How do YOU choose what to buy when you visit a cannabis shop? It’s really easy to get overwhelmed by the endless strain names and packaging designs. Over the years, we’ve tried to decipher the cannabis hierarchy with the Cannabis Classic competition (I think we are doing a pretty good job) and I will now offer some tips on how to make the process a little easier for you.
But first, let me state that there are two cannabis purchasing behaviors that really grind my gears. The first is buying weed based solely on how pretty the packaging is. The second behavior that grinds my gears is buying weed just because it has the highest THC potency. I will admit, if you ever visit the Cannabis Classic’s winner’s page, we have an award for Highest THC. Why? Because it sells weed. But I would be lying if I thought picking the highest THC strain was the best way to choose cannabis.
I sincerely believe that awards are the answer to the question of “what product should I choose?” Award-winning growers and award-winning strains are a great indicator for what the best products are.
But if your local dispensary isn’t carrying any award-winning products or products by an award-winning cultivator, here are some tips on how to discover the best strains available to you.
1. CREATE A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR LOCAL CANNABIS EXPERT
The best way to become an informed cannabis consumer is to start building a relationship with your local cannabis shop budtender. Talking to them about your tastes will help both of you understand what you are looking for and which strains will best fit your temperament. As time goes on you will learn a lot about your personal tastes and preferences. This tactic is a no-brainer when it comes to shopping at your local marijuana dispensary because you will have somebody you can rely on to help you find what suits your needs.
2. BE A PRACTITIONER: TASTE AND TRY EVERYTHING
Even if you don’t have a local weed expert you can rap with, the next best play is to really learn your palate on your own by trying a different strain each time you purchase. Trying different strains and growers is always a great way to go and will allow you to build context around what may or may not work for you. Have you tried that Strawberry Fields, or that Durban Poison, or Key Lime Pie, or Obama Kush, or Blue Cheese yet? There is no substitute for actually experiencing the different options out there other than rolling a joint or ripping your bong and tasting it. If this is the route you take – be sure to write down your experiences in a judges journal which will help you recall which strains, cultivators, processors you like best. And, over time, you’ll start to recognize patterns in what you like and don’t like and really get to know your palette well. Not to mention this can be a lot of fun in the process!
Tasting cannabis doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. Here’s a secret: a higher price doesn’t always equal a higher quality product. Depending on where you live, there are often local cannabis competitions you can judge or tasting events (like the Cannabis Classic). If you are budget conscious, we can recommend some great strains and growers for every occasion. Need some help? Facebook message me.
If you’re worried about wasting money trying something you don’t like, just remember there is tremendous value in trying something and creating context for yourself. So, build a relationship with your local weed expert and try everything you can! And if you live in the Portland area and want to try a bunch of different things all within a 3-week period – click here to sign up to judge the Cannabis Classic competition.