How to Choose Quality Cannabis Flowers

Cannabis strains are like fingerprints or snowflakes. Each one has its own design or its own chemical ratios that make it unique.


Cannabis strains are like fingerprints or snowflakes. Each one has its own design or its own chemical ratios that make it unique and create effects that act synergistically with a person’s body chemistry. Potency is determined by these synergistic effects as well as tolerance level, but quality is a completely different analysis. You can have quality buds that aren’t potent in your system, and vice versa – buds that are extremely potent but low in quality. Keep this difference in mind as we discuss the 5 factors that create quality buds and the essential aspects of cannabis flower you should be looking for when deciding to purchase flower from a dispensary.

The first quality indicator is color. Many top-shelf flowers tend to be robust in color because they are bred specifically for these attributes. Some have been dubbed super model buds of cannabis flowers, such as any with high traces of purple, blue, or red. However, if your strain is simply a vivid green, this is a great sign that it was grown in ideal conditions. Be careful when you see flowers that are brown or have dull hues - this is a sure sign the flower came from an unhealthy plant. Steer clear of white cannabis too as it’s been exposed to too much light which can hinder both trichome and terpene quality.

The second indicator is trichome visibility. Your cannabis strain should have an evident dusting of trichome crystals layered on top of it. This is where most of the cannabinoids reside in the plant, especially THC and CBD. Low quality cannabis will appear naked or have very few visible trichomes, which can be a sign of either early harvesting, poor growing conditions, or bad trimming techniques.

The third thing to look for when choosing quality flower is the condition of the buds themselves. Regardless of whether they’re cone-shaped, look like long cylinders, or are fat and clumpy, quality cannabis buds will lack stems and seeds, have very few leaves, and be composed mostly of the flower itself. You don’t want to spot or feel any moisture on the buds as it can lead to mold and weigh the flower down so you’re paying for moisture and not consumable flower. Ensure the buds are dry, well-trimmed, and lack seeds and stems.

Next, is smell. High-grade cannabis should have a strong and distinct scent. The better the grade, the harder it is to hide the odor. This strong scent is attributed to the organic compounds called terpenes which are present in all plants and especially cannabis. Low-quality cannabis will have a lackluster smell often associated with hay or dirt which tells us the terpenes have been destroyed or were never present in high quantities to begin with. No matter if you find the smell pleasant or skunky, a strong scent of either is a good indication of quality cannabis.

Finally, the last thing you need to look for in quality buds is flavor. The better the quality, the more distinct the taste. Some can be pleasant, having hints of citrus or spice. Others may have a strong but less pleasant taste such as diesel - or dare I say, 'cat piss' as some strains have been labeled. Whether or not the strain is delicious, a stronger taste implies better quality, as more terpenes are present that can act synergistically with the cannabinoids in the strain as well as your body chemistry.