Culture January 29, 2013

Weed 101 : Know Your Bud

Buying bud can be treacherous territory. How do you know whether your bud is worth your hard earned cash? If it is everything that your dealer says it is? If it’s quality? If it’s crap? Or if you’re being just plain ripped off?

So here are a few pointers on what to look out for on your quest for good herb at a good price.

What is a bud?

In a word… flowers. Female cannabis plants develop dense clusters of flowers known as buds. The flowers are where all the action is at. Leaves look great, but won’t get you high. Male plants will also not get you high.

Unharvested, female cannabis plants. The dense clusters are the flowers or "buds".
Harvested and dried, the buds are broken into smaller pieces and ready to smoke.

Which bud to choose?

There is an overwhelming amount of cannabis strains out there, thousands upon thousands of them with all sorts of names. Effects of cannabis strains are mostly dependant on whether the strain is a Sativa or an Indica. Sativas give a functional head high while Indicas are great for crashing on the couch due to their body high. You can find a strain for every occasion though as the many pure Sativas and Indicas, as well as their numerous crosses/hybrids allow you to pick strains with the best effects for your needs.

There is no guarantee that the strain you are getting is everything it is made out to be.
DO NOT ever take a bud as being what the dealer says it is, unless you have a good reason to trust your dealer or connection, you will be making a blind leap of faith that what’s said is what you get. It is practically impossible to identify the strain of a bud at face value. Not only are there thousands of different strains, and there are variations (phenotypes) in many of these strains. Hence something to consider is not only if it is the strain claimed, but whether the strain has been grown well, as this will also define the quality of the bud.

How then do you tell the quality of a bud?

Judging a bud

Good bud should have the following characteristics:

Lots of trichomes.

These are the little things on the bud that make it sticky and sparkle. Trichomes are also the part of the bud that get’s you high so the more the merrier.

This bud is covered in trichomes! Frosty!
There are three colours to judge a trichome’s ripeness by:
  • Mostly clear = Plant harvested early. Least potential for getting high.
  • Mostly cloudy/milky = Plant has been harvested on time. The strongest high.
  • Mostly amber = Plants have been harvested late. The high could go either way depending on how late the plant was harvested.

Many growers and smokers have their preferred balance of trichome colours. Buds with a higher ratio of clear and milky trichomes will produce a more energetic head high, whilst on the other hand, buds with mostly amber trichomes will produce a more sleepy body high. With time, you will find what works for you. A camera with a zoom/macro function or a magnifying glass makes it a lot easier to tell how ripe your bud is.

Sensimilla (Sens-i-me-ya).

This means that the bud has no pips (seeds). The presence of pips in the bud means that the plant has had to take energy and nutrients away from the high factor in the bud and instead invested the energy and nutrients into growing the pips. Pips have no smoking value. Pipless weed is typically superior to the equivalent weed with pips.

Be well cured.

The closest thing that I can compare curing to is the aging of wine. A well cured bud is not dry, it has a firm texture when squeezed (don’t squeeze too hard or repeatedly) and does not smell green. It should have that familiar weedy aroma and various other strain dependent fragrances such as citrus, petrol, funky cheese, fruity, etc. It gets this from being dried for a few days and then sealed in an air tight glass jar. The longer it sits unopened in the jar, the nicer it will become as natural tones, fragrances and effects of the bud maximise. Some people keep their jars sealed for years. Very hard small cured buds are known as nugs.

No leaves or twigs allowed.

Leaves and twigs hold no high factor, unless they are those trichome coated ones on the bud. Judge for yourself if the little bits of leaf or twig on the bud are worth smoking.

No crumbling.

It should take a little effort to break up a bud. If it crumbles when touched, it is because it is too dry. One of the first things to deteriorate on an overexposed bud is the THC. The high factor of crumbly bud is significantly reduced. Dry weed will burn hot and quick making for a hasty and harsh smoke.

Not be wet.

If the bud is very moist to the touch and smells very green, it has not been sufficiently dried. A bud will lose approximately 75% of its weight from when it is harvested till it is ready to smoke, due to the excess moisture and chlorophyll contained within the bud dissipating. Wet bud will cost you more for less final smoke, smokes badly and gives more headache than high. It is also vulnerable to botrytis (aka Bud Mould). Bud Mould is a grey/black fungus that turns the bud to powder and starts off by destroying all the active ingredients. If bud mould shows up, your batch of smoke is as good as gone. Wet weed will burn slow and smoky with some smokers becoming nauseous from the overpowering green taste of the smoke.

