Posted on July 20 2022
There are a lot of good reasons to grow your own medicine (quality, selection, etc.), but the most obvious one is to save money… Like, a lot of freakin’ money.
With the average price of “top shelf” flowers hovering around $200-350 nationwide and questionable quality that can be hit-or-miss, it’s no wonder that consumers are salty about how much they spend at a store. For heavy users, this can mean several thousands of dollars spent annually, and light consumers don’t get it much easier; the markup for smaller amounts of flower can be as high as $25 for a gram! 😱
Even on the illicit street market, prices aren’t exactly cheap - hanging between $100-200... With specialty items such as concentrates still averaging around the same cost as in a dispensary.
It’s no wonder that home cultivation has taken off in the last few years: There’s nothing sweeter than growing exactly the type of plants you want and having it come out just as good - or even better - than the dispensaries, but for a mere fraction of the cost. Even with a single plant set-up, you're still looking at actual costs hovering between $5-15 an ounce cost for lots of home growers.
So with that being said, lemme throw you for a loop -- all home growers should still visit dispensaries and buy stuff. Yep, seriously - all of them. Stop booing me! Allow me to elaborate:
Variety is the Spice of Life
For better or for worse, one of the best parts of dispensaries in saturated markets is that there is a very wide selection to choose from. There are thousands of cultivars out there with an even greater number of phenotypes that produce an exponentially higher number of combinations of the flowers’ medicinal potential. Batches can even vary based on the light and nutrient input, whether there was a problem in the grow, and even subtle variances from harvest to harvest - just like with wine. So at the very least, there’s a good chance you’ll run into something new that you’ve never tried before.
And who knows - maybe it’ll be that one key strain that works exactly the way you are hoping for with a medicine. Maybe you’ll find something that “clicks” and works on your ailments while leaving you feeling great when so many other options just seem to get you baked or leave you with a foggy "hangover" of sorts afterwards. Then, like any good home grower, you can buy the seeds and get some of that for significantly cheaper at home! This is a great way to explore new strains and new options for your future grows.
While you can also explore this search for “the right stuff” from your own homegrown, there’s no possible way to keep up with multiple large commercial enterprises with all of their offerings. They might just grow something you haven’t been able to get your hands on just yet, or allow you to try a strain before spending money on seeds / several months cultivating it.
Maybe try to think of it like growing any other plant: You might be able to get a great batch of tomatoes at home, but that alone doesn’t make a salad - know’m’sayin’? Plus there’s a lot of types of "tomatoes" out there - small ones, sour ones, purple ones, super fat ones, and ones that will thrive when growing in crap conditions. Even a small farm operation will still likely see the farmer buying some produce to try - even if it’s just to see if they want to grow the same cultivar too.
Genetics - Clones and Seeds
In more saturated and mature markets, seeing seeds and even clones for sale is not unusual depending upon state laws. Besides outright clone farms, there’s some dispensaries that will “retire” a cultivar but still take lots of clones from the mother and make it an event sale - advertising that you can get this favorite before it disappears forever. Others will sell from their packs of un-popped seeds of various genetics that become popular in their store. Some places may even sell clones regularly on the menu - whether it’s something they also flower out or not.
Dispensaries only help themselves by also having some offerings to this large slice of their market - the home growers that normally turn their nose up to dispensary grown or to a place’s cultivation methods.
Just like with the tomato analogy from before, this tactic also serves as a crux to sell both options to consumers: There will be people who only grow a plant for themselves but also still don’t want to go to the trouble of making cartridges or who can’t produce diamonds in terp sauce at home.
Speaking of which... Alternative and Processed products are a great reason to shop at a dispensary as well. It's one thing to grow your own flower at home, but what if you have a special gathering planned and want to have some dabs available? Concentrates, diamonds in terp sauce and more are all great things to pop into a dispensary and pick up for those one-off situations, especially if you don't have any experience in attempting to produce them yourself (or don't have the equipment).
Inspiration for DIY lovers
I also find it interesting to pop in and just see what's new and happening. The industry is constantly innovating. Live Resin, diamonds and more. It's always interesting to pop in and see what's on the menu. It can spark great ideas. And before committing a ton of flower to producing rosin to decide you actually really aren't a fan of rosin, it's easier to pop into a dispensary and pickup a small gram and see how it goes. If you get hooked on it, then by all means have at it! But it can be a lot faster (and less painful) to test with $40 than commit a harvest that just took months!
So, maybe you’ll try a finished product from the store and it’ll inspire you to turn your harvest into something similar - like solvent-less concentrates. There are so many ways to ingest your bud, with a nearly endless variety of products or blends, that you could very well find a new method and not look back.
Even if it’s just an edible you try and enjoy, it might make you try and sleuth out how they did it - like one might spend many hours imitating barbecue restaurants or trying to make your own Oreos at home... You might find yourself wondering why one company's gummies are so much better texture-wise or you might like a fruit filling or an addition of another chemical such as melatonin that you might not have added without this inspiration.
Have you ever tried infused lotion? 👀 What about something like a suppository or sex lube? And what about unique products like moonrocks or nano-infused drinks or slow-burn cigars or specialty types of concentrate like "flan"? Technically, you can make those too - you just need the push! They’re all normally very pricey, but now with your own supply you can make them for a fraction of the cost and then look like a baller on social media as you learn and show off your craft.
Look, I agree that there’s plenty of reasons not to give money to dispensaries - mostly based on cost, politics or the infamy of a place, and the history of legalization going hand-in-hand with systemic discrimination and taking advantage of those that kept the craft alive while it was 100% illegal. And yes, there are also a lot of professional places that produce awful, dog-shit quality flower as well that don’t deserve your dollar. Fact. But I’m not telling you to shop at a corporate place you don’t agree with or that you genuinely have to still buy cannabis products. There are plenty of high quality craft cultivators and dispensary operators who are "doing it right" too.
Instead, I am saying that dispensaries can be an excellent resource to help you grow as a home cultivator as well. Especially if the store offers a hand to home growers as well. Think of it like taking a local community college class, where you pay to learn or gain something in order to do better on your own.
So take advantage, try a few options you don't normally get, and see if you want to incorporate it into your DIY methods.