What does it mean to be a Cannabis Connoisseur?
Is the term overused in cannabis marketing?
I recently tried a 510 cartridge from Top Leaf. The strain was called Florida Lemons. It’s possible the name was too suggestive, but it really did taste like a Florida lemon. Regardless, it had a nice citrus flavour. I liked it.
Florida Lemons was a true hybrid, and had a THC range of 72-85%. It got me where I wanted to go. I would buy Florida Lemons again as well as other strains from Top Leaf.
Top Leaf is owned by Sundial Group, which is an international company. All of Sundial Group’s Canadian Cannabis is grown at a facility in Alberta. I was reading Sundial Group’s investor relations presentation and discovered that Top Leaf is considered (by Sundial) as their “connoisseur/premium pricing” line in their portfolio of brands.
This made me think, what is a connoisseur? And what does it mean to be a connoisseur? When marketers talk about connoisseurism, do they have the same things in mind as the actual connoisseurs?
Is the term Connoisseur overused?
I recently saw a post on linkedin about over-used words in the cannabis industry.
She’s right. I’m guilty of using some of these words myself. Craft, Quality, Premium. What do those words even mean? Quality could mean six different things to six different people.
A word that irks me is cannaseur. I’ve seen it as cannaseur and cannabis connoisseur. It’s meant to be the same thing. Many brands use it to describe their product. It’s for connoisseurs, or they call their product connoisseur grade. Okay, but what does that mean? What are you trying to express about the quality of the product other than it’s good?
I think the over-usage of the same words is problematic. It implies that there are few differentiators in the industry. At the very least, marketers don’t know enough about their audience to find new differentiators. Like I’ve said before, competition is fierce is Cannabis. It’s now a national market with a number of major players. You need to stand out. Marketing a product for connoisseurs is not enough of a differentiator.
Connoisseur feels like a word that’s been relied on too heavily without much further explanation. I understand the term in principle, it’s someone who really likes weed. Someone who knows the plant inside and out and enjoys consuming it. Beyond that, I feel like cannabis marketing departments are using the word as a hey you. You know who you are. Come buy our stuff because you’re a connoisseur, right? Well this is for you?
Connoisseur feels like too much of a blanket term with a lack of definition.
In looking to define a cannaseur or cannabis connoisseur, it’s important to understand connoisseurism. You can be a connoisseur in all sorts of subjects: (This list is not exhaustive)
Anything you can think of, someone has gone out of their way to learn extensively about the particular subject. Someone has poured over the topic in question and now consider themselves experts. These people are not just knowledgeable in their subject of interest, but are driven by their knowledge. They are often driven to seek out the best of the best. The fastest cars, the best scotch, the nicest meats, the loudest guitars, the nicest beaches, the stickiest of the icky.
A connoisseur is equal parts historian, teacher, tester, searcher, student and judge in their field. They are driven by a need to have first hand experiences that further their knowledge in whatever it is they care about. They know they don’t know everything, but they definitely know more than you.
They know that no two products are the same and look for intricacies and differences between experiences. They scrutinize the experience down to the most minute details. They also know that many products are inferior. Cannabis is no different. The product varies in so many ways, creating opportunities for Cannaseurs to have rich experiences with every new product they try and then go onto review the product.
So what does a cannabis experience look like?
Let’s start at the beginning, before you have that bag of bud in your hand. Where did it come from? Who grew it? Why did they grow that particular strain? Was it an indoor or outdoor grow? Did they grow that strain because of the effects of the plant of because of the yield from the grow? Where is this strain from originally? Was it designed in a lab or does it descend from India or Afghanistan or Jamaica?
Do you know what your bud will do to you? Did they say the words ‘Sativa’, ‘Indica’, or ‘Hybrid’? Did they perhaps give you a THC or CBD range? It should say all of those things on the packaging.
Now, open the bag of bud your local budtender recommended. Is there a smell? Does it stay inside the bag or does it escape? Sneaking out to full the room with its rich odor. Does it give off a skunky smell or something like pine or diesel fill your room? Maybe even a floral smell.
