A lot of factors play a part in making the cannabis you consume enjoyable. This guide will help you understand how cannabis works to help you become a better judge of what makes up “good weed”
In order to understand how smoking weed gets you high, it’s important to know what chemical compounds make up the “high” one may experience while under the effects of cannabis. See the second page for the scientific explanations and terms.
Here are the key characteristics of good pot from the range of how it smokes to how it looks:
Green. Lime Green, Dark Green, Hues of Purple and even black, blue and pink can color the leaves. Colors that are exaggerated when the plant is exposed to cold weather during night time. These are all signs of good quality cannabis.
White, yellow and brown are never good signs on the leaf.
The shiny white frosting (called trichomes) hold the majority of THC on the plant. One can view the maturity of the trichomes under a magnifying glass. If the trichomes are clear (as displayed in the picture of growing cannabis), then the high has not fully developed yet. If the trichomes are cloudy (as displayed in the second picture), then the high has developed. A good mix of mostly cloudy trichomes and some amber ones constitutes the highest grade cannabis that has been grown to its optimal maturity.
Some weed is manicured by hand and others by machine. Having too much leaf on a plant is usually signs of home growing and a way to leave some extra weight on the plant. While this is okay if there are sufficient trichomes on the leaf, this is usually a sign of a lazy grower. Good buds are carefully manicured so only the best parts of the cannabis are left to smoke, the rest usually used for hash trimmings.
If the ash burns white than the plant has had all of it’s hard metals and nutrients flushed out properly. This is more noticeable in “organic” grows.
The smoke should be smooth – even if it makes you cough the smoke should not taste harsh.
A great strain has a flavor and after trying enough of them you can discover your favorites.
Good pot always has a smell. If it doesn’t have an apparent smell, then pick it up and squeeze it so you can get the smell out of a dryer nug. If there is no smell at all, then its bunk or stale weed. Good weed smells vary from fruity, skunky, cheesy, diesel, piney and sometimes even chocolate cannabis strains. If the smell is disgusting to you then the taste of the bud will be the same. You can smell rot on bad bud, so always trust your nose.
Sticky to the touch! The best weed rubs off on one’s fingers. When the only way to break it up is in a grinder, you know you’re dealing with primo bud. However if the nug is too wet the smoke will taste harsh. Wet bud is always heavier. For the best quality smoke, it’s best to allow the plant to dry first. Too wet can turn into mold, so be careful for white powdery mildew and black bud rot on your wet nugs.
Below are examples of higher quality bud shots. (click to enlarge)
Below are pictures of lower quality nugs:
(click to enlarge)
Bud packed into a brick shape is most likely lesser quality. Lots of stems and or seeds signal an outdoor grow. The value of the bud is that which represents the supply and demand for bud of it’s quality in your area. The highest quality has no seeds and a strong smell while lesser quality may contain seeds and have a less pungent odor.
Read on for the scientific explanation of how cannabis THC, CBD and CBN levels play a part in the high you receive from smoking, vaping or ingesting it >
When it comes to finding the THC, CBD and CBN levels of a cannabis plant the only way to accurately determine the % of the chemical compound in the DRY plant is by using an High pressure liquid chromatography; HPLC.
*Pro tip: Your dealer doesn’t have an HPLC, therefore they cannot just tell you how much THC is in the cannabis you are purchasing. The highest ever recorded THC percentage on any dry plant ever recorded was 31% on Marijuana found in a tomb of a Chinese king buried with his pot and seeds hundreds of years ago. There has never been any recording of present day cannabis achieving over 30%.
THC – (Tetrahydrocannabinol) – gets a user high, a larger proportion of THC will produce a stronger high. Without THC you don’t get high.
THC is responsible for most of the cerebral (mental) effects of cannabis. Besides potentially inducing feelings of euphoria and happiness, THC can cause people to feel anxious, nervous, or paranoid. *
CBD (Cannabidiol) increases some of the effects of THC and decreases other effects of THC. Larger amounts of CBD tend to relax both mind and body, and decrease feelings like anxiety, nervousness, and paranoia.
Cannabis that has a high level of THC and low level of CBD (Cannabis Sativa) will produce a very strong cerebral high. The body may feel more physically energetic when compared to ingesting cannabis with larger levels of CBD.
Cannabis that has a high level of both THC and CBD will produce a strong cerebral high. The body will feel somewhat relaxed and heavy. At lower dose sizes, physical activity is possible (with effort).
As the dose size increases, the body will feel more relaxed and heavy. This makes physical activity require more effort. Fresh hashish is an example of a cannabis product with high levels of both THC and CBD.
Cannabis that has low levels of THC and high levels of CBD (Cannabis Indica) will produce more of a stoned feeling. The mind feels relaxed and dull, the body feels relaxed and heavy, most people do not like to engage in physical activity.
CBN (Cannabinol) is produced as THC ages. High levels of CBN tend to make a person feel messed up rather than high. CBN levels can be kept to a minimum by storing cannabis products in a dark, cool, airtight environment.
THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) is found primarily in strains of African and Asian cannabis. THCV increases the speed and intensity of THC effects, but also causes the high to end sooner.
If you are a grower, you can experiment with different strains of marijuana to produce the various qualities you seek. A medical marijuana patient looking for something with sleep inducing properties might want to produce a crop that has high levels of CBD.
Another person looking for a more energetic high will want to grow a strain that has high levels of THC and low levels of CBD. In general, Cannabis sativa has lower levels of CBD and higher levels of THC. Cannabis indica has larger amounts of CBD and lower amounts of THC than sativa.