how to become a weedologist

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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how to become a weedologist

how to be cannabis connoisseur

Want to be a Cannabis Connoisseur? Master these Essentials

So you’ve become a regular cannabis consumer and now you’d like to graduate to the next level? You’ve come to the right place. At Mistifi, we believe that consuming cannabis can — and should — be an experience as deeply rich and sophisticated as enjoying a glass of fine wine or whiskey. So how can you level up your cannabis knowledge? Here’s an intensely vetted list of traits to look for in your cannabis, should you wish to become a cannabis connoisseur.

1. Trichome Content

Trichome might sound like a scary anatomical word, but it actually is one of the most important traits to look for in identifying the overall quality of the flower you’re about to smoke. When you break apart the flower, you’ll notice these tiny crystalline-looking particles, which are the trichomes of the cannabis plant, and which are where all the THC goodness lies. Flowers with more full, intense clusters of trichomes are typically more potent and of a higher quality in production, whereas lighter groupings suggest a lighter, less intense high.

2. Color

Believe it or not, green is more dynamic than just, well, green! The color of the flower itself not only clues you in about the quality the grower put into the product, but also about the actual strain itself. Purple colors tend to indicate more indica dominant strains, while orange fuzzies tend to mean that there is sativa present. Either way, if you see colors like that you know you’ve got something good on your hands. 

3. Taste

When you first start your cannabis journey, chances are you only really taste the heavily earthy notes of whatever it is you’re smoking. As you become more of a cannabis connoisseur, your palate begins to expand and the added flavors start to blossom on your taste buds. Think of it like a whiskey. Once you get used to that taste, you can tell when it’s a blend or single malt, with notes of mango or cinnamon. Same thing goes for cannabis, and once you start to notice, it becomes an incredibly fulfilling experience.  

Pro tip: One great way to refine your cannabis palate is to pair your cannabis with other foods and beverages that draw out it’s flavors. Get started by checking out our guide to pairing whiskey with weed and the best munchies to pair with sativa strains.

4. Aroma

When you can begin to differentiate various smells between lit strains of cannabis, you know you’re on your way to becoming a full-fledged cannabis connoisseur. Some strains smell sweet, citrusy, or even like mint, while others smell downright sour. You can smell the flower before it’s lit as well to get a more accurate aromatic flavor profile. High quality aromatics include notes derived from citrus, and floral to even something like cheese or skunk. Avoid smells of wet grass, hay, and musty old socks.

5. Touch

The texture and consistency of your cannabis is a key indicator of determining how fresh and potent a particular product is. If the flower is soft like a pillow or very crystalized like a frosted flake, that’s a telltale sign of cured cannabis that is still fresh. Avoid anything overly brittle or squidgy, as that is usually older weed that has been kept in poor conditions. Cannabis that is too dry will burn and degrade quickly, and cannabis that’s too moist can potentially develop mold, which is harmful to smoke.

6. Don’t Call it Weed

This one is pretty straightforward. While weed is likely the most commonly used colloquial term for cannabis, it has a bit of a reductive connotation associated with it. Calling it weed makes it seem cheap and unwanted, like weeds in your front lawn. It also carries pejorative energy, in the way that calling someone a weed smoker objectively sounds more negative than does calling them a cannabis consumer. If you are a true cannabis connoisseur, do justice by the plant we love so much and start catching yourself when you call it weed. Flower is a much more suitable and appropriate name.

7. Know the Difference between Highs

You can’t possibly consider yourself a serious cannabis connoisseur if all you take away from a high is “Wow, I’m really high.” At a certain point, you’ll be able to discern how one high might make you hungrier, sleepier or more relaxed in your body versus how another high might make you more focused, introspective and energized. 

Pro Tip: Looking for a place to start? Check out our guide to head highs vs body highs. 

8. Know Quality from Reggie

The first time you smoke cannabis, the lowest quality strain is still more or less  going to take you somewhere you’ve never been before, so to speak. After a while, though, it should be abundantly clear to a true cannabis connoisseur if what they’reabout to smoke is going to be good or not. Based on everything listed previously — touch, color, aroma and trichomes — the cannabis consumer should be able to know what he’s getting himself into before he even sparks a lighter or takes a hit of a pen.

9. Diversify Consumption Methods

Lastly, the ultimate cannabis connoisseur has a variety of tools at their disposal, ready for any kind of situation that might be thrown their way. They might prefer to roll up wax paper and smoke a single, or perhaps they have their favorite piece that gets the job done in a discrete fashion better than anything they know. Maybe they’re a foodie who finds ways to incorporate THC infused ingredients into their recipes, or prefer to sip a cannabis-spiked beverage in place of a cocktail at the end of the day. If they’re on the go, for a more discreet and portable option they will have a vape pen. Pens, like the premiumium selection from Mistifi, can offer some of the most elevated and enhanced experiences, all while remaining discreet and respectful of your surroundings.

