How to Choose High Quality Marijuana
By Adam Schmidt
Whether you’re new to cannabis or an aficionado in the making, you may wonder: How do I make sure I’m buying high quality marijuana?
Fortunately, most reputable dispensaries staff professionals — budtenders — who are marijuana experts and can guide you. But, it’s helpful to understand on your own how to identify high-quality weed.
Essential Tips to Finding High Quality Marijuana
First, picking out cannabis can be a lot like picking out fruits or vegetables: you want to ensure that there are no visibly obvious flaws in your weed, such as mold or insects. Ingesting moldy cannabis can be harmful, and it won’t be very effective either.
It’s ideal to look for marijuana that already has an established reputation, as brand name cannabis is far more likely to be of superior quality than the untried and unknown. Strains named after places — like Afghani Kush or Thai OG — are also good choices, as you can often trace their pedigree to those same lands of their origin (see landrace strains), which have a reputation for producing high-quality kush.
Finally, even good-looking weed can sometimes be bunk, so you’ll want to make sure the strain you’re smoking is actually as potent as your provider claims. This is another reason why name-brand cannabis is often superior, as branded strains have likely been lab-tested, thereby ensuring their quality.
Aroma, Texture, and Appearance
In most cases, the physical attributes of the cannabis are your best indicator of its quality. Good cannabis stands out — it usually possesses an appealing coloration that looks ripe and full, not browned out or discolored. You’re going to want buds that are smothered in resin, the crystalline hairs that coat marijuana and possess most of the cannabinoids which produce its mind-altering effects.
High quality marijuana is also typically thick with flower, not covered in leaves or mostly stem. Look for packed, dense kush that takes a while to break apart; a crumbly and fragile plant is probably not going to be of great quality.
Your cannabis should also have a heavy aroma, which is a frequent indicator of potency. Marijuana that does not give off much of smell might not be as effective as you would like, and the most famous, beloved strains out there often carry with them a pungent scent that is immediately recognizable to the senses. Likewise, make sure the bud is sticky to the touch, a sign that it’s loaded with the terpenes and cannabinoids you need.
Marijuana in dispensaries can often be locked away before purchase or hidden inside its container. You can always ask the people working there for help in examining your kush before purchase, an essential step before taking the plunge on a strain that does not have an established reputation behind it.
You should also inquire about the best strains the dispensary has available, as there will be few people more knowledgeable about the cannabis that particular store has in stock than its employees.
Lastly, when in doubt, look online (at sites like Leafly and Wikileaf), as there are a variety of resources available on almost every strain in existence. Chances are if you can’t find any information about it online, it’s not a purchase worth making.
Whether you're new to cannabis or an aficionado in the making, you may wonder: 'How do I make sure I'm buying high quality marijuana?'