With the ongoing marijuana legalization debate, finding ways to purchase your cannabis fix can be difficult. In the old days, you could only purchase your THC fix from your local dealer, and only in cash. No one could risk a paper trail when the drug was still illegal.
Thankfully, time moves on, and there are ways of buying THC online. However, as with any online purchase, safety is paramount. If you’re purchasing THC through an online store, whether for the first time or the hundredth, here are ten crucial safety tips that you need to follow.
- Don’t Try to Buy Online If You Live In a No-Weed State
This should go without saying, but you should only attempt purchasing marijuana or THC products online if you live in a state where it’s been legalized. Any above-board dispensaries won’t offer to ship to locations where their products are illegal. If your preferred online vendor does, it should raise some eyebrows, and you should find a new place to purchase your goods.
What Happens If You Disregard This Rule
If you purchase your weed online illegally, you’ll run the risk of getting on the bad side of local law enforcement. Once your package enters the USPS or any other shipping service, your privacy is all but non-existent, as these packages regularly get searched. What’s more, if they even suspect that your package contains illegal drugs, you can count on it getting searched.
If you get busted for having weed shipped to you in an illegal state, you’ll end up staring down fines of up to a thousand dollars and a year in the slammer. And that’s assuming that this is your first offense.
The risks aren’t worth it. Don’t buy THC online if it’s not legal in your state.
- Look for Reputable Dispensaries
There are thousands of sites for buying THC online. However, not all websites are created equal. If you want to buy your THC products through the web, you should limit your search to reputable dispensaries.
If you have a favored dispensary in your state that you can’t get to on a regular basis, check if they have a website. Most businesses these days have e-commerce as part of their business plan, and you can’t go wrong with a business you already trust.
- Check Online Customer Reviews
If you don’t know of a local dispensary with a web store, your next best bet is to check the online customer reviews for various dispensary sites. If the average star rating from most consumers is two or below, you have a pretty good indication that this is a place you should steer clear from. On the other hand, if the average star review is four or five, this site could be a good one to try.
Common Signs of a Review Bot
You should know, however, that not all reviews are as they seem. Review bots are an increasingly common problem on every website with e-commerce available.
So, how can you tell if the reviews you see are from real people or bots? It can be tricky, but here are some common signs you can look for:
- Impersonal or nonexistent avatars
- Pre-formatted, generic-sounding reviews
- Consistent fishy comments on many products
- Reviews posted too closely to one another to be believable
- Completely false information irrelevant to the website
- The bot breaks, making the review nonsensical
If you see any of these signs on positive or negative reviews, you can safely disregard the content of their messages, as it isn’t accurate.
- Review the Product Labels
Most reputable online stores allow you to read the information contained on product labels before you purchase. This becomes especially important when you purchase supplements, medicines, or drugs of any sort. The last thing you want is to buy THC online and not get the concentration, strain, or tincture you paid for.
If the website doesn’t show you the information on the product labels, be wary, as they may not be selling what they show in their web store. While posting the content of the product label in the product description is acceptable, it’s better if the site shows a picture of the label as well, to prove that the contents match one another.
- “Locked” for Your Security
When shopping online for anything, you need to check for that lovely little lock to the left of your URL in the search bar. If you see that lock in the locked position, you can rest assured that anything you post on the site is going through proper security protocols.
If, however, that lock is in the unlocked position, be wary. This means that the site in question isn’t secure. Any personal or financial information that you post in forms for this website could be hijacked by other people. This could lead to identity theft, ridiculous amounts of spam emails and bot calls, and countless other personal information issues.
Don’t risk your bank account and livelihood by using an unsecured site. If you don’t see the locked lock, hit the Back button and stay far away.
- Avoid Oversharing Your Personal Information
Connected with the above point, you should avoid sharing too much of your personal information with websites. Even sites that have security protocols in place can get breached by hackers. You shouldn’t have to share your Social Security or Driver’s License number in order to make a simple online purchase.
Most websites with an e-commerce element will, at most, request your email address, physical address for shipping purposes, and card information. Any website that asks for more information than that should raise your suspicions.
Try to share as little information as you can get away with. If the website in question doesn’t ask for it, then don’t provide it. This also means that you should try to avoid too many personal identifying details in your email address and passwords. (We’ll discuss more on password security below.)
- Strong Passwords Are Your Best Friend
If there’s one thing that leads to more data leaks and breaches than anything else, it’s poor password security. Whether on the part of the host website or its userbase, a lack of strong passwords leaves you open to identity theft, viruses, and a host of other problems.
