Cannabis flowers are like fingerprints, or if you prefer a winter theme, snowflakes. No two are the same. Flower condition/quality, specifically look, taste, smell and potency is dependent on several variables. The below is a guide to help distinguish the different levels of flower quality.
High-grade cannabis should have a strong pungent and distinct smell. When you open the bag, you’ll know! This strong odor is attributed to an organic compound called terpenes. Low quality marijuana on the other hand will lack the necessary terpenes and cause a lackluster smell often associated with hay or dirt.
High quality flowers tend to be robust in color. These buds are the super models of cannabis flowers. Sometimes you’ll see other highlights in the flower such as purple, blue or orange. Be careful when you see flowers that are brown or lack color, as this is a strong indicator that the flower came from an unhealthy plant.
The main take-away is that flower or buds should be dense and not sparse. Avoid buds with lots of visible stem.
Most enthusiasts know the difference between a trimmed flower and a non-trimmed flower. Try and stay away from buds that have not been trimmed or those that have been beat up by a trimming machine. Desirable buds are those that have been trimmed by hand. Trimming buds by hand preserves the trichomes, which is where the THC and CBD are produced.
These are the honey hole. This is where the CBD and THC are produced. High quality flowers will have large amounts of these little frosty crystals, unlike low quality flowers, which will appear naked and have very few trichomes. Often times a low trichome count can be associated with premature harvesting.