How to Review Cannabis Strains Like a Canniseur

Part of Canniseur’s mission is to change the way cannabis is reviewed. Educated consumers should enjoy cannabis as much as they might enjoy fine wine, artisan spirits, or craft beer. Here’s how to review cannabis strains.

The 4-20s Review System

Canniseur uses a model that’s been in use in the wine world for more than 45 years. Note that we don’t review based on how much THC is in the bud (often reported THC percent). We evaluate the way the flower looks, it’s aroma, taste and the effect it has on us. We give the bud a score of 0-100 for quality. That way you can easily get a basic quality rating. We call it the 4-20’s Review System.

How to review cannabis appearance

Look closely at the flower you’ve just purchased. The nicest buds are tight and uh, ‘nuggy’. That means that they’re not loosely packed. Loose nugs can be indicative of cannabis that’s not been cured properly. It can also indicate that there were PGRs used during the growth phase of the plant. Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) are hormones that are commonly used for house plants, but should never ever be employed while growing cannabis. So if the buds are tight and pretty, and are not so dry that they lose their ‘spring’, that’s a good thing.

Take a moment to appreciate the color of your buds. You may find shades of green, flecks of yellow or brown, even purples. If they’re the prettiest flowers you’ve ever seen, then they get 20 points.

How to review cannabis aroma

Take a big sniff in your bag of flower. Cannabis smells wonderful…at least to me. It should have a complex and sweet aroma, just like a really good wine. Lots of different smells going on in the bag…we hope. Cannabis has a complex aroma made up from THCs and terpenes. Terpenes have different aromas, falling into four categories: piney, fruity, woody, and floral. Terpenes are everywhere, not just in cannabis. Here’s a chart. It’s a good roadmap to the elemental aromas and their categories. If you were a professional wine taster or wine enthusiast, you’d be making notes. Chances are, you’re not, so for now enjoy what you’re smelling with a bit of extra knowledge.

How to review cannabis taste

THC tastes like old weed when the terpenes and other compounds in the flower have dissipated or evaporated. Old bud will still create an effect, but without the nuances of fresh cannabis with all it’s terpenes in place. The first thing you’ll taste is the THC, followed by the terpenes. Cannabis flower should taste good…if it’s been cured properly. If you taste any greenness at all, the bud has not been properly cured. If it tastes moldy…it’s probably contaminated with mold. Good, fresh cannabis flower should taste slightly sweet as well.

How to review cannabis effects

Here’s where the reviewing process gets hard. We can all agree when we consume something exceptional. But what makes a bud exceptional? While it’s almost impossible to describe, exceptional effects almost always have what I call ‘edges’. They don’t make you edgy, but there is a certain kind of focus to them. You’ll rarely get this. Most cannabis in what we call sativa, has a certain clarity of thought and may make you feel creative. Indica on the other hand is sometimes called “in da couch” because it makes your body feel relaxed. Hybrids are well, hybrids. You might have a terrific clarity of mind, but you may also be too relaxed to use it!

Bear in mind that effects can also vary based on your state of mind or life circumstances at the time. If the cannabis takes your mood where you want to go, give it 20 points.

Bonus Points

You may have noticed that we are only rating the 4 things above; look, aroma, taste and effect. Since each category has 20 possible points, that’s only 80 points. We’re kind people. Bud gets 20 points just for being bud! That’s the Canniseur 4-20s Review System!

We welcome your feedback on our reviews and our methods — comments are open!


NOTE: When we review any strain, we try to find out the grower or at least we’ll note the dispensary (and state!) it’s from. Blue Dream isn’t blue dream isn’t Blue Dream as you can see from this article. The grower can make a difference.

Tags: cannabis 101, how to

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