Where to Buy the Best Weed Online
After generations in the shadows and long nights of “still waiting on the guy, what’s up with the guy, should we call the guy again?” anxiety, buying legal cannabis is becoming a way of life in America. Recreational weed is now legal for adult use in 10 states and the District of Columbia, and medical use is allowed in 33, while even more states have decriminalized possession. The new legal menus at dispensaries can all be a little overwhelming, but in a good way, kind of like looking at the cost of medical care in a European country. So many options! So cheap! It comes in granola form now? What on earth is a “shatter”? In this article you will discover how to buy the best weed online.
Most cannabis on the market, legal or otherwise, is indica, sativa, or some hybrid of the two species. “Indica” is described colloquially as “in da couch,” as it’s generally relaxing and soporific, while sativa can be stimulating, creative and social. Hybrids combine qualities of both in various ratios. “If you have trouble sleeping, you probably want to smoke indica before you go to bed,” says a New York marijuana delivery guy we’ll call Joe. “It’s like when you feel high in your body and want to lie down. Sativa is like an upper.” On the numerous varieties beyond that (Purple Haze, Green Crack, etc.), he posits, “I think it’s the same phenomenon of people who are into like, microbrew, or IPA, or something. I don’t care too much about what kind of weed I smoke. But for someone with more specific needs, maybe it’s good.” When pressed on his favorite strain of the moment, he offers a hybrid called “Black Cherry Soda”: “Sleepy, but not too sleepy…tastes good, gets you high.” About as detailed a promise as one can hope for in a state where weed is mostly illegal.
To take edge off, we talked to a few experienced budtenders—yes, that is exactly what it sounds like—to explain the basics of different intake methods and who they’re for: Bethany Weisbacher, a budtender at the Farmers’ Market in Denver and author of the book Dispensary Life: A Survival Guide to Budtending in Cannabis-Legal States, and Troy Fimbres, a budtender at Exhale Med Center in West Hollywood, Calif.
Consider this a first-timer’s guide to putting weed in your body. Read up on and follow the local laws wherever you live, and if you’re brand new to this, please remember that it’s good etiquette to share.
What are strains?
First, a bit of cannabis history. Cannabis is thought to have originated in central Asia but over time, the plant traveled around the world, where it was planted and cultivated. Over time, these plants acclimated to their new environment, resulting in changes to their physical and chemical characteristics. These plants became known as landrace strains.
As time passed, people started experimenting with these landraces, crossbreeding different combinations of male plants and female plants to produce new strains. This experimentation gave birth to the ever-growing variety of cannabis plants in existence today. We call the varieties strains.
Historically, cannabis has been cultivated mostly underground as a result of prohibition during the turn of the century. The cannabis plant was not able to be widely grown or studied and the botanical classifications you may find for, say, tomatoes, are not as clearly documented and defined for cannabis.
What makes cannabis strains unique?
There are a variety of elements that make up a strain’s unique profile:
- Cannabinoid content. The cannabis plant contains a host of cannabinoids, chemical compounds that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce a variety of effects. A strain’s cannabinoid profile or, the concentration of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, is a key differentiating characteristic. For example, strains with high THC and little or no CBD are more intoxicating while strains with a 2:1 CBD to THC ratio can be more relaxing and produce less of an intense or intoxicating high.
- Terpene content. Terpenes are molecules in the cannabis plant that not only produce flavor and aroma, but also help support cannabinoids and other cannabis molecules in producing effects in both the body and the mind. The cannabis plant produces over 200 terpenes, and individual strains will have varying terpene profiles and concentrations. As such, strains can have different flavors, aromas, and effects.
- Environmental variables. Environmental variables during cultivation, like the nutrients in the soil, can affect both the terpene and cannabinoid profile so the same cannabis grown in different environments could wind up as different strains.
Simple Steps To Choosing Quality Cannabis
1. Check for any glaring defects like mold, mildew, discoloration, or damage from insects; you definitely don’t want those buds. Also look for seeds, which are a rare find in top-shelf cannabis.
