Large nuggets of cannabis flower in a glass bowl

Everything You Need To Know About Cannabis Flower

With so many strains of cannabis flower, types of cannabis flower, and ways to enjoy cannabis flower, it’s no wonder that we needed to build a guide to help beginners and cannabis connoisseurs alike understand all of their options. In this guide, you’ll learn everything there is to know about cannabis flower, including:

  • What is Cannabis Flower?
  • What’s in Marijuana Flower?
  • What Are the Different Types of Marijuana Flower?
  • What Are the Common Forms of Marijuana Flower?
  • How Potent is Marijuana Flower?
  • Marijuana Flower FAQs

What is Cannabis Flower?

Cannabis flower refers to the dried flower bud, sometimes referred to as a “nug,” of a female cannabis plant. Typically, the flower of a marijuana plant is what’s harvested, dried, cured, and sold at dispensaries, but flower is also used to create other cannabis products like concentrates, tinctures, and oils.  

What’s in Marijuana Flower?

Flower contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids that help to create the psychoactive effects experienced when smoking marijuana. It also contains flavonoids and trichomes, a significant source of THC and terpenes, the organic aromas found in the oils of flowering marijuana. Marijuana flowers are so complex that researchers are still trying to understand exactly all the compounds that exist within these unique plants and how they may affect our bodies.

Learn more about cannabis plant anatomy with our guide.

What are the Different Types of Marijuana Flower?

When you visit a dispensary, you’ll notice that bud flower is classified into three different types. While science has proven that there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the three types of marijuana, cannabis enthusiasts still insist that their experience may vary based on which type they’re consuming. The three types are:

  • Sativa: This plant typically has lighter colored, thin-bladed leaves and grows up to twice as tall as the average person. While sativa is touted as being uplifting, there is no research to back up those claims.  
  • Indica: Short, squat, and bushy, indica is the smaller, thicker, more compact version of marijuana. Indica is popular among cannabis enthusiasts for its mellow vibes, but there is no scientific research that backs up indica’s reputation for couch lock.  
  • Hybrid: For people that don’t have access to landraces and like to vary their experience, hybrids are a great option. Hybrids are a blend of both indica and sativa and offer their own unique effects from person to person.

What Are the Common Forms of Marijuana Flower?

If you’re heading to a dispensary for the first time, be prepared to be surprised by selection. There’s more than just one form of marijuana flower. Here are just a few of the varieties of marijuana flower that you could purchase:

  • Premium Flower: Premium flower is the best-of-the-best, top-shelf, full, dense cannabis bud harvested from the end of the marijuana plant’s stems. Because it’s the part of the plant that receives the most nutrients, it’s rich in trichomes and terpenes, packing a ton of flavor. Premium flower is typically the most expensive type of flower on a dispensary menu.

  • Popcorn Flower: These small but mighty versions of cannabis flower get their name because they’re about the size of a kernel of popped popcorn. They are smaller in size because they grow beneath the premium buds, which means they don’t get as many nutrients. They may have lower levels of trichomes, which means they aren’t as flavorful as premium flower. They are, however, much more budget-friendly.

  • Shake Flower: While you can see the structure of a flower bud in both premium and popcorn flower, shake consists of loose flower material. Shake can be made up of multiple different cannabis plants that are packaged together or used in pre-rolls, edibles, or concentrates.

  • Trim: The term “trim” refers to a combination of sugar leaves and other plant material that has been trimmed off of the flower buds. While it's not typically for sale in dispensaries, trim is primarily used for hash or in cannabutter.


How Potent is Marijuana Flower?

The potency of marijuana flower varies like any other cannabis product. To find the potency of the flower you’re interested in, look at the product label. You should see a THC percentage listed, like 17% THC or 23% THC. This indicates how potent that strain is.

Once you know the potency of the strain, check this chart for a rough idea of how you might feel when you consume the marijuana flower:

  • Less than 10% THC: Mild psychoactive effects. You can feel the effects of the strain but they aren’t overwhelming.
  • 10% - 20% THC: Stronger psychoactive effects. Whether you’re smoking by yourself or sharing with friends, a single session with this potency of flower will leaving you feeling all the effects of the strain.
  • More than 20% THC: Strongest psychoactive effects. We do not recommend beginners start with this level of potency.

It’s important to remember that the way you experience potency can depend on your tolerance levels and other variables, like whether you ate that day. Whenever trying a new strain, it’s best to start slow no matter what the potency is.

Answering FAQs About Marijuana Flower

Whether it’s because there’s so many options of marijuana flower, so many strains to choose from, or just so much information out there, we get a lot of questions about cannabis bud. Here’s just some of the answers to those questions:

What’s the difference between flower and bud?
There is no difference between marijuana flower and bud. Both terms refer to the cannabis flower. 

Is marijuana a flower?
Technically, marijuana is a plant. The female marijuana plant grows a flower that is harvested, dried, cured, and sold in dispensaries. 

Why is flower called “nugs?”
Flower is affectionately referred to as “nugs” because they look like little nuggets when they’re sold. 

Purchasing Cannabis Flower

When you’re ready to buy marijuana flower, it’s good to go in with an idea of what you’re looking for and a budget. If you’ve got money to spend and you want the best you can get, opt for premium flower. If you’re looking to try different strains of marijuana on a budget, you might want to opt for popcorn. And if you’re just unsure, talk to one of our budtenders. They’re there to make your dispensary visit easy, so you can get what you need and head home to enjoy it. 

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Ohio and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.