A Beginners Guide to Choosing Good Cannabis

When you visit a cannabis store, you come across a massive selection of products. How will you step in to navigate the right options? 

Buying cannabis is complex due to hundreds of botanical ingredients. Every ingredient has the quality to dramatically change the effects of THC. So, choosing the right cannabis is daunting. 

Let’s uncover basics, and know the common terms generally used when shopping for good weed. This will level up your experience. 

  • “Flower,” refers to the cured and dried blooms of female cannabis plants, called “buds” or “nugs.”
  • Flower is typically intoxicating
  • THC content indicates the euphoric potency
  • Some flowers have high CBD content and produce less intoxicating effects. 
  • Smoking, edibles, tinctures generally come from “top-shelf bud” or the best source material
  • “Dank,” “Fire,” “Premium,” and “Craft” are slang terms commonly used for premium cannabis.
  • “Ditchweed,” “Bunk,” and “Whack” are often used for low-grade cannabis.

Appearance, smell, flower structure and feel are the primary traits to identify good cannabis.

What to look for in good cannabis:


Cannabis typically comes in a vibrant array of colours with greens ranging from dark forest to electric lime. Orange, purple, red, pink, yellow, silky, milky white are all possible results of the unique terpenoid mix and genetic lineage of cannabis flowers. Interesting colours make your cannabis more potent is a common misconception. However, beautiful flowers are a potential indicator of the fact that cannabis has been grown well and fresh. Avoid buying milky-tan, brown, or degraded cannabis. 


Good quality flowers, such as healthy and fresh ones, offer some visible hints that enable you to determine its quality. Although all good cannabis is visibly charming, a top-shell strain has the quality to display a vibrant order of colors. High-end flowers are a deep green with red or flaming orange hairs. They also have the quality to express colors from bright blue to deep purple. 


Check the ripeness and health of the trichomes (fine outgrowths or appendages on plants). If they are milky white, they are perfect. A plant with strong genetics is blanketed by them. If there are no trichomes, the plant has been harvested before it reached maturity. If you see brown or amber trichomes, it means the plant was not harvested soon enough. Ensuring that your weed has ripe trichomes will enable you to experience the flower at its peak ripeness.


Fresh, well-dried cannabis lets you enjoy good smoke. Top-shelf flowers should be slightly spongy and sticky when touched or gently squeezing it between two fingers. Squish them and feel the texture and springiness. Bud should be pretty easy to break. Break apart the cannabis in your fingers. While breaking, listen carefully to the snap of the stem. It should not fully crumble or dry when touched. Rub the fingers together to feel the stickiness. 


  • Properly cured buds crunch lightly when squished
  • They spring back gently and hold their form
  • When broken, the stem should produce an audible snap
  • Your cannabis should lightly crumble when pulled apart. 
  • It shouldn’t crumble into dust!


Cannabis that exhibits a pungent and pleasant aroma is a good clue that it has been cultivated and cured to the highest standards. Flowers with a strong fragrance typically indicate the overall quality of the flower. The general rule of thumb is that a good-smelling flower is pungent, distinct, and unmistakable. If you can’t smell the flower before purchasing it, freshness is the best indicator to determine the quality of a product. In general, cannabis degrades over time. Terpenes are pretty much gone after six months. 

Note that proper storage delays the process, but nothing will stop it. Be sure to check the harvest date on the flower before you purchase it because the chemical complexity depends on it.

Flower Structure

Sativa-leaning flowers, if skillfully cultivated, are light and fluffy in composition and shape. Indicas tend to be denser and tighter in flower structures. Though the flower structure and the experience you have generally have very little to do with others.

Coming across rock-hard flowers means that the cultivators may have used plant growth regulators. It leads to an unpleasant taste. Extremely fluffy flowers are a sign that the plant was not grown under sufficient light intensity. It was not cropped to its potential. The top-shelf flower is the signal of a great dispensary. Good flowers grow in various shapes and sizes and they have more than a few nicknames.

Bottom Line

The search for good cannabis does not have to be very complicated. It’s all about what you would like when smoking it. Your preference might be different from what delivery drivers or local budtenders like. With a bounty of strains grown, you should aim to find the right strain for you. 

So, let’s be ready and consider the above indicators to understand what you are getting – look, smell, feel and flower structure. With that, you will be able to find good weed strains that suit your personal taste.

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