Choosing the Right Home Weight Machine

TUESDAY, Jan. 30, 2018 — Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? Consider strength training. It’s important for everyone, regardless of age, gender and how developed you do and don’t want to get.

Strong muscles make everyday activities easier and allow you to maintain your independence throughout life.

But you don’t have to go to a gym to get in these workouts. If you prefer machines to free weights yet have limited space, an all-in-one home weight machine with multiple stations for upper and lower body workouts is a great option.

There are many different types of such machines and you’ll want to try out the various options to see what feels most comfortable, according to experts from the American College of Sports Medicine.

Machines with weight stacks allow you to change the resistance from tens to hundreds of pounds by moving a pin. Some popular machines have rods or cables that you move to increase tension and resistance. Others use fluid-filled hydraulic pistons. And still others use your own bodyweight to create the resistance — you increase the difficulty just by sliding a lever.

Many machines come with directions for a workout that targets all your muscle groups. It might take trial and error to find the right starting weight for each exercise. But as with any strength-training program, your goal for each movement is to build up to three sets of 12 repetitions each.

At first, you might reach exhaustion after just one set of 8 reps. It’s common to feel some muscle soreness for a day or two, but persistent achiness means you started off with too much weight.

Once you can do all sets of 12 reps easily, increase the resistance and start the cycle again. If you can’t do more than 6 to start, you’ve added too much.

Maintaining proper body position is a must to avoid injury. If you’re unsure of the right technique, consider a session with a personal trainer to get started with correct form.

More information

The American College of Sports Medicine has a detailed online brochure to help you choose and use a home weight machine.

© 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: January 2018 – Daily MedNews

Choosing the Right Sunglasses

FRIDAY, June 23, 2017 — You might think of eye problems like cataracts as signs of old age, but one step you can take now will protect your vision for the future — and you can do it with style.

We’re talking about sunglasses.

Your eyes need to be protected from the dangers of UV light the same way your skin does. And just like your skin, it’s protection you need every day, not just when you’re at the beach.

Eye doctors recommend wearing your shades anytime you’re outside, although they are extra important in summer and in winter on snowy terrain and at high altitudes. They’re also a must any time you’re on medication that increases sun sensitivity.

Style aside, the most effective are large wraparound sunglasses that absorb 100 percent of UV rays, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

For durability and the best visibility, look for scratch-resistant polycarbonate plastic. Polarized lenses will help reduce brightness and glare for better vision, though this doesn’t contribute to UV protection. Also, lens color on its own doesn’t indicate any degree of protection — black, gray, green, amber, this is more a matter of personal preference as long as the lenses are properly coated for UV protection.

A simple test to evaluate sunglasses is to hold them a few inches from your face as you look at a rectangular pattern, like a tile floor or brick wall. Cover one eye and move the glasses up and down and side to side. If the lines wiggle, keep shopping.

Also be aware of claims that may not hold water. The verdict is still out on whether blue and infrared light blocking is helpful.

More information

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has more tips on choosing the best sunglasses.

Posted: June 2017 – Daily MedNews

Consider Eye Safety When Choosing Kids’ Toys

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Are you planning to shop on Black Friday for holiday gifts for the kids? Experts urge you to keep an eye on eye safety when making your choices.

U.S. emergency rooms treated 251,800 toy-related injuries in 2014, according to a report last year from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Forty-four percent of those injuries were to the head and face area.

And a recent study in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology said basketball, baseball and air guns caused nearly half of all primary sports-related eye injuries.

“When giving the gift of sports equipment, Prevent Blindness strongly urges also providing sports eye protection,” Hugh Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, said in a news release from the group.

“An eyecare professional can provide guidance for the best protection for each sport and athlete,” he added.

