Start My Diary Login Sign Up

Dispensary Cannabis Vs. Growing At Home — What Should You Choose?

Created by
JoshuaHolt JoshuaHolt
Added 9 November 2021

Growing cannabis is an art. It takes years to master the art of growing beautiful dank nugs. 

And, it takes patience — lots of it. 

But, once you understand the science behind growing cannabis, it’s a piece of cake, and you’ll be swimming in a pile of buds in no time. 

In the US, some states allow you to grow and consume both medicinal and recreational cannabis. Needless to say, it’s not a taboo topic anymore, with many countries like Canada embracing the herb like never before. 

Indeed, it’s a blessing to be able to grow your own medicine at home. However, now that it’s legal, there are many other options offering more variety than you can grow at home. Such alternatives, or legal cannabis stores, are called dispensaries. 

Dispensaries display some of the juiciest buds you’ve ever seen. They can sell any cannabis product as long as they have a license. And, the trend will only continue, considering how the sales go up every year. 

However, they are expensive, and not everyone can afford them. 

So, what should you choose? Dispensary cannabis or home-grown weed? 

In this article, we will compare both dispensary and home-grown cannabis so you can make the right decision. 

What Is Dispensary Cannabis?


Dispensary cannabis is marijuana sold in dispensaries or retail locations regulated by the local government. You can purchase buds and other cannabis-related products from dispensaries anytime, as prescribed by your doctor. Of course, the same applies to recreational marijuana if it’s legal in your location. 

What You Should Know Before Visiting A Dispensary

Dispensary cannabis

Dispensaries are very easy to find in legalized states. However, here are a few things you should be aware of before purchasing any cannabis product.

  • You must have a valid ID

Like liquor stores, dispensaries also require a valid means of identification to confirm if you’re of legal age to buy cannabis and other related products. 

According to known laws worldwide, governments tend to place age restrictions when the store sells cannabis. The regulations will vary, depending on where you live, so it’s essential to understand them before everything else. 

  • Different types of ID accepted

Dispensaries typically accept all forms of government-issued identification, including a driver’s license and passport. But, make sure you carry current and valid IDs. Also, don’t use forged identification — it is a criminal offense, and the authorities can arrest you.  

  • Do you need a doctor’s prescription?

This depends on your state laws. Some dispensaries require a doctor’s prescription, while some may not need it since cannabis is classified as a schedule 1 drug. Although you can get a recommended usage from a doctor, doctors do not necessarily prescribe them. 

  • How much can dispensaries sell?

Cannabis dispensaries are serious about government rules because they can be shut down any time if they don’t abide by them. The maximum amount of cannabis a dispensary can sell depends on your region’s law. 

Some regions permit dispensaries to sell a maximum of 1 ounce to each user, which is enough for a person to consume in a day. You can also go back to the same dispensary and purchase more the next day. Unless you’re using hundreds of grams per month, it’s more than enough to get by.

Growing Cannabis At Home

blueberry cookies

Here's an image of home-grown blueberry cookies, posted by Wachsemilian, right here on Growdiaries. Incredible, huh?

If you’re new to growing cannabis, everything can seem confusing. But, don’t worry, because it gets easier once you get into the thick of things. It’s pretty easy to grow high-quality cannabis at home, provided you’re ready to put in the effort. 

Firstly, choosing between dispensaries and home-grown cannabis is very important if you’re a medical cannabis user. On one hand, dispensaries offer precisely what you want, but it gets too expensive after a while. You may have no other option other than growing at home. 

In such cases, I recommend that you start with one plant at a time and see how it goes. You will find several guides and detailed explanations from several growers here that will help you immensely. 

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s compare dispensaries with home-grown cannabis. 

Home-grown Cannabis Vs. Dispensary Cannabis 

buds in a dispensary

1. Quality 


Home-grown marijuana is better than dispensary weed, provided you have some experience growing cannabis. With various seed banks selling top-quality cannabis seeds, it’s pretty easy to grow cannabis at home. Although the quality won’t be topnotch the first few times, you will get there with experience. 

