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Why It Matters How Your Marijuana Was Grown

June 13, 2024

The environment in which your marijuana was grown, as well as how it was handled, cured, and stored, affects the taste, appearance, texture, potency, and consistency of the final product. Cannabis that is grown in the optimal microclimate, handled properly, and stringently tested will be more enjoyable to consume and produce better, more predictable effects. Cannabis that is not carefully cultivated, cured, or tested will be less effective and potentially dangerous to your health.

Growing quality recreational or medicinal cannabis is a time and labor intensive process, but doing it right is critical to ensuring the consistency and potency of cannabis products people depend on. 

At Freedom Road, a licensed full-service dispensary and grow-house with locations in Trinidad, Colorado and Oklahoma City, we approach our cannabis production with clinical precision at our in-house state-of-the-art facilities designed to create the optimal environment for indoor cultivation. Our team includes some of the best and brightest in the industry, with advanced degrees and years of experience in the nuances, protocols, and best practices of cultivating cannabis. By growing and harvesting our own cannabis in-house, we can control production and test for a multitude of variables, guaranteeing excellence and consistency at every step of the process for premium products that exceed both standards and expectations.

Good vs Bad Cannabis: What’s the Difference?

The quality of cannabis is typically evaluated based on four factors:

  • Potency
  • Appearance
  • Smell/flavor
  • Texture

Technically speaking, high quality cannabis should have diverse, well-balanced flavor and terpene profiles that highlight the unique characteristics of a specific strain and product. It should also have a balanced cannabinoid profile and consistent, appropriate levels of potency for the desired use and effect.

More generally, good cannabis should:

  • Feel dense, sticky, and spongy–-not too dry and not too moist. It should not fall apart when you touch it
  • Have no indication of mold or pests.
  • Have a strong, pleasant aroma
  • Be green in consistency with vibrant orange, red, or purple fibers protruding from the buds, depending on the strain
  • Have a healthy amount of visible “frosty” trichomes, an indicator of potency
  • Have well-formed buds with a good ratio of seed to stem

When consumed, good cannabis should produce:

  • A rich aroma and pleasant taste profile
  • Long-lasting, full-body effects such as relaxation or an intense rush of adrenaline that fade slowly and gradually
  • Light gray or white ash

Bad cannabis, on the other hand:

  • Feels light and airy with buds and stems that are dry, brittle, or fragile
  • Breaks and crumbles when you touch it
  • Smells musty or mildew-y, and a little like hay or dirt
  • Is darker and duller in color and has small powdery or fuzzy spots, a sign of mold
  • Has a lot of loose stems and/or seeds
  • Has few or no visible trichomes

When consumed, bad cannabis will produce:

  • A bad smell and/or taste
  • Harsh smoke
  • Dark or black ash
  • Only a mild effect that may not feel good
  • Short, less intense effects that fade quickly

“Good cannabis” should also be third-party tested and certified for potency, cannabinoids, and terpenes, as well as for the presence of contaminants and pesticides, to ensure it is what it says it is, contains what it says it does, and will produce the effects it says it will. It should also comply with safety and regulatory standards and be tracked in a seed-to-sale system, so you know exactly where it came from, who produced it, and what their growing practices are.

What Makes Good Cannabis

Growing practices play a huge role in determining the quality of your cannabis products, and proper cannabis cultivation is just as much of an art as it is a science. From the amount of light, heat, and humidity it got to the way it was pruned, when it was harvested, and where it was stored, how your marijuana was produced can be the deciding factor in how enjoyable and safe your experience with it is.

Here are 6 variables growers have to get right for the best quality cannabis:

1. Genetics in cannabis. 

To grow the best, you have to start with the best. The genetic makeup of a cannabis plant influences everything from its growth and yield potential to its cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Starting with seeds that have desirable genetics helps ensure higher-quality buds with specific characteristics and effects, consistency and reliability in the outcomes of profiles and quality, and greater natural resistance for healthier plants.

