The selection at a modern cannabis dispensary can overwhelm even the most seasoned cannabis lover. After working behind the counter for many years I’ve compiled my favorite tricks to make sure that patients and recreational customers both walk out the door with the perfect strain for them.
There are some blatant issues with bud that we can see with the naked eye. Many countries have regulations against allowing products with these defects into the market. But either way it’s important to be educated. Mold, mildew, insects, and discoloration due to light burn, nutrient deficiency, or fungus can all be seen with the naked eye. Mold and mildew also give off a pretty distinct aroma. Never purchase cannabis with these defects. To ensure that none of this is ever present only buy buds that have been lab tested.
When I was working as a budtender I liked to tell people to keep a short list of their favorite strains. That way, when they find those strains listed in the back genetics of a hybrid they are aware that the hybrid might work just as well. This is a great rule of thumb when choosing a new strain and can help ensure that we don’t pick up a sack of a strain we end up hating.
While taking a look at the display jar or container at the counter we will be able to look at the trichomes coating the nugs. Sparkling, almost white trichs on each bud is the ideal look. It is also good to take note of the structure of each bud. Some strains grow naturally spindly, but most times properly developed nuggets have grown with some bulk and body. It is wise to pass on any strain that has both issues (spindly and low in trichomes) as it was probably not flowered properly.
The Nose Knows
This is probably the most poignant tip that a budtender can tell their patients or rec clients. The nose truly does know, and for that reason, smelling the jars is essential to picking the right strain. Sometimes a strain of cannabis that smells like heaven to me could make another person crumple their nose in disgust. We’re all working with a unique endocannabinoid system, and somehow our nose is in touch with it. So trust the smells and always take a nice big whiff before deciding on a strain. For a pro tip: smelling ground coffee beans between strains can cleanse the palate.
Now we’re ready to walk in the dispensary and pick out the perfect buds. Go try out these tips and let me know how it goes in the comments!
Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she put down her budtender hat and dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the cannabis plant fuel the passion in her posts.