Dispensary Technician- The new and improved budtenders

As dispensaries are striving for a more professional appearance, there are increasingly more ‘budtenders’ being called “dispensary technicians.” The name change is part of the industry becoming more mature and each part of how customers experience cannabis is evolving.


As with most things cannabis, the landscape for dispensary technicians is constantly changing, as comprehensive training and education is becoming increasingly more common.


It’s become clear that nearly 50% of consumers of cannabis use it for purposes of therapeutic benefits. Whether the reason is to alleviate a sleep disorder or sever pain, consumers in adult use markets still seek relief.


As a result, the point of sale position has had to provide increasingly accurate scientific evidence that is also compliant with state and federal laws.


Describing Cannabis to Customers and Patients


When the industry opened many logistical elements were considered but not fully developed. The budtender position was one that was seen more as curating a consumer experience. We did not realize just how much of the demand was for medical reasons.


Budtenders generally got very good at describing smell and taste qualities. The effects were described by their intensity and character. Strains were generally associated with being “sleepers” or “clear”, and regular lab testing also gave the industry information to better align characteristics with actual cannabinoid profiles and percentages. As the information proliferate inconsistencies are becoming apparent in our current language.


The Challenge: Variance in Experience


It is difficult to make consistent and accurate portraits of strength and experience due to a number of possible reasons. The most readily available logic suggests that entourage effect compounded by differences in everyone’s endo-cannabinoid systems is the likely cause.


Essentially, there exists the likely possibility that every individual has different response rates to different cannabinoids. This would mean that even the THC% might be experienced differently based on specific profiles and other factors. The fact is that we don’t know because the clinical studies have not happened yet in the US.


This creates a certain amount of liability for dispensaries, especially for inexperienced consumers of cannabis. As dispensaries sought a way to craft language in a way that was accurate and appealing to users of cannabis, training programs are now aggressively being developed to provide just that. Some dispensaries provide their own training, while others are branded curricula that cater to specific jurisdictions. All seek to make the experience better for patients.


Training Programs – Answering the Call


Trainings and programs first and second responsibility is to prepare the customer for a safe, enjoyable experience and to provide the dispensary liability protections. Understanding how establishments and employees can communicate to patients and customers is a critical part of operations.


Providing accurate descriptions and to appropriately set expectations of customers is another critical role. Cannabis science is a rapidly growing field. Study results are regularly being published worldwide that are constantly informing the scientific community of the scope of benefits. In that arena, Israelis far and away the leader.


As science builds our understanding of the medicinal value and potential negative impacts of all the different delivery methods, that body of information will need to be disseminated to consumers to make the best decisions in how to consume cannabis.


More Than A Name Change: Informing the Public


Dispensary technicians are increasingly becoming the bridge between the scientific community and the general public as the point of sale for all things cannabis. This is creating a responsibility for that position to be able to make informed suggestion, while staying in compliance with the law.


By Ryan Duffy

Ryan Duffy is a freelance writer. You can contact him on LinkedIn.