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Making Sense of Your Menu

by William Zorn |

By Will Zorn

A strong menu makes an amazing first impression; with more and more stores choosing to offer their menus online, it can often be the first impression. When with a client in-store, making great recommendations both starts and maintains a great relationship between budtender & client. A budtender’s ability to make these amazing suggestions comes from their deep understanding of the products and categories paired with a bit of biology & botany.

For those just diving in, The Budtenders Association is here to help; below are some of the product categories and how to differentiate the best from the rest - product wise.


With reports showing that dry flower is the most common product for a “cannabis newbie” to try, as well as all of the legacy buyers who will wander into your doors, determining which products to recommend requires sufficient cannabis knowledge and product know-how.

There are many factors that guide the price, effects, and desirability of the product. Each element from the medium used to grow the plant, the nutrients used to feed it, to the level of care the plant was given both pre and post-harvest. 

Often, rare genetics & hand-done methods are going to raise the price of the product, but also often produce the higher quality cannabis. Machine-Trimming often strips plants of trichomes, so finding hand-manicured buds will help ensure rave reviews.


Making the perfect product recommendations requires balancing the customer’s desired price point with the best quality. Often, rare genetics and attentive care result in a higher price. There are many factors that determine quality, too many to get into in this article, however it’s important to get to know the products on your shelf so you’re always offering your customers the best bang for their buck. The best part about dried flower is that the quality is very easily discernible through a few key measures such as moisture and trichomes.   

Vape Pens

Consumers will often identify price, flavour, and potency of effects as what they’re searching for in their vape experience. There are dozens of choices, but often all are dictated by the processes. Distillate-filled vapes are a cost-effect solution which reintroduced terpenes to help provide a flavour & entourage effect; however, while these products generally have a higher THC percentage, that comes at the cost of minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other elements of the plant. Consumers tend to describe these products as having a “2-D High” effect.

In contrast, Full-Spectrum products offer less “purity” with a lower THC percentage when compared to distillate-based vapes. This comes due to the different processes leaving behind terpenes, cannabinoids, and other plant matter that is still desirable. 

There is a wide variety of extractions however, so budtenders should keep their eyes to new SKU’s for new processes and products


What’s the difference between granny’s CBD Oil and your buddy’s slab of shatter? Not too much in the eyes of Health Canada, as they are in the same category! Here’s how to quickly differentiate.

How do I Take This?

Not sure if this concentrate is for oral ingestion or vaporization/combustion? Reading the label is a great way to be certain; not only will the product’s full name be visible to help discern, but the potency label can help decipher. If it is in mg/mL you’re looking at an ingestible oil, if it is mg/g you have something to combust!

Ingestible Concentrates

When it comes to oils and other ingestible concentrates, often the biggest difference comes down to what level of dosage is being received, which cannabinoids have been concentrated, and the carrier oil.

The same label which helped discern whether to smoke or swallow the oil will help you determine dosage & the type of cannabinoid concentration, as it is required to be on the front of the package. By multiplying the dose per mL by the total available mL, you can get the total cannabinoids per bottle to help compare cost-effectiveness and subsequently determine how long a bottle may last someone. Difference in carrier oil has not been associated with a difference in effects or metabolism, however it offers a difference in oil for those clients who may have allergies or oils to avoid.


The Inhalable Concentrates become much more complicated once they are out of a vape pen. There are many differentiators in concentrates which all come back to the processes used to remove the plant-matter. This first begins with how the separation occurs; physical, solvent-less, and solvent. From there, these categories are refined by how refined the product - makers will work to either keep or remove different compounds that will change potency, flavour, and effects all simultaneously!

Physical extracts like hash & kief are the lowest THC but the least refined but offers a strong effect and flavour as it contains many elements of the plant.

Solventless is highly sought after as it’s refinement offers a high THC while keeping the terpenes and other compounds affecting flavour & effects intact. Due to the amount of care required, these products are often at a higher price point on both the recreational and legacy markets.

Solvent-Based Extraction such as shatter & wax is the most accessible extract at the price point, and offers a higher THC. Many clients will love this, however, many may ask for a more “natural” experience without losing potency.

How Can Budtenders Make Informed Recommendations?

While this article touches upon some factors that help differentiate a menu, in reality, there are many more factors Budtenders need to consider. Balancing all of these factors such as desired effects, user experience, and harvest dates during the few minutes of a customer’s attention can be challenging to say the least. Budtenders Association provides education and training to incoming industry professionals through our Training courses. We train cannabis retail stores on everything they need to succeed from compliance to plant science and customer consultations. For a deeper understanding of all of the different product differentiators, the Budtenders Association has a variety of specialized courses conducted by a team of professional leaders in cannabis education. Through exploring topics such as Plant Science, History, Product & Accessory Differentiators, and essential selling, Budtenders receive all the knowledge needed to be rockstars on the floor.

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