Photo credit: Canna Recruiter

Depending on how familiar you are with cannabis, walking into a dispensary may or may not be an intimidating experience. Enter the cannabis consultant (or “budtender” as they’re often called): your host, your caregiver, your guide to all things green (or purple, or red…) You see what we mean! With marijuana legalization becoming widespread, the role of your friendly neighborhood budtender is more important than ever.

If you’re a newbie, you’ll need to do a little homework first. Make sure you brush up on some of the key basics such as the difference between indica, sativa, hybrid, terpene, cannabinoid, extract, CBD, THC, etc. Remember, the more information you can share with your budtender about what you do or don’t know, the better.

If you’re a recreational consumer, what type of effect are you looking for? Relaxation, body high, head high, energization, mood enhancer?

For medicinal patients, what symptoms are you trying to address? What type of relief are you looking for? Do you want to alleviate pain, fatigue, depression or insomnia?

Keep in mind that not all budtenders are created equal. The most skillful in their craft will know the specifications of every product they sell, and can recommend them on an individual basis. Others may be just trying to push inventory, so you’ll want to be prepared with a little more knowledge of your own.

To optimize your next dispensary experience, arm yourself with these five helpful questions:

1: What would you recommend for me?

Although many still prefer the simple act of rolling a joint, the options for ingesting cannabis are pretty much limitless these days. If you’ve used cannabis before, tell your budtender how you prefer to consume it. What type of strains do you enjoy most? Have you ever had adverse effects? Whether you choose from vaping, edibles, topicals, waxes or other forms, your budtender can suggest what’s right for you.

2: What do you know about this particular strain or product?

A good budtender should know exactly where the cannabis flowers, extracts and other products in the dispensary come from.  The way that flowers are cultivated (Hydroponics vs. Soil-Grown) also makes a big difference. If you care about organically-cultivated marijuana, ask for farmers who breeds plants in an all-natural way without using pesticides or additives.

3: What are the effects?

Every person is unique in how they respond to cannabis. Even different batches can have slightly different results. Ask your budtender to describe the sensations you can expect. Will it be a more uplifting, cerebral high or a more physically sedating, mellow effect? Should you use it during the day or nighttime?

4: How potent is this strain?

Strains with the highest THC content are usually the most potent. Anything over 20% is considered “strong.” THC is only one factor, however…Terpenes can interact with cannabinoids in ways that can amplify psychoactivity. On the other hand, strains high in CBD may have little or no psychoactive effect, beneficial to patients seeking their analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties.

5: What’s new on the shelf?

If you’re a veteran consumer who’s got your classic go-to strain, good for you! But if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s no reason not to branch out. New products and technology are evolving at light speed, and dispensaries now showcase as many as 250 strains. This is one area where your budtender can shine, so trust them! They’re on the front lines, reviewing new products, trying strains and talking to consumers on a daily basis.

Sarah is an expert in values based content. She’s known for fearlessly tackling the toughest business challenges with a positive attitude and gettin’ the party started on the dance floor.