Do You Have Good Weed?

Do You Have Good Weed?

Judging the quality of your cannabis at first glance may seem like a challenge. But once you know what to look for, it’s very simple.

To some people, all cannabis looks the same. To others, it all smells the same or tastes the same. The reality is that every strain you get at the dispensary will have unique signatures and features to look for in order to judge it’s quality. Here’s The Real Dirt’s Top 5 things to look for when judging your weed.

Know Your Strain

One of the easiest ways to know what to look for with your cannabis is by knowing the strain itself. Cannabis strains are vast and diverse, with every strain producing slightly different effects, with different smells and tastes associated with them. For example, Sour Diesel got its name directly because of its smell. If you get Sour Diesel from your local dispensary, and it doesn’t smell sour or gassy, it probably isn’t really Sour Diesel.

While every strain can have unique features, to the untrained eye a lot of it can look the same. For this reason, some dispensaries will label strains with the wrong name to sell more, simply because the average person wouldn’t be able to distinguish the difference. That’s where knowing more than just the strain details comes in.

Look at your cannabis

Light green, dark green, brown and purple are just some of the colors you might see when looking closely at your cannabis, but what do they signify?

what does weed look like?

Cannabis with a darker-green color can signify that it was grown in a greenhouse or outdoor setting, but not always. Purple cannabis is nothing more than a cosmetic feature that can be caused by a couple different factors, from being exposed to cold temperatures to strain genetics. But don’t be fooled; just because the bud is purple, doesn’t mean it’s any stronger or fruitier tasting, it just looks cool.

Light green bud usually ends up being the best quality, but not always. Key signifiers are also the trichome content on the bud. Does it look like it’s covered in frost to the point it’s almost white? It’s probably good weed. The main thing to remember is that as long as the cannabis isn’t brown, it’s most likely decent quality. However, other factors can change this.

Smell your cannabis

Different strains can have various smells that come with their terpene profiles. These terpenes are what give certain strains a fruity, gassy, earthy smells, among others. If you smell any of these scents in your bud, it means it has a solid terpene profile and probably had time to develop properly.

The smell you want to avoid to ensure you have good weed is a hay smell. This hints at a poor cure, and poorly grown cannabis in general. Also, while a dank smell can be a good sign, an overly dank smell may mean mold within the bud which should be avoided. If you get a bud that smells particularly dank, break it open and look for mold.

How does it feel?

Is your cannabis dry and flaky? Is it so sticky you can’t even grind it up? These are both things you want to avoid, but good weed will fall somewhere in-between these two. You want properly cured cannabis that has had time to dry out after harvest, but not too long. In Colorado, a lot of cannabis is more dry because of the climate, and growers have difficulty countering the environmental effects.

Overall, you want cannabis that breaks apart easily without crumbling in your fingers, but still has some moisture so it doesn’t burn too quickly. Experimenting with different strains and different cures if you’re the grower can help build a key for judging your cannabis.

The best test

what does weed taste like?

So you’ve gone through the checklist, and you have two completely different looking buds. Both are perfectly sticky, one’s gassy and the other is fruity, and all the things you should be looking for in your bud are there. Is it possible that one of them may still not be good weed? Taste it.

If the bud passes the eye, smell and feel tests, it is most likely safe to consume. Pay attention to how the cannabis tastes compared to how it smelled. Does it match up?

How does it make you feel? If you start to get a headache or a lot of coughing, the bud may still have trace chemicals from pesticides or other chemicals used during the growing process, which wouldn’t be noticed right away just by looking at it. If this doesn’t happen, it tastes good, and makes you feel good, then you have good weed.

Remember that there will always be outliers! You can get a bud that’s dark and dry, but still tastes and makes you feel great. You can also get cannabis that was grown specifically because of how it looks, with less focus put into ensuring it’s a quality product. Some of the strains you see in the dispensary will look great, but once you open the jar there may be no smell at all.

