Private reserve refers to 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 as much as possible. Cultivators set aside small batches of cannabis flower that exhibit these qualities, such as vibrant color, pungent aroma, and unique bud structure. They are sold at 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. Each shelf has a different price range, and customers can expect to pay the highest premium for private reserve cannabis. Cannabis must have a dense coating of trichomes, bright or deep colors, and the perfect amount of give when pinched to be considered private reserve. Its moisture content should 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?

All cannabis sold in licensed dispensaries is lab tested and lab results for private reserve strains should show a diverse cannabinoid and terpene profile. Judging weed on potency alone can be a mistake. While recreational consumers with high tolerances may look for a private reserve with the highest THC content, medicinal users and consumers with lower tolerances may prefer flower that contains 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, and bud 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 September 30, 2021.