How to Shop for Quality Cannabis Products

How to Shop for Quality Cannabis Products

By De’Andrea Cherry 

Whether you're a seasoned connoisseur or a curious newcomer, the process of shopping for quality cannabis has become an art and a science. If you've ever walked into a dispensary feeling like a kid in a candy store, you're not alone. The world of cannabis has blossomed, offering a plethora of choices that sometimes seem hard to navigate. But fear not! We’re going to break down all the basics of how to shop for that good good.

Understand Your Preferences

Before hitting the dispensary, know what you're looking for. Not all strains are created equal, and you should have a general sense as to what kind of experience you’re looking for. Are you after a chill night on the couch or an energy boost before work? These are examples of some of the questions the budtenders will be asking you, so you better be prepared before you even walk in. For example, indica strains like Grand Daddy Purple will typically have sedating effects, while sativa strains like Jack Herer could give you an uplifted feeling. Knowing the kind of effects you want to experience will help guide you as you shop for specific products.

Follow Your Nose

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds responsible for the distinct scents and effects of different strains. Take a moment to smell the buds (if your local dispensary allows it). Does it have a sweet, citrusy note, or is it earthy and musky? The scent is a clue to the flavor profile and overall quality, which can give you some insight into how your body will respond to the product. The strain OG Kush is known for its musk-like aroma, a result of high levels of myrcene. This is a terpene that’s known to promote relaxation and sedation—making OG Kush great for evening use.

Talk To The Budtender

The budtender is your cannabis concierge. Engage with them, share your preferences, and ask questions. They're there to help you find the perfect strain based on your desired effects and flavor preferences. Keep in mind that everyone’s cannabis experience may vary, but they should be able to guide you in the direction you’re looking for.

Ask For A COA

Legit dispensaries will always be able to provide lab results of a product detailing its cannabinoid content and potential contaminants. Usually, those results come in the form of a COA (or certificate of analysis). The COA will also be able to tell you when your flower was harvested so you know that you’re getting the freshest batch. Analyzing these results ensures transparency and helps you make informed decisions about what and who you’re buying from.

Look At The Packaging

Paying attention to how your cannabis is packaged can give you an indication of its quality. Quality cannabis is often sealed in airtight, light-resistant containers to preserve freshness. If the packaging is well-designed and professional, it's likely the producers care about the product. Some companies will even take this a step further and add a Boveda (humidity control pack) for the freshest experience. 

Research The Brand

Before you make your purchase, it helps to know a bit about the company before handing over your cash. Whether it’s the dispensary you’re shopping at or an online store, it’s great to know that you’re supporting people who have a genuine passion for the plant. How do the people behind the brand help to end the war on drugs? Are they migrating over from the pharmaceutical industry to make a quick buck? Being mindful of who you’re giving your money to helps to create a cannabis industry that’s ethical and holds both companies and consumers responsible.

With all of this knowledge, you're now ready to hit the dispensary with confidence. Whether you're a seasoned connoisseur or a first-timer, finding that top-shelf cannabis is an art—and now, you're the artist.

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