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Fuzzy, sticky and smelly: How consumers can grade their cannabis

With quality control a looming issue in the cannabis industry, how do consumers tell the top-shelf from the bottom?

Master grower Ryan Douglas does an inspection at the Tweed marijuana growing plant in Smiths Falls.

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    Can’t smell the difference between potent sativa and a lowbrow indica? With no standardized rating system (yet) even experienced cannabis users may find sorting great buds from duds a challenge.

    “From our perspective, there’s safe cannabis and there’s quality cannabis,” says Ali Lalji, brand manager for Toronto’s The Supreme Cannabis Company. “People think that because there’s no mold, it’s a good measure for quality. That’s certainly the base, but real quality is deciphered from sensory perception, just like with cheese, milk, and wine.”

    Fuzzy, sticky and smelly: How consumers can grade their cannabis Back to video

    Grading cannabis quality on an “A” to “AAA” scale, for example, would certainly help buyers avoid obvious defects like mold or harmful bacterial (which smells like a musty, wet towel). But a rating system that ranges as high as “AAAA+” would go further—qualifying potency.

    Most important, though, is for consumers to perform a smell test. “A good sign is having a pleasing, pungent aroma, filled with terpenes,” says Supreme’s director of product development and planning, Peter Shearer.

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    Terpenes are organic compounds responsible for cannabis’ signature scent. A stronger aroma means a more potent effect. “All smells native to the plants should be expressed robustly, just like any cabernet sauvignon,” says Shearer.

    A visual checkup helps differentiate top-tier cannabis as well. Poor, wispy bud structure can mean a less-than-savory experience during consumption. Those in search of top-shelf flower should also make note of the trichomes present on the leaves: The sticky, glassy-looking hairs that give some cannabis a “fuzzy” aesthetic house most of the compounds that make it suitable for medical and recreational use.

    Travis Lane, a quality advisor with Cannabis Wise, Canada’s first marijuana accreditation program, says that although“quality is definitely defined by the end user,” there are ways for consumers to test for efficacy.

    “You just don’t want anything that seems off,” he says. For smoked or vaporized flower, for example, that can mean a heavy chemical taste, the taste of burning wood, or an excessive harshness when inhaling and exhaling.

    The way the bud burns can be telling too. “When you get something that doesn’t burn right, it’ll burn around the edges of the plant, in a darker, crispier colour. It’ll produce a crunchy, black ash and will go out a lot.” Quality plants, Lane explains, burn smooth while producing a powdery white ash.

    Years spent outside the bounds of the law means consumers have taken to user-generated sources to evaluate and select their cannabis, as evidenced by popular strain review sites like Leafly and the longstanding High Times magazine.

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    But that’s also made for a large degree of variation between one consumer’s experience and another’s. The lack of standardized quality assurance can mean they aren’t even consuming the same plant. “There’s always a problem with crowd-sourced information,” says Lane, though he’s careful to mention that dismissing anecdotal evidence out of hand isn’t the best practice either.

    Here’s what consumers should look out for when sourcing cannabis from a licensed producer:

    • A “glassy” appearance, courtesy of abundant trichomes
    • A sticky feel, also indicative of high trichome presence
    • A sweet or pungent aroma
    • The absence of mold, mildew or other clear defects
    • A powdery, white ash produced upon smoking
    • No “harsh” feelings in the throat when vaporized or smoked

    For an in-depth guide on cannabis grading, have a look at Supreme’s Official Cannabis Grading Booklet here.

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    With quality control a looming issue in the cannabis industry, how do consumers tell the top-shelf from the bottom?

    Fuzzy Wuzzy Was a Medical Marijuana Strain

    The name says it all with this marijuana strain. Fuzzy Wuzzy is a beautiful strain known for the insane amount of orange hairs. The buds are very Sativa looking; long and skinny, like the Grinch’s fingers. Fuzzy Wuzzy has an aroma that is super strong — reminiscent of grapefruit, pine, and lemons. The smoke is harsh compared to some of the other strains we have reviewed this year.

    This strain is a bit of a chest puncher, each hit is highly expansive and usually causes a cough.

    Fuzzy Wuzzy has an unknown lineage, but we definitely believe it is a Sativa-dominant Hybrid the way it mostly effects the mind. After the coughing subsides, the effects rush to your head to start and are followed by a strong comedown (tired feeling) 2-3 hours later.

    Fuzzy Wuzzy is pretty good for managing anxiety and stress. It tends to induce smiles for all who medicate with it! It’s one of those sativa strains that you wish had a smoother taste so it could be an all-around winner… but still an awesome strain none-the-less.

    FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) DISCLAIMER – These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

    The name says it all with this marijuana strain. Fuzzy Wuzzy is a beautiful strain known for the insane amount of orange hairs. The buds are very Sativa looking; long …