by Cyrus Grant
You know the old saying: do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, thanks to the new Ganjier certification, opportunity awaits those looking to become certified cannabis professionals.
But what exactly is a Ganjier, and are you cut out to be one? A Ganjier serves as a certified expert on all things cannabis. From guiding dispensaries toward the best quality bud to assisting customers to pick out exactly what they are looking for, the Ganjier is there to help.
Aren’t quite ready to make a career change? That’s okay. You can use the breakdown in this article to expand your knowledge and become even more of a cannabis connoisseur than you already are.
What is a Ganjier?
Much like how Sommeliers are masters of wine, Ganjiers are certified “Masters of Cannabis Service” and even have different certifications based on experience. Currently, there are three types of Ganjier Certifications:
- Certified Ganjier (CG),
- Advanced Ganjier (AG),
- Executive Ganjier (EG).
Here, we’ll be focusing on the first level — the Certified Ganjier — as the certifications for levels two and three are still being developed.
Who Made Ganjiers a Thing?
Before getting into exactly what a Ganjier does, let’s dig into how we got here. The Ganjier Council, comprised of 18 experienced cannabis professionals from all over the world, felt that the cannabis industry was missing a standardized level of educated and certified professionals. So, they spent two years creating a training program to raise the standards of the cannabis industry, and in Winter 2020, the Ganjier was born.
What Are Ganjiers Trained to Do?
So what does a Ganjier actually do? According to the Ganjier Council, a Ganjier is trained to do each of the following things:
- Be a guide to the consumer.
- Recognize cannabis quality by understanding the complexities of the cannabis plant (from terpenes – a plant’s aromatic compounds — to terrior – the conditions, such as soil and climate, that give each plant unique characteristics).
- Inform retail buyers about products.
- Assist in creating menus for the most enjoyment and the best sales.
- Educate dispensaries on cannabis service and sales.
- Create and maintain trusted relationships and be a connection between all parts of the cannabis industry, “from farm to flame.”
- Develop the vocabulary to accurately communicate value and quality standards across the industry.
- Promote the credibility of the cannabis industry by being a credentialled professional.
- Raise the standard of excellence in cannabis quality.
How Do You Become a Ganjier?
If that sounds like a pretty sweet gig to you, here’s how you get the title:
Step 1: Complete the Online Courses
Future Ganjiers learn everything they need to know about cannabis through a curriculum comprised of 10 courses and 31 lessons, taught by all 18 members of the Ganjier Council. The courses cover everything from cannabis history and science to business and sales. This is also where you’ll learn the most important skill in the Ganjier toolbox: how to develop a cannabis palate to accurately assess all things cannabis (which let’s be honest, sounds like the most fun part, so we’ll get more into that in a second).
Step 2: Attend the 2-day Live Training Session
Held in the heart of the Emerald Triangle (Humboldt County, CA), the live session is dedicated to teaching each student the art of accurately assessing cannabis flowers and concentrates. This includes learning how to use a jeweler’s loupe (similar to a magnifying glass) to examine flower as well as training exercises to develop your cannabis palate.
Step 3: Pass the Exams
We know, no one likes tests. But taking a test to become a certified cannabis expert is, let’s be honest, a lot more useful than knowing geometry (well, for most of us). In this case, it’s a 100-question multiple-choice exam, a service role play exam, and finally, an assessment exam.
Assessing Cannabis like a Ganjier
To consistently and accurately assess cannabis quality (which yes, includes trying out the goods), the Ganjier Council developed The SAP as the cornerstone of the Ganjier program. The SAP officially called “The Systematic Assessment Protocol,” is made of four sections — 1. Appearance, 2. Aroma, 3. Flavor, and 4. Experience — which are then combined to give an overall cannabis quality score. Sections 1 through 3 are each given a score from 1 to 10, while experience is not quantitatively graded due to experience often coming down to personal preference.
While Ganjiers are specifically trained for these assessments, the more casual cannabis enjoyer can also pay attention to these four things to test their at-home knowledge.
Maybe the least fun of the four for those of us doing DIY at home assessments, this visual inspection is done with a jewelry-grade magnifying eye lens. This is when a Ganjier will get up close and personal with the flower to assess several qualities.
One thing a Ganjier looks at is trichome (little hairs on the plant that store cannabinoids) coverage. Greater coverage indicates more care was taken during trimming, and when it comes to trichomes, more is better — they’re where most of the good stuff comes from. Another thing Ganjiers look for is the ripeness of the flower (does it look old). If the weed looks crumbly or spongy, good chance it’s past its prime. Finally, Ganjiers look at whether cannabis appears clean or contaminated. Signs of contamination can be unusual coloring, white or grey powdery specks, and of course mildew and mold.
Onto the more interactive stuff! Learning about aroma assessments will allow us to more confidentially identify when we have some good cannabis in our hands. Although Ganjiers focus primarily on terpenes, there are factors that anyone can pay attention to so they can better gauge what level of cannabis they’re dealing with. The three main areas are the intensity, complexity, and aroma category.
- Intensity is how strong the bud’s aroma is, and is graded from subtle to powerful aromas.
- Complexity is how simple or complex the aroma is. It is graded from singular to layered.
- Aroma category is what scents are found in the bud. These scents can fall into categories like fruit, fuel, floral, earth, sweet, or faulty.
So, next time we have some weed in front of us, we’ll fight the urge to immediately light up, and try to take a second to think about what exactly we’re smelling.
The fun part! Assessing flavor requires developing an experienced cannabis palate, and like anything else, practice makes perfect. Things Ganjiers will want you to pay attention to are how intense the flavor in a hit is (subtle to powerful), if the hit feels light or full-bodied (sensations the mouth feels, such as heaviness), how long the flavor lasts, and how harsh or smooth it is.
The final section of grading and the only part not given a score based on the 1-10 scale, experience testing takes the longest and aims to measure the physical and mental effects of cannabis. For this part, testers wait to see if the cannabis provides a relaxing or stimulating effect on the body and mind, how long it takes to start feeling the effects, how strong the effects are, how long they last, and finally if there is a relaxing after-effect.
Put Your Knowledge to the Test
Now that we’re in the know on how the pros grade cannabis, it’s time to have a little fun. Next time you and some friends have a variety of cannabis ready to go, try a blind scoring test using what you’ve learned, and see if the group can agree on a winner. If you end up doing some vape testing, make sure to include Mistifi’s Houdini blend. It’s an Emerald Cup award winner and a great way to see if your palate is as discerning as the judges.
Worst case, you got high and had some fun. And who knows, maybe some of us are about to discover a special talent!
Do you think you have what it takes to become a Ganjier? Let us know!