Good Weed and Bad Weed

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to go shopping for weed to get a substandard product. Have you ever been fooled into buying a batch only to find that it was not good enough when you smoked it?

If your answer is yes, then you need not be dejected because there are several ways of distinguishing good weed from bad weed so that nobody will try to trick you again.

Some marijuana products out there are misleading, but have no worries!

What does good weed look like? How to tell if weed is good? We have addressed all the factors you need to look for when identifying a high-quality batch of weed.

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In an ideal world, good quality marijuana buds would be plentiful, and everyone would be able to get their favorite strain.

Unfortunately, the reality is very different. There are a lot of substandard weed products out there. Maybe you are wondering how you can distinguish a bad weed from a good weed?

There are several ways of ensuring that the marijuana you buy is of top quality all the time. We have gathered some pointers that you should remember when buying marijuana.



Best Cannabis Strain


1. Recognize the Shelf-Life

If you buy your weed from a dispensary, this tip will serve you well. Even though the dispensary staff is not out to rip off customers, it is worth knowing the different grades of marijuana available in these places.

Most legal dispensaries arrange their buds in the same way cocktail bars organize their liquor. This means that the best weed is on the top shelf. If you are buying from a reputable supplier, you can use this visual clue to assess the bud’s quality. Most marijuana retail outlets organize their weed into three tiers:

  1. Top shelf buds
  2. Mid shelf buds
  3. Bottom shelf buds

Top Shelf Dank High-Quality Weed


This is the highest quality weed and often costs more than the other batches, but the superior quality offers good value for money.


  1. Top shelf weed is beautiful to the eyes. When you look at it keenly, you will notice that it has a sticky and dense appearance. If it has these visual characteristics, you can be sure that you will be getting high-quality stuff.
  2. Dank weed has a crystal-like sparkle when exposed to light. Most strains also seem to be covered by a shade of white dust.
  3. Dank weed has a conspicuous hairy appearance and often features an orange, green, purple, or red tone.

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Top-shelf dank weed is very potent. Unless you are an experienced consumer with a high tolerance for strong weed, a batch of sticky hairy weed will leave you stoned for a while.

This is the very reason why dank weed is recommended for pain relief and restoring appetite.


Top-shelf bud has a powerful smell that will fill a room with fragrance. This is why experts call it the loud weed.

You will probably experience a skunky and a very dense smell in the class of kush. It also has sweet fruity or vanilla hints in the mix though this depends on the type of strain.


Dank weed has a hard and quick effect on the consumer and often leaves you feeling goofy and nice for a couple of hours.

The high potency of the top-shelf bud is why many people use it as a medicinal remedy. You can use it to treat pain or suppress the effects of depression or anxiety. It is the perfect bud for lifting your spirit.

Mid-Grade Weed


Although this bud is in the mid-grade category, it is not associated with negative characteristics.

We consider it to be strong enough to satisfy the taste of most marijuana mortals.


  1. A quality mid-grade bud has a nice look with plenty of leaves and bright green patches tempered by dark green notes.
  2. Most mids have some hair on the leaves. The luscious fibers are often a mix of orange and red, but there are several other variations.
  3. This bud has a richer and more vibrant quality than what you find in low-quality weed.
  4. Of course, all the buds are dry, but this stuff has an attractive vibrancy, though it is not possible to crush it with your finger the way you would do to crummy dirt weed.
  5. Mid-grade weed has a vibrant quality that most of the cheap stuff won’t have. So if you are looking for quality mid-grade buds, look out for the above qualities.

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Good mid-quality weed has a mellow and more nuanced buzz than low-quality weed.

The feel varies with strain, your level of tolerance, and the method you use for smoking.

However, it is a bit mellow. Overall, the mid-strain is not very intoxicating though it is most suited to medicinal uses.


A good quality mid-strain is part skunky and with hints of perfume notes.

However, it also has an appealing rich dank quality that distinguishes it from cheap weed.


