Cannabis Flower

Discover the common ways flower is typically broken down, consumed and stored in our in-depth guide to cannabis flower.

Common Forms of Cannabis Flower

The cannabis plant is typically dried and then broken down in some way before consuming. Explore the common ways flower is typically broken down and packaged for sale at dispensaries.


Loose flower refers to the dried bud from the cannabis plant. When you purchase loose flower at a dispensary, it is bud that has been cured and trimmed for your consumption.

Before smoking or ingesting loose cannabis, cannabis users often grind it and pack it into a pipe or joint. Ground flower lends benefits to the consumer – it typically burns more evenly, and it is easier to measure, manipulate and smoke.

Loose Flower


How Do You Consume Loose Flower?

Loose flower refers to solid parts of the marijuana plant, also called bud. Flower is a versatile cannabis option, as you can smoke it in bongs, joints, or bowls; vaporize it in a dry herb vaporizer; or even infuse it into foods, oils or butter.

Why Store Loose Flower?

Properly storing is necessary if you want your flower to last and maintain quality. Whether you’re storing long-term or just until the end of the week, storage plays a large part in both flavor and potency.
What happens if you don’t store cannabis properly? If your flower comes into contact with too much air, you risk losing terpenes, as the slightest change in temperature can cause degradation. And if it gets too moist, you could end up with mold. Storing cannabis flower in the right environment keeps it aromatic, fluffy, and potent.

How Do You Store Loose Flower?

Loose flower is best contained in an air-tight container. Dispensaries often house loose flower in air-tight packaging. Once you get home, you may want to transfer loose flower to a mason jar or similar container. Store in a cool, dark place with low humidity.

Can You Grind Up Loose Flower?

Most people prefer to grind flower before using it. You can grind by hand by breaking the buds apart with your fingers, or you can purchase a grinder, which enables enthusiasts to easily grind loose flower. The grind process helps break the flower into small pieces, making it better to roll into joints or blunts. Keep in mind, grinding too finely may create issues, such as having trouble inhaling from a rolled joint. Joints need proper airflow for a smooth burn.


Pre-rolled joints are packaged and sold in marijuana dispensaries—it’s a joint that someone else has rolled for you. Pre-rolls have become the preferred term, but many cannabis consumers still refer to them as “joint.”

Although you can roll your own joints at manually home, most dispensaries use a machine, ensuring a more consistent fill. Pre-rolls are crafted using thin paper, often rice, wood pulp or hemp, and include a paper filter tip.

Cannabis Pre-rolls


How Are Pre-rolls Made?

Pre-rolls are made using cones not unlike what you may use yourself. But, imagine a factory-like process, where each preroll contains the same amount of marijuana, packaged neatly.

How Do You Determine the Quality of a Pre-roll?

Ask your local dispensary about the quality of the flower contained in the preroll. Also, ask about the strain profile of the flower used.

Can You Keep Pre-rolls Fresh?

You should treat your pre-roll as you would the rest of your flower. Ensure it stays sealed in a climate-controlled environment. Many dispensaries offer pre-rolls contained within air-tight tubes or tins.

Cannabis Shake

Premium flower consists of a well-manicured bud with the marijuana leaves surrounding the flowers well-defined. In contrast to premium flower, popcorn flower consists of a loose bud with tiny leaves.

Since shake is loose plant material packaged together, it can consist of different types of cannabis plants that are harvested together. Because of this, some dispensaries sell shake a lower cost than premium bud. However, often times shake contains plenty of kief that also fell off the buds, making it a potent product.

Cannabis Shake


How Do You Use Cannabis Shake?

Shake is the term used for pre-ground flower. Cannabis shake can be rolled into a joint, packed into a bowl, or used to create cannabis edibles.

How Is Shake Made?

Shake is created by grinding whole cannabis flower. Some prefer shake due to its ease of use and price point.

Is Shake Strain Specific?

Zen Leaf ensures your shake is strain specific for optimal effect, though not all cannabis companies do.

Popcorn Flower

Popcorn buds are buds that are just about or a little smaller than popcorn. They usually have an intermediate position between budget cannabis and high-quality bud. The potency of popcorn buds should be on par with, if not slightly lower than, A-grade buds of the same strain (by the same producer).

