How to Distinguish Good Weed vs. Bad Weed

How to Distinguish Good Weed vs. Bad Weed

Good Weed vs Bad Weed: How to Distinguish the Difference? For every type of stoner comes a strain of cannabis that can suit their taste. Generally speaking, cannabis users fall into two groups: those who use it for medical reasons and those who do it for fun. No matter which side you are on, it is vital that you use high-quality buds.

When you smoke weed, your choice of cannabis buds should be based on your own needs and preferences. But even for experienced smokers, it can be hard to decide which strain to use in today’s market. Today, we will discuss weed quality to help you differentiate good weed from bad.

Differentiating Good Weed From Bad Weed

A high-quality cannabis strain will have a strong and pungent smell and sticky green nuggets. It will also give you a more potent high. A top-shelf weed is of the highest quality because it is expertly trimmed, carefully dried, and properly cured by an experienced grower so it can reach its full potential.

On the other hand, low-quality cannabis strain, also called a schwag, is basically flawed based on most or all of the evaluation criteria. Dirt weed is easy to spot because of its off-white to brown color, lack of smell or taste, and, most importantly, weaker potency. Even worse, low-grade weed usually has a lot of seeds and stalks in it.

Let’s get into details and have a more in-depth discussion on how you can spot a high-quality weed in the next section.

What Makes a Good Weed?

Before taking out your magnifying glass and using your discerning eye, let us go over some of the most common terms that are used in the cannabis plant. If you know the basics of cannabis anatomy, you will know what to look for and where to look for it. You can tell it is a healthy plant by looking at its parts, like its trichome color, visible stems, and so on.

Flower refers to the harvested, dried, and cured female flowers of the cannabis plant. The level of THC in the flower is the best indicator of how high it will make you feel. However, the cannabis strain can also have a bud structure with a high level of CBD, producing effects that are not as potent as others.

The best cannabis products, like vapes, edibles, tinctures, and oils, usually come from high-quality marijuana. For newbies, it may be challenging to differentiate between top-shelf buds and low-grade marijuana. The key is inspecting the plant’s smell, look, feel, and structure.

There are many ways to tell if a bud is good aside from smoking it immediately. We have listed down the factors you should consider when looking for high-quality cannabis.

Smell Test

The smell is a primary indicator when trying to figure out if the marijuana you bought is good weed. The pungent and robust scent of different strains, such as Chemdawg and Super Silver Haze, will almost jump out of the package.

However, not all good kinds of weed must have a solid smell to be flagged as top shelf. This is especially true if the bud comes from a strain that tastes fruity or sweet. Most of the time, the floral, berry, or citrus aromas of some dank strains, like Lemon Skunk and Purple Space Cookies, are not as strong as other strains.

In a nutshell, the smell of weed should give you a general idea of what it will taste like. But it is crucial to keep in mind that the taste of many different strains of cannabis can be surprising. You should always politely say no if you have encountered a moldy weed that smells like chemicals.


Dank cannabis that has been dried and cured properly can be easily ground up and won’t turn into dust but rather into frosty green flakes. If there are green twigs that are bent, it means that the drying process is rushed.

Higher-quality flowers should feel sticky and slightly spongy when touching or gently squeezing them between your fingers. But the cannabis should not be completely dry and should not fall apart when you touch it. In short, ensure that the weed is neither too dry nor too wet to choose the good stuff.

Bud structure

Flower structures of top-quality cannabis strains tend to be airy and fluffy or compact and dense. If the flowers are as hard as rocks, it means that the growers may have used plant growth regulators, which could make the taste unpleasant. If the buds are too soft, it could mean that the plant did not get enough light when it was maturing.


Stickiness should not be confused with wetness. Buds with a lot of resin are sticky because they are covered in a lot of cannabinoid-rich resin. Wet or soft buds are more likely to have mold or mildew on them. This means that the buds are improperly dried and cured.

Visual Inspection

Make sure that the cannabis is visually appealing to the naked eye. All you need to do to tell if the bud has enough resin and spot contaminants such as bugs and mold is to look at it. You can use a good pocket microscope or a scope attachment for your phone to zoom in and check the trichomes. If the trichome heads are fully developed, you should see a milky white color with red hairs.

If you find a lot of what looks like clear resin glands, it means that the cannabis was picked a little too soon. If the bud has any unwanted small organisms or chemical particles, they will show up when the bud is magnified.

