Marijuana continues to be a controversial topic in today’s world, with a seemingly growing acceptance of its use. We are still a far cry from weed legalization, and the market is poised to continue growing moving into the future. Therefore, the number of people using it has increased considerably, raising concerns about marijuana addiction and substance abuse in our society. 

To dispel some of the confusion surrounding marijuana, we put together a helpful guide explaining existing weed types and how they look. Next, we will explain how the plant variety, strains, and forms of cannabis make a difference in users’ lives. 

Understanding what weed looks like makes it easier to tell if a loved one is in danger of developing an addiction. Also, if you have a young adult about to head off for college, it can help educate them about the risks of using weed.

Marijuana Plant

Chances are you have a picture of typical green cannabis buds embedded in your mind when you think of weed. Although it may seem an easy task to spot cannabis, the marijuana plant has different forms, and it can be difficult to identify each.

The marijuana plant is the most known visual that is linked with cannabis. You can identify the marijuana plant by its palmate leaves, the color of which is usually bright green. 

You can remember the marijuana plant visuals by identifying its leaves that have a serrated edge. This feature helps distinguish marijuana plants from other plants in the cannabis family. Nevertheless, growers have bred different variants of the marijuana plant. They all have different colors, of which blue and purple are prominent. 

Generally, the marijuana plant has different structures, many of which are common in ordinary flowering species of plants. Cannabis grows on long skinny stalks and features large fan leaves. These iconic fan leaves of marijuana extend out from areas called nodes on the stem.

The standing feature of marijuana or cannabis plants is its flowers or buds that portray intricate and unique formations. Chunky buds, sugar crystals, and fiery orange hairs are all distinctive features associated with marijuana buds.

The Life Cycle of Marijuana Plant

Marijuana plants have a life cycle that contains four different stages. They are named germination, seedling, vegetative state, and flowering stage. 

Germination occurs in the first three to ten days when the marijuana seed sprouts and comes out of the coil. From there on starts, the seedling cycle, which usually spans two to three weeks after germination. In this phase, the plant forms its first cotyledon leaves.

Next comes the vegetative stage. Within 3-16 weeks, the immature marijuana plant develops its stalks, stems, branches, and fan leaves. Lastly, the flowering stage completes the life cycle. It usually lasts 8-11 weeks, at the end of which a weed plant starts developing flower buds.

Parts of Cannabis Plant

Marijuana plants, just like other flowering plants, have many plant parts. However, there are some distinctions due to which marijuana plant stands out.

Cannabis Seeds

Female cannabis plants are incharge of seed production. Seeds are the most important part as they contain the genetics for both male and female plants. On germination, seeds sprout into a taproot that develops into the main root, anchoring the plant.

Cotyledon Leaves

These leaves are the first to grow from the marijuana seed after germination. Cotyledon leaves typically grow in pairs and are a sign of successful germination. Once you notice them, you can rest assured that your plant is on its way to healthy and sturdy growth. 

Cannabis Roots

The roots of cannabis plants grow down in the soil from the main stalk. The root that grows from a seed is called the taproot. Roots are the lifeline of plants since they deliver water and oxygen from soil to the plant body. Growers add mycorrhizae to the cannabis roots, a beneficial fungus that helps improve the plant root system.

Marijuana Plant Stem

The main stem of a cannabis plant grows up from the root system that supports all the branches. The stalk of cannabis plants helps in maintaining structure and reinforces stability.


The lateral branches come out of the main stalk. On these branches, the fan leaves and buds grow. Farmers train their cannabis plants by topping branches to form more bud sites. 


A node on the plant body is a point at which the branch grows from the main stem. Although fan leaves and buds can grow on the nodes, not all of them develop from nodes on the stalk. 

Nodes play a significant role in determining the sex of a cannabis plant once the nodes start growing into pre-flowers. Using the internodal spacing, you can determine if your plant will grow tall or have a short height. 

Fan Leaves

Fan leaves refer to the iconic cannabis leaves. These leaves capture sunlight and contain an insignificant amount of resin. Although they help grow plants, farmers trim them after or before cultivation.

Sugar Leaves

These are small, sugar-coated leaves that are present around the buds. After trimming, these leaves are stored to be used for pre-rolls and other marijuana products.


Flowers are also known as buds, which are the fruits of cannabis plants. The buds are rich in cannabinoids and terpenes that offer multiple therapeutic benefits. Most importantly, flowers are only grown on female cannabis plants that you can use in different products. 