A quality mid weed leaves you relaxed with a bit of appetite for food. Though mids vary with strain, a good mid should make you drowsy and help fight insomnia.

Reggie Bad Quality Weed


Reggie is a name that most weed consumers have come to associated with poor quality weed. This is the type of dirt weed that experienced stoners avoid most of the time.

However, you can smoke it as a last resort. If you smoke it, you will notice that it’s harsher on your lungs than typical top-shelf weed.

It is called brown or dirt weed because it looks like the sort of weed you pull out of your backyard.

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  1. Reggie is often very dry and seedy.
  2. It has the appearance of grass clippings and is not something you would want to smoke.
  3. It lacks the neat little hairs that characterize top-shelf weed.


The feel varies with individuals, but Reggie does not have the killer buzz you get from higher-quality weed for most people.  

It is one of the most common mild weeds on the market but is not suitable for experienced marijuana users. If you have a high tolerance, it might not hit your system. However, beginners will get a calming, relaxed feeling that starts immediately after smoking.


Reggie has the skunky scent associated with weed though some may catch a faint sweet smell.

For most people, the smell is too strong. If you want to go low on your weed consumption habit, smoking Reggie might not be a good idea.


This weed is most suited to hardcore stoners. The effects manifest quickly though they are relatively mild. Reggie has a reputation for inducing hunger rather than treating ailments.

If you take weed to get a little high before starting your day, then a little bit of Reggie will do.


In most cases, shelf level is a good indicator of the differences in the quality of weed available at a dispensary. However, you should be wary of businesses that use this hierarchy to increase their products’ prices artificially.

However, if you don’t know of a dispensary with an experienced budtender to guide you, you can rely on your senses and the tips provided above to distinguish a good weed from a bad weed.

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2. Pay Attention to Stem and Seed Content

Always watch out for vendors whose weed is full of seeds by asking for a seed count. This is important because most of the weed sold on the streets is full of seeds and stems. You can imagine the disappointment you would have if you paid $50 for weed only to find that over half of it is stuff you can’t smoke.

Seed Count

Top-quality marijuana does not contain seeds. Even bottom shelf weed from reputable dispensaries does not have seeds. Typically, seeds explode when ignited, destroying the flavor of your joint and may even make your glassware to crack.

Stem Count

Stems do not add any value to your weed and often prevent you from getting high. Unnoticed stems in your joint will spoil the smoking session. Stems pop when lit by the flame, disrupting your zen and producing harsh smoke that irritates your lungs.

Disadvantages of Having Seeds and Stems in Your Joint

  • Combustion: Having stems and seeds in your marijuana buds is an indicator of low-quality weed. When ignited, stems often destroy the flavor of the remaining parts of the joint.
  • Adding weight: Seeds and stems add weight to your bud, meaning that you will be paying for stuff that you can’t even smoke.


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  • Poorly cultivated plants: You wouldn’t want these in your joint or bowl because they sign a marijuana shrub that was fertilized before the weed was harvested. The rushed preparation process led to low-quality weed.

3. Check the Moisture Levels and The Aroma

Immediately after opening the sealed marijuana container, you should get a very pungent smell. A strong smell is a good indicator of quality strain. Poor quality weed has a minimal aroma and often smells like hay or grass.

The Relationship Between Smell and Terpene Content

Look out for buds with a strong “marijuana musk” because it is an indicator of fresh weed with a high terpene content.

Terpenes are a set of aromatic compounds that are present in high concentrations in good marijuana. They are responsible for the characteristic smell of quality weed.

If you grow a good strain of weed and harvest, dry, and cure it the right way, it produces a distinct smell and glorious musk flavor.

Why is getting a specific aroma from marijuana so important?

The Smell of Good Weed

  • Citrus smell: Buds that smell like citrus are a great remedy for anxiety and depression. The high terpene content leaves you grounded after smoking marijuana.
  • Piney flavor: A piney smell results from high terpene content that enhances cognitive output in terms of memory and concentration. The terpene aids you when you are focusing on inner work.
  • Musky flavor: The herbal musky smell is great for inducing a feeling of relaxation and sleep. And when used as a herb, it has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory qualities.

