'll have about the same result as smoking the medicinal stuff.

It's kind of like asking which Vodka will get you more drunk: watered down Majorska or straight Grey Goose? If you drink enough of the Majorska, you aren't going to care.
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  #14  
Old 06-07-2010, 02:27 PM
EdwardLost EdwardLost is offline
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So are all the growers hard at work developing strains that provide the medical benefits without getting the users high?
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  #15  
Old 06-07-2010, 02:38 PM
phouka phouka is online now
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Originally Posted by Washoe View Post
According to the guys I work with (I’m in California), it’s all one-hit shit.
What does this mean? You can only smoke it once? (And how would smoke-it-twice work?)
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  #16  
Old 06-07-2010, 02:40 PM
Sinisterniik Sinisterniik is offline
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Originally Posted by phouka View Post
What does this mean? You can only smoke it once? (And how would smoke-it-twice work?)
I think he means that it only takes one hit to get the user high. I was confused by the wording too.
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  #17  
Old 06-07-2010, 02:43 PM
tr0psn4j tr0psn4j is offline
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Originally Posted by phouka View Post
What does this mean? You can only smoke it once? (And how would smoke-it-twice work?)
You inhale one puff, instead of 2 or 3 or 4 or 50000.
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  #18  
Old 06-07-2010, 02:43 PM
Sinisterniik Sinisterniik is offline
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Originally Posted by EdwardLost View Post
So are all the growers hard at work developing strains that provide the medical benefits without getting the users high?
I don't have the expertise to say this with certainty, but it's my understanding that researchers trying to remove the "high" feeling are tinkering with the final product, not the plant. In other words (someone please correct me if this is wrong), smoking the plant will still get you high but taking the pill (or whatever) will not.
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  #19  
Old 06-07-2010, 02:50 PM
Washoe Washoe is offline
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Yep, one hit to get you wasted, as opposed to the 10 – 15 hits of the old brown Columbian stuff we had back in the 70’s. Kids these days have it so damn easy.
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  #20  
Old 06-07-2010, 02:58 PM
jtgain jtgain is online now
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Originally Posted by Washoe View Post
Yep, one hit to get you wasted,
Don't you mean "to treat the symptoms of your properly diagnosed medical condition"?
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  #21  
Old 06-07-2010, 03:26 PM
Washoe Washoe is offline
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Er…um…well, yes—of course that’s what I meant.

Interesting and related anecdote: a guy I used to work for just got busted with 1000 plants in his house. He also owned a dispensary, but as hajario pointed out above, growers are not particularly fussy about the manner in which their product is distributed—this guy has been peddling drugs his entire life. He got expelled from high school for dealing, and now he’s in his mid-fifties and still selling drugs.
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  #22  
Old 06-07-2010, 04:24 PM
Sinisterniik Sinisterniik is offline
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Originally Posted by Washoe View Post
Interesting and related anecdote: a guy I used to work for just got busted with 1000 plants in his house. He also owned a dispensary, but as hajario pointed out above, growers are not particularly fussy about the manner in which their product is distributed—this guy has been peddling drugs his entire life. He got expelled from high school for dealing, and now he’s in his mid-fifties and still selling drugs.
American determination at its best: If at first you don't succeed...
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  #23  
Old 06-07-2010, 05:00 PM
figure9 figure9 is offline
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I wonder if the stronger pot is to aid smuggling. If you have stronger pot you don't need to move as much of it. Also if sentences are related to the amount you have, you'll receive a lighter sentence for an ounce of strong pot, than you would for a lb. of weak pot.
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  #24  
Old 06-07-2010, 05:30 PM
Sinisterniik Sinisterniik is offline
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I wonder if the stronger pot is to aid smuggling. If you have stronger pot you don't need to move as much of it. Also if sentences are related to the amount you have, you'll receive a lighter sentence for an ounce of strong pot, than you would for a lb. of weak pot.
I've never lived near the Mexican border, so maybe this is true. But the way the pot economy works, the smaller you cut down the quantity the more profitable it is (meaning if you start with a larger amount, you'll make more profit/lb).

It works the same way Costco does. The bigger the bulk, the greater a discount (the closer it is to the price the dealer paid for it). This is so that the dealer can move stock quickly (the only way to make money off of a non-physically addictive yet comparably expensive drug). The smaller they cut the amounts, the higher the cost/ounce is.