Are App-Generated Passwords Safe?
Since no one likes remembering all the special requirements various websites have for their passwords, many have turned to using app-generated passwords. However, are these passwords as secure as they claim to be?
Yes and no. Most password generators are not truly random, but pseudorandom. This means that it’s easier for computers to guess or brute-force the password.
Tips for Great Passwords
So, how can you ensure that your passwords for e-commerce sites meet high-security protocols and keep you safe? Here are some common tips that will help you make a better password:
- Change your passwords often
- Make your passwords longer; longer combinations are harder to guess
- Don’t use personal information or common, known words
- Avoid common character substitutions (like ‘1’ for ‘L’, or ‘$’ for ‘S’
By following these password security tips, you can ensure your safety when buying THC online.
- Research Your Seller
This applies to any online purchase but holds especially true when purchasing from online THC stores. You need to research your seller from top to bottom. This means checking online customer reviews, as mentioned above.
However, it also means cross-referencing their products list and asking for feedback from social media. It means looking into their location, shipping times, and the quality of the products that they carry. Physical and online stores can and do overcharge for products not worth their price.
If you know or research what quality THC looks like, you should be able to avoid getting ripped off. And, in the event you’re not satisfied with your purchase, make sure you research the store’s return policy. You don’t want to get stuck with something that doesn’t fit your expectations.
- Make Sure You’re Informed of Side Effects
Whether you’re buying a new strain like this or buying THC online for the first time, you need to research the product you want to buy. For any product with medicinal or supplemental benefits, you must look into the potential side effects before you purchase. By doing this, you spare yourself a great deal of future misery.
How can you know what side effects to watch out for? Mainly, by understanding how THC and marijuana works.
Understanding How THC Works
What makes THC so effective at treating physical pain, mental health disorders, and a host of other issues? In a word, receptivity. You see, our bodies have something called the endocannabinoid system.
Yes, the “canna” in that massive word is relevant. As you might guess, cannabis-related products can either stimulate or bind to the receptors in the endocannabinoid system in order to produce calming effects and reduce inflammation.
CBD stimulates the receptors, allowing the body to produce more of the hormones those neurotransmitters usually receive naturally. THC, on the other hand, binds with the receptors, which lets you experience the “high” that marijuana brings. This can also lead to THC’s common side effects.
What Are the Side Effects of THC?
The most common side effects of THC that you should be worried about include:
- Faster heart rate
- Issues with coordination, memory, and reaction times
- Red, irritated eyes
- Dry mouth
If you find yourself experiencing these side effects, give yourself a few hours to recover. If they persist after that long, consider going to the doctor to make sure you aren’t having an adverse reaction.
- Ensure Your Computer Wears “Protection”
Any time you shop or browse online, you place your computer at risk of outside invasion and infection. The best way that you can keep your online shopping and computer safe is to make sure your computer wears proper “protection”. You can do this in two ways: antivirus software or virtual private networks.
Antiviruses and Malware Protection Software
Antivirus and antimalware programs are two of the most common ways people keep their computers protected. You can find hundreds of great options, both free and paid, by searching online. However, you should take care when browsing the free antivirus options, as hackers are sneaky, and will gladly post a virus posing as a protection program.
If your computer gets locked down and prevents you from doing anything until you pay for a service fee, chances are, you’ve downloaded ransomware instead of a legitimate antivirus. Most true antiviruses will either require payment up-front before you download, or have a clearly specified trial period, after which you’ll start paying a monthly fee.
How a VPN Can Save Your Online Shopping Experience
If you’d rather not rely on an antivirus program, another great option for improving your online shopping experience is using a virtual private network or VPN. VPNs disguise your physical IP address, making it harder for companies and hackers to track the location you’re purchasing goods from. Many also come with password management options, which makes them ideal for improving your password security.
Additionally, VPNs can protect you from certain forms of online price-gouging. Not all customers get charged equally for the same products. Your perceived physical location could affect the prices or even the available products you see online. If you don’t want to pay more for your THC than it’s worth, you’d do well to shop through a VPN.
Take a Moment to Review Tips for Buying THC Online
The tips for buying THC online safely align well with those for shopping online in general. Don’t try to purchase something illegal for your location online, and research the product and seller thoroughly. Take steps to protect your bank accounts, emails, and computer accordingly, and you’ll be able to shop online THC stores without fear.
Did you find these ten tips on how to buy THC online safely helpful? Would you like to read more THC and CBD-related content or internet security tips? Then, check out our blog every day for more articles like this one!