top shelf weed

Reefer Madness: How to Choose Top Shelf Weed

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Officials in New Haven, Connecticut are worried dispensaries won’t have enough product to supply the state’s booming medical marijuana program.

Connecticut is one of many facing such demand, and with dispensaries providing anywhere from 200 to 250 different products, the business isn’t alone in feeling overwhelmed.

Similarly, anyone new to the herb is likely to feel intoxicated when entering a dispensary, and while most provide helpful “budtenders” to aid customers in buying decisions, it can sometimes feel a lot like putting your health into a non-certified doctor’s hands.

That’s why we’re going to give you the 411 on how to spot top shelf weed. With our advice, entering that dispensary will no longer feel like an overwhelming barrage of smells and sights; instead, it will be a haven of choices.

Before Entering a Dispensary

Before you even enter the Holy Grail of medicinal herbs, you have to know what you want.

Marijuana has many different strains, but the two chief categories are called Indica and Sativa. Hybrids of the two are also available with varying effects.


These are the strains with invisible tentacles that will anchor you to the couch.

They will make you very tired and relaxed, meaning they are excellent for chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia.

The most common strains you’ll notice in this category are Purple Kush, Critical Mass and Northern Lights.


Want a little pick-me-up?

Sativas are known for their energy-boosting effects. They are suitable for use throughout the day, for physical activities or for when you’re trying to loosen your mind enough to finish that painting in your studio.

If you have depression, feel anxious or suffer from fatigue this is the choice for you.

Some of the most popular strains include Sour Diesel, Chernobyl, and Jack Herer.


Almost all of those green nuggets will be hybrids.

Hybrids are extremely popular, as they’ve been produced to create specific effects. Charlotte’s Web, for example, was created with the sole purpose of aiding children with epilepsy.

Trial and Error

In their video about the differences between Indica and Sativa, SILive explains, “The effects of any cannabis strain depend on the chemical profile, your biology and tolerance, the dosage, and the consumption method.”

Marijuana has 113 different chemical compounds and each human is made a tad different, so effects vary.

Putting it simply, you might have a general idea what you want before you walk in, but it may take you a few test runs to see which type is perfect for you. Think of it like a wine tasting, except a lot more green.

Finding Top Shelf Weed in the Dispensary

You have an idea of the type of weed you’d like. Now it’s time to waltz into heaven.

While browsing the many strains, take your time with each to check for these characteristics.


It might surprise newbies to find that weed isn’t always emerald green.

It can be brown. It can be purple. It can be a combination of colors.

So which is best?

The general rule of thumb is to look for the green. We mean, that’s what you’re doing anyway, right?

It’s okay to have tints of other colors, but avoid any overly brown buds.


While you’re peering under your magnifying glass (yes, you’d be surprised how helpful these can be, and not just for old-timers), take a look at the trichomes.

Trichomes are your best friend. They hold all the icky-sticky goodness inside because they are the geniuses that make cannabinoids and terpenes. Yes, that’s what gets you high.

Trichomes are very prominent. They’ll look like shiny little crystals all over the cannabis.

If you hold it and your fingers and you pull away feeling like a kid who just stuck his hand in honey, it’s also a good sign the bud has plenty of trichome-ish goodness.

Think of them like your own glittering Cave of Wonder; the more you see or feel, the higher grade weed you’ll have.

Overall Appearance

So you’ve checked the color and looked for the crystal goodies; now it’s time to review the bud overall.

Are there stems? Lots of loose leaves? If so, it’s probably low-quality marijuana.

Likewise, be on the lookout for mold and insects. It’s a plant, dudes. But if you see either of those, walk the other way.



Remember the girl from Despicable Me who shouted, “IT’S SO FLUFFY!”

That’s what you want here, but think “fluffy,” not “dense.”

Dense cannabis is typically a sign that it’s been jam-packed into a bag rather than cared for in the tender way it deserves. You’ll usually find dense buds in mid grade weed.

Likewise, you don’t want it to be loose and crumbly.


You may not be able to use this sense until you’ve tried your hand (or lungs) at a few different types. However, the smell should be pleasing.


Do some research. See what other people have said about the effects they’ve experienced with a certain strain and see what works best for others with a similar condition to yours.

There are many marijuana strains renowned for their medicinal uses; take the time to see which might be right for you.


Nowadays, there are a bunch of different apps made specifically to help you find a strain. Vice Motherboard discusses one they found particularly interesting called Potbiotics.

Other apps can help you find deals, track usage and browse reviews.

So even if you walk into a dispensary and still are unsure what to buy, apps like these are handy tools that may solidify your decision.

Get Toking!

Next time you dance into that dispensary, act like a boss.

No more taking someone’s word for it. Put your health into your own hands.

It’s not hard to spot top shelf weed, and now that you know all our inside tricks you can shop with confidence.

Interested in a few delectable homemade edibles? While you’re there, consider picking up some goodies to make your own personal Scooby Snacks. Here, we’ll take you through the five best cannabis cookbooks.

Special brownies, anyone?

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