Getting To Know Your Medical Marijuana Buds

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By Brown Dirt Warrior


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A dense Indica nug is a consumer's favorite.

A dense Indica nug is a consumer's favorite.
(Click to enlarge)

But the spiral helix nug of a quality Sativa can be just as tasty.

But the spiral helix nug of a quality Sativa can be just as tasty.
(Click to enlarge)

" We all love fat nugs, but there's more to quality MMJ than just density. "

Not all buds are created equal when it comes to structure, so if you are looking for certain attributes — like round, fat, dense nugs — there are genetic factors that greatly influence these traits. The genes you choose are going to dictate the dominant characteristics of the buds, not the way you feed the plant or the lighting strategy you use. Nutrients and lighting factors will only influence the latent potential within the plant.

Sativas, for example, tend to have an elongated bud structure, and indicas tend to have the classic dense, round nugget look. Any combination of the two of course can be expressed in mixed gene pools. 

You will know early on what type of flowers your plant will have by the way the plant begins budding. The buds with elongated structure start out by forming a spiralling helix that eventually fills in and forms a long bud. The nugget variety begins as a nub at the bud site and grows bigger over time until it becomes a nugget of varying size and density.

Some of the nug varieties can become incredibly dense,  depending on their genetic propensity, which can be advantageous when moisture is a problem. Dense buds are less porous  and water born diseases have a harder time attacking the core of the flower. The free flow of air is a catalyst to water born diseases, spreading the spores of pathogens like mold, and this is inhibited by dense buds. When mold does take hold in dense bud, however, it tends to go deep and be severe.

On the flip side, drying and curing  denser bud is a longer process in order to get the latent moisture out of the core of the flower. It tends to involve a more rigorous sweating process with several dry/sweat cycles until the moisture is gently coaxed out of the core.

For commercial purposes, a bud that is dense and hard obviously has the better aesthetic appeal. This facilitates the much valued “weight” so coveted by growers. But this trait,  of course, does not mean that it is superior medicine. Some of the finest meds around are sativas that are gangly when finished and would not appeal to the commercial market at all. Some less informed patients tend to see an airy bud as not finished, or harvested prematurely, and therefore somehow inferior or less medicinal or potent. This can be far from the case, as any sativa connoisseur will attest.

So, knowing and understanding the  makeup of your bud structure can help you strategize plans of attack for drying and curing as well as gauge the likelihood of mold problems. And, of course, you now understand that there's more to medical marijuana than just "dense nugs."

Check out Brown Dirt Warriors cult film on growing, Prohibition, here.



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