Shop Like A Cannaseur

A Budtender’s advice on performing a visual analysis of your weed

If you’re new to buying cannabis, the vast array of options at the dispensary can be overwhelming… Don’t despair! I will explain the process of performing a visual inspection on your bud so that you know how to choose high-quality weed.

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The five steps of the visual analysis:

#1. Color

Weed should be green (or purple). Never brown! Lower-end options at your dispensary will sometimes have a brown color, or at least have a dark green hue. Top-shelf buds will sometimes look white because of the abundance of trichomes. If the color of the bud is sparkly and it looks like frosted glass, it’s undoubtedly fantastic quality!

#2. Texture

The right cure is difficult to attain, and even more challenging to maintain on the shelf for weeks on end – but it’s possible!

When you buy weed in a bag, give it a light press – like you would an avocado to tell if it’s ripe. Well-cured cannabis will not be too dry or brittle; if the bud crunches under your fingers, it’s likely over-cured.

It’s possible to rehydrate dry cannabis by putting an orange peel in the jar or bag for 30 minutes. The moisture evaporates from the orange and slowly rehydrates the cannabis. Be careful though, leaving the rind for too long can leave the cannabis soggy.

Pot sold in reputable stores is rarely undercured. If the bud feels wet, it’s improperly cured and unsafe to smoke.

The best quality cannabis will have a spongy, squishy texture and will return to its original shape when squeezed. Potent cannabis will also be sticky to the touch, leaving a sticky resin on your fingers.

#3. Scent

Good weed will (almost) always have a strong smell. Unfortunately, in the State of Washington, it’s illegal to open a package of weed in the store, so it’s impossible to get the scent profile of the strain before you buy it. Sometimes, however, it’s possible to press the bag lightly while smelling the puncture hole at the top to get a light whiff of the bud. Weed’s fragrances ranged widely, some are fruity, others are piney, and some are skunky or musky.

#4. Trichomes

Trichomes are the small white crystals that coat the bud. They contain most of the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, that provide marijuana’s scents, flavors, and effects. High-quality pot should have visible trichomes and the more trichomes a bud has, the more potent it’s likely to be. Sometimes, however, THC can be expressed on the inside of the bud, so a lack of an abundance of crystals isn’t a surefire way to determine potency, although it’s a helpful indicator.

#5. Trim job

Nothing is more tragic than a bag of super high-quality, top-shelf bud covered in leaves, full of stems, and looking shaggy. High-quality cannabis shouldn’t have any visible leaves, and the stems should be cut as short as possible. If you see any seeds, abort mission! Even decent quality cannabis will NEVER have seeds.

Some producers leave some of the smallest leaves for aesthetic purposes. Also, some people believe the leaves insulate the THC trichomes from being damaged in transport. This is merely a personal preference. Just remember that the presence of leaves shouldn’t obscure the view of the bud or any of its identifiable qualities. Lower-quality cannabis sometimes has lots of visible leaves, indicating it wasn’t appropriately manicured.

The more familiar you are with the different qualities of cannabis, the easier for you to make a selection in the store. Happy toking!


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