To have the best cannabis experience, you need to know how to identify high-quality weed and then know the best ways to consume it. The problem is...
There is no standard in the industry for categorizing cannabis quality. Lab tests are great, because they tell you if the weed is safe to consume and provide insight on the cannabinoid and terpene profiles, but they do not determine or analyze quality whatsoever.
There are plenty of cannabis strains on shelves in dispensaries across the world that have lab tests, but they also have flaws like powdery mildew, jar rot, insects, hair, discoloration from improper storage and age, along with a handful of other defects that labs don’t test for… yet people smoke the buds nonetheless.
Based on feedback from Trichome Institute trained budtenders all over North America, the two things cannabis customers most often care about when buying weed in a dispensary are the THC percentage, and the name of the strain. Well, unfortunately, the amount of THC isn’t the only thing that matters when you’re looking for powerful and potent weed, and the strain name doesn’t give any indication of quality, potency, or effects.
If you want to learn about the ins-and-outs of cannabis quality and effects, be sure to check out Trichome’s Cannabis Interpening program, to tune your nose, taste buds, and eyes into a precision cannabis-grading instrument. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you find the best quality cannabis, without being a ganja guru.
We’ve all passed people on the street and made new acquaintances where an immediate attraction was established. There’s no second guessing when this happens - you like what you like and your brain and body know it!
Take this same approach when you’re looking at cannabis in a dispensary. When you come across a strain that looks super attractive, vibrant, and welcoming, you should follow your instinct, and slide into those DM’s. If the cannabis you’re looking to purchase doesn’t excite you, doesn't smell good to you, and just doesn't get your engines revving, then move onto the next.
Look at these two photos - Which would you pick?
As they say, follow your nose!
When it comes to sniffing ganja, there are thousands of different aroma profiles - even within the same strain name, they can smell completely different. When you're evaluating the scent of flower, the best thing to be judging by is go with what excites you.
Don’t think too much about what you are smelling, focus more on what kind of thoughts run through your mind when you have a jar up to your nose and are taking a big whiff.
Another thing that’s super important is the pungency of the herb. Is the aroma profile nice and subtle, or does it smack you in the face and give you a pins and needles sensation in your nose? THAT is pungency - when you can feel the scent!
Unlike wine, whiskey, and cheese, cannabis does not age well. Ideally, you want herb that is less than 3 months old, and definitely not any older than 6 months. Depending on the transparency of the lab test, which can sometimes be accessed via a QR code on the packaging, you can see when that particular crop of flower was harvested and tested. If the lab tests are not readily found on the package, or in the dispensary's lobby, feel encouraged to ask your budtender if they could provide those to you.
Otherwise, you can take two different approaches to making sure you’re not smoking old ganja.
If the flower is in a dispensary, that means it passed a lab test - or at least, the flower sample that was tested from the same harvest has passed a lab test! So, what else can a lab test show you that indicates quality? The terpene profile!
Check out the terpene profile to identify the types of dominant terpenes you prefer, but more importantly, look at the terpene percentage in the flower. Most marijuana flower samples test at about a 1.5-2.0% terpene content by volume, so if you’re able to find flower that has higher than 2.0% terpenes, you know you’re going to have an amazing entourage effect experience due to the increase of terpenes. And in the world of the cannabis interpener, higher terpenes means you’ll get higher!
Have you ever gone to a really nice restaurant or bar and had a bad experience because your server was an asshole or the bathrooms weren’t cleaned? It ruins the experience, doesn’t it? At Trichome, we strongly believe that dispensaries that look clean and organized, with well-trained and friendly budtenders, and an overall professional and fun vibe, tend to be just as sophisticated behind closed doors. Yes, just this once, we want you to judge a book by its cover.
An honest dispensary that displays a high level of integrity is more likely to carry over that same care and compassion when it comes to sourcing quality cannabis products. This isn’t always the case… which is why you still need to take measures to make sure the weed you buy meets your standards and expectations. But, when combined with a friendly and clean atmosphere, it’s a win-win!
Check out our Cannabis for All course!
Now that you’ve found the stickiests of the ickiests, let’s talk about the best way to smoke it!
There’s more than a few ways to consume cannabis, but when you’re investing in high-quality weed, you want to ensure that you make the best use of it. Here are some of Trichome's recommendations to Weed Better!
Steer clear of butane lighters and sulfur-based matches. The best way to light your bowl, bong, or joint is with a hemp wick! This will allow you to taste the terps, not butane and sulfur!
You need to have a piece that works for your style of smoking. Some people like bowls and pipes, that hit hard and allow them to feel the smoke on the back of their throat, while others like a really mild and smooth experience.
Regardless of your preference, you need to make sure you have a quality piece. The crew at Trichome are big fans of Grav Labs and we even threw our favorite pieces into our shop page, with explanations as to why we enjoy them!
Flower vaporizers are amazing for tasting the flavors of both hemp and marijuana.
Flower vaporizers have the ability to turn the cannabis trichomes into a vapor, releasing the cannabinoids, terpenes, and more. At the right temperature, there is no combustion of the plant matter, making it taste fresher, and is considered to be a safer way overall to inhale cannabis. You can experiment with different temperatures and see which is ideal for the strain you prefer.
Our friends over at 420 Science have plenty of flower vaporizers to choose from!
If you’re a fan of joints, be sure you steer clear of any rolling papers that are bleached or have any additives (aside from terpenes). What’s the point in smoking the freshest, Grade-A cannabis, if you’re just going to wrap it up in something that adds harsh chemicals into your body?
Stick to hemp rolling papers and keep it in the family!
Finally, clean your pipes and bongs, folks! You wouldn’t eat off a dirty fork, so why would you smoke out of a dirty pipe?