Do you remember the first time you went into a dispensary? What did you like about it? What did you dislike? What about the second dispensary? What about your favorite dispensary? Your least favorite? Think about some answers to these questions to build on what you want to offer to your patients. You are their vessel, you guide them where they want to go, while also keeping the direction where you need it to go as well.
Know Your Patients
The Dispensary Experience
Getting a feel for your patients’ needs is key to being a quality Cannabinist. Are they in a hurry? Do they know what they want? Have they been to your dispensary before? Have they been to ANY dispensary before? These are a few key points to figure out within the first interaction with your patient. Keep your needs in mind too. Are you guys busy? Do you have time to chat? A good Cannabinist is aware of the situation from all angles.
Everyone will be affected by different meds in a different way. To understand what will work for your patient you have to know what has or hasn’t worked for them in the past. Find a common ground. If someone says a certain strain works for them and you know the genetics of that strain, then you can recommend something that is based on the effects of those genetics. Remember some of your other patients and what worked for them. You will find similarities between tastes in patients. Make mental notes when you find trends (OG kush fans love GSC, etc.) and you will be the star of the scene.
Let your patient lead you to where they want you to take them. If they are in a hurry they will let you know. Go with the flow, let them speak, listen intently and respond accordingly. Some patients will have the air about them that they know everything, let them speak their piece. If it is an incorrect medicinal fact, gently give them the correct information but also tell them where you got your information so they can be comforted in the fact that you know what you are talking about, and also verify later if they need to do so. Remember we are not doctors. We can recommend certain products based on known information but we cannot diagnose patient’s diseases. That is for their doctor and their own self diagnosis. Once you have your patient’s trust you can direct them to the medicine they need.
Knowing what they are looking for and knowing their ailments, you should be able to give your patient up to 3 choices to choose from. Let the patient see whatever they want to see if they ask for it, but if they have stated their ailments and the category of meds they want, you should be able to drive the conversation where it needs to go. There can be a multitude of choices and if you let your patient drive the conversation, you could be perusing for hours. Too many choices can come across as intimidating as well so be aware of what the situation warrants.
Once your patient has made their choice(s) you can weigh or bag them up as needed. Use this time to ask about any future plans or to make sure they didn’t wanna check anything else out. Be sure to thank them for coming in (they can go anywhere!) and your transaction is complete!
Let’s discuss patients that have recently gotten their card and may be new to the industry. After the formalities of showing them the dispensary you should find out what their tolerance levels are and use this information to decide what meds to recommend. Medical cannabis is much more potent then street marijuana so you need to make sure your patient is aware of that. Be sure your patient knows the safest way to travel with their meds and to remind them to at least have a copy of their script in their vehicle at all times when travelling with meds.
Lingo is very important as well. Using terms like ‘weed’, ‘pot’, or in some cases even ‘marijuana’ is akin to spelling ‘marijuana’ as ‘marihuana’, as in it is just not used anymore. Here is a list of alternatives to some popular terms to use in a dispensary situation, use this list to get an idea of other terms you can change to be a more professional Cannabinist:
Any slang for weed Cannabis or Herb
Customer Patient or Client
Bomb or Chronic or Good Weed Potent or Intense
Couch Locked or Stuck Relaxed, Unmotivated or Lazy
High: Any slang for ‘high’ can be replaced with the actual feeling you get after you medicate (smoke). ‘High’ is the general term for any feeling you get after smoking, but it an be broken down into better terms like: Motivated, energetic, stuck in the head, paranoid, lazy, sleepy, happy, or a multitude of others. Just explain how it works for you and be aware that what works for you one way doesn’t always work that way for others.
Recommending Dosages for Serious Conditions
This is where all of your training and everything you are as a Cannabinist needs to come in to play. This is where we differ from Tobacconists and Bartenders. Our products can be used to treat serious conditions if patients choose to use them for that. Remember, we are not doctors. We can listen to what the patients have to say about their condition and we can recommend products that have been shown to help those conditions. We can never tell someone to stop taking any prescribed meds from their doctor or to stop any treatments (i.e. chemo, radiation, etc.). In most cases you don’t even need to ask specifically what disease people are dealing with, you only need to know the symptoms that they would like to help deal with by the use of medicinal cannabis. Knowing the effects of each cannabinoid (Cannabinoids and Their Uses) and having a good knowledge of each product on your shelf are the best tools available when recommending meds to your patients. Also, refer to the Serious and Chronic Diseases section on the ‘Educate Yourself’ page.