Bud Battle: Cultivating excellence in a growing competition

Greenleaf Compassion Center is hosting their third annual “Battle of the Buds,” a competition between 30 of RI’s cannabis cultivators. This contest is their way of showcasing the fantastic growers throughout the state while promoting some friendly competition. 

Greenleaf Chief of Staff Ted Newcomer Jr. states that the contest isn’t just about highlighting the growers but, “trying to create the conversation with our patients,” about a different approach to looking at flower.

“It’s the difference between moonshine versus a quality bourbon,” says Newcomer: while one drink might get you drunk quicker, it may still have a lower quality. As we learn more and more about cannabis and how it affects us, Newcomer related, we need to start looking at quality over quantity, and realize that there’s so much more to cannabis than just THC. 

In my own years as a self-certified “cannabis aficionado,” there used to be only one thing I would look for: How much THC does it have? I know that I wasn’t alone in this line of thinking, but as the cannabis industry continues to grow, so must our approach toward selecting quality strains. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve purchased flower purely based on the THC content and been greatly let down by the quality.

Cannabis strains contain 80-100 different cannabinoids, so why is THC the only one we talk about? Sure, CBD has definitely burrowed its way into our minds as well, but that leaves 98 other cannabinoids that never get mentioned. Some regular users may notice dispensaries changing their labels from showcasing THC percentage to presenting the TAC (Total Active Cannabinoids) to try to give a more accurate reflection of what the user experience is going to be.

The “Battle of the Buds” presents an opportunity for cannabis users to try a variety of different strains with different cannabinoids and take a more in-depth look at the experience. It also gives buyers the opportunity to connect with local cultivators and make more informed purchases in the future. 

Folks interested in participating should head over to Greenleaf to purchase their Battle of the Buds Box Set, which includes one gram of flower, identified by a code number, from each of 30 RI cultivators (plus a lighter, glass pipe, and scorecard). Each strain is scored in 5 categories: Aroma, Cure, Taste, Visual and Overall. This anonymous system helps users rule out any preconceived notions and focus on the overall quality of the bud.

Once you total the score for each strain, you can mark it on the scorecard (modeled to look like a classic composition notebook) and bring it back to Greenleaf in exchange for a free half-gram pre-roll. The last day to submit your votes is April 1, and winners will be announced later in the month. So if you’re interested in expanding your TAC palette, head over while supplies last.

Greenleaf Compassion Center, 1637 W Main Rd, Portsmouth.