Some people who smoke weed today think that Indica strains with a lot of frosty resin on them are the only basis of its overall quality. However, deep green Sativa strains still make a great stash. Always look at cannabis in more detail and consider other factors when comparing a bottom-shelf and a top-shelf product.


For dank weed to make an impression, it should always look good. Good marijuana must have all its leaves cut off and trimmed properly. This can be done by using trimming machines or doing it manually. Cutting can take a long time, and sometimes shortcuts are taken, which leads to a lower-quality, bottom-shelf product.


Buds with a variety of colors and unusual patterns of hairs are signs that they are high quality. The most common hair color is orange, which is followed by red, then shades of pink and purple. Even though brightly colored hairs are not a guarantee of quality, it shows that the dank weed has matured. Buds with white hairs mean it was picked too soon.


Ethical cultivation does not use synthetic fertilizers. It is best to look for organic cannabis products that are manufactured and cultivated using sustainable farming methods. Choose a licensed dispensary that offers lab-tested products. The Certificate of Analysis from these lab tests will show the accurate cannabinoids and terpenes and possible pollutants like heavy metals and pesticides.

How to Distinguish Good Weed vs. Bad Weed

Examples of Top-Quality Cannabis Strains

Make your hunt for the best cannabis strains easier by checking out this list of the most popular and sought-after strains in the weed market:

  • Unicorn Poop: A rare hybrid strain created by crossing GMO and the Sophisticated Lady. Its effects are described as uplifting and euphoric for the body and mind, perfect for those who want to feel productive and relaxed.
  • Key Lime Kush: An Indica-dominant hybrid derived from the Girl Scout Cookies strain. It will give you intense cerebral clarity and a sense of creativity and focus.
  • Goji OG: A Sativa-dominant strain created by crossing the Snow Lotus with the Nepali OG. It provides a wicked high and has a fruity, sweet flavor to it when smoked.
  • White Bubba: An Indica-dominant hybrid strain created by crossing the White X Pre-98 Bubba Kush strains. It packs potent effects that can slightly increase your energy. As you fade into pure bliss, your body will be lulled into deep relaxation
  • Durban Poison: A pure Sativa strain that is grown in South Africa. It hits with a strong head high that is ideal for inducing creativity. This strain is best to use during active periods and daylight activities.
  • White Death: A potent Indica-dominant hybrid, which is the result of breeding White Widow and Death Bubba. It provides happiness and euphoria before your body becomes locked into a relaxing and blissful state.

What Makes a Bad Weed?

Brick weed, brown weed, dirt weed, and so on are some of the names used to describe a bad weed. Make sure you do not risk your cannabis experience by learning how to discern good weed from bad. Here are some of the factors you should look at when assessing a bad weed:

Strange Smells

A bad weed can have a wide range of strange smells that are sometimes musty or moldy. A straw-like smell means the cannabis has been around for a long time or has been compromised. Cannabis can last for about a year if it is stored in a cool, dark place away from heat and light. After a year, you will be able to tell that the cannabis is degrading. Most of the time, foul smells coming from cannabis are caused by how it is handled, cured, or aged.

Underdeveloped Trichomes

It is easy to tell if a flower is of poor quality by how it looks. It could look like a discolored flower with molds and lots of stems. The most common reasons buds change are their age and the chemicals used to cultivate them. Amber-colored trichomes are a vital sign that the cannabis in question is of poor quality and has a harvest date way past its peak ripeness.

Slightly Dry and Brittle

If the cannabis is of a lower quality, it may feel dry or brittle when you touch it. In contrast to a good weed, which feels sticky and heavy, a bad weed feels light, airy, and weightless. It may crumble quickly and even fall apart when you touch it.

On the other hand, wet buds are not good either. When buds are too wet, the stems do not break easily and tend to stay in place when you pinch them. Mold and mildew can quickly grow in this environment because it has a lot of water in them.

High THC Levels

The best weed does not require a sky-high THC concentration. THC levels of more than 20% should be a red flag. After all, consuming highly-potent cannabis strains often leads to severe adverse effects. You can still have a great experience even if you are using a strain with only 5% to 10% THC.

