Budtenders Are Holding Back Cannabis—but It’s Not Their Fault

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Some pregnant and breastfeeding women aren’t listening. Despite health professionals’ warnings, the number of pregnant women using cannabis at least once a month doubled over the last decade to seven percent of women surveyed, according to one recent study. Though this upwards trend is partially a result of healthcare professionals’ reluctance to talk about weed with their patients, researchers from Washington State University’s College of Nursing identified another culprit: budtenders. In interviews with ten healthcare professionals, the researchers noted universal opposition to using cannabis while pregnant or breastfeeding—the same advice given about drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco, though the issue isn’t as black-and-white as one would think. But when the researchers asked ten people who worked the sales counter at the local dispensary, they discovered “much more positive” attitudes around cannabis. In fact, a cannabis study revealed states where marijuana is legal had a higher birth rate when compared to other states. PHOTO Lightfield Studios Though the budtenders tended to recommend products lower in THC and identified (correctly) that tobacco and alcohol were much more harmful than weed, this was still problematic. According to one budtender, most advice given at the dispensary counter amounted to anecdotal and unverified “stoner science” or quickly Googled tidbits. One takeaway, as the researchers wrote in a recent study published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, is that America needs better budtenders. Workers at the counter ought to trained “on cannabis products” and “how to best serve perinatal customers” before dispensing medical advice, they said. For an understanding of why they aren’t—and why, under current circumstances, this is a reasonable expectation—you could take a quick trip to Denver, where Andrew Mieure broke into the cannabis industry as a budtender during Colorado’s medical-cannabis era. Better off flipping burgers than selling buds Driving around…

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