So You Want to Work at a Dispensary? Here’s What You Need to Know to Become a Budtender

These days, saying “This bud’s for you” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re serving a customer a beer.  

With an increasing number of states having legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, there are many new jobs in the growing cannabis industry. One of the hottest jobs in the industry is budtending.  

For clients, the budtender is the face of the cannabis industry. Budtenders help customers find the best products for their needs and learn more about the benefits of cannabis use.  

For business owners, hiring qualified budtenders and/or training new employees is a critical part of creating an educational and friendly shopping experience and thus should be a key priority for your cannabusiness.

Just as a bartender is a mixologist for cocktails, a budtender finds the right cannabis, edibles, oils, and vaping liquids for each customer. The best budtenders are closer to pharmacists, finding the right cannabis products to treat different symptoms and conditions.  

With only 15 states outlawing marijuana in any form, the growing cannabis industry offers new job opportunities.   

working in cannabis

How Much Does A Budtender Earn?  

According to Glassdoor, across the U.S., budtenders earn an average base pay of $33,808 a year. That comes to about $16 an hour before taxes.  

Before you give up on your dreams, bare with us for a minute. Like many service-based industries a big part of budtender earnings is via non-hourly compensation.

So, keep in mind that reported average salaries don’t include tips. Since dispensary budtenders are considered as part of the service industry, offering budtenders tips is an acceptable and welcome way to thank them for excellent service.  

Northern Lights Cannabis recommends that tips be commensurate with service. Ringing up a quick purchase might bring you a tip of 5 percent or less, but if you as a budtender answer lots of cannabis questions, your customer may offer a tip of 15 to 20 percent or more.   

What are the Qualifications?  

Budtenders are the sommeliers of marijuana, the experts who can help customers have the most positive cannabis experiences possible. Having a passion for cannabis in all its forms is necessary, as is being a great communicator and teacher.   

Strong knowledge of cannabis, including all its strains as well as concentrates, edibles, vaping liquids, and topical products, is vital to being an excellent budtender.

Familiarity with the science behind cannabis’ effects is essential to providing excellent service to your customers as a budtender.  

Knowing the conditions that can be helped with marijuana and recommending the right products is vital to giving your cannabis customers the best possible experience while promoting responsible marijuana use.   

Delivery methods for cannabis vary, so a budtender must know about each of them and which would be best for specific clients.   

The best budtenders are also skilled at sharing that expert knowledge with their patients and customers. Budtenders must be personable since they will be an ambassador for the dispensary.  

Excellent customer service skills are needed since a budtender interacts with dispensary customers and helps them have the best experience possible. Friendly service is just as crucial as knowledgeable service.   

Being a good communicator is essential for budtenders, but so is being a good listener. Budtenders must be able to zero in on customers’ wants and needs so they can recommend the best forms of cannabis for them.  

Retail experience is also handy for a budtender to have, as they will likely be operating a cash register, taking inventory, opening the dispensary, or locking up.  

how to work in a dispensary

What are the Responsibilities?  

Budtenders are a dispensary’s managers of customer satisfaction as well as the resident experts on cannabis in all its forms. Keeping up with the latest trends in cannabis is vital to a budtender’s employment, so budtenders may attend trade shows, research products, and learn about different growers and the strains they cultivate.   

Learning about their customers and what they want and need is essential to budtending. Clients’ lifestyle, budget, prior marijuana use, and the experience they’re seeking will figure into a budtender’s recommendations.   

Part of satisfying customers and creating a positive shopping experience is staying knowledgeable on up and coming products.

For example, understanding all the forms of cannabis concentrates that are available and how they each behave differently, like live resin for example vs a distillate.

Budtenders need to keep records of the products their customers use and their results so they can learn what cannabis products work best for each client.   

Customer service and knowledge of cannabis are only part of a budtender’s duties. Budtenders are also responsible for meeting a dispensary’s sales goals and ensuring compliance with marijuana laws in their state.   

Learning new business and customer management software and inventory management software will undoubtedly be a big part of learning a new job

Administrative duties in a dispensary, including inventory management, records keeping, and even social media and advertising, can fall to the budtender as well. Security, including checking customers’ identification and locking up products and the dispensary, is also an essential duty of a budtender.  

How Do You Become A Budtender?  

Becoming a budtender is as easy as being hired by a dispensary. No license, certification, or training is required by law. However, dispensaries wanting to set a standard may expect a certain level of expertise from budtender applicants. 

