Shopping for cannabis is a life skill every cannabis enthusiast must master to enjoy cannabis safely, responsibly and to get their money’s worth. Since Canada legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2018, various provincial and municipal governments have enforced quality control regulations to ensure high-quality cannabis products.

The safety and quality regulations govern cannabis breeders, farmers, producers, and retailers. However, just like in any other industry, some duds make it to the shelf. Canada’s illicit cannabis industry also does not adhere to product quality control. Wherefore, as a user, you should be keen when buying weed to avoid bad products. 

What To Look For Before You Buy Cannabis

1.   Smell

Cannabis consumption is a sensory experience that usually starts with the smell. When you buy your weed, a simple sniff check will let you know whether the product is high-quality cannabis or ditch weed.

Each cannabis strain has a terpene profile; terpenes are aromatic oils excreted by the cannabis plant and give it its unique aroma. Each cannabis strain has a distinct smell; some smell fruity, others floral, and others pungent, like dark chocolate, diesel, or coffee.

However, all high-quality weed strains feature palatable aromas that appeal to one’s olfactory senses. Therefore, if you smell damp or grass that triggers memories of an old barn, the cannabis is probably mold-infested; keep your money.

Second, consider your preferences regarding various smells. You may find a variety of sweet-smelling weed strains but find yourself more drawn to one particular scent. Choose the aroma that you find irresistible.

2.   Appearance and Texture

Apart from your sense of smell, sight and touch are also essential when shopping for cannabis. It would help if you learned to tell the difference between a top-shelf-quality weed and low-grade garbage by merely looking. Nature offers telltale visual signs of weed quality.

Although different weed strains may have different colours, high-quality weed is usually a deep green colour with orange-coloured hairs. But it may also be purple or blue.

High-quality weed buds are dense and sticky to touch and also feature an aesthetically appealing flower. Healthy weed also has tiny hair-like structures called trichomes that are a milky-white colour and have a sparkling appearance. So, you will notice that the best weed has some shiny hairs.

In contrast, bunk weed is a dirt-brown or lime-green colour; the discoloration may be due to mold, delayed harvesting, pesticide, and other chemicals. It also riddles with stems and seeds, lacks density, and easily crumbles to the touch. The trichomes on low-quality weed are also amber, while the flower structure is wonky. 

You should also beware of moldy weed that appears as a powdery greyish-white mass on the bud. Also, beware of damp weed with rubbery stems, as this implies the bud was dried and cured improperly, leading to accumulation of moisture, which is conducive to mold growth.

3.   THC to CBD Ratio

Cannabis contains hundreds of organic compounds called cannabinoids; however, the most extensively researched cannabinoids are THC and CBD. Both have therapeutic benefits, but THC has psychedelic effects and causes a euphoric high, while CBD has a soothing effect. While most cannabis strains contain both cannabinoids, one is always dominant.

Cannabinoid content in cannabis plants is denoted by percentage; the maximum THC content in cannabis is 33%, while CBD content is 9%. Note that 20% THC content is potent, while CBD content above 4% is also potent. THC and CBD balance each other’s effects out hence the ratio system.

Some cannabis enthusiasts hold that the higher the THC content, the better the product; however, it is all up to individual preferences. Some people prefer the euphoric “high” while others prefer the mellow “high”. Therefore, consider cannabis with a CBD to THC ratio that meets your recreational needs.

4.   Effects

Individual cannabis enthusiasts have unique responses to various cannabis strains because of individual psychological and neurological factors. Different people also have different tolerance levels for specific cannabis products.

Some cannabis strains like Sativa have a psychoactive profile, while others like Indica have a sedative effect. There are also hybrid cannabis strains that give a bit of psychoactive and sedative sensations.

If you suffer from depression or lethargy, cannabis with a psychoactive profile may give you an energy boost and improve your mood. However, if you suffer from anxiety and psychotic conditions like schizophrenia, cannabis strains with a psychoactive profile will drive you to the edge.

Therefore, ask the budtender the general effects of a specific cannabis strain or product before purchasing. You can inquire how long it takes a particular product to take effect to pace yourself accordingly.

5.   Weed Strains

Thousands of cannabis weed strains are available in Canada’s legal weed market, so learning them all is almost impossible. However, you can learn the distinctive features of your favorite strains.

Learning your favorite weed strains’ identifiers protects you from fake products. By keeping track of your favourite weed strains, you can also search for other strains with similar profiles and diversify your cannabis palate through unique experiences.


High-quality cannabis does more than just hit your sweet spot right; it protects your health from the detrimental factors associated with subpar weed. Be keen while shopping and be willing to let go of a buck or two for premium-quality weed products. Premium quality products equal a premium weed experience. You can find a good online dispensary Canada here.