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CBD Store vs. Medical Marijuana Dispensary: What are the Differences?

Medically Reviewed by: Christine A. Doerbecker, BS, RPh

With the growing popularity of CBD infused products and PA medical marijuana, there has been increased confusion about the differences in a CBD store and a Pittsburgh medical marijuana dispensary. For those who are new to medical marijuana, CBD and THC are both cannabinoids found in medical marijuana. There are differences between the two. One notable difference is that CBD does not produce a psychoactive effect, while THC may. There are also many differences in a CBD store vs. a medical marijuana dispensary.

What Is Sold at a CBD Store vs. a Medical Marijuana Dispensary?

The main difference between a CBD store and a medical marijuana dispensary are the products available at each establishment. A CBD store only sells products that are CBD infused. This means that no products have a THC level above 0.3% present, if THC is present at all. Medical marijuana dispensaries may have CBD in some of the available products, but these products also contain higher levels of THC. The products at medical marijuana dispensaries are also medically approved by the PA medical marijuana program and received from PA medical marijuana growers.

CBD infused products are available in a wide range of forms: oils, creams, capsules, edibles, and vapes. However, you do not have to go to a medical marijuana dispensary to buy these products. CBD infused products are widely available, both in a specialized CBD store and in the grocery store chain down the street. One of the most recent stores making CBD products available is Sheetz.

What is in that bottle of CBD you are purchasing outside a dispensary? The label says one thing, but it may not be completely accurate. A recent blog posted in The Harvard Medical School Health Blog states “A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements.”  All products sold by a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Dispensary must go through the same rigorous testing process to check for content, contaminants, and safety so you can be confident as to what you are getting.

Medical marijuana is also available in multiple forms. These forms include dry leaf, concentrates, cartridges, disposable pens, pods, topicals, and more. Different strains have been created to help specific approved conditions. While medical marijuana is not as widely available as CBD infused products, there are many PA medical marijuana dispensaries available to patients across the state.

It’s also worth noting that Solevo Wellness does offer a high CBD tincture with a CBD to THC ratio of 50:1, but this minimal amount of THC is still more than what would be found at a non-medical CBD store.

Who Can Buy CBD vs. Medical Marijuana?

The differences in CBD-infused and medical marijuana products creates a major difference in how you can purchase each product. While you do not need to have a prescription or special identification to buy products at a CBD store, there are age restrictions. There is typically a minimum age requirement of 18 to buy CBD products. However, some CBD stores may have a minimum age requirement of 21.

Meanwhile, products available at medical marijuana dispensaries can only be purchased by someone who has a valid medical marijuana ID card – whether this be as a patient or as a caregiver. To obtain a medical marijuana ID card in Pennsylvania, you must first qualify for one of the 23 approved conditions for medical marijuana and see a physician who is registered with the PA medical marijuana program to recommend medical marijuana. Approved conditions include cancer, anxiety, PTSD, autism, multiple sclerosis, and many more.

While there is an age requirement of 18 to obtain a medical marijuana ID card, a caregiver must meet the age requirement of 21. Caregivers can obtain medical marijuana for children who have one of the approved conditions, in which case the caregiver would receive a caregiver ID card but the minor would not receive a card.

CBD Store vs. Medical Marijuana Dispensary

While you can obtain products through a CBD store that can help with some of the symptoms of approved conditions for medical marijuana, you will get more specialized service at a medical marijuana dispensary. This is especially the case if you are buying CBD products from grocery chains. You are also able to buy CBD products online, but by doing this, you lose out on the specialized service offered by face-to-face interactions.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are staffed with experts who will work with you to build an individual treatment plan for your goals and lifestyle. This staff includes licensed medical marijuana pharmacists and Patient Care Consultants (PCC) that will take the necessary amount of time to recommend a proper treatment plan and help you feel comfortable with the products. Each member of the team is knowledgeable about the approved conditions and which strains and products will give you the most relief.

CBD and Medical Marijuana: What Are They Used For?

There are some similarities in the conditions CBD infused products and medical marijuana can help with. However, as mentioned above, you must be diagnosed with an approved condition to be able to obtain medical marijuana. CBD products are used for a variety of conditions that you do not need to be approved for. The products available at a CBD store have been used to help with anxiety, joint pain, and sleep disturbances. Whereas medical marijuana is able to provide relief from many serious illnesses and conditions.

If you are already approved to obtain medical marijuana, check our locations to see which of our PA medical marijuana dispensaries is the most convenient for you. If you have additional questions for Solevo Wellness, please check out our FAQ page or follow us on Facebook and direct message our team anytime. We’d love to hear from you!