If you’ve ever visited a dispensary, then it’s very likely you’ve interacted with a budtender; however, many individuals do not take full advantage of the knowledge this individual can provide.
Read on to find out more about how your budtender can help you find the best cannabis products for you and what questions you need to ask. This guide is designed with newbie cannabis users in mind, to help get you up to speed and make you feel more confident when visiting a dispensary.
What is a Budtenders Job?
When you visit a dispensary, you’ll likely work with a budtender, or one of their employees.
A budtender is considered an expert on the products that the dispensary sells, and they may also possess advanced knowledge about which products work best for specific client needs. They are your guides through the dazzling albeit sometimes confusing world of legal cannabis and cannabis extracts.
If you’re interested in coming a budtender yourself, we have a great guide on what is required to get a job at a dispensary worth checking out.
Many patients will prefer to see the same budtender each time they visit, but this is not always possible. Regardless of which budtender assists you at a dispensary, you should be able to have a conversation about the type of products you’re looking for, the effects you desire, and which products fit best with your consumption preferences.
Budtenders will go through many different options with you to determine what products interest you the most.
The gambit is very broad and that means these are some very interesting people to get to know.
Budtenders also appreciate it when you ask them specific questions about the type of high other products provide, the strength of various products, and how to mix and match products to meet all of your needs.
What to Ask Your Budtender
Whether it’s your first time visiting a dispensary or you’ve been many times before, knowing what questions to ask can help you efficiently get what you need and feel confident that you’ve made the right choice.
Most budtenders like it when clients ask questions because they’d rather do their job and explain things to you vs standing their silently waiting for your indecisive self to randomly choose something.
Most importantly, the person working at the dispensary should not be viewed as someone who is judging your knowledge on weed (or lack there of) but more as a wise wizard who is happy and ready to introduce you and guide you through the wonderful world of cannabis, edibles, extracts, tinctures, and everything in between!
So don’t be afraid to ask any question, even if you think it is a “dumb” question. Unfortunately, due to years of negative and unfair stigmatization the deep and rich universe of marijuana has been kept largely out of public eye.
For these reasons, it’s important to understand that MOST people lack a fundamentally accurate understanding of what cannabis is, that they even have a cannabinoid system in their body, and what different strains and products will do.
So, whether it’s trying to remember exactly how many grams are in a “dimebag” or just asking the difference between indica and sativa-dominant strains, don’t fret judgement from the budtenders, they are there to help make your journey deeper into the fragrant forest of cannabis pleasurable and fulfilling.
Before you head on into your local dispensary (always support local businesses when possible!) you can check out our marijuana acronym glossary to get caught up with some of the more commonly used verbiage.
Specials and Deals
Most budtenders will be upfront about what product is currently the best value and the various deals or sales that the dispensary has going at the time. If these products are in line with what you usually buy, or if you’re looking to try something new, this can be an excellent opportunity.
Dispensaries often run various deals that rotate based on the day of the week, and you’ll also find that many of them offer discounts on most of their products at some point throughout the month.
Some dispensaries post these sales or specials on their websites, but you likely won’t see all the specials unless you visit the physical location.
Also, many dispensaries will offer local discounts as well. For example, some dispensaries give discounts if you show your public transportation pass. Others give discounts if you use re-usable weed containers like the Re:Stash jar.
Most dispensaries will also have some kind of discount for the bottom of a jar. This loose leaf material, also referred to as “shake” is often sold at a steep discount because it’s not as pretty as whole nugs and is usually a little bit drier (having been separated early on from it’s moist mother nug).
*End-of-jar aka “shake discounts” are great ways to score top shelf strain genetics at bottom shelf prices and, despite being a bit dryer, you get the bonus of extra heavy duty trichome concentrations since these often rub off due to friction against other nugs in the jar, making shake a hell of a bargain if you’re looking to get high for cheap.
Freshness & Newness
There are always new and crazy strains being dropped by cultivars around the world, new seeds, new growing techniques, all culminating in an ever-changing, ever-advancing cannabis industry.
Asking your budtender what’s “new and hot” is a legitimate question, especially if you’ve smoked your way through most of the OG strains are are looking for some herbal excitement.
Asking the budtender or dispensary staff the harvest date of the bud you are considering purchasing is also a good idea to ensure that it is at peak freshness and has not degraded at any point between harvest and retail.
Evaluating bud quality is similar to buying produce at a farmers market.
It is not insulting to ask questions about buds. You can think of the interaction similar to that of a farmers market, where it is encouraged to build a relationship with the growers/sellers and always be seeking the freshest, most high quality product.