Prevent Blindness also offers these toy safety tips:

  • Don’t buy toys that shoot or include parts that fly off, or toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods or edges.
  • Choose toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous pieces, and be sure toys are suitable for a child’s ability and age.
  • Don’t give toys with small parts to young children, because they tend to put things in their mouths. And avoid toys with long strings or cords, especially for babies and very young children.
  • Dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately.
  • Read all warnings and instructions on the package, and always supervise children and show them how to use their toys safely.
  • Look for the letters “ASTM.” This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Prevent Blindness, news release, Nov. 17, 2016

Copyright © 2013-2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Consider Eye Safety When Choosing Kids’ Toys

THURSDAY, Nov. 24, 2016 — Are you planning to shop on Black Friday for holiday gifts for the kids? Experts urge you to keep an eye on eye safety when making your choices.

U.S. emergency rooms treated 251,800 toy-related injuries in 2014, according to a report last year from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Forty-four percent of those injuries were to the head and face area.

And a recent study in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology said basketball, baseball and air guns caused nearly half of all primary sports-related eye injuries.

“When giving the gift of sports equipment, Prevent Blindness strongly urges also providing sports eye protection,” Hugh Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, said in a news release from the group.

“An eyecare professional can provide guidance for the best protection for each sport and athlete,” he added.

Prevent Blindness also offers these toy safety tips:

  • Don’t buy toys that shoot or include parts that fly off, or toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods or edges.
  • Choose toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous pieces, and be sure toys are suitable for a child’s ability and age.
  • Don’t give toys with small parts to young children, because they tend to put things in their mouths. And avoid toys with long strings or cords, especially for babies and very young children.
  • Dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately.
  • Read all warnings and instructions on the package, and always supervise children and show them how to use their toys safely.
  • Look for the letters “ASTM.” This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

More information

Safe Kids Worldwide has more on toy safety.

Posted: November 2016

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Grow Guide: Choosing the Best Lights

Looking to upgrade your indoor grow to the next level? Or starting your first grow and overwhelmed with the amount of customizable options? Today, I’m going to walk you through the illuminating world of grow lights. If you’re starting from scratch, check out our Guide to Starting Your Own Grow for all your equipment needs.

Light is an essential part of your grow, your plants won’t survive without it! As indoor growers in the 21st century, you have a wide range of options when it comes to lighting your grow. Different bulbs have various things to offer. It can be hard to chose just one type which is why many growers opt to checkerboard multiple types of lights through their room, creating a diverse spectrum. We, at, are going to guide you through all the possible options so you can find which light(s) are best for you, your plants and your space.   

grow-veg-tall-0791Plants stretching towards an air-cooled system of HPS lights. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett


We’ll start with fluorescents because they are the most simple and cost effective option. 

If you’re new to growing, don’t want to put up a significant investment or have a small grow area – fluorescents are the light for you.


Veg operation using T-5 fluorescent lights. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett


There are two types of fluorescents that will keep your plants full and healthy: Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) and Full Spectrum Fluorescent (T-5) lights.

CFLs are the go-to for closet growers. They give off the least amount of heat, they’re the most affordable, and you can place them close to your plants. They’re the coil-shaped bulbs you can find at any hardware store. CFLs also come in multiple spectrums, warm and cool (which we’ll dive into later). You’ll want to use a reflector attachment (which you can buy or make yourself) so that light is reflected and distributed evenly back onto the plants. CFLs won’t break the bank on the electricity bill but they’re not efficient enough to sustain a large, professional operation.

T-5s are fluorescents made for more industrial usage. They are lightweight, compact, don’t require exhaust and they provide both blue and red spectrums. T-5s triple the light output of normal fluorescents without increasing wattage. T-5s are great for vegging in commercial operations because they don’t create a lot of heat and the plants can tolerate them being very close so you can stack them on shelves to increase your square footage (example below). T-5s are also great for beginners to use throughout both the vegging and flowering cycles because they contain both red and blue spectrums. They’re also appealing to beginners because they’re affordable and don’t require any additional equipment such as air-cooled hoods or ballasts.


Example of a double-stacked veg operation using T-5s. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

Fluorescents Overview

  • Low temperature
  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Can be placed close to your plants
  • Different light spectrums available
  • Can be used for seedlings, clones and young plants
  • Low electricity (but not the most efficient)
  • Good for small gardens




Example of a grow using both Metal Halide and High-Pressure Sodium bulbs. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

High-intensity discharge lights, also known as HID, are the go-to for large-scale grow operations. There is a larger initial investment but they will produce higher yields and are more energy efficient – one 400-watt HID light emits as much light as 800 watts of fluorescent tubing. But with HID’s more equipment is required to cool them down, whereas you can easily hang fluorescents in your closet without risk of overheating.

