May 162010
 May 16, 2010

sour jack marijuana strainHow Do You Know If Marijuana Is Good Or Bad?

There are many factors that determine whether marijuana is ‘good’ or ‘OK’ or ‘what the f#@k is that??’ A really big factor is location. Depending on what part of the country you are from, your standard of what is good, OK, bad, etc, is going to differ greatly. I learned this lesson the first time I took some BC Bud to Idaho. The nugs I brought were classic ‘work’ caliber BC; commonly known in Oregon at the time as ‘beasters.’ There was a large prevalence of orange hairs, the smell was more like hay than it was sweet or tasty, and the nugs themselves were big colas with large stems in the middles. This type of weed at the time (2002ish) went for about 2600-2800 a pound in Eugene, OR and was considered very average (meaning not chronic). It was just some generic stuff where I lived, but when I brought it to Boise, the people there treated me like I was Tommy Chong!

Chances are if you are on the West Coast or in Colorado, you have a great sense of what’s good and what’s bad. If you live somewhere else in the US, I hate to break it to you, but the weed just isn’t that good where you are. Now I’m not saying good weed doesn’t exist anywhere else in the US, but I am saying that it is hard as hell to find, costs an arm and a leg, and doesn’t come in large supplies. There are always home cultivators in any part of the nation that are producing top quality nugs, but that doesn’t always mean that they share! On the West Coast and in Colorado, due to SO MANY GROWERS, top quality marijuana flows like water, and therefore, the consumers in those areas are exposed to many more top quality strains. As a result, they are much more educated on the topic of cannabis quality.

I know what some of you are thinking, ‘they have labs now that just test the stuff and tell you what the level is.’ That is fine for the limited number of states that have labs, but for the vast majority of Americans, marijuana testing facilities are not a reality. Here in Oregon, if we have a lab, I have never heard of it, and neither has anyone else that I know. So either they don’t exist, or the labs are so horrible at marketing that they are clearly missing their target audience!

While it would be nice to have a laboratory in Oregon, most of the consumers that I know here are EXTREMELY good at spotting and explaining why certain types of marijuana are ‘good.’ I will explain the things that I look for, and readers can feel free to add their own tips and tricks. Remember, I’m not saying these are the ONLY ways to decide if marijuana is good or not; I’m merely sharing SOME of the ways that I like to critique marijuana.

THE LOOK — Americans are visual consumers. If something looks really tasty and good, then our brains think it is good, regardless of if it really is or not. There have been numerous strains that I have bought and consumed that looked like pure goodness, when in actuality, they really had more bark than bite. But with that being said, it is almost impossible to get me, or any Oregonian I know, to buy marijuana that looks bad, no matter how high the dealer claims it will get me. ‘I will gladly smoke some for free, but I think I’ll keep my money…’ GIVE ME AS MANY CRYSTALS AS POSSIBLE! I like it light green and lookin’ like Frosty the Snow Man grew it.

THE SMELL — There’s nothing better than pinching a nice, dank nug and getting that sweet aroma. My favorite blends I have ever consumed were also the best smelling blends I have ever consumed (not coincidence). ‘I can smell it through the bag’ is not just a line from the movie Half Baked; it’s a standard to live by. If your dealer/grower walks into your pad, and you can already smell what their packin’, that’s a really good way to know that your marijuana is ‘good.’ With that being said, there are some super, super dank blends working their way around the Willamette Valley of Oregon right now that smell completely awful, but in a good way…kinda like body odor, but in an organic way. If your weed smells like hay, that means it is either old or wasn’t dried properly to begin with before packaging. If it smells like sitting water or mildew, that’s usually do to powdery mildew while it was growing, or the marijuana was dried so poorly before packaging that it sat in its package with moisture, and the decaying process took over. If you are looking at acquiring marijuana, do more than just sniff an open bag. GET IN THERE, break up a nug, and smell the inside of it.

THE TASTE — Whether it’s a vaporizer, bong, waterfall, gravity, bubbler, pipe, doobie, etc, this category of critiquing marijuana is self explanatory. Everyone’s taste buds are different, so just pick one that you like and toke it for all its worth!

