Have you ever sat back after a toke and thought about what makes a good bud? It’s quite the loaded question. Weed, in many ways, is very subjective and reliant on the user. This premise of “good bud” has got me thinking...how about we dive into the anatomy of the plant? For starters, we will be focusing on the flower a.k.a the bud.
Every flower of a cannabis plant is unique, rather like a snowflake. Yes, there are similarities found in flowers of the same strain but given that the cannabis plant has quite the personality for a plant, small ecological changes can affect the look of one flower to the next. When selecting your bud, looks do hold sway, but the nose or smell contained in the resinous glands called Trichomes will tell you a lot more about the strain you have in your hands.
Each cannabis flower is a beautiful transport mechanism for those lovely cannabinoids and terpenoids. It is for this reason that you do not want your flower to be showing signs of bud rot, or over-trimming. The bud rot tastes absolutely horrible and causes a massive headache and you do not get the high you paid for if the bud is over trimmed. Try looking for green, or purplish-green buds that look like they’ve been dipped in millions of tiny diamonds.
Those diamonds on your bud are the Trichomes of the cannabis plant. These bulbous, sticky glands are what house those oh so lovely cannabinoids and terpenoids. These are the chemical compounds that work together to create that stoned effect. This is why you want to see a lot of them on your buds. The tragic over-trimming that sometimes happens will effectively rob you of experiencing your buds’ full potential in both flavor and high effect.
Now, each flower has its own hairstyle; Tiny red, brown, or creamy “hairs” or Pistls that stick out from the Bracts of the plant. These hairs are meant to catch the pollen and transport it down into the Bracts of the plant and into the Calyx, causing pollination to occur.
The Bracts are the tiny raindrop-shaped leaves that surround the reproductive area of the bud and have the highest concentration of trichomes.
The Calyx of the bud is a see-through layer that protects the seed or ovule while it awaits pollination. Ideally, your bud should have no seeds as they are indicators of pollination or stress. As for the colour of the Pistl, though it does add some attitude to your flowers, it is mainly an indicator as to when you should harvest the plant. The more white the Pistl, the more immature the plant.
Just when you thought this magical flower couldn’t get any sweeter, my lovelies, I present to you the Sugar Leaf. These wee beauties also play host to a fair share of the flowers' resin. Some prefer a bud without sugar leaves and some prefer a shaggier bud. I am one of the shaggy bud babies. Remember my lovelies, looks aren’t everything. You can do a variety of things with your sugar leafs other than smoking them. You can trim them off the bud and use them for joints, baking, THC extracts, and more. These sexy little leaves are more than shag.
There you have the components of a cannabis flower my lovelies. The most important thing to take into account, in my opinion, is the smell. Your nose has an uncanny ability to tell you what strain you will like and what strain will not treat you right. Given that the weed we get now no longer comes in that classy sandwich bag but in sealed containers and bags, it is important to know what smells make you happy, sad, angry, or sick. Take the time to look into the terpene profile of the strain you have in mind. For instance, if cheese is not your thing, you would want to stay away from strains like UK Cheese and Headband. Both of these strains have a very cheesy aroma. The terpenes are what create your bud's smell and they deserve your attention.
Once you have found your favorite scent profile, you will then want to look into the Cannabinoids of your strain. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is one of over 100 cannabinoids found within the Trichomes of the cannabis flower. THC can have different effects based on its potency so shop with your tolerance in mind, lovelies. No one likes getting too baked. Well...most of the time anyway.
What I am trying to say in a Gandalf-inspired monologue fashion is that what makes a good bud is proper bud maturity coupled with a frosted trichome-rich surface and a scent profile that makes your mouth water. Good weed, like beauty, is truly in the eyes of the beholder.