There are two types of HID Lights: Metal Halide and High-Pressure Sodium.

Metal Halides (MH) emit a white light that is strongest at the blue end of the spectrum. The blue spectrum imitates the spring/summer seasons and also has increased UV. These lights are traditionally used for vegetative growth because they promote both leaf and cell wall growth. The white light makes it easy for the human eye to spot any nutrient deficiencies that would show through your plant’s fan leaves.

High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) bulbs are the industry standard for your plant’s flowering stage. They emit a bright yellow light at the red end of the spectrum, simulating the fall/winter seasons, which promotes a more dense flower structure.  

Most growers’ preference is a mixture of both MH and HPS lights, but if you have to choose one, HPS is the way to go. MH bulbs will increase the amount of available UV light, but don’t create as vigorous of a stretch and fattening period.  The cannabis plant spends most of her time and energy flowering and creating the buds that we eventually smoke, so we want to give her the spectrum of light that best compliments the bloom phase.


Example of a grow using both types of HID lights: Metal Halide and High-Pressure Sodium. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

High-Intensity Discharge Lights (HID) Overview

  • Intense, bright light
  • Runs hot and loud – Requires an exhaust system
  • Draws attention (from neighbors and power companies)
  • Produces high yields
  • High electricity bill
  • Stimulates fast growth
  • Good for large gardens
  • Double-ended option for increased lumens/par. (Gavitas)
  • Metal Halide (MH)
    • Blue Spectrum (Spring/Summer)
    • Vegetative Stage
    • Ripening Stage
    • Bulb replaced every 12 months
  • High-Pressure Sodium (HPS)
    •  Red Spectrum (Fall/Winter)
    • Flowering Stage
    • Bulb replaced every 12 months


Light-Emitting Diodes – LEDs ($ $ $ )


Example of an all-LED grow operation. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

LEDs attract many indoor and greenhouse growers because they are one of the most energy efficient options on the market, conserving up to 75% energy. They are self-contained, no need for additional ballasts or exhaust systems, and they are also very easy to set up. LED technology is still new to the agricultural world but frequent advancements have been made over the last 5 years. Some believe that LEDs increase trichome/resin production during the flowering cycle. However, others have seen this increased resin come with the price of a decrease in yield (after using only LED lights). Each diode creates a specific frequency, which in the past have been focused in the 400 (blue) and 600 (red) range of the spectrum.  Now, diodes are being focused on a wider range of frequencies, including UV. This combination of red and blue diodes is what makes LED light appear purple. The limited spectrum of LED fixtures over the last 5 years have compromised the yield most HID growers are used to, but advances are in the field are beginning to make the LED compete on comparable level with HID.


Cannabis flowering under LED lights. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

LEDs Overview

  • Red, Blue and UV Spectrums
  • No additional equipment needed
  • Small, compact size
  • Long-lasting
  • Low temperature
  • Portable
  • Easy to install
  • Energy Efficient
  • Fairly Expensive
  • Good option for greenhouses


Plasma ($ $ $ $ )


Example of a Plasma light. Courtesy of Iunu.

Plasma lights are considered the most advanced light on the market,hence the hefty price tag. The technology was initially discovered by Nikolas Tesla. Plasma lights are unique in their ability to use electromagnetic induction to create light that most closely resembles the sun. Iunu explains, “Plasma lights use radio waves to charge the electrons of the gases contained inside a quartz-crystal bulb. This technology allows IUNU to use a more stable, filament-less bulb and results in a more efficient transfer of power, minimizing wasted energy.” The biggest distinction between plasma lights is that they emit high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is naturally produced by the sun and hard to create artificially.  The full light spectrum creates strong lateral branching during the vegetative process, and extra resinous plants during flowering.


