Walking into a marijuana dispensary can be intimidating at first. Unlike browsing in a store, a cannabis consumer needs to have some degree of insight about the product before they walk in. The cannabis industry is an increasingly complex and evolving marketplace because of the many innovative varieties available. One person who does a fantastic job at explaining and evaluating consumers cannabis product is Max Montrose, Founder of the Trichome Institute and author of Interprening: The Art and Science of the Cannabis Sommelier.

In his Farmacy Cannabis Series webinar, Montrose describes “interprening,” a study he created in 2014, as a constantly updated art and science that evolves alongside our understanding of cannabis. Specifically, “interprening” is the process of interpreting and analyzing terpenes, organic compounds that provide cannabis aroma and flavor.

In the webinar, Montrose talked about how cannabis dispensary owners initially didn’t want him to educate patients when he first started in 2008. He was encouraged to “sell ‘em a sack of weed and move on.” That mentality, said Monrose, astonished and frustrated him to a point where he wanted to develop widely-industry-recognized evaluation criteria that helped patients better assess their wants and needs.

With the Trichome Institute, Montrose shares his knowledge of interprening to students to help expand their knowledge of cannabis, which ventures well beyond knowing the strain name and species of flower.
Trichome Institute offers a four-level certification course for professional interprening. Patients who go through the course leave with a better understanding of cannabis and its effects. Those who complete and pass the course are considered credible and knowledgeable in the cannabis field. According to leading cannabis figures, having interprening certification is a uniquely desirable asset to mention on a resume if you’re looking for an industry job.

InterpreningFor cannabis entrepreneurs like industry veteran Philip Wolfe, the interpening skillset helped him launch a successful business. Wolfe is founder of Cultivating Spirits, a company he founded in Silverthorne, Colorado in 2014. Cultivating Spirits is the first company in the U.S. to offer a unique culinary experience: public and legal cannabis dinners in public. Wolfe and his professionally-trained interprening team partner with dispensaries and chefs to evaluate cannabis within the context of fine dining. With local terpene profiles from flower sold at local dispensaries, the Cultivating Spirits team develop what they call “introspective pairings” with food to add an enjoyable layer to the fine-dining experience. They work with chefs to develop a three-course Cannabis Pairing Dinner ranging from $125 to $250 per person.

For those interested in interprening, Montrose offers a fun and surprisingly simple tool to describe intepreting: an “Interprening Loop.” The loop is an interactive flat card with four pages that flip in and out four times to help identify cannabis. Each page represents the preferred chronological order of evaluating cannabis. The first page is the first step, which is to match the information on the card with the flower in your physical possession. One page of the loop helps people specifically identify plants by leaf shape and other physical characteristics. The next page is a checklist of unacceptable quality characteristics one can see and smell. Third page helps loop users learn about acceptable quality characteristics. The fourth page offers six types of common terpene types that correlate to psychoactive effects.

The course itself allows students to comprehensively explore each step and learn how to effortlessly and instinctively evaluate cannabis. As the cannabis industry and our understanding of cannabis evolves, rethinking how we evaluate it is more essential than ever.

Learn more about Max Montrose, the Trichrome Institute and interprening by visiting www.trichromeinstitute.com. Watch Montrose’s “Interprening” stream via Farmacy Cannabis Lecture Series at vimeo.com/farmacycannabislectures.