Look, smell, experience: a sensory guide to quality cannabis

Patient Education | 0 comments

visual guide

The first time in a dispensary can be both enthralling and intimidating. Even seasoned cannabis users can become a bit overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the right strain. Once you know what you're looking for, the process can become a little easier and more rewarding. After finding what works for your personal needs, cannabis can prove to be a valuable addition to your life. At High Mountain Health, we want each of our patients to have a personalized and positive experience the first time and every time they step into our dispensary.

Choosing the perfect strain requires both seeing, smelling, and finally using the cannabis. Although your budtender will be able to recommend a strain suited to your needs, you will want to make sure that it is appealing to you (you're the one using it, so you know best!)

Appearance: How to Spot a Beautiful Nug

There are a couple key indicators to look for during your search for quality cannabis. The first thing to look at, is the cola structure (basically, how the bud, or flower, physically looks). The flower should look appealing, vibrant, and catch your attention. The flower structure should not look too tight or too loose, right in the middle is perfect. The next visual cue to quality is how the flower was trimmed. A good trim will take off most of the leaves leaving only the potent bud behind. Excess stems and leafs add unnecessary plant matter and can effect the potency and flavor of the cannabis.

The second visual indicator to quality cannabis are the trichomes. These are the tiny white shinny crystals that make cannabis the magical plant it is. Trichomes are sticky resin glads that contain the majority of the plants terpenes and cannabinoids. The flower should be covered in well developed trichomes. The frostier it looks, the better.

Aroma: "The Nose Knows"

One of the most obvious characteristics of cannabis is its distinctive scent. Each strain has a unique terpene profile, responsible for the unique aromas. Each terpene has a different benefit that can provide a different form of relief.  While at the dispensary, it is in your best interest to take your time smelling each strain that interests you. Oftentimes, the one that smells the best has properties that your body will have a positive response to. It can be helpful to keep specific descriptors in mind while smelling: is the strain earthy? Or spicy? The specific bud might even take on floral, metallic or citrus notes. If the flower smells like hay or a mud puddle, that is a good indicator that the cannabis has not been properly cured. An improper cure can result in a less effective medicine. The aroma should be complex, delicious and evoke a positive emotion. Listen to your body, it knows best. Here is a terpene map that can help guide you on your aromatic journey.


Finally, medicating with the strain that you have chosen can truly reveal whether this is one that you'll return to time and time again. We recommend medicating in a comfortable and familiar environment. If you chose an Indica, maybe have a cozy couch available and a selection of your favorite movies or TV shows. With a Sativa, consider taking a walk in the sunshine or embracing your inner artist. Here at High Mountain Health, we provide a Patient Symptom Tracking Log that can help in remembering what strains were helpful and others that maybe weren't so great.

After finding what strains work for you, it might be beneficial to try strains with higher and lower percentages of THC and CBD. Trial and error is all part of the process to utilizing this medicine's full potential. As always, let us know if you have questions or concerns. Happy medicating!