Interpening: Cannabis Sommelier Certification

Interpening Course Overview

Interpreting Terpenes

The Art and Science of the Cannabis Sommelier

The world’s first cannabis sommelier program created to help you evaluate flower quality and predict effects.

Interpening is a solution to the cannabis industry’s most significant issues because it empowers Interpeners to identify the quality and effects of cannabis without a lab test, product description, or vague categories like Indica or Sativa.

Understanding the complexity of cannabis effect types through their aroma spectrum is the unique art and science to becoming an Interpener. 
Interpeners overcome the complexities of cannabis flower by evaluating the overall quality and predicting the effects based on aroma profiles and sensations.
As a sommelier tastes, smells and identifies wine varieties, an Interpener achieves the same with cannabis. Throughout the course, you will learn about the similarities between cannabis and wine and how the process of interpening cannabis quality, flavor, effects, and more was inspired by the culture of sommeliers.

An Interpening Certification will help you:

  • Accurately determine flower quality without a lab test
  • Pinpoint the psychoactive effects of flower within the sedative to stimulating spectrum
  • Become proficient in cannabis terminology, anatomy, and speciation
  • Navigate the many myths and challenges within the cannabis industry
  • Guide patients, customers, family, and friends how to select the best flower for their needs
  • Separate yourself from other job applicants with a Certification from Trichome Institute

Course Topics

Interpening was inspired by the world of wine classification. As the cannabis industry develops, many elements of wine classification, like appellations, terroir, and typicity will carry over into cannabis—because flower from an outdoor farm in California is completely different from flower produced in a massive indoor operation in Colorado.

The categorization and naming of cannabis varieties and strains is misleading and inconsistent, due mainly to the gradual transition from black to legal markets. We explain why “Indica” and “Sativa” are inaccurate designations, and we unravel the strain name dilemma: is your Blue Dream really Blue Dream? 

Professor of Southwest Studies, Santiago Guerra, joins us to uncover the history of this loaded word, from its origins in indigenous resistance to colonial oppression, through its use in mid twentieth-century racist government propaganda, to its restoration as a word full of rich history and culture.

Cola, bud, flower, nug, inflorescence… what’s the difference? We’ll give you a close-up look at the cannabis plant’s parts and help you identify mature trichomes—which is where the chemistry we care about happens.

It’s the chemistry that makes this plant so amazing and its effects and benefits so diverse! Over 100 cannabinoids, 150 terpenes, and 20 flavonoids have been identified in cannabis, and there are huge variations across strains. We’ll give you a grasp of the most common compounds that create the spectrum of effects from sedative to stimulating as well as a taste of the medicinal possibilities ahead as more research opens up.

If you’ve ever smoked cannabis, you’ve also smoked botrytis, powdery mildew, jar rot, spider mites, fungus gnats, excess synthetic nutrients, and probably a handful of hair too! And sometimes flower without any of those issues is still really bad. This is the section you’ll wish you never knew about!

Sure, everyone knows the cannabis aroma—it’s dank! But in the art and science of interpening, we analyze the nuances of aroma and use the data the nose knows to evaluate flower quality and determine its likely effects. Here we dive into how your olfactory system and trigeminal nerve work together in interpreting terpenes.

Interpening is a methodology for assessing flower quality and predicting how it will affect you. We’ll teach you how to identify all of the physical and aromatic characteristics that determine where the flower falls on the spectrum of effects from sedative to stimulating.

Interpening explores new and unique concepts that most people typically find unfamiliar. The course and book unveil exotic topics from the perspective of a cannabis sommelier involving appellations, terroir, and typicity. In addition to cannabis anatomy, Interpening is the first cannabis education program that investigates micro-seeds and undiscovered trichome types. Above all, the most distinctive aspect of Interpening is unlocking your trigeminal nerve to identify the effects of cannabis. The skills you will learn throughout the Interpening program will allow you to confidently overcome the indica-sativa dilemma, speciation controversy, and other challenges.

Feature Reviews


An Interpener, pronounced in-terp-en-er, is a cannabis sommelier. A sommelier is a highly respected wine expert, which is where the term was borrowed from. There are expert titles for many industries. A nose is a fragrance expert. A monger works for both fish and cheese. A cicerone is a beer expert. A cupper is a coffee expert. As an interpener, you should have the same level of knowledge as other industry professionals.
Interpening is a combination of the words interpreting and terpenes. Trichome Institute has trained and certified over 4,000 Interpeners worldwide.

