Hey, budtender! (Or prospective bud slinger, enthusiastic consumer or my mom reading this just to be nice). Let me set the stage. Imagine yourself in a situation where your education and expertise blended together in perfect sync and helped you match a guest in your shop with a flower that meets their exact needs, fits their budget, and you’re excited for them to enjoy. What is the one thing that can ruin that interaction and send the consumer out the door with a 30% THC Sativa for a chill night in?

The answer: “Let me see the numbers… oh nothing lower than 25%.”

What follows this statement is usually a classy quip about the tolerance of the user or the length of time they’ve been consuming. And no disrespect, before I entered this industry, I too would have been excited to get the most potent product available. But the topic I want to touch on today is a bold statement here in Eastern Washington. Here it goes. In my opinion, a higher THC percentage does not equal a more intense buzz! There, I said it.

Changing the Perception

You wouldn’t go to a bar and ask for a tall glass of Everclear or Bacardi 151 because it is the strongest alcohol, nor would you enter a coffee house and ask for a pint of straight espresso. So why would we do the same thing with cannabis?

I enjoy a more complex and tailored experience with moderate THC percentages in both concentrates and flower, and I think there is much more at play here than simply the percentages of the main cannabinoids. Interactions between terpene combinations coupled with varying ratios of CBD/THC combined with the absolute wildcard of your unique biochemistry mean that if two people smoking the same joint, they could have completely separate experiences.

What’s a Budtender To Do?

So, what’s the move here? Do we skirt around honesty with politeness and play along with the numbers game under the guise of non-confrontational customer service? Not this gal! I believe an educated shopper will be a happier one in the long run and keep coming back to the gentle educators that empowered them with shared knowledge. So I urge each and every one of us to spread our knowledge and to help clue customers into the fact that cannabis is so much more complicated than THC percentages might make it seem.

We are spoiled in these legal states, y’all. It is a privilege to be able to build our personal preferences by shopping around and getting to know our local farmers and fellow cannabis workers. But when the supply and demand chain is focused on these high numbers exclusively, growers who should be out there chasing strains that call to them are instead looking for whatever can bring those numbers. Let’s free up the cannabis cultivation community to grow the best herb they can and guide ourselves away from seeking higher percentages.

For all of our sanity, if nothing else.