Views From The Leaf

The Summit Releaf Blog

Medical Marijuana Basics Part 3

June 8, 2020

The Basics

Choosing quality cannabis isn’t all that different from choosing quality fruits and vegetables. With organic cannabis, it’s all about fragrance and appearance – in that order. The same good sense that tells you not to buy a peach that’s mushy or smells musty will tell you when something’s off about cannabis flowers. If cannabis smells like a piece of moldy bread, it might contain pathogens such as mold or fungus. If it doesn’t smell like anything, you won’t get the taste, aroma, and experience you’re after. Also, if it’s dry and brittle, it’s old or wasn’t handled properly.

Quality organic cannabis is a healthy green, with accents of purple, orange, and red hairs. Look for flowers sparkling with trichomes, the frosting of crystal resin glands where cannabis’s valuable cannabinoids reside. Trichome coverage, on flowering marijuana plants, can be a good indication of quality but not always the best indicator of quality genetics. The best way to find out is to use your nose. The clean, sharp smell of aromatic terpenes should be immediately noticeable as soon as the far is cracked open. From there, aroma is personally subjective. Your nose will tell you when you’ve hit the aromatic profile you’re after.

Quality cannabis is dry, but not brittle, with dense flower formations. To the touch, it should feel sticky and crumble when you break it up. Flowers should easily snap off the stem without twisting or using scissors. It should be noted that blue or purple color doesn’t necessarily mean what it once did. As breeders found out that purple flowers always sell, more and more cultivars have taken on the hue. Some of these cultivars are purple because of their genetics, the natural aging process called senescence, or because of manipulations to the environment, stress, and nutrient variations.

In the end, the only way to know whether cannabis delivers the taste and effects you’re after is to take it home and try it. Buy your top choices in smaller amounts the first couple times you visit a dispensary and see how they work for you. Just try not to get too attached to your favorites. Inventory isn’t always consistent, even at the largest dispensaries and retail stores. For example, a cultivar called Blue Dream at one dispensary could have a completely different genetic makeup from the Blur Dream at another.

Problems and challenges associated with cannabis cultivation, especially indoors, aren’t always solved with consumers’ best interests in mind. Plants with mold, pest, and fungal infestations can and do make their way from grow operations to dispensaries. At worst, the plants could contain trace amounts of aflatoxins (a fungal growth by-product); heavy metals (cadmium, lead, mercury); and insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides that haven’t been deemed safe for human consumption.

Don’t buy anything if you feel like you’re being hustled. A good budtender has tried much of the inventory and can offer sound advice on how different cultivars might deliver what you’re looking for. A less than trustworthy one will keep trying to sell you cannabis from the full jar on the top shelf, and he’ll throw in a free joint.

The following information is presented for educational purposes only. Summit Releaf distributes this information to provide an understanding of the potential benefits of medical marijuana for patients living with one of the approved Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program qualifying conditions for an Ohio marijuana card. Links to third party websites do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Summit Releaf and none should be inferred.

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