No matter how long you've been consuming cannabis, you may be a little self-conscious when it comes to identifying high-quality buds. Even your favorite strain can produce crops of varying qualities, depending on many factors such as the growing conditions, harvesting practices, and curing methods used by a farmer.

There is always some personal subjectivity when you're comparing dried cannabis flowers, but just like choosing fresh produce, there are a few standards that set top-shelf chronic apart from mid-grades, regs, and schwag weed. Here we offer a quick guide to identifying high-quality cannabis flowers and helping you choose the best buds.

1. Check for any glaring defects like mold, mildew, discoloration, or damage from insects; you definitely don't want those buds. Also look for seeds, which are a rare find in top-shelf cannabis.

2. Look for buds that are brightly colored, as high-quality cannabis can appear in nearly every color of the rainbow. Marijuana of lesser qualities, however, are dull shades of green and brown.

3. Consider how dense the cannabis buds look; high-quality marijuana is usually pretty dense, while low-quality flowers are lighter and more leafy in appearance.

4. Look for a thick coat of white, crystalline resin covering the entire bud. This resin is rich with cannabinoids and terpenes, which contain the plant's active chemical compounds and flavors.

5. Look for well-manicured cannabis that has most of the leaves trimmed away from the flowers. However, some of the best cannabis is presented with small, trichome-rich leaves surrounding the buds.

6. Pay particular attention to the aroma of the cannabis you're examining. The way marijuana can smell varies greatly and can be quite complex, incorporating scents that are earthy, floral, sweet, spicy, or harsh as diesel fuel. The best cannabis is pungent, no matter its aroma, while weaker strains aren't nearly as attention-grabbing or recognizable.

7. If you're able to handle the cannabis flowers you're inspecting, the best herbs will leave a sticky resin on your fingertips. The marijuana won't be brittle and dry, nor will it be damp to the touch.

Remember, no matter how great the cannabis you're looking at appears, there's no way to tell exactly how the particular strain of marijuana you're inspecting will affect you and if it's “high-quality” by your standards.