People learning to be marijuana sommeliers are shown in a handout photo from the Trichome Institute, a cannabis education company in Denver, Colo. A marijuana aficionado in Colorado has launched a program he hopes will make the title of cannabis interpener as familiar as wine sommelier, cheesemonger and chocolatier. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

High school? Colorado outfit offers niche program for marijuana sommeliers

Cannabis

High School? Colorado outfit offers niche program for marijuana sommeliers

VANCOUVER — A marijuana aficionado in Colorado has launched a program he hopes will make the title of cannabis interpener as familiar as wine sommelier, cheesemonger and chocolatier.

Max Montrose, the 29-year-old president and co-founder of the Trichrome Institute in Denver, said he designed the niche curriculum, which teaches students how to become marijuana experts, after he became fed up with the inconsistent quality and improper naming rampant in the blossoming industry.

“Imagine going to a bar and ordering a stout and being served a Pilsner,” he said. “That’s what’s happening in cannabis right now.”

Montrose defines interpening as the practice of assessing the quality and psychotropic effects of a cannabis flower using only sight and smell.

Cannabis has grown increasingly mainstream in recent years. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Five other states plus Washington D.C. have since followed suit, and the Canadian government says it plans to legalize the drug by next summer.

Montrose said the word interpening, pronounced in-TER’-puh-ning, comes from a hybrid of “interpreting terpenes.” Terpenes are what give marijuana its distinct aroma, he explained.

The courses are modeled after the wine sommelier program. Level one involves a 3.5-hour lecture and costs about C$220, while the second level costs about $335 and includes the lecture as well as a sight-and-smell workshop, followed by a test.

For the exam, students must take 10 jars of unlabelled cannabis and identify the five that are unacceptable because of problems like pest and mould and say why, then order the remaining five samples from most stimulating to most sedating.

Level three is still being finalized, but so far it is invite only and consists of an essay on the horticulture and history of cannabis as well as dissecting buds and training in hashish, an extract of the cannabis plant, Montrose said.

Fewer than half the students who take the test pass, he said, adding that distinguishing between a couple of subtly different strains of cannabis can be as delicate as distinguishing between two feelings in the nose that are millimetres apart.

“It is a skill. It’s an art. It’s a science. But it’s definitely something that can be learned,” he said.

Andrew Mieure became a level two interpener last year. He owns Denver-based Top Shelf Budtending, which runs high-end, private, cannabis-tasting events, and took the interpening course to improve his understanding of marijuana.

Mieure predicted the future of the cannabis industry will be about the all-round experience and not just getting high.

“The smell and taste profiles are, a lot of the time, what people enjoy most,” he said. ”When you crack open a fresh jar of cannabis and you’re smelling it for the first time, that to me is the beautiful part of being a cannabis sommelier.”

Montrose said interpening goes beyond the work of wine sommeliers and beer cicerones because a good interpener can determine the psychotropic impacts a particular strain.

“It’s more than just cool and fun. It’s important,” he said.

“We’re at a time and place where there’s no quality certification for cannabis and there’s no method to determine the psychoactive effect of cannabis outside of interpening.”

Montrose gave the example of a patient with post-traumatic stress disorder being sold a stimulating cannabis variety instead of a sedating one under the same name, which he said could trigger paranoia.

Trichome also created the responsible vendor program, which is approved by the state marijuana division, Montrose said.

Just Posted

Huge RV resort proposed for Buffalo Lake

Some residents feel 800-lot RV resort too big for area

Updated: Red Deer gets WHL Bantam Draft and Awards Banquet

WHL will holds its draft and awards ceremony in Red Deer for next three years

Land wanted for Central Alberta Foodgrains project

23rd year for Lacombe area charity

Stolen vehicle found thanks to tip from motorist

Charges laid against Red Deer man and Leduc County woman

City prepares for legal marijuana

Legalized recreational marijuana expected to have impact on many city policies

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

Evangelist Billy Graham, who reached millions, dies at 99

MONTREAT, N.C. — The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life… Continue reading

Amid a flood of plastic, big companies see opportunity

LONDON — Public awareness of the problem of plastic waste is swelling… Continue reading

Ambulance’s slow response time angers family

Woman suffers stroke, waits nearly an hour for ambulance

Over-burdened refugee tribunal ditches legislated timelines for hearings

OTTAWA — The Immigration and Refugee Board is giving up on following… Continue reading

Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off profile: Troy Gillard

** Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off takes place on April 14 at the Sheraton Red Deer

New mobile paramedic program starts in Red Deer

Paramedics provide on-site care to those with chronic conditions

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month