By: Jimmy Goulding
Cannabis has been newly legalized in states across the U.S., meaning valid and accurate information can be quite scarce. I went out and talked to three budtenders from three separate stores around Bellingham to get their opinions on the industry and some tips on purchasing good quality cannabis.
I sat down with Zac Freman, a budtender at Trove Cannabis. When recommending and looking for superb cannabis, he looks for the biggest nugs.
“The bigger nugs can usually have that stronger potency and taste,” Freman said. “If you find nugs that are big you know you’re getting the better quality.”
Hannah Marie is the Medical Cannabis Manager at Cannazone. She gives strain recommendations to patients, as well as recreational users. When looking for and recommending quality cannabis she looks for crystals on the buds themselves.
“The crystals or the little trichomes that are on the bud are where the cannabinoids and terpenes are housed and stored. You want a lot of that because that’s what really gives a lot of the high and the desired effect or medical benefits,” Marie said. “It gets kind of frustrating to get a lot of people coming in who are like ‘I want 30 percent THC or higher’ because there have been a lot of inflated numbers in Washington recently.”
Wade Deitrick is a budtender at Cascade Herb Company. When he gives out recommendations, the number one thing he looks for freshness.
“I always look at how it was trimmed and how fresh it was – definitely look at harvest dates…with the stuff that’s fresh you can tell and it sells much quicker,” Deitrick said.
Some buyers come in and pick out whatever has the highest THC content on the label, which may not be the best idea.
“I don’t think that the percentages are entirely accurate usually. There has been a lot of stuff that has happened with some analytic companies having some issues with auditing…There was recently a local analytic company that got audited and they basically had a huge chunk of their numbers missing,” Freman said. “I think that these are due to friendships, like you scratch our back we’ll scratch yours and boost your numbers kind of a thing.”
Cannabis labels can have a lot of information that can be confusing on what it all means or what to even look for.
“The numbers on the labels are mostly there to be a sales tactic,” Deitrick said.
“I don’t believe that the THC content is really what we need to be looking for. The terpenes and the other cannabinoids that are there are responsible for your high.”
Marie sees the issue in a different light.
“I think that there should be more on the labels”, Marie said. “Labels should include more of the cannabinoids and the terpenes because we get test results for a lot more than is on the label and terpenes have a lot of different medical qualities as well.”