No one thinks twice when a wine sommelier shows up to give their opinion on which wine pairs best with your dinner. But what if a marijuana sommelier showed up as well? Well, it turns out using the same idea for marijuana may be just around the corner.
What is a Sommelier?
You may be asking yourself, what exactly is a sommelier?
Well, the term sommelier is often associated with wine. For example, according to Dictionary.com, sommelier stands for “a waiter, as in a club or restaurant, who is in charge of wines”. Usually sommeliers work in restaurants to help decide which wines work the best to pair with items on the menu.
They decide which flavors work well together and enhance certain notes in the food which elevates the entire meal. Sommeliers are considered experts of wine and have even expanded their roles to outside the restaurant – to clubs, stores, and even wine and food festivals. They also help you notice hints of flavors in wines that you might not have noticed before.
So, why can’t there be the same role – but replace wine with marijuana?
The Rise of the Marijuana Sommelier
The idea behind this is simple. With the rising demand for marijuana and with recreational marijuana laws being passed in more and more states, the need for marijuana experts, or marijuana sommeliers, is evident.
These people could help you choose different marijuana strains based on the effects you desire. For example, cannabis sativa is often described as being uplifting and giving energy whereas cannabis indica is described as being more sedating. However, it is important to note that these effects have not been confirmed through clinical trials or have any scientific evidence to support them. It is only based on what people say from their own experiences.
This role could also be used to help find cannabis strains that complement certain foods. The Boston Globe described John Madden, an entrepreneur in Boston who describes himself as a marijuana sommelier. He hosted a three-hour dinner party where he told guests to smoke different kinds of marijuana at distinct points of the meal to help enhance certain notes of the meal. This meal cost $165 per meal with the marijuana included. They were also instructed to smell the raw marijuana before eating the food.
However, it is not only used for the taste but also for the effects. Marijuana is commonly associated with the munchies – which is a welcome feeling when you are waiting to eat at a dinner party. However, Madden also used the effects to help elevate the meal. He utilized the various cannabis strains to help people feel a bell curve of being high – starting with feeling relaxed, then moving onto getting a higher energy buzz, and finally ending with being back in a tranquil state.
According to Madden, the general statements about cannabis sativa and cannabis indica being energizing or relaxing might be too broad to use a universal guidance for all. He said that you can determine the type of effect simply by smelling the strain. Madden claims that if you have tingling higher up in your nose and face it means the strain will give you energy and be uplifting. And on the other hand, if you feel tingling lower in your nostrils you will get the more relaxed and sedated feeling. He believes in educating his guests, which is part of the role of this newfound marijuana sommelier role.
He came up with the idea for his business, Budda Som, because there were no businesses that were specifically tailored for tourists looking to indulge in some marijuana in the Boston area. If you go to areas where marijuana has been legal longer – such as Colorado, there are more “touristy” things that deal with marijuana. For example, they have different marijuana tours that people can go on to try different types of marijuana or visit different farms that grow them.
As the curiosity of cannabis grows, it makes sense that more of these marijuana entrepreneurs will be needed. Their specialty knowledge of flavors and effects are valuable, but what is also important is their knowledge of terpenes.
What About Terpenes?
In order to become an expert in all things cannabis you have to understand terpenes. Terpenes are chemicals in plants, similar to cannabinoids, that are responsible for the flavors and smells of plants (and even certain insects and animals).
So, are they safe? Most terpenes are actually listed on the FDA GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) list as food flavorings. This is a list from the FDA that contains items that are considered safe and can be consumed orally in high amounts.
In addition to taste and smell, terpenes are thought to have possible health effects as well. An example of this is limonene (known for citrusy scents) which is proposed to help with relieving stress and elevating mood. There are many other terpenes with suggested health benefits as well. However, this is an area that still needs more research to support these claims.
How to Become a Marijuana Sommelier
Are you interested yet?
The role of a marijuana sommelier is still evolving, but with persistence and an insatiable curiosity any cannabis lover could excel. As long as you keep educating yourself on the variety of cannabis strains, their effects, and their unique terpenes and flavors you will be on top of the game allowing yourself to be in demand.
In fact, some people are already ahead of the curve. Madden actually learned his tricks from a certification at the Trichome Institute. The Trichome Institute offers cannabis certifications. The Trichome Institute started in 2014 and has been trying to standardize cannabis education ever since due to the inconsistent information surrounding marijuana that exists out there. In particular, they offer “Interpening” which their website describes as the first ever multilevel cannabis sommelier certification program.
According to Max Montrose, president and co-founder of the Trichome Institute, this program is about interpreting terpenes. It will allow students to understand the variety of terpenes and their respective qualities and be able to determine their quality.
Looking to the Future
This is a growing field full of possibilities for marijuana lovers. Imagine walking into cannabis stores and having a marijuana sommelier there to help you with your selections. Or even going to a restaurant and having a wine sommelier and a marijuana sommelier there to offer you choices to elevate your meals and take them to the next level.
The way things are going – this world may not be too far off.