How to train a workforce in CBD

Updated 30.08.22

Education is an essential tool in combatting years of erroneous claims about the cannabis plant. 

From the endocannabinoid system to manufacturing practices, unique selling points and getting that retail pitch perfect – CBD can present a never-ending learning curve for those new to this arena. Where do you begin as a manager? What’s to be expected from new members of your team? 

With multiple learning platforms now available, Cannabinoid Insight has taken a closer look at two of these resources to find out more about training a workforce, or individual,  in CBD. 

Ed Koyuncu is the founder of the online learning platform for plant science, Plantific.

Ed began learning about medical cannabis eight years ago. He says people working in CBD and medical cannabis today need ‘reliable, unbiased, scientific information’ presented in a way that makes learning fun and easy to navigate.

“I think there is lots of terminology and jargon that we use in the industry – most people don’t know what this means. People are still confused about the difference between hemp and cannabis, and even CBD and THC.”

The founder of the ed tech platform, which works with pharmaceutical and distribution companies as well as healthcare professionals, says a skills gap has emerged which needs to be addressed in the years to come. 

“We have a serious skills gap in the world… We need to train a significant number of people, then certify these people and reassess them. But we also need to see more upskilling.”

Plantific currently offers six core chapters on cannabis, based on each individual’s background and needs. The accredited programme caters to multiple disciplines, including doctors, pharmacists and scientists who want to upskill. 

“When a company comes to us and says, ‘we have X number of employees, how do we train them?’ We can provide the course that already exists or we can make bespoke content for them. We make it accessible and available for their particular audience, not just medical professionals. There is a lack of understanding about cannabis science throughout government departments and law enforcement, educating these professionals is integral to progress this emerging industry.

Salespeople in any industry are expected to be well-versed in what they’re selling, but when it comes to CBD, they may also need to have a deeper understanding of how it works. They also need to be confident in what claims they can or can’t make, or risk facing the wrath of advertising and trading standards. 

Marketing director at British Cannabis, Steve Batchelor, believes no information is too basic when it comes to training salespeople. 

“The ethos we advise with training salespeople in this industry is this: never assume that information is too basic. It always pays to double check on people’s presumptions or prior understanding of cannabis and cannabis-derived products like CBD. 

“Take the time to break down jargon or highly technical information into more relatable examples.” 

Steve (pictured) wants more people to know about the British Cannabis Academy, a learning programme developed for newcomers to CBD, including retail staff. He says: 

“The modular approach to this course means that only what’s relevant to the audience in question needs to be included.”

The cannabis course, led by the manufacturer behind the pharmacy CBD range Canabidol, covers topics like selling in a compliant way, how CBD is made, product origin and more.