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The Growing Need for the Cannabis Sommelier

Just like the food, wine, and spirits industries have their specialized experts, connoisseurs, and sommeliers, it's time for the Cannabis industry to employ true quality searchers and finders.
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The cannabis industry has shown tremendous growth over the past few years and new markets are appearing right in front of our eyes. With all of the publicity and legalization in various states, cannabis is becoming less taboo and turning into big business, and many enthusiasts are looking for ways to work in this budding industry.

Just like the food, wine, and spirits industries have their specialized experts, connoisseurs, and sommeliers, it's time for the Cannabis industry to employ true quality searchers and finders.

Tasting

The cannabis industry needs specialized connoisseurs who, with the use of human senses, can assess the substances. Similar to how wine tasters pick out distinct flavors of fruits and flowers taking small sips of wine and analyzing, sommeliers of cannabis can provide similar knowledge and expertise reviewing and rating seeds and strains, as all Cannabis seeds hold secrets waiting to be explored.

Many of these experts already exist as you can find them in Amsterdam, Colorado, and various cannabis competitions throughout the world. Some have even started making their reviews more "mainstream" by writing in magazines and testing in Youtube videos.

Smells, Aromas, and Reactions

A cannabis connoisseur can distinguish aromas as well as the type of reaction and high that each strain might provide to the body and brain. Some highs are more relaxing, some are more creative, and some can fill you with energy. As the market is not only changing in terms of growing numbers but also in terms of quality, it seems that for many people, cannabis is not just for getting high anymore. Cannabis consumers are not only the old fashioned smokers (some now use edibles) and as they get more sophisticated they don't just look for THC but also for the Terpenes and the qualities they bring to the high experience of each strain.

All of the aromas come from the Terpenes--the organic compounds responsible for marijuana's fragrance. These molecules deliver the physiological and psychoactive effects of cannabis and work together with other compounds of the plant to either catalyze or inhibit. Each strain hides a whole cocktail of terpenes and the people with the right skills can determine qualities here. Of course these experts are more than experienced smokers - they have the knowledge to examine the flowers of the plant under magnification with the ability to describe its trichomes (small resin glands present on the flowers - they are the house of the terpenes but also of the cannabinoids).

Each of the Terpenes and the Cannabinoids has different effects on the body, and a good cannabis sommelier can guide and inform people about the therapeutic properties of each strain's combination of terpenes, THC and CBD so they can recommend the experiences that people might prefer.

Touch and Appearance of the Plants

Moreover, marijuana experts have the skills to identify and evaluate cannabis from the appearance of the plant based upon the plant's structure and unique characteristic. First, they check the health of the plant to verify it has no insects or illnesses. Then they evaluate things like the structure and ripeness of the flower, the quality, the color and the hair, and determine its density and moisture. Often a denser trichome coverage indicates increased potency of THC.

Certification

The combination of senses needed to reach a sommelier level of expertise has already led to the need for more skilled people in the industry as well as the creation of certification courses, like the Interpening course developed by the Trichome Institute in Denver, Colorado.

Many of the so called "budtenders" work in legal cannabis dispensaries or coffeeshops (in Holland) must also have the knowledge and be familiar with strains and effects to inform on the potency of Cannabis edibles and concentrates.

In general, it will be interesting to watch as the marijuana industry continues to grow and the level of expertise needed to provide recommendations becomes more structured. It may take some time for the cannabis sommelier process to reach the formal level and structure of the wine industry, but the seeds are being planted now.

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