The first step toward becoming a budtender is learning as much as you can about the cannabis industry, products, and trends. Much of this can be done at no cost, but there are affordable training programs available online.  

As part of your cannabis self-education, talk with working budtenders to learn as much as you can about this new career and how they got their start. Visit dispensaries to discover what you like and what you think could be improved.   

If you are considering a career change to budtending, test the waters by looking for a part-time budtending job. This way, you can learn more about the job and the cannabis industry as well as whether it’s something you’d like to do full-time.   

If you’re interested in budtending but can’t find an opening, consider another dispensary position, even if it is part-time. Working as a cashier or in stocking shelves, for instance, would put you close enough to budtending that you could watch the budtender in action. 

This way, you would have a foot in the dispensary door and would be among the first to hear about a job opening for a budtender.  

budtender training

Is Certification or Licensing Needed?  

As of now, no certification or licensing is required to be a budtender, but with the increase in legalization, certification standards could always come later.   

Having completed cannabis training would only help your prospects for budtender employment, and reputable training programs such as Cannabis Trainers, the Cannabis Training Institute, and Green CultureED are available.   

Training programs range in price from just over $100 to about $300, making them an affordable option.   

If you are interested in getting certification as a budtender, first do your research. Ask budtenders in your area if they are certified and what courses they took.

Ask training organizations about their graduates’ rate of employment as budtenders. This will ensure you get into a reputable program and one that will be likely to help you become a budtender.  

learning about cannabis

Best Ways to Learn About Cannabis  

There is a growing body of cannabis knowledge that has come with the legalization of medical marijuana. That so much information is shared now, for free, on the internet makes it an exciting time to learn more about cannabis and its capabilities. 

In fact, Herb CEO has authored a complete guide purely dedicated to the “how” of learning about cannabis where we cover best-selling books, most active online forums, and even full-fledged training courses via licensed institutions like Trichome Institute and Cannabis Training University to name a few.

You should also learn more in person by talking with budtenders. The best budtenders are happy to share their knowledge of cannabis with others.  

Visit dispensaries in your area to learn about the business operations and also to see the many varieties of cannabis available now. Learning about the cannabinoids and terpenes in each strain and the taste, smell, and effects of different varieties is fascinating, and it will be valuable to you as an aspiring budtender.  

You should also learn about the symptoms and conditions that medical marijuana can help. If you become a budtender, this knowledge will help you assist customers and build a loyal clientele.   

Products such as edibles, vaping liquid, oils, and other topical options are myriad, as are their effects. Some bring higher THC concentrations, the natural compound in cannabis that brings a high, and others are higher in CBD, the active ingredient in cannabis that can bring relief to conditions including anxiety and pain.  

You should also learn about the symptoms and conditions that marijuana can help. If you become a budtender, this knowledge will help you assist customers and build a loyal clientele.  

You’ll need to learn about the different consumption methods and which would be best for your clients. Some may prefer vaping, while others like gummies or other edibles. Transdermal patches may bring relief to other patients.   

Pros of Being a Budtender  

Budtending isn’t for everyone, but for some, being a budtender is a dream job. Here are a few of the perks of budtending:  

  • If your passion is learning more about cannabis, budtending is a way to do what you love every day.  
  • The science behind cannabis is fascinating. 
  • Helping customers overcome symptoms such as pain or anxiety can be fulfilling.  
  • Working in the growing cannabis industry can be exciting and full of possibilities.  

Cons of Being a Budtender  

Budtending does have its downsides, depending on your preferences. Among them are:  

  • Customer service and working with others as part of the dispensary team is a must. If working with people is not something you enjoy, budtending may not be for you.   
  • Budtending isn’t just about the buds. Administrative duties, mundane but necessary for running a dispensary, are part of the job.   
  • Budtenders make about $16 an hour on average, so it is not among the cannabis industry’s higher-paid positions.   

The Skinny on Budtending  

Just as a bartender can direct you to the best IPA or mix a mean Margarita, a budtender is a cannabis expert. The budtender is there to help guide clients through choices in marijuana strains and cannabis products.   

Budtenders listen to their clients before and after making a sale to find the best cannabis products for each individual.   

Learning about the conditions and symptoms that marijuana can help and then seeing your customers get relief from pain or anxiety through your recommendations is a gratifying experience for budtenders.  

The growing cannabis industry is resulting in lots of new jobs, with budtending being one of the more visible ones.  This profession is very gender equal, as seen within cannabis industries as a whole, making it a great opportunity for cannabis queens to flex their herbal knowledge.

Budtending requires specialized knowledge of cannabis, its many strains and products, and the benefits it can bring to customers. As more states legalize medical marijuana, the need for skilled budtenders will rise

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