  • Fullest Light Spectrum
  • Energy Efficient
  • Low Temperature
  • Expensive
  • New Technology


I hope this overview of grow light technology has enlightened you to the possibilities of customizing your own indoor grow. There are many ways to mix and match lights to find what fits the needs of your plants and your grow room. There is no right answer, so experiment away! I’d love to hear some of your findings in the comments below.



Consider Weight When Choosing Blood Pressure Meds: Study

THURSDAY Dec. 6, 2012 — Taking a patient’s weight into account when choosing blood pressure medications might help prevent strokes, heart attacks and death, a new study suggests.

Lean and obese people react differently to different blood pressure medications, said the researchers, who believe their findings could change the way high blood pressure (hypertension) is treated.

“Unexpectedly, people who have high blood pressure and are fat actually have a better prognosis than people who have high blood pressure and are thin,” said lead researcher Dr. Michael Weber, a professor of medicine at Downstate Medical Center of the State University of New York in New York City.

“You can now choose blood pressure medication as a means of compensating for this difference between obese and thin people, so that it’s possible to treat everybody with a medicine that maximizes the outcome regardless of how much you weigh,” he said.

Weber recommends starting all patients with high blood pressure on a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers, regardless of weight. One such drug is Norvasc (amlodipine).

Although diuretics, which reduce excess water in the body, are effective in obese patients, they can harm thin patients, and should be relegated to a third-line therapy, Weber said.

Obese people respond better to diuretics, Weber explained, because their hypertension is often caused by a combination of excess weight, too much fluid and too much salt. Thin hypertensive patients, he said, may have underlying circulatory problems that are causing their high blood pressure and placing them at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

For the study, published in the Dec. 6 online edition of The Lancet, Weber’s group analyzed data on more than 11,000 individuals in an international high blood pressure trial.

That trial compared treatment with a diuretic and Lotensin (benazepril), which is known as an ACE inhibitor, with a regimen of Lotensin plus the calcium channel blocker Norvasc.

The goal of the study was to see which combination better controlled high blood pressure in people at high risk for heart disease and to see if weight had an effect on blood pressure control.

Participants were grouped into three categories — normal weight, overweight and obese — based on their body mass index (BMI). BMI is a body fat calculation based on height and weight.

Normal-weight people taking the diuretic fared the worst, the investigators found. This group was 68 percent more likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die than obese patients taking a diuretic.

People taking the Lotensin-Norvasc combination did well regardless of weight, they found. This drug duo reduced stroke, heart attack and death by 43 percent in normal-weight people and 24 percent in overweight people, according to the study.

Among obese people, both drug regimens worked well with no significant differences between them, the researchers found.

However, some doctors argue against giving obese patients diuretics.

“We disagree that diuretics are a reasonable choice for the obese patient,” said Dr. Franz Messerli, a cardiologist and director of the hypertension program at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

Obesity is a reason not to use diuretics, he said. Diuretics should be used only when certain types of heart disease, including heart failure, exist, said Messerli, co-author of an accompanying journal editorial.

In obese patients, diuretics can trigger poor blood sugar control and gout, Messerli said.

Messerli agreed that calcium channel blockers should be first-line treatment for all patients with high blood pressure whether they are fat, thin or in between.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a spokesman for the American Heart Association and a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the study findings may be an example of the “obesity paradox.” This theory holds that obesity is a well-established risk factor for developing hypertension, heart disease and heart failure, while “among individuals with established hypertension, coronary heart disease, and heart failure, obesity has been unexpectedly associated with lower cardiovascular event rates and mortality.”

These new findings suggest that an individual’s BMI should be considered when selecting anti-hypertensive medications, he said.

“Treatment with calcium channel blockers appears preferable to treatment with diuretics in non-obese men and women with hypertension,” Fonarow said.

The study was funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals, maker of Lotensin.

More information

For more information on high blood pressure, visit the American Heart Association.

Posted: December 2012

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Your Workout Options: Choosing the Best Exercise Plan for You

Ready to get moving? Here’s expert advice on finding a fitness routine you’ll want to do.

By Annabelle Robertson
WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD

Want to start exercising but hate the gym? Short on time or motivation? Or maybe you’re feeling so out of shape that you don’t know where to start?

