Smoke Shops Compared To Dispensaries In Texas

Wondering about the difference between Texas smoke shops and legal cannabis dispensaries? You are not the only person to think about this, especially as the landscape of cannabis in Texas is evolving at an exciting and rapid rate. On the surface level, smoke shops and legal dispensaries have clear similarities, but if you scratch beneath the surface, you will find many notable differences in how they operate, the products they sell, and their clientele. This article will delve into the differences between smoke shops and legal dispensaries in Texas. Interested? Keep reading to find out more.

Texas Dispensaries

Burn Smoke Shop / Vape Shop rice Village Location

First, it is best to look at Texas dispensaries. If you are new to Texas and in need of medical cannabis, please visit this link to learn about the requirements for a Texas Medical Card. Currently, there are three licensed medical dispensaries across the state of Texas:

  • Goodblend
  • Compassionate Cultivation
  • Fluent

The critical difference between these dispensaries and smoke shops is the cannabinoids that they carry. You can familiarize yourself with the most popular cannabinoids here.

Hemp and cannabis contain a vast array of cannabinoids, somewhere around 400. However, only about 80-100 of these have psychoactive effects (the feeling of being high). Most notable is Delta-9 THC, which is a cannabinoid widely available in states that have legalized cannabis.

In other states, there has been an increase in products containing THC-A, THC-P, Delta-8 THC, and Delta-10 THC. This is a result of laws that regulate the percentage of Delta-9 THC that can be grown with hemp plants – federal regulations permit up to 0.3% Delta-9 THC in hemp plants. Below, we will discuss these cannabinoids and the properties that they have.

Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 THC

Although they sound similar, there are some notable differences between these cannabinoids, and they each produce their own high. On a chemical level, the only slight difference is the location of the double bond. Delta-8 has a double bond in the eighth carbon atom in the molecular chain, Delta-9 on the ninth, and Delta-10 on the tenth. All three cannabinoids bond to CB1 and CB2 receptors, affecting memory, appetite, and sleep (CB1) and inflammation (CB2). Delta-9 creates a stronger bond to CB1, which creates the strongest traditional high. This is followed by Delta-8 and then Delta-10. In terms of CB2, they bind at a similar strength to provide similar pain-relieving benefits.


THC-A is the precursor to THC, which means that it does not have psychoactive properties in its solid state. Essentially, this is the cookie dough, which must be heated to turn it into a cookie (and achieve the feeling of being high). Heating THC-A releases its extra carboxyl ring, which makes it identical to Delta-9 THC on a chemical level. This enables THC-A to bind to the receptors to produce psychoactive effects.


THC-P is widely known to be the most potent cannabinoid. In fact, some claim that it is up to 33 times the strength of Delta-9 THC – this means it might not be the best choice for beginners! THC-P is known for its sedative and muscle-relaxing properties, so it could be helpful for anyone suffering from tension and/or muscle pain.

Product Variation in Smoke Shops & Dispensaries

Smoke Shops & Dispensaries

So, now that we know the properties of the main cannabinoids, we can examine the product variation in smoke shops and legal cannabis dispensaries.

Legal medicinal dispensaries predominately stock Delta-9 THC products, which is because most medical THC is derived from marijuana plants containing higher percentages of cannabinoids. Smoke shops, meanwhile, offer a broader spectrum of products, including THC-A, THC-P, and Delta-8 (these can also be found in states that have not legalized marijuana). These cannabinoids are derived from hemp or low Delta-9 percentage plants. These products can help people achieve a high and help with issues like low sleep levels and inflammation.

The types of products will also vary between smoke shops and dispensaries. In smoke shops, you will find a wide range of products for various preferences. This includes:

  • Flower
  • Pre-rolls
  • Edibles
  • Topicals
  • Capsules
  • Tinctures

In legal cannabis dispensaries, product types tend to be limited. These dispensaries tend to exclude flower and pre-rolls, two of the most popular product types, from their inventory.

Smoke shops are also appealing because they offer a one-stop-shop experience. You can stock up on cannabinoids, but you can also get all of the equipment and accessories needed for your cannabis experience. This includes water pipes, hand pipes, rolling papers, and lighters. This adds convenience for beginners and experienced users looking for everything they need in one place.

Can You Purchase from a Dispensary?

So, can you buy cannabis from a dispensary? The answer to this is not clear cut, particularly with all of the “Dispensary” signs that are appearing. In Texas, you can purchase marijuana from one of the three legal medical dispensaries if you have a prescription from a doctor. There are then various shops carrying recreational cannabinoids in legal states that have “Dispensary” in the name. These shops will be more like smoke shops but may lack the accessories mentioned before. Typically, these stores have age restrictions, with a minimum age of 18-21 (Texas requires the latter).

The cannabis landscape in Texas and around the US continues to evolve, which is exciting to see. It can also make things confusing for consumers, which is why it is essential to know the difference between legal cannabis dispensaries and smoke shops. It is also helpful to know the difference between the cannabinoids so that you can choose the right product for your needs. Equipped with this knowledge, you can ensure that you walk into the right establishment and know what you are looking for

Hopefully, the information in this post will be helpful and give you everything you need to know to make an informed decision. Be sure to keep a close eye on the blog for more information relating to the evolving cannabis landscape here in Texas.

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