What you should look for when searching for high quality bud? How can you identify herb quality before you buy? Decades of prohibition have made consumers THC percentage-obsessed. The idea was that the higher the THC, the less herb you would have on hand if you got caught by the authorities. But an astronomically high THC percentage doesn’t necessarily mean a better high.
Searching for high-quality bud involves more than checking the THC percentage. Now that cannabis laws are changing, we know that many other factors need to be considered if you want to buy the best buds available.
The Importance of Lab Reports
Expert cannabis farmers start with meticulously prepared soil. Typically, they only use organic nutrients and pest-control methods. Third-party lab reports ensure that the buds you buy are free of mold, synthetic pesticides, heavy metals, and other potentially harmful contaminants.
Inspecting Official Certificates of Analysis (COAs) from independent labs will help assure you that your bud is pure and potent! However, some labs have been caught padding THC levels. You may want to check out the facility that tested the bud you’re considering and make sure the lab has an untarnished reputation in the industry.
Physically Examine the Bud
The best way to recognize high-quality bud is to examine the appearance, texture, and smell of the buds. To judge bud quality, you’ll want to ask yourself the following six questions:
What color are the buds?
Well-cured cannabis should exhibit shades of green ranging from yellowish green to deep emerald. If the strain contains flavonoid-rich anthocyanins, you may also see pink or purple hues.
Discriminating consumers should never buy brown weed, which is a sign of age or excessive dryness. Brown buds will taste unpleasant and will be less potent or “sleepy” due to the THC converting to CBN with age.
How does the trichome layer look?
The frosty outer layer of cannabis flowers is comprised of mushroom-like glands called trichomes, which contain all the precious cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The trichome layer may be thick or thin, depending upon the strain. You’ll want to look for cannabis with an even layer of crystals. An uneven trichome layer can mean the bud has been overhandled or mangled by a trimming machine.
You may also want to check the color of the trichomes. Peak ripeness typically occurs when most of the trichomes have turned amber or light brown. All clear trichomes can mean immature weed, and overly dark glands may mean the buds were harvested late. You can take a closer look at the trichomes with a pocket magnifier, which are available online for around $10-15.
How well were the flowers trimmed?
Examining how the nugs were manicured can tell you a lot about the overall quality. Careful hand-trimming is a sign of well-cultivated, artisanal cannabis. Companies that use machines to manicure buds are typically looking to cut costs and value quantity over quality. Machine-trimming damages the buds and knocks off precious trichomes.
Is the cannabis relatively seed and stem-free?
If the weed contains seeds and an excessive quantity of stems, it isn’t top-shelf cannabis. This kind of weed may be suitable for edibles, but cooks should only purchase seedy and stemmy buds if all the other quality factors are present, and they can buy it at rock-bottom prices.
Does the bud have an appealing smell?
High-quality cannabis can emit a variety of scents, depending upon the terpene profile. Above all, the best buds should have a fresh fragrance. If the nugs smell musty, don’t buy them. Smoking moldy buds can lead to serious lung illnesses.
Furthermore, you'll want to pass on cannabis that reeks of cut grass or hay. The freshly cut grass smell can mean that the cannabis was harvested too early, and the hay smell usually indicates over-dry and poorly cured buds.
What kind of texture do buds have?
Indica-dominant buds will usually have a denser structure, and sativas will be fluffier. If you lightly squeeze a well-grown and cured nug, it should spring back quickly and not crumble or seem too wet. Crumbly cannabis is usually dried out, and overly wet nugs will be susceptible to mold.
Know What Kind of Flavors and Effects You Want
Personal taste and tolerance are two major factors to consider when you’re shopping for cannabis.
Cannabis flowers exhibit an astonishing range of flavors and fragrances, such as skunky diesel, refreshing citrus, sweet berry, and spicy pine. There's truly no right or wrong choice when it comes to flavor. You’ll want to select buds with a taste and aroma that you find personally appealing.
Consider the type of effects you prefer. In general, sativa-dominant strains will be more energetic, uplifting, and cerebral. Indica varieties tend to be more physically relaxing for easing body aches or calming the mind in the evening. Your MMJ doctor or dispensary staff can help you choose strains that are appropriate for your needs.