Not all marijuana is created equal. All cannabinoids are medically valuable - but not all flower samples have the potential to alleviate your medical conditions. In San Francisco, patients have access to a range of different medical marijuana strains; the bay area plays host to a variety of providers and purveyors of cannabis - but, that doesn't mean that everything on every menu can be considered medicine. In order to be medical marijuana, your cannabis needs to possess cannabinoids - and the beneficial medical compounds are found in the highest concentrations within the resin glands know as trichomes. Though it is ideal to have lab data reflecting the medical potential of a given strain, there are various ways to assess the quality of any sample of medical marijuana. Next time you're at Bloom Room SF (or any other medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco), take a few moments to examine multiple strains for the following qualities:
1) STRUCTURE: When it comes to premium medical marijuana - trichomes matter most; since trichomes grow on the surface of the flower, density becomes an issue. If a bud is too dense, the trichomes will form and mature in a limited fashion rather than throughout the entire bud (you'll find them clustered on the outside of the flower or in pockets). Loosened flowers provide more surface area and thus a greater among of cannabinoid-dense trichomes.
2) FRAGRANCE: Medical-grade cannabis has a pungent aroma. While every scent differs from one strain to the next, a sample that lacks a distinct fragrance is generally old and/or dried out. If you notice the dominant scent of wet grass, then chances are that sample hasn't been properly cured and needs to dry out before consumption. Curing is an essential part to the process of harvesting quality medical cannabis! This process breaks down chlorophyll (which tastes/ smells like grass) and allows the terpenes (fragrance compounds) to express themselves. Patients shouldn't consume fresh medical marijuana by way of inhalation: it will taste disgusting and harsh. All proper medical cannabis has been thoroughly dried and properly cured.
3) MOISTURE CONTENT: One of the best ways to test a strain of medical marijuana for moisture is the crack test. To perform the crack test, simply bend the stem of your flower sample. If the stem bends, the sample is too fresh to be consumed by way of inhalation (either through a vaporize or smoking device); if the stem cracks with a clean break, the sample is properly dried and ready for consumption. Flowers that have been improperly stored can dry out resulting in a harsh experience for the patient.
4) STICKYNESS TEST: This relates back to both trichomes and moisture content. Proper medical marijuana should be sticky to the touch. Patients have reported their medical nuggets sticking to the top of the Bloom Room medicine tins when they first open their gram or eighth! Cannabis flower stickiness is caused by the trichomes' resinous surface: more sticky = more trichomes = great medical marijuana! No stickiness means the sample has few trichomes or that it is very dry. Consider cracking open a nugget to examine the stickiness within; sometimes the handling of large quantities of buds results in the nuggets losing their stickiness on the external surface. Cracking a bud can also help you get a great sample of the true fragrance for any particular strain. Consider getting a grinder to avoid losing trichomes on your fingers!
5) LAB TEST: At Bloom Room, we test all of our strains for potency and safety (mold and pesticide) with CW Analytical Labs in Oakland. They analyze the cannabinoid content for each strain - allowing us to inform patients about their medicine. Instead of relying on a name or lineage of genetics, patients can get to choose their medicine based on the symptoms they wish to alleviate; since each cannabinoid has different medical qualities, we think it's important for patients to have access to lab results when seeking out quality medicine.