The worst feeling in the world is settling down to brand-new bud only to find that the weed you bought doesn’t do anything for you. Cannabis can be bad in so many different ways: It can lack the potency you need; it can be covered in mold; it can smell and taste terrible; it can be too crumbly or too tough; and, worst of all, it can cause negative effects, like headaches, nausea, anxiety and more. How to Tell if You Are Buying Quality Weed.
You want to be sure you are buying the best possible bud for you. While there is some subjectivity in cannabis shopping — you need to know which strains suit your tolerance level, taste preferences, and the like — there are a few traits you always want to see in the weed you take home. Here’s a guide to getting the best quality cannabis every time you visit your local dispensary.
Smell the Weed Before Buying
The plentiful terpenes within cannabis give the plant a pungent aroma. For some, the aroma is overpowering and off-putting, but once you gain an appreciation for weed, you will be able to discern quite a bit about your bud based on its scent.
Once you identify a few strains you are interested in at your local dispensary — you have compared CBD vs. THC, you have considered the flavor profile, you recognize the price point — you should ask a budtender if you can get a whiff of your top choices. If you are given the opportunity, you should inhale the flower’s odor deeply through your nose, looking for the following qualities:
A loud aroma. Better bud boasts a smell that you should be able to detect even through sealed packaging.
A clean aroma. You don’t want to buy a bud that has any traces of mold or mildew in its smell. In fact, any hint of rot should be a sign to step away from your flower, even if you already brought it home.
A true aroma. Most strains advertise their terpene profiles with adjectives like “fruity” or “spicy.” You should look for these notes as you smell. If you can’t find them, and if the weed smells like grass or hay instead, you should find something else to buy.
Inspect the Structure of the Nug
Once the flower passes the smell test, you can move onto the next most important sense: your sight. Because you probably won’t be allowed to feel the bud before you buy, you should try to glean as much information about it as you can through your eyes. Some things you should look out for include:
Trichomes. Cannabis plants grow small structures called trichomes, which are little tubes filled with cannabinoids and terpenes. To the naked eye, trichomes look like shiny hair or sparkling dew; the best bud will glisten with trichome coverage over the entire nug.
Balance. Cannabis bud is just that — the bud of the flower of the cannabis plant. As such, it should be roughly pinecone-shaped, generally symmetrical, and pleasantly geometric in its appearance. If the nugs come in all different lumpy shapes and mismatched sizes, they could be old, improperly cured, or otherwise low-quality. Likewise, the bud should be mostly intact, without fragments crumbling off inside the container.
Get a Sense of the Weed’s Texture
For sanitation’s sake, few dispensaries will let you handle flowers before you make a purchase. However, if you do have the opportunity to touch bud in a dispensary — ideally with gloves on, of course — you can learn a bit more about its quality through your fingertips. Here’s what you should feel in top-shelf cannabis flower:
Mild stickiness. The bud shouldn’t be wet, and it shouldn’t be so sticky that it leaves gobs of resin residue behind. However, if you feel some amount of tackiness between your fingers, this is a sign of good weed.
Springiness. Old bud tends to dry out and get crumbly, and weed that has been improperly stored might squish with moisture. You want a fresh springiness to your flower, in which the nug will give and bounce back with slight pressure.
Softness. Cannabis buds shouldn’t have thorns, prickles, or any sharp corners. Nugs that feel jagged are low-quality due to improper trimming, storage, or processing.
With your nose, your eyes, and your fingers, you should be able to identify the best bud in the dispensary. Yet, once you buy, you need to be careful with how you store and use your weed, so your investment in top-shelf flowers isn’t a waste.