Big time dealers would rather get a whole bunch of sh**y weed and move it quickly to smaller dealers than get a smaller but much more expensive shipment of high-grade weed. This works in part, too, because unlike alcohol there is no THC % marked on dime bags of pot. So, unless the consumer can differentiate, the dealer on the street will still charge the rates of higher-quality marijuana.

Of course, this results in a whole market economy where "local" dealers will either grow their own sh**y weed and sell it cheaper (thanks to no overhead) or they'll find a supply of really high-grade stuff and sell it to the people who understand the difference and are willing to pay the price.

Oh, and before anyone asks how I know this: I am NOT a dealer.
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  #25  
Old 06-09-2010, 06:42 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Originally Posted by Washoe View Post
Yep, one hit to get you wasted, as opposed to the 10 – 15 hits of the old brown Columbian stuff we had back in the 70’s. Kids these days have it so damn easy.
OTOH it's not always the best thing for those using it as medicine. Medicinal users usually don't need to get all the way to "stoned" in order to obtain relief. The high concentrations of THC are, IMO a natural result of the product still being illegal for the most part, since that encourages the producers and dealers to move the most possible THC in the smallest possible amount of bulk product. If the medicinal product can get more established and standardized, I would like to see it available in different strengths, so that dosages can be judged a little more easily.

A family member has been using MMJ for a few months; I'm surprised at how well it's worked for her chronic pain. While it didn't seem to immediately relieve it the way, say, an opiate would, after a few weeks she was able to drastically reduce the amount of NSAIDS, primarily Tylenol, that she takes. So while the pro-pot crowd generally may exult in the spread of legal MMJ because it seems to push MJ towards greater acceptability, there still does seem to be some genuine medical value to it as well.
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  #26  
Old 06-09-2010, 09:34 PM
Lord Mondegreen Lord Mondegreen is online now
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Originally Posted by Sinisterniik View Post
American determination at its best: If at first you don't succeed...
Shouldn't that be, "If at first you don't suck weed ..."?
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  #27  
Old 06-09-2010, 10:40 PM
digs digs is offline
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...growers are not particularly fussy about the manner in which their product is distributed—this guy has been peddling drugs his entire life. He got expelled from high school for dealing, and now he’s in his mid-fifties and still selling drugs.
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Originally Posted by Sinisterniik View Post
American determination at its best: If at first you don't succeed...
Yeah, I wish MY high schooler had this kind of initiative. Maybe if he weren't smoking pot...
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  #28  
Old 06-09-2010, 11:00 PM
I Love Me, Vol. I I Love Me, Vol. I is online now
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Originally Posted by Sinisterniik View Post
Big time dealers would rather get a whole bunch of sh**y weed and move it quickly to smaller dealers than get a smaller but much more expensive shipment of high-grade weed.
I don't think this is true. It is more difficult, expensive, and risky to move 20 cubic feet of any contraband than it is to move 10 cubic feet. It would seem to follow that a smuggler would prefer the greatest possible profit per cubic foot. You are saying, it seems to me, the smuggler would prefer less profit per square foot.

On edit: perhaps I should say dealer, not smuggler, as that seems to be who Sinisterniik is referring to.

Last edited by I Love Me, Vol. I; 06-09-2010 at 11:02 PM..
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  #29  
Old 06-09-2010, 11:10 PM
tr0psn4j tr0psn4j is offline
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Originally Posted by I Love Me, Vol. I View Post
I don't think this is true. It is more difficult, expensive, and risky to move 20 cubic feet of any contraband than it is to move 10 cubic feet. It would seem to follow that a smuggler would prefer the greatest possible profit per cubic foot. You are saying, it seems to me, the smuggler would prefer less profit per square foot.

On edit: perhaps I should say dealer, not smuggler, as that seems to be who Sinisterniik is referring to.
Yeah but if the quality is too high, they're either pricing themselves out of the majority of the market, or end up dropping the price to sell it.
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  #30  
Old 06-09-2010, 11:16 PM
levdrakon levdrakon is online now
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What I've read is going on in California is buyers want high-quality indoor grown hydroponic product, and outdoor growers are seeing wholesale prices plummet, if they can sell their stuff at all.