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The Smell of Bad Weed

  • Grass smell: If you encounter weed with the smell of hay or freshly-cut grass, it is a sign of marijuana that was not grown properly or was not dried and cured properly.

Over Dried Weed (Bad Weed)

Even though marijuana is sold as a dry flower, it should have a bit of stickiness.

How to identify dry weed?

While it is not always possible to physically touch marijuana before purchasing it, it is important to learn how to avoid over-dried batches.

Good weed has a bud that looks crisp and dry from the outside. But the central part is sticky due to resin. When you snap the bud into two halves, it should crack instead of crumbling.

What does extreme dryness indicate?

Weed dries completely due to improper curing and storage. Such weed may also break into several pieces when handled.

When weed is exposed to a lot of air and light, the buds dry while the THC degrades into the cannabinoid CBN. While CBN is beneficial to the body, it is not suited to smoking. The degradation of THC means that the weed will not give you the high you want.

Damp Weed (Bad Weed)

You should not buy damp weed. Dampness is an indication that the product was stored in a place with high humidity or that it was not cured or was cured improperly.

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Physical Indicators of Dampness

The dank weed that has been dried and cured properly grinds easily. It does not break into dust but instead produces frosty green flakes. The weed that has bent green twigs is an indication of a rushed drying process. It can also be an indicator of a poor curing job done in an environment of high humidity that can cause molds.

What is the right moisture content for high-quality weed?

The ideal moisture content for the space used to store weed is 62% humidity. Any moisture content above that promotes the growth of molds.

The Relationship Between THC Content and The Ideal Moisture Content

A high-quality marijuana strain may have 20% THC content, but storage can make a world of difference regarding the final content. For instance, if you leave it unsealed in a warm place with plenty of light, it can lose its potency very fast. You can end up with a product with 16% or less, which is not good weed for smoking.


Ideally, your weed should not be too dry or too damp. Make sure the moisture content is just right.

4. Make Sure Your Weed Has the Right Trichrome Count

You might need a magnifying glass to test this quality, but properly grown cannabis strains produce buds that are full of trichomes.


Bad Cannabis

Signs of Bad Weed


What Are Trichomes?

Trichomes are appendages or outgrowths that develop on the outermost layer of the marijuana plant. These outgrowths range from tiny hairs to large buds and masses of the stalk that look like small mushroom heads.

The Importance of Trichome Count

  • Trichomes act as storage for cannabinoids and terpenes that give marijuana products their distinct taste, smell high, and medicinal qualities.
  • The trichomes host the terpenes of marijuana strains and determine the taste and aroma of the weed you consume. The best quality weed is full of trichomes, meaning that finding buds that have them is a positive sign.

Phenotypic features of Trichomes on Good Weed

  1. Crystals: Trichomes act as a cover for high-quality buds and resemble sparkling crystals.
  2. Density: You can tell trichome density on a bud with your naked eyes. However, a magnifying glass or a similar device is the best option if you want to determine the actual quantity and get a good idea of the quality.
  3. Color: Most growers harvest their cannabis when the trichomes develop a milky white color.
  4. Resemblance: Trichomes look like tiny bright mushrooms when observed under a magnifying glass. They are quite beautiful.

Phenotypic Features of Trichomes On Bad Weed

  1. Underdevelopment: If the weed has minimal trichome content, it is likely harvested prematurely.

Typically, the trichome starts by having a head full of clear liquid. This liquid turns milky white with time, then turns amber. When most of the trichomes turn milky-white and a few of them turn amber, the buds are ready for harvesting. However, if most of the trichomes are clear, it means that the buds are underdeveloped. You should avoid harvesting the plants before all the trichomes are ripe because you will end with poor quality weed.

  1. Color: If most of the trichomes have an amber tinge, it means that the weed has overgrown and was harvested late. Marijuana from such plants has high cannabidiol content.

