The prospect of walking into a shop full of pot could feel odd for about 80 percent of the country (residents of 40 of 50 states, anyway). Because no matter how many times your buddy who went to college in Boulder tells you it’s super chill, seeing hundreds of strains on the wall runs the risk of being overwhelming for folks unacquainted with the dispensary experience. Hence the necessity of a very brief and helpful guide on the matter, penned a group of experts who are about as well-versed on the subject as any.
Written by the editors of Vice’s Munchies blog, Bong Appétit: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Weed ($27) is a very colorful, very informative collection of pot prepping and cooking how-to’s. Also within its 255 pages are plenty of smaller guides on choosing and buying the right weed for you.
What follows is a brief, six-question list to consult before or during your first trip to a weed dispensary. Good luck.
What’s fresh today?
You want a recent batch of cannabis, not something that’s been sitting on the shelf for too long. [Editor’s Note: For more info on the shelf life of cannabis, along with tips for storage, consult this guide on Leafly.]
Is there anything that smells like oranges or lemons?
If you usually like citrusy cannabis, start there. If you tend toward floral or sweet-smelling strains, ask for strains that give off those aromas.
What’s good for an active day? What’s good for sleep?
Asking if a strain supports specific effects will help you find the product you most enjoy.
What do you have for under fifty dollars per eighth?
Being specific about your price point can greatly speed up a consultation. Dispensary staff don’t want to offer you options that you can’t afford.
Is this sun-grown or indoor? Was it fed with traditional nutrients, or was it grown organically?
If you’re looking for eco-friendly cannabis, make sure it was grown outdoors or in a greenhouse, which runs on much less energy than a warehouse full of high-intensity discharge lamps. Plus, cannabis nurtured in a living soil and fed compost can be much more flavorful. As you consume cannabis grown using different nutrients and in diverse growing mediums (soil, coco coir, mineral wool, pure hydroponic, aeroponic, etc.), you’ll become more familiar with what you like and don’t.
Is this lab tested? Can I see a terpene profile?
Most dispensaries must test their cannabis for THC potency and to confirm products are free of pesticide residue. Some places also test for terpene profiles, but not all. So, for example, if you’re looking for a strain high in limonene, you might have to rely on your nose.