In addition, cultivating at home allows you to control everything required to get excellent yields. Most importantly, you won’t be limited to a specified quantity like you would if you rely on a dispensary. 

Last but not least, you know what’s going into the plants. You control the nutrients the plants absorb, whether you grow organically or inorganically. If you haven’t tried organic marijuana, you’re missing out! Gone are the days when organic cannabis was inferior in terms of quality. Today, you can purchase various types of organic nutrients as good as inorganic or chemical fertilizers. 


As mentioned already, it's possible to grow top-quality cannabis in the comfort of your home. However, you may make some mistakes along the way, and it will affect the quality. Dispensary weed is almost always the best because they cannot sell inferior cannabis. 

Due to so many regulations, dispensaries work hard to cater to users’ needs, especially medical marijuana consumers. Dispensaries also purchase cannabis from highly experienced growers that harvest, dry, and cure buds with precision. So while some dispensaries lack good cannabis, you can expect most of them to carry decent stuff.


Growing weed at home can also give you top-quality cannabis since you control everything. In addition, you get to enjoy organic marijuana. However, you will need lots of experience to get to that level. If you're inexperienced, buying from a dispensary may be a better option.

2. Cost



Growing cannabis at home is expensive. The initial costs can be daunting. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you will need if you attempt to grow high-quality cannabis. 

  • Seeds

There are so many types of seeds available that it can be overwhelming. This is both a good and bad thing if you want to grow weed at home. The good news is that you can choose among many strains, but the bad news is that it can be confusing for beginners. 

So, let me make it simple for you. You will find three types of seeds in most seedbanks — regular, feminized, and autoflowers. Regular seeds contain both males and females, while feminized seeds are just females.

Unless you're a breeder or have lots of experience growing buds, we recommend you to stick to feminized seeds. Why? Because you're only looking for sensimilla or seedless buds. Since regular seeds contain both male and female plants, the males will fertilize the females, and you'll end up with seeds in your buds!

One way to avoid this is to look for male plants early during the flowering stage and pull them out before they pollinate the females. Male plants will display small balls compared to females that grow hair or pistils that are white. If all this is too confusing and you want a simpler way out, go for feminized seeds.

Coming to the third type — autoflowers — you should grow them only if you're experienced. Unlike photoperiod plants that rely on light to flower, autoflowers grow and flower automatically, based on their internal time cycle. In simple terms, photoperiod plants will flower only when the grower switches from the 18/6 cycle to the 12/12 cycle, whereas autoflowers will grow irrespective of the light they receive.

Many inexperienced growers also love cultivating autoflowers because they require less maintenance and grow pretty quickly. If you’re more interested in autoflowers, go ahead and purchase some seeds, but it’s best to familiarize yourself with the process first to prevent surprises later. 

  • Lighting

You will need some lights to grow cannabis indoors. There are various types of lights, including HID, LED, CFL, and more. Depending on the space and the number of plants you want to grow, choose something that suits your budget.

While HIDs like HPS and MH lights are great to produce large yields, they also draw a lot of power. You can go for LEDs if you want something that doesn't pull in a lot of energy and produce decent yields at the same time. 

Some growers use fluorescent lights at the beginning of the growing cycle because powerful lights can be very harsh on young plants. However, despite their power, most LEDs don’t burn young saplings as long as you keep the lights at least 18” away from the plants. 

  • Grow tent

A grow tent is necessary if you want to grow cannabis plants indoors. Grow tents were expensive earlier, and many creative growers began constructing grow tents from scratch, but that's not necessary now. Most grow tents are available for about $90-$150 if you spend some time searching for them.

You can also convert a room into a grow room instead of a tent. However, this takes some planning, and beginners may not understand the complexity of fixing fans, lights, exhaust pipes, etc. Therefore, go for grow tents that are simple to set up.

You'll also need a few other materials, including pots, carbon filters to reduce the smell, fans, fertilizers, and more, depending on what you're aiming for. Calculating everything, a basic setup may cost $500 to $1000.