If you already love what a particular producer is growing, why not buy a pack of their tight nugs at a discount? The producer gets to sell their entire crop and you get A-grade buds at B-grade prices.

Popcorn Flower


What Are Popcorn Bud’s Potency?

Popcorn bud refers to small nugs of cannabis flower that are no less potent than larger nugs of the same batch. Because of their nug size, popcorn buds are often at a lower price point.

How Are Popcorn Buds Different Than Shake?

Popcorn buds are whole nugs, while shake is ground flower. The difference between the two is the presentation of the flower.

What Can You Do with Popcorn Buds?

You can smoke popcorn buds as with premium flower, or consider using the flower in a number of edible recipes.

Reserve Flower

Reserve or Private Reserve flower is the highest quality flower available at that dispensary or by that grower. Cannabis flowers can be graded as low shelf, mid shelf, top shelf, and Reserve. There are different price ranges for each shelf, depending on the quality of product. Private reserve cannabis commands the highest premium.

Reserve buds are exotic and are often grown by an influential grower or brand. Sometimes a rare phenotype of a common strain is considered Private Reserve because it has a different color, flavor, aroma, or other unique traits.

Reserve Flower


What Makes Verano Reserve Flower Premium?

It follows the same principle of other premium services and products. More care, attention, and resources are devoted toward the final outcome. Exotic, high grade strains receive more hands-on attention in the form of hand watering, hand trimming, and the delivery of beneficial nutrients. Due to the attention received, these plants mature to optimal potency levels.

How Potent is Verano Reserve Flower?

Verano Reserve Flower contains the most potent genetics produced. Percentage will vary due to the nature of growing a plant, but expect THC to be at or above 20%.

What’s the Best Way to Consume Reserve Flower?

The best way to use cannabis flower will vary from person to person, as it is very much a matter of personal preference. You can use Verano Reserve flower in bongs, bowls, joints, recipes, vaporizers, or even infuse into recipes.- though bongs, bowls, and joints lend the best experience of flavor profile.

Determining Cannabis Flower Quality

As outlined above, Reserve or Private Reserve flower is typically a word or phrase used to describe the best available cannabis a dispensary offers.

Top Shelf

The trichomes, or crystals, on top shelf buds are bright and colorful. Topshelf buds don’t look airy or scrawny; they’re well-manicured and tight trimmed. Top shelf buds should almost shimmer in the light from the trichome density.

Lower Quality

Sometimes you can tell bad cannabis just by its appearance. You may see discolored flower or a lot of stems and seeds. However, lower-quality flower can also take on a musty smell that is often associated with “schwag”.

Top Shelf Cannabis

Common Cannabis Flower Consumption Methods

With many people discovering the healing properties of cannabis, there is a rising curiosity about how to best consume the plant. While many are inexperienced, others have not indulged in the herb for decades. Now, there are more options than ever to get the best experience from cannabis.


As we touched on above, most professionals call joints pre-rolls these days. However, a joint is different than a pre-roll, technically speaking.

A pre-roll is a ready-to-use joint that you can purchase from a dispensary that has pre-rolled the cannabis for you. Although a pre-roll is indeed a joint, one can certainly purchase flower and rolling papers and roll their own joint at home rather than purchasing a pre-roll. It’s really just a matter of preference.



What is a Joint?

A joint looks similar to a cigarette, but is instead filled with cannabis flower.  Joint paper is made of lightweight, almost translucent paper – wood pulp, rice paper, and bamboo are popular options.

Why Do Some People Prefer Joints?

Many use joints as they enjoy the motion of smoking, others think it is the best way to experience the flavor of a strain. Too, joints are easy to dose and ease to put out to come back to.

What Do You Need to Roll a Joint?

Most people can get by rolling a joint by hand, but many dispensaries and novelty shops sell rolling machines to expedite the process.


A bong is a cannabis smoking device made of glass, wood, plastic, silicone, ceramic, acrylic or metal.

Some of the most popular types of bongs include:

  • Beaker
  • Bubble or round base
  • Multi-chamber
  • Percolator
  • Recycler
  • Straight tube
  • Zig zag
  • Carburetor

Because a pipe is smaller than other smoking devices, like most bongs, it’s more discreet and easier to clean. Hand pipes are the most commonly used for those who like smoking on the go. You can simply throw your pipe in your bag and not have to worry about a bunch of accessories or storage space.

