FAQs

What medical conditions qualify?
DC does not restrict access to medical cannabis to patients suffering from specific conditions. Physicians may recommend medical cannabis for any condition or disease.

What happens when my physician will not recommend cannabis?

If you need help obtaining a physician recommendation, please give Herbal Alternatives a call at (202) 618-5635 or send us an email at [email protected] and we will provide you with assistance.

Are there limits to how much I can purchase?

Yes, your 30-day limit is two ounces or 56.7 grams. This is a rolling limit. Your available balance on any given day is calculated as the limit (56.7 grams) minus the total of all purchases within the past 30 days.

How do I obtain my medication if I am unable to get to a dispensary?

Patients who are unable to get to a dispensary may assign a caretaker as their representative. Caretakers must complete a registration process that includes a criminal background check. Registered caretakers may enter the dispensary and make purchases for the patient.

Who can become a caregiver?

A patient may designate anyone to be there caretaker as long as they meet the following conditions:

  • the individual is not currently serving as the caregiver for another qualifying patient;
  • the individual is at least eighteen (18) years old;
  • the individual has never been convicted of possession or sale of a controlled substance;
  • completed the registration process; and
  • been approved by the DC Department of Health.

All minor patients must have a caretaker designated by a parent or guardian.

Does DC’s program allow minor patients?

Yes. Minor patients are not allowed into a dispensary and must have a designated caretaker (typically a parent or guardian).

Do physicians need a special license to recommend medical cannabis?

No. A physician licensed and in good standing in DC may recommend the use of medical cannabis providing the relationship between the physician and patient meet regulatory requirements.

Physicians must complete a form requesting patient recommendation forms. A link to the physician request: https://octo.quickbase.com/db/biwy2t5h7?a=dbpage&pageID=7

How private is patient information?

Your identity and enrollment in the medical marijuana program is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Is there a supply shortage in DC?

Yes, and no. Currently Herbal Alternatives has an ample supply of dried flowers with high THC profiles but the supply of strains containing high quantities of other cannabinoids (such as CBD, CBG and CBC) is limited. Some dispensaries may still restrict the amount you can purchase on any given day or of a specific strain. Some will not. (Herbal Alternatives is not currently limiting purchases).

The real shortage is in the variety of products (such as edibles, capsules, cartridges, topicals, etc.) and the minimal number and type of concentrates available.

Are the cannabis products sold by dispensaries in DC lab-tested?

All cannabis products are tested by the cultivators themselves and not third party, independent laboratories. Cultivators are only required to provide THC and CBD profiles. We strongly recommend you contact your DC council person and ask them to push for regulations that require third party laboratory testing and full profiling (all major cannabinoids and terpenoids) as well as potency, microbial contamination, aflatoxins, residual solvents, and pesticides testing.

Are registered patients from other states allowed inside the dispensary?

No. Currently DC’s regulations do not allow for reciprocity.

Are residents of other states who see DC physicians allowed to register in the District’s medical marijuana program?

No, currently DC requires registered patients be DC residents. Herbal Alternatives hopes the District will expand the program to allow all patients who are treated by District physicians access to the program.

Who is permitted inside the dispensary?

Only DC registered patients and caregivers who have chosen Herbal Alternatives are allowed inside the dispensary. Your registration card and photo ID must be presented for every visit. Companions may accompany patients to the dispensary floor but are not allowed inside the dispensary unless registered as a caregiver.

What is pre-ordering?

When you are in a rush, or simply know exactly what you want, you may contact Herbal Alternatives ahead of time to let us know what you would like prepared for pick-up. We will package and invoice your order so that when you arrive you need only present your registration card and photo ID and pay for your purchase. Pre-orders may be phoned in, emailed or completed on-line. Emailed and on-line requests will receive an email or text confirmation when the order is ready. Pre-order requests should be submitted at least 30 minutes before opening.

Are appointments required?

No appointment is required. We do, however, recommend that patients with a limited knowledge of medical cannabis make an appointment for their first visit.

Does Herbal Alternatives sell accessories?

Yes. Herbal Alternatives maintains an extensive inventory of papers, pipes, rigs, vapes, grinders, etc. for their patients.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept cash and all major credit cards

Why does Herbal Alternatives use the term “Cannabis” instead of “Marijuana”?
The terms are interchangeable and both are perfectly acceptable—however, cannabis is the actual name of the plant.

Organic versus Natural?

A product may only refer to itself as “organic” if it has received OMRI certification. No cannabis products in the District to date have received such certification (probably due to the fact that certification is overseen by a federal agency and extremely expensive to obtain).

The term “natural” does not require certification and is an appropriate description of products cultivated and produced in the District of Columbia. No dispensary in DC offers “organic” cannabis products.

It should be noted that the term “organic” can be misleading as it does not mean pesticide free. There are roughly 26 synthetic pesticide substances that can be used in cultivation under USDA organic standards. DC’s regulations do not allow cultivators to use any synthetic pesticides.

What is vaping?

Vaping is a method of delivery that currently relies on one of two types of heating mechanisms that release active ingredients from the cannabis, converting them to vapor. Cannabinoids begin to vaporize around 284°F, with combustion beginning at around 446°F. Vaporizers apply heat between those temperatures. Vaping does not burn the product and is considered a safer method of delivery than smoking though the effects from the cannabis are almost as immediate.

Vaporizers (vapes) come in all shapes and sizes ranging from large, more stationary vaporizers to portable vape pens. Stationary vapes have two types of delivery systems: whip-style and bag-style. The “whip” is the tubing that connects the vaporizer to the mouthpiece. “Bags,” or “balloons,” attach a food-grade plastic bag to the heating chamber which, when activated, is filled with vapor. Portable vaporizers either preheat the cannabis material or heat “on-demand” as the patient draws on the mouthpiece to activate the heating element.