Over 94 million people in the U.S. have smoked cannabis in the last year.
Now imagine how many of those were given terrible weed without knowing it. Scary right?
Whether you know it or not, there are major differences between good and bad weed. You don’t have to wait to blaze it to see whether someone has ripped you off -- we’ve got you covered!
Here’s how to see who wins in the good weed vs bad weed challenge.
Introducing the 'Shelf' System
We reserve this system for those who buy from their local dispensary. Employees will not scam you, but it’s useful to understand the hierarchy of good vs bad weed at a dispensary. Here, you'll find the following three tiers.
As you can guess, cannabis sitting here is the crème de la crème. The bud has a large amount of THC, with some strains exceeding 22%. It's grown carefully and dried to perfection. These buds guarantee you’ll enjoy exceptional taste and aroma, giving you an all-round great smoke.
This cannabis is straight-down-the-middle average. The top shelf is too costly for many so this tier will work well as long as your tolerance isn’t too high.
Mids are generally the most popular and they’ll give you the most value for your money.
“Bottom shelf” isn’t necessarily bad weed. It’s better than the streets, but if you’re a die-hard toker then its psychoactive effects may not be worth the cash.
Tips for Buying At the Dispensary
Find a dispensary that uses tongs to handle their cannabis flowers. This is because every time they touch the cannabis, residue either sticks to the herb or trichomes break off.
Over time, this can make cannabis less potent and jeopardize the overall quality of the product. It’s also important that dispensary employees weigh out the product so you know you’re getting what you pay for.
Be Wary of Pre-Packaged Cannabis
Some states like Washington only sell cannabis in pre-packaged containers. Budtenders can give you a small in-house sample for you to look at and smell, but this leaves customers to judge cannabis based on its visual appeal.
If this is the case, avoid packages that have lots of broken up bud or “shake”. This is the term for loose cannabis particles that accumulate after a dried flower is handled and broken. This can also be a sign that the cannabis is too dry, which will dampen your smoking experience.
Things to Look Out for When Judging Weed
Not sure how to tell if weed is good? Still wondering "What does good weed look like?" Then check out these important qualities.
This is the easiest way to determine whether buds are good. Good cannabis is green with flecks of orange or purple whereas brown cannabis is bad.
Brown color indicates that the bud could contain mold, pesticides, and other nasty stuff.
Another mention of those orange hairs shows that cannabis is well-pollinated and matured. The hairs show it’s a high-quality strain so you know you’re getting the best.
Aroma and Taste
You’ll notice weed quality as soon as you bring the bud to your nose. When a strain has been harvested and cured to perfection then you’ll notice a smell of incredible musk.
A strong smell is revered as it shows that cannabis hasn’t been exposed to much oxygen, which can degrade aroma molecules.
Look for this musk with every strain or at least that beloved cannabis scent. You’ll notice bad weed as it has no scent or it may smell like hay or freshly cut grass. Other bad smells include a musty or damp scent, as it shows that it’s been badly grown and improperly dried and cured.
A good tip is that Indicas often have a chocolate-like bitterness aroma while Sativa-dominant strains have citrus notes.
Do you know the crystals that cover cannabis?
They’re called trichomes and they are the key to knowing how much THC is present. To keep it simple: the more crystals a bud has, the higher the THC content.
Seeds, Sticks, and Stems
If your bud has lots of seeds, sticks, and stems then this is a red flag.
There should be very few sticks and stems holding the bud together. A good rule of thumb is that the thicker the bud, the better it's likely to be. Also, remember seeds add weight to your flower meaning you won’t be getting as much psychoactive goodness as you hope for.
Spider mites can also infest your weed, and this is no fun! Watch out for thin white hairs that look like a spider web. You can pull those guys out, but it's better to just avoid the whole mess in the first place.
Poorly trimmed bud isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but it does show whether the cannabis was well-maintained and is an indication that whoever grew or sold it takes pride in their product.
In other words, 'sticky icky'!
You don't want cannabis that is too wet or too dry. A well-cured cannabis flower must be kept between 63 to 67% humidity so buds can break up easily but not crumble.
Flowers that are too wet will taste bad and exacerbate a mildew or mold break-out. And, on the other end, cannabis that’s too dry is hard to smoke and vaporize. As a result, you’ll end up coughing endlessly, which could result in lung irritation.
Look for cannabis that's a little sticky otherwise it will burn too quickly.
Not sure how to buy cannabis?
The safest way is to purchase only lab-tested products. This certification reveals that cannabis contains little to no pesticides and has low levels of molds and pathogenic fungus.
You’ll know you’re getting a great smoking experience and that you won’t suffer from any negative health consequences.
And That Sums Up Good Weed Vs Bad Weed
It's possible to decipher between good weed vs bad weed when you know what to look for. The bud must be green, covered in crystals, have orange hairs, and not have any seeds or stems. If you are buying from a dispensary, ensure they're professional and handle the bud properly to prevent any the bud from ruining. Happy smoking!
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