What TerpGuide's Ratings Mean & What We Review

Eric Vlosky
Last Updated at
7:07 pm
June 6, 2023

While the majority of cannabis sold¹ is consumed as dried, smokeable flower, nowadays in the US and Canada there are many thousands of other types of cannabinoid-based products to choose from as well. These include concentrates, extracts, vaporizers, edibles, beverages, and topicals in just about every form imaginable, plus accessories. The sheer variety available today is frequently a bewildering experience when most people step into a dispensary. Deciding which products or brands between potentially hundreds at your local shop are worth your money is not always easy – especially if you’re trying to find the highest quality options among them. Further still, not every dispensary has a purchasing manager that puts time and energy into figuring that out, either. That’s where TerpGuide comes in.

We’re trying to help everyone who enjoys cannabis find the best possible products more reliably and with less effort. That’s why we’ve created TerpGuide’s intuitive three tiered rating system. No matter what you’re after, you can trust our reviews because they’re based on the most important key qualities each type of product offers which are objectively evaluated by connoisseurs and experts who want you to love what you buy.

What TerpGuide Reviews, and Doesn’t

You’ll find that our product reviews are given a rating of either Approved, Premium, or Headstash. These categories apply across everything we publish. It also means that even though we can’t review literally everything out there (yet!), nothing makes it on TerpGuide without being at least pretty darn good. That’s also why we’re pretty picky about what kinds of things we review in the first place, because what you’ll see on the website is only what we’re excited to consume ourselves. 

What we do review:

  • Solventless-only concentrates, extracts, as well as vaporizers
  • Top notch dried flower, pre-rolls, and solventless-infused pre-rolls
  • Edibles that are skillfully formulated and consistent from batch to batch
  • Accessory items that are made with purpose and perform admirably

What we don’t review:

  • Solvent-made* concentrates, extracts, or vaporizers (which includes CO2, hydrocarbon, alcohol, and most distillate-based options)
  • Budget flower, pre-rolls, or solvent-based infused pre-rolls
  • Edibles that don’t taste great or yield inconsistent effects from piece to piece
  • Accessories that are cheaply made, overpriced, or don’t reliably do what they’re supposed to

For flower and hash especially, we prize rare or uncommon terpene profiles, which usually translate to exquisite aroma, flavors, and effects in certain cases. It isn’t so much about being exotic or hard to find (although those can be plusses at times) as it is the skill of the producers to select and properly cultivate or even blend special strains. Product texture and packaging are also considered, because the best brands take time to properly present their hard work which is worthy of recognition. Vape carts are judged along similar lines, but of course you can’t perfectly duplicate the experience of solventless hash in a cartridge 1:1. Some get surprisingly close, which when it happens, earns high marks from our reviewers. 

Pre-rolls are evaluated on similar factors as flower, but the skill of the rolling job and if it's infused also are value adds. Even though many joints sold are basically the leftovers at a budget, some cultivators put their top grade in them too, which is what we’re after. This category also includes cannagars, but we only seek out infused rolled products that contain solventless hash, rosin, or dry sift. 

When it comes to edibles, how delicious they are and how consistent the effects are reign supreme – it’s frustrating when batches of edibles are different from piece to piece, which is usually the result of lazy manufacturing. Edibles made with solvent-based cannabinoids are the only exception to our "everything solventless" motto. This is due partially to the fact that solvent-based cannabinoids can be isolated to include individual cannabinoids that drive specific effects, such as CBN being used in many night time edibles. Many solventless edibles carry a hashy taste and aren’t always that great to eat, although there are notable exceptions we’re very fond of. 

How TerpGuide’s Ratings Work

What differentiates an “Approved” rating from a “Premium” one? And how does something rise to the level of “Headstash”? These distinct badges of quality are determined by how well each individual product compares in sum across its most important aspects, which are different between categories such as vaporizers versus edibles. Here’s what you can generally expect when you see our rankings. 


When you see something carrying the Approved rating, it means that it hit the mark on most aspects that we’re looking for in a quality product of its category to possess. We only publish reviews that are at this level or higher, so even if it’s not going to win an award, it’s still worth picking up any day. An example would be live rosin that has great effects and dabs cleanly but doesn’t carry an extraordinary flavor profile. 


Premium rated items are typically going to be some of the best products you can find at your local dispensary. Premium items carry high grades across pretty much all aspects from packaging, to flavor, and especially effects. Premium reviewed options are reliably better than the vast majority of what else is out there. 


Headstash products are ones that receive our highest rating – the coveted Headstash category is reserved only for the best of the best. No exceptions. This designation is given exclusively when every single aspect of a product is top notch. If you see this ranking, you know it’s a world-class option. Every now and then, everything comes together perfectly.

Sometimes we find that a product is somewhere in the middle between our ratings, and in those cases, we usually round down instead of up so that we aren’t inflating them. The fact is that it takes enormous effort, skill, and some luck too from producers to make high quality cannabis in all of its forms.

How to Find the Best Cannabis Products on TerpGuide

We spent a long time figuring out exactly how to communicate what the most important aspects of each product are in a way that’s easy to understand. Our format makes it intuitive to evaluate what our reviewers are reporting so that you can see if it aligns with your own preferences and decide whether or not it’s what you’re after. That’s why we cover the highlights of each product at the top, what we’ve graded it as, and begin, not end, with a neatly composed one paragraph summary. That way you can get the TL;DR or dive in on all of the details across key attributes. The choice is yours.

While the subject of raging debate, effects are near the top of the list of things we can’t promise will be the same for you, but since they’re so central to experiencing cannabinoids, we do our very best to elaborate on them. Many contend that sativa, indica, and hybrid are meaningless divisions for cannabis plants that only apply to their physical characteristics, but we aren’t completely sure that’s the case. 

Regardless, where it’s meaningful, we do sometimes include that phylogenetic information, but also posit that the shameless marketing around indica = sleepy or sativa = energetic is not usually helpful. It’s our belief that knowing the lineages or parent genetics of each product is usually more important, although chemotypes do vary quite a bit. These are all topics we’ll be covering in considerable detail before long, so stay tuned.

Before you go, make sure to sign up for our email list so that you can get notified whenever top brands are dropping new products in your state. While we’re just getting started in Colorado, no matter where you live, if you love cannabis and have a knack for creative descriptions, we’d love to hear from you and are looking for talented reviewers to join us at TerpGuide. 


*While it is occasionally still erroneously claimed that water is a solvent and virtually all extracts are “solvent” made, we believe this to be false. Water acts as a carrier, not a solvent, in the ice water hash process that’s used to make live bubble hash and live rosin. 

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