There is hope, experts say. All you have to do is focus on exercising in a way that suits your personality, lifestyle, and fitness level.

The real secret to eating healthier and losing weight is finding a diet you can stick to – one that suits your tastes and lifestyle. WebMD has the information and tools you need to help you find your own personal diet strategy.

Real-Life Weight Loss Advice

© 2009 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

If You Can’t Stand the Gym

Never fear. You can still get in shape because movement — the very thing needed for increased fitness — can take place anywhere.

“Take a walk, ride a bike, or go for a hike,” says Scott Lucett, director of education for the National Academy of Sports Medicine. “Or, perform an exercise routine outdoors at a park using your own body weight.” Ideas include pushups, squats, squat jumps, crunches, and planks.

Also consider outdoor group classes. They’re taking place at parks all over the country, even during winter, and many invite children and babies to join in. If classes aren’t your style, look into an adult recreational league. They’re in every city and cover sports from soccer to ultimate Frisbee.

If You’re Seriously Out of Shape

Take it slow and look for activities that will give you a more active lifestyle, says Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise.

“Exergames like Wii Fit are a good way to take someone who’s a couch potato and give them a little exercise,” Bryant says. “By doing something that might be a bit more fun, you might be able to sneak in a little dose of exercise. And the intensity tends to be low or moderate.”

Look for simple opportunities to move during your daily routine. “Wear a pedometer and make it a goal to take more and more steps each day with the ultimate goal of getting up to 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day,” Bryant says.

Lucett suggests beginners start with 10-minute walks — five minutes out and five minutes back — then gradually increase that by two or three minutes each week. “The next thing you know,” Lucett says, “you’ll be walking 30 minutes a day.” He also says, though, that people who are seriously out of shape should get approval from their doctor before beginning any exercise program.

If You’re Social

Group activities may be your best way to get in shape. Groups allow social butterflies to be around lots of people and enjoy camaraderie while also getting fit. Dancing is one of the most popular group activities.  

If you like the gym, consider Zumba, the newest group exercise craze. That will get you moving and burning calories to Latin dance rhythms. Other choices include country line dancing, swing, salsa, hip hop, or ballroom dancing. If you have two left feet — and no intention of reforming — consider a running, walking, cycling, or hiking club. You’ll share a common theme for your exercise, and you’ll also enjoy the social networking that takes place outside the workouts.

WebMD Health

Choosing Sunscreen? How to Decode the Labels

SATURDAY July 14, 2012 — You may know that it’s important to protect your skin when you’re outdoors this summer, but you need to know how to pick the correct sunscreen and how to apply it, the American Academy of Dermatology says.

“Consumers can be overwhelmed by the large number of sunscreen products available and because of that they avoid using sunscreen all together, resulting in sunburn and overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation,” dermatologist Dr. Henry Lim said in an AAD news release.

“Dermatologists can provide the public with the information they need to make smart choices when it comes to sun protection, which can help reduce their risk for skin cancer, and keep their skin looking healthy and youthful,” he added.

The AAD says you should read the label on sunscreen products and use only those that offer:

  • Broad-spectrum coverage (label may say “broad spectrum,” “protects against UVA/UVB” or “UVA/UVB protection”).
  • SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Water resistance.

The AAD also recommends that you: re-apply sunscreen every two hours when outdoors; find shade whenever your shadow appears to be shorter than you are; wear protective clothing, including long sleeves, pants, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

An AAD online survey found that many people are still confused about SPF numbers and how to use sunscreen correctly. Only 18 percent of respondents knew that a sunscreen with SPF 30 does not provide twice the protection of an SPF 15, and only 28 percent of respondents who said they sometimes or always use sunscreen reapplied sunscreen every two hours.

UV protection does not increased proportionately with a designated SPF number, Lim said. An SPF 30 screens out 97 percent of UV rays, an SPF 15 screens 93 percent of UV rays, and an SPF 2 screens 50 percent of UV rays, he explained.

Lim also noted that not applying enough sunscreen or not covering all exposed areas may result in a lower SPF than a sunscreen offers.

