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Does Size Matter? Big Nugs vs Small Buds

Imagine this scenario, you have just purchased a flower product. When you get home, you open up your jar and you see some large Nuggets, but you also see some little tiny buds. You start to question your purchase... What's the deal? Is there a difference between these? Did I just get ripped off? Let's take a minute and look at the differences between small buds and big buds. Here’s what you need to know: First off, the cannabis industry is a lot like the fruit and vegetable industry. Bigger, prettier looking produce gets pushed to the front of the shelves while smaller quote unquote uglier produce gets left in the back, but don't both apples taste the same? Some shops might display the larger “prettier” buds more prominently or even charge a premium for the better-looking flowers. Though this isn’t always the case for packaging. Some brands will contain a variety of sizes, so you may receive one bud weighing in at 2.5g with multiple smaller pieces of flower. Just because your bud is smaller doesn't necessarily mean that it's any less potent or of a lower quality compared to its larger counterpart. Don’t forget, there are many different reasons for some flowers to grow bigger or smaller that don't have to do with quality.

When taking a look at the anatomy of a cannabis plant there are many reasons why buds grow in different sizes. Cannabis flowers grow on the majority of plants. But like most plants, the parts that get more direct sunlight usually grow bigger, which most of the time is the top of the plant. Parts of the flower that are shaded or hidden away from the sun usually don't grow as big. The size of flower growth can also have a lot to do with what strain of plant is growing, certain strains or cultivars grow bigger while others grow smaller buds, this is usually based on the genetics of the strain. However, just because some buds grow at the bottom doesn't mean they are of a lower quality, testing for potency is usually collected from multiple plants in a lot from different parts of the plant. Remember, if you open your jar and see a bunch of little nugs that doesn't mean it's not a good herb, flower products are sold by weight. Regardless of the size you're still getting the same product by weight; some people even prefer smaller ones. These are easier to handle and fit into grinders. Now I know what you're thinking, a bigger bud must mean it's stuffed full with more of the good stuff like THC. This isn't necessarily true, both large and smaller flowers will give you similar effects if from the same lot. 

Though there is something that you need to keep in mind and that is the presence of trichomes. Trichomes are the fine little hairs that you can find on cannabis, these are responsible for not only the thin layer of sticky resin that is used in making extracts but also contain over 95% of cannabinoid & terpene content in cannabis. So, one of the benefits to having a larger flower size is that there is more space for the trichomes to mature and grow, covering the entire circumference around your product. Smaller buds will still have trichomes and will still contain THC and terpenes. It might also be likely that there will be a higher density of trichomes in smaller buds as they are more tightly formed and dense. You can tell the quality of the trichomes by looking at the colour of the hairs that cover your flower (a magnifying glass helps).  As trichomes start to develop they will appear clear and almost translucent, at this stage they are immature and not producing a lot of cannabinoids, this flower was most likely harvested too early. As the trichomes mature into the next stage they will turn a half clear half milky white shade, at this stage they produce a more energetic/head high. As they move into a fuller milky colour, this stage has the highest potency of THC and will give you the strongest effect. Next, the trichomes will start to develop an amber colour, letting you know that the plant is ready for immediate harvest. Amber coloured trichomes in a final product reveal the flower was harvested, cured or dried incorrectly and will decrease potency. 

Something else that gets brought up a lot are stem sizes. Large buds just due to their size generally come with larger stems. This can be annoying and add to the overall weight of your product. Smaller buds usually have thinner, smaller stems. Which are easier to get rid of when rolling a joint or grinding your product. Larger stems can get in the way and become annoying and bothersome to get rid of. Since cannabis is sold by weight some people feel that having larger stems will take away from the net amount of actual flower they are getting but stem weight is minimal at best.  Stem size isn't a major issue and you shouldn't spend a lot of your time worrying about it, it's just something to keep in mind. Stems aren’t always bad news, you can always take advantage of larger stems by saving them and using them in tea!

Overall, the difference between large and small buds are minimal and mostly come down just to preference and visuals. Both large and small nugs contain THC and will get you high, unless you are displaying your cannabis it shouldn’t really matter. A lot of the size just comes down to strain and growing condition i.e. how much light the plant receives and won't really affect the overall quality of the flower, there are large buds that are strong and small buds that can pack quite a punch as well. Your best bet is to explore and try different strains and get a personal feel for what works best for you, the best thing to do would be to focus on the overall look of the flower and what stage the trichomes are in.

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