The Best Way to Distinguish a Good Weed From a Bad Weed

After going through all those steps to determine if the weed is good enough to buy and smoke, you have finally reached the moment of truth. What does it taste like, and how does it make you feel when you smoke it?

When you smoke top-quality marijuana, it should feel smooth and good. When you let the smoke out of your lungs, you should be able to taste the terpenes in your mouth. When you smoke an excellent weed, it can feel like you’re just inhaling warm air and not getting any hit at all in your throat.

The cleanest weed is the best cannabis. When we say clean, it means that the ashes should be very close to the color white. The cleaner the weed is, the whiter ashes it will produce.

Poor-quality marijuana produces smoke that smells bad and may make you cough. It will make your mouth feel tingly and numb, and it will have a taste that could be described as bitter or metallic. The ash it produces is dark because it is full of chemical residues, like those left over from using pesticides and fertilizers.

Using Other Sources

You can use either source to compare good weed and bad weed. For instance, you can ask other cannabis enthusiasts about what they think if you do not trust your own judgment. Another way is to use the cannabis grading systems to determine the quality of the bud you have.

The most common grading system is the one that goes from A to AAAA, where A is the worst and AAAA is the best. The strain of cannabis does not matter when it comes to grading. Instead, the grade is based on how well the grower cultivated the plant.

Lastly, there are lab tests that you can rely on to find out exactly what makes up the strain. Lab tests, on the other hand, can take a lot of time and cost a lot of money. Fortunately, licensed dispensaries, such as BudLyft, offer lab-tested cannabis and CBD products to provide you with safe and quality weed.

Signs of Improper Cannabis Storage

The quality of your cannabis is greatly influenced by how you store it. Incorrect storage can lead to many problems, including over-dryness, mold growth, and a stale or unpleasant smell. These factors not only affect the enjoyment of your cannabis but can also impact its potency and safety. Here is a closer look at some telltale signs of improper cannabis storage.


One of the most common issues faced by cannabis users is over-dryness. When stored improperly, cannabis can lose its moisture, causing the buds to become overly dry and brittle. You will notice that the buds crumble easily when handled, and the smoke can be harsh, leading to a less enjoyable experience. Additionally, over-dry cannabis can lose its potency as the cannabinoids and terpenes deteriorate.

Mold Growth

Mold growth is a more serious issue with improperly stored cannabis. Storing cannabis in a humid or non-ventilated area can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. Moldy weed often has a musty smell and can have visible mold spores that look like white powder or web-like structures. Consuming moldy weed can lead to serious health issues, including respiratory problems, so checking your buds carefully is crucial.

Stale Smell

A fresh, aromatic smell is one of the indicators of high-quality cannabis. Conversely, if your weed has a stale, musty, or unpleasant odor, it is a sign that it has been stored improperly. The smell is often the result of exposure to excessive heat or light, or it has been stored for an extended period. The loss of the weed’s natural, pleasant aroma also means a loss of terpenes, significantly contributing to the weed’s overall effects and flavor profile.


Cannabis that is vibrant in color generally indicates that it is fresh and high-quality. However, if your cannabis has turned brown or yellow, it is likely exposed to too much light, heat, or humidity. These conditions can cause the cannabinoids and terpenes to break down, affecting the weed’s potency and flavor.

Changes in Texture

Properly cured cannabis should be somewhat sticky to the touch due to the presence of resinous trichomes. If your weed feels too wet or dry, it may have been stored improperly. Overly wet cannabis can be a breeding ground for mold, while overly dry cannabis may have lost its essential oils, resulting in less potency and flavor.

Proper storage of cannabis is vital to maintain its quality, potency, and safety. Store the weed in a cool, dark place in an airtight container to keep it fresh for longer. Ensure it is out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Following these storage guidelines ensures that your cannabis remains as enjoyable and effective as possible.

Remember that if you notice any of these signs, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming the affected cannabis. Your safety and health should always be the top priority when consuming cannabis or any other product.

Presence of Pests

Another sign of improper cannabis storage is the presence of pests. Cannabis that is not stored correctly can attract various pests, including spider mites, aphids, and fungus gnats. These pests can damage the cannabis, leaving visible signs such as bite marks or the pests themselves. Consuming cannabis infested with pests can be harmful, so it’s best to dispose of any affected weed.

