"I would totally compare it to coffee," he explained. "In the bean form, it's going to last longer than if you grind it. It's going to be a completely different coffee when it's ground." With more surface area in the ground-up cannabis, it will dry out and oxidize faster, leaving you with a harsher, less potent smoke.
"There's a reason people are smoking joints from buds," he added. "It's a perfect vehicle for the flavor of the cannabis to come through." That said, great pre-rolled joints are out there; ask your cannabis-consuming friends for their local recommendations, or ask your budtender to recommend the freshest, most potent products they carry.
If someone new to pre-rolls can't tell if the one in their hand is any good, Rooney said there are a few ways to check. "If you were to take a nice bud and put it through a grinder and dump it out, and then open up a pre-roll and dump it out, it should be the same," he advised.