Differentiating Good and Bad Quality Marijuana Buds

When your weed does not deliver the effect that you were going for, there are only two things that can be wrong. Either the strand that you are smoking is loaded with CBD, or your buds could be bad. 

If it is the former, then the weed might still be epic, but the value lies in the medicinal qualities and not the high that you really want. To ensure that you never have to be disappointed with your stash, here are some factors you can look out for that could help you differentiate between good and bad quality marijuana. 

Speaking in broad terms

When it comes to the quality of cannabis, there are many factors to take into account, but when speaking in general terms, there are only three types, namely low, medium and premium-quality weed. This is, of course, also the first step in determining whether the buds you are holding are quality or not. 

Low Quality

Low-quality marijuana is also known as brick weed and when you look at it, it's easy to see where it gets the street name from. The weed itself looks compressed, dull in color with some hues of brown in the mix. 

When you touch it, it also feels flaky and lacks the stickiness that is an indication of the trichome count. The smell is also very subdued and when you smoke it, it is harsh and burns the throat. It will get you high, but it is going to take some doing.

Medium quality

Medium-quality weed is a bit of a step up and one can see that it was not necessarily mass-produced. Domestic growers generally tend to deliver this quality of weed because there is a bit more pride in the product than only pure profit. The look is much more green and one can often see the orange pistils come through. 

The bud itself is aesthetically pleasing and it usually has a light shiny coat of trichomes. But to make up for size, there might be an excess of sugar leaves in flower. The tastes and smells are not overpowering but pleasant. With each hit, you should be able to taste the terpenes and ultimately get a better high. 

Premium quality

Premium-quality weed is unmistakable as each but looks like a work of art, but don't think that you will find it outside the hotspots like Northern California, the Netherlands and Spain. These guys are professionals and know their horticulture. The buds are manicured and seem to be frosted with trichomes. 

The pistils are a bright orange hue and the taste and flavor are unmatched. The nuggets are plump, sticky and cured to perfection with the right amount of moisture. The perfectly preserved terpenes bring out the flavor, while the aroma will be pungent and complex. The psychoactive effects are insane and the CBD effects are equally matched. 

Breaking out the connoisseur 

Apart from the broad classification of weed, quality is also in the eye of the beholder. There is no doubt that premium quality flowers are the best, but like fine wine, there are nuances that are personal and as you become more versed in the art of selecting your weed, these finer points will become more important in determining quality for yourself. 

The aroma

The terpenes are responsible for the distinct cannabis smell. For the uninitiated, the smell will be pretty much the same, but as your taste develops, you'll start to distinguish small differences in the aroma. The trichomes are responsible for producing the terpenes and when properly harvested and cured, the aroma should send your nose on a trip of its open opening a packet. A strong smell is often an indication of a good quality ounce. 

The color

The color of the weed is another indication of a good vs. bad quality batch. For the untrained eye, weed is weed and they might argue that you cannot taste color. Nevertheless, the color of the weed is one of the most important signs to look out for. 

Cannabis flowers come in many different colors and hues, but the vibrancy of these colors indicate a healthy plant. The vibrancy of the flowers indicates good genetics, professional growing techniques as well as curing. 

Orange and brown pistils

Whoever said that those boring biology lessons would not come in handy? Cannabis flowers are complex and have a bunch of extra features that normal flowers do not have. However, they also have the same organs as other flowers. The pistil is the female reproductive organ of the flower that receives the pollen to start the seed production process. 

These little orange flagpoles are also the ones that tell you when it is time to harvest. When they first appear, they are white and gradually turn a deep orange as time goes by. When around 70% of the pistils are orange, then the buds should be harvested. Snip them too early and the terpene profile will be lacking. 

Crystals and resin

The trichomes are the most visually striking feature of a quality flower. To the naked eye, they look like fine dusted crystals all over the flower, but they are tiny mushroom-like structures with bulbous head on a thin stalk. Each of these heads contains specialized cells that produce resin during the flowering phase of the plant. 

On a natural level, the resin is excreted and covers the flower for protection against insects and extreme temperatures. For use on the other hand, the resin contains the stuff that we are after. 

The cannabinoids like CBD and THC and the terpenes make up this resin and the more a flower produces, the better the potency of the weed. If the bud glitters in your hand under a light, then you are in business because the more trichomes the bud has, the more resin is produced. 


Density is not to be mistaken for compression. All growers aim for a dense and heavy bud at the end of a season. This indicates a healthy harvest and quality product. When you pinch the bud between your fingers, it will spring back to its original form. That is a sign of a premium bud.     





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