[Editor’s Note: Learn how to identify a great bud of weed. Whether you’re growing or buying, you want the best.]
Don’t know how to pick the bad from the good? Consider these wise tips next time you’re looking to get some fine herb to puff.
Growing weed is an earthly joy that everyone across the world should experience. But the ability to legally buy the herb makes things even sweeter. As laws begin to relax across the world and a newfound acceptance towards recreational and medicinal-use and culture continues to grow, it’s crucial to know what to look for and how flower should smell and taste– which, most of the time, is easier said than done. Below are three factors to keep in mind the next time you’re legally buying cannabis.
Appearance: The First Impression
They say you only get one chance to make a first good impression, and that certainly rings true when it comes to cannabis flower. At a street level, it can be challenging to acquire consistency as well as variety. That’s why going to an established dispensary, coffee shop (we’re looking at you, Amsterdam!), social club, or smoking lounge is ideal because the rigmarole of filtering out the schwag from the good-good is already done for you. That said, there are a few ways to indicate the quality of a flower’s genetics, how apt the grower was, if the trimmers were experienced, how long the bouquet cured for, and the quality of care a cultivation group put toward their product–and, thus, the customer.
Top quality flower should primarily be bud with almost zero leaf ratio. The color of the flower should not be dark brown or yellow, and the actual biomass will have a dense look to it. Calyx development should be totally swollen and, in some cases, displaying signs of foxtailing. The pistils coating the buds will be a mature brown or maroon, and there certainly should not be any white pistils on the flower or signs of seeds. As far as removing all twigs and sugar leaf, this can reflect whether the growers are considerate of using trim for isolator or making oil.
Not all varieties of dried cannabis flower will share the same appearance and structure; so in most cases, “Kush” and indica-dominant strains will produce smaller, dense nugs that looks like it would yield only a few nugs. On the other hand, sativa varieties such as “Haze” will produce buds slightly elongated. They offer more in terms of shape and calyx size.
Everyone is different and basing your experience on which flower offers more value will drastically reduce how much you learn about the plant. It’ll also stop you from enjoying the full-spectrum of flavor, taste, and effects this wonderful plant has to offer.
Aroma – The Overall Body
When it comes to properly grown cannabis, people often think of “loud,” “dank,” or “stinking” weed. But it’s so much more than that. The cannabis plant is an extremely unique flower. It posses terpene groups crafted by nature to entice humans, animals, and insects. Today, the market is dominated by extracts and vape pens (which often lack the plant’s natural terpenes, and thus, smell). But the flower scene is still enormous and will only become more popular as society begins to permit smoking-clubs.
When first assessing a strain, pay attention to the complexity of its smell. Perhaps its aroma falls under fruity, floral, earthy, or gassy. Or, better yet, maybe the buds have an even more layered combination that you cannot easily put your finger on. There’s a huge range of flavors and aromas that are present in well-grown flower. The intensity and longevity of an aroma is a true reflection of how the flower will taste.
A poorly grown and dried flower will have an aroma that’s not pleasant to the nose and will most likely taste like plant matter. Over-dried flower can also have the same smell–many describe it as hay or deadwood. Buds that have been picked too early will have an earthy, chlorophyll-based smell to them and will usually have twigs that are soft or unable to snap. You should avoid buying wet flower especially because you’ll lose out per gram in the long run, and the overall experience will be a waste of time and money– it doesn’t even smoke!
Taste – An Infusion of Terps
This is what it’s all about for a majority of smokers– it’s what makes or breaks an experience. On the basis your flower has an appealing aroma, the flavor will compliment said aroma with a unique cocktail of terpenes that’ll coat the mouth like a fine, smokey glass of wine. Dry-puffing a joint or blunt that hasn’t been lit yet will reveal how intense the flavor profile is going to be.
After lighting up the joint, there will be an immediate lung expanding inhale that resonates in the mouth for a short time. A licking of the lips as you breathe in will also reveal the depth of the bud’s flavor, while exhaling will emphasize the richness of taste in a different way. Flowers that possess serious terpenes will display a full range of flavors that can be fruity, zesty, earthy, musky, fuel, gassy, skunky, floral, etc.– the list goes on and on.
Thanks to complex breeding programs and the rise of poly-hybrid cannabis strains, a flavor palette seems to be a huge focus not only for smokers, but also for marketing and branding. Girl Scout Cookies breathed fresh life into marketing in the Cannabis industry, so expecting a flavor-rich hybrid is easier acquired than ever.