Consumers: Interpening will give you confidence when selecting flower in a dispensary and will help ensure that you find high-quality flower with the effect type you’re looking for regardless of a lab test or strain name.

Budtenders: Whether you’re looking to get a job at a dispensary or further develop your career with your current dispensary, Interpening will help expand your knowledge, increase customer satisfaction, and separate yourself from others with your certification.

Marketers and Businesses: Interpening helps better brand your products and marketing campaigns by expanding your vocabulary and understanding of unique cannabis concepts that are rooted in the modern industry, not misconceptions from the black market.

Medical Professionals: Interpening helps guide patients in finding safe products with the effect type they need without being overwhelmed by the countless options in a dispensary.

Cannabis Judges: As a cannabis cup judge, Interpening will help you formally grade cannabis based on objective observations instead of strain names, company reputation, and lab tests.<
Generally speaking, there are three types of individuals that earn a certification. The first are those who want to understand how to identify cannabis quality for their own personal and safe consumption. The second includes budtenders and other dispensary employees who wish to have a deep understanding of cannabis flower history, quality, effects, and other in-depth topics so that they are best able to educate their customers. The third type of Interpener includes those who aren’t working directly with customers but are still involved with flower touch-points such as cultivation, extraction, distribution, buying, and sourcing. 
Trichome Institute is currently working with various partners, including Texas A&M and Abstrax, on research projects to create a publicly available cannabis grading platform called TAG, Trichome Assurance Grading. We hope to be hiring TAG Technicians soon, which will be the fourth type of Interpener!

At this time there are two interpening courses. The first is the Professional Interpening course which is 100% online and is a prerequisite to the Advanced Interpening course. Advanced Interpening is an in-person training course that will be instructed by the founder of Trichome Institue, Max Montrose. The next available Advanced Interpening course will happen in late 2022 in the Pacific Northwest. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on the course.

The course is designed to learn at your own pace. 🙌

The video lessons are prerecorded! You can take as long you need. You are allowed 3 attempts on the exam to earn your certification. We want to help you succeed and get the most out of your Trichome education.

Success Tip: If you don’t pass the exam on the first go around, we recommend re-watching the videos. Take notes!

Interpening Book & Tools


Interpening Book Reviews

This art and science of characterizing marijuana varieties through olfactory training adds the crucial next dimension in deciding on your next purchase in this ncreasingly complex contemporary marketplace”
Rick Strassman, MD

Author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule

Montrose’s pioneering books teaches readers how to use their senses to evaluate cannabis quality as well as predict potency and physical effects, thus imparting invaluable practical knowledge to connoisseurs and patients alike.”

Nishi Whiteley

Author of Chronic Relief: A Guide to Cannabis for the Terminally and Chronically Ill


The Interpening loop is an easy-to-use, fun, informative tool that flips in and out of itself four times for understanding the interpening process. The loop guides you through assessing cannabis quality and predicting the psychotropic effects based on the flower’s visual characteristics and aromatic profile. The Interpening Loop is a fantastic reference and a great quick-learning tool essential for all Interpener cannabis sommeliers.

The Weed Wheel is a guide to Interpening cannabis within the broad to narrow leaf, or sedative to stimulating spectrum. The Weed Wheel helps you gauge hybrid cannabis effect types, determine potential potency from personal tolerance, and understand the different mental and physical effects of different cannabis types

Sommeliers and Cicerones have aromatic training kits that help them learn the complexities of beer and wine. Cannabis interpeners now have an aromatic training kit too!

The Interpening Aromatic Training Kit comes with 9 liquid and 3 crystalline isolated terpenes to learn and practice the art and science of Interpening.

The tools in this kit will train your trigeminal nerve perception, improve common terpene memorization, and walk you through the broad to narrow leaf aromatic spectrum, classic OG cannabis strains (typicity), and more. It comes with a seven-page instructional PDF to break down the terpenes and guide you along the way with your scent perception technique.

Complete your interpening tool chest with some smelly terp goodness!

Liquid Oil Terpenes:

  • Beta-Myrcene
  • D-Limonene
  • Beta-Caryophyllene
  • Linalool Oxide
  • Terpinolene
  • Alpha-Pinene

Crystalline Terpenes:

  • Camphene
  • Fenchyl Alcohol
  • L-Menthol

OG Typicity Profiles:

  • Gelato
  • Blue Dream
  • All Natural Jack

Visit our Shop to view Interpening Bundle Options

Click on the unlocked sample lessons below to preview the course ↓

Course Details
Course Instructors

Max Montrose

Brandon Allen