How to Know What Kind of Weed to Purchase

Sure, everyone loves a good bargain. But at what price? Just because some weed comes cheap doesn’t mean it’s good. As cannabis legalization expands and weed becomes more readily accessible across the states, and is recognized more and more for its health benefits, demand is significantly increasing. Many are considering purchasing cannabis for the very first time. Most seasoned consumers have already worked out the tricks to buying good cannabis, but for the budding buyers, here’s a beginner’s guide to avoiding leaving the shop with crappy weed.

Beginner’s Guide to Buying Good Weed vs. Bad Weed

Hands down, the best tool in your toolbox is your nose. When presented with what seems like hundreds of different choices, your nose will be your best guide. Differentiation of good weed vs. bad weed is often a matter of what terpenes, or aromatic compounds, are present in that specific flower and your nose is surprisingly great at sniffing out which ones tickle your fancy and which ones do not.


However, popping open a jar of pot and sniffing out your favorite strain mid-store isn’t always an option, so our first piece of advice would be to locate a shop with a helpful budtender whose advice you can trust and then continue giving them your business. Additionally, there are some visual clues you can look out for that should guide you toward the sticky-icky and away from any schwag.

  1. Crystals: If you see a plant covered in frosty, salt-like crystals, you’ve likely located a winner as these salty-looking flakes are little glands within the pot plant that produce the cannabinoids that give us the beloved “high” effect.
  2. Color: There’s no specific color that determines great pot. Stellar strains can come in all sorts of colors like bright green, dark purple, or gold, but oftentimes, irregular discoloration or a bleached appearance can be a sign of a lousy bud. 
  3. Size: While there’s nothing wrong with small nugs, sometimes called “popcorn nugs,” a good general rule of thumb is the larger the flower, the more potent it is. Cannabis plants typically put more energy into the flowers that are higher up on the plant or on the outer edges, making them larger and usually more powerful.
  4. Shape: Irregular, asymmetrical edges usually mean the pot is hand-trimmed as opposed to machine-trimmed, which will have more uniform edges. Machines can easily damage the flower and shake off those precious frosty trichomes.
  5. Test Results: Legal states require cultivation facilities to test their flower and then label each product with its cannabinoid percentage. You should certainly pay attention to these labels as one step in your hunt for good bud, but don’t rely solely on THC percentage when purchasing, or you will be sorely disappointed.

Questions to Ask at a Dispensary

  1. What’s fresh on the menu today?
  2. What are other customers buying right now?
  3. What’s the best value right now? (good quality for a good price)
  4. How strong is your strain?
  5. What strain was used in this product?
  6. What’s your newest strain?
  7. What strain do you recommend for each classification? (sativa, hybrid, indica.)
  8. How is this weed grown?
  9. What’s the best strain for beginners?

While it’s rare that you’re faced with a budtender who doesn’t know his arse from his elbow, it happens, so it’s good to be mindful of these five clues when determining what kind of weed to purchase. You never know; you may discover a marked-down strain that checks all these boxes! But, if you do luck out with a great budtender, don’t hesitate to ask questions! After all, that’s why they’re there - they serve as your best bud for finding the best bud. Trust them to steer you clear of any duds.