As a marijuana grower who runs a craft cannabis business serving several marijuana consumers, I liken myself to a restaurateur or chef planning a customized menu for diners who’ve specified the foods they love to eat and their dietary requirements.
Any grower who provides cannabis to non-growers should understand how to give customers what they want, and learn how to plan a cannabis grow-op menu that offers a diverse range of strains ideal for each client.
Every consumer interacts with cannabis idiosyncratically. One size doesn’t fit all. As a grower, I’ve committed to providing custom-grown strains and a few processed cannabis concentrate products.
What’s more, I discovered that sincerely paying attention to what my bud buddies want from their cannabis experience is a portal to increasing grow success. The key factor is that understanding my customers guides what I grow, when I grow it.
The first thing I do at the start of every grow season is create and consult a brief biography of each of my customers, with emphasis on their cannabis preferences and consumption patterns. This helps with my marijuana seasonal planning and how I match my grow-room choices to my clientele’s needs.
Following is an anonymized excerpt of my customers’ cannabis biographies, which helps me plan my grow and map out my overheads.
The Customer Who Vapes Cannabis For Relaxation
Anna is a 43-year-old fitness coach, part-time university professor, and competing triathlete. She consumes cannabis primarily to decrease chronic pain from her athletic regimen and competitions, as well as to relax.
I’ve provided her with samples of heavy indicas, 50-50 indica and sativa crosses, Kush strains, sativa strains, and a high CBD. She prefers the 50-50 strains.
Anna’s consumption rate is one half ounce to one ounce per month, which she consumes through vaporization. She’s a steady customer who pays cash and is always willing to meet me in a safe public place to exchange buds for money. She’s reported that the cannabis advice I’ve provided has helped her train more energetically so she performs better in triathlons.
The Customer Who Takes Edibles For Pain Management
Jacob is a 69-year-old retired electrical engineer. I have great empathy for this guy, due to the chronic pain he experiences. Having been hit broadside in his car by a drunk driver, the injuries will always cause Jacob lingering pain, pins and needles, and encroaching arthritis. He’s admitted worry about his growing reliance on harsh painkillers.
By the time I first met him, Jacob was already an enthusiastic believer in the positive effects of medical marijuana, having conducted research of his own.
He only wanted pure indica and pure Kush, and it had to be sticky and tasty, too. He needed it for pain relief and sedation to replace over-the-counter and opiate painkillers. Jacob knew weed worked because someone had shared some cannabis with him and it quickly offered a different and less-debilitating pain relief than he had felt for a long time.
On the occasion when Jacob had suffered through a follow-up surgery and was in serious pain, I suggested marijuana medibles would be a better option than inhaling cannabis, because consuming marijuana orally so that it’s processed through the liver provides a long-lasting body high.
I sold him jars of my homemade marijuana coconut oil extract. Making marijuana extracts requires more time, cost and money, on top of the expenditure for growing the bud used as a base, and I charged him accordingly.
I provided Jacob a pint jar of cannabis coconut oil every three weeks. The pint contained the extracted cannabinoids and terpenoids from an ounce of cannabis. Consuming a tablespoon or even less of this product on an empty stomach every 7–10 hours, Jacob vanquished chronic pain more successfully than when he used opiates and steroids.
Later, when those acute post-surgical pains and complications receded somewhat, I suggested he wean himself off the medible cannabis. I was concerned about the effects on his liver; medibles put a load on the organ as the liver converts THC from Delta-9 to Delta-11 compound form. That conversion is why the edible high is so different than the inhaled and combusted or vaporized high — edibles turn into Delta-11, its own proprietary entourage of effects.
It’s also true that medibles have overall body and mind effects that may interfere with physical activity and cognitive function. Most of us have eaten a stronger dose or more edibles than we intended, and have consequently been laid out for a few hours, able only to surrender to the huge dose of Delta-11, eat something, and wait a few hours for the sledgehammer effects to wear off.
The bottom line was that Jacob wanted to transition back to inhaling cannabis rather than consuming the oil concentrate. My suggestion was for him to get a vaporizer and consume a gram or less of vaporized cannabis as needed. I gave him three strain samples to choose from and advised him to explore and monitor vaporizer temperatures, from 310°F to no higher than about 425°F to see the range of highs and tastes from each temperature.
Jacob experimented with three strains and his new vape, and we measured his consumption rate and amount. I logged in to my planning paradigm that Jacob needs 45 grams of indica per month.
The Customer Who Likes Bubble Hash For Creativity
Jenna, a 29-year-old performance artist, singer-songwriter and graduate student, uses cannabis to stimulate creativity, sexual pleasure, dancing at raves and clubs, and overall mental clarity.
I gave her bud samples to try and her favorite was a pure sativa strain I’d grown nearly a year earlier and had stored in my freezer.
Her preference for this particular strain significantly impacted my marijuana growing plans, because pure sativa strains have a much longer bloom phase than most hybrids, and because they’re more difficult to grow, especially when I’m growing shorter marijuana hybrids at the same time.
Before I committed to be Jenna’s cannabis provider, I calculated the extra cost per ounce that growing pure sativa justified. It would take me 4–5 months for me to grow, harvest, cure and dry the sativa strain, and so I asked Jenna to agree verbally to be a customer for that strain when it was ready. She did agree, but was worried about what to do in the meantime.
