Budtender … What Is It Exactly? How To Become a Budtender? See Here


ˈbəd-ˌten-dər | Noun

Storefront employee at a cannabis/CBD dispensary. When you enter a cannabis or CBD dispensary, you are welcomed by a budtender. A person employed at this position is responsible for educating the customer about all things cannabis. They provide guidance on the effects, benefits, and differences between cannabis products. Budtenders are not medically trained in most cases, but they have the necessary knowledge to point out products the customer needs for a certain condition. They make sure a person gets service tailored to their needs. 

“As much as I love ordering CBD online, when I hit a plateau with a product, I go to my favorite store and talk to a budtender.”

“A local CBD shop just opened in my neighborhood, and they have the best budtender that recommended full spectrum CBD gummies for my insomnia.”

What Is a Budtender? 

As the term suggests, “budtender” is a combination of “bud” (the flower of the cannabis plant) and “bartender.” This term indicates the similarity between a budtender’s role in a dispensary and the role of a bartender in a bar. It’s a relatively new term that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary officially recognized in 2018. The dictionary first recognized the use of this word in 1997. 

Requirements and Responsibilities

A budtender has a number of responsibilities in the dispensary, including: 

  • Greeting and welcoming customers as the face of the dispensary
  • Educating customers about a variety of cannabis products
  • Facilitating the sale 
  • Staying on top of new products, strains, industry trends, and law changes to provide the best level of service to customers
  • Packaging products
  • Offering comprehensive recommendations on CBD products based on the request of the customer
  • Providing advice on proper safety measures the customer should follow when consuming cannabis
  • Checking and verifying proper identification and paperwork 
  • Operating the cash register
  • Maintaining hygienic conditions

Since 2018, the median salary for a budtender in the U.S. is $32,000 per year. The demand for a qualified dispensary employee has increased in recent years. In some states, a person needs special authorization to work in this industry. 

How to Become a Budtender? 

This is an entry-level position and offers the opportunity to learn and grow within the job. However, most dispensaries look for employees that show great interest and knowledge about cannabis products. 

Before one applies for this job, they should aim to develop a thorough understanding of all cannabis varieties and the products on the market. Knowing the ins and out of the chemical makeup of the cannabis plant (cannabinoids, terpenes, growing cycles, etc.) is a must. Some essential questions they need to know the answer to are: 

  • What types of cannabis products are there? 
  • Which products are legal in the state or town they’re in? 
  • What consumption methods do people prefer? What are the best consumption methods, and how do they work? 
  • What’s the best cannabinoid/terpene ratio in CBD flower and similar products? 
  • How to dose different products, and when is the best time to take them? 

Another thing a bartender should offer is cultivation advice and should be familiar with local and state regulations. It’s essential to know the origin of the plant material used to extract the products. Also, knowing how to read and explaining the labs of a product.

Last but not least, the connection between medical conditions and cannabis. A budtender should have extensive knowledge of various conditions that cannabis may aid and studies that support them. This is key because people who come to the dispensary typically face some difficulties and are looking for the best product to ease the symptoms. This is where learning about the CBD/THC and terpene ratio comes into play. Knowing how cannabinoid combinations affect certain conditions (even if the result is anecdotal) will make the person more well-rounded. 

Age Requirements

Do you have to be 21 to be a budtender? Typically, most states require the person to be 18 or 21 and older. Because the cannabis industry is still developing, there is no industrywide certification program for budtenders. 

Final Thoughts

A budtender is a storefront employee who represents the cannabis dispensary. This entry-level job requires passion and knowledge about the cannabis plant, its varieties, and medical uses.