So don’t be duped, and know what to look for in your cannabis! Get the full guide to judging cannabis on the new episode of The Real Dirt. Chip and his guests go through dozens of strains, analyzing their qualities to determine what make cannabis good or bad quality.

Listen to the full episode HERE or listen to it on iTunes or Apple Podcasts!




60 Nuggets Explained: how to know your cannabis

60 Nuggets Explained: how to know your cannabis

In this episode of The Real Dirt Chip talks about the Cultivate Showdown, a secret cannabis competition hosted by The Real Dirt. The best of the best growers from all over came to showcase their cannabis, with only one winner being chosen.

Check out the entries below as Chip and his guests analyze them on this episode!

You walk into the dispensary. There are a dozen different strains on the shelf, some are labeled as the “bottom shelf” strain choices, others are the supposed “top shelf” strain options.

You ask to see one of the bottom shelf strains — because let’s be real, if you can get solid cannabis at a cheap price, why not? — and they bring the jar closer for inspection. The bud might not look super frosty or appealing, but when they open the jar, you’re hit with a wave of smells that linger in your nose. Fruitiness, gassiness, dankness. All the smells you want.

Then you ask to see one of the top shelf strain options. It looks great; the bud structure is what you look for, it has a nice crystal to hair ratio. It’s everything you would look for in a top shelf bud. The keyword being “look”.

The budtender brings the top shelf jar over and cracks it open. You aren’t smacked in the face with the same smell explosion as before. In fact, this strain seems to be very mild in smell compared to the bottom shelf option. It might even smell a little bit like hay. This is where the average cannabis consumer gets lost.

The top shelf bud should be better. It looks way better, but most importantly, there has to be a reason it is priced higher than the bottom shelf stuff, right? Not always. One of the most important things to remember about cannabis, especially when it comes to dispensary cannabis, is that looks are not all that matters.

Dispensaries do not allow customers to touch the cannabis. Obviously this is due to contamination concerns, but an added benefit of this rule is just that; you aren’t allowed to touch the cannabis. An essential way of being able to judge the quality of cannabis is through touch.

A bud could look super dense and sticky in the jar, but once you get home you find out it was just a fluffy bud that looked dense, and it’s dry to the point you don’t even need a grinder. Since it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to touch the cannabis at a dispensary, you must utilize your other senses, sight and smell, for the majority of your judgement. So you better make sure they are fine tuned!

In this episode of The Real Dirt, Chip sits down with Jess Baker, Jacob Sarabia and Travis Crane to go through a dozen different strains to analyze them all. Learn what to look for, what to smell for, and what to avoid before you decide to light up that next strain you see at the dispensary or in your smoke circle.

What is Craft Cannabis?

What is Craft Cannabis?

The quality of cannabis has come a long way since seeds started spreading in the 70s.

While baby boomers smoked low THC strains and sinsemilla (or seedless cannabis) was hard to come by, the new generation of cannabis connoisseurs is growing and smoking craft cannabis strains with more potent effects and overall quality, and one must go out of their way to purchase seeds or clones .

Not your father’s ganja

The potency and overall quality of cannabis available to the everyday toker has definitely increased over the years, but not much has changed in terms of how cannabis is produced. Mainly, not much has changed from the cultivation side of cannabis since the introduction of hydroponics and indoor grow operations in the 70s.

In fact, some people now look for cannabis that is grown under much more classic, strict conditions that provide a more organic and overall better quality product, known as craft cannabis.

While a lot of cannabis sold in dispensaries comes from large scale or commercial grows that can produce hundreds or even thousands of pounds of cannabis, craft cannabis is usually grown on a smaller scale with much more attention to detail.

Craft cannabis

Compared to a large grow operation that produces cannabis en masse, craft cannabis is usually grown in small batches, with each individual plant in a batch getting close attention every step along the way, making it much less likely that a plant develops any sort of mold or disease that goes unseen in a large group of plants. Keep in mind a “small” batch can still be over fifty plants.

