Before you rush into buying the first bud you see, here’s how you can identify and analyze your weed to shop for the best quality buds.
When you first start smoking weed (or vaping/eating it), you don’t know what you are looking for in good quality bud. That’s OK, but it means that you will waste money trying to find good smoke when you are inexperienced. The below guide should help you be able to spot a good bud from a bad.
Let’s start with what you are looking for and at, and then move on to what the science says about a good bit of marijuana.
First things are first: how do you know what you are looking for? Let’s turn to Canada’s answer to an online weed delivery service for some pictures to refer to. GotWeed have plenty of bud images right there on their front page. Scroll down until you see the green plant matter that looks like it is encrusted with dust.
Marijuana is the bud part of a plant, the flowers, if you like. Typically, this is a dense mass of keef crystals and cannabis compounds. If the seller presents you flaked up pieces of herb, it might not be weed. Look for circular green masses with crystal dust and optional orange strands. Smell your weed, it should smell strongly of plants but never of damp or mold.
How to Spot Good Weed?
Good quality weed should have the following distinctions:
- It should smell strong, but not moldy.
- It should look like it has been dipped in dust, we call this dust crystals or keef. This dust is collected and made into hashish.
- It will likely be green with small orange strands through it, although it might also be purple.
- It is dry but does not turn to dust when you try to break it.
On the other hand, these are some warning signs of bad quality weed:
- It will be damp or wet. Sticky is allowed but not damp.
- It won’t have any crystals, a sign that it hasn’t been cured yet.
- There will be lots of leaf pieces in it.
- The seller won’t know anything about it or where it came from.
These are basic signs, but if you look out for them, it can help you identify a good piece of weed from a bad one.
The Science Behind Good Cannabis
Weed, marijuana, and cannabis, are all the same things. The plant that creates it is known to produce 144 compounds that we know of. We don’t know what they all do yet, but we know that they produce THC and CBD. CBD is the legal variant that you will have heard of, which involves removing the goodness from the plant without indulging in the high. THC, on the other hand, is the psychoactive part[i].
Interestingly enough, the Cannabis plant doesn’t produce THC, it produces THCA. It is only when we burn or decarboxylate the flowers of the plant that we produce THC. This is the part that gets us high.
How does this help us to identify good cannabis? One peer review paper[ii] used high performance liquid chromatography to measure how strong cannabis compounds were and found that quantitively cataloguing terpenes was a good way to perceive standards. Terpenes are what give marijuana its strong scent. Put simply: smelling how strong your weed smells are a good indication of quality.
Another way you can identify and analyze good quality weed is by asking the dispensary for any lab results they have in relation to their products. Test results from a laboratory will categorize each strain in a way that highlights their attributes.
If you’re still struggling to identify your preferred choice in weed, have no fear. You can ask your friendly dispensary staff to help you out when you order. You will shortly learn that the world of marijuana is an accepting place.