Gaps in Cannabis Guidance:

A familiar scenario:

Last week, you took an edible to help manage your anxiety after a long work day. The cannabis provided some relief, but since then you haven’t been able to recreate that result. Starting your cannabis journey is daunting, and it can be hard to know where to go for guidance. You browse the shelves of your local dispensary at length and leave with no idea which products to buy, how much to take, and what to expect while using them. Cannabis delivered the relief you wanted in the past, but without proper guidance, you’re unsure how to achieve that result again. Without confidence in your own knowledge of cannabis products, you turn to the only person at the dispensary who might be an authority on the topic: the budtender behind the counter.

However, that your budtender will actually be able to provide the guidance you’re looking for is not guaranteed. More often than not, they can’t. Keep in mind: budtenders are not doctors. While they are well versed in the world of cannabis, budtenders usually lack the clinical knowledge to provide personalized product and dose recommendations. Doing so is also not part of their job description. When you approach a budtender at the counter, they are bogged down with the demands of other customers, the tasks of pleasing their employers, and the influences of commercial partners. In addition to know-how, budtenders don’t necessarily have the bandwidth to try to understand you and your cannabis needs.

The responsibility of guidance really should not fall on their shoulders. When we go to a coffeehouse, for example, we don’t expect our baristas to be experts on how different blends will affect customers individually. The same should be true for budtenders. The difference is that the stakes are higher, and someone qualified needs to fill that guidance role. According to a survey by my clinic, CED, over 78% of people report that cannabis has helped them depend less on other medicines and supplements. Iterative, personalized, clinician-backed guidance is the key to achieving those results, and feeling comfortable while doing so. Considering the benefits of medical cannabis when used properly, it’s imperative that users have access to tools that guide them on what cannabis products to use, and how to best use them.


Dr. Benjamin Caplan, MD

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