Unless you just love shake, in which case, more power to you!
Many users will have a preference when it comes to consuming their cannabis. For some users, how discreet their consumption method is isn’t essential, but it may be a top priority for others.
Budtenders can show you a variety of options for consuming your medical or recreational cannabis, including:
- Loose flower
- Pre-rolled joints
- Oils, hash, and concentrates
Loose flower is the most common product you’ll find at a dispensary, and you can choose to ingest it in multiple ways, which makes it the most versatile option. You can discuss your consumption options with your budtender and how long each product’s effects will last.
Edibles also come in many forms, from chocolate to gummies and even more innovative products such as juices, baked goods, and assorted candies.
Some of these products may get manufactured near you, which can help ensure they are fresh. You can also discuss how to correctly choose a dose for each type of edible, when to take it (empty stomach vs full stomach) and what you can expect at various THC-per-milligram ratios.
Accurately describing to your budtender how you like to consumer your weed will help them make more tailored purchasing suggestions.
For example, if you primarily vaporize your cannabis via a device like the popular PAX handheld vape then fresher, more moist buds will be more appealing as they create a richer, more flavorful vapor.
If you’re rolling fatties in a slow burning wrapper then moisture content becomes less important and if you’re ripping huge water bongs then bobs your uncle.
Medical or Recreational?
Cannabis comes in many strains and strengths, so you may want to discuss your specific requirements with your budtender. Budtenders work with a wide variety of customer needs and preferences each day. They’re an excellent resource for finding a strong enough product for you or a particular strain that provides a specific effect.
Some medical users will require cannabis with a much higher percentage of THC than a recreational user. If you’re a new recreational or medical user, your budtender can offer valuable advice on what THC level might be best and other factors like consumption and dosing.
If you are living in a state with slim recreational (or non-existing) pickings but has a medical marijuana program then check out this guide to obtaining your medical marijuana license card, which more often than not these days, can be done entirely online.
Not all users will prefer to smoke their cannabis. Whether you use it recreationally or for medical conditions, your budtender can answer questions about the effects of different strains and THC levels. He or she can help you decide how much product you need to purchase to last a set amount of time.
These days, many of the top notch cultivars pump out equally potent recreational cannabis to medical cannabis, so if you’re lucky enough to live in a state like Oregon, Colorado, or California the distinction may be less drastic to you as a consumer.
Psychoactive Effects and Duration
Many new users are often hesitant to ask about the “high” associated with different cannabis products. Still, your budtender is the perfect person to assist you with this aspect of cannabis consumption.
Keep in mind that budtenders often possess detailed knowledge of different strains, how they will likely make you feel, and how long different products are likely to last in your system.
There’s no need to be embarrassed to discuss these aspects of cannabis consumption. It’s a natural part of using this plant and a topic your budtender discusses with clients practically all day during work.
It’s no secret that cannabis changes your physical and mental state, but it’s essential to discuss with your budtender what type of psychoactive experience you’re looking for. This way, they can suggest products that will most closely match your description.
Your budtender can also help recommend dosing while considering your tolerance, so you have a more comfortable experience. Effects can range from uplifting and cerebral to highly relaxing, and some with higher levels of CBD may not make you feel intoxicated at all.
While the sativa vs indica debate is a bit overblown as there are no pure indica or sativa strains for sale commercially today (they are all hybridized to some degree)
Discussing this aspect of cannabis with your budtender can help prevent unpleasant surprises and allow you to make the most out of the products that you buy.
Making the Most of Your Time
When heading to the dispensary, it’s good to know what you’re looking for and an approximate budget. Your budtender will likely ask you questions and let you know what the specials are that day. Be upfront about asking questions or voicing your concerns during your time together.
If you know what you’re looking for, this can expedite the process, narrowing down potential recommendations.
For example, you may be looking for an Indica strain and prefer loose flowers. Your budtender can focus on those products instead of showing you a more comprehensive review of all the products available, making you a preferable customer!
Herb CEO Final Thoughts
The budtender at the dispensary will be your best resource for information, and you should ask any relevant questions that come to mind. These individuals can efficiently help you determine the best type of cannabis for your needs, help with dosing in relation to your tolerance, and even assist with finding more discreet consumption methods.
Don’t be afraid to be open and honest when asking and answering questions. The more transparent the communication the more likely it is that you are going to walk out of that dispensary with a product that will make you happy.
Treat people how you’d like to be treated and you’ll have a fantastic time regardless of what state or country you are weed shopping in.