(Learn more about Oxidative Degradation of THC into CBN in Stored Cannabis)
1. Environmental Stewardship (5 / 5). Sun-grown cannabis, whether produced in full exposure to wind and rain, or enclosed in any style of a protective greenhouse, gets the bulk of its energy straight from the sun – rather than from the earth (and fossil fuels).
2. Freshness (5 / 5). The freshest buds are most often the best. As stated above, the sample was harvested nearly a full year before purchase, so I expected an inferior product – but was very pleasantly surprised. Visual, tactile and olfactory observations all suggested this flower was harvested no more than a month ago.
3. Terpenoids were not quantified, nor qualitatively presented on the Label (0 / 5).
4. Producer failed to list pesticides or claim “No Pesticides Used” on the package label (0 / 5). Inquisitive consumers might visit the grower’s website and find such a claim, but it needs to be stated on the label.
5. Grower has hosted a previous Seattle Bliss tour and inspection (5 / 5). All producers are given benefit of doubt until decided otherwise. This means every grower gets these 5-points until we decide at our sole discretion that the points are not deserved. A brief tour demonstrates compliance with laws and improves consumer confidence.
6. Cannabinoids Labeling, two quantities missing; (3 / 5). The average consumer wants and needs to know Total THC and Total CBD. These totals are calculated values based on the loss of the ‘acid’ stub by shedding CO2, and sure enough Total THC is always just a little bit less than THC + THC-A. Consumers may also care to know how much of each of these active substances were still in the inactive, acid form. The law in Washington requires all four of these to be clearly and accurately quantified. Total Cannabinoids, CBG, CBN, etc., are not required, but may be included on the label as a bonus to the consumer. This label listed “THC: 23.06% CBD: 0%”, which fails to identify whether quantified THC is actual THC, THC-A, or calculated Total THC.
7. Terpene Presence (5 / 5) is evaluated with the First Sniff and is indicative of Concentration as an undetectable sample would rate at 0 and a very strong one at 5. Standard sniff evaluation includes the combined sniffing of the newly opened container AND subsequent grinding of 1 gram and sniffing the freshly-ground product. This step is for evaluating the whole buds in the newly opened container. The glass jar had a second, replaceable seal that preserved the sample well. The first sniff was rich and full of terpenes.
8. Product Purity is evaluated with the First Sniff and Microscopy (5 / 5). Any impurities may cause an unexpected odor, but should be detectable under the microscope. None were detected via either detection method.
9. Product Color (4 / 5). Dense coverage with amber trichome heads may have caused overall color to appear a brown-leaning 'olive drab'.
10. Product Quality is evaluated during bud inspection (5 / 5). Points can be lost for male flower sites (more common recently due to the feminized seed market), insect or animal evidence, abusive handling, etc.
11. Product Moisture is also evaluated during bud inspection (5 / 5). The most ideal buds, this sample inclusive, are sponge-like, mostly dry, but a little bit sticky. The consumer will be able to open a bud, spreading the seedless bracts to reveal and snap the central stem without breaking the bud. No exception here.
12. Trim Quality (5 / 5). Sample has had all sugar leaf stems, most pistils and all leaf matter removed; bud stems < 3 mm.
13. Trichome Density (5 / 5). Flower is densely covered with capitate trichomes.
14. Harvest Timing (4 / 5). Nearly all glandular heads are amber to dark amber in color, normally indicative of a slightly late harvest (days).
15. Terpene Presence, 2nd Sniff (5 / 5). This step is for evaluating the freshly-ground buds and should garner a higher rating than the first sniff of the buds (unless both rate 5).
16. Smoke Terpene Presence, 1st, 2nd taste (5 / 5). Sample is rated only upon how fragrant the smoke is; not how well it is liked. This sample was most delicious.
17. Smoke Smoothness was rated (5 / 5) with no undesired pops, crackles, or unavoidably fast/hot smoke to affect this score.
18. Smoke Pleasantness, 1st, 2nd taste (5 / 5). This evaluation criterion exists because some buds taste/ smell like feces, hay or vomit, perhaps a pesticide or soil amenity influences the taste; the pleasantness of the whole smoke requires rating.
19. Effectiveness (1 / 5). Dutch Treat being a THC strain with no CBD should be an uplifting charge to one’s creativity, but sometimes puts one ‘in-da-couch’. A rating of five in this case would indicate high potency. Very little effect – especially any psychoactivity - was observed (and possible headache per extra ingestion and dehydration in attempt to self-titrate). This long-cured, "mild high" cannabis would be recommended for bedtime in normal dosage only. (Learn more about Oxidative Degradation of THC into CBN in Stored Cannabis)
20. Price-Value Rating (PVR), (4 / 5). PVR is calculated based on the price per gram versus the calculated average price regardless of potency. As is the case with this sample, those above the average price earn less. Those equal or under the average get the full five points.
This sample earned an overall rating of 81 out of 100 possible points. Outdoor cannabis operations, greenhouse grows and those with light-deprivation greenhouses impose a much smaller carbon footprint on the Earth than indoor operations. This outdoor grower could improve their HigherGround420 rating, comply with existing laws and satisfy the desires of their consumers by making a few changes.
The Producer could easily satisfy the consumer’s desire to know exactly what they are consuming by proactively printing an annually verified terpenoid profile on their package label to earn another 5 points. Also, other states have their own requirements, but Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) rules state ALL FOUR of the following are required: “THC concentration (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) listed as total THC and activated THC-A and CBD concentration (cannabidiol) listed as total CBD and activated CBD-A” (WSLCB rules, https://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=314-55-105 WAC Section 2, a, iv, E).
NOTE: The rules have errors. Activated THC-A is THC, and activated CBD-A is CBD. When transcribing these values from the lab report onto your label it is best to transcribe each exactly as the lab has it listed. THC is activated THC, THC-A is the non-activated, acid form of THC, and so on with CBD.
Not all growers, especially outdoor growers with large harvests to process in just a short few weeks, have their craft ‘dialed-in’ so well. I found this grow to be smooth and delicious. I’d recommend those with any tolerance to check dates and stick with the fresher harvests, but sometimes just getting ‘mellow’ can be quite a pleasure.