From what I know, the quality of outdoor grown vs. indoor grown really depends on the grower's skill. You can get crap either way. But Californians are trendy, and indoor grown is trendy now.

ETA:, oh, and in terms of "quality" medical marijuana users are far more likely to demand very clean, organic pot, free from any chemicals.

Last edited by levdrakon; 06-09-2010 at 11:21 PM..
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  #31  
Old 06-10-2010, 12:44 AM
Sinisterniik Sinisterniik is offline
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Originally Posted by I Love Me, Vol. I View Post
I don't think this is true. It is more difficult, expensive, and risky to move 20 cubic feet of any contraband than it is to move 10 cubic feet. It would seem to follow that a smuggler would prefer the greatest possible profit per cubic foot. You are saying, it seems to me, the smuggler would prefer less profit per square foot.

On edit: perhaps I should say dealer, not smuggler, as that seems to be who Sinisterniik is referring to.
You definitely might be right. I'm not speaking with true expertise, only what I've learned here and there. So please take the following with a grain of salt:

In terms of smugglers in the stereotypical sense (a Mexican narcotics mule), they usually have very weak connections to the drug trade. They tend to be poor farmers living near the border, just pawns for the true drug lords that only care about revenue.

There are other drug runners in this country though, moving shipments from wherever they're grown to the smaller dealers. You're correct that it's riskier to move larger quantities, so it may be different for these "home-grown" drug runners. I don't actually know how the biggest drug lords within our borders move their product. They may simply have individuals who grow locally and have the dealers come to them.

In which case, it isn't going to matter much how much marijuana is seized. Federal laws for cultivation cap out at the high mark of 1,000 kg (meaning any more wouldn't result in a larger sentencing), and possession of any amount is treated exactly the same ("I swear, officer, I was planning on smoking this ton of weed all by myself!").

However, states differ. My home state of New York caps out at a mere 10 lbs. for cultivation. In California, where this discussion appears to be centered, all amounts are treated the same, from the tiny plant in the back shed to the huge nursery hiding in one of their many state parks.

So you can see how in states with more lenient drug laws it does make sense to try and deal more in bulk and worry less about quality.
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  #32  
Old 06-10-2010, 12:48 AM
Sinisterniik Sinisterniik is offline
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Oh -one more point!

In terms of smell, higher grade marijuana tends to smell VERY strongly. Lower grade stuff lacks this, so you could conceivably get away with moving it in greater amounts. Unfortunately I don't have anything particularly scientific to back this claim up....
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  #33  
Old 06-10-2010, 12:55 AM
Washoe Washoe is offline
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Yeah, I wish MY high schooler had this kind of initiative. Maybe if he weren't smoking pot...
There, there…don’t get discouraged. Maybe you can get him on American Idol.
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  #34  
Old 06-10-2010, 12:55 AM
Sinisterniik Sinisterniik is offline
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Originally Posted by Sinisterniik View Post
So you can see how in states with more lenient drug laws it does make sense to try and deal more in bulk and worry less about quality.
Arrrgh... I missed the window to edit. I wanted to tack on the following to the above sentence:

Quote:
Although, in California I'm sure this isn't the case, thanks to the good ol' free market. Dispensaries offering high-grade stuff for reasonable prices force competition based on quality as well as price. Without that piece of the puzzle though, the quality just has to be better than Joe Six-puff's friend who deals down the street.
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:02 AM
DanBlather DanBlather is offline
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So are all the growers hard at work developing strains that provide the medical benefits without getting the users high?
What are you smoking?
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  #36  
Old 06-10-2010, 01:48 AM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is offline
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So are all the growers hard at work developing strains that provide the medical benefits without getting the users high?
Heh. I don't think you quite understand... getting high is the "medical benefit".
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  #37  
Old 06-10-2010, 12:34 PM
cantara cantara is offline
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[not quite on-topic, but close]

I know a person who was part of a clinical trial for a pharmaceutical spray of marijuana. The weed had been processed into a spray, like a breath spray. Basically you have to spritz this stuff between your cheek and gums. The drug manufacturers concern was to ensure consistent dosage of the specific active ingredient which could not be controlled through smoking. I don't know the source or strength of the MJ.

