Only female marijuana plants grow flowers, commonly known as buds or nugs, and what gorgeous flowers they are: brilliant green with white, orange, or purple tendrils, covered in sticky crystals (trichomes) that deliver a THC-packed punch. The trichomes determine the aroma of the flower along with the quality and potency, so the stickier the bud, the better the high.
Flowers are cut, dried and cured before packaging for sale, and they are easily smokeable, with effects lasting from one to three hours depending on the strain and the user’s tolerance. Flower is available in bulk, manufacturer-sealed packages, and also:
Already-rolled Joints That Are Great for Beginners, Busy Pros, and Gifts for Like-minded Friends
High-quality Flower Coated in Cannabis Oil and Generously Sprinkled With Kief (Crystals)
Cannabis is amazingly customizable, from the strain to the quality to how you smoke it. The first thing to determine before buying flower is what you want to get out of the high. For example, do you want to relax, work out, socialize, or clean the house without losing steam? How you answer this question will help guide your choice of flower. Here’s what you need to know about the types of flower available:
- Indica: With short, wide leaves and dense buds, Indica plants offer a relaxing strain of weed that’s associated more with bodily sensations than cerebral effects, making it the perfect end to a long day.
- Sativa: Taller plants with long thin leaves and fluffier buds, Sativa strains are more cerebral, uplifting, and euphoric, making them perfect for socializing and physical activities.
- Hybrid: Hybrid plants are crossbred between Indica and Sativa, usually offering the best of both. Hybrids are typically evenly split between the two types, but you can also find Indica-dominant or Sativa-dominant hybrids, giving you an extra layer of customization for your high.
Keep in mind that plant genetics aren’t the only factor determining a flower’s effects. The amount of THC and CBD within each strain will have an impact, and even factors like whether the plant was grown indoors or outdoors can influence the result as well.
From chocolate to booze to cannabis, everything enjoyable in life is available in degrees of quality. Some people only want the best of the best, while others are fine with quantity over quality. Here’s a quick guide to the quality assessments you’ll see at Balboa Avenue Cooperative:
- Private Reserve: The best quality available, either from reputable brands or the dispensary’s exclusive growers. This will be the most expensive, but definitely worth it.
- Top-Shelf: High-quality cannabis from reputable brands that involves the best strains, small-batches, and meticulous growing and harvesting methods to preserve those precious crystals that make top-shelf cannabis especially sticky to the touch.
- Bottom-Shelf: Sometimes you want a five-star meal, sometimes you want Taco Bell. For the smoker on a budget or someone who isn’t finicky about quality, bottom-shelf weed is available. The THC ratings and crystallization levels are low and you might find a few seeds and stems, but you can’t beat the price.
As with anything mind-altering, your mileage may vary when sampling flower quality. If you’re new to smoking and you’re looking for high-quality buds, start with small portions and go from there.
How to buy flower
Cannabis flower can be purchased in many forms, depending on how you want to ingest:
- Loose flower: Chunky crystallized buds are available loose in bulk, usually in amounts ranging from a gram to a half-ounce. Best of all, there’s no prep needed—no plucking out seeds, stems, or excess leaves. Just pop it in a bowl and enjoy.
- Infused flower: Also sold in bulk, high-quality infused flower has a little something extra—a liberal coating of cannabis oil and a generous sprinkle of kief (extra crystals).
- Prerolls: For a convenient, no-prep smoke on the go, you can’t go wrong with prerolled joints or blunts. Flowers are gently ground into smaller chunks then rolled up in papers, packed and wrapped by experts with a dexterity you probably won’t share without practice.
How to smoke flower
Buds are meant to be smoked, but there’s more than one way to light up. Depending on the convenience factor and what type of equipment you have, here are some options:
- Joints and blunts: Prerolls are the easiest way to go for smoking cannabis cigarette-style, but you can also roll your own. All you need is a grinder (to break up the buds) and papers, which can be found at most dispensaries—plus a little bit of practice. Joints are also the universal sharing method for smoking, as long as you follow the golden rule of “puff, puff, pass.”
- Pipes: Small, affordable, and portable, pipes are great for smoking buds at home or on the go—all you need is some flower and a lighter. At most smoke accessory shops, you can find everything from discreet metal mini-pipes to slick, colorful glass options.
- Bongs: A step up from pipes, bongs are larger and use water to filter the smoke before it hits your lungs. Bongs come in a variety of sizes, usually around a foot tall (beware of super-tall bongs though—they can wreck you), and a range of materials as well—metal, acrylic, ceramic, bamboo, silicone, and blown glass.
- Vaporizers: Don’t confuse vaporizers with vape pens. Pens turn cannabis oils and extracts into smokable vapor, while vaporizers are larger devices that plug in and use heat to vaporize buds instead of combusting them. Vaporizers offer superior control over temperature and thus provide a much cleaner hit. They’re truly the crème de la crème of smoking devices (and priced as such).
How to store flower
In the event you want to store purchased flower longer than a week or so, it’s important to minimize exposure to oxygen, moisture, heat, and UV light. Storing in an airtight glass jar (or the jar of purchase) in a cool, dark area will ensure the cannabis doesn’t degrade, but you can also get fancy and store your weed in a hermetically sealed, climate-controlled container to maintain a consistent level of humidity. Leaving your weed lying around loose won’t destroy it entirely, but it can affect its scent, taste, and potency. Here are some signs your cannabis is getting a bit shabby:
- Off-color: Brand-new weed is usually bright green with purple and orange threads and a crystallized sparkle. When not stored properly over time, it will turn a dull khaki green and the vibrant thread colors will fade.
- Flattened scent: When cannabis starts to lose its luster, it also loses its enchanting citrusy-skunky aroma, flattening into something that more resembles a pile of fresh hay or parchment paper.
- Crumbly feel: High-quality cannabis is wonderfully sticky when fresh, and if left alone in proper storage, the crystals will stay nice and tacky to the touch. But if there’s too much air exchange allowed, the buds will become dry, crumbly, and much less potent.
- Earthy taste: Aging is great for some things, like cheese, ham, and wine—aged weed, not so much. The fresh green taste of newly-purchased weed will devolve into an acerbic, earthy, almost dirt-like taste over time when not stored properly.
The best brands for your flower needs at Balboa Avenue Cooperative in San Diego, CA
If you need a more comprehensive introduction into the world of cannabis flower, the experts at Balboa Avenue Cooperative are here to help. We carry high-quality strains in top brands like Canndescent, COTC, Cream of the Crop Gardens and more, plus a variety of economical brands as well. As always, everything we sell is lab-verified so you can be sure you’re getting the best. Stop in today or check out our full online menu and other offerings on our Weedmaps page!