Reach into the bag, take out a nug. Hold it up so you can see it. How big is it? Is it small or is it big? Is it more square or rounded? Look closer. Are there are colors other than green. Sometimes there are streaks of orange, red or purple in the plant. That’s normal.
Now take out your grinder (use a metal grinder, don’t use plastic. Plastic ones eventually break up into your weed), take off the lid and break the bud up enough to fit into the part with the teeth. Put the lid back on. Now twist. Keep twisting. Twist until you stop feeling resistance from your grinder.
Open the grinder again. When the bud is ground up, does the smeller get stronger? Does it fill the room even more? It’s time to roll. Take your filter and your paper, roll the filter into a cylinder and sit the filter inside the paper. Make sure the gluey end of the paper is facing inward and on the top. Fill the paper with bud and lick the glue. Now roll tight. Especially around the filter. When the paper is tight around and the joint is starting to take shape, Twist the end off. You’re ready to smoke.
Got a light?
It’s lit. Inhale, then hold it. 1, 2, 3, release. First, how does it taste? Sweet, earthy, sour, spicy perhaps? How does it smell, different right?
Watch it burn
How do you feel? Relaxed, euphoric, hungry? Is there a tingling in your arms and legs? Don’t worry, that’s normal too. Is it a strong feeling or is it mild? Does it take over your thoughts and make you giggle or is it more in the background? Congratulations, that is the connoisseur’s experience.
Think about what you’ve just experienced. Who would you tell? How would you talk about it?
Where do people talk about weed online?
The rise of the internet has created a culture of reviewing. People love to review shit. They like to leave good reviews, bad reviews. People love writing bad reviews. Some people seem to have this need to tell you what they think. Often the information they’ve chosen to have made public is important or valuable.
At a job I used to have, management used to comb through google reviews for mention of their departments. They particularly liked it when competing departments got bad reviews.
I personally use reddit when looking for opinions on cannabis. There are a number of communities devoted to talking about bud. Leafly is also a good source for reviews, as well Weedmaps. Many people also use Quora to discuss pot.
Some of the Reddit communities I post this blog to are:
Reddit is mostly anonymous. Which means you might get the odd troll, but it is often quite honest. People seem more comfortable giving their unbiased opinions when their names aren’t attached to their statements.
Let me put that in less words for you.
Cannabis connoisseurs have an interest in:
• The history of the plant
• The grow
• The genetics
• The terpene profile
• The effects
• The potency
• Appearance (colour, size)
No two experiences are the same and connoisseurs have preferences based on the aforementioned list. Some people want smells, others want colors, others are looking for higher THC, or interesting terpene profiles. Take the most relevant and important features of your bud and focus on selling them to connoisseurs.
Go deeper for your connoisseurs.
These are people who would pass up bud if they didn’t think it was up to their standards. They are seasoned consumers and it is hard to get one over on them.
To understand it in more intimate terms, you have to undertake the experience yourself. You’ll never understand the experience of driving a Lamborghini until you get behind the wheel and get the damn thing on the road.
There’s no feeling like seeing Bruce Springsteen or Elton John in person. And you can’t beat rolling a nice joint sometimes. Especially when you know you’re getting a product that’s actually up to your high standards.
Now that we’ve covered what a connoisseur is, hopefully marketers will see this and work harder to find new words to use when speaking to connoisseurs. I’ve just given you a good idea of what cannaseurs look for in a cannabis experience and where to find their conversations.
You have the attention of connoisseurs. Tell them more than you’re telling them currently about why they should be smoking your weed. Show them what you have. This ‘hey you! Connoisseur over there” is vague and ineffective. Eventually connoisseurs will move on to producers with a better get.
I want to hear from you!
If you have something you want me to write about, email me at [email protected] If you’re a connoisseur or cannaseur feel like I’m missing something, email me and give me a piece of your mind!
And if I made you think, please a tip. I promise I will spend it on weed.
About the author
I'm a copywriter. My first thought was to create a library of cannabis information but I've decided to expand my writing.
I used to write for an agency that specialized in merchandising for influencers. Check it out.