Bud site or cola refers to a bunch of buds that grow together in a compact form. The main cola is present at the apical bud, while many budding sites feature smaller colas.

Stigma and Pistil

The reproductive parts of a flower are in the pistils. These are vibrant, hair-like strands that are called stigmas. Moreover, these structures collect pollen from males and pass through a series of color transformations. The stigmas start with white coloration and darken to yellow, orange, red, or brown color upon plant maturation.


Trichomes are a blanket of crystal resins that covers the cannabis buds. Plants originally developed these trichomes to protect against harmful elements and are rich in therapeutic cannabinoids like CBD and THC.

How Do Indica Plants Tend to Be Different Than Sativa Species?

Indica weeds are stocky and short, having broad leaves. However, sativa plants are taller and skinnier than indica species. The leaves of sativa plants are pointed and thin in structure. While sativas provide “head high,” indica plants offer “body high” with deep relaxation.

Marijuana in Other Forms

Marijuana plants offer nature’s freshness, but most people prefer them in their dried form. While fresh marijuana leaves are great for making teas and smoothies, dried marijuana is typically smoked and has various forms.

Each of the forms demands different equipment depending upon the method of consumption. Some of the most often preferred forms of dried marijuana are as below.

Marijuana Buds

Marijuana buds refer to the flower of marijuana plants in the dried form. People prefer these buds usually for smoking. Since these buds have different sizes and shapes, you can pick one depending on the strain. Moreover, the most usual color of marijuana buds is brownish green due to substantial drying. These buds look like dried clumps having crystals or trichomes on their surface. 

Ground Marijuana

The most common form of marijuana that you can think of is ground marijuana. Since consumers have to crush marijuana buds on their own, most prefer the ground form. Generally, one should store ground marijuana in small containers or plastic bags. 

Ground marijuana is the dried and cured marijuana flowers the producers ground into fine powdery form. As for the color concern, this type of marijuana usually has a greenish brown tone. People often use this form of cannabis in making pipes or rolling joints, although you can also use it in cooking edibles. 


If you are into smoking, cannabis joints are what you might savor. A marijuana joint is a cigarette-like roll that contains ground marijuana on a piece of rolling paper. While machines roll the cigarettes, joints are more unevenly rolled products as users roll them by hand. 

Beginners find this method friendly to smoke ground marijuana without any issue. Usually, they are small in size, and you can easily conceal them. Like cigarettes, you can smoke the joint by lighting one end and smoking from the other.

Joints are one of the most frequent ways cannabis consumers use because you can control the size. From slender rolls to thick cigars, they come out in different shapes and sizes depending upon the person’s way of rolling them.


A blunt is similar to a joint but uses tobacco leaves instead of rolling paper. Blunts became popular due to the hip-hop culture and are now identified with this music genre. 

Presently, people roll blunts using blunt wraps instead of tobacco leaves as in the past. Blunt wraps result in a sleek and smooth appearance which was quite unattainable because of rolling by hands. Using ground marijuana or hashish in tobacco leaves or blunt wraps, one can make blunts.

Dab Weed

For consumers looking for a highly psychoactive experience with marijuana, dab weed is what they should buy. Dab weed is a highly concentrated type of marijuana containing a great THC concentration. 

Dab weed usually features an amber or yellow color. Moreover, this form of weed is completely unrelated to the parts of the marijuana plant. You cannot visibly spot any plant material in dab weed, as it just contains the cannabinoids concentrate. Due to its high potency, dab weed can cause serious health risks.

Dab weed is available in wax, butter, shatter, and honeycomb. Honey oil or honeycomb is an amber or dark golden liquid with high consistency.

Besides, dab shatter refers to the thin sheet of semi-transparent amber tone with melting properties below room temperature. While dab butter resembles peanut butter with its dough consistency, dab wax looks like brown sugar as it has coarse crumbly particles.

Dab Pen or Wax Pen

A dab pen is an equipment that consumers use to smoke dab wax. These devices typically have a heating system that vaporizes your dab weed when you put it inside. While dab pens are available in different sizes and shapes, they all resemble vaping devices.

Due to privacy concerns, dab pens have become more popular as they allow you to smoke discreetly without much attention. Since they look like vape pens, one can easily perceive that one is vaping nicotine while smoking cannabis. 

How to Pick High-Quality Weed? 

