Ask the Budtender: Commonly Asked Questions About Cannabis

As they say, there's a first time for everything, including your first visit to a dispensary. Knowing what to expect can make the experience positive and beneficial for you, as a newbie. The cannabis industry continues to grow and expand and there is a long list of potential benefits from using products made from the cannabis plant, both mental and physical.

Being a first-timer in a cannabis retail store can be a bit overwhelming, so going in with at least rudimentary knowledge will help. This cannabis for beginners guide will help you get prepared for your visit, as well as go through some questions you should ask your budtender. Let's get to it. 

What is a Budtender?

Before we go any further, let's clarify what a budtender is and what they do. Simply put, this is the person who will serve you when you visit a dispensary and start your cannabis journey. They are there to help you find the strain, concentration, product, etc. that you want and need. With such a huge assortment of cannabis products out there, it is helpful to have someone with relevant knowledge to point you in the right direction.  

The budtender job description is varied and each day brings a set of tasks, which include answering your questions about using marijuana, guiding you to the product best suited to you as a beginner and sharing general knowledge about the culture. Finding knowledgeable budtenders will be one of the best things you can do as you learn how to use cannabis and make informed choices about how, when and what products to use. 

Your First Trip to a Marijuana Dispensary

Now that you know who to seek out for help when you arrive, let's talk about what your first experience might be like.

Being in the right frame of mind is the first and best thing you can do for yourself as a beginner. That means letting go of the stigma that's long been associated with buying cannabis. If you live in a state that has legalized marijuana, it's well within your rights to visit a dispensary and make a purchase. You can be assured that what you're doing is legal in much the same way that visiting a liquor store is legal. 

You should have a marijuana goal in mind when you visit a dispensary, even if it is only to further your cannabis education. If it's your first time, you might not know exactly what you want, whether you are going to choose the smokable version, tinctures, edibles, transdermal patches or any of the other huge array of consumption methods and products you'll find at a good dispensary.

While you might not know the precise product, strain or concentration that you want or need, having a goal in mind can help your budtender guide you toward the right product. That might be purely for recreational use, but it could be for pain management, to ease anxiety and stress, to lull you to sleep or to control the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, among many other health issues. 

It's also a good idea to have a clear understanding of the rules and regulations surrounding the use and purchase of cannabis in the state where you live. At the federal level, it's not legalized, but many states have legalized marijuana and laws that go with it may vary from place to place.

In general, the laws are very similar to alcohol - you can't have an open container of marijuana in your vehicle, you cannot be publicly high, you can't use in public and you must meet the age restrictions to enter a dispensary and make a purchase. In most cases, this is 21 for recreational use and 18 if you have a medical marijuana card. Cannabis cannot be taken across state lines, either on land or in the air. Double and triple check the regulations so that you know how to legally use marijuana where you live. 

You must also have your ID to begin your cannabis journey as a first-time visitor to a licensed dispensary. Any valid dispensary will not let you enter until you've had your ID checked. But don't put it away because your budtender will also check your ID before assisting you with a purchase. The best ID to bring along is your state-issued driver's license. Alternatives can be a passport, military ID or Native American tribe card. 

You might be surprised that you should arrive at the cannabis dispensary with cash in hand. Most do not accept credit or debit cards as payment. This is because credit cards are federally mandated and cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. Many dispensaries have an ATM on site but may charge higher rates than your bank's ATM. You can expect to spend anywhere from $30 to $150 on your first visit, depending on what and how much you buy.

When you arrive at the dispensary, your ID will be checked at the door, then you'll be escorted from the waiting room into the dispensary itself, where you can choose your products and pay. You'll have to show your ID again before you pay. You may encounter a line, especially at reputable dispensaries that have awesome budtenders. You will appreciate this when it's your turn and you get the one-on-one attention during a cannabis consultation you need as a cannabis beginner. Don't forget to tip your budtender when you finish your purchase. 

Beginners should also arrive at the dispensary with questions for their budtender. That's also true for seasoned users, and listed below are some common questions that you should know the answer to before you make a purchase. 

