Farmer Felon
How to Judge a Prerolled Joint

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How to Judge a Prerolled Joint

Farmer Felon

May 26, 2020

Prerolls are one of the most popular cannabis products available. Beyond convenience, they’re effortless. Ideally, a preroll should provide the fullest experience of smoking a cannabis strain with the joy of not having to roll one yourself. It’s instant gratification, but you want to make sure that you’re not smoking trim! 

With so many preroll options available on dispensary shelves, how do you properly decide what’s a tasty jay and what’s a dud? First, you start by knowing what to look for while smoking a joint.

Lucky for you, there are several easy ways to judge the quality of prerolls so you can make a note of what’s good versus what’s garbage the next time you visit the dispensary.

Prerolled joint


How Does the Preroll Taste?

A simple question, but seriously, does the joint you’re smoking taste like hay or old grass clippings? A high-quality preroll should have a consistent flavor from the first puff all the way down to the roach. You should taste the robust, smooth flavor you got from the first light, even once it’s slightly altered from smoking. A mid-quality preroll will have a pronounced flavor when you fire it up, but by halfway through, it will start to taste burned and resiny. A poor quality preroll will light with little flavor, and quite literally taste like an ashtray by the time you’re nearing the end.

One way to determine the quality of cannabis flavor in the preroll is to “dry pull” it; which is to say, take a hit without it being lit. If the joint tastes good, with a defined flavor profile, this is a good sign. It should taste similarly once you burn it.

Does It Burn with Runners or Canoe While Smoking?

If you’ve smoked more than a few joints, you no doubt experienced the frustration of a joint canoeing or burning unevenly as you smoke it. One side will stay unburned while the other will burn quickly, resulting in a peninsula of joint paper near your ash. This can happen when prerolls are packed into the cone forcefully, or are twisted tightly at the end. Basically, some parts of the ground flower are more compact than others, slowing the burn in that section. Worse yet, there may be stems and other material included from a poor grind creating that inconsistent burn.

Another cause can be an uneven cure, resulting in pockets of moisture. The highest quality prerolls will do this far less often, or (preferably) never.

Does Your Preroll Have Fluffy, Light Grey to White Ash?

Arguably, the cure of the flower is an essential part of getting a preroll to provide a high-quality experience. That’s assuming the cannabis was grown cleanly, without pesticides, which all regulated California cannabis is by law. Curing is a process that allows cannabis to lock in a certain level of moisture provided by the terpenes and other desirable plant compounds while reducing chlorophyll and other compounds. If done correctly, the cannabis will be dry and sticky, but not brittle or powdery. By not being overly damp, it will snap like a twig at the stem. The cure is very important, ensuring the flower burns evenly, as well as tastes fantastic at the same time. It’s a delicate process, and fluffy white ash is proof it was done correctly.

For decades, many cannabis connoisseurs argued that when a joint produces hard, black ash, it’s a sign of improper flushing of the plant before harvesting. Flushing is the process of feeding the plant only water for 7-14 days right before harvest, leaving out all other nutrients. This helps the plant dispose of all the remaining nutrients in its leaves and stems, which are to blame for the hard, black ash. However, modern science doesn’t seem to support this theory, as plants don’t dispose of their nutrients when fed only water.

Ultimately, one constant remains: fluffy light grey to white ash is what you want to see when burning your preroll.

Lit prerolled joint


Does Your Preroll Go Out While You’re Smoking It?

Your joint shouldn’t go out unless you’ve left it unsmoked for a long time. Any preroll will extinguish if you get so baked you leave it hanging in your hand for five-plus minutes, but if you just took a hit and it immediately goes out, you’ve got a problem. I always like to say, ‘you shouldn’t have to re-light a joint more than twice.’

Related to the point above, if your joint goes out, it’s linked to a poor cure. Cannabis that is too moist will have trouble burning consistently and produces a hard, dark ash to it. Well-cured cannabis will burn evenly and continuously without going out on you.

Can You See a Halo of Honey?

Lastly, while you’re smoking, do you see a ring of oil the color of honey or dark maple, located right beneath the burning cherry? This is a good sign. Cannabis contains cannabinoids that, when extracted, take the form of thick, sap-like oil, light gold to dark amber in color.

A quality preroll will have enough cannabinoids in it to start releasing that oil as the flower burns.  The heat drawn through the joint from every hit should melt those cannabinoids before the cherry burns the cannabis outright. That will look like a small oil ring being chased by the fire down to the filter tip.

Of course, these factors can only be noticed once you’ve already purchased products to smoke at home. Not sure what to look for in the dispensary? Ask to smell the same strains sold in jars that are sold in the prerolls available. Make sure the flavor matches what you remember when you light it up. These five factors will then help you determine whether your picks meet the highest standards. It doesn’t take an expensive preroll, either. From affordable to top-shelf, it’s possible to find an enjoyable experience.

Speaking of quality prerolls, check out our handcrafted, terpene-rich whole flower prerolled joints.

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