Although cannabidiol has a lot of medical benefits, when smoked, it results in a mild high and has many side effects such as dizziness and fatigue.

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If your buds do not have enough trichomes or most of them are underdeveloped when observed closely, it may be that you are dealing with a strain that was harvested before it was ready.

If they have turned to an amber color, you should avoid such weed because it is not the best quality you can find on the market.

5. Test the Bud Structure

Marijuana buds have a different feel when held by hand. Holding is one of the methods used to determine the quality of weed.

Buds of Bad Weed

  • The buds of low-quality weed tend to be wispier, lighter, and a bit leaner than good weed.
  • Poor quality buds tend to have more pistils (which have an orange tinge mixed with red hairs) than the buds of good weed. Good buds have pistils dispersed in all parts of the bud instead of clustering in some areas and lacking in others.

Buds of Good Weed

  • High-quality weed or even mid-grade weed has large buds that are dense and tightly-packed.
  • The flowers of good weed are stacked with heavy buds that look healthy. Grinding a few pieces of the compact flowers produces a lot of weed that can fill a joint or two.
  • When farmed poorly, good weed buds can be less dense than required with several open or incomplete buds all over the stem.

How to Avoid Producing Bad Buds When Growing Marijuana?

After harvesting, trim the marijuana buds to remove all the leaves around the buds. You can get a proper trim by following these tips.

  • Ensure that the marijuana buds are hand-trimmed instead of trimming with machines.
  • Avoid trimming machines because they tend to crush buds and destroy the fragile trichomes that they hold.
  • When buying, avoid buds that are trimmed with machines or untrimmed buds with too many leaves. These are signs of weed that is grown under rushed cultivation practices.


Bad Weed

Smoking Bad Weed


If you decide to grow your own weed, learn to experiment with more advanced cultivation techniques. One such process is pruning.

Pruning helps your marijuana produce large buds. It often involves removing the weaker branches to enable the plant to focus on developing the existing buds.

6. Detecting Marijuana Bananas

Another quality to look for when examining a batch of weed is ‘marijuana bananas.’

What are bananas?

You may be wondering what we mean by ‘marijuana bananas.’

Marijuana bananas are long yellow pods that look like real bananas except for their size. The presence of these pods is an indication that the batch is from a weak strain and is probably full of seeds.

The Problem with Bananas

If the pollen from marijuana bananas falls on any of the other cannabis strains in your garden, the plants will focus on developing seeds instead of producing cannabidiols like THC.

Bad Weed Vs. Good Weed

1. Top-shelf Dank Weed

It is very hard to find marijuana bananas among top-shelf weed. Most buds in this category have a sticky, tender appearance with a crystalline shine and a negligible amount of marijuana bananas. The hair fibers on the buds are fresh and vary between shades of orange, green, and purple.

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2. Mid-grade weed

Sometimes the mid-grade weed does not contain many marijuana bananas. However, you should always provide adequate lighting and good environmental conditions to prevent bananas from dominating your weed plants.

3. Reggie Bad Quality Weed

Reggie buds will have plenty of yellow pods growing on the marijuana buds. The bananas are an indicator of low-quality genes, as you would expect on poor quality weed. The pollen from these bananas may spread to other marijuana plants, and spoil their quality. If you ever encounter a batch with yellow banana-like pods, you should know that this is bad weed.

Causes of Banana Formations that result in Bad Weed

These are the main reasons for the formation of bananas on marijuana plants of various strains:

  • Changes in the lighting, especially too bright light or inconsistent exposure to light during the flowering stage.
  • The excessive heat of more than 80°F creates conditions that are good for these ponds to develop.
  • Harvesting the buds too late because of poor timing or when a grower misses the deadline for cutting the buds.
  • Mechanical stressors such as damaged roots, broken branches, or pruning during the flowering stage.
  • Irrigation issues, such as lack of water or excessive watering.
  • Applying too much fertilizer.
  • Attacks by mites, insects, and marijuana diseases.
  • Thermal stressors, which include irrigating the plants with cold water.
  • Applying phytotoxic products, such as fungicides and pesticides.
  • Poor nutrition or lack of fertilizers.