Think about craft beer; microbrews, and slow-brewed coffee. These are all considered “craft” due to their small batch production and high attention to detail, giving way to much better flavors, aromas, and overall quality. Craft cannabis is no different.

More bang for your buck

It may cost more than regular cannabis, especially to grow, because it is taken better care of in order to produce a top notch product, just like craft beer will always cost more than a domestic option. But the difference is self-evident, and you get what you pay for.

Craft cannabis will have much better flavor, aroma, smoothness of taste, among other superior qualities compared to its commercial counterpart. This makes craft cannabis a must-try for anybody looking for the best product available at a relatively affordable price for the cannabis connoisseur wanting to try something new and different.

Hear all about craft cannabis and what makes it so special on the new episode of The Real Dirt Podcast! Chip talks with Jefe from Little Hill Cultivators about growing all-natural, organic craft cannabis in the hills of Trinity, California, and where they see the new industry in California going.

Listen right here on The Real Dirt website or stream from your favorite podcast app on the go!

California Cannabis Laws and Growers

California Cannabis Laws and Growers

The majority of Californians celebrated the passing of Proposition 64 on New Years which officially legalized cannabis use for adults 21 and older. For some, it’s causing serious problems.

The main parties affected by these new laws are the small-time growers and farmers that have been growing cannabis in an under-regulated market for years. These farmers must now meet new standards in pesticides, chemical levels and more regulations for their plants.

California Cannabis Laws: too strict?

Some are starting to claim that these standards are so strict that even organically grown cannabis is unable to meet certain standards. The other issue with these chemical limits is that pesticides and chemicals can drift from other farms that don’t have the same restrictions, contaminating cannabis farms in the area.

While these other crops are allowed to use fungicides and pesticides, cannabis growers cannot use any due to the plant’s Schedule 1 status on the federal level. Due to these new California cannabis laws, pesticide manufacturers, whether organic or synthetic, cannot register their products for use for a commercial cannabis crop.  

More harm than good?

The fear for many is two fold; that these new California cannabis laws and regulations will either force growers to conform to the new standards, spending copious amounts of money to comply, or force them back into the private market. Due to this, the California market will likely still see a decrease in “clean” cannabis. Prices may rise in the legal market, and continued access to the private market will remain steady.

Growers in California are now working to create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for everything from inventory and quality control to transportation, security and cannabis waste disposal. All of these procedures and regulations must be met by July 1, 2018 to ensure a smooth transition into a newly regulated market.

It is too soon to say what affect these new California cannabis laws and regulations will have on small growers, but we are already starting to see changes. Demand for cannabis is increasing every day, and with the new regulations, supply will decrease. That sounds like potential market share and profit to me.

Listen to Craig Nejedly of Talking Trees Farms in Humboldt talk with Chip about California laws and the changing industry in the new episode of The Real Dirt Podcast! You can listen right here on The Real Dirt website, or go to iTunes and subscribe to get notifications of new episodes every week.

Marijuana Jobs in a Regulated Market

Marijuana Jobs in a Regulated Market

You’re going to have to get a job doing something.”


Some days I really do hear the words of my father ring through my ears. I heard him say it over and over again. Mostly to my sister; I was always a hustler, but I got it sometimes too.

Regulation isn’t the end

I’ve been passing this sentiment on to a lot of my friends lately. They have been involved in the unregulated cannabis industry for years, and are now literally scared of getting regulated marijuana jobs. Well, I know it can be difficult when you work for yourself for years, on your own schedule, paying yourself what you think is a lot of money.

I get it. You quit mainstream society because you didn’t like the boss you had. Or maybe you didn’t like the hours. Or May not of even had a skill. Washing dishes sucks and you wanted out of it. That’s what cannabis did for thousands and thousands of people. And that’s what cannabis still does for people. The plant cultivates us as much as we think we’re cultivating it.