Lighting - $100-200 (1000-2000 watts)

Seeds - $100-$200 (10-15 seeds)

Soil and pots - $100

Grow tent - $100-$150 (depending on the size)

Fertilizers - $100

Other miscellaneous expenses - $100

Note that this is just an approximate cost that can vary depending on the quality of the materials you choose. For example, high-quality lights can cost a lot more than $200. However, if you care to look, you will find cheaper lights.


Various dispensaries offer cannabis at different rates. It all depends on the location, quality, and taxes the dispensary pays. For example, the cost of an ounce of marijuana could be about $200 in Oregon, whereas it can go up to $500 in Washington. Of course, I have only posted approximate figures here, and the numbers may vary for recreational and medical marijuana.


Comparing dispensaries and home-grown marijuana, one may conclude that it's more expensive to grow cannabis at home. However, note that you need to invest only for the initial setup. Once that's done, you will only have to spend on seeds and fertilizers. It's possible to cover all costs within a year and also become profitable. Therefore, comparing prices, it's cheaper to grow cannabis at home.

3. Quantity

cannabis buds


Growing your cannabis means that you can grow any amount of cannabis that you want. You are not limited to government policies like dispensaries. Depending on where you are, you can now grow as many as six matured plants, and each plant can provide as much as 20 ounces of wet cannabis. 

Of course, these numbers will vary heavily, depending on how you take care of them. Ultimately, you can get 500 grams of top-quality dry cannabis if everything goes well. Remember that the time frame also matters. Those growing photoperiod plants will get more than autoflower cultivators; however, you’ll be able to harvest twice in the same period if you grow autoflowers. 

Simply put, it may take anywhere from 4-5 months to harvest, dry, and cure photoperiod buds, while autoflowers may achieve it in about 3 months. However, autoflowers will not produce the yields you can expect from photoperiod strains. You can also have access to more buds if you are growing outdoors. 


A dispensary can display mind-blowing quantities of weed, but you can only buy so much because of a few limitations, including cost and laws.


This one's very obvious — home-grown cannabis nets more yield compared to dispensaries unless you're ready to spend thousands of dollars per month buying cannabis.

4. Variety

home-grown cannabis


Most of us are never satisfied with just one strain. You love Strawberry Cough, but Sour Diesel looks so enticing. Then you look at White Widow or Girl Scout Cookies and wish you could purchase them too. You want everything you set your eyes on, but it could get expensive too fast. 

One advantage of growing at home is that you can grow various strains all at once. A 4x4 tent can hold at least four plants and more if you plan and organize things. The more you take care of them, the better the results, and you’ll have more buds than you ever imagined. 

However, one can view this as a disadvantage too. For instance, imagine you end up with 100 grams of dry Green Crack after 4-5 months of cultivation. Depending on the amount you use, you will be stuck to the same strain no matter what. Of course, growing at home gives you the option of cultivating your favorite strains, but it severely limits your options of trying new strains.


Depending on the quantity you're allowed to buy, you can try several strains in a dispensary. If the limit is an ounce per day, for instance, you can purchase one-eighth of several strains to enjoy variety legally. However, be careful not to overdo it because the laws can be detrimental for those caught with more than the legal limit.


Dispensaries offer more variety compared to growing cannabis at home.

5. Health



I know this could be surprising, but yes, growing your cannabis plants could be healthier for you than some cannabis products sold in dispensaries. This is because home-growers don’t use harmful pesticides or insecticides. Knowing what you use to grow your plants makes them even more beneficial for your consumption. 


In the past, several dispensaries have recalled their product due to the presence of harmful substances. While some have voluntarily recalled them, others have done so after being directed by the government. Sometimes, it may be challenging to prevent contaminants in commercial operations because of many plants growing together. Most dispensaries are very careful with their product, but there can be contaminants at times, no matter how careful they are. 


It’s best to stick to home-grown cannabis if you want to avoid using contaminated products at all costs. 

6. Legality


Many growers have been growing cannabis at home for decades, although many countries have legalized cannabis only recently. But, now that it's legalized, it has become easier to grow whatever you want. 

