Top 3 Ways to Check the Quality of your Cannabis

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Written by Leah Maurer 

With the cannabis industry still emerging, morphing, and ever changing, so much is put into the hands of the consumer when it comes to the quality-checking of cannabis products. Even the savviest of consumers may have trouble deciphering the best way to check the quality of cannabis flower when purchasing it. However, there are a few ways that are tried and true that every consumer can utilize as they evaluate cannabis. 

Emma Chasen is a cannabis advocate and researcher, and after an extensive education in plant science, Chasen now co-owns and operates Eminent Consulting, a cannabis consulting business that offers educational training programs for cannabis industry professionals and lay enthusiasts. She explained, “Ask the shop to see lab results! If you are purchasing cannabis from a dispensary, all of the product had to be tested before it found its way onto shelves. Ask your budtender to review the lab results for the product you are interested in - look for potency, pesticide, and other information (such as heavy metal testing) to check quality.” When you get home, Chasen said you can also take the cannabis flower, and start by breaking it open. Evaluate how brittle or supple it is. “When you gently squeeze it, do you get some sticky resin on your fingers or does it crumble? Smell the flower. Does it have sharp, pungent aromas or does it smell like hay or nothing at all? Quality, fresh flower typically does not crumble nor does it have zero nose,” she added. 

As noted here, it is truly up to the consumer to be their own advocate during this time in history of cannabis consumption. If we go into the store to purchase ibuprofen, we know what the quality and the effect of that substance is. Likewise, if we go to a store and purchase a particular brand of beer or wine, we also know what the quality and effect of that substance is on our bodies. Unfortunately, because of decades of prohibition and misinformation about cannabis, that is not the case. 

Max Montrose is the co-founder of the Trichome Institute, which specializes in providing a certifiable cannabis curriculum for professionals and fun cannabis educational tools for recreational users. He agrees that there isn’t a licensed or unlicensed cannabis laboratory that evaluates cannabis for its quality. “This means product is passing lab testing that is pre-ripe, over-ripe, unflushed, is over a year old, seeded, full of bugs, dust, other particulates and so much more. Just as crazy, no lab can or is testing cannabis flower for its psychotropic effect, so the lab test won’t tell you if your flower is a stimulating or sedative plant type. No matter how much mandated lab testing is required, labs are not testing for the quality of the product and when you consume it how it will make you feel! Really, those two pieces of information are the most critical for all cannabis consumers, rather than a strain name and lab test,” he said. Montrose offered a method called “Interpening”, a program his company has started. This method encourages “interpreting the terpenes” which gauges the psychotropic effects using 3 different cranial nerves. 

In summary, asking for lab results IS important, but it is also important to check the quality of your cannabis yourself using the appearance, feel, structure, and nose of the cannabis flower to make sure you are getting a good product.