January 26, 2021

What to Look For When Shopping For Cannabis?

With the ever-increasing amount of selection for weed available to purchase in Canada, it can be intimidating for new consumers who are walking into a store, browsing online, or meeting a friend of a friend in a back alley by the bus station for the first time (just kidding on the last one, please don’t do this). Without being able to identify the differences in strains, the effects of THC and CBD on a person, and what they’re looking to get out of the high it can lead to a frustrating experience rather than an enjoyable one. After all, if we’re trying to decide between a 23% THC Cherry OG Hybrid and an 18% THC Cherry Kush Indica we can take a guess and end up with an experience we don’t fully enjoy, or we can dig deeper for the characteristics that we believe we will enjoy.

Once you have narrowed it down to a few strains that you would like to try, we can then explore more characteristics that play a role in identifying the qualify of a particular strain. By reading this article you’ll be able to identify a high-quality weed, and select with more confidence the perfect, high-quality strain that will deliver the high that you’re after. 

THC and CBD Aren’t Everything

As we learned previously THC and CBD are the major cannabinoids that deliver certain effects when consuming weed, but these work hand in hand with terpenes to produce an entourage effect with every different compound present adding in different effects and benefits to the overall experience. Their behavior not only changes with the presence of every other compound in the strain but can change over time as the freshness breaks down.

Terpenes can have an impact on the length and dimension of the overall high, a high THC low terpene strain that you get from that friend of a friend by the bus station (again don’t do this, we are just using it for comparison) can provide a low quality high with a quick burnout and no flavor. By shopping with qualified suppliers, whether over the counter or in person at your local dispensary, you are generally paying for the quality of your high to be exponentially improved. You are buying compounds that aren’t just THC and CBD that will impact and amplify your overall experience.

So What Characteristics Are Found in A High-quality Bud?

Even for inexperienced weed users, the first thing that is usually noticed with a new strain is the smell. Freshness is often the number one indicator for a high-quality bud, and this freshness often hits the nose first. A fruity or citrusy smell is generally a sign of a high-quality Sativa, while a dusky or dank smell often means a high-quality Indica. The number of terpenes present within a particular strain will play a role in the overall strength of smell, and they are constantly breaking down over time lowering their effect on the high.

After purchase, you can help to delay this break down with proper storage, thus receiving more value for your money by preserving the compounds that are in your particular strain. When you buy your new bud, you want to make sure you notice the smells and terpenes, and from there do everything in your power to preserve those delicate compounds! Unfortunately, not all areas allow for smelling the strain before purchase and in these cases, it can be useful to ask your budtender for their expertise or seek out review sites such as Ganja Gurus for customer feedback on a strain. Alternatively, once you find a reliable brand you can continue exploring more strains from that trusted reliable authority. 

Another indicator of a high-quality weed is a visual inspection of the plant’s trichomes. These are generally found in three different varieties, but all produce the same terpenes and cannabinoids. When we look at these it’s the colors that we want to focus on to identify a high-quality strain. Some trichomes are easier to spot than others due to their size and they are generally used by breeders for indicating the proper harvesting time. A white trichome is normally at the perfect time to harvest, whereas a brown or amber may be harvested before maturity. 

Generally speaking, a dry, odorless, brown leafy bud is an indicator of a plant that was not harvested at the right time due to its amber or brown trichomes, or a plant that has been stored incorrectly or allowed to dry out. A mid-range quality weed will have a stronger smell, with green, purple, or orange trichomes visible, and be far less dry due to the existing terpenes. Finally, the top shelf strains will be popping with colors from the trichomes, have a large, loud profile of smells, and be very fresh from harvest. Ensuring that you pick a strain with ripe trichomes will generally assist with providing you the best high.

Support Local, High-Quality Growers

While many of us around learning more about weed, cannabinoids, terpenes, trichomes, and more every day, there are experts out there that have been experimenting with different weed strains and plants every day for years. When we begin to try new strains or growers for the first time we can create a profile of weed strains that we know we can rely on.

The grower generally does everything they can to provide you with the ripest, freshest weed to give you the highest quality high, and once you have found one that you know you can trust we recommend supporting them further and trying new strains of that same grower. Though you may not always be able to predict fully the impact of a particular strain, you can generally rely on a quality grower providing consistency to you! You can use the tools here to search by strain, brand, or location. 

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