News and Best Practices

Train Your Palate to Taste Quality Buds

October 25, 2016

Every cannabis connoisseur has that moment, that motion they make with their mouth after they take a deep, delicious puff of well-grown buds. They may smack their lips, flap their tongue or inhale a follow-up intake of oxygen to open up the flavors.

Unlike assessing buds by sight, a lot of subjectivity goes into assessing them by flavor. How you consume the buds (bong, pipe, vaporizer, etc.) can greatly affect the experience—for better or worse.

To truly enjoy the full flavor of cannabis, it’s best to smoke a small amount (no more than a gram) from a clean glass pipe. The pipe doesn’t have to be brand new, but it must be thoroughly cleaned first to remove the old resin from the inside. Resin, after all, will affect the taste.

After taking a puff, exhale slowly so the smoke rolls off the tongue. Some cultivars will generate an aftertaste immediately after exhaling, while some may take a few seconds. Take the time to really consider what flavors you’re experiencing.

If you don’t get it the first time, feel free to sample the bowl again if you need to. If you’ve got a friend with you, have them try it, too. What tastes do you both immediately recognize?

You may find that it helps to write down the sensations. Does the smoke carry a piney or minty quality? Is there a twinge of sweetness at the very end? Does it leave a mesquite quality on your tongue?

Protect Your Other Buds

To keep your sense of taste in tip-top condition, protect your buds. And by that, I mean your taste buds. The tongue is a rather resilient organ. But taste buds are sensitive, and since they handle your flavor experience, you’ll want to take care of them. That means avoiding hot (high-temperature) foods. Be mindful of coffee, hot chocolate, tea and even baked goods. Hot food will singe the tongue, causing you to lose some of the depth you’d notice with healthy taste buds.

If you’ve ever heard that spicy foods will damage your taste buds, you’re in luck: That’s a myth. Spicy food triggers only the sensation of heat; no actual heat accompanies the spices. So if you love peppers or curry dishes, by all means enjoy them.

However, overloading on spicy foods may desensitize your taste buds to certain subtle flavors. If you’re aiming to really size up some nugs with your palate, you may want to avoid the Tabasco sauce beforehand.

Taste = Smell = Elevation Effect

Terpenes give cannabis its distinctive characteristics. Scent, flavor and high are all interconnected. The skunky scent, the “couchlock” high and so on are related more to terpenes than to cannabinoids.

You should understand which flavors correlate to which terpenes. This info can give you some clues as to how your high will feel before you even take the first puff. For example, the terpene linalool, which smells like lavender, is known for providing a relaxing or sedative effect. If you smell a sweet strain that reminds you of lavender, there’s a good chance it’ll confer this same chillaxing property once you smoke it.


By Randy Robinson
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
© 2016 CAN Performance Group, LLC. All rights reserved.


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