A trade school in Colorado is training foodies and weed enthusiasts to become pot 'sommeliers'

marijuana tasting menu
marijuana tasting menu

(Diners smoke marijuana as they eat dishes prepared by chefs in Lyons, Colorado.Brennan Linsley/AP)

Science tells us that the munchies — a phenomenon in which marijuana users overeat while high — is a real thing. Pizza never tasted so good after a joint.

Now a school in Denver aims to add a touch of class to this stoner tradition.

The Trichome Institute, a marijuana trade school, offers training to become a pot sommelier. Just as a wine sommelier pairs gourmet meals with the perfect whites and reds, a weed steward studies the plant's smell and taste and makes expert food choices to go along with it.

A three-course pairing dinner prepared by one recent graduate might include rib eye steak with chili relleno and Gorilla Glue, a popular marijuana strain that can cause euphoria and "couch lock." Dessert may be a white chocolate crème brûlée served with a side of Blue Dream marijuana.

The experience, which includes a limousine ride to a nearby dispensary, costs $125 a head.

marijuana dinner pairing menu
marijuana dinner pairing menu

(A menu shows the dishes paired with certain strains of weed during an evening of pairings of fine food and craft marijuana.Brennan Linsley/AP)

An untrained nose might think all marijuana smells like roadkill, but the plant's olfactory makeup is complicated. Sticky resin glands that look like crystals hang on the marijuana bud and produce fragrant oils called terpenes. When smoked, these organic compounds bind to receptors in the brain and cause different effects.

Marijuana, like wine, comes in lots of varieties. The terpene content differs from one plant to another. Understanding those differences is the foundation of being a weed sommelier.

chef marijuana kitchen
chef marijuana kitchen

(Chef Christopher Sayegh weighs marijuana extract oil in his kitchen in Los Angeles, California.Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

At the Trichome Institute, students learn to distinguish marijuana plant varieties through a series of lectures and laboratories in which they dissect live cannabis samples. They also discuss what foods might go best with each. At the end, teachers award certifications.

An introductory- and advanced-level course package costs $199.

As the marijuana industry steps out of the shadows, the audience for carefully curated experiences around marijuana and food will likely grow. The weed sommeliers that emerge from the Trichome Institute will be waiting for them in Denver.

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