Get certified for a budding career in America’s fastest-growing industry

About Our Program

Everything You Need to Know to Work in a Dispensary Setting

The cannabis industry is adding 280 jobs a day in the U.S. If you love helping people and you’re passionate about the plant, Oaksterdam’s Budtending Certification Course will give you the edge you need to serve customers in a dispensary setting and launch your career.

Oaksterdam University coined the term “budtender” and our founders opened the first medical cannabis dispensaries in Oakland, California. We’ve offered quality education and training to the industry since 2007. We’re proud to offer the most respected Budtending Certification Program in the nation created by pioneers in the movement who paved the way for legalization, along with the newest thought leaders in the field. Whether you’re looking to enter the industry or advance your career, OU credentials will set you apart.


This course provides the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as a budtender in a dispensary setting. We offer an introduction to cannabis cultivation and extraction, with a background in cannabis history, law and advocacy. We examine the breadth of cannabis cultivars and products on the market and how they affect the body. We also highlight customer relations and areas unique to cannabis retail including product handling security and patient safety.

First, we cover foundational knowledge we believe every cannabis professional industry should know — the history of cannabis, laws, and regulations relevant to production and sales, and the many ways in which humans use the plant to their benefit.

Then, we delve into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, learning about the beneficial compounds found within the plant and how they interact with the body to produce desired effects. 

We explore the multitude of ways in which cannabis can be consumed — from smoking and edibles to topicals and transdermals — and the various methods that have been developed to extract compounds from the plant and prepare them for consumption.

We define the crucial role of the budtender and develop the skills needed to succeed in the job. We discuss day-to-day life inside the dispensary, and how it differs from other retail and customer service work environments. 

We explain how a budtender serves as an ambassador for the entire cannabis industry, and outline some of the unique responsibilities that come with selling products that have powerful medical and therapeutic benefits. 

We look at some of the specific aspects of working in a dispensary that make it different from other customer service jobs, including product handling requirements and enhanced on-site security.

From there, we work on strategies for encouraging safe consumption. We walk through questions to identify customers’ goals for consuming cannabis and gauge their level of experience with various methods of ingestion. We discuss applying that information to recommend products your customers will love, which will help you develop a loyal following. 

We cover key issues related to consumer safety, including appropriate dosing, potential side effects, and population groups for whom cannabis consumption could pose a higher risk of negative health outcomes.

Finally, we learn more about what actually drives the differences in effects among cultivars, and examine the lack of standardization in cannabis cultivar labeling. We wrap up with strategies for helping customers and patients select cultivars that will achieve their desired effect.

Cannabis Budtending Topics

Advocacy for the Cannabis Industry

History and Policies of Cannabis

Federal vs State Law

Introduction to Cannabis Science

Safety & Efficacy of Medical Cannabis

Methods of Ingestion & Delivery Systems

Introduction to Extractions

Budtending Foundations

Customer & Patient Relations

Cannabis Dosing & Effects

Cultivar Selection


Our Students Love Us

Jeanette Wright


“What I learned at Oaksterdam was how to advocate and what to do to change policy. It is a true university of cannabis education.”

Erika Osueke


“I started doing classes at Oaksterdam and used them as stepping stones to show companies I am really serious about entering the industry.”

Anthony Alegrete


“I had experience in business but not any formal knowledge in cannabis. I needed help so I came to the experts at Oaksterdam University.”

Self-Paced Courses

Get certified by studying where and when you want, no matter how hectic your schedule is. The curriculum includes text, videos, and a library of resources. Be flexible and free to work as you please at any speed that suits your needs.

Still Unsure Which Way to Go?

Speak to an Advisor!

Our student advisors will be happy to help you pick the path that’s best for you!


Related Courses

Not Interested in the Full Course? Try Our À la Carte Classes!

Should You Tip Your Budtender?

Should You Tip Your Budtender?

Many dispensaries keep “tip” jars near the cash registers in the United States. No suggested tip or percentage of the transaction is considered standard, like in other industries. Budtenders should not assume or expect customers to tip, although many will drop their...

Budtending in a Barcelona Cannabis Club

Budtending in a Barcelona Cannabis Club

Helga Bucher works at High Class Social Club in Barcelona, one of the hundreds of private consumption lounges that have cropped up in the city despite cannabis being illegal in Spain.  "It is not like a dispensary United States," Bucher says. "One of the most...

How Reymon Brown Makes New Dispensary Customers Comfortable

How Reymon Brown Makes New Dispensary Customers Comfortable

Reymon Brown has always loved cannabis and wanted to parlay it into a career, especially as he saw his home state of Massachusetts legalize adult use. He decided to pursue a budtending job to get a crash course in the business as he explores the possibility of getting into the ownership side through a social equity program. 

As a budtender, he strives to develop relationships with customers …

Jeff Jones and the Origins of “Budtending”

Jeff Jones and the Origins of “Budtending”

The history of the modern dispensary and much of its associated terminology can be traced to the Bay Area, where a group of advocates began to openly distribute medical marijuana in the late 1980s.

At that time, Dennis Peron and “Brownie Mary” Jane Rathbun made national headlines by openly providing cannabis to AIDS patients in San Francisco. A young Jeff Jones saw them on CNN from his home in South Dakota and was inspired to move west to be a part of it.

Read more about the movement in this excerpt from The Budtender’s Guide, Oaksterdam’s new book for dispendary professionals and cannabis consumers.

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