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Thursday April 11, 2019

By Erin Hiatt

420 Culture

Everyone knows the old saying, you should never judge a book by its cover. After all, without further examination, how will you know what you could be missing? When it comes to purchasing cannabis, many consumers do just that when they go ahead and buy product that looks the best from the outside. Aesthetically pleasing, colorful, and robust-looking buds are very compelling indeed, and slick graphic design on labels and packaging can highlight the product inside. Or, it could disguise something that might not be worth your money or distract you from what you actually want or intend to purchase. So, does bag/jar appeal really matter when purchasing cannabis? Let’s find out.

The Truth Behind Bag Appeal

It’s important to understand that cannabis packaging, and in this case carefully selected display jars and nugs as well, are a powerful marketing tool at the dispensary. Even those in the staid and stuffy wine world, those who pride themselves on strongly considering varietals, regions, or age before purchasing, admit that they often buy wine based on the label alone. In fact, wine purveyor Gallo, who surveyed experienced wine drinkers, found that nearly two-thirds of them did just that.

Cannabis Jar
There's more to buying cannabis than a product's appearance. photo credit

The same goes for cannabis products. In an increasingly visual world exemplified by social media platforms like Instagram and eye-friendly infographics, an attractively packaged cannabis product and large, delectable nugs can make or break a purchase. Bag appeal is especially important to retailers, who want products to look pretty on the shelves. Cannabis retailers have shared that bag appeal is “huge,” that a package has to have “good eye appeal,” and “shelf appeal is the bottom line for retail.” What really creates customer loyalty, however, is the quality of the product and the buying experience.

Beyond Aesthetics

So, what’s a canna-consumer to do when faced with a dazzling array of beautifully-packaged cannabis products? Start by reading the labels on those pretty packages. You can learn a lot about a product from said label. For example, you may be looking for a particular potency, or a specific ratio of THC to CBD. The label will show the product’s THC and CBD levels, and some may break down other cannabinoids like CBN and CBG.

Always be sure to inspect cannabis for smell and potency, among other things, before buying. photo credit

You may also want to give the product you’re browsing a discreet sniff. Cannabis is replete with terpenes, chemical compounds that provide each strain with their own unique smell and taste. Some common terpenes, identifiable to even the least trained olfactory system, are the lemon-like limonene, the clove-like myrcene, the piney pinene, woody humulene, and the floral and citrusy linalool. Each terpene has unique therapeutic benefits and may help calm anxiety, smooth depression, and help you get a good night’s sleep.

If you are trying to decide between two products that both look really amazing from the outside, take a look to see if the flower has decent trichome coverage.

Identifiable by flower that has a frosty appearance, trichomes are tiny, sticky and gooey hair-like growths on the plant that are, in fact, cannabinoid powerhouses. Trichomes house the plant’s healing benefits for conditions like nausea, pain, anxiety, and inflammation so it’s important to make sure you look for buds that have dense coverage.

Cannabis consumers have many things to consider when making a purchase, and sometimes, it may just feel simplest to grab the best looking package. But it is well worth your while to do a little more product investigation to not only get the one that seems really cool or looks the best, but to get the one that also makes you feel the best. Happy shopping!

Do you think bag or jar appeal matters when it comes to cannabis? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons (license)


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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