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trimming cannabisWhether you’re new to cannabis or you’ve been using it for a while, one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing is its quality. Cannabis flower, often called buds, are the blooms that are harvested from the female plant and then dried. The features of the flower play a huge role in the quality of the product. Here’s what you should look for.

Visual Indicators of Quality Cannabis Flower


Quality cannabis flower should be vibrant. While most are green, the flowers display an array of different colors. You may encounter flowers that have hints of purple, blue, orange, or red. Steer clear of flowers that are dull or brown, which indicates they came from a poor-quality plant.


Trichomes are the crystalline-like coating on the cannabis flower. They contain the cannabinoids and terpenes responsible for the aroma, taste, and effects of the plant. The more you can see, the higher the flower’s quality. Avoid flowers that have an amber-colored trichome layer.


In general, they are dense. Indica strains should be tight. Sativa strains, on the other hand, often appear a bit fluffier. They also have more pistils, which should be dispersed throughout the flower rather than packed in some areas and missing from others. Low-quality flowers appear light and leafy. 


Speaking of leafy, quality cannabis should be lacking in any leaves at all. The leaves should be trimmed away by hand. Machine trimming can damage the flower and the trichome layer. Machine trimmed flowers or flowers that haven’t been trimmed can indicate that their cultivation was rushed. 


How the cannabis flower smells is another factor that can give you an immediate indication of its quality. High-quality cannabis has a distinct, pungent aroma. The smell varies from one strain to the next, but it should be strong. Scents range from sweet and citrusy to skunky and earthy. Some strains are even described as having a diesel smell. If you don’t notice a strong odor or the cannabis smells like hay, this is an indication that the flowers are low-quality. 


A high-quality cannabis flower should be slightly sticky and feel spongy when gently squeezed between your fingers. While it should be fairly easy to break apart, it shouldn’t crumble. Stems should snap easily. 

Cannabis flowers shouldn’t be too moist. Wet flowers indicate that the cultivator didn’t dry them properly. They provide the perfect environment for mold and mildew growth, issues you don’t want. 


Like a strong scent, a strong taste indicates a quality cannabis flower. Some strains have pleasant flavors like spice or citrus. Others have strong, but not necessarily as pleasant, flavors like diesel fuel. The stronger and more distinct the flavor, the higher the quality. 

Strong flavors indicate that more terpenes are present. The terpenes work with the cannabinoids and with your body to create the desired effect, whether it’s pain relief, relaxation, or something else. 

When looking for cannabis, quality matters. Several factors can indicate a flower’s quality and let you know that it’s good. You should also purchase cannabis from a licensed, reputable dispensary, which can help to ensure that you’re getting quality products free from pesticides and toxins.