Picking the Perfect Pot

When shopping at Higher Leaf you may face the delightful dilemma of choosing between the many different marijuana strains we have here in Kirkland. We’re proud to carry a variety options for any budget, but we often hear that THC percentage is the biggest influence customers have when selecting a strain. The helpful data on every package lets customers choose their potency, but it’s not the only way to determine what strain you should try next.

The percentage of cannabinoids like THC, CBD and CBN found in marijuana is influenced by a variety of different conditions. Exposure to indoor, outdoor or greenhouse light, temperature and humidity, harvest timeline, and type of strain can affect the final cannabinoid totals. These conditions and a few other factors have an impact on the overall quality of the cannabis, not just its potency. So if cannabinoids aren’t the only indicator, what else can you use to determine which strain you should try next?


The first test is inspecting marijuana flower for visual signs of quality. Bud that is covered in trichomes, those sparkling white crystals, indicates a high presence of cannabinoids and terpenes. The frostier the nug, the better the bud will be. Other visual cues include pistil hair coloring, size and attractiveness, and nug density. Keep in mind that outdoor grown marijuana may not look as attractive as an indoor harvest, but the potency of many strains benefit from natural sunlight. Attractiveness is important when considering your next strain, but many factors can’t be seen by the naked eye.

There are many strains with a reputation for specific effects and our Budtenders are ready to make recommendations based on the type of high you’re looking for. Understanding which strain to choose based on its background is a good way to pick your own pot in a pinch. Even though potency can easily vary from crop to crop, each strain delivers similar effects and the same can be said for their hybrid offspring. For example, an indica like Blueberry is well known for triggering stress relief while a popular sativa like Haze commonly boosts energy. Blue Dream, their hybrid offspring, combines both their traits to make the perfect strain for stressful social settings. Start researching the parentage of your pot and you’ll quickly notice consistent genetic traits.

A hint of lemon or strong diesel smell emanating from your marijuana is caused by naturally occurring terpenes present in many plants. The most common terpenes found in marijuana are Pinene (pine), Myrcene (musky), Limonene (citrus), Caryophyllene (peppery), and Linalool (lavender.) Like cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors in the brain and influence the type of high you experience. For example, limonene heavy strains are known for their mood enhancing qualities while strains with pinene can help you focus. When you know which terpenes you prefer, it’s you can choose strains based on their smell. Take note of terpenes present in your favorites and ask a Higher Leaf Budtender for new strain suggestions at your next visit.

Once you’ve tried a few different producers, you may notice that you’re drawn to the taste or quality of certain companies. Each producer pieces together a unique puzzle of growing conditions, fertilizers, pesticides, harvest styles and curing methods that can influence the final product. Keep an eye on your favorite brands and consider trying their new strains without focusing too much on THC percentage. By taking note of how the different nuances of marijuana interact with you, you can evolve your choices for a better consumption experience. Budtenders at Higher Leaf can also recommend their favorite growers on the menu based on your needs and preferences.