Good cannabis flower quality is the quintessential way to enjoy cannabis. When you smoke flower you access its flavorful terpenes, cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, and all the other compounds in their most pure form. Many old school cannabis connoisseurs prefer flower over any other form of cannabis because it’s a great way to access the full spectrum benefits of all the healing qualities of cannabis in its most unadulterated form: the smell is more distinct, the taste is more pleasant, and some even say the high is “cleaner”.
Flower is the most affordable and most common way to purchase cannabis medicine. Although there is no other true way to test flower than to smoke it, knowing what to look for during a visual inspection of the buds will give you a good idea as to the type of strain and the conditions in which it was grown. (This is also one of the main reasons Kaya Collective always takes great photos of our flower for you, our patients!)
Evaluating flower is easy. Just use your senses! Here are 6 ways to inspect your buds:


Image via Leafly

1. Smell

Well-grown, quality cannabis buds should have a pungent, identifiable smell indicating high terpene content. Alternatively, inferior quality buds may smell like dried sawdust.

Trust the power of your nose! If it smells good and your body responds well to it, then its probably good!

2. Color

Evaluating Cannabis Flower Quality bud color - 6 Easy Ways to Evaluate Cannabis Flower Quality

Quality cannabis buds should be generally green in color though the shade can range from lighter green to darker green. Good quality top-shelf buds may have hints of purple, pink, or dark blue. However, if the majority of the bud is red, brown, tan, white or yellow in color, it came from a poorly grown plant or may have been improperly dried.


GDP Headband indica sativa strains 620x400 - 6 Easy Ways to Evaluate Cannabis Flower Quality

3. Bud Structure

Indica and sativa buds will have distinct growing patterns you should be able to see. Indica buds should be tight and dense, while sativa buds are often more light and fluffy. Hybrid strains often share structural traits of both indicas and sativas.

Just because the buds are small doesn’t mean they are poor quality! Remember that cannabis is a flower, and flowers grow differently from strain to strain.

4. Trim

Evaluating Cannabis Flower Quality bud trim - 6 Easy Ways to Evaluate Cannabis Flower Quality
Following the harvest, cannabis buds must be trimmed in order to eliminate the leaves surrounding the bud. Quality, top shelf cannabis buds should be neatly hand-trimmed as opposed to machine-trimmed. Trimming machines mangle buds and disrupt the fragile trichomes where all the good tasting and wonderfully healing terpenes live. Stay away from untrimmed buds with excessive leaves as your “smoke” will be lower quality.

5. Trichomes

Kaya Bruce Lee OG - 6 Easy Ways to Evaluate Cannabis Flower Quality
Our Bruce Lee OG has beautiful crystal trichomes full of potent terpenes!


The goal of properly grown cannabis is to produce buds densely packed with ripe trichomes, as this is where the highly potent cannabinoids and terpenes are located. Trichome quality is easy to distinguish with a good eye. Take a look! How ‘frosty’ is your flower? Quality buds will be covered in trichomes that sparkle like shiny crystals, whereas poor quality buds will be lackluster.


Evaluating Cannabis Flower Quality bud mold - 6 Easy Ways to Evaluate Cannabis Flower Quality

6. Mold & Pests

It should go without saying that quality cannabis buds are free of mold and pests. Mold manifests itself as white powdery mildew or grey fuzzy mold.

Insects like mites, gnats, and aphids can leave fecal matter, eggs and even dead friends behind on your buds.





Learning how to evaluate your flower is the best way to get acquainted with the big wide wonderful world of cannabis!