How to Tell Premium Cannabis Apart: Look, Feel, Quality & More

Much like wine, the quality of cannabis varies. From its effects, aroma, and even the way it looks – it’s clear that not all cannabis is created equal. Investing in high-quality cannabis is important, as it ensures that the plant is safe – meaning that it has no preservatives or toxic chemicals and that you’ll get the effect you’ve been looking for.

While cannabis quality varies across the board, there are certain ways to determine whether or not you’re dealing with a high-value plant. At JACANA, we’re a Jamaican cannabis dispensary passionate about equipping you with the most valuable tool available: information. That’s why we’ve written this blog. Now, you can tell the difference between low- and high-quality weed, making informed and empowered choices when delving into the world of cannabis.

What Determines Quality?

There are many factors to consider when determining cannabis quality. The quality is influenced by the type of seed and the way the plant is grown, harvested, cured, and even packaged. Of course, the extraction process affects the quality of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) cartridges and CBD (cannabidiol) extracts, too.

Much of cannabis’s quality lies in its trichomes. These are the shiny resin glands on the surface of healthy, almost ready-to-harvest cannabis flower. The trichomes are key because this is where you’ll find the plant’s terpenes. Along with CBD and THC, terpenes are one of the biggest determinants of quality, as they affect the plant’s ‘high,’ aroma, physical and mental benefits,* and more.


By now, you know terpenes are important, but what are they, exactly? When considering the effect of cannabis, think of THC as the car, and terpenes as the driver. Both compounds need one another to function, but arguably, terpenes play a larger role in the overall cannabis experience.

The Entourage Effect

The ‘Entourage Effect’ may better explain the role of cannabis terpenes. Since cannabis has over one hundred compounds, the entourage effect is the theory that all these compounds work in combination with one another to produce the optimal effect. This is why ‘full spectrum’ extracts are so beneficial: they include all the plant’s original compounds – including its terpenes.

Of course, different cannabis plants and strains have different terpenes. These terpenes combine with CBD and THC plant compounds to create an effect unique to the strain and the person consuming it. As we’ve said, terpenes also influence the smell and even the flavor profile of a plant. 

When terpenes are lost, the plant’s effects may not be as strong, or the plant may not be able to target what it has been bred for as effectively. So, premium weed is grown naturally and undisturbed, with a focus on producing plants with great trichomes and, therefore, terpenes. When harvesting plants and extracting their compounds, growers must ensure that all the compounds are retained. This is the case with all the products available at our dispensaries in Jamaica.

Where & How the Plant is Grown

Of course, producing high-quality weed involves more than ensuring that it’s rich in terpenes and handled and extracted properly. Growers must create the ideal circumstances for a healthy, voluminous yield. They must pay attention to water and air quality, light delivery, and humidity. If these fall out of the balance, the plant could become moldy or sick. 

Luckily, our Jamaican cannabis dispensaries’ products are produced from plants grown on our own organic farm right here in Jamaica. Jamaica’s tropical climate and mineral-rich soil create the ideal environment for premium cannabis to flourish. All our weed is sun-grown, river-fed, and treated with the utmost levels of care. 

JACANA cannabis contains no pesticides or harmful chemicals, and the growing methods account for the health of the earth and the community. What’s more, the plants are 100% certified organic. Much like any plant, organic options are cleaner, greener, stronger – and, of course, more aromatic and flavorful.

The Look & Feel of Quality Cannabis

Now that we know more about the intricacies of quality cannabis, let’s examine ways to spot a high-value plant based on its appearance, feel, and smell.


Healthy cannabis flower should be brightly colored. Strains are mostly green, but you may find some with purple or orange hues. Watch out for their shimmering trichomes – great buds will typically look frosty and dense. Again, these trichomes are where you’ll find most of the phytocannabinoids and terpenes that interact with the endocannabinoid system. If the flower is reddish, brown, or has dull orange trichomes, it means the plant could be degrading. 


In terms of shape, the flower should also be tidy and neat. Being trimmed well means it’s been handled with care, losing as little of the trichomes and terpenes in the trimming and curing process as possible. It should be compact, with no loose leaves hanging off, and low in seeds or stems.


Excellent cannabis has a distinct smell. It’s powerful and earthy. Some may even be citrusy or flowery. It is the terpenes that produce this smell, so it’s a great determinant of quality. Since terpenes are the first to degrade, no smell or a musty smell may be a sign of low-quality cannabis. Low-quality cannabis might not produce the intended effect as its terpenes and other compounds have degraded. Needless to say, avoid moldy cannabis at all costs, as it can make you sick.

View the Lab Testing Results

One of the most sure-fire to determine cannabis quality is to view the lab test results. Certified cannabis dispensaries must sell products that meet certain requirements. It means that the plant is safe to consume. At JACANA, our products meet international quality standards. Of course, it’s also more likely to deliver certain effects, as the different strains have been bred to produce different results or offer certain wellness benefits.*

A Taste of Premium Weed at JACANA

Luckily, at JACANA, you won’t need to spend time guessing when it comes to quality. Our cannabis is tested by third parties to ensure our range meets international standards.

Our four cannabis dispensaries in Jamaica offer world-leading products that guarantee the effect you desire. Chat with our friendly staff for strain and product recommendations, explore our stores, or order a range of full-spectrum cannabis extracts online

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.