The term Private Reserve is held for the highest tier of cured cannabis flowers available from a dispensary or delivery service. While all craft cannabis is dried and cured for optimal usability and quality, Private Reserve flowers are specially cared for to preserve terpene and cannabinoid content on an advanced level. Cultivators set aside small batches of cannabis flower for these higher qualities, such as vibrant color, pungent aroma, and unique bud structure, and give them a premium price. Private Reserve strains are known for their exclusivity and can include rare, popular, and award-winning strains by celebrated cultivators.

Cannabis usually comes in four categories in the regulated market: House or Compassion Shelf, Mid-Shelf, Top Shelf, and Private Reserve, with Private Reserve being the topmost price and quality tier. Each shelf has a different price range, and customers can expect to pay the biggest premium for Private Reserve. Cannabis must have a dense coating of trichomes, bright or deep greens, purples, blues — never browns — and the perfect amount of give when pinched to be considered Private Reserve. Its moisture content will be at an optimal level for an even smoking experience and to discourage the growth of mold or mildew.

How is private reserve cannabis selected?

As cannabis buds set aside for the classification of Private Reserve are expected to be of the highest quality, they will have been lab tested to confirm that there are no pesticides or heavy metals and to analyze the cannabinoid and terpene content. Private Reserve cannabis should have a diverse cannabinoid and terpene profile, and going on potency alone can be misleading. While most recreational consumers will be looking for a Private Reserve with the highest THC content, medicinal users may be looking for the flowers that contain high levels of CBD or other therapeutic cannabinoids.

For example, a popular high-CBD strain, Harlequin, could most certainly be considered Private Reserve, especially when grown out with care and cured just as carefully. Additionally, high-end hemp can be considered Private Reserve. The flavor, aroma, bud and structure all lead to a coveted spot on weed's highest shelf.

When shopping for cannabis, be sure that the flower you're procuring is up to par with its shelf designation. A jeweler's loupe is a cannabis aficionado's good friend when choosing which buds to buy. If ordering delivery, read reviews of strains labeled Private Reserve before purchasing.

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on February 1, 2021.