Coffee shops have baristas. Bars have bartenders. And marijuana dispensaries have “budtenders.”
For some seasoned dispensary-goers, a budtender is simply a middleman — but for the inexperienced, budtenders are a modern-day Sherpa, here to guide the newbie through the illustrious world of strains, vaporizers, edibles and more.
“My favorite part of the job is introducing people to cannabis for the first time. It amazes people to see inside of a dispensary and to explore their options of cannabis consumption,” says Amy Rutledge, manager and budtender at Golden Leaf Dispensary. “Finding what people like or showing them the various options makes the job fun as we have a wide spectrum of different products, from psycho-active to non-psychoactive.”
“Showing people that cannabis doesn’t need to be scary puts a smile on my face.”
Opening for medical use in 2009 and for recreational in 2014, Golden Leaf is on the west end of town and carries up to 20 strains and a wide variety of edible, topical and other products. Some of its most popular strains include Road Dawg (Indica), White Urkel (Indica), Jenny (Hybrid), and White Fire (Sativa). “White Urkel is my personal favorite,” she says. “It gives you the best body high, but beware of the munchies.”
“I strive to make people feel comfortable and safe when buying cannabis,” Rutledge says. “It can be intimidating to purchase a legal marijuana product if you never have before so I enjoy letting people know that an experienced budtender can make all the difference. Showing people that cannabis doesn’t need to be scary puts a smile on my face.”
The most common question she hears is, “How high is this going to get me?” This can be tricky to answer, she says, as people often experience cannabis differently.
“The THC content is one factor, whether it’s the milligrams of THC in an edible or the percentage reading from the flower,” she says, adding pre-rolls are a great option for the convenience. “The more THC the higher it will get you.”
Another factor, she adds, is what you’ve eaten that day, including fatty acids and terpenes.
For non-smokers, she recommends the 1906 Bliss Cups, a low-dose edible with THC and CBD, and their infused peanut butter cups. “I recommend low doses for beginners starting at no more than 10 milligrams of THC,” she says, adding they also carry such topicals as body butter, muscle salve, lip balms, bath bombs and more that have little to no psycho-active effect.