You never know what you’re going to face when you walk onto the sales floor of your shop or dispensary, but to help me prepare for my day, there are a few guiding principles that I use when I put my budtending hat on. Here are what I believe to be the best budtender practices out there. As with any sales job, knowledge, and customer service are key.

male budtender places cannabis flower into jars

However, this job should never be reduced to just a simple sales or retail job. I take it very seriously that we are finally able to offer people who have been suffering for years a new natural option. I was an official patient on the first day possible and employed as a budtender within five months. Naturally, as a patient, I became obsessed with education and learning about cannabinoids, terpenes, the endocannabinoid system and what would work for me.

Eventually, I started a binder, in which I would re-stick my medicine labels onto a page, make minimal but important notes, nothing too crazy. I quickly learned what worked for certain things. It also helped tremendously in being able to identify similar products should something not be available. It then also became an encyclopedia of all things medical cannabis. Plus, my co-workers loved it. Here are a few of my hard-won tips on being the best budtender you can be in this quickly expanding industry.

binder full of cannabis information

Make a Point to Learn

Product knowledge and respect it! Yes, we all have those patients who just say, “Give me the highest in THC you have.” Though I’ve already had some luck in beginning to educate these patients with asks like this, that request will always exist. However, I always try to go the extra mile and shine a little light on what other compounds in cannabis might be able to help them. Point being, don’t treat what your selling like you’re selling it on the street. My rule of thumb is if they’re willing to listen, I’m going to teach them something.

Ask Questions

Approach the patient and start a conversation relate to them, empathize. Ask them the ailments they’re treating; what method of consumption they prefer, what have they tried in the past? Then find out what worked and what didn’t. Build a relationship. I learned more about some patients in 30mins than people I’ve known for years!

Recently I was listening to a podcast, and they dropped this gem to keep in mind, “Sometimes there is just that situation where a person or people will return to a certain place mostly because of a great customer service experience. They can form an actual friendship.” I have felt this with patients, and I’ve also been told by people they’ve come in just for my joyful advice. (Haha. I may be blushing.) But how unbelievably cool and humbling is that?

Be Passionate

With knowledge and compassion, enthusiasm can turn a simple boring transaction into an experience. Be knowledgeable of the entire industry in your area; educate yourself with special events and classes. Familiarize yourself with the background of cannabis to create a unique interaction. A good budtender has passion and is industry savvy.

Be Knowledgable About All Levels of Patient

Sure, I was great with those who had the same simple ailments, but when I first started, I remember being caught off guard by my first elderly patient. They’d never even used THC before! That night I went home and began studying. I learned all I could about everything because when administered properly the results we’re seeing are quite amazing.

To make a long story short, educate yourself, educate your patients and thrive.