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Ask a Bud: Why Craft — What’s the Difference?

By August 16, 2022January 4th, 2023No Comments

Craft cannabis, with its hands-on, micro-cultivation processes serves up THC with a little TLC. Budtender David Whyte of Greenhouse Cannabis explains why small batch cannabis deserves the love.

Sharing what makes craft cannabis unique is a helpful way to steer customers looking for something special. It’s also an opportunity to educate shoppers about the care that goes into making great bud. David Whyte, a budtender at Greenhouse Cannabis in Hamilton, shares his answers to common customer questions about craft cannabis to explain why it’s worth their attention.

So, what is craft cannabis?

When it comes to hands-on, small-batch cannabis, Licensed Producers in Canada really shine, and they deserve the spotlight. That’s why OCS established a craft designation to help customers seeking them out. The OCS defines “craft” as handcrafted small-batch cannabis products, that are hand trimmed, hang dried, hand packaged, and grown in small batches.

What is considered small batch?

The OCS defines “small-batch production” as any facility that produces less than 10,000 kg of dried cannabis per year. “This is a great way to give each individual plant the attention it needs to reach its full craft potential.”

Does the small-batch process really make a difference?

“Craft cannabis products are produced in smaller facilities where the flower is hang dried and the processes after harvest are carried out by hand. Generally, these smaller facilities tend to be very passion-driven companies and their size allows them to pay close attention to detail at every step along the way.” This close attention also allows some craft producers the time to experiment with specialty strains that require a higher level of care that would be challenging in larger facilities — and diversity means more growth and choice in the industry.

What is hand trimming?

“Hand trimming is exactly what it sounds like: trimming the flower by hand instead of using any sort of trimming machines in the process. Some brands will use terms like ‘hand manicured’ or ‘hand finished,’ which often means that they briefly run the flower through a machine before trimming any excess leaves by hand, but these processes don’t fall within the OCS definition of craft.”

Does hand trimming and hang drying yield a better-quality product?

“Trichomes, and the balance of terpenes and cannabinoids present in them, are delicate. Hang drying whole cannabis plants in the proper environment allows the drying process to happen slowly, preserving the resin glands as much as possible. Once dried, the trichomes are more brittle and can easily be broken. Gently hand trimming cannabis flower preserves many more trichomes than most, if not all, commercial trimmers. Anything that can be done to preserve trichomes will help produce a higher-quality product.”

Is craft always more expensive?

Not always. We’re seeing more consumers seeking out craft products and that helps build range. “There are more and more craft certified options coming to market every month, and there are options available for everyone, no matter what kind of budget they are on.”

A Little Budtender-to-Budtender Advice

How do you know when to suggest craft products?
“Some customers have their set favourites already, while some are open to exploring different options outside of their regular choices. These consumers are also usually more open to exploring craft cannabis options from smaller producers.”

How do you help consumers choose craft cannabis when price is a concern?
“At Greenhouse Cannabis, we strive to carry craft options in every price category alongside our standard production options. If the difference between a craft product and a standard production product is five dollars, I emphasize the extra effort and care it takes to produce craft cannabis. I also take extra efforts to learn the backstory of these smaller brands. Do they come from the legacy market? Are they making any sort of social contributions? What kinds of specific growing practices do they employ? All of these can be important factors in someone’s decision. Consumers feel more comfortable spending a little more money or experimenting with new products when they understand it more or can make an emotional connection to the brand in some way.”

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