cannabis flowering

How To: Spot Top-Shelf Quality Cannabis

Look at cannabis how you look at produce. 

How else would you know if that avocado is ripe enough without examining it closely or giving it a good squeeze… you know getting your senses involved. The same applies to weed. You need to get your senses involved. That’s one of the reasons we hate the new trend of putting weed in glass jar tin cans. They don’t allow you to examine the weed before purchasing it. But that’s another discussion for another day.

A guide to ensuring you’re not getting jerked + actually are getting top-shelf cannabis:

Smell it.

You never want your weed to have a grassy, hay smell or smell of ammonia. That’s an instant sign of some low-quality bud. Either it wasn’t dried properly, cured properly or a mixture of both. Always looks for some type of a distinct smell — pungent, citrus-y, pine-y, diesel. Something that is pleasing to the nose. Make sure it doesn’t smell like chemicals. How would you know? You’d be able to tell. Chemicals hit the nose in an unnatural way. There’s a big difference between the smell of a diesel, pungent aroma vs. a chemical aroma. If the smell makes you go ‘mmmm…’, you should be straight. 

Examine it.

Cannabis is a plant. It should look pretty. Is it heavy in trichomes? Trichomes are those tiny little crystals that usually cover the bud. They tend to be shiny, sticky + always carry the most amazing aromas. If the bud isn’t covered in a blanket of frost, it’s not it. Has it been trimmed properly? Weed that hasn’t been properly trimmed are usually signs of a rushed job. If they’re cutting corners on manicuring the weed for bag appeal, where else did they cut corners? Does it contain any seeds? Top-shelf bud should be sinsemilla—it should never contain seeds. If you find a seed, that just means some issues came about during its growth cycle, but it shouldn’t be too big of an issue. If you find a seed in a strain you like, save it. If you find multiple seeds, that’s a major red flag that the bud is not high quality. 

Touch it.

You may not always get to touch the bud, but when you do check for freshness + density. You never want bud that feels a bit too moist or too dry where it’s crumbling. The former could mean it wasn’t properly dried and the latter could mean it hasn’t been properly stored. Always opt for buds that are sticky to the touch with a bit of weight. Some strains are light + airy, while others are denser. The main thing to look out for is a bud that’s too light or too airy. That is a sign of not receiving enough light during the flowering phase resulting in a less potent bud. 

Is the price reasonable or too good to be true?

In New York City, an eighth of quality bud can cost anywhere from $50-$75. From your local dealer, $40 is a reasonable deal. If you’re paying less than $40 for an eighth, you’re more than likely getting some mids. Be wary of $25 eighths. While it’s definitely smokable, there’s probably something wrong with it in terms of overall quality—not potent enough, wasn’t cured properly, dried out, etc. If you’re paying more than $60 + it’s in a branded bag, find a new person. Don’t waste your time on whatever Gelato they just put in a branded bag.


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