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Picking Great Bud:  Red Hairs and Glitter Say a Lot

Picking great marijuana can be as easy as visiting a dispensary with a reputation for selling great bud, but sometimes that can be easier said than done.  Marijuana is an agricultural product, and just like our fruits and veggies, sometimes the crop isn’t picked at the perfect time and quality suffers.  Picking too early or too late can affect the flavor, THC and cannabinoid content and high of the finished product.  So how can a marijuana consumer tell if the pot they’re buying was picked at its peak?  One way is to take a good hard look at the bud before you buy it.  A bud will say a lot about its life in its appearance.  In determining if it was picked at the right time there are two main things to look for, red hairs and glitter.

Red hair

Mentioning hair in pot makes many potheads remember the old days when picking dog hair out of the baggie was a part of rolling a joint.  But red hair in marijuana can be a great sign.  If a bud is covered in red hair, that is a great indicator that it was left on the plant until it was done developing, which means the percentages of THC and cannabinoids will be higher than if it had been harvested early. 

There are a couple of important notes concerning red hair in marijuana.  First, not all strains have the ability to produce as much red hair as others.  These “hairs” are actually part of the cannabis flower, and just like many flowers, different varieties produce different color variations.  Some strains of pot produce these red “hairs” while others have smaller, and harder to see, hair.  Second, these hair parts can also indicate a bud that was picked too late and started to lose quality and THC content.  If the hairs seem particularly withered or brittle, another strain may be your best bet this time around unless you can grab it on discount, like day old bread.


We are not talking about that movie about the singer.  Glitter, as in the sparkly, shiny stuff that envelopes each and every nook and cranny of a good bud.  Mother nature’s greatest marketing tool ever – a glittery bud and a few well aimed LED lights, and everyone will come and buy your beautiful and irresistible buds.  And if those buds are coated in glitter, then they very well should go and buy those buds! 

The glitter on marijuana is actually the trichrome and home to the volatile oils that make the plant what it is -  the oils that make up live resin.  Get up close and personal with a bud sometime and check these little gems out.  Each and every one of those sparkly little dots is really a tiny little bubble of the good stuff.  THC, cannabinol, and other active chemicals are carried and housed in these bubbles of oil.  When marijuana has lots of these bubbles left on it in the pot shop, this means a couple of things.  It means that the bud was allowed to mature to a point where it produced a lot of this oil, which means it should be stronger.  It also means that it was not allowed to stand in the field too long and loose vital potency.  But lots of glitter left on the bud also means that it was cured and handled with care and that its at least fairly fresh.  As pot sits around and dries out, so do these oils, making even the best weed loose quality and glitter if not stored properly. 

When shopping for your favorite strains of marijuana at your local dispensary remember to keep one eye open for red hairs and glitter.  Better than thumping a melon, these are two tried and true indicators of mature, high quality marijuana that is sure to provide the high you are looking for at great cannasaver prices

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How to Pick Weed at a Dispensary

How to Pick Weed at a Dispensary

Posted by CANNASaver on Monday, 22 March 2021 in Canna Blog

The use of cannabis has been documented throughout history, dating back more than 2000 years in the human story. Yet, for all the years it has been available in our human history, the world has never dealt with the plant as it does today. Dispensaries have 10’s if not 100’s of products, including strains, concentrates, edibles, and topical cannabis products. This large amount of options can easily overwhelm, which is why we thought a guide on how to pick weed at a dispensary is in order. 

how to pick weed at a dispensary

Tips to Ease the Process

Choosing weed at a dispensary is both old and new. It is new in that many of us have never been able to visit a dispensary. It is old as the industry is architected to feel familiar, with sales counters and friendly staff ready to help with any questions. In some ways, it is akin to choosing jewelry; glass cases filled with products and (sometimes) a magnification glass atop to look more closely.

For new-to-novice consumers and patients, picking a marijuana product will first come to a process of elimination. Here are a few questions to keep in mind:

  • Do I have the proper smoking equipment to consume this?