You can search the cannabis market high and low without fear of buying the brick weed of yesteryear. Thanks to the growing technologies, facility improvements, quality standards, and lab testing methods, it’s harder to spot moldy or brown weed on the shelves of weed stores.

However, “not dirt weed” does not refer to high-quality cannabis. Like any other industry, the cannabis market is overflowing with good and bad weed options.

Most experts recommend ensuring high-quality buds by giving them a smell test. Usually, a freshly cut grass odor hints at the lower quality of marijuana. Unfortunately, in many states, you cannot perform the smell test on products that come in sealed packaging. 

That leaves consumers to detect the good weed from bad weed via using one sense: sight. Moreover, by using the latest visual grading systems in the industry, you can differentiate between the weed forms as objectively as possible.

So, here are the five things you must consider if you want to purchase a high-quality weed using your sight.

Bud Structure

Some people perceive “bud structure” as bud size. However, small-sized buds are not always an indicator of low-grade weed, and big buds do not always indicate top-notch quality. 

Indeed, the bud structure is not related to size but hints at the actual structure of the marijuana flowers. Healthy marijuana plants with high quality and well-developed flowers feature a strong, fully three-dimensional structure. 

The buds of such marijuana plants should be sturdy. Moreover, if you can look through its buds, you should not buy it. It is because a healthy marijuana bud has no gaps, and it’s completely cured. Notably, it should not be too soft and not too dry so that it crushes to dust on the touch.

On the other hand, you can identify a flower with poor structure using its flimsy and flat looks. On holding up a nug, you will notice gaps between the structure, enabling you to see through the other side. 

Such sparse and flimsy flowers may be inadequately dried and contain many visible stems. All these signs are telltale features of premature harvesting of marijuana plants.

The bud structure of the marijuana plant is not only an aesthetic pointer but also influences the ultimate smoking experience. Marijuana buds with poor structure grind down to dust, easily offering nothing practically.

Due to the lack of density or moisture, you will have difficulty rolling these flakey grounds to roll up. Even if you manage to roll them, you will burn your blunts or joints as soon as they hit the flame.

That’s not all: the buds structure helps determine how much the bang you will get for your buck. When there is more bud, and the stem is insignificant, you will get more smokeable product per gram. 

Trichome Density

Trichomes are the small structures present on the surface of marijuana plants. Notably, these specialized structures contain all the good stuff of cannabis, including CBDA, CBDA, terpenes, and tons of cannabinoids. Hence, the quality of trichomes shapes your experience with marijuana.

Although the trichomes are not visible to the naked eye in high dimensions, you can use their density as a deciding factor. For this purpose, you need to check how densely coated the flower is with trichomes without using a magnifying glass. Looking for “frost” will help you in determining the density. Frost is a sparkly coating that covers the entire flower. 

Buds with high trichome density glisten substantially under the light. Otherwise, it may feature a waxy appearance based on the maturity of trichome heads. 

Contrary to that, flowers with low trichome density will have a grassy and dull appearance similar to herbs. Furthermore, if you notice that the flower lacks any visible trichomes, it would be good not to buy it. Since such a flower lacks potency, goes up in smoke quickly, and is quite dry, it will not offer a great experience.  

You should not get stuck with dissatisfactory smoke. Therefore, you must look for the flower with a greater density that will speak of the weed quality. Doing so can ensure that the bud will offer intense effects regardless of its THC percentage.

Trichome Development

Unlike trichome density, you cannot tell about the development without a magnifying glass. However, if you want to shop to grade dank weed, you must check it. 

In fact, trichome development is more important. A bud can have high trichome density, but it will be considered a “bad weed if it has under-developed trichomes.” Furthermore, a “frosty” looking flower might be a bud with poorly developed trichomes when you inspect it via a magnifying glass. 

Buds with well-developed trichomes feature a milky-white, amber, white color. In the marijuana flower cycle, this is the point when the bud is highly rich in THCA, CBDA, terpenes, and other cannabis compounds. You should be able to detect such buds using their large spherical structures present at the apex of each stalk.

The trichomes that are opaque and milky-white are linked to the sativa strains. However, if your bud has amber-tinted trichomes, know that you will get an intense physical sedative experience. 

Still, it is not a perfect rule to judge the extent of experience you will get using the tone of trichomes. However, the white color trichomes indicate a low or mid-grade bud, even though they are linked with heavy indica strains.