Questions to Ask Your Budtender

If you're stepping foot into a dispensary for the first time, chances are you're overwhelmed with the sheer number and type of products on display. There's probably a full range of cannabis edibles, hybrid strains, sativa strains, tinctures, concentrates and a whole store full of other amazing cannabis plant products. Chances are you're going to have loads of questions. The following are a good set of queries to get you started.

What Do You Recommend?

Whether you're interested in a certain cannabis experience, or you want to treat a health condition, you should not be afraid to ask for your budtender's recommendation. They likely have extensive knowledge about which strains are best for which experiences and can guide you to a choice you'll be happy with.

Whether you're looking for a recreational high or you want to get better sleep at night, your budtender will be familiar with many of the products in the store and can tell you which ones will work best for your wants and needs. This is also a question that a seasoned user can ask when they want to expand their experience..

How Much Do I Need?

This is a great question for first-time cannabis users, but it's also relevant for seasoned or experienced users if using products with different strengths, changing product or trying something new.

Too much can give you a bad experience, no matter if it's your first time or your hundredth time. Too little and you won't receive the effects/benefits you want.

The amount you need will depend on the type of cannabis product you are buying and what your goal is. It's always a good idea to start slow and gradually increase your dose until you find your sweet spot. 

What If I'm a Newbie?

You should always let your budtender know if it's your first time. Dispensaries are for everyone and knowing that you're a beginner will help them work through the products that might be right for you. Pay attention so that you can gain valuable insight into what you might want to purchase this time and going forward. 

Do You Have Anything Similar to ________?

If you've sampled a cannabis product in the past and liked the effects, you can certainly ask for something similar. If you've never tried cannabis before, take note of what you choose so that if you like it, you can ask for it again. This question isn't restricted to newbies. No matter how experienced you are, if you like a specific strain, edible or method of consumption, don't be afraid to ask for something like it.

What Products Excite You?

Many budtenders are also cannabis users, so you can get a lot of great information by asking what products they are excited about. This allows them to showcase new products or items that are new and trending. It also allows for sharing personal experiences, which is a great way to find a product to get started with. It's a good way for seasoned users to find something new to try. Either way, trying a recommendation from your budtender is likely to create a positive experience. 

How Do I Use It?

Knowing how to use the product you ultimately choose is very important. A beginner might think that smoking a joint or hitting a bong are the only options but there are lots of methods of consumption, giving you options that don't require smoking. You can use cannabis via edibles, tinctures, topical creams, vapes and tea. No matter which one you choose, ask your budtender the best way to use it to get the most out of the experience. 

What's a Product That Fits My Budget?

You should always have a budget in mind when you visit a dispensary. That way you can get a product that works for you without spending more than you want to. If you have a certain amount in mind, ask your budtender to show you products in your price range. You can also ask about deals, sales and discounts, which can save you cash and let you try precisely what you want. 

What's Best for a Group Session?

If you're a beginner, maybe you don't want to use your cannabis alone and would rather share the experience with others. If that's the case, you can ask your budtender about products that make a good choice for groups.

Flowers or concentrates tend to be the best choice in this situation, but personal preference and the people you plan to share with also play a role. Don't be afraid to ask this question, even if you have used cannabis before. There's always something new to learn. 

Has the Product Been Tested?

Safety is of utmost importance anytime you try something new, marijuana or otherwise. It's smart to ask about the testing the product has been subject to. Some brands don't do third-party testing on their products, though most dispensaries do. This question will help you find a high-quality product that suits your body chemistry and delivers the levels of effects you want. 

What are the Most Popular Strains?

Strains come and go, so you're always going to find something new at a dispensary. In general, sativa-dominant strains are considered energizing strains, while indica strains are a good choice for relaxation and stress relief. It doesn't stop there because there are multitudes of other strains to choose from. Asking which strains are the most popular helps ensure that you're getting a product that others love. 

In Summary

Now that you know what to expect when you visit a dispensary for the first time, you are ready to take the first step in your marijuana journey. At DC Collective, you will meet expert budtenders and knowledgeable members of the cannabis community so be ready to take their knowledge and expertise and apply it to your choices. And no matter how many times you visit, don't be afraid to ask questions. Your budtender is there to help you have the best cannabis experience possible, each and every time. 

January 12, 2024

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