When I first stepped into budtending, it became a tradition of mine to end the day by evaluating samples and perusing Netflix. Sampling is how we determine what products get into the store, and it helped me gain valuable knowledge about cannabis that would help me in my career. I would sink into my couch, liturgically open my stash box, carefully lay out my grinder, hemp wick, lighter, evaluation forms and, finally, try and find something interesting to watch on tv.
One day, I came across a documentary called SOMM. This film followed a group of men as they trained for the Master Sommelier exam – the ultimate challenge in the wine world. My favorite part of the movie came when they started doing blind tastings (see video below). Based on the smell and taste of the wine, these guys were able to tell you everything about the wine – even the region of the country in which the wine was made! As I watched and filled out my evaluations, I thought to myself, “I want this for cannabis! But what would that look like?”
Well, the process looks similar; however, the information that is behind the smells and flavors of cannabis is different than wine. I am not sure if we will ever be able to tell by the terpenes (the oils responsible for the scent and flavor) of the plant where it was grown in the world; however, we can speak confidently to the effects of a plant and, to some extent, the genetics of the plant based on its terpene profile. If I crack open a jar and smell earth and lavender, I know it is going to be a very relaxing, probably sedative, experience. If I taste pine and citrus, I know it will probably be uplifting. How do I know this? The only way a person can – research and experience.
In short, this is all intended to be an exercise in appreciation. If you are passionate about cannabis, take the time to smell the product before you consume it. Ask questions and research. Can you predict the effects? Look up how the plant was grown before you sample it. Is there a difference in taste between a plant grown in soil and a plant grown aeroponically? Taking the time to appreciate your cannabis is the best way to expand your pleasure of the product as well as become an expert in cannabis.