Not smell like chemicals.

Some growers use fertilisers and pesticides right up to harvest. This may increase the amount of weed harvested, but makes it taste kak, burn kak and potentially unhealthy. Roll a joint, smoke it and check the ash when you are done. The lighter the ash the fewer chemicals and chlorophyll that are still in or on the buds. Many growers flush their plants before harvest to leave only the best of the plant in the bud. Some strains such as Diesel have a desired petrolish fragrance, this is however desirable as it is part of the strain’s characteristics and not an indication of chemical residue. Curing usually takes care of any undesirable residual bud contents by giving the contents an opportunity to break down and dissipate.

The smoke.

A bud’s ultimate test of quality is in the smoking. It should meet your expectations in terms of effect and ability to be smoked via your desired method. The only question that should remain is….

How much should I be paying?

This is ultimately what it’s about. How much should I be paying? Am I being ripped off or am I one lucky bugger?

Price is typically determined by supply and demand. Sadly, unless you are exposed to multiple dealers, you will only really know what your sole dealer charges and won’t have anything to compare your local bud quality or prices against.

So the following is a Rand per 1 gram breakdown of what you can expect to pay for your bud:

R 5 or less

Bottom of the bag stuff. Grown somewhere random and probably handled badly on its way to you. Usually lots of loose small buds packaged in bank bags, matchboxes or newspaper. Lots of pips and twigs. Low price equals low quality.

R 5 to R 25

This will get you pretty much the same stuff as above, but with less pips and twigs.

R 25 – R 50

Expect few to no pips. Nothing packaged in a matchbox, bankies only. Should be anywhere from an average to a good high.

R 50 – R 100

This is the last stop before the top shelf stuff and usually where a lot of the bang for buck buds are. Buds should be well formed with few to no pips. Expect decent fragrances and a good to exceptional high. Usually packaged in those little bankies with the red lip.

R 100 – R 150

This is high grade territory and no pips should be expected other than a very occasional one. Trichomes should be abundant and the fragrance should be hard to contain. Expect a strong high. Usually packaged in those little bankies with the red lip. I have very occasionally encountered dealers who use small glass jars instead of bankies for their high end clients.

R 150+
Rare strains such as this purple strain will often sell for high prices, but this doesn't mean they're any better than other high-grade weed.

You may come across dealers who will charge up to R300 per gram. At this price you should expect a rare strain that is of the absolute highest quality. If your dealer charges in excess of R150 per gram and the bud is less than mind warpingly spectacular, it may be time to start shopping round for a new dealer.

Next instalment – Weed 101: Storing buds

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72 thoughts on “Weed 101 : Know Your Bud

  1. Great article buzz. Very informative and helpful. Looking forward to the next lesson…

  2. very nice, like the pricing system it is fair and reasonable maybe mention that lower grade, I.E. Jutt is never sold by the gram but in 20gm installments, maybe add some street names to the description, Jhutt, swaz. skunk, outdoor, chronic, Super High Grade cronic

  3. Awesome article hope they keep coming, creating a sales standard 😉 just my 2 cents, dont know if im out of line but what about the Transkie ?
    I’ve seen massive plantations been grown by entire communities and some of them have it dialed even keeping first generation seeds going the end product been almost equally as good maybe even better than the skunk posted here been sold at R1.50 a gram, my question is where does the bulk(tons) of this crop end up ??? If weed was legal these communities wouldnt need to be a whisper or urban myth!! and no longer would sneaky dealers make such huge margins ?? keep up the fight, times are a changing 🙂

  4. Great Articale Buzz. I asked similar questions on another forum recently. This answered all my Q’s plus more!!


  5. Awesome article bro.

    Can’t wait for the next installment

  6. Hein said:
    Awesome article bro.

    Can’t wait for the next installment


  7. Great article Buzz,
    You should also look into doing an article on mites and mold, how to check for them and if it’s harmful or not,

  8. Anything written by Buzz is a great read !!

    Nice an informative for all the newcomers.