THE DENSITY — We have all bought that stuff that is so dense, it takes a torch and 3 friends to finish a bowl. That same stuff is like weighing a rock; an ounce looks like a half ounce, and no one that I know is a fan of it. I have also encountered the opposite. I used to get stuff that was so ‘larfy,’ that you had to roll the poorly manicured buds into a ball in order to fit it in a bong bowl. I like stuff that breaks off the stem in a natural way, creating perfect bowl-sized pieces. The tale of the tape comes when the flame hits it; if it burns uniformly, it is perfect in my opinion. If it burns too fast, or too slow, chances are it is not dense enough or too dense, respectively. Hopefully your grower manicures the marijuana properly in order to ensure that this category is optimal.

MOISTURE LEVEL — Nothing upsets me more than poorly dried marijuana. It’s not hard people; let it hang for an extra day or two! Once the weed is put in a bag, if it is not properly dried, it will negatively affect every other category that I have already mentioned, and there is no going back. The weed is virtually ruined, and only suitable for rookies. When you break up a nug, the pieces should snap off the stem. One shouldn’t have to twist, use scissors, use teeth, or any other funky way that people have had to do in order to get a bowl off a big nug. If your buds bend, they need to dry more. If you are a grower, and you want to put your stuff in a jar and ‘burp’ it from time to time, that’s totally understandable. But please, if you are a grower, don’t let your product enter the market place before it is properly dried. It shouldn’t be the consumer’s job to let it sit out even longer, losing weight, and make the original deal worse than originally agreed upon. Consumers — acquiring marijuana takes two parties, so don’t put up with ‘bendy buds.’ Tell your grower/dealer to come correct, or you will be getting a new hook.

THE HIGH – The proof is in the pudding…I want it as strong as you can make it. I have never met a strain I couldn’t handle.

Once again, these are MY personal tips and tricks to determine if marijuana is ‘good’ or not. If you have other things you look for, please, leave comments. I had an interesting conversation with the fine people at Full Spectrum Laboratories once upon a time. Full Spectrum Laboratories in Denver, Colorado is THE leader in marijuana testing. I was blown away by how science has totally revolutionized this whole process. The contact there told me that they had tested roughly 1800 strains, and that 3 of them ranked over 20%. She explained to me how different people like different levels because they like it more mellow or strong depending on the person. This concept was foreign to me as an Oregonian, because out here, WE WANT THAT 20%+ ALL DAY EVERYDAY!!!! I wonder what the keef of that stuff is like…!

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • http://highcountrycaregiver.com/wordpress tutone

    The Governor of Colorado has not yet signed CO HB 10 – 1284 and there is still time to do the survey and see the results at High Country Caregiver:

    http://highcountrycaregiver.com/wordpress/2010/05/medical-marijuana-survey-results/

    Please do the medical marijuana survey, your feedback is very important. This is about the pending Colorado regulations.

  • optimus

    its got to smell like pineapples, if your bud smells like pineapples the rest will follow.

  • http://www.howtogrowweed420.com how to grow weed

    Awesome, I want to learn how to make weed smell like blueberries lol. that’d be cool!!!!

    • d

      That’s easy. I,
      I’ve been growing Blueberry for over a year. Smells and tastes like blueberries.

  • http://www.growingelitemarijuana.com pete

    ive been in colorado for nearly 10 years now… and after living both on the west and east coasts i gotta say that our weed knocks all this other stuff outta the park. come down and try some of the best

  • http://www.growingelitemarijuana.com/howtogrowweedindoors.html how to grow weed indoors

    yeah theres nothing like being about to ‘smell the weed through the bag dude’. nice post.

  • Brosef

    There are many ways to determine is marijuana is good. I simply get the marijuana and shmoke it out of my bong. If the marijuana gets me high then it is good.