Changes in Flavor

Just like with the smell, the flavor of cannabis can be greatly affected by improper storage. If your weed tastes stale, harsh, or just “off,” it’s likely that it has been stored incorrectly. In addition, exposure to heat, light, or oxygen can cause the terpenes, which contribute to the flavor of cannabis, to degrade. This can lead to a less enjoyable smoking or vaping experience.

Trichome Condition

Trichomes are the tiny and crystal-like structures on the surface of cannabis buds that produce and contain the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes. The condition of these trichomes can indicate the quality of cannabis. For example, if the trichomes look dull, are easily crushed, or are not visible, it’s a sign that the weed has been poorly stored. On the contrary, good quality weed should have shiny, sticky, and intact trichomes.

Seed and Stem Content

Good quality cannabis should have minimal seeds and stems. While the presence of a few seeds is not uncommon, a large quantity might suggest that the plant was stressed or not grown under optimal conditions. Excessive seeds can also affect the flavor of your cannabis and make it harsher to smoke. As for stems, while they are a normal part of the plant, too many can indicate that you’re getting less desirable buds and more of the less-useful plant material.

Density and Structure

The density and structure of your cannabis buds can tell you a lot about their quality. Well-grown cannabis buds should be dense and tightly packed, a sign that they’ve been adequately cared for during the growing process. If your buds are loose or fluffy, it might suggest that the plant was not grown under ideal conditions or the buds were not correctly trimmed. It is important to note that density can also depend on the strain, as some strains naturally produce denser buds than others.

Weed Color and Texture: Indicators of Quality

When determining the quality of cannabis, one of the first things to check is its color and texture. Vibrant colors and a sticky texture often characterize the best cannabis buds, while poor-quality buds might appear brown and feel crumbly. Understanding these key attributes can help you make more informed decisions about cannabis purchases.

Vibrant Hues: A Sign of Good Health

High-quality cannabis buds often showcase a variety of vibrant colors. Most commonly, you’ll see a rich, deep green color. However, other hues can also be present depending on the strain, including purple, blue, red, or even pink. These colors can be accentuated by tiny hairs or pistils, which can be orange, red, or brown.

If the color of your weed is primarily brown, yellow, or tan, this could be a warning sign. These colors might indicate age, improper curing, heat damage, or harmful chemicals. Overexposure to light, heat, or oxygen can degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis, leading to a loss of potency and flavor.

The Sticky Factor: Texture Matters

The texture of cannabis can also provide clues about its quality. For example, good cannabis should feel somewhat sticky to the touch. This stickiness comes from the resinous trichomes, tiny, crystal-like appendages on the cannabis flower that produces and hold the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes. If your weed is overly dry and crumbles easily, it may have been improperly stored or cured, leading to a loss of these valuable compounds.

On the other hand, if your cannabis feels damp, this could also be a sign of trouble. Properly cured cannabis should feel slightly crisp outside but not overly moist. Wet cannabis may not have been dried correctly, which can lead to mildew and mold, which are definite health hazards.

Trust Your Senses

When assessing the color and texture of your weed, trust your senses. If the color seems off or the texture doesn’t feel right, it’s best to pass. Remember, consuming cannabis should be an enjoyable experience. By identifying the signs of good-quality cannabis, you can be sure that you are getting the most out of your buds.

In the end, the quality of your cannabis will significantly impact your smoking or vaping experience. Understanding and recognizing the signs of good and bad quality will help ensure you always get the best product for your money.

Weed Aging: Does Older Mean Worse?

When it comes to cannabis, you might wonder if the adage “fine wine gets better with age” applies. So does cannabis get better or worse with time? To answer this, let’s explore how age can impact weed potency, aroma, and flavor and whether older necessarily mean worse.

Understanding Cannabinoid Degradation

Firstly, it’s essential to understand that cannabis doesn’t age like wine. Over time, cannabinoid compounds like THC and CBD that give cannabis its effects begin to degrade. THC, in particular, breaks down into a compound called CBN (cannabinol). While CBN has its own unique properties, it doesn’t provide the same psychoactive effects as THC, meaning your older cannabis may be less potent in terms of its “high.”

Terpenes and Aging

Terpenes, which are responsible for the flavor and aroma profile of cannabis, is also affected by age. These volatile compounds can evaporate or degrade over time, leading to a less aromatic and flavorful experience. If you’ve ever noticed that older weed doesn’t have the same vibrant smell or taste as when it was fresh, this is likely due to terpene degradation.

