Results from a study looking into the type and level of training cannabis dispensary staff in the USA have under their belts is a little unsettling.
The study, led by Nancy A. Haug PhD from Palo Alto University in California, is the first of its type and received responses from 55 people employed at dispensaries in various states throughout the country.
Just fifty-five percent of dispensary staff (also sometimes known as “bud tenders”) who participated in a survey said they had some formal training for their position – and only 20% reported having gained medical/scientific training.
This is even though 94% stated they provide specific cannabis advice to patients.
The study’s authors state that while many staff are providing advice consistent with current evidence; some are recommending cannabis for conditions that it will not treat or perhaps even worsen.
For example, while evidence suggests cannabis high in CBD could be beneficial to those with anxiety disorders, cannabis high in THC could lead to acute and long-term anxiety reactions.
Additionally, dispensary staff recommendations for concentrations of cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) for various conditions were also frequently incompatible with existing empirical literature.
“(The) findings highlight the importance of consistent, evidence-based training of those providing specific recommendations of cannabis strains or cannabinoid concentrations for a given patient condition,” state the paper’s authors.
The report, Training and Practices of Cannabis Dispensary Staff, was recently published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. The journal’s editor in chief, Daniele Piomelli PhD, said the results were disturbing, but not surprising – and also represented a call to action.
“Establishing training guidelines and programs for dispensary staff has clearly become an urgent national priority,” stated Dr. Piomelli.
Another interesting point to emerge from the study is employment stability and satisfaction in the sector. The average duration of employment at the current dispensary where respondents worked ranged from 1 month to 7 years; with a median of 1 year. With regard to job satisfaction, the mean score was 4.27; indicating a high level of satisfaction among cannabis dispensary staff with their employment.