Tips For Picking High-Quality Cannabis

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A good smoking experience always involves great cannabis buds. When the flower is of high quality, you not only experience pleasant highs but also relaxing aromas and great flavor. The worst experiences are also accompanied by bad marijuana buds. Every stoner wants to the ‘fire’, ‘loud’ or ‘private reserve’ marijuana and nobody wants to have ‘brick’, ‘bunk’, or ‘schwag’ weed.

However, identifying the best, high-quality (or as many call it, ‘top shelf’) weed can throw even the most experienced marijuana connoisseurs for a loop. Visit Save on Cannabis for advice and accessories.  To help you with the selection process, we have listed a few features that separate top of the line strains from low-quality ones.

Top Shelf Flower

Before we get down to business, let’s briefly define the term flower. This is a phrase that refers to the cured and dried female marijuana plant blooms, usually called buds or nugs. Flower is intoxicating in nature or rather contains THC, which is the primary indicator of euphoric potency. However, some flower contains high CBD content and has minimal to no intoxicating effects. When distinguishing between high-quality and substandard flower, there are four primary indicators: Look, feel, flower structure and smell.

Here are a few tips that will help you pick the best weed for your money:


Top of the line flower like healthy, fresh gives a visual hint to help determine the quality of weed. While all good marijuana should be visually appealing, high-quality flower easily displays a brilliant range of vibrant colors. Top of the line weed is usually lime or deep green with flaming red to orange hairs. It can also express colors ranging from bright blue to deep purple. You should never pick cannabis that depicts a brown color tone.

The number of trichomes is another vital visual indicator. Trichomes are basically small, crystal-like appendages on the surface of the plant. They hold the compounds that give out the flavor, smell and effects. They also glimmer. The more of these appendages you can see, the more potent the flower.


Marijuana that is grown and cured with high-standards usually gives out a pleasant and pungent aroma. Flowers that emit a strong aroma as usually referred to as having a loud or dank smell, thus showing the overall quality of the product. There are several terms for the kinds of aromas top-shelf marijuana emits including ‘piney’, ‘diesely’ and ‘skunky’.

Smelling Marijuana

A pleasant fragrance is the common denominator for a high-quality flower and is often pungent, strong and distinct. The more of these features, the better.

Flower Structure

Properly cultivated and cured Sativa flowers should be fluffy and light in shape as well as composition. Indicas, on the other hand, are usually denser and tighter in structure. Flowers that are rock-hard is a tell-tale sign that the cultivator used growth regulators which gives out an unpleasant taste. Also, overly fluffy flowers is a sign that the plant was cultivated under insufficient light density and wasn’t grown to its full potential.


High quality tends to be slightly spongy and sticky when you touch or rub it between your fingers. The plant’s stem should snap and the flower should be easy to break apart. However, it should not be completely dry or crumble once you touch it. On the other hand, the buds should not be too soft or wet as this increases the chances of mildew or mold growth.

Top shelf flower might be the hallmark of an excellent dispensary, but good weed comes in a wide array of sizes and shapes- and have several by-products.

Signs of Substandard Cannabis


The look of poor-quality marijuana is distinct. It may be in the form of a lot of seeds and stems or discolored flower. There are numerous reasons for a discolored flower, pesticides, chemicals, age, and mold being just a few examples. An unappealing sight, subpar marijuana comes in many signs of ugly. From an immature lime green bud to dirt brown, there are many visual clues when looking at a good flower gone bad.


Subpar weed can take on an array of quirky fragrances which are usually displeasing. Usually known as ‘bottom shelf’ or ‘schwag’, these substandard buds can give off mildew or musty aroma. A straw, grass-like or musty aroma is a tell-tale sign of aged marijuana. Unpleasant fragrances are usually a sign of poorly cured or mishandled weed.


When you are looking at a substandard flower, it will usually be dry or brittle when you touch it. A dry flower will often feel light and airy with very little weight to it. In addition, low-quality weed will easily crumble when you touch. Loose or undone marijuana is often referred to as ‘shake’ and you’ll want to avoid it if you want value for your money.

Flower Structure

Weak, airy and a bud that primarily consists of stems is a sign of poor quality. A properly cultivated bud will be aesthetically pleasing, but a mishandled one will have inferior looking buds.

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Martin B.

Ex-smoker, passionate vaper who loves to tell the world about the life-changing potential of vaping. Co-creator of Ecigclopedia with a background in Business & Finance. Prefers a dessert flavored vape and loves to innovate.

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