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  • Writer's pictureShari Berman

Asking the budtenders at the dispensary for advice? Think again.

More states are legalizing cannabis providing access through medical and recreational dispensaries. The market is growing so quickly, yet the medical establishment is moving at a snail's pace. Most physicians take a "hands-off" approach leaving people on their own to figure out how to use it effectively and safely. As a result, a consumer enters a dispensary and is often overwhelmed by the number and variety of products and unsure of what to buy and how to dose.

"But wait! Can't I just ask the person at the dispensary filling my order what to do?"

I hear this often when people are considering CBD and other cannabis products.

Let me be clear on this. Budtenders, greeting you at the counter are sales clerks with little or no scientific training in the therapeutic use of cannabis.

Budtenders are typically cannabis enthusiasts who use it themselves but that does not make them experts. Often budtenders are trained by brand managers marketing products to the dispensary. They are often incented to push inventory. Budtenders come from other retail settings including department stores, coffee shops and fast food restaurants and are paid minimum wage. Though budtenders are not supposed to give medical advice, they often assume the role to help the customer. Bottom line: Budtenders are not medical professionals or scientists and are not educated in plant medicine.

Cannabis is not a one size fits all therapy but rather individualized. We all have different body chemistries and medical histories. What works for a budtender, who also may be a recreational user, may not work for you. Also, budtenders cannot discuss potential drug interactions or side effects when using cannabis. Most importantly, they could be setting unrealistic expectations or suggesting products that could cause a less-than-ideal experience. Consuming too much THC may result in a very uncomfortable experience that most people are trying to avoid.

Working with a reputable cannabis educator such as Canna Healing Consulting is the best way to proceed especially if you have never used cannabis and are an older adult with multiple health conditions and medications. Starting with general knowledge of products, delivery methods and dosing will help ensure a better and less costly experience.

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