One of the best cannabis experiences comes from smoking high-quality herb. Now that recreational cannabis is available in Maine, there’s a great opportunity to get to know your flower. Whether you’re new to buying herb or just want to learn how to spot the best bud, here are five things to look for when buying flower:

  1. Smell
    When it comes to buying flower, your nose is one of the best ways to figure out what you like. If you enjoy the smell, then you will most likely enjoy that strain. Each strain smells different, because of its terpene profile, but in general good flower smells strong and earthy, skunky, fruity, or floral. Low-quality flower on the other hand often smells stale and can remind you of an old barn or hay.
  2. Effects
    Before buying a new strain, research the effects. While you won’t know exactly how a strain will affect you personally until you try it, it’s still good to have an idea of what to expect. For example, if you have anxiety, you should probably stay away from anything with a stimulating or uplifting effect, because it could get your mind racing.
  3. Appearance
    High-quality bud can display a range of colors from bright green to deep purple. If you are looking around in the dispensary and a jar of weed catches your eye, ask to see it or smell it. On the bud, you’ll see what looks like little crystals. These are called trichomes, and the more there are, the stronger the effects, flavor, and smell of that flower will be.
  4. THC:CBD ratio
    Ask your budtender what the percentages of THC and CBD are for the strains you are interested in – but also ask about the profile of minor cannabinoids and terpenes. Most people think you need the highest percentages to get the best high possible, but that is incorrect. Percentages are going to vary across the board. If you find a strain you like that has 18% THC, try to find other strains in that range. Personally, when I smoke a high THC strain, it can give me headaches. The higher the CBD ratio, the less psychoactive effects a strain will have. For example, a strain with a CBD:THC ratio of 1:2 would still get you high, but a it would be a much more relaxed high.  Understanding the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of your favorite flower will help you understand your preferences.
  5. Popularity
    Ask your budtender which strains people have been coming in and buying often. Find out why that strain has been so popular, and if you’re interested, give it a try. It may end up being your new favorite!

Finally, always research the grower and cultivator to be sure they use organic growing practices and produce clean flower. Support your local growers and those that give back to your community, as well as those who use sustainable packaging and deliver a buying experience you enjoy.