    Until the next one, keep at it man !

  9. Bravo Buzz! Best article Ive ever read on this topic! *Respect*

  10. With great respect, I say thank you to you Buzz, the info is amazeballs, just what i needed.

  11. If you pay anything over R150 you are being ripped off (160 at an absolute push). The coloured phenotypes are generally weaker than their green counterparts. Even if the strain is “rare” I would rather pay R150 for a less “rare” strain and smoke some dank cheese instead of paying R300 ^_- . If you pay R300 a gram you are absolutely crazy.

    With regards to supply and demand, indoor is a year round crop. If your “guy” doesnt have it doesnt mean the rest of the city doesnt have.

  12. @BUZZ,

    When is the next lesson coming? Craving a good informative read!

    Thanks for the great articles!

  13. Morning all, just a question.

    What would be the street price for White Widow?

  14. depends on if its indoor or out and if grower knows what hes doin

  15. its outdoor, and not too sure about the grower.

  16. GCK said:
    Morning all, just a question.

    What would be the street price for White Widow?

    Anywhere around R60 – R100 a gram

  17. thanx cannabinoid, this one dude is asking R200 a bankie, so im just thinking if i should go for it or not…………………….to be truthful though, i had a sample of his goods, and man it was YUMMY!……………but the price still gets me

  18. Hmm how many grams are roughly in that bag? If it’s a large bag and as good as you say then it could be worth it

  19. dunno how many grams it is. i do think that it is worth it, cause it hit me much better than the skunk i had ever did….

  20. White widow is still on the top of my list, its a great smoke. It sounds worth it, you going to get more than 4 grams in the bag and lets say it’s R80 a gram(usual outdoor price), you still got a saving there

  21. I got some outdoor organic WW last week at R60/G was amazingly well grown not a seed in sight but to be fair I was buying at distribution prices

  22. Thanx guys for all your info…………….being a girl, dudes normally try and pull the wool ova my eyes………………appreciate ur info

  23. GCK said:
    Thanx guys for all your info…………….being a girl, dudes normally try and pull the wool ova my eyes………………appreciate ur info

    Always be one step ahead 😉 lol im sure you women have your perks

  24. cannabinoid said:
    White widow is still on the top of my list, its a great smoke. It sounds worth it, you going to get more than 4 grams in the bag and lets say it’s R80 a gram(usual outdoor price), you still got a saving there

    2 of the guys I normally buy from just got in some white widow, amazing stuff 😀 I have no idea of the price I pay though, cause I’ve never weighed it :/

  25. Hey guys,

    I’m going down to Hermanus next weekend and gonna get real smoked up, got my bro down there so he’ll be hooking me up with some white widow that he got from a friend. Still haven’t bought the bankie of R200, but as soon as I do, I will post a pic of the bankie, money a bit too low for weed now.

    Not so sure how much a bankie weighs, as I normally just buy weed to get a leka high, which is always. I think I should start to study the art of weed more in-depth and learn all of its intricacies, not just how high I can get from it.

    Anyhow, thanx again to all for answering my question about the white widow. Love this site too bits 🙂

  26. Once you start educating yourself about weed and not just getting high… it will stick. Its a fascinating plant and learning about the details are very interesting.

    There is alot more to the the history and the plant itself than alot of people think.

    One of the ‘Other’ wonders of the world!


  27. Top of the morning to all,

    Just a question…….what is the difference between cheese and skunk really?

  28. They two different strains. Its like asking whats the difference between an apple and a pair 🙂

    Oh and real cheese is a lot more potent than your average skunk, proper cheese R150/g. Skunk R150/bank bag

    1. Your mistaken street slang boy. Skunk #1 grown indoors will break your back. Im not talking about ur nigie selling SKANK eith thousands of pips and joinst of armslenth just to get a 40min fluff.

      i love cheese/skunk #1 as in inlovr with pineapple chunk. Fast easy high yeilding uphigh sativa kick with a dekicious balance between indica/sativa effects

  29. Cheese is apparently just a pheno of skunk. There are many claims as to the origin of cheese but most stories suggest that a crazy pheno was found in a pack of skunk seeds. The only way t oreally determine the origins would be through bio molecular analysis or tracking the chloroplastic DNA back to it’s origins. I think you will find most people would prefer the cheese as there are more desirable flavours and smells. That being said I might smoke Super skunk or a good skunk #1 pheno over cheese.