The patient had tried the spray for a couple of weeks for neuropathic pain but found it ineffective and downright disgusting. It tasted like wet pot ashes. The patient declined further treatment with it. No other MJ products were/are being used.
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  #38  
Old 06-10-2010, 12:47 PM
Buck Godot Buck Godot is offline
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NPR had an interesting spot on medical marijuana this morning. The part that I found interesting was
Quote:
But the testing has led to other euphoric revelations. THC -– the main psychoactive substance in pot -– has always been the golden ring for breeders. The lab recently found that a potentially beneficial compound called CBD has almost been bred out of the marijuana sold in California. Marijuana researchers say CBD may relieve pain and stimulate appetite but leaves the user largely un-buzzed.
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  #39  
Old 06-10-2010, 02:26 PM
Apex Rogers Apex Rogers is offline
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Originally Posted by I Love Me, Vol. I View Post
I don't think this is true. It is more difficult, expensive, and risky to move 20 cubic feet of any contraband than it is to move 10 cubic feet. It would seem to follow that a smuggler would prefer the greatest possible profit per cubic foot. You are saying, it seems to me, the smuggler would prefer less profit per square foot.

On edit: perhaps I should say dealer, not smuggler, as that seems to be who Sinisterniik is referring to.
There are two different areas we're talking about. A smuggler needs to have the cannabis in a compact form and easily hideable. This is going to be cheaply grown outdoor cannabis that is compressed into brick form. The bricks can stacked efficiently and concealed in hidden compartments or stacked on a pallet amidst other goods. The stuff is also not very fragrant and so will attract less attention and has a longer shelf life than the high grade material.

The smuggler does not want high potency sinsemilla (seedless) cannabis, because people that are buying high-grade weed do not want it from a brick, where the buds have been compressed, crystals fallen off the plant material, and oils squeezed out of the plant. They want big fluffy nugs and fresh-smelling cannabis--something that the brick form will prevent from happening. So the smuggler prefers brick weed that he can quickly and discretely offload and then be on his way.

Some dealers cater to lower-end clientèle and for them the brick weed is ideal. It's cheap, it's plentiful, and the end-user is satisfied by it. But when you start talking about higher-end users and dispensaries, the brick weed is not going to cut it. They prefer high-quality cannabis that retains the shape, feel, and smell as it did hanging off the plant. This normally means locally grown or carefully transported goods beyond the reach of your typical smuggler.

Do some smugglers bring in the high grade stuff? Most assuredly. But by and large, I'm willing to bet that they specialize in the brick weed, while a more local product flow specializes in the high grade stuff.

As a disclaimer, this is mostly conjecture based on some personal experience and educated guesses. Take it for what it's worth.
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  #40  
Old 06-10-2010, 11:40 PM
digs digs is offline
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Yeah, I wish MY high schooler had this kind of initiative. Maybe if he weren't smoking pot...
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Originally Posted by Washoe View Post
There, there…don’t get discouraged. Maybe you can get him on American Idol.
Dude, what are you smo... oh, never mind.
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  #41  
Old 06-11-2010, 11:54 PM
Gary "Wombat" Robson Gary "Wombat" Robson is offline
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Coincidentally, I just interviewed the owners of a medical marijuana dispensary for a newspaper article a couple of weeks ago, so let me interject a few facts here, specifically related to Montana and its laws.

First, to directly address the OP's question, it depends. The stuff you buy on the street can be just about anything. Which street stuff are you comparing it to? And as for the medical marijuana, the people I interviewed operate a tiny dispensary in a tiny town, and it offers 20+ varieties of differing potency, plus tinctures, oils, teas, capsules, prepared foods (e.g., pasta sauces and cookies with pre-measured dosages), sprays, and even synthetic THC. Bigger dispensaries may offer hundreds of different medical marijuana varieties, blends, and derivative products -- all with different potencies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rigamarole View Post
Heh. I don't think you quite understand... getting high is the "medical benefit".
It certainly is one of the medical benefits, specifically tied to painkilling ability. However, feeling buzzed is neither required nor necessarily desired when using it to combat nausea in chemotherapy patients. And some studies hint that it actually stops progression of certain types of arthritis--again, without needing to "get high."

Last edited by Gary "Wombat" Robson; 06-11-2010 at 11:54 PM..
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