Mold and Mildew Risks

Another critical concern with older weeds is the potential for mold and mildew. If cannabis isn’t stored correctly, it can develop harmful mold. Consuming moldy cannabis can lead to health issues, so it’s always important to thoroughly inspect your weed—especially if it’s been sitting around for a while.

Does Older Mean Worse?

While aged cannabis may not provide the same potency or sensory experience as fresh weed, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “bad.” If stored properly—in a cool, dark place with the right humidity level—cannabis can retain its potency and flavor for six months to a year, or even longer in some cases. However, beyond this point, you’ll likely notice a decrease in these areas.

Older cannabis that’s been well-preserved may still be suitable for consumption, but the effects may be milder and the flavor less pronounced. In addition, the increase in CBN can produce more sedative effects, which some users might find beneficial.

Good Weed vs. Bad Weed: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a bad weed called?

Low-quality weed or bad weed is called by many names, like ditch weed, regs, Reggie, schwag, dirt weed, and brick weed. Most of these names were derived to describe crumbly, brown, and smelly weeds. A low-class weed should not be sold at any licensed or reputable dispensary.

How can you tell the difference between good weed and a bad weed?

You should not make any judgments about marijuana until you have smoked some of the buds, whether through a spliff, bong, pipe, or vaporizer. All of the factors mentioned above are great pieces of advice. But you won’t know for sure what the weed’s effects will have on you until you try it for yourself.

What does Cheap weed mean?

The term cheap weed describes marijuana that can’t make you high. A cheap weed will often tick the boxes of the qualities of bad weed that we have listed above. It is best not to opt for cheap weed if you do not want to risk having severe adverse effects on your smoking experience.

What is the strongest weed?

As of 2022, Godfather OG is considered the strongest weed. This strain has the most THC and is also thought to be the most potent in the world. With a whopping 34% THC level, this Indica strain will give you a head high first, which will then turn into a euphoric feeling that spreads through your whole body. Some people think its THC levels could be even higher than 35%

Is it true that more expensive cannabis is better?

Generally, cheaper weed might mean that the cannabis is old and no longer top quality. However, this may not always be the case. Sometimes, a high price reflects higher THC content in the weed, which is not always good. If the weed’s price is based on the time and effort in making the product, then it is a sign that it is worth buying. Make sure you carefully inspect the flowers or check out the reviews before making your purchase.

What does good weed smell like?

Good weed typically has a strong, fresh aroma. However, the scent can vary depending on the strain, from sweet and fruity to earthy and piney. If the weed has a musty, moldy, or hay-like smell, it’s likely of poor quality or improperly cured.

How should good weed look?

Quality cannabis should be vibrant, usually light green to darker shades. It should be covered in tiny, crystal-like trichomes containing most of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes. The weed may be old or poorly grown if it is brown, yellow, or bleached.

Is sticky weed better?

Generally, good weed is a bit sticky to the touch. This stickiness comes from the resinous trichomes, a sign of high cannabinoid and terpene content. Extremely dry or crumbly weed may be old, overly cured, or poorly stored.

Can you smoke old weed?

Yes, you can smoke old weed, but the potency and flavor may be diminished. Over time, THC degrades into CBN, which has different effects, and the terpenes can also degrade or evaporate, affecting the taste and smell. Always check old weed for mold before smoking it.

Does good weed have seeds?

High-quality, or “sinsemilla,” cannabis should not have seeds. Seeds are a sign of a pollinated female plant, which puts energy into seed production instead of cannabinoid production. However, a few seeds don’t necessarily mean the weed is bad—just not top-shelf.

Why does some weed crackle when smoked?

If your weed crackles or sparks when you light it, this could be a sign of poor quality. For example, it may not have been appropriately flushed, leaving residual nutrients or chemicals. Alternatively, it could be too dry or contain seeds and stems.


Finding good weeds does not have to be hard if you know where to look. Even people who have never smoked cannabis before could tell the difference between good and bad buds if they followed this guide.

But at the end of the day, everyone has their own opinion and preferences when it comes to smoking weed. Most of the time, other people’s tastes are different from yours. There are tens of thousands of growers who are in charge of growing hundreds of different strains. The goal is to find the one that works best for you.

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