The Complete Guide to Shopping for Whole Cannabis Flower

Whole flower is classic. Roll it, pack it, put it in a bong: There’s no wrong way to enjoy cannabis. And within that world of flower is a vast variety of ways flower is packaged and sold at the provisioning center. How do you know what to bring home for your next session? This guide covers the ins and outs of shopping for whole cannabis flower and what you should know about choosing your own buds. 

First off, what’s whole flower?

Whole flower is the dried and cured bud of the mature female cannabis plant. It’s jam-packed with resin filled with the cannabinoids and terpenes that make cannabis work. When taking a look at high-quality cannabis bud, you’ll see a frosty coating of resin glands, called trichomes, with your naked eye. Whole cannabis flower is popular for its versatility and can be consumed in various ways, including with joints, pipes, and dry herb vaporizers. 

Shake, trim, popcorn, premium: What about these terms?

In addition to whole cannabis flower, you may also find popcorn buds, “shake” or “trim,” and premium flower options at the provisioning center. 

Popcorn buds refer to teeny-tiny bits of cannabis flower, each of which is about the size of a kernel of popcorn. Shake or trim is bits of cannabis flower that have fallen off of the plant due to shaking, bumping, movement, or from the trimming process. Neither of these terms describe the large flowering buds you sometimes find in a dispensary; however, they tend to be more affordable than whole cannabis flower. They’re an excellent option if you’re new to cannabis or you’re shopping on a budget. They may also be useful for consumers who want to make infused butter or oil for cooking or baking.

Most dispensaries also offer premium cannabis flower options. This cannabis flower tends to be of particularly high quality, consisting of densely packed trichomes filled with rich cannabinoids and terpenes. Premium flower is vibrant, aromatic, and trimmed to perfection. While it costs more than other flower options in the dispensary, if you’ve been consuming for a while, premium flower offers something new and exciting. You’ll often find cannabis connoisseurs opting for premium flower.

What to look for in whole flower

While we always recommend coming in and speaking to a budtender, researching ahead is an easy way to prepare for your trip to the provisioning center. A few key things to look out for when purchasing whole cannabis flower include appearance, smell, and third-party testing results. 


Vibrant colors and dense buds are generally signs that cannabis flower has been cultivated, harvested, dried, and cured correctly. Look for bright green hues and undertones that can be one of several colors, including purple and golden yellow. Keep in mind that different cultivars have unique appearances, so it’s best if you know what the ideal appearance is for each strain.

Another sign of quality is a frosty appearance that indicates the flower is covered in trichomes, and therefore contains a great deal of cannabinoid- and terpene-rich resin. These trichomes should look milky white, which indicates that the flower was harvested at its peak potency. Clear trichomes suggest that the plant was harvested before resin production was completed, and a rusty color suggests that much of the THC in the trichomes has already degraded to CBN.


While the smell of cannabis can undoubtedly vary depending on factors like terpene content, most high-quality flower exhibits an intense yet pleasant aroma. That’s a sign that the flower is rich in terpenes. Again, be aware that precise aroma can vary from cultivar to cultivar based on the bud’s terpene profile. Avoid cannabis flower that smells like an old basement, as this can be a sign that mold or mildew has contaminated the bud.

Lab results

One of the easiest ways to determine the quality of whole cannabis flower is by assessing the lab results. Licensed provisioning centers like Iconic Wellness will be able to provide you with lab results for all stocked cannabis flower. These results cover factors like cannabinoid and terpene profiles, potency, and other factors that play into the effects of the specific cultivar.

What about shopping for whole flower deli style?

Deli-style cannabis refers to a method of shopping where customers can examine each bud before they decide to bring it home. With deli-style, cultivars are kept in large glass jars rather than individually packaged. Once you’ve selected your buds, the budtender will use long, clean tweezers to take out each bud one by one, weigh it, and package it. 

Want to try your hand at picking out your own bud? Deli-style cannabis is available at all three Iconic Wellness locations. Check out our guide to selecting your own bud to learn more before your next visit.

How to use whole flower

One of the reasons that whole flower is so popular is because of how versatile it is. While consumption methods are ultimately a personal preference, the following are generally considered the most popular ways to use whole cannabis flower. 

