What is Premium Flower?

If you’ve ever walked into a dispensary or taken a glance at their menu online, you’ve probably noticed that there are tiers when it comes to cannabis flower quality. From the dry and brown “bottom-shelf” weed to the higher-quality, top shelf, “premium” flower, there’s a world of difference between flower strains. But, what exactly is premium flower and how can you tell it apart from lower level nugs?

It All Starts With A Seed

Even the most skilled and masterful cannabis growers require high-quality seeds from breeders. Sourcing top-notch cannabis seeds ensure that each batch of cannabis flower features a high potency, strong flavour, and irresistible aroma. High-quality seeds have been tested to provide the best genetics in terms of cannabinoid and terpene content. Poor-quality seeds can produce flower that’s brown in colour, has limited trichomes, and is harsh to smoke.

Indoor Growing For Perfect Harvests

Depending on location, cannabis growers can opt to grow outdoors, indoors, or in greenhouses, which provide a “best of both worlds” growing situation. A popular method for best results employs an indoor aquaponic growing operation mixing hydroponics and aquaculture. Aquaponic growing conditions provide the most nutrients to the plants. The result is a premium flower that features mouthwatering flavours and powerful effects.

Compared with outdoor or greenhouse grows, indoor growing enables the grower to control the environment and closely monitor each plant for a hands-on approach. Outdoor plants are exposed to unruly weather conditions and can result in flower with seeds, lower trichomes, and weak aromas. Indoor growers can time their harvests perfectly to produce premium flowers with higher levels of trichomes, the tiny, resinous crystals on buds, leaves, and stems.

State-of-the-Art Growing Capabilities

Premium flower growers employ state-of-the-art techniques and use top-of-the-line lighting and humidity control to cater to every different type of strain. Premium growers often use LED lighting instead of traditional glass bulb and filament lighting. Not only does LED provide a more powerful and potent cannabis plant, but it’s also more eco-friendly. Premium flower requires frequent and careful monitoring of temperature and moisture. High-tech systems and software enable growers to do just that, even remotely.

Premium Flower vs The Rest

Dispensaries often categorize their flower by multiple tiers including bottom-shelf, mid-shelf, top-shelf, and premium flower. While other flower tiers can provide a budget-friendly strain for cannabis cooking or first-time users, premium-grade flower tiers often feature award-winning strains, sealed packaging to preserve freshness, vibrant colours, dense nugs covered in trichomes, and a sticky and spongy consistency.

Lower quality weed can run the risk of containing pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants. Bottom-shelf flower can be dry and harsh to smoke. Middle-shelf flower is a step up but still lacks in potency and aroma. Premium flower is very aesthetically-pleasing with THC content reaching over 30 percent. You may even get a few premium flowers with bright purple or blue hues showcasing outstanding genetics.

Premium cannabis flower aromas can range from sweet and fruity to diesel-like and skunky. In fact, the more pungent the flower, the better. For some good pointers on how to visually tell the difference between “bottom shelf buds” and “Premium Flower” check out Leafly’s video below! 


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