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How Can You Tell Good Cannabis From Bad Cannabis?

High Quality Cannabis Has Aroma, Trichomes, Freshness and More

Posted by DanaSmith on Wednesday Aug 9, 2017

What Is Top-Shelf Cannabis?



Shopping for cannabis in a dispensary can often be described as being like a kid in a candy store. There are hundreds of varieties of strains out there that cost anywhere from an extreme spectrum in price, but how do you choose the good stuff?



All dispensaries claim that they have top-shelf, high-quality cannabis on hand. Cannabis sold at a dispensary can range anywhere from low to top-quality, but any experienced cannabis enthusiast worth their bud should know the difference. Truth be told, it’s fairly easy to tell top-shelf cannabis apart because they stand out: they have “loud”, “dank” flavors, and the sheer beauty of their genetics will call at you to pick them.



These are the strains that are on the more expensive side of the price spectrum because much more time, care, and money was invested into ensuring the growth of these dank plants. These top-shelf strains are considered “luxury” items; the Rolls Royce’s in the world of cannabis.



cannabis jars


Here’s a guide to determining what makes top-shelf cannabis and how to tell it apart from bottom-shelf greens:


  • Crazy trichomes: Cannabis strains that have a potency of 30% or more should come with a crazy amount of trichomes. The buds on the plant should be iced with glittering thick hairs and tiny sparkly crystals. These almost invisible sugary trichomes are usually overlooked for providing the most value out of the plant, whether it will be used for medical or recreational purposes. Trichomes are almost microscopic, and look like mushroom-shaped protrusions that are found mostly on the surface of buds and fan leaves, and in less quantities, in the stalk. Because they’re almost invisible, trichomes are usually the reason people inspect their bud using a magnifying glass, a common tool found in the best dispensaries across the country. Trichomes are also the reason why dispensaries should not allow customers to manhandle the bud, because even a slight touch can break off these precious trichomes.



  • Your nose knows: There’s no doubt that the odor alone may tell you that strain is top-shelf. They are usually dense and extremely pungent. Most of the best quality cannabis have one or two dominant odors, which may be either sour or musky. The odor should be so intense that it can escape small ziplocks; this is why most high-end strains should be stored using glass jars or even odor-proof bags. Two factors will affect the smell of a strain: curing and genetics. Curing is the process that is done after harvesting, while genetics tells you the plant’s genetic makeup; both resulting in a strong, distinct aroma as well as the therapeutic effects and flavor that you get after smoking.


  • Color and texture: Generally speaking, top-shelf cannabis shouldn’t look scrawny or airy at all. These find variants of cannabis are tightly trimmed, well-manicured, and sugary from the trichomes. The leaves should be close to a shimmer when exposed to light because of the sheer density of the trichomes. The color should be in vibrant shades; not dull. Low quality cannabis is usually grey or brown in color, whereas top-shelf cannabis have richer, more intense colors.



  • Harvesting, drying, curing, and trimming: How well the cultivators do these processes will have a huge impact on the end result. Real dank cannabis should be sticky due to the frosted trichomes, without being wet or moist. When ground, it should break apart without turning into a pile of dust. Once smoked, the cannabis should leave a trace of white ash; whereas black ash is a sign that there is too much moisture in the flower. Good trimming is critical to top-shelf cannabis, so that you can easily see the cola and nug. If top-shelf cannabis seems to be leafy, this is probably because the sugar leaves around the buds are covered in frosted trichomes. It’s extremely rare to find seeds in top-shelf cannabis, so if you come across some, keep them for your own grow as long as it’s legal to grow it in your state.



  • The high: Most importantly, how high a strain gets you will determine its potency and ultimately, if it really is top-shelf. This is why during cannabis competitions; judges have to smoke the stuff all day; strains that can get them higher than they already are can easily suggest that it’s a superior strain. Also, the high is a good indication if the strain can give you the full entourage effect; because a top-shelf strain is grown so well that all the cannabinoids in the plant are clearly at work. Additionally, you don’t have to smoke a lot of top-shelf bud because they are already potent, while smoking cheaper variants would require you to smoke more in order to achieve a good high.





good weed or bad weed





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