We’re taking a look at the 2020 High Times SoCal Cannabis Cup “People’s Choice” competition. Specifically the Hybrid Flower category. While we went through the standard categories and rating system from the Cannabis Cup, it felt like the kind of competition that is due some superlatives. So which brand has the Best Jar Appeal? How about Best Single Nug? Who was the Most Generous? And who will take home the infamous Photographer’s Choice Award?
We are not affiliated with High Times or the Cannabis Cup. We purchased this “Judges Kit” package like any other consumer can and would, and did not receive any special treatment or special package of products.
The first ever “People’s Choice” Cannabis Cup is a series of packages available on the new High Times Delivery Service, where anyone of legal Cannabis purchasing age can buy a set of products in Ten different categories varying from $250 for the Pre-Rolls to almost $600 for the Topicals + Tinctures category. Every category comes with a custom HighTimes Backpack (which has a cool USB extension built into the side), a High Times Facemask, and a special code to log in and officially judge the competition.
Cannabis Cup “People’s Choice” Categories
- Indica Flower (8x 3.5g)
- Hybrid Flower (8x 3.5g)
- Sativa Flower (8x 3.5g)
- Sungrown Flower (8x 3.5g)
- Pre-Rolls (14x 1-1.5g)
- Edibles (30 Samples)
- Edible Beverages (25 Samples)
- Concentrates (14x 1/2g)
- Vape Pens & Cartridges (16x 1/2g)
- Topicals + Tinctures + Capsules (17 Samples)
We are taking a look at the Hybrid Flower category.
The entire Hybrid category this year was full of Kush flavors and Cake flavors. Eight different brands provided what seem like standard retail eighth jars, with all the proper potency and warning labels. Cannabinoid potencies ranged from 23.66% to a ridiculous 40.9% total cannabinoids. We went through and rated 1-5 the Traditional Cannabis Cup categories of:
- Aesthetics & Texture
- Aroma / Scent
But anyone can do that. We’re here for a bit more entertainment and controversy. We’re here to separate the wheat from the chaff. The nugs from the LARF. And we’re here to let you judge yourself (as much as a world without smell-o-vision will allow).
– Best Packaging –
Despite what many think, packaging can make or break a sale on the retail shelf. Should a brand focus on the Company Branding? On the Strain Name? The flower inside? Or just go for flash and flare? Which of these options makes you want to take a closer look or just take it home with you sight unseen? The Cure Company was the only competitor to have a Box with an inner Jar. Ember Valley and Ikänik Farms opt for the clear jar with minimal writing, but Ikänik does it to an extreme where you can barely read the branding and jar text. Almost all came with an inner air-seal under the cap for freshness.
Our winner has the most unique, stylish and legible jar, with custom cut, embossed and metallic-highlighted labels, and a custom sticker that doubles as lab test results and a breakable safety seal. We also like their “Est: Before it was Legal” tagline.
Best Packaging: Mohave Reserve “Mohave Triangle”
– Best Strain Name –
The naming conventions used for cannabis strains have become fairly arbitrary as genetics are cross-bred in every which direction by thousands of cultivators around the world. The OGs like “Blue Dream”, “Sour Diesel”, and “Acapulco Gold” can still be found, but cannabis names have become more brand oriented, or plays off of the flavors and notes of the strain. There were the Brand focused “Cure-Lato” and “Mohave Triangle”, the more lineage-based names like “Wedding Crashers” and “Calli Pure Kush”, and the flavor profiles like “Cereal Milk” “Kush Cake”. But one sure stood out.
Best Strain Name: “Milkmaid’s Muffin Top” from Soverign Cannabis.
– What are YOU doing here? –
Labeled as an Indica and competing in the Hybrid category, Atrium Cannabis entered “Wedding Crashers No 7”. Bold strategy cotton, let’s see if it pays off for them…
Truth is, it’s the lowest cannabinoid content of the bunch and does not have the “goodnight” couch lock you’d expect with an Indica. Still not our favorite Hybrid but we guess it fits.