Pipes and Bongs


What’s the Difference Between Pipes and Bongs?

Bowls and bongs are both used to smoke cannabis flower.

Bowls, or pipes, are handheld devices. They feature a long neck, with a round bowl at the end to place your flower. There’s a small hole at the bottom of the bowl, which smoke is pulled through, and one on the side known as the carb cap, which helps you control the smoke you’re inhaling or burn the flower more intensely. The neck of the bowl is important, as the longer the neck is, the smoother your dose should be, as the smoke has had more time to cool.

Bongs, or water pipes, are much larger than bowls. Bongs, too, have a long neck, but it’s bowl is inserted into the device. The bong device is filled with water, which acts as a filter to remove toxins produced by lighting flower.

There are also pieces in between bongs and bowls, known as bubblers. Bubblers offer water filtration, without the hassle of a large piece.

Are Bongs Healthier?

More research is needed, though some studies concluded that bongs, especially with diffused downstems or percolators (a honeycomb-like feature in bongs), can filter out carcinogens. Some will argue that smoking (anything) is not ideal for health. But when it comes to cannabis consumption, filtration helps limit harmful chemicals and effects.

How Do Bongs Work?

First, you light the bowl and begin to draw on the mouthpiece. The smoke is pulled through water, which filters out toxins, and into the neck. After the smoke reaches the neck, you can remove the bowl and inhale through the mouthpiece.


Dry herb vaporizers are a type of vaporizer that is used to transform dry herbs into vapors. They are in contrast to e-cigs that use liquid cartridges.

One of the best things about dry herb vaporizers is that they’re easy to use, which makes them great for beginners. Whether you’re new to vaping or new to cannabis consumption altogether, a dry herb vaporizer can be a great introduction to these methods of consumption.

Dry Flower Vaporizers


How Do You Use Dry Flower Vaporizers?

Many people grind flower before putting it into a vaporizer chamber. The heat of the vaporizer unlocks the flower’s ingredients by turning the cannabinoids and terpenes into an inhalable vapor.

What’s the Difference Between Flower and Wax Vapes?

Flower and wax vapes are the same premise – the cannabis product is heated without combustion until cannabinoids and terpenes are turned into vapors that can be inhaled. The devices differ slightly in pieces and appearance – flower vaporizers are often mesh chambers, whereas concentrate vaporizers are quartz or ceramic.

Is Vaporizing Cannabis Healthier?

More evidence is needed to make a definitive statement. However, vaporizers don’t burn but heat. Compared to the smoke produced from burning leaves, the aerosol produced from vapes can feel less harsh on the lungs.

Storing Fresh Cannabis Flower

To store buds successfully, you should always keep them in a cool, dark, and dry place. But just how dry, dark, and cool you need to be depends on a few things. The elements that affect your marijuana buds the most are humidity, temperature, air, and light.

Try to store your marijuana at temperatures below 74 degrees. Above this threshold, mold and mildew thrive, whereas the ideal temperature for storage is approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit but no less than 55 degrees.

UV-Proof Containers

UV-Proof Containers

To prevent degradation of your flower after harvesting, you should store your stash in a dark environment. If you cannot store your stash in a dark place, use an opaque container or cover any parts of your container that would allow light through with stickers or tape.

Glass Mason Jars

Glass Mason Jars

Mason jars are made of glass and have a metal lid that offers a complete seal, making them airtight. Light degradation can occur when storing dried flowers in glass jars, so it’s best to store them in a dark place. It’s also optimal to store dried flowers in glass since they maintain humidity and temperature when stored.


Is It Okay to Keep Flowers in Plastic?

Plastic attracts static charges that can pull precious trichomes off your buds. If you need to store your flower in plastic, avoid BPA and ensure all oxygen is out of the bag.

What Temperature Should I Store Flower?

Flower should be kept in a cool room, the 70°F range is ideal.

Where Should I Store Flower?

Store flower in an air-tight container. Consider the amount of flower and size of container as to limit the amount of deadspace in the jar. Keep it stored in a dark, dry, and relatively cool space

How Long Does Cannabis Flower Stay Fresh?

Professionally harvested, dried, cured, and stored flower will stay fresh for longer, though holding onto bud for too long will cause degradation of terpenes and cannabinoids. Six months is a good rule of thumb, if the flower is stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.