As laws begin to relax across the world and a newfound acceptance towards recreational and medicinal-use and culture continues to grow, it’s crucial to know what to look for and how flower should smell and taste– which, most of the time, is easier said than done.The best smoking experiences often come with the best marijuana buds. When flower is really good, you spark up and experience pleasant highs, great flavor, and relaxing aromas. The worst smoking experiences often come when flower is, well, just bad. We always want the “loud,” “fire,” “Private Reserve” weed, and want to avoid the “schwag,” “brick,” and “bunk” weed at all costs.
Navigating the dispensary will be significantly easier if you know how to talk with your budtender. A good budtender should ask you as many questions as you ask them. Think of your interaction with a budtender as an inquisitive conversation – just as you would discuss the menu options with your server.
What are you looking for?”
Your budtender will open with this line 9 out of 10 times because budtenders expect you to know already – the same way bartenders kind of assume you know what you like to drink. Your budtender knows the products on the shelf, but they are not mind readers, doctors or therapists; they need your guidance to recommend a good match. The more insight you can give on the experience you desire, the better they can pair you with the perfect product. When you arrive at the dispensary, you will get paired up with a budtender – this person is responsible for walking you through the entire purchasing process, so don’t be shy! After introducing themselves, the first thing they will do is ask you what you’re looking for. Well, this is a tough question when you’re staring at 20+ varieties of flower, concentrates, and edibles. Rather than freezing up when you get to the dispensary counter for the first time, take a moment to think through a few of the following questions.
Indicators of High-Quality Flower
Not all varieties of dried cannabis flower will share the same appearance and structure; so in most cases, “Kush” and indica-dominant strains will produce smaller, dense nugs that looks like it would yield only a few nugs. On the other hand, sativa varieties such as “Haze” will produce buds slightly elongated. They offer more in terms of shape and calyx size.
While all good cannabis should be visually appealing, a top-shelf strain can easily display an vibrant array of colors. Good-quality flowers are often a deep or lime green with flaming orange or red hairs. They can also express colors from deep purple to bright blue, but should never display brown tones.
When it comes to properly grown cannabis, people often think of “loud,” “dank,” or “stinking” weed. But it’s so much more than that. The cannabis plant is an extremely unique flower. It posses terpene groups crafted by nature to entice humans, animals, and insects.
Cannabis cultivated and cured to the highest standards typically exhibits a pungent and pleasant aroma. Flowers emitting a strong fragrance are commonly referred to as having a “dank” or “loud” odor, indicating the overall quality of the flower. There are a variety of terms for the types of aromas high-quality cannabis emits, including “skunky,” “diesely” and “piney.”
When first assessing a strain, pay attention to the complexity of its smell. Perhaps its aroma falls under fruity, floral, earthy, or gassy. Or, better yet, maybe the buds have an even more layered combination that you cannot easily put your finger on. There’s a huge range of flavors and aromas that are present in well-grown flower. The intensity and longevity of an aroma is a true reflection of how the flower will taste.
This is what it’s all about for a majority of smokers– it’s what makes or breaks an experience. On the basis your flower has an appealing aroma, the flavor will compliment said aroma with a unique cocktail of terpenes that’ll coat the mouth like a fine, smokey glass of wine. Dry-puffing a joint or blunt that hasn’t been lit yet will reveal how intense the flavor profile is going to be.
After lighting up the joint, there will be an immediate lung expanding inhale that resonates in the mouth for a short time. A licking of the lips as you breathe in will also reveal the depth of the bud’s flavor, while exhaling will emphasize the richness of taste in a different way. Flowers that possess serious terpenes will display a full range of flavors that can be fruity, zesty, earthy, musky, fuel, gassy, skunky, floral, etc.– the list goes on and on.
Poor flower structure can be easily detected with a discerning eye. While a properly cultivated flower will often be aesthetically pleasing, a carelessly grown plant can produce inferior-looking flowers.
Though a plant’s structure really says nothing about its chemical composition, it can still tell a story. Improper lighting or growing conditions can lead to “fluffy” or “airy” nugs, and while they may contain high levels of cannabinoids and terpenes, their density is still widely and harshly dismissed by the cannabis community.
What do you want to do afterwards?
Regardless of how you want to feel, there is certainly a difference between watching movies on the couch and going trail running. Many of today’s most popular strains are hybrids, which means you can find strains that are both muscle relaxants and mental stimulants, or energy boosters that also dull your pain threshold and enhance your creativity. The more descriptive you are, the better chance you have of finding your new favorite strain.
The search for a high-quality flower doesn’t have to be a tricky one. With a discerning eye, even novice cannabis smokers will be able to easily separate the great buds from the bad.
Thanks to complex breeding programs and the rise of poly-hybrid cannabis strains, a flavor palette seems to be a huge focus not only for smokers, but also for marketing and branding. Girl Scout Cookies breathed fresh life into marketing in the Cannabis industry, so expecting a flavor-rich hybrid is easier acquired than ever.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about what you like. What you prefer might be different than what the local budtender, delivery driver, or your friend likes. There are hundreds of strains grown by thousands of cultivators. The goal is to find the right one for you. It’s simply about finding the right product that works with your personal chemistry by a brand or cultivator that you like and can thus enjoy over and over again.
So get out there, look for the four main indicators — smell, look, feel, and flower structure — to find a strain that best suits your personal taste.
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