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My History and Experience With Cannabis

Evaluating and sourcing high grade cannabis is no easy task. Like wine, beer, or tobacco, cannabis has its own nuances. It takes significant experience and time spent with many kinds of weed to determine fantastic cannabis from shwag.

Choosing the best flower for people to smoke isn’t necessarily an easy task at the connoisseur level. Everything must be perfect for a weed to pass as a “quad.” This includes strong genetics, consistent conditions during the growing cycle, and a proper dry and cure. These are all topics for the future, but understanding these steps and how it affects the dried flower is essential for finding primo weed.

For me, growing up in Saskatchewan, the community was much more strict when it came to weed compared to British Columbia. Even though I had to be super secretive, I always had weed around. As I started to appreciate the differences between qualities and how different traits were desirable to different people and when I learned more about how those different qualities can affect people’s moods and emotions in positive ways, sourcing premium flowers for humans to enjoy became my passion. I fucking loved it. I was making people happy by sourcing and supplying a quality product.

I continued to grow with this passion, and my expertise has grown along with me. I’ve seen a lot of weed and had discussions with many knowledgeable cannabis experts. This led me to develop a knowledge and skill set not many had in my area.

How I Rate Cannabis

Cannabis is a highly personal and subjective experience. Almost any weed can be enjoyable to someone, somewhere, so when it comes to ratings – take them with a grain of salt. Not everyone will have the same experience when they try the same smoke.

1. Bag Appeal

First impressions matter. If it ain’t got the look, it ain’t going to be in the 9’s. I analyze flowers for their structure, density, resin production and trim. I want fresh buds vibrant with color, with a smoking humidity and with a proper trim. Density and structure varies strain to strain.

2. Nose

The proceeding analysis that comes is what we in the industry call the “nose” or the aroma. Cannabis should captivate all the senses, and the nose is a major indicator of a robust flavour profile. Premium cannabis will blast you in the face with the preservation of terpenes accomplished by a proper dry and cure. It should be pungent and identifiable. Avoid anything that smells musty, or like a barn. Typically this is unsmokable due to mold. Pungency is directly linked to terpene content and potency.

3. Appearance & Consistency

Density, consistency and humidity of the flower are observed thereafter. Each strain offers its own desirable qualities when grown and there can be different aspects to consider when it comes to structure. The dry and cure are arguably the most important step when it comes to smokeable flowers. Generally you want to have a nice tight bud that has some sponginess to it showing it has an appropriate amount of humidity for smoking.

Humidity plays a huge role in being able to properly roll and smoke and taste the joint. If it’s too dry the joint will have a powdery consistency and will burn hot. Too wet and the weed will taste like a swamp or won’t burn at all. A velvety feel between your fingers after a finger bust is what you’re looking for.

The best weed will be hand trimmed after the initial drying stage. Any buds that go through trimming machines will be of lower quality. Any extra leaf or stem left on the buds will lose points.

The structure and density of cannabis can say a lot about how the plant was grown. Outdoors can appear significantly different from indoor grown plants by having a much airier type of bud structure with more leaves. Aged cannabis will oxidize, appear brown and the trichome heads will turn yellow.

4. Smoking a Joint is the Only Way

The best way to experience cannabis is to roll it in a joint. Pipes will leave you an inconsistent temperature of hits, changing the way weed tastes. The vape doesn’t offer the full experience where the joint does. Terpenes and cannabinoids build up resin that is absorbed by the rest of the weed as you work your way through the joint.

Joints shouldn’t be too big when evaluating cannabis. The larger the circumference, the hotter the cherry is, which heats up the smoke making it difficult to taste the terpene combinations.

5. Flavour & Smoothness

All cannabis is rated for its complexity and allure of its flavor. The smoke should be smooth, easily flowing into the lungs and then exhaled without any irritation or scratchiness of the throat. The flavor profile should change as you go from inhale to exhale and leave your mind trying to pinpoint an exact flavour. 

Your body should naturally want to lift the joint to your mouth. The taste is where it all comes together. This is where the dry and cure becomes so important as the oils from the trichomes start to vaporize and sit on your tongue. The smoke should be smooth and tasty upon inhaling, offering different flavour profiles as you experience the taste on your tongue and lips.

6. Exhale

You want to mix the smoke with air in order to observe all the flavors. The taste of premium cannabis should be full-bodied and tasty – you should be able to breathe it in like air with no roughness on the throat or ash.

7. Rate

I rate my weed on a scale of 0 to 10 including decimals (e.g. 8.4). I modelled this rating scale after the Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports Pizza Review numbering system in order to emphasize the full experience of engaging with an individual strain.

The Rating Scale

0 – 4.9

This is essentially unsmokable cannabis. It will have something significantly wrong with it and doesn’t deserve to be smoked by humans.

5 – 5.9

This rating is for a weed that is safe for human consumption but doesn’t have any remarkable traits. This weed is typically considered compassion cannabis as its safe to smoke and available at discount prices.

6 – 6.9

Mid ranged cannabis is when a flower can be used but has some flaws and is unmemorable. You probably won’t be discussing this cannabis with anybody.

7 – 7.9

Well grown flower, looks good, smells good, tastes good and is recommended to purchase. Should be priced reasonably making it accessible to the average customer.

8 – 8.9

This is where we get into the connoisseur cannabis strains. Flavor profiles are on point. Desirable product. Cannabis that you tell your friends about.

9 – 9.9

Weed that offers special qualities that make you wonder if you’re dreaming. Weed that you can’t put down. Weed that I would rather breathe than air. The price point doesn’t matter at this stage. This is cannabis that you’ll tell your friends about, but they may not get the opportunity to try.


There will never be a 10. Perfection is tough to obtain.

Jamie Norrish

Author Jamie Norrish

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