The rush to buy green will tax providers, vendors, and customers. This strain, multiplied by the varied state regulations, will confuse and test the seed-to-sale-to-consumption track. Finding clean and high-quality cannabis will challenge everyone in the marketplace.
This is especially true for those who intend to smoke because inhaling bad cannabis will hurt your short- and long-term physical health, not to mention the issue of getting your money’s worth.
Here’s 5 tips for buying clean and high-quality cannabis:
1. Go Organic. Choosing products from organic cultivators should prevent intake of pesticides and toxic chemicals. Many small farmers, especially those growing in collectives, faithfully stick to organic principles and methods. That leaves organic cultivators to reduce the fears that industrial cultivation may add thinners, contaminants, and fillers.
Something in the cannabis culture naturally links cannabis with clean earthy farming. However, right now, there is no universal standard of organic cultivation. And, “organic” can vary in meaning and application from state to state. As noted in Slate.com, “Because weed is federally illegal, the people selling it can’t actually call it organic, because the term denotes a governmental guarantee that only applies to legal products like food and cosmetics.” So, you would benefit from the advice of a trusted knowledgeable budtender and some research on your own.
2. Stay outdoors. Some long-time cannabis users swear the cannabis raised outdoors has much better quality than that raised indoors. The burgeoning market demand will push cultivation indoors to mega sized grow houses. But, outdoor cultivators will argue that all things are better when grown under the sun.
Depending on the environment, cannabis has proven to be a survivor, a very hearty plant grown outdoors. The quality of the soil, temperature, air circulation, and rainfall, the plants will respond differently. Growers will develop strains reflecting their origins, boasting that they are from one region or another.
Growing outdoors does assure consumers that the cultivation provides natural pesticides, less public water, and natural nutrients. But, this demand should also pressure indoor growers to meet the same standards.
3. Informative Labeling. Without common standards on labeling, customers are at risk. California, of course, is regulation crazy, and their general policy requires marijuana labels to include the following:
“GOVERNMENT WARNING: THIS PACKAGE CONTAINS MARIJUANA, A SCHEDULE I CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS. MARIJUANA MAY ONLY BE POSSESSED OR CONSUMED BY PERSONS 21 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER UNLESS THE PERSON IS A QUALIFIED PATIENT MARIJUANA USE WHILE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING MAY BE HARMFUL. CONSUMPTION OF MARIJUANA IMPAIRS YOUR ABILITY TO DRIVE AND OPERATE MACHINERY PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION”
The California Department of Public Health spells out the location of data, the size of the type, and more. That includes the New Weight, the identification of the cultivation source and date, the identity of the strain, and the date of manufacture and packaging. It requires naming the Appellation of Origin and pharmacologically active ingredients. Labels should also include a list of all ingredients and their nutritional information.
You should pay close attention to labeled data on herbicides, fertilizers, pesticides, and solvents and any warnings on content of nuts or other known allergens. In other words, the label should include everything you would find on a box of cereal — and much more.
Now, while labels should be your friend, you can appreciate the difficulty of providing all this information on a dime bag.
4. Testing norms. Some states require lab testing of cannabis products to find contaminants. Such testing will raise cultivation and processing standards because the strongest competitors will embrace it.
As volume increases, lab costs will level and decline. A lab’s approval should eliminate concerns about dirt, fungicides, mold, pesticides, residual solvents, and other by-products. A lab’s results are particularly important for medical patients. As Hail Mary Jane advises, “Not only do these things affect the taste and smoking experience of cannabis flowers, but the presence of molds and chemical agents can potentially cause negative health consequences.”
5. Close look. You may be surprised that your cannabis dispensary will have microscopes on hand to let you take a closer look at the product. Admittedly, this takes some experience, but you can tell a lot with a close inspection of the buds and leaves.
You can look for the good stuff in trichomes, color, and texture. Thick, shiny trichomes promise higher potency and better impact than not. But, you might also see insects, insect eggs, white powder, mold, and more signs of poor quality.
Moldy, brown, seedy, and too wet or too dry, all these signs warn you to move on. It’s bad enough that they are poor quality, but these are signs that inhaling will adversely affect your health.
One extra tip —
Certainly, in the beginning, every party in the supply chain to cannabis dispensaries understands the importance of following the rules. You will find everyone acutely concerned with market reputation and customer satisfaction. If quality standards get sloppy down the road, you should no the brands and distributors to trust by then.
Colorado has set the behavior, here. In the years since they legalized cannabis, there have been no major issues raised regarding clean and high-quality cannabis. If the industry hopes to keep their customers out of the black market, it must counter with the trust and quality that justified the higher price.