When it comes to finding weed, you can probably tell the difference visually between different quantities. However, can you tell equally quickly how good a quality it is? It can be hard to determine whether what you’re getting is high-quality from appearance alone. To make matters more complicated, there’s no precise science involved in choosing cannabis. However, there’s several visual clues that you can look out for.
Choosing quality cannabis isn’t too dissimilar to choosing fresh flowers or produce. In brief, you want something which has an attractive color, looks appealing and has a pleasant aroma. Naturally, you’re also going to want to avoid any obvious defects such as mildew, mold, discoloration or insects.
With all of this in mind, here is a basic guide to finding high-quality weed in your local dispensary.
A Few Key Pointers
When it comes to assessing your cannabis’ visual quality, here are some key pointers:
- Standards of quality will vary in different locations. Also local legislation surrounding cannabis use may have an impact.
- You’ll need to consider the smell, price, quantity available and desired effects when choosing.
- If there are highly concentrated trichomes, this is a sign of advanced production of cannabinoids. As a result, the cannabis will be more potent. Be aware, however, potency isn’t necessarily the same as high-quality. A strain may be potent but lack flavor.
- Check for testing data from third party labs. This will give you vital information about the strain’s attributes.
What Does Low Quality Weed Look Like?
Low quality weed comes by a number of names. These include:
- Bottom shelf
- Shake weed
- Dirt weed
- Ditch weed
- Brick weed
- Bobby brown
Usually, low-quality weed comes in compact brick form. It is made up of mixed stems, compressed buds and shake. It’ll usually have a browner color and will have an earthy, dry aroma. It may taste spicy and harsh rather than floral and sweet.
When low-grade weed isn’t in brick format, its buds will be wispy, leafy and light. Usually, extreme environments such as excessive heat cause the trichomes to be under-developed. You usually only find low-quality weed being sold by black market sellers.
When use smoke low-quality weed, you’ll usually find the effect to be relaxing, mellow and sleep-promoting. You may also experience unwanted side-effects like headaches. The flower may also be contaminated with mold, mildew, dirt, pesticides and insects. This isn’t great for your overall well-being.
On the upside, low-quality cannabis is cheaper and can be turned into edibles easily.
What Do Mid-Quality Buds Look Like?
Medium-quality weed is also known by several names. These include:
- Middle shelf
- B+ work
Most cannabis grown in the USA is mid-quality weed. This type of weed can be spotted by its green hue and colorful pistils. Middle shelf marijuana will usually have a purple tinge, sugary trichomes and a moderate flavor profile. There will be minimal stems and seeds. However, the buds may have suffered from techniques like rapid curing methods or sloppy trimming. This is to get them to the market more quickly.
Your experience when using a mid-range cannabis may vary. However, if the plant’s genes are strong, you’ll find the effect enjoyable and potent. On the other hand, a stressful growing environment or unstable genetics may produce hermaphrodite plants.
What Does High-Quality Weed Look Like?
The highest quality weed also has its own range of names. These include:
- Top shelf
Of course, all cannabis retailers advertise their products as top shelf. However, are they really?
High-quality buds will have vibrant colors that match their premier genetics. They will also have a complex and amazing aroma. The flavors will be very pungent, and this makes quality cannabis hard to hide if discretion is key.
Of course, as you might expect, high-quality cannabis comes with a high price tag. It’s considered to be a luxury. Therefore, the prices can be extreme depending on where you’re living and the local laws.
You’ll notice that top-class cannabis has a thick coating of sugary resin. This contains the terpenes and cannabinoids. These give the planet its captivating flavors and powerful effects. With an advanced flavor profile and advanced potency, top shelf cannabis produces many effects. The buds are usually chunky and dense. This is due to high levels of carbon dioxide during its flowering cycle as well as other innovative cultivation techniques.
The curing, drying and harvesting methods adopted by the cultivator may have a major influence on the end product. Top quality herb will be sticky because of its trichome frosting, although it won’t be wet or moist. When you grind it up, it should easily break apart but not turn into dust. When you burn it, white ash should be left behind. If there is black ash, this is a sign your flowers have excess moisture.
True connoisseurs look for proper trimming, with each nug and cola perfectly framed and showcased. If high-quality weed looks leafy, usually this is because the sugary leaves around the buds have precious trichomes. It’s rare to find seeds in high-quality cannabis. But if you do manage to find one, you should definitely keep it for planting yourself.
A Quick Checklist
If you want a quick reference guide to selecting quality cannabis, here is your rapid checklist.
- Smell – you’re looking for an identifiable, pungent smell
- Color – you’re looking for a generally green color. It may be light or dark and may have undertones ranging from gold to purple.
- Bud Structure – if you’re looking for indica buds, they should be dense and tight. Sativa buds should be fluffy and light with evenly dispersed pistils.
- Trim – quality buds will be tightly hand-trimmed. There should be no excessive leaves.
- Trichomes – there will be densely packed, ripe trichomes. They should be milky white in color perhaps with amber tints.
- Hermaphrodite Traits – avoid any weed with bananas or seeds (male characteristics).
- Pests or Mold – there should be now powdery white mildew or fuzzy gray mold. There should also be no gnats, aphids or mites, living or dead, or any eggs or fecal matter.
With this information in mind, you’ll be well-placed to buy the best quality weed. Choose a reliable retailer like The Wholesome Monkey to ensure you’re getting the best quality and value.