CANNABIS CULTURE – For Budtenders, the job requirements are essentially the same everywhere. Of course each shop will have its own way of doing things, so you’ll need to adjust to those specific rules, but it’s not like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) will suddenly mean something different in another country.
Since 2010, I’ve had my fair share of budtending positions and have found a hobby out of visiting U.S. states that allow marijuana for recreational use in that time. So, whether you’re looking to become a budtender, or you already are, here are 5 things all Budtenders should know:
The difference between the types of cannabis
What I mean by types is the difference between indica, sativa and hybrid. From my own experience as a medicinal marijuana budtender in Los Angeles, there will be times when someone will visit a shop and they will have no idea where to even begin; but it’ll be your job to lead them in the right direction.
Because of this, it’s critical to know the effects each one gives. As a general rule of thumb, indicas tend to provide more of a “body” high, whereas sativas tend to be known as more of a “head” high. Hybrid’s are normally (but not exclusively) a common ground between the two extremes, but can always lean one way more than the other. Some even prefer to smoke indicas at night, and sativas in the day due to the contrasting effects, but this is not always the case.
Once you fully understand the variation of the three, then it’ll be easier to recognize the different types of strains and their benefits.
For more clarification between the three, check out Leafly’s Cannabis 101 video.
The Different Ways People Take Cannabis
One thing I would always tell patients is: Marijuana hits everyone differently. What it does for me, it may not do for you. So, whether you’re a medicinal or recreational user, you want to make sure you know what you are putting into your body because the effects vary. Most importantly, you want to make sure you are giving people the right product for the right reason.
Sometimes doing this can be a bit overwhelming because there are so many forms to choose from. Between pot, vape cartridges, edibles, tinctures, oil capsules, topicals and concentrates, there are several ways to consume cannabis. Smoking concentrates (dabbing) will give you a more intense high, versus smoking cannabis. I’ve had a few people tell me that they even felt paralyzed after eating an edible. What’s important to remember is the highs can vary from one another. IMO, the best way to find this out for yourself is by testing everything and experimenting!
On a recreational level, no one wants to feel unsafe and overwhelmed while they are under the influence. On a medicinal level, it is imperative for you to be able to suggest the correct strains and products according to patient ailments; people are trusting you to do so.
I’ve noticed that this is more of a pet-peeve for some. For sanitary reasons, some dispensaries won’t allow patients/customers to touch the products before purchasing and will require budtenders to use gloves or tongs when weighing out. Of course, some people don’t really care, but from my experience it’s always better to take note of these details before someone else does.
It makes a significant difference when patients/customers see that you are taking the time to make sure everything in your environment is clean and tidy. If you have long hair, be sure to check that you don’t have any loose hair strands making their way onto products… I learned this the hard way. And with websites like Weedmaps or Yelp, it is very easy for someone to leave a review highlighting lack of cleanliness.
I recommend keeping hand sanitizer ready at all times, just in case.
P.S. I’ve found hair in my cannabis more than once, too…
Adaptable customer service skills
I say adaptable because you’re going to come into contact with a wide variety of characters and you will need to shift your customer service skills appropriately. Regardless of medicinal or recreational cannabis, be mindful that everyone has their own reason for consuming it.
Another reason I say adaptable is because sometimes the job of a Budtender can become a bit tedious. You basically repeat the same speech everyday, while getting asked the same questions around the same products, strain characteristics and effects. So, be patient and remember that the person you are helping probably doesn’t spend 20-40 hours per week in a cannabis store. So be nice!
Additionally, one of the most vital skills you will need to master before even applying to become a budtender, is knowing weight measurements. For example, knowing how many grams are in an eighth, quarter, half, ounce, will ultimately either make you or break you in this industry. I bring this up because some dispensaries offer 4 gram, 5 gram-eighth specials and it’s important to remember that an eighth isn’t actually 4 grams, it’s 3.5.
Look at it like this: if you over weigh someone, you’ve technically “lost” money for the dispensary – but if you under weigh someone, you’ve waste their time of having to go back to get the missing amount. It’s a lose-lose situation and low-key embarrassing.
Local Medicinal/Recreational Laws
From a legal standpoint, you have to be able to differentiate between medicinal and recreation cannabis laws to work in the industry. Understanding what laws the dispensary you work for operates under is detrimental.
If you know patients/customers are not allowed to consume marijuana on the premise – don’t let them! Sometimes the lines can get blurred between the two, especially for states and countries that offer both medicinal and recreational. It’s a learning process and the laws change frequently, but just be sure to do your research and ask your managers questions if you find yourself lost. Or you can google it.
Pro tip: Stay compliant!
Featured photo courtesy Cannabis Health Radio