Whether you’re a seasoned consumer or just getting your pipe in the door, quality marijuana products can be a hard thing to identify at first glance. There are a few ways to tell a quality nug from a less than stellar one, and it goes without saying that no bud is the same.
Depending on the strain, marijuana can have dozens of different attributes and properties that can change the flavor, the effect, the smell, and the overall experience. Knowing what to look for can be a seemingly daunting task for common tokers, but here we’ve identified a few great ways to get started.
Know What You’re Looking For
With so many strains and so many flavors of marijuana to choose from, perhaps the very first thing to consider is the desired effect. Hollywood and movies tend to present marijuana as an herb that makes someone giggly and kind of out of it, but that’s not the case with all strains of marijuana. Most strains have specified names to indicate their flavor and be easily identified in the dispensary, but the most bare bone classification are Sativas and Indica strains.
Sativa marijuana strains tend to have a head high, meaning the experience is more so felt in the brain and head. These strains promote creativity, laughing, an increase in energy, and can be great for social smokers.
Indica marijuana strains are much more body-based. Great for body aches, muscle pain, lack of appetite, and trouble sleeping, Indica marijuana strains are centered around the experience of a body high.
Hybrid marijuana strains can be a healthy mix of both Sativa and Indica strains, with the attributes and side effects of both. Most commonly consumed strains are some kind of hybrid, since they can cater to all smoking needs.
Moving on to what a quality bud might look like, a good rule of thumb is that the duller the green, the duller the marijuana. High-quality buds tend to have a variety of bright colors in the mix, detailing different shades of vibrant green and very few browns.
In a dispensary, much like a bar, they might have different qualities of marijuana on different shelves. The “top shelf” strains tend to lie a little higher on the pricing scale, but are the most likely to have the highest level of quality as compared to the others. Mid-grade marijuana can be found on the middle shelves most of the time, and low-grade or beginner products normally rest on the lowest level, with the lowest price.
Seeds and Stems
When cultivating and harvesting any kind of plant, the biggest focus is going to be the fruit or flower. Much like a bunch of grapes on a vine, those stems and seeds don’t make the best munching experience. When selecting a high-quality bud, the fewer stems and seeds in the mix can mean a higher quality product for you. Sure, you can remove them after purchase, but since most dispensaries sell by weight, it can be a waste in multiple ways.
Sometimes difficult to see, trichomes are small white or milky white crystals that can form on the ends of a high-quality bud. These crystals indicate a high level of cannabinoids and terpenes which account for the taste, smell, and effect of the marijuana.
If the trichomes are not present, or very sparse, this can mean that the plant was harvested too soon, and won’t have a great quality in taste or effect. Trichomes that are more yellow or dark orange color can mean that the marijuana plant was harvested too late, which can result in a sore stomach or a tiring effect when consumed.
Smells and Taste
A good marijuana harvest tends to be a pretty pungent endeavor. Packaging buds in small packages does a lot to make it seem like that smell is more pervasive, but nevertheless, a good strain can have a pretty thick musk. Generally speaking, a connoisseur might be able to sniff out certain notes within the bud to determine the strain type and quality, but the best thing for a beginner to pay attention to is that the musk from your marijuana should smell earthy and full and nothing like mold or grass. Hay or grassy smells can indicate a harvest wasn’t cured properly, which can lead to a less than fun smoking experience.
Handling Marijuana: Sticky Quality
If you’re able to handle or touch the marijuana prior to purchase, the very first thing to note is that your hands should be clean. If you decide against purchasing the bud, the next customer might not feel happy to know that it’s been grabbed on by a stranger. With that said, many dispensaries are against the handling of the products without help from an employee, without gloves, and without other protections. Especially in the age of COVID, one can’t be too careful.
With all that in mind, if you’re able to touch and handle the marijuana before you buy, pay strict attention to the sticky factor of the bud. The best quality product tends to leave a sticky residue on your fingers known as resin. The product shouldn’t be completely dry, and definitely shouldn’t be damp. Excess moisture can breed mold and bacteria which isn’t fun to smoke.
All in all, marijuana consumption is a personal and widely varied experience. While some folks might prefer the body high of an indica, others might prefer the uplifting experience of sativa, or a mix between the two. Whatever strain you choose, knowing you’re getting the most bang for your buck and the best quality bud that’s available to you can save you from the less enjoyable smells and tastes of lower quality weed. Most dispensaries are happy to educate you on the spot as well, so don’t be afraid to ask questions! A great resource for online services and delivery can be found here.