As long as you keep the plants away from public view and abide by the laws, you will be okay. The only problem is that the rules are updated frequently, making it tough to keep up with them. Moreover, various loopholes can work against you if you're not cautious.


Apart from the quantity, you don't have to worry about regulations while buying cannabis from a dispensary. It's as simple as that.


This one's a little tough to decide because many people grow cannabis at home, even if it's not legal. But even in legalized states, you must be careful not to break the laws. On the other hand, walking into a dispensary to purchase anything from flowers to vape oils, edibles and concentrates is a straightforward process. So, dispensaries win in this department.

7. Purpose


Not everyone uses cannabis for recreational purposes. Millions of consumers use medical marijuana to manage several ailments. Such users may find it hard to purchase seeds of specific varieties that can help them. 

Finding strains with therapeutic potential takes a bit of work, and growing at home will be beneficial only if you're ready to conduct some research. The best way to start is to join communities online and speak to people struggling with similar problems. However, if you can't afford to spend time, dispensaries may be a better option.


Dispensaries hire budtenders so they can help customers choose specific strains that can target their problems. You can talk to the budtenders to get what you need.


Dispensaries win in this department since they stock strains meant to help people. 

8. Creativity

cannabis concentrate


Growing at home allows you to be highly creative. You can use everything from the roots to the trim you get when you harvest the plants. 

If you're a medical cannabis user, I recommend you check out several ways to make extracts at home posted right here on this site. Extracts are super potent and deliver the correct dose necessary to manage your problems. On the other hand, if you're using low-quality cannabis with less potency, you may not be getting any benefits at all. 

However, if you grow at home, you have the option of converting your sugar trim to make dry ice hash and live resin. You can also use the leaves to make cannabis tea and more. In addition, many users make cannabutter, salves, and other edibles like gummies using just the trim. By trim, I mean the sugar leaves poking out of the buds — yes, the ones full of resin.

Growing cannabis at home allows you to use the entire plant’s goodness and make full-spectrum extracts that help you more than just the buds. Full-spectrum extracts give you the benefits of the whole plant, just like nature intended. Medical cannabis users can buy high-CBD strains if THC is not an option.


Although dispensaries sell extracts such as kief, rosin, and various edibles, they are far more expensive than regular bud. In addition, you will not have the option to use leaves, roots, trim, and stems, which means that you can't utilize the entire plant. 


Growing plants at home is far better than a dispensary if you want to enjoy everything cannabis has to offer.

9. Joy

You can always buy vegetables in a supermarket, but the joy of growing at home is indescribable. Similarly, dispensaries have everything you need, but you can’t compare it to the pleasure of growing your own marijuana at home.


Growing at home is a better choice compared to dispensaries in this department.


Growing at home gives you immense knowledge. You can talk to any budtender and get what you want, but you can’t compare it to the experience you gain while growing at home. To grow amazing cannabis, it's best to join wonderful communities that answer your questions. We have a community full of growers ready to help every time you answer your question. This is one significant advantage of growing at home.

In addition, if you're on a tight budget, growing at home may be your only choice. Remember that the initial cost will be higher than simply buying a few ounces at a dispensary. However, if you save up a bit and kick-start your grow room, you will see that it's totally worth it.

Most dispensaries sell good cannabis but remember that commercial operations are not like small growing projects at home. A home-grower takes care of his plants and pampers them until they are ready to be harvested. 

In commercial projects, they don't pay special attention to any plant in particular. It's the same difference between the food you get at restaurants and home-grown food. There's no comparison, right? Similarly, home-grown marijuana is way better if you take the time to understand how to care for your plants.

Dispensaries undoubtedly offer a wide variety compared to what you can grow at home. However, if you consider the yields and cost, cultivating cannabis at home is a much better idea.

So, what do you do? Grow cannabis at home or walk into a dispensary?

Well, we think that home-grown cannabis trumps dispensary weed. You may not get what you expect initially, but it almost always pays off in the long run.