How to Choose Good Cannabis Flower

Discerning Tastes: How to Choose Good Cannabis Flower

The key differences between good and bad flower

In a lot of ways, buying good cannabis is like buying a good bottle of wine. There are many strains on the market, each with its own set of distinct characteristics that discerning consumers can use to evaluate their quality. Like wine, knowing which characteristics are the most important can be the difference between buying good or bad flower.

Below are the cannabis characteristics you’ll want to look for to ensure a great experience. This easy rubric will help you get your money’s worth when purchasing cannabis flower.


If you’ve ever seen a cannabis flower, then you know they have their own allure. The striking visual of a green,purple,orange and red bud stands out in the mind of any cannabis fan. 

But what makes one cannabis flower better than the next? 

While you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you can and should judge a flower by its leaves. Quality flowers stand out thanks to their array of colors and glistening, crystal-like shine. 

When assessing cannabis, look for dark green hues with hairs of white, purple, orange and other colors spread across the bud of the flower. This is a sign of quality. On the contrary, clustered or clumped-looking hairs probably mean that this flower isn’t worth your time or your money. Keep in mind that hairs are more often found on Sativa strains than Indica.

Not every color is a welcome sight, though. A rusty, yellow, tan or washed out look indicates  that the flower may not have come from a quality plant.


Anyone who’s spent time around cannabis can probably recall the smell. 

Its description tends to change by the cultivar and the nose recalling the aroma. People call it skunky, others say earthy, and some call it loud. Whatever your preferred term, that pungent aroma is crucial in determining flower quality. In short, the more apparent the smell, the better the chance you’re dealing with high-caliber cannabis flower. 

Because of pandemic restrictions, smelling products before buying may not be an option at some retailers. If that is the case, be sure to ask your Union Chill staff about a cultivar’s smell. It won’t be the same as your own smell test, but our staff can be a reliable substitute.

Cannabis Flower Structure

The structure of the flower’s bud reflects how it was cultivated, making it another important factor in discerning flower quality. However, what counts as a desirable bud structure varies from strain to strain.  

A quality Indica flower is going to be more dense and tight.  A good Sativa flower, on the other hand,  will be light and fluffy. If an Indica looks more like a Sativa, it could mean that the plant was grown using suboptimal growing practices. Since the density can vary in Hybrid flower, use some of the other key indicators mentioned in this article to evaluate the flower. 

Remember, visible stems and loose, open structures are never good signs. Choose buds that are full and complete in structure, and resemble the classic nug of flower you’ve probably seen before.


Let’s talk more about the crystal-like shine that good flower gives off. This glisten is created by the plant’s trichomes, which are oily, sticky beads found on the outside of the flower. It’s these tiny trichomes that are essential in creating the experience we seek from any cannabis product, be it THC, CBD or any other cannabinoid. 

Trichomes make up a significant portion of the plant’s profile, including its taste, aroma and effects. If a strain lacks trichomes, it’s not likely to be a top choice. 

Choose a cultivar rich in trichomes. You shouldn’t have to get too close to the bud to see if it’s trichome-rich. Look for a dense strain that appears to be covered in frost. When it comes to trichomes, the denser, the better.

Do Your Research

Every Union Chill team member  will be able to provide strain information to you. While no one expects you to be an expert overnight, knowing the basics of what constitutes quality bud ensures you will buy a product that’s of fair value.