  • http://www.hemisbotanica.com Hemis Botanica

    Hemis Botanica cultivation service can grow top shelf ANYWHERE (its legal) in the US! We are in Colorado and we agree, some of the highest potency tested product available is grow right here in our own back yard. All our strains have tested 20% THC and higher (best 26.44%) using Nutrient Film Technology and 100% organic nutrients. Clone to harvest cycle less than 90 days! Not Hydro! Rocky Mountain High indeed!

  • mark z

    ? I put in 3 or 4 seeds around june july came up 2males 1female let her grow shes short 7 inches give or take stumpey thou she looks great 4”bud 3” wide smells like skunk ? i frost in jersey so far in nov . let her go or hang her in attic 4 a week? then jar 4 2 weeks? thanks a lot love my smoke

  • Mr. Tibbs

    Now that Michigan is legal (sort of) the East has some serious dope too. What I get from the dispensaries is ultra good and I grew up in Cali smoking pretty much anything and everything. Now…30 years later… I have an Indica Kush growing in my mancave, a CloneX Kit, more money back in my wallet :) , and the room smells sweeeeeeet. The flowers are 2 weeks in and look like sea anemone! It’s going to be a very merry white&hairy Christmas!

    I do disagree about the completeness of the drying. I touch of bend is ok as long as it breaks as well.
    SAVE YOUR LUNGS AND YOUR MONEY…VAPE IT BABY!

    • smoking rocks

      recent study’s show smoking isn’t bad for your lungs!!!!!!!!!

      • Young Blood

        well noooo ssshhhiiittt!!! dude you already know tho! Its the sober we got to teach not the stoner

        -smoke-

  • Bozzy

    True shit brother!! I’m from Utah and know exactly what’s good nd what’s not good!! U Hit it right on the button with exactly what you said!! :))

  • stonervenezuela

    Hey man nice article, but you forgot to mention how does the bud feel in your fingers when you touch it/squeeze it and how much resin it drops when you smoke it… i guess this enters in the density category… other than that cheers from venezuela and keep tokin

  • why?

    What about states boarding CO? Doesn’t seem that good even though it comes from CO.

  • Denise Dorey

    Stop mixing Sativas with Indica just to have big nugs. Sativas are for creativity & Indica = sleep, beer works for sleep but cannot replace Sativa.

  • Stephen Saunders

    Dude your fucking full of shit and talking out your I’m better then you west cost ass! Fucking come to Lansing Michigan and just try to tell us we don’t know good weed from not good weed.

    • Miguel

      you need to chill and hit the J one time my friend

  • amanda

    Here’s an idea. Get your states tolegalize it! You then will have good buds too!

  • Jay

    How about a chemical smell? I am guessing that is from using miracle gro?

    • Kyle Outz

      i like the herb when u put it in ur stash jar then open it up its like pepe la pew hit u in the face!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rockstar169

    So lucky we have testing here at our local dispencery they have Medicine tested at 28%Killer meds!

  • Melanie Sloan

    What about for cooking medibles? Can too dry cannabis be weak?

  • Kyle Outz

    like johnny said its with location, i know people who claim they have the best and they don’t. be thankful if your in a state where u can walk in and get the actual product u pay for. round these parts good weed isn’t hard to come by its the price that kills ya. jst cuz its sinsemilla doesn’t mean its dank. i like the herb when u put it in ur stash jar then open it up

  • Tim Younce

    I want to die right now and come back as Johnny!

  • Evergreen253

    This was a great article. Man do i feel lucky to live in Washington. I Never…worry if i’m getting bad bud or not, it’s literally only Top Shelf, even on the streets!

  • Guest

    The new Wellness place in Eugene (on Lincoln) says they test most of their strains. I’m not sure where though.

  • Young Blood

    this was a great artical gave me lots of new ways to find out how dank or good the bud that im getting is. right now the bud in my area is pretty great it isnt as good as some i have had in Colorado but it comes close. the only thing i had is asking for a sertain strain and getting something different then what i ask for!!!!!! IF YOUR GONNA GIVE THE BUD A NAME MAKE SURE ITS THE RIGHT ONE!!! and UGH i hate undried buds i have changed my hook up so many times cause of it!!! cant wait to move to california! all see all you smokers their.. enjoy your buds