Are You Too Private to be a Budtender?

For many people the idea of working in the marijuana industry conjures up images of beautiful buds, elaborate apparatus and clouds of smoke, or taking to your kitchen with you brand new cannabinoid chemistry set. Fun scenarios to be sure, but the truth is a large number of cannabis jobs are public service jobs–reception, cashier, budtender.

Being a budtender is essentially being an expert in ganja, but more importantly, budtending requires being an expert in customer service as well. It involves listening to patients and learning to address your recommendations to their specific symptoms and stories, being their cashier and confessor combined. As a budtender, you may want to ask yourself if you are prepared to spend your average work day dealing w a series of intimate, often intense exchanges, tales of medical misery and criminal injustice. Many of these patients will become repeat consumers and soon expect to develop relationship with you based on how you acted when simply selling them their medication. Some people are not ready to share so closely with customers. Some of the stories you will hear will never leave you.

Here are some handy tips to help you adjust to intense experience of helping mmj patients with medication:
1) It’s not about you and that makes it easier. So often we’re trying to prove our expertise and confidence and end up pushing way too hard. When talking with patients, just listen instead. Let them lead the conversation and talk their way into their own decisions. When they come up with their own conclusions, they’ll be amazed at how insightful you were.

2) Know your strains. The whole reason your patient has come to your store is to find the type of medication that will most help their specific conditions and situation. With more than 1400 recognized strains and at least that many medical conditions your patients are coming to your store seeking expertise. Learn the cannabinoid profiles in your stores main strains and carry on your research whenever possible. A solid answer to a patient’s questions about strain characteristics and dosage can make a big difference in the patient’s comfort level when choosing a type of medication.

3) Remember their stories. Many of your customers will ultimately become repeat customers and it will become important to respect their individual personalities and recall their stories when they return whether it is once a week or even every couple of months. Patients come in all sorts of varieties and with a wealth of stories. Try to remember individual faces and stories. It will make the experience much richer for both your customer and for you.

4) Leave it at the door. But, in all cases you must remain professional in your relationships with your patients and keep your personal and professional life separate. As compelling as some of the stories will be, you will be a better budtender for all your patients if you can avoid entangling yourself with some.

Remember, in the end, budtending is a job and a way to help dozens or even hundreds of people a week. If you can remember it is a job, you will do your best.