When people talk about their favorite types of weed, it’s not uncommon for the discussions to be focused around how high they got or how much THC or CBD was contained in the strain or product they consumed.
But in the world of weed, the truth is that there’s so much more to quality marijuana than its potency or how stoned you’re going to get. Cannabis contains hundreds of other compounds that play an important role in the overall quality of your experience. Consumers should also keep in mind that potency or THC/CBD levels don’t translate to quality; you can come across strains with as much as 30% THC but do you really need all that THC? Keep in mind that high THC levels have been associated with paranoia and anxiety.
You might actually have an even more enjoyable experience with a strain tested for 15% THC but rich in other terpenes and cannabinoids.
It can be overwhelming when you first visit a dispensary, but with a little research plus thought put into the type of experience you’re looking for, finding the right cannabis products will be so much simpler.
Here are some things to consider when shopping for quality weed:
Physical characteristics: If, despite the ongoing pandemic, you can still walk into dispensaries in order to physically inspect the cannabis, awesome! Most people prefer the ability to smell the flower prior to its packaging, as this is a terrific way to tell if it has a distinct terpene profile. You can also go by the general rule that the more pungent it is, the more concentrated its terpenes.
Also, look for trichomes; they are sparkly or white and should be blanketed on top of the buds as much as possible. The appearance of trichomes can vary; ideally, you’re looking for milky white trichomes but if they are brown or amber in color, the cannabis wasn’t harvested at the right time. Having ripe trichomes means you get to consume cannabis during its peak ripeness.
You should also look out for the smell of mold; poor quality weed will smell like mold, mildew, or must. While there are a lot of bold-smelling strains out there, a funky smell doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad too. Over time, your nose will eventually get used to identifying the smell of weed that suits your preferences.
Delivery method: While smoking cannabis is the most popular was to medicate or get high, these days you can already choose from 5 ways to ingest it. Smoke the flower or vape it, eat edibles or drink infused beverages, concentrates, sublinguals, and topicals. Reputable dispensaries normally carry a variety of products in each delivery method because consumers have their own preferred route of administration depending on their specific needs.
Additionally, each method of administration will release a variety of molecules into your bloodstream, so these different effect profiles have a different impact on each person. For example, if you need localized pain relief for a sprain without the high of THC, then topicals are the way to go. If you are looking for a discreet way to medicate for your anxiety or panic attacks, opt for edibles or CBD vapes.
Your budget: You don’t need to spend for top-shelf cannabis to get a quality experience. Just remember that the cost of cannabis becomes higher the stronger the product is, but the price is also affected by the brand and amount you’re buying. Rates will also vary depending on the state because regional and local taxes have to be considered as well as market demand.
State laws also place a maximum amount on how much cannabis you can buy in each trip. For these reasons, it’s recommended to consult with the budtender at the dispensary on the best strains or products to buy within your specific budget and your personal preferences or medical needs. If you’re at the stage of experimentation, remember that you can always start small then gradually increase your dose; because of this, there’s no real reason you should buy more than a few grams in one go because you still aren’t sure if you’re going to like it. This rule should also apply when you’re experimenting with other forms of consumption such as concentrates, sublinguals, etc.
Look for lab results, don’t rely on strain names: Sure, there are lots of popular cannabis strains out there like Blue Dream and Trainwreck. However, with all the breeding that’s been going on in the last few decades, strains can be extremely inconsistent. If you’re after specific effects such as relaxation or energy-boosting properties, look for bud or products that have laboratory test results.
These lab tests can prove certain products have the effects you’re after. The effects can vary on the mental and physical impact it’ll leave you with, so be sure to communicate these needs to your budtender precisely.
Accessories: While the route of administration you choose matters, so does the paraphernalia and accessories you use. There is a myriad of rolling papers, glass pipes, bongs, and so much more out there. Glass pipes are an easy, simple way to start smoking bud and you can also choose from rolling papers that come in all different sizes, brands, flavors, and more. Using quality accessories will help improve the experience you have, even if you aren’t smoking top-shelf cannabis.
Last but not least, feel free to communicate openly with your budtender. Ask as many questions as you want (though it also helps to do your homework ahead of time, of course). More often than not, budtenders are trained professionals so they’re there to make the job of choosing products that work for you. Consumers new to marijuana are recommended to try sticking out with one budtender first to see if their what they recommend corresponds to your own tastes.