Rebecca Trotman has been called the best budtender in the State of Michigan. She graciously brushes aside the compliment with an observation and a suggestion:
“It’s always really flattering when someone says that, but it honestly just brings to light that a lot of budtenders aren’t properly trained in their craft,” Trotman said. “Bud tending is more than weighing out cannabis and taking donations. In order to provide excellent care, you have got to know the intricacies of cannabis and how it metabolizes in your body.”
She also prizes the value of asking questions.
“Medication interactions with cannabis do exist and, unless your budtender knows what else you are taking, any suggestions may fall short of your expectations. A good budtender will ask you questions you never thought to answer: How prone are you to anxiety? Are you on any prescription medications? Do you have any redheads in your immediate family?”
Introducing cannabis concentrates
Concentrates are what’s left of the cannabis plant when the flowers and buds are removed through a process called extraction. Trotman, who is a budtender and concentrate specialist at Bloom City Club in Ann Arbor, explained.
“Imagine if someone processed cannabis flower through a vanilla extract machine. The material that would come out would be heavily concentrated and would vaporize without any carbon monoxide, ash or resin. This means that it’s great to use for someone who is worried about impeding lung functionality, and who has a high tolerance, or a severe level of pain, anxiety or digestive issues. They are more effective than cannabis flower. Flower tops out at about 30% THC for potency, while concentrates top out at about 99% potency.”
Concentrates come in many forms including shatter, bubble hash, crumble wax, budder, sugar wax, CO2 and butane hash oil. According to Trotman, in determining good-quality concentrates, look for clarity and color.
“For shatter and CO2 oils, clear is king, and color is just as important. Pale gold and amber concentrates will be the most sought after. Consistency also plays a huge part. If you are familiar with the smell of butane, it can be helpful to determine how clean your concentrate is. Rub your hands together, hold your concentrate (in parchment) between your now-warm hands and open the paper. If you can smell butane being released from the heat of your hands, your concentrate was not purged properly and will likely give you a massive headache.”
Another word of caution: Make sure the flower is organic or the resulting concentrates will contain chemicals. In searching for a budtender, Rebecca urges patients to be skeptical:
“You wouldn’t see a doctor who couldn’t answer questions about medications you are being given. Do not go to provisioning centers that can’t answer all of your questions. Look up what you’re being told. Ask for lab results. Your serious illness should be taken seriously. It is only when we are all united in demanding transparency in information that we can together raise the standard. Please reach out. Your success is success for all of us.”
Ken Wachsberger, editor of Bloom Blog at bloomcityclub.com,
is the founder of Azenphony Press Writing and Editing.