How To Select Perfect Cannabis Products For Christmas
Shopping for cannabis for Christmas? Cool. The growing market has much to offer, and the task of selecting the best pot and cannabis products may be daunting. Here’s how to optimise your cannabis search and buying process.
Recognize a right place
If you live in one of the legal states, you are pretty lucky. Dispensaries are a decent place to start looking for acceptable cannabis products. Of course, quality and selection vary; we still don’t have standards for the production and testing of cannabis. Find a knowledgeable budtender who can provide background information about the stock. Make sure you ask about:
- genetics and lineage,
- growing technique or extraction method.
Asking more detailed questions will help to gather more useful information for selecting the best possible product.
Many cannabis lovers follow known breeders and growers on the social media. You may benefit from this trick because a grower or concentrate maker often announce drop locations of their high-quality products so you can easily find a proven source of the pot.
If you live in less cannabis-friendly states, finding quality cannabis can be challenging. Often products that come from out of the state have inferior quality and are traded on the black market. The rule is simple: the closer to the origin, the better the cannabis.
Look at the packaging
Visual inspection brings a lot of useful information. Something as simple as a packaging or displaying is a good indicator of how much respect and consideration growers put into the production of the product. Often, flowers encased in turkey or plastic zip bags turn out to be lower-quality. Without proper storage, even the best cannabis can deteriorate and lose its best features. Plastic bags can crush pistils and knock off precious trichomes.
Glass jars are much better, as they protect the structural integrity, retain terpenes and keep proper humidity. The jar should be full to reduce the amount of air within. Putting a little bit of flower in a large jar is damaging for flowers, causing loss of smell and taste.
Containers of concentrates must be airtight to retain terpenes and keep oil from leaking. Using paper key envelopes proves to be an unreliable way for concentrates as terpenes separate from THC and slowly seep through parchment, saturating the envelope.
Always keep an eye on the packaging. The devil is in the detail.
Use your eyes
Visually inspecting the cannabis itself can be very rewarding. The color of the buds provides hints about the age of the product. A bring green means that a significant amount of chlorophyll is present, and this fresh material needs a cure to break chlorophyll down, creating smoother smoke. The cured buds are a little bit darker, with shades of gold and brown.
What about leaves? Browned or burnt leaf tips mean that the plant was not allowed to flourish. Probably, it is a nutrient problem or overexposing to high temperatures, but it is a sign that the flower was not given the proper environment to achieve its full potential.
The bud structure also says a lot. Are the flowers wispy and small? Or are they dense and relatively big? The structure depends on:
- amount of oxygen,
- proper temperatures.
Keep in mind that indicas have larger and denser buds while sativas are smaller, lighter nugs.
Focus on the flowers. Are there seeds or yellowish objects resembling bananas in the foliage? This can be a sign that the plant was forced to produce hermaphrodite sites, allowing the plant to fertilize itself. Seeds can also show that a male plant was in the grow room as well, impregnating the females and forcing seed grows.
Thoroughly inspect the bud for insects, mold, mildew, cat hair and other contaminants. Dead bugs — or their feces — are signs of an infestation, and are unacceptable for consumption. Powdery mildew or fungus can mean that the plants were exposed to excessive humidity or were not appropriately dried before being stored. These things ultimately ruin the flavor of the best cannabis and can be hazardous to consumers.
While inspecting concentrates, look for contaminants like animal hairs, plant material, or microfibres from low-quality filters and equipment used in the process. If you found pet hair in the dab, beware — it means that extraction happened in home labs or unsanitary conditions.
Bubbles in shatter, oil, or snap and pull can be the result of repeated flipping during purging. A sea of bubbles throughout can be a sign of an incomplete purge that left residual solvents.
Lighter color extracts reveal several things. Material that has been kept fresh and sealed retains brighter colors and darken as it ages. Less mature trichomes also yield lighter colors and have stronger scents, however, they provide a more mellow high that can last shorter than fully-matured material. Be careful around very dark brown and black extract — this can mean poor processing practices or old starting material. Keep in mind that smell, taste, and effect are much more critical in concentrates than color.
When you have the opportunity to inspect a product, smell it. Terpenes have been slowly building up within a jar and can tell a lot. A light scent can mean overly dried, poorly grown or improperly purged material. Old cannabis will smell like ammonia, which can mean there’s mold in the product. A wet smell implies that too much moisture remains in the buds. Hints of hay indicate that the material is old and lost valuable terpenes.
If possible, squeeze the bud to further release the flower’s scent. Stir the concentrate or rub the shatter between parchment to slightly warm it and release the aroma. Strong citrus and fruity smells (oranges and strawberries) indicate a sativa-like effect, while scents of gas, pine or musk mean more of an indica body high.
The smell of concentrates should represent the flowers. Strong aromas that smell like the flowers but in the more intense way are a must. Any rotten smell indicates that the extractors used canned gas that contains mercaptans — odor markers added to odorless butane to indicate dangerous gas leaks. Smells of alcohol or other solvents mean incomplete purges.
Touch it (and taste it)
Ask if it is possible to touch a bud to examine it. If the stem of bud dry enough to snap and break when bent, then it is dried sufficiently to smoke properly. If it bends easily, then the bud is too wet to smoke. Squeeze a little a small portion of the bud to reveal the texture. It should be sticky but not wet; otherwise, there is not a right amount of resin. Crumble a tiny bit between your fingers. If it breaks up into dust, then the flower is deteriorated. If it is too hard to break, it could mean that the bud is too fresh.
The real test of a product’s quality is how it smokes. Smoking a joint or a bowl can confirm what you concluded from inspection. Harsh smoke, acrid flavor or a burn to the throat or nose can mean an improper flush of nutrients or adulterants like foliar sprays or pesticides.
If the joint or bowl have any problem burning, it can indicate impurities of the material. Examine the ash: if there is the white ash left, the flower is properly flushed. If there are bits of grit and black ash, it means that heavy metals or nutrients are present. The same goes for concentrates: contaminated concentrates will leave a black char residue on the nail.
Some dispensaries, growers, and extractors include lab results with a product. These can be useful, especially for testing for pesticides, mold, and other contaminants. However, the labs are not subject to regulations at the moment, which makes challenging to trust data like THC, terpene, and cannabinoids numbers, as they deviate from lab to lab.
Recognising superior cannabis products is tricky but pays off. Knowing the difference between great and mediocre cannabis is the key to elevating your experience.
This post is based on this material.
(Sweedsy in no way encourages illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws. To learn more, click here.)