Walking into a cannabis dispensary and purchasing legal cannabis for the first time can be daunting. Even if you’ve done a ton of research, you probably still have lots of questions: What kind of cannabis should I buy? What’s the difference between sativa and indica? Should I try an edible? What’s a tincture? Can cannabis help manage my chemotherapy symptoms?
If you find yourself asking these questions (or others!), you’re in luck because every cannabis dispensary worth their salt employs someone who can help -- a budtender! Budtenders are staff who are trained to help patients find the cannabis products that will best suit their needs. They understand the ins and outs of the products they sell, their THC and CBD percentages, and how they will affect someone like you.
But, taking full advantage of your budtender’s wealth of knowledge does require some effort on your part. So, here are some tips on how to interact with your budtender.
Be honest with your experience
It is always a good idea to let your budtender know about your experience, especially if you’re new to using cannabis. New users are more likely to get overwhelmed by the taste, smell, or effects of cannabis, and budtenders will base their recommendations on the experience level of patients. For example, they might recommend lower THC doses or easy-to-use products like pre-rolls or vaporizers for newbies and reserve more complex things like shatter or wax for more seasoned consumers.
Know your preferred way to consume cannabis
Although your budtender can help you find the right intake method, you should still have a general idea of how you’d like to consume your cannabis, even if it’s as simple as “I don’t like to smoke.” Let your budtender know which methods you’ve tried and which have worked best for you. Be prepared to answer a few questions that will help the budtender assist you. Once your budtender has an idea of your experience and which methods have worked for you before, they’ll be able to make a recommendation.
Explain your needs and desires
In addition to your experience level, you should also be straightforward with the type of experience you’re desiring after consuming cannabis. For example, some patients are looking to experience drowsiness to help them sleep, while others prefer to stay alert. Some strains are good for morning use, while others should be reserved for the evening. Depending on your answers and desired experience, your budtender will recommend a sativa, indica, or hybrid strain. You can learn more about those here.
Be honest about your medical conditions
Medicinal users consume medicinal cannabis for medicinal purposes: it’s a no-brainer. Whether you’re suffering from anorexia, seizures, PTSD, or severe chronic pain (or any of the other conditions that the MMCC considers to be a qualifying medical condition), you need to be honest with your budtender about what particular ailments you’re seeking help for. If you feel shy or embarrassed, don’t be! They are highly trained professionals who interact with patients who have a variety of conditions every day. They are your advocates and can only help you if you’re 100% honest with them.
Let them know if you’re discreet about your use
Some patients live alone and don’t need to be discreet with their use, while others live with roommates or family members who might not approve of their cannabis use. If you prefer to be discreet about your cannabis use, your budtender may recommend things like edibles or vape cartridges. If you don’t need to be discreet, he or she may recommend flower. The last thing your budtender wants to do is recommend something that you can’t comfortably consume, so let them know what your stance is.
Ask questions...and more questions
Your budtender can’t help you if you don’t ask questions. You may feel awkward asking a bunch of questions, but believe it or not, most budtenders prefer to work with engaged patients. In addition to the questions listed at the beginning of this blog, other good questions to ask include:
- I really liked [blank]. Do you have anything else like it?
- Can you tell me about some of your favorite products under $X?
- How do I use this product? Can you explain it to me?
- What strains are best for [creativity, sleep, focus, appetite stimulation, etc.]
- Do you have any flower strains that are high in CBD?
You get the picture. It can be difficult to remember all your questions on the spot, so jot them down in a journal or on your phone in between visits.
Be kind and courteous
Last but not least, be nice! Budtenders are really nice people who have gone through a lot of training to better serve you. You will always get the most value out of the interaction if you are friendly and respectful. (The same goes for virtually every interaction -- not just with your budtender!) If you feel like you aren’t getting the best answers or attention from a particular budtender, request to speak with a new one. Just because a particular budtender talks to you first doesn’t mean you’re stuck with them forever. Speak up and advocate for yourself and your needs.
To visit our friendly budtenders in person, head to our flagship Baltimore dispensary in Federal Hill.