If we’re talking the extremes of the scale, it’s relatively easy to separate god-awful weed from top-shelf bud. Even at a glance, you could probably identify whether what you’re looking at is garbage or otherwise.
But when it comes to establishing the quality of weed on a more precise level, you need to conduct a more detailed inspection and evaluation.
Irrespective of your preferred strain, quality can and does vary massively. Be it Green Crack, Sour Diesel or Girl Scout Cookies, the quality of one batch could be spectacularly different to that of the next.
Precisely why taking things for granted is never advisable - even if picking up weed from a dispensary you know and trust.
With this in mind, we’ll now be taking a look at the three primary classifications of weed, within which the vast majority of buds on sale fall:
Picking up on lower-quality weed is usually quite simple, given how it doesn't have a particularly appealing look. This is usually the kind of low-cost (or even black market) weed that’s been heavily compressed and poorly packed to reach its destination, resulting in squashed and misshapen buds.
Along with being darker in color and misshapen, low-end bud can be identified by its brittle and overly-dry feel when held between the fingers. There may also be little to no stickiness whatsoever, along with a grassy or musty smell that isn’t indicative of high-quality weed. It’ll also undoubtedly have a harsh and bitter hay-like taste, which is anything but enjoyable.
While it’s not to say that low-quality weed won’t get you high, it’s not going to have nearly the same THC potency as a higher-quality batch of the same strain.
This is actually the category within which the overwhelming majority of weed falls. Whether growing your own (with a fair amount of TLC) or shopping at a decent dispensary, most weed doing the rounds these days is often medium-quality.
In terms of characteristics, you can expect plenty of visual appeal right there in the bag. Generally light green buds of a reasonable size and still in their original shape, often with a fair few frosted sugar leaves sticking out for added aesthetic value (and weight)
Hold these buds between your fingers and there’s a more ‘spongy’ feel to their texture, as opposed to being brittle and falling apart when squeezed. The aroma isn’t going to blow your mind from 100 yards, but the buds will emit a quintessential skunky fragrance without smelling like cut grass or hay.
The flavor profile will be exponentially more complex and enjoyable, bringing the subtler nuances of the strain’s terpenes to the forefront. You’re also far more likely to be looking at an elevated THC content for a stronger high.
Last up, this is the ultra-premium top-shelf stuff you can expect to pay a pretty penny for. Or perhaps, grow yourself if you’re stocked to the gills with commercial-grade equipment and have plenty of experience.
High-end weed is characterized by immaculately groomed buds of an enormous size and perfectly shaped, with a super-sticky coating of trichomes and a gorgeous combination of colors. They’re sticky to the touch with a moister consistency, usually emitting the kind of stink you can pick up on from across the room.
They’re also the most flavorful of all buds available, pairing an elevated terpene content with far more THC and CBD than lower-quality specimens. Smoother and more enjoyable, top-shelf weed packs a price, but it’s a small price to pay for what you get in return.