We hear this same question time and time again. Why grow your own cannabis?
There are so many benefits to growing your own bud, from the therapeutic benefits to the increased quality for less money.
We recently checked out the difference between “street weed” and home grown cannabis. Our head horticulturalist Stephen evaluated a few strains of cannabis that are considered street weed. In this case, that means the cannabis came from a dispensary or an unlicensed seller.
Key Differences Between Street Weed and Home Grown Cannabis
All three strains had very few trichomes, meaning the plant will have low amounts of terpenes, THC and other cannabinoids. This also makes for a drier cannabis flower, which is less desirable as it produces a harsher smoke when heated. Stephen also inspected the colour of the trichomes, another important indicator of the quality of cannabis.
We were able to tell by looking at the trichomes to determine how ripe the cannabis flower is. Stephen concluded that street weed is often harvested at the wrong time.
One possible reason why street weed has far less trichomes is because street weed tends to be handled a lot throughout the supply chain. It goes through many hands before reaching yours. This results in the trichomes being knocked off, leaving behind a less potent bud. By growing your own cannabis, you can ensure it's harvested at the correct time and handled with care.
Want to be able to evaluate the quality of your cannabis buds? Keep reading to discover our tips on how to determine the quality!
How To Determine The Quality Of Cannabis Flower
There are several factors that can determine the quality of a cannabis bud. While some factors are better indicators than others, these are the questions we ask ourselves when evaluating the quality of a cannabis flower.
Color/ Overall Appearance
While this isn't the most accurate way to determine the quality of your bud, it can be a helpful first step. Quality cannabis is often a variety of bright green, orange and even purple. It should also have a shine, due to the trichomes. Cannabis that is a dull green or brown is a good indicator that it's lower quality.
Trimming is a big factor when it comes to the overall quality. Cannabis that still has leaves on the bud will have a lower overall quality.
The leaves close to the cannabis flower are called sweet leaves. These leaves have some trichomes, but not nearly as much as the actual flower. Ideally you want to smoke only flower as it has the highest concentration of trichomes and THC levels. Often growers will use those leaves to make edibles so they don't go to waste.
Top notch cannabis buds should be somewhat dense, sticky and slightly moist. Cannabis nugs that are dry tend to have less trichomes and overall lower quality. Although, the strain plays a factor in the denseness of the flower. Sativa flowers tend to be more fluffy while Indica flowers have that denseness that is highly sought after.
It's believed that the scent of cannabis come from the terpenes, not the actual THC. This means that it's difficult to determine the quality solely based off scent. However, if the cannabis has almost no odour to it, you can presume it's lower quality as it has a low terpene profile.
Lower quality cannabis may also smell like dead grass or have an unsettling “musty” scent. This may be a sign that the cannabis was not dried properly and is starting to mould. Cannabis that has mould on it should not be consumed.
Most individuals describe the scent of cannabis as “skunky”. A recent study determined other common descriptors are “earthy” “woody” and “citrusy” after conducting a study using 48 descriptive words to determine the varying scents of cannabis.
Pull out the microscope, this factor is very important! A cannabis flower with lots of trichomes will have a better scent, taste better, and have better effects- all making for a higher quality nug. It's also important to look at the colour of the trichomes- this determines how ripe the flower is.
Cannabis with all clear trichomes is not ripe enough, and will have a low THC concentration. Cannabis with a mix of mainly amber and some cloudy trichomes is best.
Checking the colour of your cannabis plants pistils is another good way to determine ripeness, which helps determine the quality. Pistils are the hair- like fibers on a cannabis flower. They are part of the female cannabis plant's reproductive structure.
When the pistils are clear like this bud, the plant is not ripe yet. This flower would have a very low potency.
This cannabis flower has pistils that are much more orange in colour. This bud is perfectly ripe and ready for harvest. By waiting for the right time to harvest it ensures the plant has the highest potency possible.
The final way to determine the quality of the cannabis flower is to sample it. Did it taste good? Did the smoke feel dry? Is it giving you the desired effects? These are all important questions to ask yourself as you sample the nug.
Cannabis smoke that feels dry and makes your throat feel “crispy” is generally lower quality as it burns at a higher temperature due to the lack of moisture, creating a harsher smoke.
High Quality Cannabis vs. Low Quality
To see the true difference between street weed and home grown, it's important to recognize the differences in quality.
The image below is a cannabis nug of lower quality. Notice how it’s dull in color, it has no twinkle so most likely a low amount of trichomes. It does not look like a moist, dense nug either.
Cannabis of this quality may also be called shake. This is cannabis that is leftover; either the smaller buds from the bottom of the bag or chunks that fell off larger nugs. Shake has a low THC concentration as all the trichomes got broken off while handling it.
Here is an image of high quality cannabis. It's much brighter in colour and looks like it has crystals on it- those are the trichomes. This nug has been grown and handled with care, making it of much higher quality.
Notice how a lot of the variables that make for high quality cannabis can be controlled when grown at home?
Growing Quality Cannabis with a Grobo
Growing quality cannabis is easy with a Grobo as it manages a lot of the growing work for you. No need to worry if your plant is getting the correct amount of nutrients or if the lighting is sufficient- Grobo will make sure your plant has the perfect levels.
You can choose from 500+ grow recipes we have that automatically dose the nutrients and alters the lights depending on the stage of growth your plant is in. You will have top- notch cannabis in no time!
To ensure you grow the highest- quality cannabis, follow these tips:
1. Purchase higher quality strains as seeds because it will be cheaper than purchasing the harvested flower. Check out our favourite seed distributors here.
2. Learn exactly when the right time is to harvest-- this way you ensure the trichomes are perfectly ripe and will be the most effective.
3.Be careful not to damage the trichomes. Be gentle when harvesting and store the cannabis in a jar so it doesn't not get squished.
4. Learn how to cure your cannabis- this will ensure it's the best tasting and freshest cannabis.