Depending on what part of the country you are from can set your standard for what marijuana is good or bad, OK, bad, etc, is going to differ greatly. I learned this lesson the first time I took some BC Bud to Idaho. The nugs I brought were classic ‘work’ caliber BC; commonly known in Oregon at the time as ‘beasters.’ There was a large prevalence of orange hairs, the smell was more like hay than it was sweet or tasty, and the nugs themselves were big colas with large stems in the middles. This type of weed at the time (2002ish) went for about 2600-2800 a pound in Eugene, OR and was considered very average (meaning not chronic). It was just some generic stuff where I lived, but when I brought it to Boise, the people there treated me like I was Tommy Chong!
Check out our article on how to tell the difference between indica and sativa!
Chances are if you are on the West Coast, or in Colorado, you have a great sense of what marijuana is good or bad. If you live somewhere else in the US, I hate to break it to you, but the weedjust isn’t that good where you are. Now I’m not saying good weed doesn’t exist anywhere else in the US, but I am saying that it is hard as hell to find, costs an arm and a leg, and doesn’t come in large supplies. There are always home cultivators in any part of the nation that are producing top quality nugs, but that doesn’t always mean that they share! On the West Coast and in Colorado, due to SO MANY GROWERS, top quality marijuana flows like water, and therefore, the consumers in those areas are exposed to many more top quality strains. As a result, they are much more educated on the topic of cannabis quality.
I know what some of you are thinking, ‘they have labs now that just test the stuff and tell you what the level is.’ That is fine for the limited number of states that have labs, but for the vast majority of Americans, marijuana testing facilities are not a reality. Here in Oregon, if we have a lab, I have never heard of it, and neither has anyone else that I know. So either they don’t exist, or the labs are so horrible at marketing that they are clearly missing their target audience!
While it would be nice to have a laboratory in Oregon, most of the consumers that I know here are EXTREMELY good at spotting and explaining why certain types of marijuana are ‘good.’ I will explain the things that I look for, and readers can feel free to add their own tips and tricks. Remember, I’m not saying these are the ONLY ways to decide if marijuana is good or bad; I’m merely sharing SOME of the ways that I like to critique marijuana.
THE LOOK — Americans are visual consumers. If something looks really tasty and good, then our brains think it is good, regardless of if it really is or not. There have been numerous strains that I have bought and consumed that looked like pure goodness, when in actuality, they really had more bark than bite. But with that being said, it is almost impossible to get me, or any Oregonian I know, to buy marijuana that looks bad, no matter how high the dealer claims it will get me. ‘I will gladly smoke some for free, but I think I’ll keep my money…’ GIVE ME AS MANY CRYSTALS AS POSSIBLE! I like it light green and lookin’ like Frosty the Snow Man grew it.
THE SMELL — There’s nothing better than pinching a nice, dank nug and getting that sweet aroma. My favorite blends I have ever consumed were also the best smelling blends I have ever consumed (not coincidence). ‘I can smell it through the bag’ is not just a line from the movie Half Baked; it’s a standard to live by. If your dealer/grower walks into your pad, and you can already smell what their packin’, that’s a really great way to know that your marijuana is good or bad. With that being said, there are some super, super dank blends working their way around the Willamette Valley in Oregon right now that smell completely awful, but in a good way…kinda like body odor, but in an organic way. If your weed smells like hay, that means it is either old or wasn’t dried properly to begin with before packaging. If it smells like sitting water or mildew, that’s usually do to powdery mildew while it was growing, or the marijuana was dried so poorly before packaging that it sat in its package with moisture, and the decaying process took over. If you are looking at acquiring marijuana, do more than just sniff an open bag. GET IN THERE, break up a nug, and smell the inside of it.
THE TASTE — Whether it’s a vaporizer, bong, waterfall, gravity, bubbler, pipe, doobie, etc, this category of critiquing marijuana is self explanatory. Everyone’s taste buds are different, so just pick one that you like and toke it for all its worth!
THE DENSITY — We have all bought that stuff that is so dense, it takes a torch and 3 friends to finish a bowl. That same stuff is like weighing a rock; an ounce looks like a half ounce, and no one that I know is a fan of it. I have also encountered the opposite. I used to get stuff that was so ‘larfy,’ that you had to roll the poorly manicured buds into a ball in order to fit it in a bong bowl. I like stuff that breaks off the stem in a natural way, creating perfect bowl-sized pieces. The tale of the tape comes when the flame hits it; if it burns uniformly, it is perfect in my opinion. If it burns too fast, or too slow, chances are it is not dense enough or too dense, respectively. Hopefully your grower manicures the marijuana properly in order to ensure that this category is optimal.
MOISTURE LEVEL — Nothing upsets me more than poorly dried marijuana, which is definitely related to whether your marijuana is good or bad. It’s not hard people; let it hang for an extra day or two! Once the weed is put in a bag, if it is not properly dried, it will negatively affect every other category that I have already mentioned, and there is no going back. The weed is virtually ruined, and only suitable for rookies. When you break up a nug, the pieces should snap off the stem. One shouldn’t have to twist, use scissors, use teeth, or any other funky way that people have had to do in order to get a bowl off a big nug. If your buds bend, they need to dry more. If you are a grower, and you want to put your stuff in a jar and ‘burp’ it from time to time, that’s totally understandable. But please, if you are a grower, don’t let your product enter the market place before it is properly dried. It shouldn’t be the consumer’s job to let it sit out even longer, losing weight, and make the original deal worse than originally agreed upon. Consumers — acquiring marijuana takes two parties, so don’t put up with ‘bendy buds.’ Tell your grower/dealer to come correct, or you will be getting a new hook.
THE HIGH – The proof is in the pudding…I want it as strong as you can make it. I have never met a strain I couldn’t handle.
Once again, these are MY personal tips and tricks to determine if marijuana is good or bad. If you have other things you look for, please, leave comments. I had an interesting conversation with the fine people at Full Spectrum Laboratories once upon a time. Full Spectrum Laboratories in Denver, Colorado is THE leader in marijuana testing. I was blown away by how science has totally revolutionized this whole process. The contact there told me that they had tested roughly 1800 strains, and that 3 of them ranked over 20%. She explained to me how different people like different levels because they like it more mellow or strong depending on the person. This concept was foreign to me as an Oregonian, because out here, WE WANT THAT 20%+ ALL DAY EVERYDAY!!!! I wonder what the keef of that stuff is like…!