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How to Become a Weed Sommelier

Have some OG Kush with your Cabernet

Marijuana Grow Near Albany For State's Legal Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Just as the coffee, cheese, and wine industries have masterful professionals qualified to distinguish nuances in each product, the marijuana market is developing its own class of people schooled in the specifics of the plant’s flavor profiles. These weed sommeliers — or “budtenders,” if you will — understand the complexities of that sticky icky icky and can educate the masses on which foods and beverages to pair with which strain.

Companies such as Cultivating Spirits and the Trichome Institute offer pairing events and classes on how to distinguish flavors of marijuana, as Quartz reports, and are prepared to guide chilled-out enthusiasts toward a greater understanding of weed.

Marijuana contains organic compounds called terpenes and flavonoids (which are, incidentally, also found in wine) that produce the flavor. Terpenes impact aroma and flavonoids impact color and taste, but when it comes to cannabis, 80 percent of taste is in the smell, according to Cultivating Spirits. The company’s founder, Peter Wolf, undertook two levels of marijuana study at the Trichome Institute, Bloomberg reports, and now puts on dinners and events for people itching to learn what wine they should pour with their weed appetizer.

Participants in these pairing classes should follow the “puff, eat, drink” order to best pick up the subtleties of the weed, food, and wine, though the question remains whether people can get too high to detect the nuances of the pairings. If the more traditional roots of education hold appeal, Trichome offers a series of courses in weed studies, both in person and online.

Though recreational marijuana is legal only in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Colorado (where both Cultivating Spirits and Trichome originated), the push for national legalization continues, and these companies are getting the country prepared.

A group of sommeliers previously shared with Eater their insights on what pairs best with weed, and some companies are even starting to produce alcohol-cannabis combos such as weed vodka.

Want to become a weed sommelier? There’s a school for that [Quartz]

The Pot Sommelier: Weed Next to Wine at the Dinner Table [Bloomberg]

Try Smoking a Joint With Your Next Glass of Wine [E]

All Marijuana Coverage on Eater [E]