Preferred Budtenders and “Marijuana Consultants”
The budtender will see you now.
State rules vary widely on who can guide patients through a cornucopia of marijuana products.
Doctors greenlight patients for medical weed, but it’s often “budtenders” and “marijuana consultants” who guide them through the lotions, gummies and smokable strains at dispensaries, creating a whole new wave of gaps in health records and patient-physician communications.
In many states, dispensary staff, often called budtenders, don’t have medical degrees. States vary in how much training they mandate — not that there’s much peer-reviewed science or prescribing guidelines anyway, largely because of long-standing federal barriers to research.
The result: a messy landscape of spotty patient-physician communication, inaccurate medical records and unknowns about health benefits even as medical marijuana becomes widely accepted by the public. It’s another outgrowth of the dissonance between the states’ rush to legalize medicinal weed, and the federal government’s persistent classification of marijuana as a drug as dangerous as heroin or ecstasy with no medical benefit whatsoever.
“There’s a lack of scientific evidence right now for anyone to be able to state exactly how much dosage an individual needs,” said Dominick Zurlo, who directs New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program. Given barriers to robust science, he said, it’s the people working in the medical marijuana field and acquiring experience who “are going to be the people who have the best information.”