You may think you’re getting better quality bud with a sky-high THC concentration, but Dr. Rae dispels this myth. She cited THC levels above 20% as a red flag and told Weedmaps, “Lab tests are not as accurate as they may seem, and there are financial incentives for labs to produce increasingly higher THC values. Especially with flowers labeled around 30%, be very wary of fraudulent lab results.”
The best smoking experiences, edibles, tinctures — even CBD oil — often come from the best source material, or “top-shelf bud.” In terms of slang, premium weed is also commonly referred to as the “loud,” “fire,” “dank,” and “Private Reserve.” Low-grade weed is often referred to as “schwag,” “brick,” “ditch,” and “bunk” weed.
Another important visual indicator of good weed is the amount and viability of trichomes. Trichomes are the tiny, glimmering crystal-like appendages on the plant’s surface that create and hold the compounds responsible for the flower’s smell, flavor, and effects. The more frosty trichomes you can see with the naked eye, the better indicator of the flower’s intoxicating and therapeutic potency. If your eyesight has seen better days or you want to get up close, use a magnifying glass to get an even better sense of a nug’s trichomes.
Other indicators of bad weed
1. Smell: Cannabis cultivated and cured to the highest standards typically exhibits a pungent and pleasant aroma. Flowers emitting a strong fragrance are commonly referred to as having a “dank” or “loud” odor, indicating the overall quality of the flower. There are a variety of terms for the types of aromas high-quality cannabis emits, including skunk, diesel, and pine. The common denominator is that a good-smelling flower is distinct, pungent, and unmistakable. The stronger the fragrance is, the more nuanced the experience is likely to be.
“Flower” refers to the dried and cured female cannabis plant’s blooms, often called “nugs” or “buds.” Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Overly “wet” buds have stems that don’t snap and tend to stay put when squeezed. The extra moisture content makes for the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Wet nugs that tear apart rather than break apart are a sign that a cultivator didn’t properly dry and cure their cannabis.
4. Flower structure: Poor flower structure can be easily detected with a discerning eye. While a properly cultivated flower will often be aesthetically pleasing, a carelessly grown plant can produce inferior-looking flowers. Though a plant’s structure really says nothing about its chemical composition, it can still tell a story. Improper lighting or growing conditions can lead to “fluffy” or “airy” nugs, and while they may contain high levels of cannabinoids and terpenes, their density is still widely and harshly dismissed by the cannabis community.
Avoid buds that smell like hay or have no discernible smell at all. If it doesn’t have that characteristic dankness, you probably don’t want it. Pungency is directly linked to potency and terpene content.
It should go without saying that quality cannabis buds are free of mold and pests, but these issues can sometimes surface in cannabis purchased from a source outside the regulated legal market.
Trimming machines tend to mangle buds and disrupt the fragile trichomes they harbor. Avoid buds that have been machine trimmed or untrimmed buds with excessive leaves; typical indications of rushed cultivation practices.
Trichome ripeness, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult to assess without the aid of a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe. The question at hand; was the plant grown to maturity, or was it harvested prematurely (or even late)?
Avoid buds that are brown, tan, yellow, red, or white in color. Quality cannabis is primarily green in color, with a wide range of accent colors and undertones.
This is the stereotypical stoner bud. The effects are quick but relatively mild and it’s more known for promoting the munchies than it is for treating any serious ailments. It’s most closely related to the type of bud that was smoked in the 60s and 70s before real growers got into the game.
THC levels can vary anywhere from 25-35%. Personally, the highest cured bud I’ve ever smoked is Alien OG which was tested at 33.7% in a medical dispensary in Southern California. With THC levels this high, this is for the highest medical purposes and also takes us, recreational participants to another planet. Up up and away!
You will also notice when you smoke it that it is even harsher on your lungs than any other type of weed you may have smoked before.
So as we discussed earlier, Reggie is going to be very dry, and very seedy. It looks a lot like grass clippings actually, and it’s about as desirable to smoke.
Reggie has the typical skunky smell that is commonly associated with cannabis, though many also detect a faint sweet component to the odor as well.