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How To Tell If Weed Is Good Quality: 5 Tips For Buying Cannabis Flower [Marijuana]

"Choosing premium cannabis is reminiscent of picking the finest produce. The flower should showcase a fresh appearance and aroma, but several other crucial factors must be considered to ensure you get the best value for your money"

How To Tell If Weed Is High Quality Cannabis Marijuana

Learn to differentiate between private reserve and top-shelf flower, understand how smell, appearance, and flower structure indicate high-quality cannabis, and appreciate why price isn't the only factor.


Private Reserve Cannabis:

In regulated markets, cannabis is typically categorized into four tiers: house or compassion shelf, mid-shelf, top shelf, and private reserve. Private reserve represents the pinnacle of cured cannabis flower available from dispensaries or delivery services.



Private reserve flowers typically possess the following characteristics:

  1. Small Batch: Crafted with meticulous care to preserve terpene and cannabinoid content, private reserve flowers are chosen from batches exhibiting vibrant colour, a pungent aroma, and unique bud structure.

  2. High Prices: Exclusive and potentially including rare, popular, and award-winning varieties, private reserve strains command premium prices, often exceeding £100 for an eighth ounce (3.5 grams) in legal markets.

  3. Perfection: To qualify as private reserve, cannabis must boast a dense coating of trichomes, vibrant colours, and the ideal moisture level for an even smoking experience.

  4. Diverse Cannabinoid Profile: Lab results for private reserve strains should showcase various cannabinoid and terpene profiles, ensuring a nuanced experience catering to different preferences.

When purchasing cannabis, ensure the flower aligns with its designated shelf. A jeweller's loupe is invaluable for scrutinizing buds, and if opting for delivery, read reviews of strains labelled as "Private Reserve" before making a purchase.


Top-Shelf Cannabis:

Top-shelf, a colloquial term for high-quality cannabis, is often the most expensive option on a menu. This grade of cannabis boasts an aesthetically pleasing appearance, desirable terpene aromas and flavours, and a high cannabinoid content.

Key factors contributing to top-shelf cannabis include:


How to tell if weed is good quality: 5 tips for buying cannabis flower

  1. Genetics: Decades of selective breeding have resulted in strains with superior terpene and cannabinoid content.

  2. Healthy Soil: Quality soil with abundant microbes supports top-shelf results.

  3. Proper Nutrition: Cannabis requires the right nutrients—mainly nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium—at precise intervals for optimal results.

  4. Drying and Curing: Proper handling after harvest preserves trichomes, enhancing the taste, smell, and smoking experience.


Top-shelf cannabis, also known as "loud weed," is renowned for its potent fragrance and overall high quality. It may also be referred to as "high-grade" or "fire."





Low-Grade Cannabis:

Schwag, or low-quality cannabis, is characterized by a dull appearance, a dusty aroma, low potency, and overall subpar quality. Other terms for low-grade cannabis include dirt weed, skunk weed, catnip, brown weed, or ditch weed.


UK Medical Cannabis PGR Weed

Low-grade cannabis may pose safety risks, especially if mouldy or containing pesticides. It tends to be dry or have a weak smell.


Spotting PGR Weed:

Okay, so you want to make sure your cannabis is all-natural and free from any weird stuff, especially those Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs). Here's the lowdown on how to spot PGR weed without getting too technical.


First off, check out the buds. If they're super dense and feel like tiny rocks, that might be a sign. Natural cannabis has a bit more bounce. Also, look for this weird artificial shine on the buds – not the usual vibrant colours and frostiness you'd expect.


But here's the real giveaway: taste. If your weed is harsh and doesn't have that enjoyable kick, it might be laced with PGRs. Keep it simple, go for the strains that look and feel natural – it's not just about enjoying your smoke, but also making sure it's the real deal without any funky additives. Stay chill and choose your bud wisely!


What to Look for in High-Quality Cannabis:

Identifying high-quality cannabis involves assessing its smell, appearance, feel, and flower structure:


  1. Smell: Quality cannabis exhibits a pungent and pleasant aroma, often described as "dank" or "loud."

  2. Look: Top-shelf cannabis displays vibrant colours, with frosty trichomes indicating potency.

  3. Feel: Quality flower is sticky and slightly spongy, breaking apart easily without being overly dry.

  4. Flower Structure: Sativa-leaning flowers are light and fluffy, while indicas tend to be tighter and denser.


Other indicators of good cannabis include ethical cultivation practices, a Certificate of Analysis (COA), and attention to sustainability and transparency.


How to Identify Poor-Quality Cannabis:

Low-quality cannabis, or schwag, is identifiable by its dull colour, dry texture, inclusion of plant material, lack of trichomes, unpleasant smell, and poor smokeability.


In Conclusion:

Top-shelf cannabis represents high-quality, cannabinoid- and terpene-rich cannabis produced without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Dispensaries often offer various grades, providing options for diverse preferences.


Top Shelf Weed Private Reserve Cannabis Marijuana Complete Guide Weedmaps High Times High Committee Leafly Leafie High&Polite

Common Cannabis Flower Questions FAQ:


How Hard is it to Grow Top-Shelf Cannabis?

Growing top-shelf cannabis is challenging, requiring meticulous attention to genetics, nutrients, light, water, and the entire cultivation process.


Is Exotic Weed the Same as Top-Shelf Weed?

Exotic weed may be rare or from an exotic location but isn't necessarily top-shelf. The aroma, taste, and quality determine the premium status.


Is any Single Strain Considered Top Shelf?

Strain names don't guarantee top-shelf quality; it's the smell, appearance, and feel that determine quality.


Should I Avoid Low Quality Bud?

Whether to avoid schwag depends on personal preference. Some use it for edibles, oils, or tinctures, appreciating its affordability. One thing you should definitely avoid is PGR weed.


Is High THC a Sign of Good Cannabis?

High THC isn't the sole indicator of quality; texture, terpene levels (complex aroma) and abundant trichomes contribute to overall quality.



Reviewed by High Committee Editors: 01/12/2023

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Richy B
Richy B
Dec 03, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for sharing! Great read as always

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