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The Budtender’s Guide: A Reference Manual for Dispensary Professionals and Cannabis Consumers

Extraction Magazine, Media Partners

This post is presented by our media partner Extraction Magazine
View the original article here.

The Budtender’s Guide: A Reference Manual for Dispensary Professionals and Cannabis Consumers, is the ultimate and most comprehensive reference book available to consult if you want to improve your knowledge of the modern cannabis industry and legalization movement. 

Published by Oaksterdam University (OU), it is a quick and easy source for budtenders, who navigate the wide range of products found in dispensaries.  

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It was written by Oaksterdam faculty, contributors, and advocates with extensive experience in the cannabis world. Founded in 2007, in Oakland, CA, Oaksterdam offers superior and cutting-edge training for the industry by esteemed experts in business, science, medicine, law, and horticulture. OU has been on the forefront of the legalization movement since it was established, and prevails in creating a regulated and safe cannabis industry through education, awareness and inclusion. Oaksterdam also is the authority that provides technical assistance and social equity programs to regulators and governments across the country.

The Budtender’s Guide, available in the Amazon store in both digital and print formats, is the school’s first textbook, and the first of its kind. The 230-page training manual covers everything from cannabis history and policy to products, dosing and effects. 

It includes a complete description of a budtender’s job and covers the basics of customer service, safety, and compliance. It also details the plant’s effects on the human body, with a section exclusively dedicated to the effects of cannabinoids, the functioning of the endocannabinoid system, and possible side effects. 

The book addresses and highlights various products available to consumers, from topicals and edibles to tinctures, hash, extracts, vaporizers, and flowers. It explains the differences between these products, methods of ingestion, and dosage. It even touches on extraction methods, plant biology, and horticulture.

The information is supplemented with charts, recommended reading, and interviews with budtenders across the country.  

A prepared and informed budtender is crucial to educate the public on the enormous therapeutic potential of this valuable plant, as well as shorten the path to decriminalization.

One of the main hurdles budtenders must overcome is how to inform consumers about the medicinal benefits of cannabis without giving medical advice. The book helps budtenders guide customers to read labels, understand cannabinoids and find the latest peer-reviewed research in order to make their own informed decisions. 

Behind the Scenes — The Interview with Dale Sky Jones, Oaksterdam University Executive Chancellor

We’ve had an opportunity to talk to Oaksterdam University Executive Chancellor Dale Sky Jones about The Budtender’s Guide:

Why did you decide to publish “The Budtender’s Guide: A Reference Manual for Cannabis Consumers and Dispensary Professionals”? 

Budtenders are often the most influential and important connection between the consumer and the supply chain. They are the front line of the cannabis industry and not only represent their dispensary but the plant itself. 

A positive interaction or a negative result from the products they recommend can directly affect the customer’s experience with cannabis. That is a big responsibility for an entry-level position — and an opportunity to change someone’s perception by providing them with a quick and accurate education. 

We wanted this book to encapsulate everything a consumer and their budtender needs to know about products, dosing and effects, as well as the history of cannabis and advocating for their choices.

Do you think that reliable information about cannabis can be beneficial for the decriminalization and legalization of this plant?

Absolutely. There is an abundance of misinformation out there. In spite of the efforts of politicians to spread fear through unscientific propaganda about the danger of the plant, it has been proven time and again that cannabis is safer than alcohol and has a wide range of potential health benefits, from decreasing pain to fighting cancer. 

In The Budtender’s Guide, we go through all of the different cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids and how they interact with the human body, so budtenders can help customers make informed choices based on their needs and concerns. Educated consumers are not dependent on who rings up their purchase. They can be their own budtenders!

How much can a prepared budtender make a difference in customers’ product choices? And if so, why is that important?

Cannabis flower is still the most common product, but legal, commercial markets have provided an outlet for innovation, and cannabis can and is being added to just about anything within the bounds of local regulations and the imagination. 

Extractions are a product category with endless variety, from solventless hash and kiefs to dabbable extracts like shatter, diamonds, sauce and wax. Methods of ingestion include inhalation (smoking and vaping), ingestion, topical application, suppositories, sublinguals and more. Understanding how these different delivery methods are processed by the body causing different results and duration, adds a layer of complexity to how budtenders might guide customers towards recommending products. 

