Photo by Keti Chikhladze, @immigrantstoner

Guides | 01.18.2022

How To Buy Quality CBD Flower

The CBD flower world can be tricky; here's how to navigate it. Created with Botany Farms.

All stoners and weed fanatics alike dream with the perfect bud. Whether you’ve been consuming for ages or just beginning, you want to look at these criteria to understand further what it takes to make quality flowers.

We’ll come to see that we will need to judge the book by its cover because appearance, fragrance, and feel will significantly define what quality means.

For you to have a better understanding of what you’re looking for in CBD flower, we want to take Botany Farms’ CBD flower as a point of reference.

Botany Farms has a dream of quality, curated flower for all of its users, and their CBD flower line is unmatched when it comes down to these criteria we’ll see up ahead.

Without further ado, let’s begin with the five criteria we will be looking at when looking for top-tier CBD buds.

Aroma

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One of the most critical sensorial aspects of cannabis is aroma because it will determine two very crucial aspects of the user experience.

First, you have the smell itself, determining how fresh and well cured the flower is.

Then we have the aroma, which is an essential part of taste, which by now we should understand is fundamental when it comes to weed.

Smell receptors in our nose act to provide us with vital information all day long, and when it comes to weed, these may be the ones that allow us to know whether or not our flower is good or moldy, for instance.

As when it comes to food, weed will pick up funky and somewhat cranky smells once it denaturalizes and starts to break down, so we want to keep a nose out for cannabis that simply smells off.

The cannabis flower is packed with terpenes, a natural plant chemical compound responsible for taste, aroma, and some effects.

We want our CBD flower to be packed with terpenes, and a flower that smells dull or has a hay-like smell does not make the cut.

Take a good whiff and try to identify as many distinct odors as possible. This will give you an idea of what flavors to expect when you spark up.

A rich and powerful smell is also a sign of potency; an aromatic flower will probably have better effects and a more pleasing user experience than a dull and quiet one.

As with food, the smell is essential and telling, so with a good nose, you can determine various characteristics of the plant you’ll be consuming, such as probable potency, freshness, age, and probably whether or not that flower was adequately cured and stored.

Taste

Photo by Keti Chikhladze, @immigrantstoner

Taste and smell go hand in hand. Together, they make up for the complete sensory experience we go through when eating, smoking, and drinking.

To think one can live without the other would be to live in a lie, and you can tell this is true with cannabis even more than with food.

Taste is a complex sensory perception that allows the user to identify and determine whether a specific note is satisfying or not. Not all tastes are made the same, nor should all tastes be liked by everyone.

Taste has a duality, it has both an objective and a subjective aspect, and we have to learn to distinguish this if we are to grade cannabis.

Terpenes will provide the user with hints and notes that make up a taste profile. Some people can identify notes, and others just pick up on the complete taste. Either way, you can experiment and train your palate.

After we have smelled and identified the possible taste our CBD flower will have, we want to spark it and smoke some to taste the smoke in our mouths.

After this, we want to taste with our noses. Retronasal taste is the final component of taste itself, but one of the most important.

As with expensive wine, craft beer, and whisky, we want to fully appreciate and experience the aromatic notes when tasting our flower.

As such, what I recommend is to dissect the flavor profile and distinguish notes with both tongue and nose. That is the proper way to determine if we like what we’re smoking.

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Appearance

Photo courtesy of Botany Farms

We are sometimes told it is rude to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes down to premium cannabis flowers, we will get a ton of information from the aesthetic properties of the flower. 

Most of these criteria have a subjective part due to each person’s preference and style, but there are a set of values we want to look for in the appearance of our buds.

First, we want to check for freshness and purity, which means we want to make sure the flower has been properly harvested, dried, and cured.

If something feels off, you should stray away from this flower, including seeing signs of mold, humidity, or darker spots where there might have been an issue.

After checking for the health and properties of the nuggets, we will proceed to inspect for what we want and know what a particular strain should have or show.

What I mean by this is that each strain has a set of characteristics that set it apart, so we want to check for these to be true.

Am I getting the thickly, densely packed nuggets that the producer promises?

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Trichomes

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Perhaps you’ve experimented with some growing yourself and know how important it is to pay close attention to the trichomes in the bud.

Maybe you just like the look and feel of these curious tiny hairs that the bud has.

Or maybe you know that all the substances we’re looking for in cannabis can actually be found in these milky, somewhat amber-colored, gooey flakes that separate these flowers from those in a vase. 

Trichomes are essentially what make good cannabis, and growers have debated for ages over when cannabis should be picked based on how these look.

Although I am convinced there are many ways of doing one thing well, some are very passionate and opinionated about how a trichome has to look.

My opinion? Partly milky, not too dark, and a good mix of cloudy and amber to guarantee we haven’t gone too far and we’re not missing some days in the process.

What did I just say? What I mean is that when we’re looking at a plant, we cannot expect it to turn perfect all at once suddenly, but we can accept it as it comes.

So we want our trichomes to be cloudy or milky, not clear.

And we want some of our trichomes, nearly thirty percent, to be amber, but not burnt and dark. With all that in mind, there is also personal preference at hand, and some may want their trichomes to be amber completely. 

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Consistency

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Although cannabis is a plant, making it a natural product that will have some differences and should not feel manipulated, we want our flower to have consistency.

We decided to close with this because we are looking for a CBD flower that is consistently good, which means we do not want some nugs to be perfect while others are just filling to make up the weight.

Consistency is vital because it will ultimately tell us whether our product has been picked and curated correctly, leading to consistent user experiences.

This is where it all comes around, if the sum of all the aspects is positive, and on top of that, we have a consistent product in our hands, we know that our CBD flower is top. 

Why is consistency so important?

Because, in my opinion, it separates top flowers from regular flowers, it shows that the producer cares, and it gives us a fresh breath of air.

At the end of the run, if a product is consistent, it shows that the whole line of production and process is clean and thorough.

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