“For adequate protection, sunscreens are best applied 15 minutes prior to going outside, and re-applied every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating,” Lim said. “Research demonstrates that most people only apply 25 to 50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen, which is one ounce for the entire body or enough to fill a shot glass. The relationship between SPF and amount applied is not a linear one. For example, if only half the proper amount of SPF 15 is applied, the actual in-use SPF would be approximately 5, which is then inadequate protection.”

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about sun safety.

Posted: July 2012

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10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Bank

If you’re looking for a new place to put your money, chances are you’re unhappy with your current bank. The sad truth is that most big mergers these days come with a price: The new bank usually looks at the policies of both smaller banks to make sure to include higher, more frequent fees.

Even if you’re only thinking about changing, it pays to concentrate on finding the right bank for you. Everyone’s situation is different, and each bank has the perfect solution for somebody. From small businesses to personal finances, and from low income to very high amounts of wealth, the key is to figure out what you need and work on finding the perfect fit.

In this article, we’ll look at what you should consider for both your present needs and your future financial growth, including options for making sure you’re as happy with your next bank as you deserve to be.

HowStuffWorks Daily Feed

Need help with choosing a new graphics card.

Here’s the story:

I got a kinda new computer for Christmas. It has a faster processor, more ram, and more hdd space than my old one, but both graphics cards equally sucked. I am on a budget of about $ 80 dollars. I know I won’t get a BAMF card for, at least $ 200 dollars, but It’s definitely time for an upgrade.

-Amd athlon 64 processor 3500 (Single Core)
+ 2.20 ghz
+ asus motherboard

-2.5 gigs of ram
-ATI Radeon express 200 series
(This PoS has to be the reason I can’t even load 720p videos on youtube, or play everquest or minecraft without lagging terribly. )

I’m thinking about replacing with this card
Zotac ZT-95TEK2M-FSL GeForce 9500 GT Video Card – 1GB DDR2, PCI Express 2.0, DVI, VGA, HDMI, SLI Ready at


5 Tips For Choosing A Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Co-Founder, The C.P.C.

Choosing alternative medicine such as medical cannabis is a big decision, and one you probably took a long time to make.  Now that you’re here, and whether or not you were previously a cannabis user, there are a few things you should know about dispensaries (also known as collectives) to ensure that you get the quality of life improvement and medical benefits you’re looking for.

Here are five tips to help get you started on your new journey.

1.  Store nearest you. 

Some cities like Seattle are one of the most progressive, medical cannabis-friendly cities in the Unites States, having recently gone from 10 to approximately 51 known, licensed dispensaries in a very short time.  
If you live in one of the other medical-cannabis friendly cities such as Denver, chances are there is a collective within 10 minutes of you, and a large majority of them have delivery services. Or if you’re really lucky, in California in cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, dispensaries are practically more common than Starbucks.
Of course, continuing legislative flux can have an impact in your state, such as Arizona, where confusing laws have slowed down the approval process for new dispensaries, and unfortunately the attorney general is jockeying to close them down.

2. The Experience.

For all of us it’s the “experience” that counts, and with dispensaries this is even more so.  

For starters, think about the type of experience you’re seeking. Some collectives taking form in Washington are prone to the California model with heavy security doors, bullet-proof glass and large display jars. 

Other dispensaries have lounge areas that, while they remain smoke free, offer a comfortable setting to review medicines, new products, and treatment plans.

Some focus on a groundwork/community model like the Farmers Markets in Seattle and Tacoma, where you can experience a large number of vendors offering more of a “home grown” experience in a market setting.  
?Some, like The CPC, the Seattle dispensary I co-founded with my partner Jeremy Kaufman, have opted for a more personal, one-on-one experience that works on educating the customer so as a team, patient and dispensary can customize the medicine and treatment plan for specific conditions. 

The CPC caters to folks that have serious pain management issues, sports injuries, back and neck pain, etc., so we’ve set it up more like a doctor’s office with first time consults lasting anywhere from 20-30 minutes at a time. 

Folks should also consider the feel of the place, pricing, and even the level of community help. Do they give back?  Are they involved in the policy and regulation fight in their own city or state?

