It feels like a privilege to live in a time when we can discuss a cannabis brand as anything other than speculative fiction. While it may feel like we’re a long way from the days of buying ziploc bags stuffed with brick weed behind the movie theater dumpster, those years are actually shockingly close in our rearview mirror. Granted, it should have never been like that but c’est la vie. There are still plenty of nuances to smooth out and major injustices to rectify, but it’s still worth celebrating our freedom to walk into the nearest dispensary, find ourselves greeted by a grinning budtender, and choose from several of the best cannabis brands. If you’re new to enjoying cannabis (or simply new to enjoying cannabis options), you may be curious about what a cannabis connoisseur would want from their top shelf flower. Well, you’re in luck because several top-of-the-line cannabis companies are flooding the market with premium options that make it easier than ever to identify the good stuff. While you could ask any budtender to point out the best cannabis brands, we’re happy to take some time today to break down what you should look for when only the dankest will do. 

Follow Your Nose

There’s more that goes into the best cannabis brands than quality cannabis, but we’d argue that the product itself is the most important ingredient. When shopping for flower, it’s common to find a cannabis connoisseur who wants to take a good whiff of the meanest green. That’s because you can tell a lot about cannabis by its storied aroma. You’ve heard of “loud” to describe that potpourri that refuses to be ignored; a bouquet that falls firmly between potent and pleasing, populated with natural notes nuanced enough to leave your nose craving the full experience. You’ll find a lot of variety in these fragrances; the refreshing pines, pungent skunks, robust diesels, and zesty citruses. But make no mistake… low quality cannabis still packs an olfactory punch. It’s not as refined a fragrance but rather an erratic, chaotic melange with notes of mildew and must betraying its base quality. This can be the result of anything from improper curing and lengthy shelf lives to compromised storage and elemental exposure. Either way, cannabis connoisseurs often follow their noses to the best cannabis brands. 

What to Look For… Literally

When you visit your favorite dispensary, you’ll often find magnified displays or even jewelers’ loupes poised to give you a scrutinizing view of those beautiful buds. That’s because simply looking at the details of cannabis on a visual level can indicate its quality. So, what do experts look for when giving flower a visual assessment? It may seem obvious, but the color of your flower is a strong indicator of its quality. You’ll find a full spectrum of color variants in cannabis flower, from forest greens with scorching orange hairs to shades of majestic purple and pristine white. As with most of nature’s foliage, browning bud is a clear indicator that all is not right, though you’re more likely to find this in the back of your own stash than a dispensary shelf. However, be on the lookout for lime coloring as an indicator of buds that may have been harvested too soon. Perhaps an even better visual indicator of cannabis quality lies in its trichomes. For those unfamiliar, trichomes are the tiny bulbous dewdrop protuberances that line the surface of your herb. Within those crystal clear orbs lie the compounds that give cannabis its distinct flavor profile, fragrance and its all important psychoactive effects. As you’ve likely already concluded, the more trichomes, the better. Trichome coloration is another indicator of quality bud. Anything from crystal clear to an icy cloudiness is a strong indicator of premium flavor and potency. But be careful when you start seeing trichomes tinged with amber. This coloration indicates a variety of potential factors that have sapped the nugget of flavor, aroma and potency. Again, it’s rare to find anything like this on the shelf of a respectable dispensary, but it never hurts to take a glance. If you notice a lot of seeds and stems, you can take this as yet another clue into a poor cannabis brand that’s not delivering their best. There are even deeper structural nuances cannabis connoisseurs look for to determine the best cannabis brands on the visual strength of their buds but that could constitute a blog unto itself. In most cases, coloration and trichome condition are a fairly thorough visual indicator of quality. 


Your Feelings Matter

If you have the opportunity to touch the buds you’re inspecting, it can give you further important clues as to their quality. You’re looking for nuggets that aren’t brittle or dry, though buds that are too moist aren’t much better since they’re prone to mildew and mold. Try pulling a nug apart. It should be easy enough but not crumble like a cannabis mummy. If you gently push your fingers into quality cannabis flower, you’ll find it slowly returns to its original shape. You’ll also want to be wary of bud that’s too hard or soft. Excessively hard nugs can indicate the presence of growth regulators that diminish flavor while excessively soft nugs point to shortcomings in the cultivation process. Like the Goldilocks of ganja, you’re looking for buds that feel just right. 

The Essence of the Best Cannabis Brands

But we’re not just talking about quality cannabis… we’re talking about what connoisseurs look for in the best cannabis brands. And the truth is that a brand is more than their product. A brand is a story, a mission, an aesthetic. Early cannabis companies capitalized on stoner stereotypes and pop culture iconography, but leaning on these cliches only clarified the difference between focus and limitation. Today’s brands are less likely to pigeonhole their potential customer base with such lazy prejudice. Rather, you’ll find designs spanning from vibrant to sophisticated with missions as diverse as ultimate relaxation to general wellness. Most savvy customers would agree that the best cannabis brands adhere to honesty and sincerity, offering a product in which they really believe. This can be conveyed through their design, which should marry the high quality of the product to the company’s aesthetic vision. Creativity is always a clear winner in this facet of a brand experience. But cannabis brands must take on the unique responsibility of being knowledgeable since the cannabis industry is so unique in its legal status and commercial restrictions. Visit any cannabis-friendly agency and you’ll have no trouble finding plenty of outstanding ad concepts that wind up on the cutting room floor because of restrictions unique to the industry. 


The Ethical Responsibility

We’ve covered the quality of the product and branding, but there’s still yet another consideration to take into account when measuring the best cannabis brands: ethical growing. At Vacation, we make it a point to offer sungrown cannabis because, among other reasons, it leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than indoor cultivation methods. Sungrown cannabis also requires fewer pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides, and soil tampering than cannabis cultivated indoors. It uses natural moisture and nutrients that actually enrich the earth, making it beneficial for the environment! With our product so closely linked to the earth, it only makes sense that we’d want to give back as much as we take… a symbiosis central to any company in this industry with a long-term vision. 

No doubt you have your own criteria for determining your favorite cannabis companies, but knowing what the connoisseurs demand can help you to finetune or reassess your own requirements. Are you asking enough from the best cannabis brands? Our responsibilities stretch far beyond a fire product. At Vacation Cannabis, we know that a lot of details need to be checked and double checked to make sure your trip goes off without a hitch. An airline can have a brand new state-of-the-art jet but it won’t matter if their flight crew’s disorganized or their captain’s not even fit to pilot an electric scooter. We see the best cannabis brands in a similar light. So, we encourage you to settle for nothing less than the best when determining how to spend your money and time. Cannabis companies will ask you for both but only the best will be prepared to give you something of greater value in return.