Everyone wants high quality in their cannabis products. With premium flower, you’ll experience delicious flavors, relaxing aromas and a pleasant high while substandard flower will result in a funky mouth-taste and undesirable effects.
But how do you know if you’re buying the best cannabis on the market? Shopping at a reputable dispensary you trust is a great start, but it also helps to know the difference between a high and low-quality product for yourself. Go from canna curious to canna connoisseur with our quality guide.
Ah, yes. For those who know, a strong, “dank” aroma is a surefire sign that you’ve got some quality product on your hands. When you open a bag, the smell should hit your nostrils right away. High-quality cannabis has a pungent, pleasant scent, and while some buds smell stronger than others, generally speaking a stronger smell is more desirable, indicating a high terpene content.
Smells can differ greatly based on terpenes—some might be more lemony, fruity or earthy, while others have floral or skunky scents. All of these are indicators of quality cannabis, so long as it’s a pleasant and strong odor. If the bud smells like hay, however—or nothing at all—it likely wasn’t cured properly. If a particular flower smells musty, damp, foul or has a very faint scent, these are signs that the sample may be low-quality, exposed to mold, or not cured correctly.
Premium flower should have a healthy green tint, though it can range from a lighter green to darker green, depending on the strain. You may also see hints of purple, pink, blue, red or orange. Brown coloration is a sign of oxidization, which means it’s likely old or was stored improperly. It’s more likely to be harsher to smoke, have low potency and have higher levels of CBN, a byproduct of degradation that promotes sleepiness.
If your cannabis is too leafy, that indicates the trimming process wasn’t done meticulously. Leaves add weight but don’t contain active ingredients, so you don’t want to see too many leaves in your flower. When it comes to potency, those white, microscopic hairs known as trichomes will probably be the most conclusive. Generally speaking, the more crystals, the higher the THC content.
Buds should be fat and dense. Fluffy, loose cannabis is usually a sign of poor quality. Like a fruit at the market, they should be firm when you squeeze them and make a slight crunchy sound. You also want something that’s not too dry and a little bit “sticky,” but still easy to grind. You also want a nice high flower-to-stem ratio—lots of visible leaves or seeds indicate an inferior product.
When in doubt, ask your budtender!
The best way to guarantee you are consistently purchasing top-quality cannabis products is to ask effective questions to your Common Citizen budtenders. Most cannabis sold at reputable dispensaries will market their product by effect and potency, so it's up to you to decide what’s worth the extra cost. Aside from overall quality, identifying characteristics in cannabis you find appealing will help you get the product you want.
What do you look for in bud quality? Let us know @commoncitizenry.