Finally, when you walk into your collective remember you are the one paying for the surroundings. You’re the one deciding what model you like with your collective buying power!  

Bottom line, when you walk into a dispensary it should not look and feel like a place where “stoners” hang out.

3. Knowledge. 

Do you leave your collective feeling like you do when you leave your doctor’s office?

Are the folks running it more informed than you, and equipped with the knowledge that will enable you to deal with the ailments and illnesses that are impacting your quality of life? Does the dispensary encourage you to ask questions?

When you leave your chosen place do you feel enriched by what you got from there?   

You can tell how much interest they have in sharing knowledge by the environment they created for you.  

Getting educated about the benefits for your particular condition will make a big difference in the impact this medicine has for you.  For example, when some people start to use medical cannabis, the unwanted experiences (paranoia, feeling uncomfortable, impaired) can easily be averted with a little consultation, knowledge and empathy for the patient.

The good news is that customized medicine can be created, for example in the case of a car accident the patient may suffer from back pain which is muscle-related, and whiplash which is nerve-related.  Blends are created to provide patient with “functionality” during the day and for pain management and sleep at night.

Find a dispensary with knowledgeable folks running the place, and your treatment plan, experience and quality of life will reflect that.

4. Quality of Medicine. 

There are myriads of things that take place during growing of the plant that have a big impact on the quality of medicine.  For example, the potency level (of THC-CBD-THCA); proper flushing (getting all the excess fertilizers out), and finally, curing and manicuring (the look and quality of the medicine).   

Many collectives spend a good amount of time with their providers, learning and understanding his methods for growing effective medicine. Many here in the Seattle area have a natural approach and prefer organically grown medicine.

You can always ask about where it comes from and how it was grown.   

?Moving on from the plant, most new patients don’t realize that edible cannabis medicine, also called medibles, are now a high-quality, highly effective alternative, and can be engineered to fight specific and highly targeted ailments and symptoms
Some medibles (candy, caramels, peanut butter cups, cookies, chocolates) can have a longer duration then combusting. Low tolerance folks will find they only need half a gram or less of cannabis to have an effect

Also, anything that melts in your mouth such as chocolate or caramels will have a sublingual effect allowing you to control how much of an immediate effect you receive.  Naturally, taking smaller bites will have the edible in your mouth longer and will give you a bigger initial brain effect.

For chronic pain management indica strains are used to produce a relaxed, heavy body effect.  And for nerve-related issues such as fibromyalgia, whiplash, sciatica, sativa strains are used to produce a body-based, clear-headed effect.

Additionally, sublinguals such as tinctures and candies are used when fast-acting relief is required, for example onset of a migraine headache. Topicals, such as creamswaxes and ointments reduce inflammation, pain, and ache, and do not produce a body or head “effect.” 
Of course, inhalants remain the fastest way to get medicine into the system, and if you’re not familiar, many folks are opting for vaporizing which eliminates the need to combust.  

Make sure to always ask if your dispensary offers products that are guaranteed for consistency, equitable strength, efficacy, etc.?  

Net-net, pass on dispensaries that do not guarantee their products, or may simply stock their shelves so you have something to buy – beware the fake chocolate almond bar!

5. Commitment to the Community.


We mentioned earlier the need to evaluate your dispensary on its commitment to community. This industry is filled with passionate people, many who spend a good amount of time working hard to support the community.  

Part of having a Commitment to the Community is providing a positive face to what we do.  

Does the place you go to follow common sense simple things, like signage that says “no medicating on site”, discretion in the signage, or is it located where children may be walking by on their way back and forth to school? 

And be sure to mention what you think they can do better. As we all know, community works better with feedback!

?About the Author

Ben Reagan, co founder of The C.P.C, was inspired to join the industry after seeing the benefits of medical cannabis first-hand with a very close family member.

Ben brings a deep intelligence, vision, and dedication to his craft, and has an insatiable desire to seek out what’s new in the industry.

The C.P.C was co-founded as a means to assist those in our community who are seeking out alternative medicines and treatments under Chapter 69.51A RCW in the state of Washington.  

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