Through concise, clear and thoughtful communication, budtenders can help people avoid the most common adverse outcomes people experience.

This book can also be considered as a manual of the courses you do in Oaksterdam University? 

The Budtender’s Guide is not only used as a textbook for our own Budtending Certification Course at Oaksterdam University, but other universities are using it. Dispensaries are incorporating it into their training as well. It is the most comprehensive book available on the market for budtenders today. 

Laws, policies and manufacturing techniques are continuously evolving. Do you think that it will be necessary at some point for a Budtender’s Guide vol. 2?

Ha! We can’t even think about releasing a whole new book yet! It was quite a feat getting this one to press with the help of all of our amazing experts, contributors and the Oaksterdam team. We rounded up interviews from budtenders across the country, and worked with leading brands to get up-to-the-minute data. 

But you are right, this industry evolves swiftly. That’s why a lot of our citations link to resources that are constantly updated, such as legalization maps and research databases, so readers are able to click through to the latest information. We also plan to release subsequent editions, and we constantly update our Budtender’s Certification Curriculum as well. 

We really appreciated the appendix A and B. Why did you decide to include those sections?

Appendix A is “Advocacy.” This section is at the heart of everything Oaksterdam has stood for all along. In the beginning, we fought long and hard to legalize. Although we have won that battle in many states — and counting — we still must advocate for descheduling at the federal level, along with social justice for those adversely affected by the War on Drugs. We felt it was important to include Oaksterdam’s formula for effective advocacy in the book because budtenders can — and should — influence the future.

Appendix B is “Know Your Rights.” When Oaksterdam opened our school in the heart of downtown Oakland, Calif., it was dangerous for anyone touching cannabis. Our first order of business was to teach our students not just what they wanted to know but what they needed to know — how to protect themselves by understanding their Constitutional Rights — freedom of speech, protection from illegal search and seizure, the right to remain silent, and the right to legal representation. These are fundamental to operating in this space, as cannabis is still illegal at the federal level.

Why should a general reader consult The Budtender’s Guide?

This book is not only for budtenders but everyone who wants to be their own guide, or understand what a family member is doing, and how it is affecting them. Nowadays, we all have a parent, grandparent, sibling, son, daughter or friend exploring the beneficial uses of cannabis since it has become legal in so many states. Responsible use includes how to read the labels, and understand how the elements of the product, including terpenes and other cannabinoids, influence the effect. 

Education is key right now to ensure the industry thrives as it should and it begins with teaching consumers to be aware of all aspects of the plant that affect their experience and wallet.

They should know about dosage and effects themselves instead of relying on a budtender to answer their questions. You would like to think that all budtenders are well-trained, but I’ve heard enough stories about bad recommendations and first-time users having bad experiences to know that’s not the case.

This is truly a reference manual that anyone curious about cannabis can pick up any chapter anytime and help a loved one along their cannabis journey. This book is also great for people who come into contact with cannabis in their job. Whether you’re a general contractor, real estate agent, attorney, CPA, or marketing specialist — chances are you’re working with clients in the industry. This book is a crash course on cannabis, so you’ll know what you’re discussing with them.

Do you think that reading this manual could help demolish personal unreferenced beliefs about this argument?

There is still a stigma around cannabis, to be sure. Knowing that humans have used cannabis for tens of thousands of years and that modern Prohibition is a recent political construct created by man, not God, is step one to freeing ourselves from this stigma. 

The best marketing campaign is history.

Are you planning to write other manuals for other professional roles in the cannabis industry?

What we are tackling now is Responsible Vendor Training, which tailors our Budtender’s Certification Course curriculum to specific laws in each state. Dispensary owners can put their staff through our online program to ensure they are not only trained to the highest standards but are compliant with state regulations.  

We also have our Oaksterdam Cannabis Terminology Style Guide, a free, downloadable publication for journalists, academics, and anyone writing about the industry. 

And we have written volumes of curriculum for the Business of Cannabis, Horticulture, Extraction and Manufacturing, in addition to Budtending, that can be accessed by signing up for a class at Oaksterdam University. Let us know what topics you want next!

This post was originally published by our media partner here.