2. Look for buds that are brightly colored, as high-quality cannabis can appear in nearly every color of the rainbow. Marijuana of lesser qualities, however, are dull shades of green and brown.
3. Consider how dense the cannabis buds look; high-quality marijuana is usually pretty dense, while low-quality flowers are lighter and more leafy in appearance.
4. Look for a thick coat of white, crystalline resin covering the entire bud. This resin is rich with cannabinoids and terpenes, which contain the plant’s active chemical compounds and flavors.
5. Look for well-manicured cannabis that has most of the leaves trimmed away from the flowers. However, some of the best cannabis is presented with small, trichome-rich leaves surrounding the buds.
6. Pay particular attention to the aroma of the cannabis you’re examining. The way marijuana can smell varies greatly and can be quite complex, incorporating scents that are earthy, floral, sweet, spicy, or harsh as diesel fuel. The best cannabis is pungent, no matter its aroma, while weaker strains aren’t nearly as attention-grabbing or recognizable.
7. If you’re able to handle the cannabis flowers you’re inspecting, the best herbs will leave a sticky resin on your fingertips. The marijuana won’t be brittle and dry, nor will it be damp to the touch.
How to choose a cannabis strain to grow
If you’re limited in height and space it’s no surprise that you’re going to want to pay special attention to how tall your plant is going to grow. There are very tall strains and other more short growing strains that are more convenient for closet or small-space growing.
This is more a preoccupation for people growing indoors that might have a very limited space. Some plants can grow up to 3m and are definitely not suitable for closet grow. However your growing techniques can also have a an impact on that. If you’re looking to grow in a Sea of Green (SOG) that’s can be a good way to grow tall sativas indoors. Sativas tend to be much taller plants than indicas however most strains today are hybrid and thus it’s hard to make such a generalization.
Whether it’s indoor or outdoor, if your grow needs to be discreet you definitely want to make sure you don’t get a plant that gets too tall. Seed shops and banks don’t necessarily indicate how tall specific strains are going to grow so if you’re especially concerned about height then it’s good to go for strains that are known to be short.
Speed and yield are two other important grow characteristics you want to take into account before choosing the right strain to grow. A plant’s flowering length can vary from 7 weeks to 12 weeks, that’s almost a whole month so if you’re tight on time this is definitely something you want to think about. Historically black market growers have always had a need for fast growing strains so many have been developed over the years. Certain seed banks have catered to this need by developing quick cannabis seeds, also known as fast seeds, that are basically the fast version of classic feminised genetics. If you’re an impatient grower, check out our top 10 fastest flowering strains below. In terms of yield, many factors are going to impact how many grams of flowers your plant actually produces.
Strains vs. chemovars
Another example of how prohibition influenced cannabis history is the limited access to knowledge about the plant. For instance, the misconception about (and popularity of) the term “strains” in order to describe different varieties. A strain is a term used in microbiology and has no official ranking in botany. The proper way to distinguish between cannabis varieties is actually by their chemical composition, which is why the term “chemovar” (chemical variation) is becoming increasingly popular.
Cannabis chemovars can be divided to three main types:
- Type I: THC dominant and low in CBD
- Type II: Balanced (roughly 1:1) ratio of THC:CBD
- Type III: CBD dominant and low in THC.
Just like the term chemovar, these categories are still catching on in the mainstream — so you’re likely to see more of them as legal markets develop.
What’s better? Indica, sativa or hybrid?
The misconception about sativa and indica is yet another result of the lack of cannabis research and education during prohibition. Most people — even within the cannabis industry — tend to believe that sativas are more uplifting and energizing, while indicas are sedating and calming. Recreational consumers and patients alike often wonder what would be best for them — indica, sativa or hybrid.
In fact, these are botanical terms, used to define morphological differences such as plant shape and height, rather than effects. Which cannabinoids and terpenes are present in a chemovar (and in what concentration) is the best predictor of its potential effects — not its indica or sativa origins.
Cannabinoids and terpenes are the most abundant compounds in cannabis. They are also the most talked about, and you’re more than likely to encounter them during your next dispensary visit. Knowing more about these molecules could help you find the right product for you.