Cannabis shops and dispensaries can be intimidating if you don’t know where to start your cannabis journey. But, budtenders, the friendly and knowledgeable staff at your neighborhood cannabis shop, are there to point you in the right direction.
According to a study from Vivintel, there are over 6 million Canadians who use cannabis recreationally or for medicinal purposes. Vivintel estimates that 1 in 10 current users tried cannabis for the first time after legalization. Many studies suggest that number will grow with the easing of regulations on edibles and other infused products.
Before buying, it’s important to learn about strains, strength, and methods. Many individuals experience different effects from the same products and so, it’s important to do your research, ask your budtender questions, and go slow with consumption.
Before you step foot in your first dispensary, here are a few questions to consider asking your budtender to ensure that you have a great experience.
Will this make me fall asleep or keep me awake?
There is a wide spectrum of strains available in Canada, some will help you relax, but others may be more stimulating. If you are like 74 percent of Canadian users who want to use cannabis to relax and unwind, ask the budtender to show you an Indica-dominant strain. Indicas are better suited for relaxation. If energy is what you want, ask for a Sativa-dominant strain, these strains tend to deliver more uplifting, cerebral and euphoric effects.
What works better?
This is kind of a loaded question. There isn’t a straightforward answer because “what works best” differs from person-to-person. Your budtender might ask you follow-up questions like:
- What is your intended purpose?
- Do you want to feel the effects right away?
- Are you comfortable with smoking?
Once your budtender understands what you are looking for, they can provide more targeted recommendations.
What do these THC/CBD percentages mean?
The percentages on the container represent the amount of THC and/or CBD found in that specific cannabis product (either per pre-roll or per the total weight of the dried flower). When reading a product label, you may see two percentages: one for THC/CBD and one for “Total THC” or “Total CBD.” Total percentages refer to the level of active cannabinoid prepared for consumption meaning that, specifically in flower product, the amount of THC or CBD may increase when exposed to heat. Your budtender should be able to walk you through each product label and explain the differences in cannabinoid quantity and effects.
Have you tried this?
Many budtenders use cannabis themselves and can give you a first-hand review of the products you’re interested in. They also serve as experience collectors and can provide anecdotes from other consumers and guests of the store.
How do I avoid getting paranoid?
Being paranoid seems to be one thing that everyone new to cannabis gets paranoid about. Sometimes paranoia can be a result of consuming too much THC. If you are concerned, talk to your budtender about starting with a lower-potency product. If you aren’t sure what your tolerance level is and you would like more information, read How Much is Too Much? The INDIVA Guide to Cannabis Tolerance.
Now that you’re ready to go have your first budtender conversation, find a cannabis dispensary near you.