It’s amazing to realize that marijuana lovers from Holland and North America went to Afghanistan, Lebanon, Thailand, Cambodia, Jamaica, Panama, Mexico and South America 35-40 years ago, picked up a native marijuana seeds along the way, brought them back to Holland, crossed the seeds and created dozens of new marijuana strains.
Today you can buy those strains (or their descendants) and they grow just like the description on the breeder’s website says they will.
Unfortunately, reliability isn’t at all universal in the marijuana industry. Most of us who grow and use marijuana have bought something that turned out to be schwag.
“Feminized” seeds that grew to be males or hermies. Clones that turned out to be male, or weren’t the strain they were supposed to be.
Cannabis seeds supposed to grow out as a marijuana strain that takes 56 days to finish, but it took 75 days, and the high was nothing like what was advertised. Bud that looked nice when we bought it, but smoked like it was cow patties.
Want to know ahead of time if they bud you’re looking at is kind, top-shelf marijuana—or schwag? Here are some tips:
• How can you tell if your buds are organically grown, or are properly grown and flushed hydroponics marijuana? Pretty much the only way (other than growing it yourself so you know it’s organic or properly-flushed) is to smoke it. If it’s hard to light and doesn’t stay lit easily, that’s not a good sign. It could be wet. Or it could be loaded with phosphorus and other stuff that makes it hard to light and keep lit (meaning that if it was grown hydroponically, it wasn’t flushed properly before harvest).
If the bud doesn’t easily light, and easily stay lit to burn to a clean white ash, it’s not organic bud, and it’s not flushed properly. Avoid that kind of bud. It’s bad for your health, and a hassle to try to consume.
• How can you tell if your marijuana is contaminated with mold, mildew, pet hairs, pests, or other bad stuff?
Look at your buds with a strong magnifier. It’ll be obvious if mold spores, dead spider mites, dirt, dog hair, and other baddies are in there. You’ll often see bud contamination in marijuana grown without proper air filtration or grow room hygiene.
Who wants to smoke dog hairs, mold, or other junk. Not me or you, that’s for sure!
• How can you tell if your marijuana has been adulterated to make it weigh more or taste different? Believe it or not, some marijuana growers or dealers spray sugar water and other stupid stuff on growing marijuana plants and drying/curing buds.
They do this to increase the weight, and/or to make the buds smell or taste sweeter. Most often the sprays contain water, chemicals, and sugar.
Especially avoid a product called Brix Plus or “Brix +.” This gunk clogs up the leaf stomata on growing marijuana plants, and makes dried bud into a big, ugly joke. Unscrupulous growers or dealers coat their buds with it. Their motivation is greed.
I can’t believe hydroponics companies still make this crap (Message to Brix manufacturer Green Planet Hydroponics: acquire a conscience and stop selling garbage to growers, thank you very much).
The way to find out if sugar water is on buds is to handle them and smell them. If they feel sticky in a way that’s not like how THC resins feel, and/or if they smell like a sweet soda drink, they could be adulterated.
And if they’re hard to light and keep lit, it might be because they’ve been hydrated with Brix Plus or some other spray-on garbage, or because they haven’t been flushed properly. Either way, they suck.
• What can you do to avoid schwag? This advice is mainly for people who buy buds rather than growing their own medical marijuana. Growing your own connoisseur marijuana is really the only way to totally control and select the quality and type of marijuana you use.
If you aren’t growing marijuana, and you want to evaluate nugs that someone is selling you, first look for how the nugs are presented. If they’re crushed up in a brick or a plastic bag, if they’re dry, crumbly, off-color, have no aroma, and fail to release aroma when you break them, they’re probably schwag.
Obviously, the prime test is when you smoke the marijuana. But smoking schwag hurts your throat and lungs, can give you a headache, and wastes your time. Many marijuana people are using vaporizers set to vaporize only THC. That’s a way of avoiding the bad feeling that schwag gives you. If there’s any THC in there, it’ll vaporize, and all the other stuff will stay out of your lungs.
For more information on using vaporizers creatively to enhance your marijuana safety and high, read this. If somebody shares schwag with you, maybe you can gently tell them that their bud stinks (but not in a good way).
If someone is trying to sell you schwag, advise them that you’re not a sucker and they can take their ditchweed somewhere else, or better yet—stick it where the sun doesn’t shine! In an era when there’s so much information about growing marijuana, we no longer need to be held hostage by schwag dealers.
Want a handy, definitive guide to ensuring you’re getting the strains you want and getting powerful, clean, kind bud? Get the Marijuana Smoker’s Guidebook, published by Green Candy Press.
Written by legendary Canadian marijuana grower, activist, medical marijuana user, and author Matt Mernagh, this pocket-sized marijuana book has documentary photos of 150 different marijuana strains. Accompanying each photo is witty text describing the smell, taste, look, and high of the marijuana strain.
Mernagh is a long-time marijuana aficionado and analyst, so he’s smoked multiple versions of the strains he reviews. You use his book as a marijuana strain field guide that helps you identify the nugs you’re looking at, to make sure they’re what they’re advertised to be. Matt’s marijuana guidebook includes information on many of the tips contained in this article.
Marijuana Smoker’s Guidebook is put together with the consistently same high-quality attention to graphic detail, intelligent text, and reader-friendly organization that all Green Candy books have.
Having this book gives you a bucket list of marijuana strains you’ll want to try, and helps you avoid bad weed and bad dealers. Thanks for the tips and photos, Matt!