Why Our Understanding of Cannabis Quality Is Currently Flawed

Here’s a riddle for you. In today’s modern cannabis marketplace, what is the true measure of cannabis quality? How do you actually know if you are getting a high-quality product, or not? Do you even know how to measure cannabis quality in the first place?

These sound like simple questions, but they are not. Because for better or worse, the primary marker of cannabis quality today is found in one place — the almighty lab report. A sheet of paper that lists cannabinoid content, sometimes terpene content (if you’re lucky), and whether the product you’re about to consume has any contaminants or not. 

But let’s ask a very important question: is the quality of that cannabis truly reflected on that lab report? Do those set of numbers ACTUALLY communicate to you the quality of the product? Any true cannabis expert or connoisseur would quickly tell you “absolutely not”! 

Ganjier is here to tell you why.

Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Let’s be clear…lab tests are important, but the vast majority of the characteristics that contribute to the quality of a cannabis product do not show up in lab results. Lab results do not speak to the genuine desirability of a cannabis product. 

To get an accurate read on quality, you need to take into account the aspects that only a human being can evaluate — appearance, aroma, flavor, and effects of the cannabis product – qualities that are evaluated by our senses, not a lab test. 

This is why cannabis competitions are judged by people and not lab results. Because the true measure of quality must be evaluated by people who have deep experience and knowledge in understanding what truly dictates craft cannabis today.

And this is why a new standard is needed if we are going to truly appreciate everything the plant has to offer!

THC On The Brain

The lack of understanding around cannabis quality is resulting in buying practices that continue to hurt the industry. The focus on lab results culminated in a situation where consumers placed too much emphasis on THC percentages. People assumed that the more THC there is in a product, the better it is. 

Those of us that know cannabis understand that the THC percentage is just one of hundreds of things that contributes to the cannabis experience; unfortunately, the full spectrum of cannabis characteristics are still very much a mystery to the general public. This resulted in buying practices that almost exclusively focused on THC percentage, which, in turn, began to impact what producers brought to the market. 

Before we knew it, we were drowning in a sea of mids. Producers began sacrificing quality for the almighty THC number, and it slowly but surely turned into a race to the bottom – as producers tried to produce as much cheap THC-rich products as possible to meet the demand of an unknowing public.

This doesn’t just hurt the industry. A marketplace full of mids means that people aren’t getting the best experience. Sure, THC will get you high, but the best highs come from products that offer a complex chemistry – a sign of quality. In other words, the quality of the product is directly tied to the quality of the high. 

It’s time that the consumer understands what quality really looks like in cannabis! It’s time that people start experiencing the best that cannabis has to offer! 

The Strain Name Does Not Indicate Quality

It is also common for people to believe that the strain name is an indicator of quality; however, the experienced Ganjier knows that the people that grow the plant is just as important as the name of the plant. 

The genetics of a cannabis cultivar are very important, and a great grower will have put in the work to make sure that they are working with stable genetics; however, if the grower doesn’t have the skill to coax the plant to its potential, it does not matter what the strain is – it won’t be quality. 

Like any master of their craft, the best growers spend decades developing their genetics and growing practices to ensure that a flower reaches its potential. Choices they make with growing mediums, nutrients, harvest times, drying, and curing are all expressed in the final product, and their hard work can be experienced in the consumption of the finished product. 

In the end, you will be able to find their favorite strain on the top and bottom shelf of a cannabis shop, and most of the qualities that define quality are not going to be found on the label or in the lab results. Quality rests with the actual product. You just need to train yourself to see it!

Quality Can Be Eroded At Every Level Of The Process

Every choice a grower makes, from creating the environment in a grow room to packaging decisions, is going to affect the quality of a cannabis product. Many of these practices have been passed down from grower to grower for generations, and many have developed in response to modern challenges. 

In many ways, producing cannabis is like baking. Yes, technically anyone can bake if they have the ingredients and an oven. Just like anyone that has the proper plant material and growing equipment can grow cannabis; however, there are a lot of steps that contribute to making a quality loaf of bread, and the proof is always experienced in the finished product. 

Cannabis tells a story. It tells you if the grower hit the mark, or it tells you if something went wrong. Some people grow amazing flower only to put it in packaging that will destroy and degrade the trichomes. Some people burn their flower with nutrients, but do an excellent job with trimming and packaging to make sure the bud holds its integrity.

There are thousands of small details that go into bringing a quality product to market. They either point to how things went right or where things went wrong. Like a sommelier for wine, there are skills that allow you to read the story that is encapsulated in each cannabis flower. 

It’s Time To Standardize How We Speak About Cannabis

Creating a standard for quality is going to take more than just facts and observations about a plant. It’s going to take next-level customer service and professionalism. 

How we present information about cannabis is just as important as the information that is being presented. If we continue to use stoner colloquialisms that go over the head and, in many cases, misinform the public, we will fail to have a say in the future of cannabis, because we can be dismissed. 

The first thing that needs to happen is education. If you are serious about cannabis, become the expert in the room. There are too many people that continue to push cannabis like snake oil – a cure-all for everything that ails you. Cannabis is a great plant without hyperbole, and a Ganjier will be able showcase that greatness without being misleading. 

Cannabis is still new to a lot of people, so we need to make sure we use language everyone can understand. “Fire” might be an appropriate descriptor to use when talking to your friends, but it might not be appropriate for someone that is new to cannabis. Understanding quality is one thing, having the skill to explain it to others is another thing entirely. 

It is also important to remember that cannabis is a unique experience. Quality is objective, but the effects are unique to the individual. Do not pretend that you can guarantee how a specific strain will make someone feel. New strains are created every day, and everyone has their own preferences. Help people understand the characteristics that get them the best experience, and point them to the right product. Guarantee quality, and be a guide for the experience. 

This Is The Role Of The Ganjier

Passion runs the cannabis industry, but it is time that we harness that passion so that we may push toward a brighter future – this begins with creating a standard for quality in cannabis. 

The purpose of Ganjier is to be the voice for quality in the cannabis space. 

The Ganjier is a certified “Master of Cannabis Service” whose multidisciplinary knowledge and astute professionalism serve to raise the standard of excellence throughout the cannabis industry. 

As a cannabis sommelier, the Ganjier is educated in the history, science, botany, genetics, cultivation, processing, sales, and consumption of cannabis.  Additionally, the Ganjier is trained in the systematic assessment and grading of cannabis flower and concentrate quality, but most critically, the Ganjier is a trusted and reliable guide for the cannabis consumer.

As a Ganjier, you will be a storyteller and a trailblazer – enchanting people with the stories that are embedded in each plant as you, simultaneously, help write a new chapter in the larger cannabis narrative. 

Together, we will help consumers and industry professionals alike understand the true nature of cannabis quality. One that respects every aspect of the plant, from how it was grown, processed, packaged, and consumed.

Are you in?

Enrollment for the first certified Ganjier class will open in Winter 2020. Capacity is limited. Join the interest list if you want to be among the first Ganjiers to transform the cannabis industry as we know it.

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