Marijuana flowers having bright amber trichomes are overdeveloped as they imply a harvest date past peak ripeness. On the other hand, the underdeveloped trichomes are transparent or a blend of white and transparent. Such flowers do not offer high potency and have a vegetal aroma.  


Trimming is the only subjective feature you will look for in the four above categories. It is like enhancing the beauty of buds by giving them a special cut, maintaining the bud quality. 

The basic trimming rule is to remove excess leaves and sustain all other psychoactive parts. Producers might see this goal differently. Therefore, you will notice some leaving a thin coat of sugar leaf at the base of the bud to keep the trichomes from falling away. Other growers tend to give a uniform “Christmas tree” shape, which is quite appealing to the buyers. 

Producers may use wet-trimming and dry-trimming methods depending on their preferences. While wet trim refers to the trimming before the curing process, dry trim is done afterward. 

Besides, hand trimming produces more delicacy than machine trimming. Moreover, trimming machines can harm the integrity of the flower due to shaking and tossing to get rid of leaves. Therefore, the producers with a keen eye for details use hand trimming for their small batches of marijuana plants.

How Do People Use Different Forms of Cannabis Plants?

Since there are different forms of weed, consumers tend to use them in various ways. User preference has a great role in determining the right method of consumption. Still, the most famous methods of using weed to date are as follows.

Smoke Spliffs

In the United Kingdom, most people tend to mix marijuana with tobacco. Then, they roll it into a cannabis cigarette called a joint or spliff. The ones who avoid nicotine dependence make a weed-only spliff to steer clear of tobacco side effects. 

Smoke Bongs

People make smoke bongs by mixing marijuana with tobacco and then putting the blend in a pipe. By lighting the bong, one can inhale the mixed cannabis and tobacco smoke through water coming out of a large tube. There are a variety of bongs, and not everyone uses tobacco to make them. However, if you use tobacco in smoke bongs, you will have greater nicotine dependence.

Edibles You Can Eat or Drink

You can make quality marijuana edibles at the convenience of your kitchen. Most diet-conscious cannabis consumers make edibles by mixing marijuana into cakes (hash brownies), yogurt, marijuana tea, or sweets (lollipops/gummies). 

Since you are making these edibles yourself, you can control the amount of cannabis in each edible. Gummies often contain harmful drugs like synthetic cannabinoids, artificial chemicals, etc., affecting the overall quality. So, if you do not manage your dosage, you might face health risks due to a larger dose.

However, many cannabis brands work for you and offer high-quality cannabis edibles. Such products contain a measured dose of THC, terpenes, and other cannabinoids. So, by using them, you can ditch many of the side effects of irresponsible marijuana dosing.

Vaping and E-cigarettes

In recent years, vaping has garnered an immense fanbase. Most stoners opt for vaporizers that heat cannabis content instead of burning it. Pre-made vape cartridges and vape juices are similar to nicotine juices. However, they differ in the constitution as vape juices are rich in cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

While CBD is a legal cannabinoid, the federal government has not yet legalized THC completely. Due to this, many sellers might sell illegal vapes, most of which contain synthetic cannabinoids.

Conclusion: What Are The Different Types Of Cannabis? 

While there are many different forms of marijuana, it always comes from the same plant: cannabis sativa. They’re small and bushy, typically around 8-10 feet tall, with large fan leaves. The flowering parts and leaves are packed with psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is a psychoactive compound chemical that causes changes in the brain and makes people feel euphoric and sleepy.

The flowers grow on small branchings off the stalks. There are three different kinds of flowers: female, male and hermaphrodite. Moreover, the female flower has white pistils at the end of its life cycle. The female flower produces the most potent form of marijuana. The male pre-flowers look like little balls which turn into a reproductive part that creates pollen (the pollen sac).

Besides, farmers grow different strains of marijuana. While sativa plants have long, narrow-shaped flowers, indica plants tend to have heavier and larger buds. However, the leaves of indica plants are short yet wider. Cannabis is also grown in hybrid strain, a mixture of sativa and indica plants.

Almost all marijuana plants are female because male plants perish as the seed grows into flowers. With these marijuana plants, other forms of cannabis emerge. These include marijuana buds, ground marijuana, blunts, dab weed, joints, weed wax and dab or wax pens.  

One might prefer to ingest, vape, or smoke marijuana in different forms. If you do not like the original taste of marijuana, you can check the variety of products brands sell.


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