Bud Tender's Corner: Strain Knowledge

Bud Tender Danie Hartman at Grower's Outlet

Bud Tender Danie Hartman at Grower's Outlet

     As a “Bud Tender” in a marijuana retail store or a dispensary, I believe it is important to have as much knowledge as possible about the products that you are selling.  A little extra time and effort in researching the plethora of strains will manifest itself in increasing the consumers’ trust, thereby increasing sales through recidivism and “word of mouth” advertising.
     I personally commit quite a bit of time researching the items that we sell in our shop.  We receive a variety of new products every week and our research helps us determine if they will be a good fit for our customer base. There is quite a bit to take into consideration and it can be a little tricky to determine what will sell.
     When we are offered a new strain, it is important for us to acquire its genetic background from the contributing company.  I then check to make sure that the product provided is consistent with the characteristics the strain is commonly known for, such as its general appearance, the flavor, and of course, the “high” effects. This step is imperative to helping us decide whether we want to offer the product to our customers.
     Once I receive the final invoice on the product I roll up my sleeves and get ready for more research. It is extremely important that, as a bud tender, I am well-informed and knowledgeable so that I may pass the information on to my customers, again instilling trust and confidence in the consumer. But I digress ….
     Most of the time, my customers request a type of “high” rather than a specific strain and they expect me to know what strains to offer to fulfill their desires. As a retail bud tender my job is to focus on and provide information on the recreational effects of the strains, with little emphasis on the medical benefits.  I personally like to read all of the information on the strain including the medical data, just in case I am asked a specific question about it. I am not certified to provide medical advice, but it doesn’t hurt to have as much information as possible on the product. In order to do this, I first go online and glean as much information on the specific strain as I can possibly find, for example: history, color, flavor, negative and positive effects, etc.   I start by identifying it as Sativa, hybrid or a CBD strain. In most cases this is fairly easy to figure out.
     I make a display tag for each new strain that we receive,  color-coding it for effects. Green is for Hybrid, red is for Sativa and blue is for Indica.  This way my customers can see their choices and pick the ones that sound good to them. With the added benefit of my personal research I can be there to answer many questions that they have.
     Now, you may ask yourself how online research could be better than your own personal experience with the product? The simple answer is that the product will affect each individual differently. For example: I try a Jack Herer and absolutely love it. It has awesome, uplifting effects for me. The high lasts a good while and the flavor suits my palate.  I then recommend that strain based on my own personal experience. My customer purchases it with high expectations (pardon the pun) and it falls flat.  I now have an unhappy customer who is less likely to trust my judgement and may go elsewhere.  There can be many negative repercussions if our recommendations are only based on our personal experiences.
     I like to base my recommendations on information that I have gathered from multiple reliable sources, with perhaps just a little personal opinion thrown in for good measure. It is always important to reinforce to the consumer that all experiences are extremely personal and there is no guarantee on how an individual will react to a specific strain.  There are countless strains and a seemingly endless supply of information on each one. In order to avoid being overwhelmed, I study them as I order or receive them in our shop. I listen to my customers, my suppliers, the growers and the science. I learn from every aspect of this fascinating industry and I know that there is always more to learn. I have learned that it is especially important to merge information with experience and to cultivate an environment of trust in order to propagate positive experiences in this budding industry.