– Best Jar Appeal –
Second after the packaging is the jar appeal. What does it look like in the jar? Especially in the world of COVID-19, the smell test isn’t really possible anymore and Budtenders are forced to show you the nugs through the top of the display glass. Below we take a look at all the contestants from the top down like you’d be shown the strain in a dispensary.
Best Jar Appeal: Cannabiotix “Cereal Milk”
– Most Generous –
We used our trusty scale to put every manufacturer’s eighth weighing to the test. While most landed right on 3.50 grams or a little over, Atrium Cultivation dropped a whopping 3.68 grams of “Wedding Crashers No. 7” into the jar. Only one, Ikänik Farms, was just under weight at 3.44 grams.
– Best Single Nug –
This category is looking for the single best nug in all the eighths provided. While most brands provided a standard sampling of medium sized nugs, only two brands provided nugs that we consider “Large”. One standout not only dropped a 2.5 gram whopper of a nug, but it is absolutely coated in bright white trichomes. It clearly has been treated well and has not overhandled.
Best Single Nug: Cannabiotix “Cereal Milk”
– Most Potent –
Past High Times Cannabis Cups have been judged entirely based on personal experience. How does it smoke? How does it taste? How high are you? But in the new world of Retail Cannabis and mandatory testing, we get a bit of science in the mix. All of the entrants are required to publish cannabinoid test results on the side of the jar. Most of the entrants are around 30% THC, which in previous Cannabis Cups would be considered Most Potent. But not this one. Green Dragon’s “Feria (The Fetty)” has some ridiculous numbers on the jar. Boasting 34% THC and 40.9% Total Cannabinoids this is one of the highest flower potencies I’ve ever seen. And it packs the punch. This is the flower that will get you high after you’ve been smoking all day.
Most Potent: Green Dragon “Feria (The Fetty)” 40.9% Total Cannabinoids
– Best Value –
Which flower matches the quality up to it’s price? We price checked these eighths on WeedMaps because let’s be honest. Price matters when buying cannabis.
- Sovereign “Milkmaid’s Muffin Top” $45-55
- Ember Valley “Kush Cake” $50-60
- The Cure Company “Cure-Lato” $50
- Green Dragon “Feria” $55
- Mohave Reserve “Mohave Triangle” $50-65
- Atrium “Wedding Crashers No. 7” – $60
- Cannabiotix “Cereal Milk” $60-81
- Ikanik (Unable to find retail price)
While the nugs Cannabiotix provided were stellar, we still can’t justify paying $80 pre-tax for an eighth ounce of cannabis.
Best Value: The Cure Company “Cure-Lato”
– Photographer’s Choice –
As a cannabis photographer, we photograph what we’re given and make the best out of it. But we see everything. We see every smashed trichome, every poor trim job, every bug and every hair. We look closer at these flower buds than 90% of cannabis smokers. For “Photographer’s Choice” we’re looking for the flower that has the least signs of handling, the most undamaged trichomes. Is one side of the nug smashed flat? We’re looking for size of the nug and density of Trichomes to plant matter. If there’s any mold, a bug or a hair, you’re out. (Thankfully no bugs, mold, or hairs were found in ANY of these eighths.)
The Photographer’s Choice Winner is Cannabiotix Cereal Milk. If this is how the average on-the-shelf eighth of CBX flower looks, then wow. If we lucked out, then so did Cannabiotix. But that’s how Secret Shopper goes sometimes.
These nugs were very cleanly trimmed and nicely handled. Absolutely coated in trichomes and the outside trichome heads had not been smashed into each other. The two good-sized nugs were easy to handle, and look exactly like the photos on the menu. Really can’t beat that from a photographer’s standpoint. Many other strains needed to be cracked open to find unbroken trichome heads, but this one seemed to be able to be shot from any angle, without any preparation. A photographer’s dream.
Agree? Disagree? Want us to cover more categories next year or review your product? Leave us a comment or message here or on our Instagram Page at https://www.instagram.com/potshots.media