Move with the times, or get run over

Times are changing. You can resist change, and like the salmon, swim upstream. Or you can relax, fire one up, and float down the river with the rest of us.

The first thing to realize is there’s more to weed than just growing. Many cannabis farmers love their job growing or being a cannabis farmer. Now some people get lucrative paychecks under the title grower. Most make 25 bucks an hour.

“So where is my future?”, you ask. The way I see it, California cannabis farmers have two options.

Marijuana Jobs

Option one: Get regulated and become the boss. Start your own business in the cannabis industry and create marijuana jobs. That’s right. Start a business, stop complaining, and do something. Cannabis regulations aren’t that much harder than any other business or franchise.

Swallow your pride, and trade the war stories about the good ‘ol days with a smile instead of a scour. The old days are over, and I predict 10 to 20 times profit on a pound of cannabis are over as well. Let’s look for 10%.

You don’t have to start a cannabis business in order to find marijuana jobs. There are other opportunities servicing the cannabis industry that are regulated in the same methods, which brings up option two.

Option two: Get a job at a cannabis facility.  Think of everything that it takes to operate a large scale commercial cannabis grow. From installing light bulbs and watering plants to harvesting. Find your passion within one of those things, develop a resume, and find your dream job.
If you love to harvest weed you can be a harvest manager.

Maybe it’s clones, or trimming, Security, management or accounting. There is something out there that you can do that still keeps you in the industry, even if you aren’t doing what you were before.

If you are committed to staying in this industry and sticking along for the wild ride, you will find a way. If you were a boss in the unregulated market, you can be a boss in the regulated market. It might just take extra effort (and more taxes).

Green Week 2018: the community 420 fest

Green Week 2018: the community 420 fest

From April 13-22, 2018, Humboldt Green Week brings people from all over to celebrate nature, cannabis, and community.

Humboldt Green Week is a manifestation of culture advancing the ideals of our community while building bridges, honoring the environment, supporting the local economy, and promoting music, art, and solutions through action.  The events showcase a week of gatherings to celebrate Earth Day and this special place we call home.

While the real 420 fest known as Cannifest has been delayed due to new laws, Green Week will still celebrate all things green.

A Different 420 Fest

Humboldt Green Week can’t really be compared to other 420 fest events like the Cannabis Cup, Dope Cup, and the like. While these other events focus solely on cannabis, Green Week merely includes it as an aspect of nature. While people appreciate their cannabis during the week long event, they will also learn about the environment, sustainability and community stewardship.

The week is full of different classes and activities for people to participate in, from cannabis yoga to cooking classes, concerts and farmer’s markets.

A week for everybody

Organizer of Green Week and the 420 fest Cannifest Steve Geider talked with Chip about what the week is about:

Everything from bee keeping workshops to healthy eating workshops to music workshops for kids, families to interact. We showed some folks how to do their own compost at home and a number of other different things, or medicinal teas. All types of things that are just part of our community, part of our subculture if you want to call it that. That are also just the part of the way we like to see the world change.”

Green Week has events for everybody including children, making it a family friendly event that can get everybody in the community involved and more conscious of the environment.

Steve is also the founder of North Coast Horticulture Supply and Humboldt Wholesale, making him a well-known and respected member of the community.

Green Week 2018

This year’s Green Week boasts a plethora of different events and activities for locals and visitors to enjoy. Event-filled days start as early as 7 AM and some events go until 8 PM. While the events will be fun and educational, the main purpose of Green Week is to bring the community together.

With or without a full-blown 420 fest, Green Week’s focus is on the community and the environment. With one of the largest farming populations in the country, Humboldt boasts a community that is very connected to nature. When they all come together and share their ideas, sustainability practices and new innovations with each other, everybody wins.

While the event takes place in California, Cannifest may soon be hitting the road and going national! We could soon see a Cannifest in Denver.

Listen to Steve talk about Green Week and the 420 fest Cannifest on this week’s episode of The Real Dirt Podcast.

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