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How to Spot High Grade Cannabis From Lower Quality Products

Ashley Priest

by Ashley Priest

September 21, 2020 12:39 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
How to Spot High Grade Cannabis From Lower Quality Products

Cannabis legalization has happened in many places over the last few years. Residents of states such as Oklahoma, Ohio, Massachusetts, and others are finally enjoying the freedom of purchasing cannabis legally. Some states have limited access to cannabis, and others have an abundance. One thing you will run into when purchasing cannabis, no matter where you are, is quality issues.

All cannabis is not the same. Even cannabis strains are not equally the same. You might find that you love OG Kush. The place you get it from runs out, so you decide to try another place. When you get the OG Kush from the new place, you might find yourself disappointed in the quality. That’s because it’s not so much about the name of the strain but rather more about the experience level of the person growing it and the starting genetics. There are great products out there, and there are also not so good products. It can be a bit tricky for somebody new to buying cannabis to tell the difference without trying them first. It might be tricky to learn, but with a few tips on what to look for, you can weed out the good from the bad with ease when it comes to your cannabis.

How to Tell Quality Cannabis Flower from Swag

Price isn’t always the determining factor when it comes to finding quality cannabis. Let’s take a look at some of the aspects you should be looking at when determining quality medicine from what the cannabis community calls swag/schwag, or lower quality products.

  • The Effects

The primary way to tell the difference between good and bad herbal medicine is in the way it makes you feel. If it doesn’t work for you, then that is just the way it is. When it comes to smoking cannabis, what works for one person may not work for another. Luckily for us, there are a multitude of different varieties or strains of cannabis. A strain is a good way to find the characteristics you like from your smoke such as buzz and flavor. However, it doesn’t mean that strain will always be produced to the same quality you’ve grown to love, and unfortunately, you can’t often try a strain before you purchase.

  • Trichome Coverage

When giving cannabis a visual, be sure to look for trichome presence before you buy it. Essentially, you want to see it covered in crystals. Heavy trichome production is almost always a good sign of quality cannabis. Buy a gram before you buy more and give it a try first. The bud should be sticky and not dry and dusty. If you have good trichome coverage and the bud is sticky, chances are you have found a good strain.

  • Flavor

The flavor is another important aspect for many consumers. Beyond making them feel good, they also like their cannabis to taste good and not to taste like something that came from under the deck of the lawnmower. A quality flavor profile is a good sign of a high terpene profile and quality cannabis.

  • Aroma

The smell is usually another good way to tell if cannabis is good or not. Chances are if you like the way it smells, you’ll like the way it tastes and feels too. So, the next time you set out to hit the dispensary to buy some quality cannabis, don’t settle for a strain just because of the name; inspect the product you’re about to buy.

Please give it a sniff or have the budtender use the lid to fan the aroma in your direction. Three sniffs will tell the smell. The first sniff should be short and sweet; it gets in there and tickles the hairs in your nose, hinting at the strain’s quality. The second is a bit longer of a sniff to help carry those aromatic notes into your sniffer. The last should be a deep sniff to carry the smell all the way to the back of your nose. This method of smell testing cannabis will give you the true aroma of the product.

How to Tell Quality Edibles from Not So Good Ones

Telling good edibles from bad ones isn’t as easy as picking out quality buds. The only way to accomplish this task is trial and error. You have to try different brands to see how they work for you. Just like with a cannabis strain, a friend may rant and rave about how an edible they like is the best thing on the planet, yet when you try it, you find disappointment. Buy them, try them, and learn the ones that work for you and those who don’t. A good way to ensure that an edible is of high quality, however, is to do your research. Check out reviews, look at their testing, look at their webpage for testimonials, or talk to dispensary employees as they likely have great insight into the reputation and quality of a specific brand.

How to Spot Good Cannabis Concentrates 

Cannabis concentrates can be great, but they can also be not so great. You can smell concentrates and should learn what you like in them. Some are natural when it comes to flavor, and others are bumped up with food-grade terpenes. Some people love the fruity flavors and sweet candy-like flavors these concentrates produce. Others prefer a more natural and earthy taste. You should also look for the cleanliness in which the concentrate burns. If it leaves your banger, nail, or coil all black and ashy, then those concentrates are not clean. This means they could have chlorophyll or other compounds in them. Like with edibles, determining quality concentrates from the bad isn’t always easy but with a little trial and error as well as research you are sure to find what’s best for you!

What do you look for in cannabis products? What is the ultimate measure of quality to you? Keep the conversation going in the comments below!

Post Your Comments

Jim 87 says:

September 21, 2020 at 3:34 pm

that shwag picture hahaahha

Ben Tickle says:

September 27, 2020 at 5:06 am


Steve says:

September 26, 2020 at 12:35 pm

I am looking for any recommendations for editable,good for pain. Any thoughts thanks

Lauren says:

September 28, 2020 at 9:23 am

Hi Steve, you will need to contact your local dispensary directly for edible recommendations as all products differ quite a bit.


September 28, 2020 at 7:57 am

yes, this was very helpful. keep it coming teacher


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