    Go google this subject you will find a ridiculous amount of stories about the cheese.

  30. Dubbed Marley,

    Thank you for the short course, appreciate it, now I can tell that heffer that I know what I’m talking about and that she is wrong.

  31. i would like to start growing for own personal use and would like to know where/how to begin.
    want to build like a cupboard in my garage and grow in there
    what is the list of basis that needs to be bought and where do i start
    basic understanding is a plant store like stodels and a hardware store for lights, etc
    any help will be appreciated

  32. yho! gud infor

  33. Hi guys, just a friendly tip to get more bang for your buck when getting baked. Some of may know this already but it will serve you very well to eat a mango 30-40 mins before smoking. It boosts your high and gets you super-baked!!! I discovered this a wile back now, I found this most helpful when I could only afford the lower quality strains of weed. Some say that you should wait an hour before, but I guess it differs from person to person. Personally I have found that even if I eat a mango just after I have smoked it still gets me considerably higher than if i had’t eaten a mango…try it hehehe

    Google that shit, it works! Oh and spread the word!!!


  34. I dont understaind how much you guys would be paying for the high grade what does R-100 mean how much would this be in american dollars

    1. Aprox $6

    2. Its around 6$ to 7$

  35. what a great article. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

  36. hi ya got a question i been growing my own for years using clones, does anyone know of a spot where you can get your weed tested for thc levels? just been interested in what level of thc im producing.

  37. Does anyone have a connection to buy in Hermanus?

    1. Ahoy lawless Halla @ us via email

    2. cop

    3. yeah very simple and easy

  38. Good information but I would like to know where you’re from cause your prices seem way too high. I’m from the west coast and I’d never pay over $12 for a gram of top shelf bud.

    1. Prices are in South African Rands, not dollars.
      About R13 to 1$ at the moment.

  39. Good dealer in PTA?that’s safe as well….

    1. Nope.

    2. Which area in PTA ?

      1. cops??

  40. Hey guys. Newbie on site. Is this a SA site?

  41. I am frm india i need sum 1 though who i can get nice weed in hermanus, can any1 help me

  42. I’m new in Durbs.. can anyone help me out? Been looking for herb for a whlie now.

    1. cops?

      1. Nah… I just don’t know where to get sum

  43. i been smoking for about 15 years now and since i lost my dealer, the guy who used to sell me nice shit, i cannot for the life of me find and decent weed and when you come to a site like this everyone is so paranoid so no one tells you where to organize…WHATS THE POINT

  44. i have a question i hot boxed with my brother grade b Marijuana can i die, if it is my first ime

    1. You won’t die ????

  45. So i get the 50 -100 range for R7 a gram
    Ah life is good and i get 100 gram bags

    1. i wish i knew you:):):)

      only manage to get skunk etc etc

  46. Howzit People….

    I know that everyone has reason to be very wary of da law, { well those that try to impose it on others }
    Iv’e recently moved to the Overberg region and am battling to find good quality bud.
    So please, if there is anyone out that way willing to take a trusting chance with me, I’d appreciate it very much.
    I’m guaranteed to be a good quantity, & reliable customer.
    Many thanks
    One love, Irie.

    1. did u come right??
      i’me also looking for a reliable source


      1. Howzit

        Nah No luck as yet mate.

        1. can you believe how difficult it is trying to score good blow in ”The Cape Of Good Dope” :):):)

          1. There is a guy in Hermanus called Judah…lives in the Location….but I don’t have his No.

    2. Leave your digits

  47. Guys I commute to Hatfield everyday where could I get some good stuff like cheese or white widow all I can get is Swazi is from a mate who gets it from a oke in the park please let me know soon

    1. What’s up? I get cheese from inside collgeges. You can walk up to almost everybody and aks where can i find a weed dealer, they’ll point you too a person who has good shit.

    2. The problem is to make contact I used to know someone that sell cheese

  48. Womens african craft market long street in cape town. Go down the steps there’s a rasta shop. R50 n R100 bags
    of outdoor n R150 for indoor

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