2. The grow environment for cannabis. 

Cannabis plants need an optimal environment for healthy growth, resin production, and the development of flavors and aromas, and cannabinoid concentrations are highly sensitive to factors in the microclimate around them, including:

  • Humidity. Too much can ruin the THC production, producing undesirable resin content, and encourage mold and mildew growth. Too little can cause dehydration and affect healthy resin production and trichome development.
  • Temperature. Extreme temperatures can stress plants and stunt development.
  • Light. Light intensity and spectrum affects plant growth and development at different phases of the lifecycle and at different parts of the plant. Adequate light intensity ensures proper photosynthesis and healthier, more robust plants, while different spectrums of light stimulate and influence various aspects of the growth process and can be used to enhance cannabinoid production, achieve desired characteristics, and maximize quality.
  • Nutrition and soil composition. The right proportions throughout the plant’s life cycle facilitate healthy growth, robust cannabinoid production, enhanced terpene profiles, and the expression of desirable qualities in the final product.
  • Water. The water has to have the right pH for cannabis plants to absorb the nutrients they need.
  • Cleanliness. Grow facilities should be clean, sterile, and clinical environments to prevent cross-contamination from poor hygiene or sanitation processes. Infestations and infections of various pathogens can reduce trichome and cannabinoid production.

Inside a grow room showing young plants at Freedom Road marijuana grow facility in Oklahoma City

3. Marijuana grow practices.

Proper handling is paramount to producing quality cannabis. Grow practices like appropriate pest and disease control and proper nutrient management contribute to a higher-quality product, while cultivation techniques like pruning and canopy management can be used to steer plant growth into producing the desired compounds. By making sure the right parts of the plant receive the right airflow and light, growers can increase yield and improve the density of the flowers.

4. Timing. 

The time plants spend in flower is a prime determinant of flower potency. In general, the plant’s potency rises as flowering progresses, but only up until a certain point; if you wait too long, plants will experience the cannabinoid dilution effect, when potency begins to decrease. Weekly testing from mid-flower can help growers make an accurate and informed decision as to when the best harvest time is, because the optimum harvest window may not correspond directly to peak potency.

5. Handling. 

Improper handling can turn even good marijuana bad. Every plant needs to be handled carefully because under environmental stressors such as extreme temperatures, nutrient deficiencies, and interruptions in photoperiods, plants can self-pollinate, reducing their potency and resiliency.

A cannabis expert prunes marijuana plants at Freedom Road's grow facility

6. Curing. 

Proper curing procedures preserve the quality of cannabis, and include adequate drying, careful handling, and appropriate storage to maintain the aroma, flavor, and potency over time. Humidity is especially important in drying and curing as well. Not enough will cause the flower to dry too quickly, locking in moisture and chlorophyll and producing harsh smoke with no flavor, while too much humidity will cause bud mold or rot. It’s also important not to rush the drying and curing process; flower that is dried too fast will produce a harsh smoking experience, while flower that is left to cure too long will have reduced potency and terpene concentration.

Marijuana plants hang on racks in the curing room

Choose Your Cannabis with Confidence at Freedom Road

It matters where you purchase your recreational or medicinal marijuana from. At Freedom Road, we focus on quality over maximum yield, and our team of grow technicians, supervisors, and managers take every step of the process seriously. We take our time and we do things right, following proven methods and techniques that produce the highest quality cannabis time and time again. Our cannabis is naturally grown according to stringent standards in consistency, safety, and potency, and because it’s grown-in house, we can offer it at some of the most competitive prices possible. We never use pesticides or harsh chemicals, and we test rigorously to ensure each strain meets and exceeds requirements for state-licensed certification.

Whether you’re an experienced cannabis enthusiast or just getting started, you deserve high quality cannabis, and you deserve to know how it was grown. Every member of the Freedom Road team–from the growers to the budtenders–is highly trained and educated in our products and grow process and they’re all more than ready to help guide you toward the cannabis that’s right for you. Visit us online or at one of our locations in Trinidad, Colorado, or Oklahoma City to find out more.