Budtending (Self‑Paced)

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.

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

About Our Self-Paced Courses

Self-Paced Programs are asynchronous, meaning you may log on and complete the courses anytime, anywhere that is convenient for you. You can access the course online as soon as you enroll.

Programs consist of reading materials developed by our expert faculty, accompanied by videos, texts, and recommended resources.

All self-paced programs include live links to a wealth of information that allow you to dig deeper into subjects of particular interest.

Each program also includes a Virtual Video and Resource Library with corresponding recorded lectures from our faculty.

Self-paced students receive access to virtual field trips, grow labs, the Oaksterdam Alumni Network, and more.

Completion of all requirements results in OU certification.

Budtending (Self‑Paced)

Certification Program


This virtual course can be done on your own time, from anywhere in the world. Simply log on and take the modules at your own pace. The course consists of the same curriculum as our Live Semesters, developed by our professional faculty, and provides companion material and recommend reading you may follow to take a deeper dive. It also includes a video and resource library complete with lectures recorded during our Live Classroom experience, to appeal to different learning styles. Students have 180 days to complete all the required materials and mastery exercises.


Certification Program

A certificate of completion may be printed upon successfully passing the final exam.

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