  • Pack a bowl or pipe: Smoking cannabis through a pipe or bowl is one of the easiest, most straightforward ways to consume flower. There are small handheld pipes, large water bongs, and everything in between. Simply grind your flower or pick your bud apart, pack it in your bowl or pipe, and light up.
  • Roll a joint or blunt: Joints and blunts are among the most classic ways to consume cannabis flower. Joints are typically rolled with thin rolling papers, while you roll a blunt with a hemp wrap or tobacco leaf. Which you prefer depends on your goals and preferences, but each offers an easy way to pass flower around between friends.
  • Vape: Whole cannabis flower can also be ground and consumed via dry herb vaporizers. These electronic devices vaporize cannabis flower without combusting it, so there’s no ashy flavor or smoke. Vaporizers are discreet, convenient, and portable, making them a popular choice for many consumers.
  • Decarb for cooking and baking: Any kind of whole flower can be used to make delicious infused treats. First, the flower must be decarboxylated, or decarbed, by baking it at a low temperature for a long period of time. This activates the cannabinoids and makes them work when you eat the edible. It can then be combined with oil or butter to create infused edible products at home. Decarbing cannabis flower is an excellent option if you wish to avoid inhalation or seek more prolonged effects. 

Tips for storing whole flower at home

Once you bring home your cannabis flower, it’s essential to store it correctly so it stays fresh and potent. Environmental factors such as light, heat, oxygen, and humidity typically cause cannabis to degrade. It’s always a good idea to keep your cannabis flower in a tinted, airtight container, ideally in a cool, dark place, to ensure that it will stay fresh for as long as intended. The temperature in your storage area of choice generally shouldn’t exceed 70°F, so it’s best to avoid rooms where the temperature fluctuates, like the kitchen. 

FAQs about shopping for cannabis flower

We’ve covered a lot in this guide already, but there are still a few common questions people have when shopping for cannabis flower. Here are three of the questions we get most often here at Iconic Wellness.

  1. What is cannabis flower good for?

Cannabis flower is generally favored for its fast onset time and ease of consumption. While products like edibles and tinctures can take hours to set in, inhaled cannabis flower can take effect almost immediately. This makes whole flower great for those looking for immediate relief from pain or in situations where you are pressed for time.  

  1. How much cannabis flower can I buy in Michigan? 

Adult use consumers in Michigan, including out-of-state visitors, are permitted to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis per transaction. The state hasn’t set a limit on the amount of cannabis you can purchase in a single day. However, there is a possession limit of 2.5 ounces in public, as well as a 10-ounce limit in private residences. 

  1. Can cannabis flower go bad?

How long cannabis flower can last before going bad depends upon how it’s treated, transported, and stored. When handled correctly, cannabis flower can last between six months and one year. Cannabis flower will also degrade much more quickly if it’s left exposed to environmental factors like heat, light, oxygen, and moisture. It’s best to consume cannabis products before their expiration date, which will be included on all labels and third-party testing results.

Cannabis flower you can depend on 

Looking for high quality, tested cannabis flower? Visit any Iconic Wellness location in Michigan to shop for the best cannabis products in the state. You’ll also be able to speak with our expert budtenders about what strains and products might be best for you. Finally, you can sign up for Iconic Wellness’s rewards program to receive special deals on all brands and cannabis strains, so you can get your favorites for less.

[springbigform class="sbTextMessageForm"]
Rewards made simple.
Get the latest exclusive offers, rewards, and collect loyalty points to save on your next purchase.
[springbigform class="sbStandaloneForm"]
Rewards made simple.
Get the latest exclusive offers, rewards, and collect loyalty points to save on your next purchase.
[springbigform class="sbStandaloneForm"]
Hear From Iconic Customers
Don’t just take our word for it. Hear why our customers think we’re Iconic.

The budtenders were very friendly and knowledgeable! They had a very good selection and the place just has a good vibe. I recommend Iconic to anyone and I’ll definitely be back!

Nicholas K.

The environment is fresh and full of positivity. The staff are knowledgeable, friendly and eager to help. Product selection is top shelf quality and presented in a very inviting manner. The Lowell location is beautiful. You won’t regret shopping here!

Matthew S.

If you are looking for the best quality bud, Iconic is the place to go! They have amazing staff who have great knowledge of all the products. This place has so many amazing options, from the bud to the edibles.

Carrie R.

I’ve been about all over the southwestern area for my “bud hubs” but by far Iconic has a larger supply of variety, the prices that I’m aware of are the best within 100 miles. And the customer service is beyond phenomenal… This place has all you will need.

Shane K.