What to Look for in Cannabis Brands

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Long-time smokers have known for decades that not all weed is created equal. Not only do different marijuana strains produce different intensities of high, but different products can produce different kinds of highs, too — mellow and relaxing vs. energizing and exiting, head high vs. body high, etc.

However, now that marijuana is legalized medically and/or recreationally in most states of the union, a variety of cannabis brands have proliferated, offering products with unknown quality and character. Worse, a few early studies have found that some purported CBD products, marketed for medical use, contain little or no cannabinoids or else contain toxic heavy metals, like arsenic and lead.

If you want to partake in legal marijuana products, you need to know which brands you can trust. Here’s a handy guide for determining whether a brand is right for you.

The Website

Your first stop on your endeavor to determine whether a particular cannabis brand is safe is to visit its brand website. Usually you can find this website by entering the brand name in Google’s search bar, or some online dispensaries might be able to direct you to the website directly. Once you have found the right site for the cannabis brand you are considering, you should start clicking around the site, looking for reassurance that the brand’s products are high-quality and safe.

There are a few good indicators that a website is legitimate, lending more credibility to the brand and its products. For instance, you should look for a URL that begins HTTPS or a small lock on the URL bar — this means the site has an SSL certificate, which protects sensitive information entered on the site. Additionally, the website might publish a privacy policy, found in the bottom navigation pane, and they might prominently display a trust seal from a security company or ecommerce platform, like McAfee or Shopify.

Beyond the safety and security of the website, you should look into the content available on the site. Most businesses striving for success will create blog and video content for visitors to consume, to engage their audience and develop a loyal customer base. You should investigate what kind of content is available and what much the content concerns. Ideally, cannabis content will be educational, offering tips and tricks for consumption and the latest research findings on marijuana benefits. Deceitful companies aren’t likely to put so much effort into their brand, so informative and useful content is a powerful indication that a cannabis brand is worthwhile.

The Availability

It should go without saying that if a cannabis brand is only available from a guy in a trench coat standing at the end of your block, you probably shouldn’t trust it. However, just because you find a marijuana product in a store doesn’t mean it is any more trustworthy than the stuff you scrounge on the street.

First, you should consider the quality of the store that sells the product. Not all dispensaries are created equal; though most must have fundamental qualifications to legally sell marijuana products, some might not be as diligent about researching and purchasing from the best growers and suppliers. You might interview a sales associate or customer service rep about the dispensary’s buying practices and values to determine whether you can trust their wares. You might also consider the other brands available from the dispensary; if you see a brand like Trulieve available, you might guess that the other goods are equally high-quality. Finally, if the brand is available from multiple upright and responsible dispensaries, it is likely that the brand is one you would benefit from buying.

The Branding

By surveying both the brand website and the dispensaries that sell it, you should get a good idea of what kind of cannabis product a particular brand offers. However, if you need some final reassurance, you might take a closer look at the brand, itself. Legitimate companies spend a large amount of energy developing what products and packaging will look like, to ensure their audience respects and desires their offerings. If the branding is to your taste, you will probably enjoy the products available — but you shouldn’t put too much stock in this method, as it isn’t too difficult for fraudsters to mimic legitimate brands to great success.

Marijuana is just leaving its Wild West period and entering an era of greater regulation and reliability — but there still remain more than a few cannabis products not worth your time or money. If you do your research and follow your instincts, you should avoid the dangerous junk and end up with a legitimate brand you love.

William Stash Jones

William "Stash" Jones is a medical marijuana patient and medical cannabis advocate. He focuses on medical cannabis and its benefits, and believes that medical cannabis is the solution to many problems in medicine today.

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