Cannabis cultivated and cured to the highest standards typically exhibits a pungent and pleasant aroma. Flowers emitting a strong fragrance are commonly referred to as having a “dank” or “loud” odor, indicating the overall quality of the flower. There are a variety of terms for the types of aromas high-quality cannabis emits, including “skunky,” “diesely” and “piney.”
There are four main indicators when delineating between high-quality flower and subpar flower: Smell, look , feel, and flower structure.
The search for a high-quality flower doesn’t have to be a tricky one. With a discerning eye, even novice cannabis smokers will be able to easily separate the great buds from the bad.
Skillfully cultivated and cured sativa-leaning flowers tend to be light and fluffy in shape and composition, while indicas tend to be tighter and denser in flower structure, though the structure and the experience usually have little to do with each other. Rock-hard flowers are a sign that cultivators may have used plant growth regulators, which can lead to an unpleasant taste. Extremely fluffy flowers could be a signal that the plant was not grown under sufficient light intensity and was not cultivated to its potential.
The appearance of low-quality flower is distinct. It can come in the form of discolored flower or an abundance of stems and seeds. There are many reasons for a discolored flower — mold, pesticides, chemicals, age. The bottom line is that you don’t want to buy it, let alone smoke it. One very important indicator is the appearance of amber-colored trichomes. With time, light, and heat, trichomes turn from clear to an amber hue. This is a dead giveaway that you’ve been swindled into last year’s harvest.
Let’s quickly define flower before we get started. The term flower refers to the dried and cured female cannabis plant’s blooms, often called “nugs” or “buds.” Flower is typically intoxicating — THC content is the primary indicator of euphoric potency — but some flower has high CBD content and will produce less intoxicating effects.
Identifying high-quality, or as people familiar to buying weed say, “top shelf” flower can throw even the most experienced cannabis connoisseurs for a loop, so here are a few key traits that separate today’s high-end strains from less desirable ones.
Though a plant’s structure really says nothing about its chemical composition, it can still tell a story. Improper lighting or growing conditions can lead to “fluffy” or “airy” nugs, and while they may contain high levels of cannabinoids and terpenes, their density is still widely and harshly dismissed by the cannabis community.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about what you like. What you prefer might be different than what the local budtender, delivery driver, or your friend likes. There are hundreds of strains grown by thousands of cultivators. The goal is to find the right one for you. It’s simply about finding the right product that works with your personal chemistry by a brand or cultivator that you like and can thus enjoy over and over again.
New to purchasing marijuana & cannabis products? Read our beginner's guide to buying marijuana and cannabis.
Sugar or Carbohydrates
Strong, bright light is a crucial part of reaching a strain’s full potential!
The jury is still out and which is the most effective supplement, but many growers are happy with bloom promoting supplements that include sources of…
You probably know that in order to get the best results, your plants need to make it through the majority of their lifecycle without major problems.
Some strains need slightly cooler night temperatures before their buds will turn colors. For example the buds of this Auto Frisian Dew turned bright purple after it started getting below 70°F (21°C) temperatures at night.
Night temperatures should be kept around 68-75°F (20°-24°C) for most strains. Too-cool temps increase the chances of bud rot, which thrives in the 60°F (15°C) range, and freezing temperatures can actually damage or even kill your plants.
If you want to grow buds that are pink or purple, you must choose the right genetics!
7.) Master the Basics – Especially Drying & Curing
There are a variety of ways to increase the terpene content of your buds so you produce cannabis that tastes and smells great, and there are also a couple of common mistakes you should know about that can actually ruin the taste and smell of your buds.
Ever wondered how to grow your own "top-shelf" buds like the ones you get from a dispensary? Learn 7 insider tips to producing your own frosty, medical-quality buds!