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How To Prevent The Formation Of Bananas

You can prevent the formation of marijuana bananas on your plants by adhering to the following guidelines:

  • The most important rule is to prevent the plant from experiencing any form of stress during the flowering stage.
  • Reduce the chances of getting yellow weed plants by providing good growth conditions, such as proper spacing.
  • Ensure proper hygiene in the handling of the plants.
  • Regularly check your timers to ensure that all procedures are completed on time.
  • Regularly inspect your plants for mites and insects.
  • Water your plants regularly and fertilize them with a balanced nutrient solution.
  • Keep track of the trichome count on your plants.

7. Watch Out for Molds and Pests

Needless to say, high-quality marijuana buds are free from pests, mold, and other contaminants. However, these issues are common in cannabis obtained from sources that are not within the regulated formal market.

Appearance of Mold

Mold on marijuana plants manifests as:

  • Whitish, powdery mildew.
  • The mold is easy to distinguish from the crystalline trichomes or grey, fuzzy mold. The appearance depends on the type of fungicide that has attacked the plant.

Effects of Mold on User’s Health

Mold does not only destroy the flavor of your weed but can potentially cause several health problems. Inhaling the fungal spore can cause health issues ranging from bad taste to a devastating lung infection.

To avoid health complications, avoid smoking moldy buds even if they appear to be of high quality.


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Major Causes of Mold

  • Moldy weed results from poor drying, curing, and storage of marijuana products.
  • Fungi only persist in environments with high levels of humidity. It often develops on living flowers but can also grow on buds that are cured in poor conditions.

Where to Get Weed That Is Free from Mold?

Healthy weed is available in reputable dispensaries, certified growers, and coffee shops that source their weed ethically. It is hard to find moldy weed in such places.

Some vendors provide magnifying tools on their countertops to help customers confirm that the weed is mold-free.

Indications of Pests on Your Weed

When insects such as gnats, mites, aphids, and thrips feed on marijuana, they leave behind eggs, fecal matter, and exoskeletons on the buds.

If you see such critters or traces of them on the weed, don’t smoke it.

Tests for Differentiating Good Weed from Bad Weed

  1. Massachusetts requires vendors to take their buds through Total Yeast and Mold (TYM) tests before selling it in the licensed dispensaries. Colorado, Canada, Pennsylvania, and eleven other U.S. states require vendors to conduct TYM tests before stocking weed in dispensaries.
  2. Several other government agencies also regulate the microbial contaminants, chemical solvents, and metals present in legal weed.

What to Keep in Mind

Always check the labels on marijuana products for information on the production process and testing for contaminants.

You should err on the side of caution by rejecting products with no testing information. Only buy products that are packed responsibly, so that you can know the quality of the product you are buying.

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Important Takeaways

To conclude on the details that differentiate good weed from bad weed, it is clear from the above categories that you need sharp senses and broad knowledge of the differences to make the right choice.

In spite of all the above indicators, quality standards vary with the geographical region where you are purchasing weed. The regional laws, weather, and climate may constrain or assist you in searching for quality weed. Nevertheless, your personal experiences with weed from different regions will enrich your knowledge and opinion of quality weed.

The reality is, even with all the above knowledge of the variables that affect weed quality, there is nothing that beats experience when it comes to determining the quality of weed. However, you can still try to learn some of the basics highlighted above. The knowledge will go some way into increasing your ability to source quality weed products.

The more information you have as a consumer, the better your decisions will be when purchasing. Being informed will also enable you to decide on the type of buds you want and what to look for when shopping. However, the increased legalization means that time will come when we won’t have to rely on word-of-mouth to assure the quality of weed when shopping.

With marijuana becoming increasingly accessible, public education and increased awareness will empower a lot of people to make the right choices. For the best shopping experience, stay informed, keep on researching, and take your time to inspect the buds before buying.

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