For recreational cannabis devotees, good quality flower is important. The manner in which the bud was grown, harvested, dried and packaged makes a difference in the smoking experience. Whether the weed is packed into a pipe, bong, joint, blunt or vape, the flavor, smell and potency are all influenced by the integrity of the strain. Today, most cultivation processes are pesticide-free and wholly organic. It is quite easy to tell top-shelf from sub par weed. At first glance, the bud should be a vibrant green. Looking closer, there might be flecks of blue and purple and should definitely be a plentiful coating of trichomes over the surface. The mushroom-shaped, crystal-like trichomes are where the cannabinoids and terpenes are found. The more abundant, the higher the THC-potency and better the flavor. The hairs on the surface are the pistils. For maturely harvested pants, the pistils will be a fiery orange. Plants harvested too early will have white pistils while older weed will have brown. Any sign of webs or mold is very bad, indicating potential bugs and contaminants. The texture is also extremely important. The best buds are thick and dense. They aren’t wet and sticky or dry and crumbly but fall somewhere in-between. There should be few if any sticks and leaves and absolutely no seeds. That familiar pungent and dank scent is a good indicator of fresh, good quality weed. The odors are produced by terpenes that also influence flavors and effects. Whether the consumer is looking for high or low THC potency, strong taste or a smooth and consistent burn, the way the weed was grown and processed is the key. Fortunately there are hundreds of exceptional indicas, sativas and hybrid strains on the market.