  • How much do I want to spend?

  • How long will this quantity last for me?

These questions can help to focus the purchase by removing the question of product type and total amount to spend. This leaves but one question - and it is full of choices as well - what product do I want?

picking weed at a dispensary

How To Pick Weed At A Dispensary: Choosing A Strain

Smoking weed is among the most popular ways around the world to consume this carefully curated crop. Marijuana is an agricultural product and like our fruits and veggies, can vary in size, flavor, and - in the case of marijuana - the effect it produces. 

To pick a weed strain at a dispensary, it is important to consider three general ‘buckets’ that cannabis strains find themselves: 

Is It An Indica, Sativa, Or Hybrid?

“Sativa”, “Indica”, and “Hybrid” are all terms used in dispensaries as a basic barometer for the effects the strain will have. 

“Sativa” strains are known as energizing, day-time strains that inspire creative thought. “Indica” strains are known for mellow, relaxed, and even sleepy experiences. “Hybrid” strains are somewhere in the middle. 

Much like craft beer, these neat buckets allow for stores to organize their inventory and streamline sales tactics. 

While it is this writer’s belief these three designations - Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid - are much less important to consumers than we want to believe, one of the questions nearly every budtender will ask is about the type of strain you are seeking. 

That is not to say these designations are never appropriate when you pick weed at a dispensary. These distinctions can help growers know if the plant will be tall with long branches or short and bushy but communicate less about the effects than this writer has come to believe. 

The Two Things You Should Always Review

In truth, the main things to consider when you pick weed at a dispensary are as follows:

  • What is the cannabinoid profile?

  • What terpenes are present?

Not all budtenders will have both pieces of this. Colorado requires the cannabinoids present in flower to be measured as a percentage of dry weight. It is not required in Colorado for labs to disclose the terpene profile, but some companies do anyway. Other states vary in requiring terpene content to be stated on the label. 

Terpenes are molecules producing both the flavor and aroma of the strain and have been shown to interact with cannabinoids to create unique experiences for consumers and relief to patients.

Cannabinoids are the molecules found in the cannabis plant that produces much of the unique effects cannabis is known for. For instance, the “high” is attributed to THC while CBD helps with relaxation. 

Because both the cannabinoid and terpenes present in a strain can vary plant by plant, each strain has different effects and flavors. 

weed at a dispensary

How To Pick Weed At A Dispensary: Choosing A Concentrate

Several US states and countries around the world have loosened laws regarding cannabis consumption, both recreationally and medically. As a result, the production of many cannabis products that were either scarce before or didn’t exist, coupled with emerging technologies and tools such as vape carts and batteries, has caused seismic changes to how cannabis is grown, processed, sold, and consumed. 

Whereas it may have been uncommon to be able to purchase hash before, it is now sold conveniently. Unlike choosing between edibles and smoking, there are a dozen methods to consume and hundreds of ways to process or utilize the plant. Emerging as a hero in the legal cannabis industry, concentrates have taken ground from smoked flower for numerous reasons. Some include: 

  • The potency

  • The refinement of the terpene profile

  • The separation of different cannabinoids

  • Relative cost-benefit compared to smoked cannabis (In some circumstances)

When picking marijuana concentrates, the following can help frame the decision:

  • Color: is it honey or amber-hued?

  • Texture: is it liquid? Is it supposed to be?

  • Aroma: does it smell waxy or predominately like terpenes?

Finished Choosing Your Weed Products? Don’t Forget the Tools! 

Learning to pick weed at a dispensary can be a time-consuming process, and it doesn’t have to be. Identifying before you go some potential options can help guide the conversation when you arrive. Using the above information or diving into some product research and dispensary menus and deals near you can help guide you to the products you want, but it can take a bit of a time investment to learn the lingo and differences. 

Knowing your budget and a potential quantity you are seeking can additionally guide the conversation upon arriving at your dispensary of choice. 

But forgetting papers, glass, or a vaporizer or dab rig is always frustrating - especially if you have already reached the couch, shoes off. 

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