Budtender Interview #27 - Brandon - Colorado

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What's your name?: Brandon

What state do you currently work in?: Colorado

Care to share where you work at?: Helping Hands Herbals

Recreational, Medical or Both?: Medical

What do you do within the cannabis industry?: Budtender

How long have you been in the legal cannabis industry?: 8 Months

What is your most favorite aspect of working within the cannabis industry?: My favorite aspect of working in the cannabis industry is the culture itself. The culture of cannabis and all of the ethics, philosophy and values are what originally attracted me to cannabis, and it really shows when you start working in a dispensary and get to deal with a wide array of cannabis users. Living in Boulder already guarantees you some interesting interactions with people but I really enjoy the deep meaningful conversations that are had with our patients at the dispensary. Being able to give them an experience that leaves them feeling comfortable, calm, and happy with their purchase is also a hugely rewarding experience. Lastly, the learning experience is what keeps my brain stimulated while working, things are changing all the time and there are always new things to stay on top of; I love reading about cannabis so it keeps me busy.

What were you doing before the getting in the cannabis industry?: I work (and currently still work) as the Head Coach of a Parkour Gym called Apex Movement. Ive been working there for 5 years now after getting a job there shortly after moving from new jersey. There I coach people on the art of movement; teaching various vaults/flips/swings/climbs/jumps and much more. A lot of people think of people who use cannabis as unmotivated and lazy but I try to challenge that stereotype because Colorado and Boulder specifically is the perfect place for the archetype of the "athlete cannabis user" to surface. I meet so many people who use cannabis before or after their workouts or runs, and swear by it.

Cannabis edibles is a touchy subject in the media. How much do you recommend to a first time user and why?: Firstly it helps to gauge a tolerance. Does this particular person smoke or dab a lot? Use other cannabis related products? Or do they just smoke every now and then and maybe haven't in a long time, maybe they are trying edibles to get their feet wet? Secondly I let them know know that not only will it take longer to feel the effect since it has to get metabolized, when that happens THC actually changes into 11-hydroxy-THC which can be a lot stronger and last way longer than smoked flower. The golden rule should be applied; start small and be patient. Usually for new patients with no tolerance I recommend the lowest dose they are comfortable with taking then recommend increasing from there (after waiting an appropriate time) as needed until they find the correct dosage.

Have you ever ate too many edibles? Have a story to tell?: Totally have, multiple times by accident. Mostly when I make my own edibles because it's hard to dose. I wish I had a juicy story but I just remember taking a heroic dose of edibles before my last dentist visit. Usually I'm a super anxious person when I go and hate the dentist but was super at ease and it went super smooth and I couldn't feel my swollen face afterwards which was a win.

Do you have a favorite edible company? If so, explain why.: I could say I like x company for the taste or b company for the effect but in my opinion, I have yet to see many strain specific edibles that have a really positive effect on me. Most of the edibles that I try give me the bland "thc" effect, so I can't say I have a favorite! If there was a product that retained cannabinoids and terpenes throughout the making of the edible process, that would probably be my favorite.

Have you seen a patient/consumer's health improve since using cannabis? If so, explain!: Yes, an example is bob(not his real name). Bob came in when I first started working after recovering from a stroke and had a super tough time forming coherent sentences, getting his card or money out of his wallet and seemed to be struggling to an extent. Fast forward 5 months later of him coming in and he's coming by himself, can get everything out easily and seems to be much happier and together. Its really amazing to see that transformation. There's a lot more of these stories I wish we heard more about.

Working within a shop can provide from some interesting stories. Do you have a awkward story of a customer's request or a general funny story while working in a shop/grow/kitchen?: There was one really funny story one time where a woman had asked (about the plants she was growing)..(the cannabis plants) if she wanted them to flower.

Where do you see the cannabis industry in 5 years and why?: I see testing for cannabinoids, terpenes, microbials, pesticides fungicides, metals etc. more legitimate research on this plant and its interactions, more legitimate requirements for those working in the industry and more access to cannabis for everyone. I feel like cannabis may be seen as a super supplement soon with the emergence of thc and the isolation of cannabinoids and terpenes. We are in a really interesting time and I'm looking forward to what the future holds.

Which do you prefer when it comes to flower?: 50/50 hybrid

Explain why you choose the above answer?: I love all cannabis. It really depends on the time of day or what I am doing, if I'm snowed in and am working on my computer ill probably go for a 50/50 hybrid. For a longer movie like lord of the rings an indica dominant hybrid. For a run and parkour flow session a sativa dominant hybrid. For a shower and stretch session ill go for a heavier indica. I feel like i've been getting away from the indica sativa thing for awhile now ever since taking the Trichome Institute's Interpening Seminar. Its really all about how the terpenes express themselves in entourage with the cannabinoids and how those interact with you; most people like sativas for going out and being productive socially but for me its the indica dominant hybrids. Through interpening I've been able to really hone in the varietals that I enjoy and find the most benefit from

In your opinion, what company is the industry leader in your state?: I could say the dispensaries with the most locations, but are they the industry leaders? I think the people that are focused on bringing the correct knowledge, experience and education to the population that uses cannabis and that are empowering people to make informed decisions and get started in the industry are the real leaders.

Do you have an all time favorite strain? Explain why you like it so much?: I really like Piney strains. Island Sweet Skunk, Golden Goat.. etc. I love the effect that piney smell has; it makes me clear, focused, alert, and I feel like I can work easier because of some memory retentive effects. It also could be that I'm from the pine barrens of new jersey and am subconsciously homesick.

If you could change one thing about the current cannabis industry, what would you change and why?: Make some sort of incentive for dispensaries to get their products tested/make tests more available and cheaper. It makes no sense to have the thc percentages of recreational flower and not medical flower or not to be testing for other things like I said above.

Why are you excited to work within the cannabis industry? What kind of opportunities have opened up for you?: I'm excited because I've been wanting to do this before I knew it was even a possibility. Lately I've been getting into photography and have been doing a little blogging work, stay tuned to my instagram or massroots for future content!

What is the #1 thing you are grateful for today?: I am grateful for having a roof over my head, clean water to drink and food to eat. Its snowing pretty hard outside right now and my heart goes out to those who aren't as fortunate as I am on these bitter days.

Have any hobbies? Care to share them with us?: I have lots aside from cannabis; Parkour/BBoy/Gymnastics/Poi Spinning/Footbag Instruments/Music/Photography/Videos/Social Media Cooking/Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants/Primitive skills Hoping to add making bubblehash/extracts/growing to this list soon!

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