To provide her the cannabinoids, terpenoids and stimulating marijuana effects she needed in the interim, I suggested nonsolvent, mechanically produced cannabis concentrates such as dry sift marijuana concentrate and bubble hash, which would be easier to transport and use, and more stimulating than inhaling whole-flower cannabis.
I also schooled Jenna on vaporizer temperature and effects, explaining how one uses precision vaporizer temperature controls to gauge which cannabinoids and terpenoids to inhale.
At higher vaporizer temperatures (390°F and above) you inhale the full entourage of cannabinoids and terpenoids in the bud, including CBD (cannabidiol) and CBN (cannabinol), both of which tend to blunt the THC high that produces psychedelia, euphoria and stimulation.
At lower vaporizer temperatures (from 320–390°F), you inhale mostly THC and are leaving much if not all of the CBD and CBN in the bud. When most of your high comes from vaporized THC without the mitigating effects of other cannabinoids and terpenoids, you get a clearer, more energetic high. Similarly, when you vaporize instead of combust, your high is cleaner physically and psychologically.
Dry sift or bubble hash are easier and stealthier to consume, which was important to Jenna because she wanted to get high just before she went onstage as a performer, or when she arrived at a rave and was ready to dance. In those situations, the odor and practicalities of inhaling dried bud are less copacetic than inhaling dry sift or bubble hash.
She’d never tried dry sift or bubble hash, so we did sampling sessions. She was immediately enthusiastic about the one-hit aspect of cannabis concentrates, the convenience and safety of carrying odorless product, and the stimulating, intense high compared to whole-bud cannabis.
I was able to provide Jenna with the concentrates until the pure sativa’s 12-week bloom phase was finished. She loved the effects of pure sativa buds, and requested I make dry sift and bubble hash from those buds.
As always, when I calculate my pricing, I take into account the baseline cost per ounce, and then add up the costs in terms of time, bud, and expertise to further process flower into concentrates. When I truly listen to my customers and meet their needs, they don’t go looking for cannabis elsewhere, and they gladly pay whatever I ask.
The Customer Who Wants To Grow His Own But Can’t
Tim is a tax attorney who’d like to grow his own weed, but is unable to safely and prudently do it. For one thing, Tim has four children — all aged under 15. His wife doesn’t like cannabis, which is a source of great despair for him. And if he was ever caught growing, he’d lose his law license. For these reasons, he depends on me to grow for him.
Tim educated me about the harsh realities of being an attorney. It’s a high-pressure job that for him includes 12-hour days trapped behind a desk conducting legal research, arguing with people, and sitting in meetings with clients and adversaries.
When he gets home, Tim has a family wanting his undivided attention. Thus, he has almost no opportunity to relax, exercise, unwind and rejuvenate himself. Tim admits that if he doesn’t have the right kind of marijuana at hand, he experiences headaches, insomnia, stress disorders, bouts of anger, and his hands start to shake.
Given the amount of pressure he’s under, I can well understand why Tim needs a safe, plant-based medicine to help him cope with life’s demands.
Tim used to roll joints that he’d take a couple of hits from while driving to work. He’d slip out at lunch to do the same thing, always careful to use scented products and breath mints to mask the odor.
I talked him into using vaporizers, but I also went the extra mile, and after learning how to make cannabis tinctures, I made him something that hits hard and fast and leaves no vapor or smoky smell. Green dragon is a super-potent cannabis concentrate tincture that uses Everclear to deliver cannabinoids and terpenoids into the bloodstream and brain in about two minutes, with no combustion or vaporization needed.
So now he buys buds from me, and also buys the green dragon tincture. Tim prefers indica, Afghanica, and Kush-dominant cannabis, but wants strains that include some sativa so he’s not comatose at work or at home. He’s an especially good customer because from time to time he hooks me up with some of his trusted wealthy lawyer friends who want cannabis on an intermittent rather than routine basis.
Tim never complains about prices, and on more than one occasion has given me a bonus payment because my buds and tincture have helped keep him sane and affable as he tackles career and family responsibilities.
Guide Your Grow With A Commitment To Cannabis Consumers
These consumer biographies provide relevant data and a good starting point for planning my seasonal and annual grow-op rotations. I examine the kinds of marijuana the customers want, what form they want their cannabis in, how much dry-weight cannabis I need to produce, and how often.
I add in my own cannabis needs and also look at my mother plants, seeds inventory, and create a grid showing what I’ll grow, for whom, how much, and why. I also calculate the value of my time processing buds into cannabis concentrates and tinctures.
What I love about my cannabis customers is that their desire for the perfect high is a catalyst for my research and efforts to breed new strains, grow strains I wouldn’t otherwise have grown, and learn to make a wider variety of processed cannabis products.
If I have a potential customer who makes snarky comments about my fees, I disengage and cut that person off.
What makes me feel warm and fuzzy is that I’ve had customers tell me that even though they had the option to go to marijuana dispensaries, they won’t because I treat them so well. Trust me on this, that kind of customer satisfaction keeps your marijuana grow business stable and predictable.
And just like a master chef gets a warm sense of fulfillment whenever they look out on a thriving restaurant dining floor filled with happy, well-fed diners, the marijuana grower also take pride in helping their customers reduce pain and increase pleasure.