top of page
  • Hammond Lewis

How to Pick the Best Buds - Judging Cannabis Flower

Louisiana’s medical marijuana program offers a natural alternative to pharmaceutical medications.

Cannabis flower is one of the most versatile and unique medical marijuana products available, and there are thousands of different strains, THC percentages, and terpene profiles to choose from.

While there are more than enough choices between products to spend a lifetime researching, there are some important things to consider when you shop at the pharmacy.

In this article, we’ll talk about ways to ensure you can find the best cannabis flower, what to look for at the dispensary, and what qualifies as top-tier cannabis flower!

Judging Cannabis Flower – Appearance & Smell

The Varieties of Cannabis Flower

Cannabis flower is known for its luscious budding flowers that contain innumerable compounds that can produce any number of different effects.

Each cannabis plant can have its own THC content, terpene profile, shape, structure, smell, and taste, and there are thousands of strains that can be grown by cultivators.

In fact, each day cultivators are breeding new strains of cannabis for market, and there’s essentially no limit to the number of different cannabis strains that can be created.

This can make shopping at the pharmacy a bit overwhelming in the beginning, but once you get a handle on the major categories and properties of cannabis flower, you’ll be able to spot AAA grade cannabis flower from a mile away.

Judging cannabis based on appearance alone is tricky because each strain can have different sized flowers and a different combination of colors. Appearance alone usually won’t be sufficient to determine the quality of your flower.

How to Judge Cannabis Flower Based on Appearance

Although you can’t always judge cannabis flower based on appearance alone, there are some important things that can help you quickly identify good buds from bad ones.

There is bad cannabis out there. Many cultivators have no problem letting undesirable products leave the facility if they’re cashing in on high profit margins, so it’s important for medical marijuana patients to be on the lookout for the best quality possible.

Good quality cannabis flower should look healthy. Overly dry or overly moist cannabis flower looks out of place, and that’s because it is.

Top tier cannabis flower is vibrant and healthy, with a firm sponginess that offers a strong structure. The color can be any variety, purples, blues, green, yellow, orange – nearly all combinations of colors are possible with cannabis flower.

Often, AAA grade cannabis flower comes in the form of large buds, but that isn’t always the case. Some autoflowering plants produce smaller buds but offer very potent terpene profiles and high THC content, which are the main components of a good cannabis flower.

Top tier cannabis flower is usually sparkly or sticky, and is almost always covered in trichomes, which are often visible on the surface of the buds to the naked eye. Cannabis flower covered in trichomes will look almost frosty, similar to ice.

How to Judge Cannabis Flower Based on Smell

The smell of cannabis flower is magical, though it can come in a multitude of scents.

Some strains smell fruity while others smell like gasoline, fruit, or pine trees.

Out of the variety of cannabis smells, the smell type is much less important than the potency of the smell.

Good cannabis flower is always pungent and smelly, whether it’s a good, bad, or an indifferent scent. Some patients may enjoy the smell of Sour Diesel or Garlic Cookies, while other patients may find the smell of these strains off-putting, but the important part is how smelly they are.

Top shelf cannabis flower won’t produce a weak or indistinguishable smell, and if it doesn’t smell strong, that’s usually an indication that the flower is either older inventory or not of exceptional quality.

How to Judge Cannabis Flower – THC, Terpenes, & Taste

Judging a Cannabis Strain by its Cover

Although you won’t be able to see the terpenes on the flower, pharmacies should be able to provide a breakdown of any particular strain’s terpene profile.

A cannabis plant’s terpene profile will largely dictate its smell and flavor, and even help shape the type of effects that the plant will produce once consumed.

Getting familiar with different terpenes can help you judge flower by a strain’s terpene content, which will help identify flavors and aromas that you personally find enjoyable.

The taste of cannabis likely isn’t something you’ll be able to judge at the pharmacy, though it can play an important role after you’ve purchased your cannabis.

Good quality cannabis typically has a flavor that is as pungent as its aroma, and cannabis flavor-snobs are quickly replacing the THC-snobs from yesteryear.

Flavor and aroma go hand in hand and the smell of a cannabis strain can often give you a hint of its flavor. Gassy strains will taste heavier and sharper than fruity strains, and strains like Wedding Cake & Ice Cream Cake will have a creamier taste and aroma.

Judging Cannabis Based on THC Content

After all, it is the chief psychoactive compound in cannabis, and a plant’s THC content can make a big difference in how potent its effects are.

THC content won’t always dictate the type of effects that are experienced, but it can certainly change their potency.

High THC strains (30%+) are loved for their effectiveness and potency, but in many cases the flavor and aroma are sacrificed to achieve the desired high THC percentage.

Strains that have strong terpene profiles alongside high THC content would qualify for top shelf cannabis flower, while THC content alone would likely miss the mark.

That being said, good cannabis flower always produces effects, and THC content that ranges from 20% - 30% can often qualify for top tier as a result of impressive terpene profiles and bud appearance.

Get Your Louisiana Medical Marijuana Certification

Louisiana’s medical marijuana program makes it easy for patients to get a medical marijuana card. A physician or qualified nurse can recommend a medical marijuana certification for any condition or symptom that could benefit from medical marijuana use in Louisiana.

Consult with one of our compassionate physicians who can help walk you through the process of getting your medical marijuana card today.

Beat the lines and get your medical marijuana certification in Louisiana today, and you can even get certified for medical marijuana online for ease of use and convenience.

For questions about Louisiana’s medical marijuana program, or how to become a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana, consult with one of our trusted doctors and book an online medical marijuana appointment today!


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Louisiana Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Louisiana!


Couldn’t Load Comments
It looks like there was a technical problem. Try reconnecting or refreshing the page.
bottom of page